HR Superstars
HR Superstars

Episode 12 · 8 months ago

Leading With Love: Why Strong Leadership Starts w/ Compassion


The old models of leadership no longer serve organizations well.

Those models expected leaders to be superhuman. But that kind of strength entirely misses the mark; it doesn’t serve the needs of those we lead.

Today, we need a leadership model that embraces vulnerability, along with service, humility, kindness, and love.

We talked with Laila Tarraf, Chief People Officer at Allbirds, about her new book on leading with love in business and in life.

We also talked about:

-The old view of HR vs the new view of HR.

-The difference between enabling and protecting your people.

-How to help leaders find a deeper level of empathy.

-Why love is a strength, not a weakness.

For the entire interview, subscribe to HR Superstars on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or tune in on our website.

Get Laila’s book, Strong Like Water.

I could not have led through thislast year of tremendous loss, with the pandemic and the social unrests and thepolitical divisiveness. I would never have been able to do that had I notbeen where I was in my journey. You're listening to HR superstars, apodcast from fifteen five that highlights stories from the front lines of HR and peopleops. Each episode will showcase fascinating conversations with leaders offering their unique experiences andadvice for building an extraordinary company and culture. Let's get into the show. Welcomeback to another episode of HR superstars. I'm Shane Metcalfe and I'm here withmy cofounder and CEO, David Hassell, and we are absolutely thrilled to welcomeLailah tariff to the show today. And I'm personally just thrilled about thisconversation because when we did the pre interview, one of the main themes that wewere talking about was love at work and bringing love back into the workplace, or maybe into the workplace for the first time really. So let mejust tell you a little bit about Layelah. Leilah is a talent management and leadershipdevelopment executive with over twenty five years of experience building teams and advising companiesacross many industries and stages of growth. She was a founding member of walmartcomat the height of the first Internet bubble and the chief people officer at Pete'scoffee and tea as it was redefining its values as a national brand. Shethen spent seven years working in private equity as a director of human capital aGI partners and a human capital advisor with altamont capital. Currently, as chiefpeople officer for all birds, she is focused on building a high performance,human centered organization capable of driving for results while at the same time nurturing aculture of connection and belonging as it grows into a global, sustainable consumer brand. Over the years, through professional achievements and personal accomplishments, alongside professional setbacksand personal tragedies, mail has evolved her leadership and life philosophy into one thatembraces the inherent quality of life, balancing courage with compassion, integrating head withheart and fusing power with tenderness. Her journey and hard one insights, orwhat she shares in her debut book, strong like water. Leila is agraduate of Berkeley Host School of business and is also a guest lecturer at BerkeleyLaw School. She is Lebanese an American, an avid traveler and world explorer anda proud mom to her teenage daughter, Nadia, and our eight pound YorkyMax. And we just learned that her teenage daughter is going to bespending an immersion and surfing and Spanish Costa Rica. And you know, don'twe all need surfing and Spanish immersion these days. So, Leylah, welcometo the show. Really great to have you. Thank you so much,so happy to be here you guys. Yeah, this is so great.I'd like to start with just understanding a little bit more about your journey,like how did you get into this, this realm of people, leadership ofyou know what? I think some people used to call hr somewhere now callingpeople in culture. Obviously, you know you're you're moving forward and more ofthis human centric philosophy. So what was your journey to this, to thisplace? Yeah, HR continues to rebrand itself more than any other function.I know we'll get we'll get there, and I think it's because the theindustry continues and the function continues to evolve. I mean HR wasn't even anywhere onmy radar screen for, you know, my whole life, until I gotout of out of business school. When I was young, I wantedto be a pediatrician and then somebody said to me at seventeen and all youknow, that's like ten years of school and neither one of my parents wentto college and to a seventeen year old ten years of school that's more thanhave your life. So I scrapped that idea. How long have I beenin high school? Oh, Oh God, I don't think I could do that. And so I you know, I went to college. I endedup majoring in computer information systems because this was the late s and computers werestarting to be a thing, and that was, you know, good student. And then I really fell into recruiting and because of my technical Undergrad Istarted to recruit engineers and because I could speak their language, but I couldalso sort of walk and talk and had sort of outgoing in the people person. And then I went to business school at Keley and was lucky enough toland a role at Walmartcom when it was just a startup. Walmart ink inearly two thousand realized this Internet thing wasn't going away and they had to getserious about it and they weren't going to get the talent they needed. Aninvent built Arkansas in one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine. So they startedWalmartcom out here in the San Francisco Bay area and I was hired to beemployee number seven as the director of recruiting and I worked for a female CEO. Her name was Geene Jackson. She was super tough and amazing and Iwas so inspired and also terrified of her.

And after a year of, youknow, building the company two hundred and fifty people, we kept onlooking for head to HR. We couldn't find anyone we like. She justsaid to me one day, look, you're doing the job, why don'tyou take it? And my first reaction was Oh no, no, no, not an h our person, this person because, you know, likeprobably most people twenty years ago, I really didn't see hr as a businessfunction. I don't know, I thought it was more downstream or more administrative. And you know what I loved about jeans is like well, look,I don't care take it or not, but you know, I've got abigger fish to FRY. And I was like okay, okay, I'll tryit, and what Classic Power Move Right there, you know, not sickexactly like she a beg means it now. And you know, again, Iwish I could say was all by design. I really got lucky andI'm fortunate that there was a leader of a woman who saw something in methat I didn't yet see in myself. And so for the next seven yearsI really grew into being an HR leader and really a fur bline VP playercoach, and that's how it started. That's what an awesome I actually thinkone of the one of the best qualities of a leader is to be ableto see things and people that they don't yet see in themselves. I thinkit's very true. And because I've never seen myself as an HR person.I don't know if people say this anymore, but they used to say. Iused to hear this all the time. Do you have a seat at thetable? Like, what are you talking about? It's my table,like I did that that whole statement around. You know, it implies that you'rethat there's something going on and you're not invited to it, and Ijust think that whole orientation get just sets you off on the wrong foot inthe first place. Right, it's our table, we're here together, we'reall in this together. So I think because I never felt like I wasn'tpart of the business or the business. Quite frankly, I never showed upin that way and and you know, you have to put some points onthe board, and so I think I became very integrated in the business veryquickly. That's great. If you think about, you know, the oldview of HR and what you kind of perceived it to be about, beingmore about administrative and maybe compliance and those types of things, which is,I think, more from a protective, reactive state that we've now moved intosomething a different model that is emerging. That's clearly emerging across the board inthe most progressive companies. What would you say it's moved to? Like,how would you describe that? You know, I don't want to put down thecompliance or the administrative side of Dhar because it's real and it's important,so important. Yeah, I should say it's not. It's not that.It's not that, it's it's it's that. And like what's crowding? Yes,that's right, if that's where it starts, you know, that's sortof people operations, but there are different disciplines within hr, just like thereare marketing and finance. The difference I see in hur leaders is you eitherthink of HR as a function to protect the organization or to enable it.HMM. And of course the reality is that that's a false paradox. Youwant to do both right. You want to protect and you want to enable. I try to think about both. My natural orientation is to enable,not to protect. So I know I have to hire people that are wiredthat way and I have to make the space for us to be able tohave the conversation. But it's not in my nature to protect. It's inmy nature to just move forward and and I think, I think that's thedifferences as HR has moved from being a downstream, administrative, after the factfunction to more upstream, more strategic, more enabling than you need to havea balance of those people. I love their distinction of enabling and protecting andthat it's you know, both are required, but that you know, hr reallyhas evolved in you know, we've kind of transcended just protecting an organizationand and yet we're including the protection, but it really is enabling and it'ssuch a such I haven't heard that distinction before and it really clarifies it reallylends me too. I would love to hear a little bit about what doyou love about the culture at all birds? You know what is? What issomething that you think makes all birds very distinct? I should have,I should have put on my all birds, one of one of my ears.I think the first person I saw wearing olberds. Actually, Oh,yeah, nice, yeah, yeah, I think. I think David wasmaking fun of me one time because we were flying together out of SMO andI was like, I had my all birds on and I had my awayroller bag. You are such a Silicon Valley cliche and your sunglasses and youwere good. We're really he needed the paedagoony ofst and he would have.What can I say? They're great products. The culture of at all birds isamazing. It's, you know, where a Be Corp and it's thefirst time I've worked for a be Corp.

I used to work for the mostconservative company, Walmart, and then I went to the most liberal company, Pezz out of Berkeley. Yeah, and now I'm I'm at a BeCorp and I am clearly ten to twenty years older than everybody. So it'sreally interesting experience to be at all birds. Now Walmart was my all birds becauseI was, you know, the same age they are. All are. We build the company it is. It's a very young company. Theaverage age is twenty nine or thirty, so ninety percent of the people arein their first or second job out of school. So just kind of wrapyour head around that for a minute. And one of the things that I'velearned in my first year there is, you know, when you feel aresistance to change, which in everybody resists change on some level, and whenI when I've felt it it all birds, what I realized pretty quickly was itwasn't really deeply embedded in these sort of long standing beliefs. It wasjust that they didn't know any other way because they're still so new in theircareers. So it's exciting for me right because I'm on the other side ofmy career. I really get to be a mentor and an educator and someonewho can hold the space for all these people who are really kicking off theircareer and I just find that so exciting. They're hungry to learn, they're excitedabout the opportunity their millennials. Everybody wants to save the world and that'ssuper exciting because I really think what we're doing can have a major, majorimpact and everyone is so serious about lowering the carbon footprint on this planet.It is you know, companies have a core DNA based on how they're founded, and companies get disrupted when things change around them and they can't shift.You know, they can't be agile enough to shift. But I personally believeyou can change and you can shift, but your core DNA is always goingto be your corey DNA and for us it is embedded in sustainability and productinnovation. So we're lucky right now to be a point in time where wewhere we're really anchoring on that DNA in everything that we do. So itdoesn't feel like we're we're trying to shift or change or move or try tobecome something that's not really who we are, and that feels amazing. That's amazing. It's almost like the you know again, the why doesn't change,but you might have to change the how right depending on the circumstances. Or, and I Simon Senex later work of playing an infinite game and business,you know, like that it's like if all birds was like, we're goingto make sustainable sneakers and that was the that was the only game. Itwas be like, oh well, then you can't evolve and you can't makekiller puffer jackets, also sustainably. You know, like with fifteen five,like our infinite game. We're playing as unlock. How do we unlock thepotential of every member of the global workforce? And you know, so that startedout as a check in, but now it's evolving into performance reviews andengagement surveys and strengths, radical strengths alignment and positive psychology and all these things. And so I love I love, you know, I think it's reallyinteresting, of to contemplate when a company gets founded, is the founder playingan infinite game from the beginning and that forms that DNA, or is it, oh, I see him an opportunity to build a product and flip acompany and make some money? That's a great point. So we have tocofounders. Right. Tim Brown is the New Zealand soccer player and this washe went to design school and this was his idea from the very beginning.And he comes from a country where there's more cheap than people right New Zealandand Joey as well. INJOR is more of a he was an industrial engineerin school and is more than operations finance guys. So you really have theleft brain right brain together and both of them are incredibly visionary. We dothese hot pen exercises all the time, you know, where you sit downand you have a prompt and you just write for twenty minutes. So theydid that at the very beginning and said it's two thousand and twenty six.There was two thousand and sixteen. What does it look like? What havewe done? WHAT HAVE WE ACCOMPLISHED? And and we do this all thetime. So they did that and we're still working towards that two thousand andtwenty six vision. Sort of halfway through, Gosh, more than halfway through.We did one for last summer when things got really bad with with thesocial unrest and Blm Movement. We brought together a cross section of our employeesand we did three sections on diversity. that a hot pen exercise. Fiveyears out, what is all birds look like? With respected the EIB,we did went around product innovation. So those guys, more than any otherleader I've seen, are really oriented towards the future. There is nothing aboutthem that's about flipping a profit short term. Okay, so this is really coolbecause I I do a ton of stream of consciousness writing and future visioningon my for myself and I do a lot for fifteen five. But you'resaying that you actually do this as company exercises, as like get the leadershipteam and okay, write twenty minutes that. That is so cool. Yeah,and then we just you share it,... like take like tibits from them. We do. We write everything down and then we go around andwe highlight the high points of what came out of our writing and then wehave everybody make a comment. So it's not like okay, thanks, Leyla. Next it's like, oh, I really like how you said this,tell me more about that. And so it's a build and at the veryend somebody then takes it and pulls the all the nuggets and then we createa manifesto out of it and we do it for lots of different things.By it it is like brings me back to like creative writing class and Somatics, socratic seminars and high school. I love it. I'm totally bopping thisbecause because I know that for me, you know, writing and stream ofconsciousness, writing and envisioning the future is one of the things that has continuallytransformed my life. You know. I mean I randomly found shaky Gat one'screate a visualization when I was fourteen, which is a great book about,you know, imagining the future and to bring it into being, and soI started just doing so much writing about the future, a lot of likehot pin exercises when I was fourteen. And I look at the crazy lifeI've lived over the last twenty two years now and it's like wow, Icredit so much of it to writing the future before it happens, and I'venever really known how to bring this into the business setting quite like you've justdescribed. I'm just thrilled to play with this. So thank you. Love. We love pros at. So I'm in a good company being a newlypublished author. That's good. It's we love words and they are powerful.Right. Words are powerful. We have all hands. We had them everyweek during COVID and now we've gone to every other week. But it's important, especially when the company is young, and right now there's so many competingnarratives out there that you need to be very, very intentional in so forgingyour path and what's true and what's important for you as a company. That'sgreat. I do want to get into the book and talk about that.But before one more question is like, how do you what's your dynamic andrelationship with the cofounders and how do you how do you partner with them tokind of bring their cultural vision to life through the people, because I havegood questions. Well, I'll be super honest. I'm close to two yearsin now. First Year not fun. Fun, I would say six ninemonths in got very crunchy and I was wondering if I had made the rightdecision. I'm sure that they were wondering it as well. We storm hardand you know, in hindsight I can tell you. You know, foundersare not usually the guys that carry a company in through the high growth phase. Right, the people who go from zero to two hundred or three hundredmillion are usually not the leaders that go from three hundred million to a billion. Tim and Joey are kind of exceptional. They are really they have them verystrong business sense, but they're very, very entrepreneurial and I was brought into help to establish the infrastructure necessary for the organization to be able toscale and grow in a healthy way, and that means doing things differently thanhow you did it when you were, you know, twenty million and whyyou understand that intellectually. Actually shifting again, any sort of change, causes alittle bit of stress and a little bit of tension. And you know, I came in after being an advisor in private I put you for sevenyears and I was like, I didn't say anything for about six months andat first they're like what are you doing? I'm like, I'm taking it allin. It was complex and I wasn't sure what I was seeing because, you know, cultures are like ecosystems. You might see something but you don'tknow the why behind it, and I didn't know if I if Ichange something over there, but we would move something over here. So Iwas trying to be really thoughtful and taking it all in, and so thatwas the first problem. I didn't move fast enough, but I didn't knowwhat I was dealing with. And then, secondly, as I started to offerwhat we should be doing, it went against what you know required alittle more discipline, a little more process and very non sexy stuff were we'redoing right now, right, and it's just not as fun. And sothere was there was a there was a little bit of this and luckily forme, the three of us had the hard conversations and were vulnerable with eachother. But again, I appreciate with with with these guys, and I'lltell you one of them said to me. He said, you know, hesaid, when you come in here like an advisor and say you know, this is wrong and that's wrong, he's like, I'm a founder,he's thinking. I'm telling you, you know, you make me feel badwhen you say that. And I was like, oh my gosh, he'scompletely right. Had he not had the wherewithal and the and the courage tobe that vulnerable with me, I wouldn't have seen US breaking a little glass. So I was like, you're right, I'm sorry, chip my brain andhonestly, from that moment I, you know, I learned how toflank. I learned how I reminded myself...

I wasn't an advisor, as Ihad been the previous seven years. I kind of had built that muscle inthat way of being, and he reminded me, no, you're in itnow. And so now he says, you know where we all say we'rein the foxhole together. So we're in the foxhole and and it's great.It's been. It's still hard, but there isn't tension between us and andI'm really proud of the relationship we've developed. That's that's a great story. Yeah, what I cool narrative arc, you know. And we've been soeasy to bail at that ninemonth mark like this is difficult. Why what amI doing? I'm going to go somewhere else now. Come often. Imean, I think that it's such a great example because I think often inany relationship, whether it's a professional relationship or personal relationships, when things gethard, that's usually when the most that's when the gifts are really present forour own transformation. Right, you know that relationship is this dough show ofgrowth and development and if we can keep swimming to the other side of theriver instead of turning back, that's where the gold is. That's right,because it all, it's all sounds great in your head, right, andwhen putting it in practice and relationship and and I think you know, luckilyI'm I've been on the journey long enough to know that I didn't like it, but I knew that it was good for me and I'm so glad thatwe're on the other side. And again we still have our moments. Ialso think you know the blue rich model that talks of about the different thedifferent roles within HR, their strategic change agent, employee, champion and administrator. I don't know if you've seen that one, and usually one is sortof your anchor point. I'm a change agent and I have that is myanchor and and the same happened at Pete too. I mean when I whenI lived Pete, the Cego said to me after seven years he goes.I can tell you now that first year I didn't understand half of what youwere saying because but you were so if I left you alone. Now everybodywants to be an hr you know, in two thousand and six, twothousand and seven, it's just like, don't break anything, just hired firethem. Well, now everyone thinks they're a culture carrier. So now they'rein your shorts a little bit more. So it's interesting. Okay, sothis is a perfect segue, you know, and I love it. You know, and I think it speaks to the adaptability that you've cultivated of youknow, be taking strong stances but then also flowing and adapting and changing,and I have a feeling that that is connected to the title of your book, Strong like water. So would you just share a little bit about thisbook? And you know I mean what is it about? What's the title, and a little bit of you know, a little t's on what's what's insidethose pages? Yeah, so it's called strong like water. How Ifound the courage to lead with love in business and in life. And stronglike water is, after a verse from Loud Sue, who wrote the TautChing, as I'm sure you guys know, and when he wrote these eighty oneversus in six hundred BC about the paradoxical nature of life, and oneof them is called be like water, and in it he says whatever issoft and yielding is more powerful than what is hard and rigid, and thatalways spoke to me because I've never had a hard time being sort of directand for me I have to learn how to soften and be a little morevulnerable, and the book is really that journey that I took and it startswith the catalyst for the growth from me. Happened to be three major losses inmy life, my husband, my father and my mother, in ashort period of time. And the book, you know, obviously we go throughthe losses, but what it's really about is how moments of tremendous adversityin your life, to what you're saying, Shane, really provide you with agift and a moment to learn about yourself and and to show up differentlyand to and to grow and to transform. And so for me, I heldmyself in such a way that I valued being really super capable and strongand of a problem solver, and I use that that persona, that heropersona to stay away from dicky feelings. I just wasn't going to go thereand I did that very well for forty years. And and I had alot of UN processed and unfelt feelings that had been building up inside of me. And when my husband passed, my daughter was three and it was amoment. As my first year as the head of HR for Pizza Public Company, I was still learning how to be achieve people officer and I had amoment where I had to make a decision. Was I going to continue in theway that I had been in my whole life, which is no knownas it's time, it's fine, I got it, it's okay, orwas I going to allow myself to to fall apart and grieve and reconnect tonot only the feelings I was feeling of...

...the time, but all the feelingsI had not allowed myself to feel up until that moment? And I think, if I'm honest, I had so much will at the time that,had I not had my daughter, I might have just tried to power throughit. I'm a little embarrassed to say that because it sounds so ridiculous now, but that is how convinced I was that I could control everything. ButI knew that I couldn't guide my daughter through that kind of loss unless Ialso experienced it. So I have to go into the valley and then,because the universe knew that I was tough case, just made sure I gotanother couple doses. And you know, I could laugh about it now it'sbeen a while, but it was I don't think I would be who Iam today, softer, more authentic, vulnerable. And the irony is Ithought for sure I would become weak if I allowed myself to be sad tofeel to admit when I was, you know, feeling overwhelmed, and youdon't. That's the crazy thing. I'm here is you. You, thestrength becomes infused with this tenderness and the softness. I think I'm still asstrong as I ever was, and sometimes I'm not strong like water. SometimesI'm strong like ice, as we saw last year. Right, and thenI remember. I'm like, okay, right, let's let's bring it downso we have both in a in us, all of us. There's a dallastsaying that I really love, speaking of you know Chinese sages. Thatgoes my barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon.You know why it? What occurs, what is catastrophe, what is absolutedestruction, is the very thing that peels away the layers for a ring, that for the beauty that is around us, that we just have beenclosed off to. Roomy has the same I'm sure you know the roomy poemcalled the Guest House. Same thing, and I will say that I couldnot have led through this last year of tremendous loss, with the pandemic andthe social unrests and the political political divisiveness. I would never have been able todo that had I not been where I was in my journey, becauseit was just a year of making and holding space for for a lot ofa lot of loss, a lot of sadness, a lot of fear,and I think I would have just folded if I had kno gone through myjourney. I couldn't have done it because last year leading was really all aboutthe being right, being open and holding space and being compassionate and understanding andempathetic. was less about doing anything but just creating the container for people tofeel held like it was going to be okay. I feel like that thatempathy. You know, Shane, you said something recently, I think aa a podcast we recorded recently, the about not trusting people who haven't hadthe heartbroken and I think that there's a level of humility and empathy that getscultivated through these challenges, and especially in her personal challenges and loss, thatI've been thinking a lot about. How do you? How do you howdo you help people find that deeper level of empathy if they haven't had thoseexperiences or without, you know, kind of pushing them into those experiences?How do you cultivate an organization in this empathetic and I do think it's itdoes start with leadership, but you know, it's an open question. For me. It's I don't know that I know the answer definitively. You're right. It you, the leaders, have to model that behavior, because theleaders set the tone for the entire organizations. If they're not empathetic, you're you'reshowing to others that that's not important. I mean for us. We Ijust rolled out working agreements. We do have values, but working agreementsI distinguished by saying those are the promises that we make to each other andhow we want to connect and work with each other, and they are presumedpositive intent so seek to understand right, which requires empathy. It's choose courageover comfort. Right, lean into that thing you don't want to stay again, is a little bit of vulnerability. And then the last one is aline, commit and go, which really kind of gets you directed. Andthen practice gratitude every day. Pick something to be thankful for every single dayand we're practicing them now. I have quarterly meetings with my directors and andI use that framework in all the training that we do so that they theso that they start to to internalize it and and role play and hopefully modelthe be here. Yeah, it reminds me. We've recently created competencies foreach of our values, and so we have our core values and then welook at like, okay, well,... like, for instance, cultivate. Relational mastery is one of our core values. You know that like thedefault world is let you know, you look at a reality TV and that'sthe opposite of relational mastery. It's drama, it's gossip, it's not choosing comfortover courage, it's not being vulnerable, it's not telling the truth. Andso then we've created competencies out of each of the values so that wecan actually be, you know, training on them and measuring them and havingthose as the guidelines. And I love that you have gratitude it in thereas well. We have every every Monday we have it all hands and thefirst five minutes is focused on a gratitude meditation, and so we have differentpeople with it and you know, it's just that it's just that moment oftaking that pause before we're in the do do do you know, human doing, human doing, human doing to just be and right, oh yeah,right, like we have. Let's count our blessings, let's let's shine thelight of gratitude on a variety of aspects of our lives, because for me, like my secret motivation when I came up with that practice was like,like, people don't cultivate gratitude. It's not a natural way that, especiallyin work. And so can we stop for just five minutes and appreciate?I'd love that. And I think I hear from a lot of people thatthis last year was so hard in so many ways and things that were completelyout of our control that it almost forced us to just so like, okay, what can I be grateful for? What are the small things? Youknow, someone on the sky turned orange here last summer. Now I'm justgrateful that I'm looking at a clear blue sky and I would never have thoughtabout that before. Right, clean air to breathe right. So we it'sbeen an embarrassment of riches for so long we didn't even know it. Yeah, yeah, we've had a good run and you know, I think,I think we have a lot of good runs ahead of us as a species, but I do think we've got bumpy waters ahead and and they you know, this last year is is an indication of more turbulence and more, moreback taxes that we collectively are going to have to pay and thank for thepast. Yes, yes, and yet, you know, that's part of Imean, and I think that that's part of what gives me meaning,is that, you know, I actually early on, thought I was goingto go into green business. You know, I was thinking I was going tobe, you know, run into company like all birds and fell deeplyin love with, you know, people like Paul Hawkin, who wrote naturalcapitalism, and Amory lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute and really saw the opportunity. I think my senior thesis was on the Transition Generation, that all theseexponential trends that are happening on the planet are converging in the S and sand that it is millennials who are kind of coming into power at this momentand are going to have a lot more influence to that are going to playa critical role in the transition to a more beautiful, sustainable world and thenall kind that sounds interesting. that. Yeah, I might have to tryto like search archives. I might make it sound a little more interesting thanit is. I don't know. It's always weird going back and early readingearly writings, like like really, I could have done better than that orsomething. But and then I you know, and then life took me on thetransformational journey that it did, and it's a completely nonlinear path, andI met David and all of a sudden I'm tech founder of a HR TechCompany and I'm like, what the heck happened to this? And and reallyseeing that, oh, that it's unlocking human potential, it's opening human hearts, it's opening it's elevating the experience of work where there can be more love, there can be more compassion, there can be more joy. You know, switching from fear and obligation, is the primary colorance of our work,to joy and service. And that's not easy, right. I mean it'slike I go back and forth all the freaking time. And yet that isI do believe we don't create a more sustainable world without creating happier, morejoyful, fulfilled and self actualized human beings, hundred percent. And I also thinkthat the role for Gen x, or that small generation that the sandwhich in between the boomers and the millennials, like I really feel like my alot of a lot of my role in JEN x stor's is bridging thethe orientipation and how the boomers see the world and the world they grew upwhen with and the millennials, right, because the millennials have so much passionand super idealistic and very focused on really trying to address some very, verybig issues, but lack experience right and and there's just a generational gap betweenthem and the boomers, like they really don't understand each other. But asit as a gen X or, I understand the boomers. I'm an oldgen X or so I get it, but I've always been wired with thatidealism that that the millennials have and and I agree with you it is upto them to move us forward and I...

...think we become their mentors. Thethe genoctors become the mentors and paved the way for the millennials. That's reallythe role that I see myself playing at all birds. That's that's amazing.I can actually relate as a Jenex or myself and kind of understanding both andhaving that that sense of idealism. I don't think we'd be doing what we'redoing without without that and as an old millennial, you know, David sawpotential in me and men's Mentord me and it's it's one of the greatest giftsin my life. Super happy you guys are doing what you're doing. Imean in twenty two thousand and ten I was re redoing Pezza values and Iwant to to call this book we were creating for the love of pets,and I remember people like Oh love, what youth, we love our company, and I couldn't get at them there. So we call that makes passions.So ten years later, wow, we talked about love all the timenow, so we've come a long way. We have come a long way.That's and that would have been such a better book title, for thelove of Pizza. Did you? Did you consider for Pete's sake, becauseI knew would have misspelled it all the time because this pee the Dutch.But yeah, that's right, right, right. It was interesting. Iwas connecting with John Mackie, the founder of whole foods, a few yearsago, and he was talking about how love was the value inside a wholefoods and it was almost like a dirty word, and it's like, howcan love be a dirty word? And it is great. We're talking moreabout that. I'm curious how does that manifest in all birds? How vocalare you about that concept and how does that actually come alive culturally? Well, I think you know there's lots of different forms of love, right,and the Greeks have all these words for it. Wherever you fall on that, on that spectrum, whether you're more comfortable being, you know, demonstratingthe more feminine qualities of Nurturans and Passion and empathy and love, or whetheryou're just more wired to drive for results, we can still care about people,right, and we just have to make sure we set healthy boundary.So at all birds, it's a very, very nice company. If you knowthe any of it. We talked about the any Graham chain. It'sI think it's between that. We know it culture. Okay, so it'sa two culture, if you culture and the helper, the helper, thegive, the lover Choos and and two's are. I mean they want togive, they want to help. The shadows side is they sometimes use theirhelping and giving as currency. So you can kind of lean in too farand it can become, in least in relationships, a little codependent. SoI find at and this is what I love about being an HR different companiesbecause the challenges at all birds are so different. They are wired to belovely and Nice, but they can also be a little conflict diverse because theydon't want to like they don't want to make people mad, they don't wantpeople not to like them. And so our big challenge, one of thereasons why she's courage over comfort is one of our work in agreements, isbecause we tend not to say the the challenging thing because we want to benice. But that's not that's not how relationships are formed, that's not howtrust is build and that's not how businesses are successful. So my challenge ishow do I encourage people to speak their truth, to carry the hard messageand recognize that that is love, that that is kindness if you're holding back? Well, when I was at Walmart in the early days, I wentto a Saturday morning culture and meeting they had. It been in Bentonville,Arkansas. These people work six days the week. Okay, this was backin two thousand and Lee Scott, who was in the CEO at the time, he told the story. There were like hundreds of us. He toldthe story of a department manager of one of the Walmart stores, which,you know, Walmart throws like a hundred, fifty million dollars. It's a businessand he all he wanted was to be a store manager and for fourteenyears nobody told him that he didn't have it to be a store manager andwhen he was finally told he was so crushed. I heard that story twentyyears ago it still sits with me. You're not doing anyone any favors byholding back a message that they need to hear. And it doesn't mean thatthat that there might not be an opportunity at the company for them, butit doesn't mean that they are not a person worthy of hearing what you know, what the feedback is, so that you could help them to grow ontheir journey, whether that journeys at all birds or somewhere else. And sowhat I try to do with our managers. I think when you're not used togiving difficult feedback, you feel like you have to disconnect from yourself andfrom the other person, so you kind...

...of throw it over the fence andlike now I'm going to be this this jerkey person and tell you what Idon't like about you. Right, but if you can stay connected right andyou have to build the capacity to stay connected. And they like hey,shame, you know, last week when you said this, like what myCEO did you, when you say that that that makes me feel bad,that hurts my feeling. That took a tremendous amount of vulnerability and showed mea blind spot that I would that I had. My thought, wow,and that really helped shift our relationship. And and so that is the paththat we're on. Is a company, because we tend to be a littleon the conflict of void inside. How do we lean into it in ahealthy way? I've been an actually tinder, compassionate candor, similar to, Imean, you know, the radical candor model. To you know,I think it's there's the you know, you either Schew more conflict avoidance andits ruinous empathy, or more obnoxious aggression. And I think we all we allfall somewhere on that spectrum and that ability to deliver truth. We we'vereframe that. We call a truth of kindness, delivering truth with kindness.But I love embracing the courage also, because it really does take courage todo that. Great, great term I heard was a Mashup of vulnerability andcourageous and talking about being vulner ageous and can we, can we be morelike it? Well, courage, the the root of courage is cur whichis the friend or French or heart. Yes, so it's interesting that,I think the connotations changing of courage used to to me, at least ithas. I feel like there's a lot of tenderness and courage. Well,it makes me think that we don't know what love is, right, youknow, that we have so many false ideas of what love is. Andyou know, I forget some Greek philosophers said like the most useful part oflearning is on learning what is untrue and so on learning the false ideas ofwhat love is. Love is being Nice, love is protecting somebody from the truthof what we actually see and what their capabilities are and that, ohwell, we can just, you know, just be nice. That's love andit's just the false idea and love, you know, I mean, yeah, we can be nice and be loving. That's not another isn't love. It's so much more powerful, that's so much more transformative. That's right, and we realize and I think that it's like part of it is,I think that we are still infants in our and our journey of learning howto love. You know what helps, I think, is becoming a parent. Yes, yeah, right. I mean, you can't be nice allthe time to your kid, right, or they'll kill themselves. You haveto create boundaries. No, you can't have the ice cream for dinner,you have to have the Broccoli first, and there's a way to deliver thatright in a loving, kind way so that they know you care about them, and I think that's the model right there. It took my wife andI number of years to get pregnant, about five years total, and itwas maybe about third year and where was like so hard and it's just suchit so many ups and downs on that journey and I had this striking realizationwhere I felt like I connected with the spirit of my daughter and I realized, Whoa, she's already teaching me how to love, because this is takinglike the the image of that came to mind was like, Oh wow,if she was, you know, five years old and got sick, Iwould do everything in my power to love her back to health and and thatwas all, though, was it was just I just needed to keep lovingher into existence. And never like just not give up. And it waslike this this incredible experience where like my heart open and I just was floodedwith light and it was just like, Whoa, she's already teaching me howto love. And you know, and of course those are of those thingsare available to all of us, even if we're not parents, and andso it's just a cool I love that we get to live in a world, even if we're in still in the minority, and the business world isstill cut throat and competition and market driven, but that this is least some springflowers popping up where work can be a place where we actually learned tolove more and love ourselves more and love each other more. Yeah, forsure. I want to circle back to that, to that stories told aboutthis storm manager, because you know, if you think about it, maybein the moment not telling him felt like the person was protecting his fear fifteenyears and then you know what that feedback could have done along that journey likethat. Obviously, in hindsight that was not love. Love would have beenbeing, you know, providing on his candid feedback in the moment and sobuilding a bridge. On top of that, we talked a lot a about somecompanies lean more towards care of the...

...people over performance. Others might leanto more care of the performance over the people. We might call that,you know, either the family or the sports team. But we talked abouthow can we have both of those things and some people see them as aparadox. We don't actually see them as a paradox. We think that highcare for people and high career performance actually creates the highest performance. And tothat and and I'm curious, like, what are some of the things alongsidethe is it? You know it? What's the formula for you guys?Is it? Is it that the communication with courage plus, you know,creating boundaries and have a high standards, or what's the formula to create that? In your bail? Before you answer that, David, I got it. We're a community soccer league. I don't think they're so. I'm alwaysdrawing these circles that intersect in the middle. I mean, in fact, ifyou go on my website or saw you were reading my bio, you'llsee it. It's it's two circles that intersect right and one side is focusedon it's the Yang Right. It's dry for results, it's high performance,it's business. The other circle is the people, it's the heart, it'sa culture of connection and belonging, right, and they overlap. And that middlepart is the sweet spot and where where the magic happens. And myafter my first few months at all birds, I when I started connecting the dotsand what I thought the cultural challenge is where I created a five minutevideo. I can send it to you, guys, and it was a littlebit of our story, of our growth, of where we were inour growth, and I like I did the crawl, walk, run andI said the magic is in the isn't at the intersection of these two things, and it's not a straight line. You're like a sailboat and you're alwaystacking and sometimes you're going to be a little too far this way and thenyou're going to be a little too far this way. But as long asyou keep your eye on the horizon and you stay in that sweet spot,it is a moment by moment thing, right. So we're encouraging people togive more honest feedback and at the same time we want you to stay connectedand do it with kindness. Right. So I think again, this iswhere I think most HR people are oriented towards one or the other. MaybeI'm deluded by actually think I'm a little bit of both. I'm I've really, really do think I I love people and I am naturally caring. rightotswant to be a doctor. When I was young, remember thinking it iscaring for people a thing. Is that a like? I didn't know andI and I and it's funny because, you know, twenty five years later, I'm now at the closest to a caring profession there possibly can be inbusiness. And so I love to accomplish things and I love to, youknow, achieve and I that's part of me as well, and I liketo do it as a team. It's no fun doing it by yourself,right, I always say we want to achieve big, Harry audacious goals,but we don't want to leave a trail of dead bodies behind us, becausethen then who do you celebrate with? And I just try to bring thisis another thing I find that I don't know, Shane, you tell methis is a millennial thing. Everyone is so heavy and serious and I feellike we need a little bit of levity. It's not. It can be alittle fun guys, it's okay, and just a little bit of humorand I think that adds a lot and that also shows a little bit oflove and compassion to right you can, you can sometimes you can carry aharder message with a little bit of Lovity, a little bit of humor. SoI'm trying to infuse a little bit of that as well. I youknow, I look at my daughter and ape classes and college applications. It'slike Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, it's just go to coaster, we cango surfing for a few weeks. So yeah, I mean I certainly hopeit's not a millennial thing. I mean I think it's it's a you know, it's a natural human condition to sort for what is wrong and and thenget pretty heavy about it. And you know, not that we can't beaware of how our eyes open about the problems, but not everything is aproblem and there's so much perfection and joy available at any moment. Well,and if you're following positive psychology, there's so much that you don't see ifyou're just looking at the negative, and so much UN person at things thatare going right. And do you follow the I've always heard give three timesas much positive feedback to the one negative, because human nature anchor on the negativeevery time. You want to be to hear the positive. So yougot actually write the driving science behind our high fives, but it's the drivingscience mind our high five feature, you know, so that, like,we can immediately increase the amount of recognition and appreciation and positive feedback in anybusiness ecosystem because of that ratio being so critical to get right, so thatthe constructive feedback will also land, and it can. You have an emotionalbank account to make some deposits from, versus just being overdrafted all the time. Exactly. And I also I also designed our initial weekly check in onthat same positive psychology principle, where question...

...number one was what's going well?What's going well in your roll? Before you address the challenge is you isalways challenges. We need to know what they are, but you have toanchor on like you know, if you're just thinking about the challenge is,you're missing it. There's always something going well. Yes, I use thatmodel to what's going well, what could be better, not what's wrong?What's that? What's going well? What could be better? Based on thosetwo things, what do we do now? Yeah, how do we shift?How do we we focus on? Oh, I love that. Well, Leila, this is been so fun. Where can people find your book?You can find it just about anywhere. Amazoncom, you can go on mywebsite, lay lap, to Reffecom, you can buy it from your localbooks to or it's actually out on audiobook now. You can find iton audible and read it. Or did you? I did have somebody Inared that. I didn't want to, but I did and it was itwas it was hard, but I think, I'm sure that was its own transformationaljourney of eating and what it was like living it. Wow, butthe hard copy will be available starting April thirteen and you can preorder it now. Well, thank you so much. I feel so, so inspired andjust you know that there's so much more possibility for bringing love and to notonly our work but our lives as well. So thank you so much. Fifteenfive is the only evidence based people and performance platform for highly engaged andhigh performing organizations. Strategic Hur leaders in all industries use the platform to winby improving communication, up leveling their managers and increasing company wide engagement. Learnmore at Fifteen Fivecom you've been listening to HR superstars stories from the front linesof HR and people ops. Be Sure you never miss an episode by subscribingon your favorite podcast player. If you're listening on Apple PODCASTS, we'd lovefor you to leave a thoughtful review or give a quick rating by tapping thestars. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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