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Jan 25, 2022
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34. Principal, Beth Collier Consulting

34. Principal, Beth Collier Consulting

Jeff hosts communications expert Beth Collier on the show to discuss how excellent communication increases sales, builds trust, deepens relationships, solves problems, and ultimately helps everyone perform better. Beth and Jeff discuss how to overcome poor communication challenges, which can sink an organization, a relationship, or a country.

Beth shares from her diverse experience in communication and leadership roles on three continents. She shares some very public examples of excellent and poor communication by leaders, and the significant positive or negative implications of these. Beth and Jeff discuss the effect of manager communication on retention and turnover, and the need for organizations to better train and equip managers. Beth unpacks a helpful acronym to guide our communication with each other, which is PACE: Purpose, Audience, Curiosity, Empathy.


Intro: Duration: (02:06)

Opening music jingle & sound effects

Jeff Hunt:

Hello everybody. I'm Jeff Hunt, and this is human capital produced by GoalSpan. I love the opportunity on each show to go deeper into the truly human aspect of work, and I think today will be no exception. Our focus on the show today is communication, which of course is one of the most important skills of good leaders.

It goes beyond leaders since every employer expects employees to have good communication skills. Good communication can increase sales, build trust, deepen relationships. It can solve problems and actually help everyone perform better. Poor communication, however, can sink an organization, a relationship, or a country.

The famous expression from back in World War II was loose lips sink ships. Today I have the privilege of talking with someone who has been working in this space for 20 years. Through her consultancy, Beth Callier helps to improve the way people communicate, innovate and connect at work. She's held diverse communication and leadership roles on three continents, including 10 years working in financial services in London and five years in New Zealand.

Beth now helps companies and individuals prepare for the rapidly evolving future of work. Improving capability and confidence in speaking, writing, and creativity. She's originally from the Midwest, but today is talking to me from London and her global experiences give her a great appreciation and understanding of other cultures.

And of course, they've made her fluent in three forms of English, American, British, and Kiwi. And since I feel a special kinship with Beth since my great-great-grandfather was from New Zealand, so I have to start our show out by offering her the traditional Kiwi greeting of “Gidday” Beth.

Beth Collier:

Now I thought you were going to say “Kia Ora”, but that'll work too.

Topic 1. Who or what inspired you to go into business? (02:07)

Jeff Hunt:

Sorry about that. I know that was bad. Okay. All joking aside. So, this topic of communication is near and dear to my heart. It seems like it's the sort of pinnacle of success or failure for so many people and organizations. And so, I'm really excited to dive into the topic, but before we do.

Take us back to the beginning of your career and share with me who inspired you most back then?

Beth Collier:

Ooh, good question to kick off. Who inspired me most? Well, let's see. When I was growing up, as you mentioned, I am from the Midwest in the US I grew up in a small town in Indiana and I was very curious. I really like to learn.

I was very curious about other cultures and places in the world, and very keen to explore and travel. And that curiosity really led me to come out to California, I went to California when I was a kid and thought it was the greatest place in the world because a 10-year-old going to Disney and everything else that you find in Los Angeles, this is pretty exciting for a child.

And I always loved pop culture and writing films and TV, all of that. So going out into that world was something I did through an internship, an internship through my university studies. And from there I came to London actually to study abroad. And that year, that kind of mixture of living in California and living in London really changed the trajectory of my life.

If I had not done those two experiences, I would probably be in a law firm or doing something completely different now. But I just found with curiosity, the more you follow it, just wonderful things happen. And you know, even if things don't pan out the way maybe you expected, there's still learning from it.

And from those experiences, I continue to follow my curiosity. And that's what took me to New Zealand. And that's where I really started to get more into building my communication career. The great thing about New Zealand, is that it is smaller. The teams are smaller. You really get a chance to get your hands into a lot of pots.

So one of the big differences I've seen from living and working in London is that teams are bigger. Companies are bigger, and so people have to specialize earlier, but in New Zealand I had to do everything. So, you know, you're writing press releases. You're working with journalist. You’re doing messages for the CEO, you're helping the senior leadership team.

You're working on publications and your internet, and events, and marketing and all kinds of things. And so getting all of that experience was really good for me to find out what did I really like doing? What were my strengths? And building onto that to come to London and work in communication and working in financial services, because I was looking for those global big roles, lots of different exposure to so many things.

But from there I saw a real need and it was that need things for really connecting. Companies to connect with people and someone to be an advocate for the employee, because you know, when you're helping leaders kind of communicate some of these things to people on the ground, there could be such a disconnect and large organizations to really know what it's like for people working at the coalface, as they say.

And I saw that need, I saw that I could take one of my strengths is taking complex information and simplifying it. I'm a good listener. I mean, I enjoy, enjoy talking and sharing ideas, but it's just giving people the opportunity to talk about how they're feeling and then getting to solve problems.

Like I found these things that I liked and then decided what I really wanted to do was find a way to help people build these skills that were going to make a difference, not just for them, but for all the people around them. And when you I mean, I say this, when you prove your communication skills, you will improve your life.

Like you will improve performance. But it's also your life and the lives of others because so many problems at work stemmed, poor communication. And when people talk about poor leadership, so many of those problems are poor communication. And when people can build their skills and their confidence then make changes that actually inform and involve and influence people.

That's where you see the big shifts. So that's what I do now is I work with people in the UK and Europe and the US, in Australia, New Zealand, all over the place to really help them build these skills to become stronger communicators, to become more creative leaders and build those cultures where communication and creativity can thrive.

Jeff Hunt:

It sounds like your opportunity to really be transformational in people's developing, and changing their lives was ultimately the thing that inspired you, is that what you would say is true?

Beth Collier:

Yeah, I was just realizing, I thought, oh, I didn't answer the second part of your question. Yeah. It's the chance.

I mean, Jeff, when you see people or I guess when I see people who say, I'm not good at this, I'm not creative. I hate public speaking. I am terrible at this. And then when you really dig in and find out, okay, Let's find out like, let's look at like what you're actually good at and what can I help you improve?

Like if you can help guide, and coach, and teach and see the transformation that people can have. Like when a client says to me, which was just happened to me last week. I’m actually excited to do this speaking engagement, Beth. And I never thought I would say that. Or when people say. I'm now getting the things I wanted I'm sharing my ideas and getting credit for them and that's helping me build my career, build my brand.

I'm getting promoted, I'm making more money. My team is responding better to me. They're performing better. They're working with like all of these wonderful, wonderful outcomes that can happen if people are willing to put in the work. So seeing people actually discover that they're better at this stuff than they realize is what really fuels me.

Topic 2. The effect of communication on organizations (07:48)

Jeff Hunt:

The cost of bad communication can be extremely high and talking about the cost financially and psychologically. There are so many examples of train wrecks out there, and I know you can share several, but tell me a little bit about your thoughts about the effect of healthy or unhealthy communication on an organization.

Beth Collier:

Sure. Yeah. And you actually touched on this, Jeff in your intro, when you talked about, what communication can do to sales and relationships and performance. All of that is true. The struggle with communication is that it's hard to put a dollar value, like to get out the balance sheet and go, when you invest in communication, you will get this.

But there always a cost. I used to compare it to an old boss of mine to say that a communication problem or a lack of leadership is kind of like mold growing in your house. That you may not see it every day. You may not know it's there, but it will cause you major problems. And there are things we've seen.

I was just reading today, you know, we've got the prime minister here in the UK who is in a lot of hot water over not just actions he did. The way he communicated them his lack of empathy, or the failure to own up to the mistakes to take responsibility. Like all of these things have a cost.

Like sometimes it's financial, there are lawsuits that happen because people have done the wrong thing, other times it's to your reputation. Then affects the way you can recruit talent, the way people who wants to work for you and your retention, your engagement, performance, all of that, it all flows on.

So I always say to people there's a cost, but if you think about your reputation, most of us would put a pretty high value to our reputation in business, because most of us are not the only person or business selling or providing service. So people are choosing between A and B, you know, do I trust that person?

Do I like that person? Or not, and that's what it can come down to. So, I mean there are so many examples we could talk a lot about that.

Jeff Hunt:

Yeah. And it seems like playing a little bit of on what you're saying. It affects things like employee experience. The way we communicate the frequency, the types of communication can affect that significantly.

It could affect things like brand equity. How you are perceived externally from the marketplace. So both by customers, by competitors, by vendors, and also internally, when people come to work for you, how do they actually feel about your organization? Do they have good warm feelings or is there always this sort of underlying tension there?

Same thing with inclusion and belonging and meaning and purpose. I guess I'd love for you to elaborate a little bit. Do you feel like it positive or negative communication really swings those factors as well?

Beth Collier:

Absolutely. When you talk about diversity and belonging, inclusion. The words that people say and the cultures that they create or foster the behavior they tolerate versus the behavior they reward.

So much of that comes back to the way they communicate. And it's often those little comments, when people talk about like microaggressions or it's just those little, little things that get said, you know, you're really good at this for a girl. It seems that a lot of times, I was gathering a list of people who I thought had good intentions.

Sometimes people have good intentions, Burger King, for example, did a campaign last year on international women's day. And they put out on Twitter, women belong in the kitchen in a really big title. Now their campaign was actually, they were trying to promote more women getting into higher positions in kitchens and culinary schools.

It was something positive they were doing. But and this is where you have to know your channels, because you know what you look at on a mobile. It's different from what you see on a desktop computer or in a newspaper ad. When you see a newspaper ad is the olden days of advertising work.

You saw the whole thing. So, you know, you might see the headline, then you carry on reading. In this case on Twitter, people saw women belong in the kitchen. So burger king and what they intended to be a positive encouraging message for international women's day, completely backfired on them.

Topic 3. Good and bad communication examples (12:22)

Jeff Hunt:

Those are great examples.

And I know you have so many other examples of good and bad communication. And also, I love your social media because you're so actively posting on social media and blogging about these various examples. But Beth, what are some other very good and bad examples of public facing communication that you can share with our listeners?

Beth Collier:

We're having this right now. Boris Johnson, who I mentioned before, also Novak Djokovich. I just wrote about this in the Australian open. This whole what did you do? When did you know you have COVID? Who did you see after that? Like all of these kinds of questions about how you're going to respond to this, how you're going to apologize for this? The layoffs, I mean, layoffs are sadly a business reality that, you know, a lot of leaders may have experience with and in their careers. And this is something that I always encourage people to look around for the good and bad, like the example from December of 2021. Was when the CEO of Better started his conversation by saying, no, this is really hard for me.

And last time I cried and I'm going to try to be strong today. And I was just talking to somebody about layoffs yesterday and I said when you're delivering that message, of course it's difficult. Of course it's hard and no one wants to do it, but in that moment, it's not about you.

It's about the person who now doesn't have a job, who is worried about paying their bills, is worried about taking care of their families. Of course, it's difficult. And tell a friend, tell someone else in the business that is appear or any anyone else other than the people who are getting an even more difficult message.

Again, it's showing that empathy in another sports example, Aaron Rogers. There's an importance to being succinct. I mean, clear about your message, but you need to be honest and you need to be complete. So it needs to be really clear when someone says, are you vaccinated? and you respond, I've been immunized.

I mean, that to me is sneaky language. It's not wanting to fess up to say that the truth and the thing about Aaron Rogers that I call after that was again, there was an opportunity here to admit, regardless of your views on vaccination, if the NFL's rules were unvaccinated players, don't do press conferences in person and they have to wear a mask around the facilities.

If that is the rule that the NFL has set and that you have agreed to. Then you have to follow the rules and if you don't follow the rules, then you have to accept that you didn't follow the rules, whether or not you agree with them. That's not the point. And I think those are the things where people can really lose their fans or people who, you know, might be on the fence.

Oh, maybe I don't care about this, but then all of a sudden they're like, well, hold on a second.

Jeff Hunt:

Exactly. Well, a couple of things to just reflect on. One is that the common theme that keeps coming up in strong leadership, which is vulnerable leaders that are humble. People love to follow leaders that are real, and that are humble, and that are human, and admit when they've made mistakes or actually confess when they don't have the answers, people that are in alignment with what they're thinking and feeling and what they're saying.

Because otherwise, when you have some of this kg language, it reduces trust, right. And that's problematic for everybody.

Beth Collier:

Yeah. And it's a good point. You make around humility that some leaders for them to be authentic, they might not be humble. That's where I think you can try to develop some empathy as well, because so many of the problems, like when you think about a lot of the leaders. Ted Cruz is one I've talked about before, when he went to Cancun, Mexico, when Texas was under this horrible winter storm.

And then because we live in the age where everyone is a budding journalist with their cell phone that, you know, it's all captured here. He is on the plane here. He is in the airport, you know, back forth. And then, but when he came back and said, oh, you know, I was just trying to be a good dad.

My, my kids wanted a vacation. It's like, well let's think about it. You have an opportunity to show what leadership looks like. Hey kids, I know you want a vacation. I know that this is lousy to be in a cold house where we don't have cats to snuggle to keep us warm and porch, you know, but this is what leadership is, is that you sometimes have to make these sacrifices and to recognize that the world is bigger than just you and having that empathy.

That's where I think the leaders, a lot of the mistakes come down to a lack of awareness. Of humility, curiosity, and empathy.

Topic 4. The affect and effect of communication (17:06)

Jeff Hunt:

So we've talked or you've shared a lot about the kind of, I like to break it into two parts, the effect and the effect. So you have sort of the affect of being what is communicated and then the effect being how it's communicated.

So you've talked a lot about the affect, which is what people are communicating and really not being intentional enough in thinking through that written or verbal communication before they put it out there. But talk for a minute about the effect, the nonverbal cues, the body language, how we're showing up, how we are actually listening as part of our communication skills.

Can you share about the importance of that?

Beth Collier:

That's the thing there's so much more to communication than just the words on a page, but the words are really important. And one thing I'll share it. Cause I just love this kind of research is that sometimes you'll hear people talk about.

Communication it's that 7% what you say. And the rest is like, and they'll cite a study that has been so twisted. And just incorrectly applied to anything's. Cause I actually bought the research paper to go back and look at what Albert Mehrabian did when he did that experiment. And it's just been completely twisted, but there is something to say, you know, it's very hard to measure.

Like how can you say, oh, well it was the look on your face. That was like 40% of the communication does not work in a handy formula like that, but we need to be aware. Of all of these things, how they play a part. And yes, that's why I talk to people about when you are writing, when you're doing emails, or slack messages or texts, you've got to be very careful about the words you choose, because people don't have anything else to help them to really, to decipher your meaning.

When I speak to you now, you will get you clues for me based on how do I use my hands? What one of my facial expressions like, and my body language as you mentioned, but when you're looking at writing, you've got nothing. So when you get an email, I'll talk to people about this, that you could send an email that says, where is that report?

And you might mean. Where is it quite innocently? Now someone could infer the meaning to be like, where is that report? Like they don't have any other cue to help them to understand what you're meaning. And so that's why I think writing is one of the undervalued communication skills that people are not investing enough time in the emails they send or the papers they write and it gets them into a lot of trouble.

And when people will say to me, well, I don't have time. I don't have time to go over that. Do you have time to do damage control when people have not done what you've asked, because they've misunderstood? Or when people are angry, or frustrated, or upset, because they feel like they're being attacked when maybe they are not. There's so there's so much around that.

So we have to think about. What we say, how we say it. And also timing is important too, to give you an example. Once a bank sent out a message to hundreds of thousands of employees on a Friday afternoon saying that they weren't going to get the pay rises that they had been told were coming very soon now, a Friday afternoon? What do you think people are going to do when they see that? They're immediately going to go to their boss.

You know, what's this about? They're going to be really angry and they were getting it by an email. It was something that the bank then had to backtrack on because it was just, it was incredible blowback. They had from that. So there, this is why I say there's a lot to think about.

That's why it's important. If you don't have these skills to either be developing them or investing in people who can help you, who can be that extra kind of sense check, bring in those questions and help you because there are so many, there are so many things Jeff, that can lead to problems. As we see.

Jeff Hunt:

Yes exactly. There's a lot of stats on what percentage of employees actually quit because of their manager. I've heard 82%, I’ve heard 87% regardless it's really high. In your opinion, what percentage of those instances are actually due to poor communication from the manager?

Beth Collier:

Well, I'm kind of smiling here cause I think a huge percentage.

I mean, if I were guessing, I'd be like, oh, it's in the high nineties because so many of the things, if you think about come back to the way it's communicated. So my boss doesn't appreciate me. My boss doesn't recognize everything I do. My boss doesn't give me opportunities to grow, my boss isn't very clear on what's required, right?

And it can be those little things. I can think of people who've had senior roles. Who've had bosses say things to them that have, they've just been infuriated by them by the pettiness of them like from someone sending, I'm sure now that work has changed so much with people being, be more working from home.

That, that adds a whole other level of it. But from people coming in. Say it's 9:01 and some, oh, glad you could join us this morning. I mean, it can be little flippant, sarcastic comments that I said, I've never seen a boss come around. If you're at work at 7:30 at night and go home, you should probably be getting home.

It's getting a bit late, but so the same boss, who's kind of saying, oh, you need to be at your desk working at 9:00 AM or you're late. Again, you got to think about who that employee is and what they're putting in, what kind of performance you're getting.

So much of it, I think comes down to the last. That those leaders use absolutely huge.

Topic 5. Transparency vs confidentiality (22:28)

Jeff Hunt:

Yep. What about balancing the need for transparency and confidentiality? And this is really sort of in the strategic leadership realm. Leaders are faced with this every day. They have confidential information, which sometimes it's not helpful to share.

You don't want to instill fear in people, but you also want to be transparent and open. How can leaders effectively balance these two?

Beth Collier:

This is a good one, because I think a lot of companies nowadays have values. And sometimes those values are words that they will put on fancy little plaques or displays as you walk into their corporate headquarters, or there'll be on the wall somewhere in the building.

And when it comes to things like that, because I've been involved with complicated things, mergers, acquisitions, people are going to lose their jobs, you know, et cetera. I always like to think you need to know what the law says, what does the law say you have to do? What are regulatory rules having worked in banking that sort of thing?

And works councils and unions that, so you need to know all of that. What is the basic legal requirement? And then you need to look at your value. How are you going to demonstrate your value? So I have seen people say, oh, respect and integrity, you know, very common.

We all want to work in places where there's respect and integrity, but you show your employees that those values are important to you in the way you handle these things. So it's thinking about delivering layoffs redundancies. That's always going to be a difficult message.

I think one company that did this really well in 2020 was Airbnb. When their CEO wrote a letter it showed empathy. It showed accountability. It was just a really strongly written, compassionate, empathetic letter. And so I think that's what leaders need to do, is think about what are our values? What is the right thing to do?

And a really important thing that a lot of people fail to do is actually have a plan for how you're going to tell people because too often people find out these things the way they shouldn't. I've been around in organizations where this has happened, where people find out in the news, the media tells them that, oh, we're selling this branch or we're being bought, or we're closing this.

That should never happen. There should be a really clear plan that says, this is how it works. And when you put out messages saying ask your manager for more information, Well, you better make sure you've armed all those managers, cause that's very frustrating. I think especially now a lot of companies are putting so much communication responsibility on managers to say, man, if you don't have questions about your benefits or you have questions about our performance management system, if you have questions about how we're going to be working from home or questions about your expenses, I mean, everything gets thrown to the manager.

Because so many companies are making HR teams smaller or they're putting them offshore. And so you're putting all this pressure on a manager who probably is still required to be an individual contributor to actually do a job, not just manage a team, they have their own day job to do as well.

And we're not equipping them for success. And that's where so many problems come from. We expect these people to do things, but we don't equip them to do it successfully. It doesn't have to be complicated, but it's like, if you think about the stuff strategically of like, okay, well, if I'm going to tell Jeff, he doesn't have a job, then Jeff's manager needs to know before that.

Have we thought about Jeff's team? And how are we going to tell them? Somebody needs to do the thinking and it takes a little bit of time. But if you follow the law and you follow your values, that's a great place to start.

Jeff Hunt:

You're really talking about the difference between proactivity and reactivity. If we really think these things through strategically and advance and we have a plan, a game plan. And that plan really needs to be comprehensive because you're talking about training and equipping managers. You're talking about actually being very intentional about the type of communication we're putting out when we're putting it out, what forum it's going on.

And if we do those things really well, we can, we kind of go back to the beginning of the conversation where we have, even during difficult times the opportunity to increase brand equity. We have the opportunity to come up with better employee experience and really uphold our core values. Which ultimately will help us in every way, both culturally, financially, psychologically in the organization. Wouldn’t you say?

Beth Collier:

Yeah, and your employees are a huge marketing tool, like this is the thing that I think people fail, like no, one's going to enjoy hearing the message they don't have a job anymore, but they might not have a job today. Maybe the business changes, you know, Airbnb, for example, you know, when people are traveling more.

They will grow again. And they might look at that talent pool of the people that may be at the time, they just didn't have the space for them because perhaps that area that they were working on, wasn't going to expand because of the world situation, nothing to do with their performance or themselves.

Those are people who already know your business. They know so much about your values and how you work. You may want to bring them back and how you treat people the day they walk out the door. Is arguably more important than the way you treat them the day they walk in the door.

Topic 6. Evaluating and improving your own communications skills (27:53)

Jeff Hunt:

No question, no question.

So for leaders or individual contributors that are listening to this episode, a couple of things, one, how can they know how effective they are at communication? And number two, what are two or three strategies people can implement to improve their communication and pursue persuasion skills?

Beth Collier:

So, if they want to know how effective they are, they need to be curious and they need to ask.

And part of the struggle with this is that again, this is how, how you do it, what you ask and how you do it. A lot of times, people may not feel comfortable telling their boss, even if you have a great relationship with your boss, you may not feel comfortable saying, you know what, actually, I don't think you do this, this and that.

Well, so this is where bringing in someone else can be very helpful too, to bring in someone who can come in and look at let's actually see, how are you doing? Evaluate what your strengths are, and where there are opportunities to improve. I think that's a really good thing for companies to do. If you want to know how you're doing, you've got to ask people and you've also got to show the willingness to act on that.

So, if someone says, Hey I don't think you're a very good listener. You've got to take that on board and say, here's what I'm going to do to improve on it, because you can lose a lot of engagement with employees when you ask for feedback and then you do nothing with it.

And in terms of the strategies to be a stronger communicator. You actually have to look at this as a model. People love to have models. I came up with an acronym for this because acronyms are memorable for people. It makes it easier to remember. And one I use is PACE. So I talked about pacing. You've got to pace yourself and pay stands for Purpose, Audience, Curiosity, and Empathy.

So, whenever you're communicating, you first need to think, what is my purpose? Like, why am I sending this email? Why am I hosting a town hall? Why am I making this phone call? What am I hoping to achieve? And then think about your audience, think about how they're feeling? What they need to know? And what do you want them to think and feel and do as a result of this conversation?

And then approach them with both Curiosity and Empathy. So if I'm about to ask you to do more work, and then I think, you know what, gosh, Jeff, he's really overwhelmed and he's got a lot going on. I need to think about that before I say, oh, Jeff, I need you to do this as well. And there's so much in the word choice.

One sentence I love is. How might we make this happen? Instead of saying something more direct of, you need to do this to say, you know, this here's our situation. I understand Jeff that you've got a lot of work going on, but how might we make this happen? Do you have any, what do you think? We're about to come upon the anniversary of the miracle on the Hudson was Sully landing neck.

Sully, was a very experienced pilot, but in the transcript there, he turned to the other person in the cockpit and said, got any ideas? Like, so he was showing that openness. And I think that the big thing for leaders to be open. To ideas from anyone you don't have to solve all the problems.

And oftentimes the people who work for you have a lot of ideas. You just need to ask and you need to create the environment where they feel comfortable sharing them.

Jeff Hunt:

That makes sense. Yeah. I love that approach. And a couple of things come to mind for me. One is if you're somebody who wants to improve your communication skills and people share honest and open and direct feedback about maybe some deficiencies you might have.

Check-in on your reaction if it not only is obviously like you mentioned that that needs to be one of curiosity, but if it's ladened with defensiveness, that's usually a telltale indicator that there's something to look at right? Because if I have a highly defensive posture and I think, no, I'm an excellent communicator.

I don't need to do anything different. That could be potentially detrimental. And it's also a place to explore about why you might feel so defensive.

Beth Collier:

Absolutely. And Jeff, this is why it could be good to have someone like, so if I come in and find out this information for you, I can talk to people as a neutral person who's not involved.

I have no stake in this, gather the information, and then I can feed it back to you and you can make all your facial expressions and you can huff and puff and you can be angry and that's fine to do it with me. A neutral person. It's not fine to do it with your employees.

It's not fine to do it when people are being honest with you, it's one it's having the curiosity say, okay, when you felt this can you tell me more about that? Help me understand, because like a perfect example, I think is Andrew Cuomo the governor of New York when he came out with the slide show last year, talking about you've got complaints of people who say, you're touching me inappropriately, your mate, I feel uncomfortable.

And his response to that was to do a slide show of like, here I am kissing and touching all these people. This is just what I do. Well, that might be what you do, but you're not listening to these people who say that makes me feel uncomfortable. So maybe someone else is okay with that, but someone else may not be.

And that's again where you've got to have that curiosity. And if you say, well, I have no intention in that. It's like, yes, but you don't know how someone else is feeling. And it's your job to respect that to hear someone when they raise a concern and to change your behavior accordingly.

Jeff Hunt:

And it seems as though. What people often do is try to take away somebody else's experience. And what I mean more specifically is when somebody shares their experience with me or they communicate their experience with me, it doesn't mean that I necessarily agree or disagree with that experience. But when people try to diminish or take away an experience, somebody else's sharing with me.

Then it disempowers that individual and it really breaks down communication rather than improving or upholding communication.

Beth Collier:

We all want to be seen, we all want to be listened to, we all want to be valued. We all want to be appreciated. Like this is not. Rocket science, but it is something that people really, I mean, this stuff is hard to do consistently because you think like you're always going to have that day where you're a little bit tired or you've got this pressure and a lot of times like, and this'll be interesting to see how we as a culture kind of respond to people like right now, I feel like.

There are some if they're in a position of power, they're not allowed to have any off days. They're not allowed to say or do it, if, if you yell at me, then you're a bully and that's it. Even if it's the one time you've done it. And we've got to find a way to look at like, who are the repeat offenders versus sometimes people may have said something 10 years ago, if that's not who they are today.

We have to consider that as well, but it's, it's listening to people. When you say to someone you're sensitive, you're wrong, you misinterpreted that you're crazy or whatever, the kind of response that some people have that just makes people feel like they're not seen, they're not heard, they're not valued and disengaged them.

Jeff Hunt:

Yeah. Okay. So before we shift into some lightning round questions, first of all, I love your PACE acronym. So that's awesome. Say those four words again, just to remind our listeners that they are.

Beth Collier:

Purpose, Audience, Curiosity, and Empathy.

Topic 7. Lighting round questions (35:20)

Jeff Hunt:

Okay. That's fantastic. I have two other acronyms I'm going to share with you, which I love.

Related to speaking communication. If you're somebody who has been told that you might be overly verbose or speak a little bit too often or too much, these acronyms are wait and waits. Why am I talking? And why am I talking still?

Let's wrap up with a few very quick questions. First of all, what are you most grateful for?

Beth Collier:

My family, that's probably not the most original answer, but that is the truth.

Jeff Hunt:

You know what it doesn't have to be it's so important. And so I appreciate that. What's the most difficult leadership lesson you've learned over your career?

Beth Collier:

That not everyone thinks the way I think. That you have to be humble. You have to be open. We all come in whoever we are and not everybody thinks the way we think or sees the world the way we do. So you gotta be open and humble to that.

Jeff Hunt:

Who's one person you would interview if you could living or not?

Beth Collier:

I would love to see my grandparents again. Yeah. I would love to see my grandparents, but in terms of like the, the people who might be more recognizable, Abe Lincoln comes to mind.

Jeff Hunt:

Do you have a top book recommendation?

Beth Collier:

Ooh, I have so many books. I'm always reading. I just read a book called five, came back and it is about five film directors during World War II, who gave up Hollywood, you know, their jobs in Hollywood to join the army, to work for the US government, for the military.

And they had very different experiences going over in Europe, and different places in the world. I only knew it came from this as following your curiosity, Jeff, I was interested in it's a wonderful life. I was writing something about that in December. I read something about Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart.

And that kind of led me into this book about these directors who four of the five. I was not familiar with their names and their film, but it's, it's such an interesting book. It's so well-written so that's the one I just read.

Jeff Hunt:

I love it. I'll have to check that out. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Beth Collier:

Never miss an opportunity to learn

Jeff Hunt:

As we wrap up, share what you feel the greatest takeaway is? What do you want our listeners to walk away from our talk with today?

Beth Collier:

So I would say to know the power of communication, it is such a crucial skill. People will put it in the bucket of soft skills and then they treat it like it's not important.

It will cause you so much more pain, if you don't do this well, then so much else whether you want to be leading an organization or just be a wonderful employee or just a good person. And friend like your communication skills, investing in them, spending time on them and constantly working on them.

This is something that's going to pay you dividends and it will make your life better and it will make the lives of others better.

Jeff Hunt:

Very well said. Thank you so much for communicating all this wisdom on our show today.

Beth Collier:

Thanks for having me, Jeff a pleasure.


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Jeff Hunt:

Thanks for listening to the show this week. We release new episodes every other Tuesday. Let me know what you thought of this episode by emailing humancapitalgoalspan.com. Human capital is produced by GoalSpan. Subscribe, wherever you get your podcasts. And please share this podcast with your colleagues, team, or friends. Thanks for being human kind.

Human Capital — 34. Principal, Beth Collier Consulting
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