Clemens Rettich on decision making

Having a Seat at the Table at Work with Clemens Rettich

In episode eight of Relationships at Work, I chat with author and organizational performance consultant Clemens Rettich, on being more inclusive in stakeholder decision making so everyone and anyone can have a “seat at the table.”

A few reasons Clemens is awesome – he’s the National Practice Lead in Organization Performance for Grant Thornton LLP, which includes work around workplace cultures and values, author of Great Performances: The Small Business Script for the 21st Century, writer and a University instructor.

Check out all the episodes of Relationships at Work.

Connect with Clemens Rettich on his platforms:

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What a “seat at the table” means
  • The baggage of the current “table” as it typically is done
  • The argue-in vs argue-out approach (excluding vs including)
  • How a lack of inclusiveness in decision making can impact workplace culture and projects

“You’ve increased the level of risk by decreasing the number of perspectives.”

Clemens Rettich

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW

Russel Lolacher
Today on the show, it’s Clemens Rettich, I’m going to first tell you why he’s awesome. He’s the national practice lead in organization performance for Grant Thornton LLP. He’s the founding director of the Great Performances group, a business growth consultancy, including around workplace cultures and values, ding, ding, ding, ding, because that’s kind of what we’re going to be talking about today. And also, he’s an author of great performances, the Small Business script for the 21st century. He’s a writer, he’s a university instructor. But today, it’s all about having a seat at the table. And I kind of want to understand what that means. And maybe ways we can think about it a little bit more inclusively. Thanks for being on the show. Clemens really appreciate you being here. My pleasure. Thank you. Now, you had recently shared a post of mine, which was all around the no surprises rule, which I know we both agree on this. Yes, that no one in an organization should ever be caught blindsided by a decision or an action that impacts you.

Clemens Rettich
Correct? Both on the same page, easily correct.

Russel Lolacher
Fair, nothing is ever black and white. But as a rule, it’s a good one.

Clemens Rettich
As a principle, yes, that is spot on.

Russel Lolacher
It started an interesting conversation, which is why I’m thrilled you’re here today, we started talking about this thing called argue out. And I want to get into that in a bit. But first, I want to talk about having a seat at the table because that’s where it was, was sort of launched from it got me interested in and I got the whole Hamilton song in my head right now. Right? The the whole the room where it happens, that sort of thing. There’s this room where decisions are made in an organization that people don’t ever feel they have control over or how it impacts them or anything. So let’s start by setting the table. See what I did there?

Clemens Rettich
Yes, yes, it’s nicely, nicely. Nice.

Russel Lolacher
I should show you I should I like starting charming at the beginning and then just go for yes.

Clemens Rettich
Yeah. So go to the media got it.

Russel Lolacher
What is it meant to have a seat at the table? In an organization? Let’s define that first?

Clemens Rettich
Sure. I mean, the short answer is it’s you know, the the most hated of all consulting responses, which is it depends. Because that can mean many things. But I think what it means metaphorically is that of course, if we’re looking at an organization of, you know, anything more than six or eight people, anything above that size, it’s not possible to have a seat literally at the table for every major decision made. And in fact, a lot of people don’t even want to be in every conversation where every decision gets made. And certainly once you get, you know, up to anything you would describe as enterprise scaled, that whole question just becomes humerus. So there is there is there is literally not a table large enough to see anybody. So everybody. So I think I think really, from from the perspective and analogy, using the table is an analogy as a place where people come to, to sit together to discuss and to arrive at decisions, I think what we’re really interested in there is is how much people are in the sort of the stream of I mean, like a stream, like a river, of the information of flows through an organization, and how much of an influence they have over the flow of that information. And and how much they have the ability to, to extend the metaphor a little bit further to to kind of sample you know, that information flows by the mind, am I aware of, you know, in some senses, literally the temperature, the content, the speed of change, all those kinds of things. And then that looks back to the comment, you made an introduction around this idea that you and I both share very strongly, which is that there are no good surprises in business, even good surprises are still bad surprises. Because the the ideal target condition we’re aiming for all the time, is complete transparency, that you know, doesn’t really matter what decision gets made, and the impact that has on one, one should always see it coming. It’s fundamentally about awareness, first and foremost. And that sense of being included and feeling like you in that sense, it almost speaks to that sense of belonging in a culture. And then also to your earlier point around decisions that impact you wanting to have some kind of say in that perhaps even more than is even being aware it’s coming actually having a say in it.

Russel Lolacher
So who typically is seated at that table?

Clemens Rettich
Well, traditionally, if you’re going to use, you know, a traditionally structured Western type hierarchical organization, it’s going to be focused at the C suite, senior managers, divisional leaders, General Manager, anybody with some kind of title and typically within Office like there were certain things that accrued to those positions. You can kind of tell who those people were, they tended to be white, they tended to be male, they tended to be senior, so on and so forth. Right? They, they fit a certain profile and as as individuals, and that has its own baggage that comes with this conversation. Yeah. And they had, they had the official power to make certain kinds of decisions based on, you know, the job descriptions and governance in the organization of that structure and so on.

Russel Lolacher
Not to dig too deep into it. But what is that baggage from those typical decision makers at an organization that we keep going back to the same people over and over again, the same hierarchical the same people, so what is the the baggage or the the downside of those people? Elevator Pitch.

Clemens Rettich
Elevator pitch. Elevator Pitch is that, you know, we can’t skirt comfortably around this idea that, you know, senior management and the decision making authority in organizations generally has rested with the the white male majority of North America, North America, Europe, whatever you want to call it. And, and we see that in, you know, in the tech industry, in the C suite in venture capital, and so like, it doesn’t matter of kind of what sort of 21st century lens, we look at it through, you know, it’s Black History Month, as we’re speaking, right, you you, you can’t turn around, but be confronted with the fact that the, you know, to, to use the metaphor now of being at the table, that damn table has been too small and too selective for decades and decades and decades, if not, you know, as far back in history as we want to go. And one of the really awesome things is the degree to which that is being challenged in really, interestingly disruptive and really powerful ways now.

Russel Lolacher
So what is an example of good decision making? What’s what’s powerful? What’s powerful in your eyes?

Clemens Rettich
Well, you know, from my world is when when I talk, you know, you said earlier on, I lead our national practice at Grant Thornton in organizational performance, and in that, we have a certain NPO or not for profit, kind of area, and some municipal and government work that we do, but by and large, it is Main Street, midmarket privately held businesses. And so in that world, a an effective or powerful decision is one that leads to positive transformation and growth and sustainability. When we Inc weave into it, or need into it, like bread dough, you know, the, the piece that we’re talking about here, it is also one in which all of the stakeholders in this whole idea, I think, really interestingly, in some ways captured by this concept called stakeholder capitalism, one in which the stakeholders who are impacted by or who could have a really positive impact on because of their backgrounds and their perspectives and so on, on that decision. So, because you can also imagine an extremely effective decision that meets the first condition, which is it is a decision that leads to the sustainable, profitable, you know, health and growth of the organization. But that is still unnecessarily exclusive. And it does not have enough people the table and and some of the people who might be impacted by what for a majority, or a certain group of people or a certain perspective, might be really positive, but could have negative impact on others, or at the very least, you know, change the way they work or make the job more complicated or something and they weren’t at the seat at that table. When globally. Yes. Was it a good decision for the business? Yes, it was. Was it a good decision carefully considered in a way that it was arrived at that included every st akeholder? No, not necessarily.

Russel Lolacher
That gets me into what we talked about in our discussion prior to the podcast, which is your idea around in your in your work around argue in versus argue out? Decision Making? So you mentioned argue in being the one you’re trying to get away from so let’s, let’s define argue in decision making, which I think is what you’re kind of, kind of pointing to.

Clemens Rettich
That language arose in work that we do sometimes around project post mortems, it’ll be a major digital transformation management transformation, could be even large infrastructure or capital project or something like that. And they want a third party that doesn’t have baggage to go into the organization and and check on two elements, both the stakeholders involved in that project, and some sort of sense of the validity of the claimed outcomes. Were they really as good as the proponents said it was and what was the experience like for the participants in that particular project? So we do an evaluation of that. And early on, I started to realize that a common feature of of these projects, even ones that could claim, you know, some success. A lot of the participants felt like even though it might have been successful and many of them were not successful by You know, certainly not if you’ve measured them simply in terms of, were they were they on time or on budget, the answer is not even close a feature of both of those kinds of projects, both the successful ones and the challenged ones, people did not feel like or they put a different way people felt like it could have gone so much better. If the stakeholder management communication piece, particularly right up front, as the thing was framed initially, had been far more inclusive than it was. And I started to realize that as I looked at the pattern of, you know, the sort of the, the birth of these of these projects, there was this thing that I started to call this arguing framework, which is basically, there’s a default set of decision makers, the project manager, they’re the people that they report directly the board, whatever you want to call it, metaphorically, they’re very high up in the organization, and, and have that that formal official decision making authority. To use your analogy, they sat down at a table and made a decision or a sequence of decisions and planned out the budget and the timelines and who would play what roles and so on and so forth. And the sense when I, when we do the interviews, in the post-mortems, after these things that we go to be, like I said, we get this common like, well, if so and so had been at a table, that decision would have been made that way, and the outcome would have been different. And so then you go, Well, why weren’t they at the table? Well, they didn’t have the right title or the right connections or the right did you know they weren’t. And so I started to realize that one of the things that so many failed projects are and like I said, even successful ones, that still could have been better. What they suffered from was too small, a group of initial stakeholders. In some cases, that initial group of stakeholders then set for the entire life of the project, a far too constrained group of stakeholders, it was always too small from beginning to end. And the dynamic that the beginning is, and I’m going to be a little sort of blunt and cross here is, you know, these people are they’re not evil, or anything even close to it. It’s just, it’s a habit. It’s a reflex. It’s an unexamined set of assumptions, where they basically went, Hey, here’s the seven of us. We’re the really smart people, we know projects, we know, budgets, we know, timelines, and so on, so forth. And we’ll make all the decisions. And when somebody comes in, says, Well, do you think Diane over there should be a part of this? Wow, I don’t know. Why should she, like, you know, what you bring to the table? Right there. We’re in the argue in paradigm, right? The initial decision maker group is already assumed, anyone who wants to join that group who could be argued in even sometimes by one of those initial stakeholders, trying to argue the other ones to say, you know, I don’t, I think we should bring in a couple of other people, you immediately start to hear of these reports of people kind of needing to argue their way to the table to prove their worth to their validity. Now, that is not 100% invalid. You know, like I said, you can’t have an infinite table. You You do need to make sure that for resourcing perspectives, and just for efficiency of decision making lots of other things, there needs to be some shape to the number of people. But I started to realize that there might be a better way. And that is this sort of thing that I provocatively call the argue, which is instead of starting with a very small group, and then arguing for every additional voice at the table, you took the opposite basic Paris do the opposite basic paradigm, which is everyone is at the table, and you needed to argue people out that is no everyone stays unless you can prove to us they shouldn’t be here.

Russel Lolacher
I want to dig into that in a bit. I want to first stay on the argue in idea because really well explained, what is the impact on an organization’s culture with the argue in approach, because if it’s always the same from your number seven people that are always generally in those positions, they’re always answering things. And nobody else gets to crack that code unless they can fight their way up the hierarchy. Or get in that room somehow. What is the impact on a culture when that happens?

Clemens Rettich
There’s there’s two enormous impacts on organizations and on projects. The first one is that over time, it definitely erodes culture. Because if you look at Dan uncoils model around trust, purpose and belonging in his book, The culture code, in my work, I swapped out the word Trust for safety because I think it’s a punchier, more and more impactful word but other than that, it’s essentially the same model. When people start to consistently feel that they are that they are not part of the table and there is no formal way from their seat to that table. That second pillar of culture of belonging is eroded because you start to question what longing you start to ask yourself belonging? In what sense? In what sense, it really matters when a lot of the really big stuff that goes on around here, I’m not a part of that conversation. So how I don’t quite get how I belong in any really meaningful sense. So that’s the first impact. I think the second impact is the, you know, the kinds of decision making that different people have written about. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers talks about this, this idea that if you don’t have candor, someone’s going to drive the bus off the cliff, and no one’s going to tell you because the person who could have navigated you and allowed you to stay on the road wasn’t at the table. You’ve you’ve increased the level of risk by decreasing the number of perspectives and its ability to assess risk from from, you know, from all kinds of angles and perspectives that seven people can see so many angles, well, 20 or 30 people appropriately, you know, consulted and appropriately involved. Well, the math isn’t that hard to figure out, you just you’re just covering a lot more angles.

Russel Lolacher
And if the doors closed, I mean, the organization isn’t stupid. People are very smart. They’re very situationally aware. So if if you’re not only one of those people that should have been in the room for that decision. It’s also the people that see the person that should have been in the room and noting themselves going well, if they couldn’t even get in the room. And it was about them, and they were the subject matter expert, how the hell am I ever going to impact change? How the hell am I ever going to be a catalyst for improving anything in this organization? It has that ripple effect, not only that individual, but also the people that are the spectators.

Clemens Rettich
Yeah, it has it has a ripple effect and a new term I’ve been introduced to recently by one of my colleagues, Scott Beaton eat this, he wrote on LinkedIn to the bullwhip effect. And and I’m starting to see that this sort of this amplifying effect that goes on towards the end of these things, because if we’re looking for the roots of silos, the roots of these little toxic gossip groups that gather in the little corners, and you’ve just put your finger on it, because there is nothing that brings people together more than a sense of a common enemy. We all know that. I mean, there’s psychology and as rock solid, it’s decades and decades old, when people start to feel excluded or threatened or like or, you know, just from from a sort of limited perspective that there are they are at some risks, and they see somebody else who they think might also be that risk. What what happens, they glom together like two attractive molecules. You’ve got these, you know, people well, you didn’t get an either. No, I didn’t get an either. Wow. Like, yes. Oh, my God, you’re gonna hear the beginnings of the gossip there goes right

Russel Lolacher
there. You become that us versus them culture.

Clemens Rettich
100%.

Russel Lolacher
Is it a legacy problem?

Clemens Rettich
It’s absolutely a legacy problem. Yeah. Yeah. So if I Okay, look, I should check terms. If by legacy, you mean we’ve sort of inherited this, this management or governance model from, you know, MBA programs, and you know, all that, yeah, all the history that we’ve had, since, you know, the middle of the last century, well, maybe even earlier, maybe since sort of the middle or the end of the Industrial Revolution ever since there’s a certain kind of management or sort of assumed a certain kind of assumed leadership or management model that we’ve inherited, if that’s what mean, yes, absolutely. That’s really this. I can

Russel Lolacher
also see it being people that are moving up the ladder, and they, they finally get to that position of a decision maker. And they have always been excluded to a point and now they’re in the room. So it’s, suddenly they have the power and the influence, why would they want to shake a model that they’ve been outside of, or now into, and they perpetuate just because now they’re the ones that can make decisions?

Clemens Rettich
Yeah, so the structure is self reinforcing. That’s really interesting, because that also mirrors the experience of a lot of the new look at the history of immigrant immigrant groups in North America, that waves of immigration, I’ve done enough reading, you know, that there is a sense that with each new wave of immigrants, once they’re in and they’re no longer the outsiders, there’s a sort of metaphorical slamming of the door behind them. And they don’t want the next group in, right. So you’ve seen, there’s been lots of writing on that, but it feels like a similar kind of pattern that you’re right, having been out for a long time. Once you’re in and you’re solidly and now you’re you want to you want to kind of almost protect that sense of being in by slamming the

Russel Lolacher
doors. Nobody ever asked my opinion when they were in that position. So now I’m in why should I and I’m not saying that’s universal, it but it’s a bit of human nature.

Clemens Rettich
Oh, and it’s probably also you know, again, when you look at these cultural patterns that the waves of immigration I also don’t think it’s conscious in most cases, which is why you know, these these invisible biases and so on, that’s why they’re so dangerous because they’re not conscious.

Russel Lolacher
Worldviews learn behaviors, framing, you know, it all comes into your experience. So let’s get into argue out which you were talking about this default is that you have a seat at the table. And then it’s about arguing people and selecting them out of the group based on criteria. So why is this provocative? Well, it is.

Clemens Rettich
Because every time I bring it I mean provocative in the sense that every time I bring it up with a client, I kind of watch them. If there’s a way of reading body language going, when a human being is going limbic, and they’re there, and they’re retreating back to their overwhelmed fight or flight space. I think that’s what I’m watching. Because they go, Wait a minute, wait a minute, what, what do you mean, argue, are you mean, you want your default is everyone, not all that can’t work that kind of might come on you, you’re going to have decision by committees, and you’re going to we’re going to be here for hours. And we, you know, speed is important here and half these people don’t even want to be in this meeting. And it’s not even their area of interest. I mean, you start the arguments against it just start to pile on just an immediate visceral reaction against it,

Russel Lolacher
Is it like they suddenly have this idea that they’re going to sit in a boardroom with 100, people that are just sort of talking over each other?

Clemens Rettich
Yes, without any imagination, that there might be for like, whatever word you want to use an approach a paradigm, a methodology that actually manages that, that there is actually a way of, of having a great deal more, a much larger number of voices at the table than traditionally and still have it be effective.

Russel Lolacher
And you’re not talking about the entire organization, you’re talking about just everybody a decision might touch. I’m assuming

Clemens Rettich
It probably in more practice yet. But again, just to be provocative See, so here’s one of my issues with with some of the language around this. A lot of that argue, in, in my mind, there, there’s a big overlap, a large Venn intersection between the thinking that says people need to argue the way to this table, because all the smart people are sitting here. And this idea of of need to know from that command and control kind of environment, because there’s a fundamental assumption that if you had something to contribute to this conversation, I’m the CEO, I would I would already know that. Almost to be provocative with you here to say, no, no, I actually do mean every single human being in the organization. And these days, when we talk about stakeholder capitalism, in that sense, we might also mean suppliers, customers, you know, all kinds of other impacting and impacted stakeholder groups in the organization. You know, so the really interesting part is, is maybe the verb itself, which, you know, in my case, I’m using argue so to argue, are you out? And maybe that’s where the where the work lies is in what is the methodology? What’s the approach? What’s the process for clearly identifying, assuming anyone could be at the table, identifying who shouldn’t be there, kind of prove to me that customers shouldn’t have a voice here, prove to me that the admin team in accounts receivable shouldn’t be here. Let’s just before we start just assuming because it’s, it’s a need to know command and control environment before we start assuming, should we at least have 10 minutes to kind of look over the entire stakeholder landscape and give a second thought to to these groups.

Russel Lolacher
What would be some of the criteria that would argue people out?

Clemens Rettich
Part of it would be sort of classic stakeholder management for change management, which would be for instance, trying to understand whether you’re going to use something like a racy table or or some other form of, you know, sort of stakeholder mapping tool, trying to understand for instance, we talked about impacting and impact if so, one way would be if we can look at somebody in the organization, and after a few seconds of sober thought, have truly and perhaps even maybe doing a little pulse survey, a quick survey or something like that, like maybe needs to be interactive and a bit more feedback driven, but still some little lightweight process that determines truly that this person truly is needed or person or group of people is truly neither impacted by this thing that we’re under considering to, you know, to undertake, and nor would they be able to impact it that is there’s nothing in their role, their background, their training, their history, their nature, anything that that we could see would create a material contribution to it. And for that second one, which is the not so much the the impacted but impacting the people who who could have an impact on the quality of this of this organization or this or this project. I think some form of survey tool some some way of I’d like them to speak, I’d like them to have a voice as, hey, we’re looking at doing this thing. You know, you want to have a seat at this and kind of tell us, you know where how you think you might want to contribute to it. Because we have to remember, again, we can’t get hung up on the actual table itself, which imagines this single, large, monolithic time and space thing. It doesn’t have to be that way. It could be working groups, it could be very interesting. You know, we can use Slack we can use like, there’s other ways of having this conversation that would allow people to participate. That isn’t literally crowding a roomful of people and serving them bad sandwiches,

Russel Lolacher
As this is an employee engagement, workplace culture podcast, I’m always curious how new ideas or old ideas impact or could impact the employee experience. So having an argue out approach, what do you see the benefits for the larger organizations, those employees that maybe they don’t get a seat at the table, quote, unquote?

Clemens Rettich
Easy to answer? Yeah, that one is so easy, because if it’s a if it’s a, if it’s a project, you could probably analogize this more broadly across the entire organization, not just you know, one specific project or another is this idea of that the the the fundamentals of project management, or implementation, the fundamental value of change management is adoption. So if we want to roll out this new management structure, this new software, this new division in a new country, like whatever the thing is, that we’re doing here, if we got the stakeholder group, right, adoption almost becomes a thing that happens automatically. And that’s, again, back to why we were having this conversation, the first place because this work comes out of failed change, have failed, or could have been better change management exercises, where we go like, why, you know, why did it fail? Or how much could it be better to go oh, look, initially, it started with poor stakeholder management. So many of the wrinkles that we saw downstream, they could have been avoided. A if there were some a larger and more a more diverse group of thinkers at the table. And B, once the thing did get rolled out, because people felt like from the beginning, they had a voice and a hand in the process. When the thing finally landed and was time to go live. They felt like they were part of the party. And so adoption becomes so much of a simpler challenge to meet, then, you know, the very end going, oh, yeah, tomorrow morning, you get a new piece of software.

Russel Lolacher
And nothing raises morale. Employee engagement, more than feeling like you have some skin in the game, like feeling like you’re part of something rather than just somebody that’s overlooked, not engaged, never talked to left alone to do your job. Yeah, no, I love this as a as an opportunity for looking at how we can engage our organization rather than looking at ways we can disengage them.

Clemens Rettich
Absolutely. And there’s a there’s a, there’s an amazing book with an amazing chapter called Creativity, Inc, by Ed Catmull, the one of the co founders of Pixar. I don’t know if it’s the last chapter, but it’s got to be in the last one, two or three chapters, he goes into this thing called I forgotten, it’s been it’s been a few months, as I read the book called notes day, I think so every sort of juncture on a film has an end, when you’re in theatre, same thing, you have notes at the end of the production of the end of a particular run, right, where every actor or participant in the process, both contributes and receives notes on their performance. And so Catmull talks about this thing called note state, which I believe involved every single employee and took months to organize and to get, you know, even what the topics would be on for the discussion that day, if I remembered all correctly, he could not believe the engagement, the quality of the decisions, the quality of the impact on the organization, from that he, he was the quality of ownership of the decisions, and then owning the execution of those, this is one thing to have a lovely day where we all spend, you know, I think as long as a single day, but, you know, to spend that time together and have some get some really cool ideas and nothing to execute them while they executed them to. Why because the people were at the table when the decisions got made, they actually they were the people who made those decisions. So anyways, you know, if I could draw down a single snapshot, that is much larger tent, a can be done, it is feasible. There are models where it could be made to work and be that it’s a good idea that there is real value in that I can’t think of a better story than notes day in in creativity Inc.

Russel Lolacher
And as a fellow fan of that book, I I think it turned into a week. I think notes day turned into we think the intention was there was gonna be a day and it just blew up into a week because they just got so much good engagement and candor.

Clemens Rettich
Yeah, everyone wanted a part which there’s so many messaging

Russel Lolacher
That right. Last question before I get into my final two, it sounds weird, but it’ll make sense in a minute. All right, gotcha. So you’ve told me that this is argue in versus argue out approach is very provocative. It’s people are resistant to IT leaders are like, Oh, no, this is onerous, and slow. And we’re agile, and we want to make decisions quickly and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. How do you convince leaders to adopt more inclusive decision making? Because that’s really what we’re talking about here to this scope? Or is it just talking about case studies like Pixar?

Clemens Rettich
Yeah, I think in the end, we all know this, that, you know, human beings respond best to stories. And I don’t have be completely frank, I don’t have enough stories yet to simply try out two or three recent examples of an organization that adopted this approach and killed it, right, like, I wish I could, but I can’t, so that the best we’re left with, at this point, our stories, you know, there are other organizational stories out there of highly inclusive cultures that have been very, very successful on that basis. But that’s the best we can do. And then other than that, you know, we do go for just trying to help people just see that particular perspective, either a, from a benefits perspective of just, you know, imagine the positive impact that this approach would have on a much larger base of your organizational culture than just a select few. And so that’s from the upside. And then from the risk management side, the money, the time, the agony, you could see if adaption to this very expensive thing you’re considering. Were actually so much quicker. And you started to see the the ROI earlier because everyone is at the table right from the start.

THE FINAL TWO

Russel Lolacher
Thanks Clemens. So I asked every one of my guests these two questions. The first one is, what’s the best or worst one or the other, it’s up to you whatever’s on the top of your brain employee experience you’ve ever had.

Clemens Rettich
It was before I even started my job at Grant Thornton. And the managing partner Dan little was here at the enter new offices where they were being set up. And if one of us said, hey, you know, I’d love to drop by and see you. And I think my job started in a month or two after that phone call. And I just wanted to have a look around and meet people. And so yeah, absolutely. Once you once you come on up, I’m here right now, I went and visited him. And he, you know, there’s all this construction going on all over the place. There’s just there’s people trying to get some work done, and there’s plastic everywhere and half the doors aren’t even hung yet. And just one of those classic office renovation, you know, sort of interesting scenes, lots of activity, lots of chaos, and walking around the space. And somewhere on that, on that little walk around the area, he said, and all the sort of main offices pretty classical on the outside, we’ve got this amazing view of Centennial square in the harbour and all the rest of it. And he said, you know, all the offices are all spoken for. He says we’re still in construction. But we know who’s going to be in every one of these offices. And they’re also looking forward. And I felt my heart sank a little bit when Oh, you know, it’s I don’t really care. Because as the kind of consultant I am, I spent most of my time on the road anyways, and not often even in an office. But still, it was kind of cool. And the view was stunning. And I’ll always be pretty inspiring place to work pretty sweet. And he said, and he walked past an office and he said, and he put his hand on my shoulder. And he said except for this one. He said, I know who’s going to be in this meeting me. And I found it later on. It’s his office. So when he and this is the managing partner for the for our business unit, right for Vancouver Island. You want to figure out a way to create like, I’ll take a bullet for you type loyalty. Yeah, that was it right there, though. That was it living and breathing, you know? So yeah, that would be in recent memory. That was four years ago that that that still makes me emotional talk about because you just don’t get that a lot. So that was a pretty cool moment.

Russel Lolacher
I just had I just beat in my heart. They’re like Damn, that hit me like right here. So last question Clemens last quest relationships at work. Question is, what is one simple action people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Clemens Rettich
It’s got to be feedback, like where I see relate relationship? Yeah, you know what, even one on one relationships, but certainly leaders and managers and their direct reports where there’s a massive opportunity for improvement and so many, just so frustratingly unnecessary fails are in the fact that we too often manage our lives or conversations or decisions on assumptions. And it’s this thing called in management school, it’s called the sin of checkboxes. You know, I sent the email check by I approve the budget check. And so the one that’s often used the email is Did you check the person actually received the email that they read it, but they understood it, that they agreed with it and that they have the capacity and the tools and whatever it is to act on it? Like, just because you did the thing? There’s so many managers who just assumed because I sent the memo, all magic now happens, rather than going out into the field or into the space and I was say, you know, act like a bat, send out the signal and then listen for this, you know, from a sonar perspective for the signal to come back, confirm that what you think is true, actually is true. So for me, a more, you know, sort of question driven ask the question, listen for the answer that that feedback approach to relationships. I don’t know. For me, that’s the magic sauce.

Russel Lolacher
I like to end on some magic sauce. Clements. That’s fantastic. All right. Great. Thank you so much for being on the show. You made me think you brought up some new ideas that people can really think about in their own organization about inclusive decision making. Argue in argue out I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

Clemens Rettich
Thank you, Russel. I really appreciate you doing this. I think this is a really important topic. And yeah, just support you all day long. I have no problem sharing your stuff. When I see it on LinkedIn, other places because we cannot have enough of these conversations and your commitment and your work in this is really, really valuable. So I appreciate it.

Russel Lolacher
I will say goodbye with a lot of blushing. Thank you Clemens. I appreciate all right. That is the magic sauce.

 

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