Relationships at Work - Leadership Skills Guide to Create a Company Culture We Love

How Leaders Can Raise Self-Awareness for Our Promotability with Amii Barnard-Bahn

August 08, 2023 Russel Lolacher Episode 86
Relationships at Work - Leadership Skills Guide to Create a Company Culture We Love
How Leaders Can Raise Self-Awareness for Our Promotability with Amii Barnard-Bahn
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with executive consultant and keynote speaker Amii Barnard-Bahn on how our awareness of ourselves and our environment can help with our promotability.

Amii shares her thoughts, stories and experience with...

  • Defining awareness as it relates to promotability.
  • Why you should embrace awareness at work.
  • How to determine our own self awareness.
  • The importance of feedback and how to ask for it.
  • How to evaluate a culture in how it supports promotability.
  • How to set ourselves up for success in how we show up for others.
  • What is the organization's role in setting the tone for promotability.
  • What is the number #1 thing that gets in the way of promotability.

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Russel Lolacher
On the show today, we have Amii Bernard-Bahn. And here's why she is awesome. She's the founder and CEO of Barnard-Bahn Coaching and Consulting, helping C-suite executives and their teams effectiveness as leaders. She's the author of the Promotability Index Toolkit, keynote speaker, contributor to the Harvard Business Review and Fast Company. Oh, and she's a partner at Kaplan Walker LLP, which is a law firm specializing in compliance and ethics. Hello to you, Amy.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Hey, how are you?

Russel Lolacher
Very, very good. I have to ask you the question that I asked all of my guests... Amii, which is your best or worst employee experience?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
I'm going to go positive today and talk about I think my best and it was when I was working for an insurance company, Fireman's Fund insurance company. For those of you who remember it, sadly, no longer exists. But it was in Northern California, it's where I really cut my teeth moving from legal to HR. And I was there for 11 years that a wonderful run with amazing leaders. And one year, I had the honor of being picked as one of the top 20 employees in the company, as as a special program. And as part of that we got to have training at as firefighters up in Santa Rosa. And so because we donated, we had a corporate social responsibility program, because being an insurance company, we realized that firefighters were heavily under resourced. And so we made a dedication to do fundraisers and donate a part of our profits every year towards towards firefighters, which of course, built into our business plan, which is reducing fires and reducing insurance claims all of that. So it was really a virtuous cycle. And so I had an incredible experience with about 20 other leaders of working, you know, getting fitted out, and firefighter equipment, going up a hook and ladder carrying equipment having to cut a lateral and a roof, then being the ground crew going in with a completely smoke filled room, and trying to crawl in with a hose appreciating how much the equipment weighed, appreciating how to lay up a ladder, a big ladder up on a wall, and the injuries that that you get very easily in your back, if you don't do it, right, the command and control center and how they communicate with each of these pieces when you can't see anything. When smoke is everywhere. When lives are on the line. It was it was amazing. And it was slightly raining. And I still remember wearing these big rubber boots because they tried to loan us equipment. But you can imagine it wasn't a perfect fit. Especially for a lot of us women, although there are a lot of women firefighters, there aren't there are more male firefighters. So there are more sizes available. And I'm going up this ladder carrying an axe. And you know, it's high up and my boots are kind of slipping because they're a little big and it's raining and, and I'm on a roof and it was amazing. But it was also slightly terrifying. And I came out of there with just, I have a different feeling. Now anytime I see a firefighter or someone who's you know, in the line of duty, it just gave me a really wonderful appreciation. And of course, it made me really, really appreciate my company for dedicating time and money to that.

Russel Lolacher
Yeah, it's always interesting when you can have experiences that are not obvious, but still impactful. And still, you can see the value of the connection of the work and get out there. And I mean, not a lot of us get to do firefighting drills. But still getting out of the norm has such an amazing team building engagement, which I don't think enough organizations take an opportunity. They're like, oh, we'll just have a pizza lunch, like they don't realize that activity of physical activity can actually be a more much more bonding experience.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
And this was, you know, we had set aside money for grants and employees could apply for a grant for their fire department and partner with their fire department. So it was beautifully entrenched in our company culture in our values. And being able to get back to our communities and understanding what our community Fire Department had or didn't have as resources. It was just it was just fantastic. And bonding, but closely tied to our business. So it was just a perfect CSR.

Russel Lolacher
The intentionality is fantastic. Because most most executives or most HR groups will think of what's an easy quick "Oh crap, there's a week next week where we have to do something with our employees. Oh, I don't know, let's do a thing." Without that intention, or even looking a year in advance of what we'd be doing next year.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Yeah, and then and then we debriefed, like, how well did we communicate with hand signals, we had to kind of we have to communicate when we were in that smoke, we couldn't talk you can't hear a thing. And you can barely see. So we had had to pre pre assign, you know, so it was, it was all the things you need leadership to paying attention, working as a team, where do we let someone down? Who's taking accountability for that? What role did we take, you know, how well do we work together. It was great.

Russel Lolacher
Cool, my jealousy knows no bounds. So let's get into our topic today and a little bit of background too. So I was stalking me a bit on LinkedIn, really enjoy what she was posting, I mean that in the nicest sweetest way, which I know you do, I know you do appreciate that. It's better if you said, so. It's, uh, I was just really enjoying what you're putting out. And as I dug into your Promotability Index, you have flagged two of the five factors of promote ability being the two biggest things that I like to spout about a lot, which is self awareness, and external awareness, or Yeah, or situational awareness, as it could also be said, so I like to start off most podcasts with a definition exercise, because what it means to one person could be something different to another agency, to another person to another leader. So when you were putting that promote ability index together and thinking about the value of self awareness, external awareness, what did you mean by awareness? What were you trying to get to?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Well, the research that I've done in my coaching work and and then just in living life, and being an executive for 20 plus years, is that leaders succeed based on two things. One is how well they know themselves. And the second is how well they get along with others. And so for the Promote ability index, when I was reverse engineering promotions, for my experience, those were the foundational elements. For me, self awareness is knowing yourself, knowing what your values, motivations preferences are, and how you show up at your best and what your derailleurs are, what are your triggers, so that you can learn and manage them? How well do you know that kind of stuff, and then very closely aligned with that is external awareness. But I found it helpful to break them apart. Because I think the the work that while it's complimentary, when you work on one, it certainly benefits the other, the work can be segregated to work on one of the things I think some people are good at one and not the other. So external awareness, I define as being aware accurately, of your impact on other people, and how you're viewed. So those are the definitions that I've used.

Russel Lolacher
And I want to dig into both of them a lot. My question, though, is there are a lot of people that get promoted that not have either of those.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
There are. We have many, many leaders, we could look to that get a lot of press that we could think about that about.

Russel Lolacher
Absolutely. So why is this... it's a promotability from your idea is being I assume, best situated for promotablity, and the best to be your success is better prepared, if you have these skill sets.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Yes,

Russel Lolacher
Yeah. Okay. So how do people get around them and still get promoted without having them?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Well, we still have the dark triad... you know "narcissism", people who don't care about anything. And unfortunately, there's a lot of charisma that can go with that. So I don't have a solution for the dark triad. But my book and my work is around how to be a sustainable best leader without burning people out with being the kind of culture that attracts the best talent where people want to work, and not just work for three or five years and then get out, which I think a lot of the companies you're referring to, and a lot of leaders there, have unless you're a masochist, and then you might be happy working there forever, I suppose. But for me, it's more around, you know, how do we create great cultures that are that do the right thing, that that are sustainable, long term, both in terms of stockholder shareholder returns, which means avoiding ethics and legal problems, as well as not burning good people out because I think we all deserve to have a good work life balance.

Russel Lolacher
So if you're talking to say, an emerging leader in an organization, and they're looking at this index, and they're trying to understand why they need to get a stronger self awareness muscle, a stronger external awareness muscle, how do you sell them on how not having those could actually hurt their career?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
I think there's so many choices, I have two daughters, and one will be graduating from college pretty soon and other ones starting. And they need to be aware, you need to be aware of your values, which can change from life stage to life stage. But when you're out of sync with your values, you're usually not very happy, or you're under extreme stress. And so it's important to pick a profession and a field where you can be at your best and have that opportunity. And so knowing yourself knowing your preferences and your values, what drives you what motivates you? Is it power? Is it ambition, is it science is the ability to learn is it knowledge is it altruism, helping other people, these types of things are very different. And so looking for environments where those values are fulfilled is quite important, or you might feel stalled or unhappy A few years later, so that's one reason to do it. It's just personal satisfaction and success, frankly, because of course, we're better at something when we enjoy doing it. The other reason is, if you don't know yourself well and don't know how you show up to others, you have blind spots. And eventually, those can get bigger and bigger, and they can flatline your career or get you stuck, or worse get you fired. And so those are very important things for people who want to have choices, and potentially stay employed where they want to be employed.

Russel Lolacher
What I find funny is the values exercise is that not a lot of people do them, or they think they're different, based on different circumstances. I'll give you an example. And I'm kind of curious your thoughts on this is I went through a values exercise where I saw someone where they did their values at home, and then they did their values at work, and they were different values. Okay, and she didn't seem to understand that that is a bad thing. That they you shouldn't like if your values at home is family, your family says shouldn't suddenly disappear as a value once you walk through the door or turn on the computer. But she had done that she had actually separated out so much. So she was almost realizing she had a completely different identity in the workplace than she did at home. How do you reconcile that?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
It's not unusual. And I don't know what do you happen to remember what stage in her career she was?

Russel Lolacher
Let's go with mid mid to late career.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Okay. I think that's pretty common. Because when you're climbing up the ladder, you do often. And I think past generations, most certainly needed to especially women or people of color needed to kind of cover I worked in workspaces where I was very careful of whether if male partners had photos of their kids on my desk, I felt maybe Okay, doing that. But if they didn't, I sure didn't. And I sure didn't mention why I was leaving, it was if it was for a rare soccer game, you know, that I felt like I could get away with versus I think men who felt a lot more comfortable. I think it really depends on your way up, because you get worried about being you know, spending too much time on your family. As a woman. I think that's changing more, the more that we have stayed home dads, the more that dads take family care, which we know, enables women to take it without backlash. There's a lot of data that If men don't take family leave, women don't even if it's offered. Because we all know there's this double standard and this fear that women are going to work as hard. It's not fair, but it's out there. And not all companies are getting better, I believe. But most of us still have that fear. And so, you know, I think of all those things, when I when I think of answering your question how to best best respond to that.

Russel Lolacher
So I've been through your Promotability Index, really interesting questions, I won't lie, there was a few in there too, like, "Oh, I could be better at that. Oh yeah, I could be I could be much, much better."

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Same with me. It's not supposed to allow a perfect score, frankly, because it's a life instrument, you can come back to it again and again.

Russel Lolacher
Okay, good. Good. Thank you for that. I appreciate the validation. So having such great questions in there, what would you say are some key factors if we're trying to determine our own self awareness?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
I would say... Well, one, one quick factor. The overall I find fascinating. If you've haven't already heard a colleague of mine from my Marshall Goldsmith group, studied self awareness for four years and did a deep dive on data. And they found she and her team found that 90% of people believe they're self aware. But the soul number, guess what the actual number is?

Russel Lolacher
Oh, I know. I'm gonna go like 30 or 40.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
That'd be really nice. It's ten to fifteen. So we're deluding ourselves about how much we know about ourselves. How great is that? So most of us have a lot of work to do, myself included. I've done a lot of work on this. And you know, you can be somewhere in one context, you get to a new company got to start over with your peeps, right? So it's just important to know. So practices you can put in place are doing a 360. A lot of companies have those. I'm a fan of interview based 360s where I get the opportunity to ask questions and follow up. I don't like the electronic ones that are where people are just anonymous and can throw a comment out there and you don't know what the context is and can't ask for the questions. Some people don't have the privilege of a 360. That's done well. So one step in this direction that I mentioned in my book. That is fantastic. If you want to get out there if your vulnerability and courage and you want to get better. Feedbacks the way to do it. It's risk proofing yourself It's eliminating blind spots, we all potentially have them. If you haven't been asking, you probably have one. And that is a risk to you and your career and your growth. So ask your boss at your next one on one meeting where you've got some downtime where it's not a rushed meeting, Friday afternoon, you know, whatever's relaxing at lunchtime, to say, hey, I really want to be the best I can be. And I want to be aware of how I'm coming off. What one thing could I do to be more effective at my job? And then pause and wait for an answer. Give them a couple of give them a heartbeat, people will usually give you something really interesting thing you may not have thought of, they may ask for more time, that's fine. Once they give that to you, even if you disagree, this is important. Say thank you. If you don't, if you debate, they will never give you feedback again, right, who wants to give people constructive feedback, it's hard. Everyone's happy giving happy feedback. That's easy. But it's difficult. And if you make it more difficult, you'd make it psychologically safe for them. And by asking, you're showing like number one you're showing, be walking the talk, like I really do care, I want to know, and by saying thank you and not debating, you're saying okay, I'm willing to be vulnerable. I'm going to think about this ticket back, if you have questions, or say, Hey, thank you, can you give me an example of when that happened, or when you show me, even if you disagree, the best thing is it puts power back in your hands, because you realize, oh, wow, they have an impression of me. I'm not like that. Normally, they Am I don't know where they got that. Or I do know where they got that I had that one bad interaction with them, they don't see me that much. Whatever it is, now you have the power to change it. So it just it's it's powerful. Either way, soon as it's a wonderful suggestion, then I think you get bonus points too, because you're showing up as someone who's has the courage and vulnerability be willing to ask. And those are the types of skills we want to see in our best leaders. It's just a data point. It's nothing personal, right? It's a data point that you may or may not have known, and then it's something you can work on. So that would be my suggestion there.

Russel Lolacher
And the hope is that the person you report to is a strong enough leader where their feedback is going to be valuable, too, because there's a lot of organized people where they're like, I don't even like my boss, I don't, I couldn't even respect. So there might be what's that there's another one where you can actually leapfrog over your direct reports. As an opportunity, I just know that not everybody will go will think a source of truth from their direct boss might be the right approach.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
You can ask your peers, you can ask your direct reports, it's a great norm, cultural norm to adopt in your team to ask one level down. Because it sets a standard of hey, we want to be a feedback culture. If there's one piece of advice, I could give my younger self, it would have been get better at giving and receiving feedback. Because that's really the only place you can improve. And I appreciate that not everyone has a great relationship with their boss bosses can be can find it difficult to give feedback, some avoid it entirely. That's why I suggest you do this yourself. Even if you're not getting helpful feedback on your reviews. Because believe me, your boss does have an opinion of you. And they've made a judgement, and so has everyone who works with you. So would you rather know or not? No, because it helps you figure out am I in the right place? Where am I headed? Do I need to be working on something? It just helps you your whole career?

Russel Lolacher
Even if you don't agree with the perception, you have something to work against?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Yeah.

Russel Lolacher
So what do you do with staff then? Because we always look up or across? But I don't know, as many leaders look to their their direct reports going, how could I be a better leader to you around their self awareness, maybe that I always feel like that should be a little bit more, because we look at leaders. People look down to look at their leaders, but they don't look to those that they actually are leading to get an understanding of how they are as leaders. I feel like that's a piece of

Amii Barnard-Bahn
cash I always did. With my teams. I was I was always very invested in how am I coming off? Coming off as intended. What's the balance between assertiveness and approachability? For me as a leader? Because you need a balance of both to be effective? Am I giving enough information while letting them make their own learnings and, you know, safe mistakes? So I did ask a lot. And I think that mentoring up? I've seen that in a lot more companies. So that's a trend, especially with generational differences. There's been a lot of concern around how are we working with five different generations for the very first time in our lives in the workplace. So having mentors up and down I have seen that happening. So let's just say technology, what are the latest things you're going to ask the oldest person in your workforce or the youngest sometimes we're you know, I'm pretty happy with tech but not everyone is right. So, you know, what are you listening to? How do you get your own Information, there's just a lot of great things you can do bottom up, depending on your job responsibilities, you're in product development, right? You probably want to know what the next gen is thinking. So there are many, many ways to get that. And then in terms of how you're coming off as well, am I effective for you? Do you prefer texting? Do you prefer phone? Do you prefer face to face? Virtual generations are different. And so adapting your communication style, up down and across can be extremely helpful, because I think we all need to be pretty flexible these days with that.

Russel Lolacher
And how do you manage that change? Because as somebody who's self aware of themselves, and you'd like you said, it could be different based on where you are in the organization, remote work versus not remote work. How do you navigate your, you know, understanding of how you show up when it's so different? And it could change again in a year?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Well, I think asking and staying in touch, and doing some deep work on on that self awareness, the external awareness would be how am I showing up to you? Am I meeting your needs as your leader? So some of the first questions I usually ask people when I'm working on a new team is, how do you like to receive information? How do you like to receive feedback? There's a continuum I ask, you know, is it? Do you need a hammer? Approach? Like you won't hear it, unless I just hit you with it, you want to hear it straight? You don't want any fluff? Are you more of a velvet glove approach on the opposite end where you want to hear it, but you need to feel supported, you need to feel like you need your ego kept in a safe spot, and most people are somewhere in between. So I think you should know how to your people like to be communicated with? What's the cadence? What are their pet peeves, you may not be able to do everything they they want. You are the boss, after all. And they're, you know, it can be hard for some people to shift. But knowing that can be helpful, how do they like to be rewarded, that's a big one. Some people love the spotlight and need it to feel really appreciated, some people would rather die than be called out for that. And that can be cultural as well. So they might want private recognition, as opposed to public. So those are those are some things I would say that you need to know to get closer to people. And that becomes even more important with remote and in person, because you also want to avoid proximity bias. I have a lot of C suite leaders who have remote teams all over the world. And so they need to be very conscious of how much time and visibility they're given to people. And that special jobs or opportunities or visibility opportunities or projects aren't only given to the people that are in the office, which is a very easy default, because by human nature, we are feeling more aligned with people that we see and touch and feel more often in terms of our contact, as opposed to people who are more remote. And so I think we should be more diligent about that. And good, good leaders do that.

Russel Lolacher
As we're getting into the external awareness piece of it, how important are relationships, because a lot of what you're talking about is a lot of check ins, but not talking about that extra layer of familiarity.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
You know, promotions aren't just about your skills, they're about your relationships. And so that external awareness is critical. I think self awareness is important to your own personal self satisfaction, am I living the life I want to lead, ultimately. Whereas external awareness is are people going to give you the opportunities you want, are you setting yourself up properly, with your relationships, and investing in those to where people view you as someone they want to promote and invest in?

Russel Lolacher
So where do we start as maybe we're just starting to move up the ladder or just starting to get noticed in the organization. But we don't know how great our self awareness is. We don't know how well we know we show up at meetings, or we aren't even invited to them? Where do we start to sort of assess? Is it that survey? Is it just I don't know, what's the what's the what's the starting point for this?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Yeah, that's part of why I wrote the Promote Ability index, I felt that there were so many questions and so many, the promotions were kind of this dark unknown, that hadn't been explored, and that the things people thought they got promoted for, which is getting more and more certifications, just doing a good job just putting your head down and doing your work, which isn't isn't all it should be brought out to light and so the organization's could be more intentional and objective about their promotion decisions. Because for me, there's no greater way for a company to show their values tangibly than who they promote. It's right, that's a big deal, who's leading the company and various areas. So I would say that that the mobility index is one way it gives you a sense if you're early in your career of how promotion decisions are really made and all the various factors that can go into it. Every company is a little different. But a very powerful step in this direction is you can I make it free on my A website is my gift to the universe to level the playing fields. If you don't have a good mentor or you know, didn't have access to knowing how corporate America works, take the assessment, and then share it with your boss and say, Hey, I've rated myself on on these questions. I'd love to see if you think my self assessment is accurate. Could you take a look at this, and then let's meet over coffee or something casual, and you can give me feedback, super powerful, because it goes pretty deep in a lot of areas presentation, from presentation skills to executive presence to strategic thinking to whether people are aware of how they come off, that kind of thing. So assuming you have a boss that you trust enough to do this, and again, I think you taking the initiative and showing that gets you brownie points right away as someone who cares, and who's thinking about this. And I've had CEOs who have looked at this and said, this is fantastic. I wish I had this for my performance appraisals, I'm going to take this with me next time because I'm not always able to articulate why this person isn't ready for the next step. And I should and they recognize hopefully they should be. And I want to equip leaders to do that. And these are objective measures, one of the worst things that can be said, right, when you're gunning for a promotion, or hoping is hey, how am I How am I doing? And, and one of my favorites, when I say that sarcastically is, oh, you're great, but you're just not ready yet? Or just keep doing what you're doing? Just right. Well, thanks. I think like, I mean, what do you mean? What action should I be taken as an action of all right? I was trying to give better answers for that all around, both bottom up top down.

Russel Lolacher
So you have some idea of your values yourself, you know, self assessment, you see how you, you know, show up... How do you approach that through your employee journey, when you're looking to start a new company, when it comes to hiring process? When it comes to looking going? Is this the kind of company I want to work for, and my promote ability will be possible? Is there something you can prepare ahead of time or get yourself more knowledgeable about?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
I think if it's a good values fit, which can be the work life balance, the level of flexibility, the number of hours you're working, you can ask about and ask historically, how many people get promoted? You know, what's the job family, which is the different levels in your, in your current career that you are? How often do people move laterally? Let's say you're moving because you're hoping to get into a slightly adjacent area to what you're doing. That's super helpful, they should be able to answer those questions. So those are a lot of those are free, you know, do your homework, talk to people network with someone who works there. Ideally, or get an introduction, LinkedIn never made it easier to find your third degree connection that works there and just politely ask for 15 minutes of their time for an informational interview. So you do all that. And then I ask questions on what type of people are successful here. And that can get at the company values. I ask, Hey, what are some of the unwritten rules around here? That really gets at culture as opposed to the words on the wall? Like, how are decisions really made? Is it by fiat (def. an authoritative or arbitrary order)? Is the CEO pretty much a benevolent dictator? Or is it consensus, which can be a long and arduous process? But some people including me, actually, if I had to pick I feel more comfortable with that, because I prefer collaboration. There are pluses and minuses to both right? Is it a super fast driven culture? Is it a culture where mistakes are punished? Which means there's going to be a lot of politics and a lot of cya. And a lot of under the ground competition and potentially backstabbing like you need to you might be okay with that. Some people are great at sharp elbows, cultures, other people not so much. They it's very stressful. They want to they're okay, if they move in slower. Because it's more collaborative, it's more supportive. So I would say those are all things I look for when I've moved to companies or when I'm advising a coaching client.

Russel Lolacher
What can organizations be doing better when it comes to their approach to promote ability? We've talked a lot about what we need to do as individuals, because when we often talk about career journeys, it's usually the organization going well, that's your responsibility. I'm like, yeah, there's a balance. So what is an organization's role when it comes to being better at promote ability?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Great question. I will reiterate that I believe in radical self-reliance, I don't think companies are going to look out for you and I think it's it's naive to believe that it's the company's responsibility to be looking to promote you. Yes, they need someone in the spot. But it doesn't have to be you and they're pretty neutral until they know you as a person as to who that promotion is going to be. So That said, I think companies do have an obligation to hire the best talent as leaders to be thinking holistically about growth, about sustainability to company shareholder return, especially if they're publicly traded. They need to be thinking about their reputation. Is this a leader that is going to represent us? Well, you know, you we see plenty of CEOs marched off to jail lately. And that's a nice specialty of mine with my compliance and ethics background. So we know they're out there. So we want someone we're proud of that kind of thing. So I think that companies should be thinking objectively about all of the criteria, particularly that frankly, I put in the profitability index, which includes ethics, compliance, thinking about others, being an empath empathetic leader, being someone who's in it for the long game, and not just trying to make a bunch of money, which is, it's important to be able to support yourself and your family. And I think people want meaning, especially the next generation is looking to live their values a lot more. So smart companies are thinking a little more holistically. Of course, they do need to make money to stay alive, and to be able to give us jobs, and promotions and fun resources and benefits. So it's all a virtuous cycle. But I would like for them to be more intentional about these promotion decisions. Because we need to get away from the battle days where it was just I feel comfortable with you, you look like me, like having a beer with you, let's, let's bring you on to the executive team, right?

Russel Lolacher
You know, if you love using your buzzwords of diversity, equity, of inclusivity, and belonging, and don't take the steps when everybody looks like you at the executive table.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
To me, DEIB is really being objective, clearly communicating what everyone needs to do, giving people equal opportunity, and then having a true meritocracy, which means communicating giving feedback to people who get the promotion, who don't get the promotion, who don't get perks, or whatever it is, or the opportunities and giving them a fair shot, at moving up the ladder. That's, that's ideal.

Russel Lolacher
So say somebody actually just likes their job. They're in corporate, you know, they like what they do, they don't have the aspirations, would you still recommend that they understand and I'm gonna get through. So self awareness, external awareness, but you also had executive presence, thought leadership and strategic thinking in the index, would you still recommend it?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
I do. And it's fun, I have a case study on my website from a company that adopted the Promote ability index as part of their career development plan, it easily slip streams into and is complementary to most HR systems. And they found that 30% of people did not want to be promoted, they were happy, and they wanted to be individual contributors, and stay where they were, and the Promote Ability Index for the company that was brilliant, because they already knew then, okay, we need to just keep things positive and happy and, and in touch with these people. These are the people that we would invest in for management, track, etc. Another fun thing happened is people who had never, there was a young woman who said, you know, I've never thought of aiming any higher. I'm the first one in my, in my family to go to college. And I'm happy with my job, and I'm making more money than I ever thought possible. But you've made me now think that maybe something else could be possible. That's amazing, right? That's, that feels great to a manager. And so that sparks these conversations that can spark that creativity and thinking, maybe I could go higher. That's beautiful. That's what every manager wants, I think because I love mentoring people. Likewise, if you have someone who just loves heads down to be the technical expert, every company needs those lawyers, IT people, scientists, you know, you need those people. And so you need you could have a conversation around great. Let's talk about what a solopreneur in our company, you know, career path would look like, we want you to keep learning, we need you to stay at the top of your field, what kind of credentials and things do you need to be like the data privacy expert, right at our company? If you don't want to manage people, that's fine. Some people shouldn't we all know that. So So you do need to keep an eye on those conversations. So I think it's great because then a company can be more thoughtful and its performance review process instead of just focusing on promotions and and the you know, climbing up, what are you going to do for the core, you know, blood and guts of your company that you absolutely need to keep it going? Because longevity is amazing for people who who know everything about how the company runs. And that's extremely powerful. So I've had a lot of people in my webinars I do these for companies and things who have said, This is great because now I know how I can keep learning and keep growing In my space, I don't want to leave my space. But I can start writing, I can be more of a thought leader in my space. Like it'd become, you know, and I won't get bored, I could volunteer with my association, I can better demonstrate strategic thinking so that I'm I'm very secure. And, you know, some, you know, younger, cheaper employee, frankly, that's coming up the chain for me, and it has seen this a lot. I'm not going to be on the chopping block, when a RIF happens, they're gonna be like, no, no, no, no, no, this person, you know, yeah, they're in their 60s, and they know everything, they mentor everyone below them. So what they don't manage people, they've done this, this and this, they're our go to like our mench. You know, on this subject. That's a reality. I know, I know, several people who you know, are in their, their 60s, and they're just, they're not having those conversations and a very, very large companies. If depending if you want it to be your choice, when you retire, you can't get complacent about these things.

Russel Lolacher
Is that the number one thing that gets in the way of people's promotability?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
I would say so, yeah, they rest on their laurels, laurels. And over the last year, you know, Russel, fully half of my executive leaders have had a change in CEO or in their own job. And we've had to pivot in our coaching or in our advice. And I also wrote an article for Fast Company recently on five things you need to do when you have a change in boss, or CEO. Because you have to just eat especially if you loved your old boss, and you're sad, you have to almost hit yourself over the head with a hammer and say, what happened before doesn't count anymore. Like, my environment has changed. Even though I feel like I'm swimming in the same water. It can be very deceptive. And I made mistakes, too, when that happened. And that's all in the Promotability Index. I wanted to save some people. I thought, well, I'm good. I've been performing great for 10 years people here No, mate, no, no, the boss, like the person with the power makes the decision. And you may not like it, and it may not feel fair or right. But if you make as my, my mentor, Marshall Goldsmith says, Make peace with that. Make peace with that the person with the power makes the decision, period. And you can decide to leave. And that's great. But if you want it to be your decision, you might want to look at a few things.

Russel Lolacher
So I have to ask the last question, as I always do. Amii, thank you for this. What's one simple action people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Well, I gave you my best, which is the one question. So beyond that, I would say the be open to the feedback. And be willing to give it as permission. But also give it because we all need to get better at giving and receiving feedback. It's It's not natural. It's something that can be learned. There's some wonderful resources, one book that I can give folks as a resources. Thanks for the feedback. One of my favorite books that I that I recommend to clients and colleagues. And it's fantastic explains why we don't like receiving feedback, it's perceived as a threat with our lizard brain. And we don't like it unless it's your most amazing. And then of course, we're like, Oh, yes, I love that. I love that. But if it's if it's like, you know, can I give you some feedback? You know, I need you to work on this. It's like, ah, but, and I've had that too. I mean, look, I still read on my reviews, I just read some on a huge podcast I gave and most of them were great. But of course the three that were slightly negative I focusing on those having to do my own self talk. So I'm not immune to this like it never goes away but that you can learn to just be like, Okay, you can executors exercise your muscle and be like this is to help me improve. I want to be my best at this. So yeah, I hope that's helpful.

Russel Lolacher
That is that is Amii Bernard-Bahn. She is the founder and CEO of Barnard-Bahn Coaching and Consulting. She's also the author of a book, you can find it it's free, it's literally you can find it Promotability Index Toolkit, I'll put a link to it in the show notes as well.

Russel Lolacher
Thank you. And then there's some HBR articles if you want to look me up and I have a newsletter which you can find at BarnanrdBahn.com and I published hundreds of leadership resources for anywhere you are in your career on my website.

Russel Lolacher
Oh, all the links will be there. Thank you so much.

Amii Barnard-Bahn
Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.