Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the episode today, we have Russ Linden. Russ, welcome. Good morning Thomas. Great to see you. It is great to see you too. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Sure, I’ll start with the most important. My wife and I have two adult kids. Both made great choices in terms of who they married. All four of them are doing things that move the world a few inches, a little bit better every so often, so that makes us feel great. Three of course, gorgeous and brilliant grandkids. Extended family is important because I grew up with my brother in Detroit Michigan where six of my brothers, seven siblings all lived within a mile.
And so we got together, we’re Jewish, for all the Jewish holidays and weddings and funerals and so to this day for the last 30, 40 years, there’s over 200 folks in the extended family. We have family reunions every four years and I help to pull those together. It’s a mess, because there’s an old expression, two Jews, three opinions, so you know, whatever we want to do, there’s gonna be people arguing both sides to Jewish trade, but it’s very meaningful also to see somebody in the family, the next generation who like to come to those. Professionally, Thomas, I started off in the human services world. I ran a big brothers program for a while. Program for kids without fathers in their homes and then a program for this agency for disabled. I’m laughing, because I never had an hour of management or leadership training. And a fellow who was a friend and a colleague who ran a similar agency looked at me the day I told him I was leaving, this is after five years of running the agency and we got some things done somehow and he said Russ, you didn’t do a bad job and just think what you could have done if you knew what you were doing.
A little kind of sharp elbow guy humor there. But I thought about it Thomas and I realized he wasn’t wrong, because I made some mistakes and I’ve never had, as I say, a drop of leadership training. So I went back and got a doctorate in organizational leadership and I was delighted and kind of stunned frankly to see that there really were some principles and concepts that made sense. And so that was mid eighties and I’ve been consulting, writing and teaching leaders and managers mostly in the public and nonprofit sectors ever since then about leadership change. Collaboration is one of the biggest ones, especially since 9:11 in our country. Seeing all these parts of the government that had pieces of the puzzle never put them together. Crisis leadership and something that’s been especially in demand lately Thomas. I don’t know if you’ve had people on your show to talk about resilience. I think a little bit maybe starting with the great recession and certainly with the pandemic. Lots and lots of interest in resigns to me as simple as tiny bounced back.
Things will happen in life, right? So what can managers, leaders in our personal or business world do to keep ourselves up and help people with their with bounce back? And then when I’m not working, semi retired now, so I have more time. A leader of an organization called welcoming greater Charlottesville, in Charlottesville Virginia. And our mission, Thomas, is to make the community more open and welcoming to everybody, especially to immigrants and refugees. And because there’s been so much taunting and ugliness directed toward immigrants and refugees here in recent years and in other countries. We feel like it’s an important mission. There’s a lot of good stuff there, so thank you for the introduction. I was going to actually say, why did you decide to write a book on guidance to leaders and then also how to manage change, but the leadership part is presumably what your expertise is and the managing change is due to everything that’s going on externally. Is there anything in addition there that you’d like to add?
Well you capture the core of it. Um The one thing I would add is um the book is what can we learn from the tor of the Hebrew bible as well as contemporary leaders and leadership studies about leadership and managing change. Um why the emphasis on change, briefly when I got started Thomas, I don’t know if this was true in your country, in America, we heard a lot of people talking about how it changes only changes the only constant and it’s only getting faster. You can always, you know, assume changes happening and it’s speeding up and that was true. But you know, 567 years ago I kind of open eyes and thought it’s more than change is accelerating its changes becoming Disruptive discontinuous. Suddenly out of nowhere. In 2017, a woman used the metoo hashtag to say a Hollywood mogul named Harvey Weinstein had molested her. Now there have been Me too, hashtag issues before. It never went anywhere this time it took off and happily since then um uncounted organizations in this country being pressured to do the right thing when a woman or a guy um complains about sexual aggression.
Great recession is kind of the mother of all disruptions for our country. Donald we’ll, for the world Donald Trump was an enormous disruption. Changing all the rules. So to me disruptive changes, when the rules change, it’s hard to predict, it’s hard to anticipate Ukraine, who would have thunk on the continent, another full scale war um January 6th the attacks on the capital, so many things that are just kind of, you know, gob smacking us in the face and the Hebrew bible has an awful lot of those kind of changes. God looks around after creating everything and says the earth filled with sin. So there’s a great flood to wipe out almost all the life. And then God, according to the Hebrew translation, God repents that decision. God says didn’t work out the way I wanted. God meets Abraham and God’s first words are Abraham, go away, go to the land that I will show you. I’ll make you great people. God meets Moses and tells Moses after he’s lived for 40 years in a tranquil life. Go back to Egypt where you fled, you’re gonna lead the people out of bondage. So there’s an old saying, I don’t have to track it down.
Maybe, you know, the source Thomas. Um um history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes And there seems to be a lot of rhyming these days in terms of the kind of disruptive change we’re having and what we read about in a book that was written 3000 years ago. So all that came together, I’m Jewish as I’ve said, and I go to the synagogue and I read these stories every week and so many of them are about changes I thought, let’s see what we can learn from them as well as from people today? Well the the various different through say instances that you mentioned which are disruptive. I don’t know why, but what, what springs to mind for me there is, is it that something’s different meaning changes a lot freak more frequent than it otherwise would be? Or is it that just, we know about it more. Have you got any thoughts on that? I love that question in part because nobody’s asked me that. Um, I would say that because of instant communications, we know an awful lot immediately people who have written about this point out that the civil war been end everywhere at the same time because we’re past slowly.
Not everybody had a telegraph. Um, I think we know a lot more, obviously we know a lot more immediately that can be good and bad because often what we read is just the first plans, but not actually what plays out or fake news. Um, but we’re definitely bombarded more. It’s hard to read a headline news these days, watch headline news. Um, there’s a saying in this country, tell me if you see it in, in Britain local telecasters say if it bleeds, it leads kind of unfortunate if it’s terrible. That’s what, you know what we start with. But I would say back to my example about the Me Too movement. Some things that happened before, some potential disruptive changes just didn’t take off and today they seem to. Um, I Don’t know if Donald Trump in the 1990s, I doubt that he would have had the enormous impact that he’s having today, not just in our country.
He’s just about to go to a conference where they in America where they hosted the semi dictator of Hungary Orban And they’re clones of each other Trump is following Orban’s playbook um there weren’t any or bonds back in the 90s, at least very few and now it’s a real wave in in your country and obviously in ours. So I think it’s maybe both telecommunications we hear about it more, but I think I could probably quantify more disruption now than in the past in recent decades. Okay, thank you for that. You have a thought on that yourself. I think your answer of it being a bit of both is I would imagine um the right one meaning that there are some things that we would just not have considered previously because we wouldn’t have known about them, you know, just wouldn’t have entered our mind space and because of everything being connected due to technology now, we know about them and now they can enter your mind space and influence your behavior perhaps.
And then the technology which many people are talking about it. I don’t, I’m not certain many people understand it and me being one of them artificial intelligence, you know, everything speeding up and being automated. I think that that is something which is going to have a considerable impact on us. So as you say a bit of both I think is a good answer in Silicon Valley here. Our hub, one of our main hub at one of our hubs of high tech For 10, 12 years Thomas the watchword has been disrupt so think uber and suddenly taxes don’t look so interesting um um trying to think B and B which the Airbnb Yeah and suddenly hotels are struck, not struggling but they’ve got a different kind of competition than they ever had and so in a lot of high tech circles, positive disruption, aggressive competitive disruption is happening and maybe that’s a factor as well anyway.
Well I? M ties in nicely to the topic of managing change because as technology becomes more prominent there’s going to be more change. So I think it’s it’s well worth touching on one thing I did want to ask you immediately about because it kind of jumped out at me off the off the points that we were potentially going to cover was what it means to have a growth mindset. So um would you mind going into what that means to you and then what the context for the book is there? I love that question. Carol Dweck is a psychologist who has made this term famous. I don’t think the concept is terribly new but she’s done a great job kind of helping people, not just in an academic sense but in everyday sense understand it. Carol. Carol argues that there’s two types of mindsets and of course this is a continuum, none of us is all or the other growth mindset, fixed mindset. Growth mindset Thomas gee something I never tried before. You give it a chance, fixed mindset something I never tried before.
I don’t think so. Growth mindset um you know I might fumble and fail but I’ll learn something fixed mindset I might fumble and fail. No not me. She reports there’s no difference in I. Q. And in most fields no difference in achievement which is interesting. But the growth mindset folks are far more well positioned to deal with whether we think there’s more disruption or not to deal with change. Some of them eat it for lunch. There’s a lot of research about millennials who kind of get bored if things aren’t changing frequently. Um Fixed mindset folks have a very hard time in this environment. Um Just a little P. S on this. We may want to come back to this. Part of the research I did for the book Thomas was to learn from neurologist, neuropsychologist through something called F MRI’s MRI’s that scan the brain and tell us what functions hit us where that our brains to summarize overly simplify. Maybe our brains are wired among other other things for predictability and control. Our brains want to know what’s about to happen and certainty what’s happening now, certainty, predictability and our brains like when we’re in control when we’re surprised our brains are not pleased.
What we find in these days. It’s it’s full of surprises. So carol argues that a growth mindset is first of all something that all teachers should know about and she does a lot of work with public schools. Um She’s taught teachers to use the term. Not yet. Instead of you got an f on this Billy, not yet. You didn’t do well. I can’t lie to you Billy but I’ve got implied as I got confidence you can get there. There’s a whole district in Washington where the principal one the principal of the year award and one of the many changes she made was in the everybody. Hence this grading scale A. B. C. D. And not yet. Um growth mindsets. Um it’s a classic phrase for many of us. Uh mistakes are to be learned from fixed mindset mistakes are to be avoided. Example, one of my many cousins had 18 1st cousins. Um brilliant guy. I loved him, a great attorney and his brother told me that my cousin never lost a case in court and I said that’s incredible.
And he practiced for decades Thomas. I said how could that be? And my brother, his brother said well Russ, he is brilliant but he never took a case unless he was sure he could win it. So that’s the fixed mindset. And I think most managers in most areas these days and leaders would like to have staff who have more of a growth mindset who are willing to take a chance knowing that they’re also will have their back. Um I could say more, but does that give you a sense of how do I talk about it? Yeah, definitely. I was interested to hear you say that it at least in in principle doesn’t have an impact on achievement because I think people who would like to pick up a growth mindset or choose to have one over the other would do it because of the potential for more achievement if it’s not based on achievement, what would you say the benefit is there, what’s the benefit of having a growth mindset if it doesn’t help you achieve more? I’ll speak for myself, I love to learn.
Um for years I would look at the New Yorker magazine only in doctor’s offices and I would look at the cartoons because they’re clever. 5, 6 years ago our daughter gave me a subscription to the New Yorker. The writing is so good. Even though there’s eight and 10 page articles in small type, single space Thomas, I’m reading about stuff I never would have looked at because it’s it’s great writing and I’m intrigued with it. Um a lot of managers and leaders um instead of what they see in academia, which not all schools, but in many schools and departments in academia, the old phrases after you get your doctorate, you know more and more about less and less, You get more and more narrow, but deeper. So specialists are always going to be needed in law schools. Many law schools, they reward people who are willing to change their field, go from constitutional law to towards or something. I’m really all those categories. Um, there may not be any more money, but a lot of people are stimulated by, by the learning. I think another benefit of having a growth mindset is networks, you start to learn about something else.
You try a different field, an area. I teach a lot of collaboration. So collaboration by anybody’s definition is across boundaries, whether it’s internal silos or organizational, if it’s a complex project, you need people from different backgrounds, you have a growth mindset, you won’t just work with someone who’s got a very different discipline. You’ll ask them, how did you come up with that? Someone has a different way of problem solving. So, um, it may or may not provide more money in your pocket or moving up the corporate ladder. But I think there’s an awful lot of people who are stimulated by learning by getting new skills, um, can make you better parents having a broader view of what’s possible. Our daughter, Becca are older one. I still remember when she started to look for schools colleges when she was in 11th grade and I said Becca, Honey, tell me what are you looking for? And she said that simple? I said really what she said, I want to place daddy where it’s rewarded to be curious. I gave her the biggest hug.
I just love that. She said, I want to go somewhere where it’s small, where the teachers aren’t always just running back to do their research where I can say that was a terrific lecture. Could we have coffee and talk about that? Peca has a growth mindset. Um I don’t know that she’s risen as high as she may ever want to, but she’s been eligible and chosen for a variety of different jobs and she finds that you know, stimulating. Yeah. I can see how it would benefit the person who, let’s say if you put a couple of different people in a scenario that where it’s changing frequently. One’s a fixed mindset and one’s a growth mindset. I would imagine the growth mindset person would, would fare much better in that scenario. Most people, I couldn’t agree more. Most people studying the pandemic in terms of impact on behavior and organizations are saying we better be adaptable And I’m glad you said that for one other reason, one of the things I’ve been preaching to my clients and it’s not original with me. I’m reading this from people who have the time to do deep research dealing with the pandemic and the continual surprises is let go of perfectionism.
Let it go. If you’ve got some men, you just say to yourself, it’s not gonna work because you’re gonna wait and wait and wait until it gets whatever perfect means I don’t have time to wait now. Besides it’s going to be different next week. So I think adaptability is much more the province, The the nature of growth mindsets. One more thing I tend to have a growth mindset but I don’t wake up every day looking to learn five new things in five different fields. I mean that would be exhausting for me. I think there’s always some balance, but it’s great to know how to move into the growth mindset area. Do you see yourself in that area or mix? Um interesting question. I think I think I I did have a growth mindset quite considerable one um and perhaps it was it was out of balance a little bit more. So now I’ve come back a little bit to be a bit more conservative in relation to my experience of um I know a bit more, a bit more cautious now than I was, but I certainly would fall in if you would split it into, I thought I’d certainly fall into the growth mindset category.
Just a little bit more cautious now than I was. Well then there’s something that’s wonderful about doing the same thing you’ve been doing for a while and knowing that you can do it well and you know, I could fluster and just the pleasure of mastering something. Yeah, I like the fact that you reference um used the term contemporary leaders in the book and what you learned from them. Um Anyone that was your your favorite person to, to study in that particular instance, do we have a few hours? There’s several. Um, let me start with Colin Powell who went from being a foot soldier in Vietnam to the national security adviser for Reagan to um the Joint Chiefs of Staff are our Force, Army, Navy, Air Force, etcetera, the Chiefs of each of those. And then there’s one chief of those and he was the head of that.
Um it’s a great story and this is partly about his growth mindset and something related, which is he One of the things I’ve learned is that people who learn and grow in there and do well have to keep their Ego in check. So here’s the story about both keeping Ego in check and having a growth mindset and I’ll make it up 1987, give or take Reagan had them go to meet Gorbachev. Gorbachev had just taken over. Gorbachev was talking about opening things up last notes, I think was the Russian term. And there were a lot of Americans who are saying is this real and no, no lack of Americans, especially in the Reagan administration, tough, tough, tough on the comics who are saying forget about it as my wife from York would say it’s not real skeptics. So here’s the story briefly, Powell meets Gorbachev, there’s some niceties. Powell has some questions and at one point, Gorbachev leans over the table and says, God general, you’re gonna have to find a new enemy because we’re ending the Cold War, got it. And Powell later wrote and told his colleagues I didn’t smile, I didn’t want to lose that enemy.
That’s the enemy I’ve been fighting against for 20 years. Dammit! I wanted to beat him. What do you mean? I gotta find a new enemy. He was pissed and frustrated but kept his ego under control. He later said I was just too competitive. And the growth mindset kicked in and he said, well if that’s the talk he’s given, he’s saying it publicly to the Russian people, the Soviets, we got to figure out if there’s anything to this. And he just went consulting with the whole variety of people, not just people expert on the soviet union, people who know about change people and about Russia’s culture. People have studied Gorbachev’s history and when the wall came down, paul was in a position to remake our military. So it’s far more adaptable, adaptable because it’s no longer us and them it’s a world far more complicated. So I love the way Powell was so honest and open. You know, I didn’t want a different enemy. Stay, stay tough, stay tough, but he was ready. Um the difference an amazing maybe the most amazing leader of the 20th century in my view, Nelson Mandela, he was very aggressive and he if he did and he got to the point leading the African National Congress A.
N. C. To fight apartheid in South Africa When there was so much violence being perpetrated on the blacks which were 90% of the country by the whites who ran everything. He was leading the part of the A. N. C. That got very tough and militant and did violence not killing people but blowing up things that the government cared about. Government was threatened naturally. Long story short he sent into prison with some of his colleagues for like 27 years and he later told his biographer, I went to prison an angry, resentful guy. But it came out a mature man. So in prison growth mindset he learns the language of the Afrikaners. Some of them were illiterate, they couldn’t read a newspaper so he would get an Afrikaans newspaper and without trying to pretend that he was teaching, he would say hey did you see this in the newspaper just to make it comfortable for his guards with the guards and he would read to them and so they started to form relationships. He formed a bond with the guy who ran the prison because he was an eminent Mandela was learning about soccer, their love and that’s what in rugby and that’s what the prison warden was all about.
Mandela comes out able to talk with whites knowing their culture which amazed them thomas, they respected that because he showed respect to them. He wasn’t just a militant sign, we’re gonna kill you. And he said to the white leaders for four years until they finally had free and open elections. He said, we can keep fighting each other. Nobody can win that war. Yes, you’ve got the guns, we got the numbers, figure it out. He was putting it in our self interest and he promised them he would do everything he could to keep the blacks from exacting violent revenge. And Mandela had five years, not perfect by any means, but five good years as president trying to help both sides realize we can only do this together. Um, he caught more guff from the lax, you know, what are you selling out? They had this truth and reconciliation commission and whites who had done terrible things. If they confessed, if it seemed sincere, they would either get a lighter sentence or maybe no sentence. People thought that was awful. Some of the black, some of the militants. Mandela was smarter than that.
He said, if you can forgive, it’s a powerful weapon. Think about that’s an exact quote, Thomas, think about the wording powerful weapon. He’s using that words with militant blacks who want to have real weapons, saying forgiveness is more powerful. So, I won’t go on. And I think he was a remarkable guy. Yeah, it’s great. I mean, it sounds like he’s impacted you quite a lot in your research. Is that is that right? Absolutely, absolutely. Occasionally this is going to be strange being Jewish. I don’t say what would Jesus do, but I occasionally have asked myself what would Mandela do? Not about myself, but I’m thinking of some leaders. I sometimes coach people who are running for office locally. I sometimes think, you know, what would Mandela’s answer be? And it almost always helps. It’s a great point. And yeah, in terms of leaders, I mean, nothing, nothing really springs to mind for me. Someone who is like that in our in our current society anyway, But have you anyone else that that’s worth mentioning in your view?
Well, one of the things that I talk about in terms of dealing with change, there’s a lot of ways to deal with major change. Your leading change and you don’t want people to push back. So I’m gonna get to Ruth Bader against for one of our great Supreme Court justices, but just a little quick story to get you there, get us there. One of the best books on change I’ve ever seen is called Leadership on the line. Leadership on the line Thomas. The first chapter is worth the cost of the book. They write to authors, They write, people don’t necessarily resist change. People resist loss. People resist lost. I put the book down and I thought, my God, that’s what I’ve learned from my clients for years. I just never quite thought of it that way if there’s a change in certain people think they’re going to benefit for the team or the organization or the customers. Usually we go along. So how do we deal with loss when we have a change that we’re asking people to make. And they see it as a big loss For those who haven’t read the Hebrew Bible after Moses with God’s help brings the people out of Egypt.
After 440 years of slavery, people start to complain. This is too tough. Where’s the food? Where’s the water better? We went back to Egypt, you’re gonna make this die in the wilderness. I used to think tom is such ingrates. You’ve got freedom for good to say. Learning about change and loss. Help me understand this and the human brain certainty, predictability. They lost all of that in the wilderness. So here’s where I’m going with this. One of the ways to help people deal with expected loss is to shrink the change. Break it down into small steps one step at a time. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s first case before a federal judge, 33 judges, all white males was about sex discrimination. This is of course where she made not just her reputation, but enormous changes passionate about it. Here’s why it’s interesting Thomas she chose a case that was sex discrimination against a guy. He took care of his mother. He wasn’t eligible for financial benefits that a woman who took care of a parent would have gotten? Why did that matter? Because she doesn’t want to threaten these male judges. She doesn’t want to come across as we’re changing the world, shrinking the change one step at a time.
Let’s look at sex discrimination against a male. She took several cases that were just small little steps. But over time amounted to a huge amount um shrinking to change. Here’s one that will maybe amuse you given where you are, where you’re from. What did the colonists call the areas that they occupied in our country in the 16th, 17th, 18th century New York, new Jersey, New England Virginia was named after one of the queens. They took names that were familiar. Here’s another example of using familiarity to shrink a change my country tis of thee. Sweet land of Liberty of thee. I sing. They knew that tune from England, right, God save the Queen. I don’t know the real world, all the rest of the words um shrinking the changes. Something I learned as a consultant. And there’s many examples in the Hebrew bible and among everyday people.
But Ruth Bader Ginsburg comes to mind in terms of one step at a time. After all, it amounts to a lot. But you don’t go for home run the first time. That’s a great principle. Um And it might be a tricky question, but taking that principle over to let’s say a business or a team. Have you got any thoughts about how you use that principle with them drinking the change. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve done this and I’ve seen other consultants do it. I’ve learned from others. Um When it’s a big change, I’ll ask the leader, tell me if there’s ever been a time in the past, whether you were here or not, where the whole organization or maybe just one unit made a similar change or if not a similar change, the change required some of the same adjustments. Maybe it wasn’t a change in how we deal with customers, but it’s dealt with the same technological adjustments. And if you’ve got an example of that, let’s talk about that. When you talk with your staff about the change. The first thing we’re going to say of course is why do we need this change?
And that always helps there to cite comments from your staff. By the way, if the staff had been mumbling and grumbling about something, then it’s not the boss coming in with a brand new vision that he walked up with one day, it’s, hey, I listened to you which already gets people somewhat open. Um And once you talk about, I’ve heard you and here’s what I’m gonna suggest. See if you can refer to a time or two and ask the staff to think of a time or two when they’ve done something similar. Now maybe you’re thinking Thomas that could be risky. What if it went to hell in the past? Okay, we don’t do that again. We’ve had some practice. What do we learn. So that’s an example of shrinking the change. Um this is a bit of a stretch but not too much. I don’t think there’s a lot of data that shows that when a leader invites people to make a change and there’s a trusting relationship between the two, the person who’s being asked to change is far more likely to try it. They’re still going into the unknown. Their brain still may be saying to them, wait a second, this is uncertain. But I trust that person who’s asking me.
So what’s been shrinking perhaps is the fear factor. It’s the worrisome factor. I know my boss here, she’s gonna have my back. So trust in relationships can help shrink the change. Would you mind touching on the two human needs? Because I think it relates to this topic. Really glad you asked um a psychologist I know helped me with all kinds of parts of this book notebook is written just by one author and if they say they did their watch your wallet, even if you’re not aware of it consciously aware? But we’re always pulling from things we got from others. So his name is Dave Waters and I asked Dave one day among other things, how do you deal with the fear of loss, Why did I go to Dave Waters? His life has been a, as a clinical psychologist about people who want to change or say they want to change and what Dave tells me is one of the first questions they asked back to relationships. They don’t ask this, but they wonder in their minds. Dave thinks this would be a good way to go forward. Will Dave be with me.
They don’t ever say it at the time, maybe when they’re finished with Dave and Dave says by the way, did anything help? They would say, you know, I had a sense you were always going to be over there every step of the way. So in terms of shrinking the change in the two human needs, but they’ve taught me, among other things is in a book he co authored, he and his co author learned that of the thousands of clients they had had Thomas over decades. Almost all of them had two fundamental needs. One was what Dave calls mastery and one was called belonging master. You could say competence, I need to be good at something, maybe work, but not necessarily what is mastering. It could be, I’m a great parent, I’m, I’m a good member of the local society, I’m, you know, helping out volunteering, I’m a good person and I’m teaching people in my church or synagogue, what I’m doing. So competence belonging is just what it sounds like, Here’s what they found and what I find in my work, they found with his clients, he asked them to make a change and if it pushes a button a bad button.
Among either of those two fundamental needs. Is this going to threaten my competency? This is going to threaten my sense of belonging? It’s gonna be difficult. Let’s say um man and a woman married with kids and the woman is complaining and the two of them are seeing Dave and the woman is complaining. He never listens to me. My spouse never listens to me. No wonder he does things with the kids that I don’t agree with. And maybe the spouse thinks he’s a pretty good listener. So right away he’s on the defense. I said Dave, what would you suggest? She say it could be, he said complaining about her and this I just love Thomas. He said this is what I tell the clients if they’re complaining and it’s touching threatening one of those two fundamental needs. He says every complaint is really an unstated request. Every complaint is an unstated request. What does that mean? Dave? The woman is saying you don’t listen to me. What’s the real request? You’re important to me? Your opinion is important to me. I want you to listen to me because I’ve got a problem here and I would like your help. But when we’re angry, we don’t say that.
He said what’s with you? You son of a bit. So um those two fundamental needs have been very helpful for me and thinking about the work, I do, I do some coaching these days. And unlike not unlike Dave, if I’m suggesting to someone, I’m coaching. Do you think it would help to go this way I first asked myself is one of those two needs going to be threatened. Here’s an example. I’m talking with a guy right now. I’m coaching him and he’s thinking about a promotion that’s being offered. He happens to have a growth mindset, but that’s not the main thing. This is going to give him a far broader set of areas to explore, you know, stumble at times. But he’s excited. Why is he hesitating Thomas? He’ll be supervising people who are now his peers. What’s the worry about loss belonging? They’re going to report to him. Are they going to be as open with him? Probably not. Are they going to share? You know, dark worries. They have probably not. He doesn’t want to lose those relationships. So that’s the belonging need. That’s, that’s got him hesitant because of it. I love the quote, I might have to use that quote about the unstated request.
That’s a complaint. I think that’s probably going to be applicable in a lot of instances. Um, just coming back to the book because we haven’t quite covered it. Who is the book for and who would most benefit from it? That’s a great question because I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s got the words for in the title. So um, you might think the obvious answer is Jews or Jewish leaders and I’m still trying to figure out how to promote and market the book? Excuse me. Um I was also hoping when I wrote the book that it would be for leaders might just simply be curious about. Is there anything from ancient wisdom? Um that’s a pro applicable today, as far as I can tell, there’s not a lot of people who aren’t interested in Judaism who are picking up the book so far. Um but there are lots of people who I care about who can benefit. And so I’m doing some book talks with synagogues, Jewish community centers, other Jewish organizations, um Jewish principles because they’re always looking for guidance in terms of leadership.
The book is really open to anybody who would like to improve their ability to lead. Let me let me just pause there for a second. I think, you know this better than most, probably from all the interviews you’ve done Thomas, leadership is not necessarily a role, it’s just something you can exert if you’re influencing someone, if you’re moving something forward, you’re in a leadership position or you’re doing leadership. My dear wife Jackie, the last thing she wants to do is be in front, but she’s a great behind the scenes person who can move things forward. So if you’d like to improve your ability to lead things lead people, if you’d like to improve your ability to take care of yourself during this crazy pandemic and time of upheaval. Um those are the people I think will benefit the most. Um I’m writing some blogs adapted from some idea in the book and the one that got the most likes and comments on Facebook was a blog about taking care of ourselves and others during this pandemic. And at first I was surprised until I thought to myself, a lot of my friends are still 2.5 years into it saying they’re struggling.
Um quick story. David brooks is a noted New York times columnist on the conservative side, not a trumpian someone I love to read even though I’m not a conservative because he’s very principled and one day on the nightly newscast, he was asked David how are you doing personally personally? This is maybe six months ago Thomas and he said, you know, I’m struggling you know, before the pandemic I get up, I’m sort of ready to meet today. I’ve got a lot of energy. I’m a morning person, my mind is crispy. So now I get up, I think maybe I should go back to sleep, get out of bed. I don’t feel sharp. I wonder I go to another room he said and I wonder why did I go here? I’ve had moments like that. There’s a lot of people who can relate. So that blog I wrote um tap that need, so I think people who are trying to figure out how to get through these tumultuous times and how to lead will benefit from the book. I think it’s an area that you do cover in the book is looking after other people.
Did you want to add anything that you that you covered a subject in the book? Yeah. If you’re an official formal leadership role, there are some dues and don’t. Now that have come out from not only my work certainly, but some research, we’ve had enough time to research it. Communications is always important. More short, more short communications is what people are finding. Now, if you used to have a staff meeting one day a week for an hour, that’s fine. If it’s on zoom no more than an hour, that’s as much as people can handle. But every two or three days, a little bit of information sent out. It’s very helpful. The second thing show your concern for how people are doing and that can be as simple as saying how you doing. I’m not sure if you’ve seen this Thomas since the pandemic, when people have asked me authorized them, how are you doing? It’s a totally different question that used to be, it used to be kind of like, you know, hey bro, now I really wanna know, you know, because we’re struggling. So just tune in, especially if people are working from home or elsewhere, you’re not seeing them, how you doing.
You’d like to chat a third thought. It’s always helpful to play to people’s strengths at a time when a lot seems out of control. Remember one of those three needs of the brain, not only certainty and predictability but control. Give people at work a task that you know, they can do and do well. It may not even be a priority, but we need things that we can get our arms around and feel good about. So you may say to somebody, you know, why don’t you put this project aside for a second? I’d like you to spend a few hours doing such and such. Maybe such and such do it because I need it. I need your help on this. Most people love it when the boss says I need your help. It’s really for powerful words. Um already mentioned trust is incredibly important. Any time. It’s challenging to keep trust now because as a leader, I may announce something on Monday and by Friday, the world has changed. You know, our federal officials have said no, no, we don’t do that anymore with regards to vaccines. How do you do strategic planning when things are so shifty, so openness and a bit of showing some modesty and vulnerability folks.
When I said this to you two weeks ago, that was what I knew from everything I had learned. It’s different. Maybe I made a mistake or what I said was valid, but here’s the reason why it’s no longer the fact being open showing your humanity. Here’s a lovely example. Sometimes Thomas the most powerful things can be relatively easy and short an Israeli NGO non governmental organization that I visited with the chair of the board after two months of the pandemic. So way back in 2020 and they were going to zoom and so they had to have shorter meetings because you can’t meet for three hours. So they met more frequently. But he realized that there wasn’t a lot of give and take away the head, but maybe that’s just a function of zoom. He thought so he tried it. He just took a chance. He said, folks, I know that this is a tough time. We can’t be together and we can’t be together with friends and all. So let’s take five minutes. The beginning of each meeting. I’m gonna give each of you two sentences just to tell us, how are you doing? Could be business wise, could be worked. Uh family wise, personal, how you doing the second meeting?
It made all the difference in the world. They went around when it got to one person, the most respected person in the group. Somebody with a national reputation around Israel Thomas, he said, I don’t need two sentences. I just need two words. I’m depressed. I wasn’t there people who were there. Tell me jaws dropped. This is someone who in front of cameras, you know, he’s we’ve got this image of people being kind of superhuman when they’re like that. So I’m depressed. The person who was in the room told me to change the nature of the chemistry. Other people started to say more about how they’re doing, they bonded more. So showing our humanity making it safe for people to talk that way. There’s a lot there. So um and I also wanted to touch on something which she said which our our conversation today kind of illustrates to me that the book is going to be beneficial to everyone. So it’s you know, not just a niche that you’re going for, but based on our conversation things obvious that, you know, lots of people can benefit from from reading it.
So I just wanted to add that in. Um is there anything that you that I should have asked you about today? I like that question. Um yeah, it’s a few but let me, let me just say 11 of the things in the last chapter of the book where I talk about how do we deal with the disruption? That’s a kind of a sub theme throughout the whole last chapter is specifically that not just change but disruptive change. One of the things I make two major points, One is the one I just said we need to take care of ourselves and others by the way, something I said earlier, let go of perfectionism, That’s an example of taking care of yourself and others. Just be reasonable. The other part of that chapter, thomas just chat about for a minute or two is um in every pandemic. But one that I learned about, there’s been six or seven written about over the decades in every pandemic. But one, there were huge leaps in innovation. I think it was the black plague that was devastating Europe.
That led to the, just the very beginnings of public health. People started to realize, jeez all this, you know, the pieces in the, in the streets and the dirty water and better do something. It’s always an opportunity for huge innovations. So what? So my answer to the, so what question is whether you’re in an organization or just with family and friends? Hey, make it safe for people to offer innovative ideas. A colleague of mine who teaches creativity says get rid of killer phrases with that killer phrases, kill the discussion. The boss will never buy it as a killer phrase. We’ve never done it before as a killer phrase. We’ve always done it this way as a killer phrase. So make it safe for new ideas. Um, there’s a wonderful quote from, I forget who it was from and the quote is, there’s nothing about a caterpillar that will tell you that it will become a butterfly. So, a new idea may or may not look great at the beginning, give people a chance to play with it. Um, a quote from Picasso.
Great painter Picasso said good painters borrow and great painters steal and the notice the notion there is, there’s only a few Steve Jobs in the world, Few Thomas, citizens or whoever your favorite adventures are. But we can take ideas that are perhaps getting some buzz elsewhere and adapt them to what we’re doing. So if we make the workplace safe, get rid of killer phrases, allow people to have off the wall ideas and give it a try. And if we find those ideas elsewhere and learn what they learned, so we’re not just starting off by ourselves. And finally, if we understand that failure is just another chance to learn the word, failure really shouldn’t be part of our vocabulary when it comes to innovation. Um, Edison said something like I failed 900 times before I finally found how to make a light bulb. They didn’t feel they just learned what not to do that next time. So those are some things that can help with innovation. It’s amazing to me how many innovative ideas have come along just because things are so crazy and I’ll finish with one of them.
In the first summer of the pandemic when we couldn’t get close to each other, at least those who were taking the science seriously. There were cities in our country who were used to having a 4th of July parade. Well you don’t want thousands of people lined up shoulder to shoulder. You’re gonna have, you know, outbreaks. So what did they do? I think a half a dozen cities I read about Thomas, I’ll finish with this. They created a reverse parade. What’s that? The people who would have been in the parade are spread along the sidewalk, The band, the people twirling the jugglers, whatever they’re spread all along the sidewalk, the distance and the people who wanted to watch are in the middle in their cars, slowly driving through. So they became the parade safely in their cars. Watching the actual events that were on the side of who would have thunk. I mean, whatever anybody have agreed to that before the pandemic, Are you kidding? Talk about killer phrases that would have tossed that out in nanoseconds when you said what’s a reverse parade?
I nothing came to me. So I’m glad you told me because I wouldn’t have guessed that at all. And one question I ask everyone on the, on the podcast is what, what does success mean to you? Well, we’re about to get into what in America we call football football season. So success for me means my alma mater, the university of Michigan wins on the football field. Um huh. To tell you the truth, I haven’t thought a whole lot about success during the course of my life. Maybe it’s because how I was raised, my parents were very successful, but they were more interested in what I was doing. That might be meaningful. Um, what I was doing, that might be helpful to others. I had the best teachers in my, in my home because they, you know, we’re all imperfect parents, but um they would model for me the kind of life they believed in when my dad’s company was down that he would still give huge amounts to charity. Um Mom was our extended families social worker because she was a social organized training and she was a great listener.
They said, you know, find what you can do that that’s meaningful for you and for others and so that’s, you know, I really appreciated those lessons and, and it’s, it’s true about this book as well, Thomas. The other books I wrote, I’ve written five other books and I was happy with them. They got nice reviews that was great. Those were all from the head, this book Thomas. I would wake up in the morning and run to the computer by two or three. You shouldn’t as a writer work more than five for five hours I finish, I would go to sleep thinking about ideas and wake up writing them down. I was consumed probably not the greatest make for my wife for those many months, the book kind of got a hold of me and when I finished, I finally realized why it wasn’t just about management leadership. It had to do with values, it had to do with principles, they had to do with the teachings within the Hebrew bible and amazing people like Colin Powell, I mentioned nelson Mandela, it really had to do with things that are so much more meaningful to me.
I ended up thinking, I kind of like wrote a long love letter to my kids about what their dad valued. So I guess I think about those more than success. So would it be fair to say that a successful life for you is one that’s meaningful. You can put it that way. Good. Well, if people want to connect with you or buy the book, where do they go? The title of the book is lost and discovery. What the Torah can teach us about change. I’ll say it again. Loss and discovery. What the Torah can teach us about change. It’s sold by Amazon and other booksellers. My website is russlinden.com and my email is russlyndon1946@gmail. Well, thank you for that and I appreciate all the value today. I think you’ve been a great guest. So, Russ, thank you. I really enjoyed it and I appreciated your questions Thomas. Be well.