In this episode of The Speaker Show, Sean Pillot de Chenecey interviews Vlatka Hlupic.

Vlatka is a keynote speaker, international thought-leader and author of ‘Humane Capital’.  She is also a founder and CEO of The Management Shift Consulting Ltd, advising CEOs and Board members of major international organizations.

One of the world’s leading authorities on leadership and organisational transformation, Vlatka has received numerous international awards for her work and has been voted one of the Most Influential HR Thinkers in the world every year since 2015 by HR Magazine.

Episode #131

The post-pandemic ‘New Renaissance’

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (00:11): Hello this podcast is care of Speakers Associates, the global speaker bureau representing a select group of the business world’s finest thinkers and thought leaders founded in 1999. Today Speakers Associates operate out of nine offices across seven countries covering the UK, Europe and Middle East. I’m Sean Pillot de Chenecey author of The Post-Truth Business and Influencers & Revolutionaries, which are being followed by The New Abnormal. In this series, I interview a range of fascinating individuals, proudly represented by the bureau. These change agents and industry experts give an update on their specialist areas of knowledge, and also on their motivations and viewpoints regarding the future of business.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (01:01): So today I’m really pleased to be joined by Vlatka Hlupic. She is an award-winning international thought leader, an author of several books, including the famous, The Management Shift and Humane Capital. She’s one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership and organizational transformation and has received numerous international rewards for her work and has been voted one of the most influential HR thinkers in the world every year, since 2015 by HR magazine, as mentioned, she’s published in total four books and more than 350 articles and her work’s being featured in for example, the Harvard business review, the world economic forum and Forbes magazine. She’s currently a professor of leadership and organizational transformation at Hult Ashridge executive education. Before joining them, she held various academic posts at leading business schools in the UK, a renowned professional keynote and TEDx speaker. She regularly presents at major business events worldwide, including events hosted by the house of the parliament, the European commission, the UK home office, the global Peter Drucker forum in Vienna, the economist and the financial times. So Vlatka welcome. And how are you?

Vlatka Hlupic (02:16): Well, good afternoon, Sean. Thank you for inviting me to do this interview. I’m I’m. I’m great. And thank you for your introduction. I would just like to add that one of my key roles today is being a CEO and the founder of The Management Shift Consulting

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (02:35): Mm-Hmm and, and, and, and that I know is really a incredibly dynamic and a sort of a, a, a fascinating organization. And perhaps we’ll come to that one later on, but perhaps take this in a in a, in a sort of natural flow. Should we say should we start with yourselves right at the beginning, because I know , you got this amazing sort of the story of just how you got going. I mean, normally when I say to people, talk me through how you got going and what you do, they tend to jump in straight in at sort of whatever, you know, university level or whatever, sort of first couple of jobs, but with you, it goes back to age seven. So go on, then talk us through. Cause it’s so brilliant.

Vlatka Hlupic (03:14): Well, thank you, Sean. I, I, haven’t spoken about this story before in previous interviews, so why, why not? I will, I will share this as well. So I started my school at the age of seven and I, I was really, really teaching myself before the age of seven. So I learned how to read and I would started reading books and I was quite bored when I started school. And my teacher invited my parents for, for a conversation. And they said, well, she’s, she’s quite bored. And I suggest that she kinda does two years in one year so she can progress progress faster. And my parents just said, no let, let, let her just have a normal childhood, but I was bored. And then soon after that my father made a Blackboard. They bought me some chalks and almost every afternoon after school, I would have friends around maybe half a dozen of them, and I’ve been teaching them since the age of seven.

Vlatka Hlupic (04:18): And then I went on through my primary, secondary education, started getting various awards in various subjects. I, I couldn’t decide what to study because I was interested in so many different things and initially I wanted to be a fashion designer. I, I, I’m very artistic as well. And I used to design and, and make some very UN unusual, unique clothes with my mother as, as I was growing up. But as I was so academic, my parents encouraged me to go into the mainstream education. And then I chose I chose the first degree which was called at the time economics with cybernetics and not many people knew what it meant. It sounded very futuristic, but I, I somehow envisaged that, that, that would be that would become more and more important in the future. So, so I was studying that.

Vlatka Hlupic (05:20): And then towards the end of my degree a few professors approach me and they said you would like you to apply for this job at university, but you need to finish your degree six months earlier. And that’s what I did. So I, I did my dissertation and exams all at the same time. I finished about six months earlier. And then I started working as teaching and research assistant, and then I had to started my master’s degree mm-hmm and the, one of the professors approached me. We would really like you to, to apply for this scholarship for PhD degree where you could part of the PhD in London and then finish, finish PhD here that was in Croatia. But I said, you have to finish your, your master’s degree at least six months before anyone else.

Vlatka Hlupic (06:15): So I did that as well. I finished I, I came to LSC in London to do my PhD and was, was doing well, publishing lots of articles. And then my professor approached me. He said, I’m changing jobs. And I, I, I hope that you would apply for a lecturer at this other university where I’m moving to, but you have to finish your PhD like a year in advance oh my God. So I did, I worked really, really hard and I finished my PhD in just over two years, normally takes three to four years.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (06:51): Yeah, yeah.

Vlatka Hlupic (06:52): So these are my beginnings from the age of seven. It, it hasn’t been going in a usual way, but I guess all this work has prepared me for what I’m doing today.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (07:05): Yeah. Yeah. Wow. I mean, that’s, extraordinary story. So then, you know, bringing things more up to date, cuz I mean, again, we mentioning earlier on, I mean, it’s just been quite an extraordinary background before we talk about the management shift, which I know we want to get into in real, real detail. I, I just mentioned, you know, basically a comment about it from Dr. Jules Goddard, he’s a fellow at London Business School who said, who described as being the most articulate, fully researched and inspiring managerial manifesto for the 21st century corporation yet written. Wow. So go on then Vlatka please talk us through the management shift because obviously it’s been a, yeah, it’s been a spectacular success.

Vlatka Hlupic (07:50): Thank you. Well, the management shift is my life’s work and that is based on more than 25 years of my interdisciplinary research. And I have to mention that I started my career as a computer scientist. So my PhD which I did at LSC was in computer science. And then about 15 years ago, I, I realized this is not my life’s calling. This is not my purpose, but it gave me the, the training that I needed to create the management. I, then I became behavioral scientist and I studied lots of different disciplines from psychology neuroscience, organizational behavior, looking into lots of different theories models, frameworks. And then I pulled everything together in the management shift and I created the models and tools and I published some, some articles, but I haven’t written a book until later on. So I used the management shift approach with various organizations over over the years until I had a, a chance meeting with John Dare who wrote around 40 books on, on leadership.

Vlatka Hlupic (09:06): And yeah, when he saw my my, my work, he said, oh, you must write a book about it. And I asked him okay, so who shall I publish it with? He said, paragraph McMillan. And then the following week, I went to Boston to attend the academy of management conference. And I went straight to paragraph stand in exhibition area. I told him about the book idea and they said, they’re very interested. Just send the proposal. Couple of days later, I was an overnight flight from Boston to, to London. Everybody was asleep except me. So the whole night I was on my laptop writing the proposal for the management shift. And few late few weeks later, I, I had the contract and I wrote the book and then my life changed completely when whoa, the book was launched. So the book so the, the approach is a blueprint for bringing the future of work today.

Vlatka Hlupic (10:10): It’s a, B mm-hmm for the shift in mindset for individuals and leaders and organizational culture. So at the heart of the management shift is the five level model mm-hmm , which those five levels that our individual mindset goes through and the corresponding organizational culture, and every level has specific thinking patterns, language used, emotions, leadership style, and organizational outcomes. We can’t skip the levels. We can only go up one level at a time, but organizations can have pockets of different levels within the same organization. Very important, where a dominant is where leaders are as well, because the leader’s mindset, leader’s consciousness, organizational culture, and mutually well connected as well.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (11:05): Mm-Hmm

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (11:07): And can I ask it, is that I mean, I know we’ve spoken before about these use around spiral dynamics, which is which I think is absolutely fascinating. And, and that is, I mean, in my sort of a far sort of a less area of knowledge of it seems to be the sort of jumping off point, which then links totally into your issue about the five different levels, you know, personal consciousness on an individual basis, along with leadership and then organizations themselves.

Vlatka Hlupic (11:39): Yes, paradynamics models is one of the many models that I looked and analyzed and synthesized before I created the five level model that that is the essence of the management shift. I looked into other theories and, and, and worked by for example Richard Barrett and Susan Kro and Hogan’s work and various, various other models. And I synthesized all these different views and approaches into this five level model and, and created this framework and various leaders said, I, I created a language for this big shift that humanity needs, not just individual organizations, but as well. So I can very, very briefly explain the levels for those listeners who perhaps, yeah, please, please do. Because I might refer to levels in our conversation.

Vlatka Hlupic (12:41): So, so very, very briefly level one, the mindset is lifeless culture. Pathetic, not much gets people are too depressed to do anything. There is lot of fear, blame, so everything is collapsing people losing jobs, livelihoods. So it’s not a good place to be. Unfortunately, there was a shifts that level as well at the beginning of the pandemic. And at level two, we have reluctant mindset, stagnating culture. This is where people do a minimum. They can get away with just to get a paycheck. So they bring their body to work, but their heart and mindset at home, mm-hmm level free control mindset, orderly culture. This is traditional command and control hierarchical management micromanagement people take the boxes. They do what they’re told to do by by their managers. But at those levels levels 1, 2, 3 we don’t see a large levels of engagement, passion for work, purpose, productivity, and profit mm-hmm unfortunately, so far, majority of organizations have been operating from those levels mainly level with some elements of level two, mainly we need to go through what I call the big shift or the management shift.

Vlatka Hlupic (14:06): The management shift is when we move from level three to level four at level four, the mindset is enthusiastic. Culture is collaborative. The keywords are trust, transparency, purpose collaboration, having fun, working, giving back to the society. At that level, we get a step change increase in performance, innovation, engagement, and profit. The average figure I got from companies I worked with and also from the literature is about a hundred percent increase of revenue or profit in some cases within a year. Whoa. So it’s, it’s astonishing, everything changes. And then very occasionally we can reach level five with limitless mindset and unbounded culture. This is where highly innovative teams were day and night on some amazing innovations for humanity. We are driven by our love for humanity. So we want to solve big problems such as pandemic or, or climate change or, or hunger, for example. And we can’t be at level five all the time. We would burn out mm-hmm, but we can occasionally go to level five. We need to be anchored at level four, and if we have to sleep down temporarily because of some difficulties. So if we go to level level, we, we, we will bounce back quickly and easily to level four once we reach this level four.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (15:35): So, OK. Yeah. Yeah.

Vlatka Hlupic (15:37): So I created this model about 12 years ago, and I have been using it to coach C level executives to go through the big shift, to move from level three to level four. And then about 11 years ago, I had another epiphany. I had to figure out how to help entire organization to shift to level four and how to help many organizations to shift to level at the same time. So I went back my research, I did lot of more research and through thematic analysis, I created a six box leadership model, which comprises over hundred 20 factors. The drive innovation value creation, performance profit created a software tool, which can measure hidden strengths and weaknesses in those six areas, which include culture. So we can see what kind of culture organization has relationships, how well people work together, individuals, their mindset drive motivation strategy, how it gets developed and executed systems, how the work gets done in resources.

Vlatka Hlupic (16:47): So this is like an MRI. Some people gave me unique name a doctor for corporations. So we, we do this scan, this MRI, which, and then we see in those six boxes, which parts of organizational body need to be healed mm-hmm. And that in the next phase we prescribe the medicine. So we work with an organization to develop one interaction plan, to leverage strength, breast weaknesses, and to heal, improve performance as well. So in a nutshell nutshell, this is the essence of the management shift. And then I build a lot of other tools and programs around this, this key theory.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (17:33): Wow. That sounds absolutely extraordinary. And, and as you say, I mean, I’d be such a renowned book, I mean, or, or renowned books in the plural plural that you know, all I can say is incredibly impressive. But then you haven’t rested your on your laurels. Cause I know you mentioned that you’ve been creating new models in an in-house consulting program, so perhaps yeah. Perhaps tell us all of that, that you’ve been up to over the last few months.

Vlatka Hlupic (18:01): Yes. I mean, when, when this pandemic started, what I notice is a polarization on one hand, there was more gravitous towards lower levels with all the fear and worry and anxiety. And then on the other hand, there is more gravitous towards level four and five. So we were kind of accelerated and pushed forward to move towards those higher levels. Especially for example, with homeworking people work from home bosses, can’t micromanage them anymore from level three mindset and have to trust that people can do their work well, but they will decide how, when and where they will do their work. So we, we, we had this natural progression more towards level four and five. And I have to say that these levels are hugely important because with our neuro brain cells, we pick up the moods and emotions of people around us.

Vlatka Hlupic (19:03): So mm-hmm, we are like neuro wifis. So when we are surrounded by people at level levels, it’s like a negative or energy. And, and there was some of this negativity that some people polarized around at the beginning of the pandemic. On the other hand, those people who are already around level four and, and occasionally level five have seen this an to reset, to recalibrate, to, to co something different world. And so that I went into, so I went into my cocoon phase, like many, many other people at the start of pandemic. And I thought, well, I’m not going to catch up on Netflix. I’m going, do something which is related to my purpose. I have to say the management shift is my life purpose. I’m yeah, I’m very, very clear that I’m on earth to, to do this work and to help as many leaders, as many organizations as possible globally to go through this big shift because those leaders will create ripples in their organizations.

Vlatka Hlupic (20:14): So we will get more level four, five organizations. And when we get a critical mass of level four or five organizations, the whole society, the whole humanity will shift to a high level of, of yeah, yeah. Being of thinking of consciousness. So I knew when the pandemic started that this is my chance, I had more time at home, more time to think, and I reflected on everything. I thought now I have to start creating something new. And we also know from a complexity that when we are on the age of chaos, we become most innovative. So this was one moment that I experienced as well. And I thought, okay. So I had to shift a lot of work. I was doing face to face online. I had to move my teaching, which I do at RI online as well at the same time.

Vlatka Hlupic (21:10): But then I had time to think about what do I do with the management shift, my, my business, my life’s work. And then I got these amazing inspirations and, and the of creativity. So what I did, I first of all, I went back to the management shift research and data. I went back to research. I did for my ladies book humane capital, where I attribute 58 leaders about their stories, about their mindset, about their strategies for shifting from level three, to level four for this big shift. So I looked into all that and I thought, I now need to really go into more debts around level four, five, and figure out what are the key traits, the key actions that leaders need to do now in this pandemic to really help organizations to survive and thrive in the post world. And then I created a model which I called eight CS for humane leadership.

Vlatka Hlupic (22:19): And this model that I’m going to start teaching when I start doing my online master classes in the next few weeks at the same time I created another model, which is not just for leaders, but for any person any, anyone who wants to go through transformation. So, so this new model is called eight sit model, eight steps for individual transformation, outlining specific steps that we need to take to achieve some transformation and, and to create circumstances and, and really be in control of our life. And to understand that we all have the power to do that. We just need to get this awareness and reconnect. This organizations are guidance on how to go through this transformation. So I created an online program, the post pandemic shift, where I would work with leadership teams. We would do six box diagnostics for that organization.

Vlatka Hlupic (23:32): And then I would do online workshops teaching the basic principles of the management shift going through this course and then developing action plan online for zoom that those leaders need to take straight away. There were few other things that I, I developed and created as well. I such as for example, a program for CEOs, which I’m going do for group of CEOs in Sweden, for example, , which will mm-hmm , which will also include all these new new models as well as my seminal work. So it has been incredible time and I have enough material for yet another book, but part the book properly it’ll take me at least six months. And then by the time it’s published, it’ll take another six, eight months. And I thought, I don’t have time for this. So I, I want to give, give out this new insight, this new material, because people need guidance that they need. They need help at this situation. So I decided I’m going to start doing a number of master classes online, which will be available to the larger number of people. So I can, I can teach this, this new material. And then by the time the world changes again the book might look a little bit different but I’m sure there will be more books in the future.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (25:05): Yeah, exactly. Well, I’m, I’m sure they will. Wow. That sounds an exhausting range of things that you’ve been up to while everyone else, or perhaps many other people have been there rather sort resting on their, on their laurels. What about a a sort of a, a, not so much it’s a contextual subject but it’s an area that I know is incredibly important to you that perhaps you haven’t mentioned specifically yet, and that is the issue of the importance of diversity. And I know certainly that’s something that you that you’ve written about in detail and that you obviously sort of lecture about. So, you know in terms of the issues around leveraging diversity, focusing on diversity, perhaps just talk us through some of your insights with regards to that.

Vlatka Hlupic (25:54): Yes, it, it is a big subject and we know from various research studies that diversity has more or less direct impact on, on profit in similar way as engagement has di direct impact on profit. So, so is does a diversity as well. But here we mean not just a gender diversity, that is very important aspect, but also diversity of thought. So it’s really about avoiding a group thing. And there is there’s a lovely story from my ladies book, Humane Capital one of the, the ladies I interviewed , she created the whole diversity movement in her organization, but she realized that she read some kind of a glass of ceiling and the whole management team was very, very uniform all middle-aged man. And so she thought we need to do something about this.

Vlatka Hlupic (26:57): So she wrote a very, very short email to CEO saying this CEO, the management team is not diverse enough, but our customers are diverse. We need to do something about that. Initially CEO didn’t reply, but she sent an email to a colleague and then a colleague sent it to somebody else, and then it, it went viral. Yeah. And then it started talking about this at some forums and, and lunch lunchtime meetings. So it, it, it reached the point where co couldn’t ignore it anymore. And six months later she created Facebook the whole movement, the Facebook group with over 250,000 followers. So the, the board became more diverse and there was some specific efforts to, to make the whole company more diverse and to tap the power of diversity of thinking. The reason why I’m sharing this particular example is it is linked to diversity, but it also shows that each and every one of us can create those ripples. So based on that one single short email that she wrote, she created this movement. She got for that, all this work that she did around this she, she got an OB from French president ands now, independent consultant traveling around the world or, or now at the moment fr yeah. Companies to become more diverse to get proper leadership in place as well. And, and so on.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (28:39): Mm.

Vlatka Hlupic (28:40): So yes, it’s important, but, and we can all make a difference. So this would be the two key messages.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (28:46): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. And then, and again, obviously very much linked to that, but perhaps just pushing back slightly well, not obviously not disagreeing anyway, but the issue about so once idea is absolutely you know, taken on board, you see about, you know, diversity of opinion and diversity of thought is, is absolutely as important as diversity of this use such as as a gender or class, et cetera. What about another angle on this? And that is, again, an area that I know you consult on a lot, and that is something that is absolutely specific, which is age. So the idea of building engage, for instance, millennial workplaces. I just talk a bit about that, but both from the point of view of millennials specifically, and the sort of mindset they have, but then also the issue correspondingly of the multi-generational workplace.

Vlatka Hlupic (29:46): That’s another point as well, that is really relevant to what we are discussing here, because we know from various research studies that, for example, although I don’t like to stereotype, but there is an indication that millennials, they, they ignore hierarchy just like knowledge workers, so we can draw some parallels. Mm-Hmm we know from research, for example, knowledge workers ignore hierarchy. They have to be treated as associates, not as subordinates. They’re very mobile, C C on the other hand, millennials, and, and they will form a majority of the workforce. Very soon. They also don’t want to, to have level three hierarchical, command and control. They want purpose, they want feedback, they want opportunities and, and they, they are mobile as well. They would just leave if, if, if they can and if, if they don’t get what they’re looking for at the workplace. So from that perspective, we need level four management as well. Hopefully this pandemic has, has provided some acceleration towards that ways of managing organizations that I believe will become new normal. And so many people contacted me over this last few months saying your work will have to be the new normal in this new world that is emerging. And I started preaching the ideas around the management sheet about 15 years ago. So you can imagine a few eyebrows being raised. What, what is what she talking about?

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (31:28): Yeah, yeah.

Vlatka Hlupic (31:29): I always kind try to see what’s, what’s coming in the future. And, and I think this future isn’t is going to be now where we have to use level four management for millennials, for everyone else, for knowledge workers. And so on coming back your point about multigenerational workforce, we know that life expectancy is, is increasing as well. And we will have multi-generational workforces in many organizations and we already have, so, so one point I want to make is, would it be wonderful to, to have a diverse mentoring as, as one of the common practices, because millennials can learn so much from the, from all the generations and all the gen, all the generations can learn so much from technologically savvy millennials as well. So I think that that could be something that could be very, very productive for, for everyone and for organizations as well.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (32:34): Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting. Cause I, I know that you obviously have been very much involved with the world economic forum in Davos. And and you just talking there about looking to the future and just how sort of a forward looking prescient your, your previous work has been and know that your current work is, is interesting yesterday. Watching the latest outputs from the from the world economic forum with cloud Schwab and Terry Mallory and Saadi Zahidi were introduced by Adrian Monk with regards to the 2021 world economic forum, which is going to be done under the title of, you know, the great reset where they’re talking about the need for a new business model and this links, I think, directly back to yourself. So they’re saying that the, what they’ve identified in the, in their latest research with regards to the great reset is that the need for a new business model is all about diversity equality and social justice. So I think that links right back to obviously what you’ve been talking about and what you have been sort of consulting on all for all these years.

Vlatka Hlupic (33:42): I agree completely, and now we have a chance to, to do this reset, to let go of all behaviors practices, thinking patterns that do not serve us anymore. And, and the way that the big shift works is that the first step is getting awareness. So if we have the awareness that our mindset, our cultures is for example, level three, and it doesn’t serve its purpose anymore. So we need first consciously let go of thinking patterns, behaviors at this level. And then after a while, we’ll reach the stage where we can consciously start adopting thinking patterns, language, and behavior of level four. And in time, this is going to become a new habit. New neuroconnections will be will emerge in our brains and that will in time become new habit subconscious compete competence. So this is how process of the shift works, but, but getting this awareness is a first step. I, I tend to use a metaphor. So when people are, are a little bit stuck at level free, it’s like having this brick wall in front of their eyes and then get awareness of level four. It’s like creating the crux in the wall, so the light can come through. So,

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (35:11): Ah, yeah, yeah.

Vlatka Hlupic (35:13): Striving all theses Possibilities, the potential,

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (35:26): And also kinda in terms of the, the style of leadership within things like that level four emergent stage perhaps just talk about the, a bit more about the, the day to day practicalities of this. So, you know, so if one is working within a, a typically level four type business I, I know you talk a lot there about things like horizontal leadership, which I think links back to the point you made earlier on about, you know, you talk about millennials liking to be dealt with is associates and not subordinates. So perhaps let’s talk a bit about, again, that issue of, you know, literally the day to day style of leadership that you would like to be seeing in it in a level four time business.

Vlatka Hlupic (36:09): Yes. the first point I want to make that I also call this humane leadership or level

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (36:17): Point. Yeah, yeah.

Vlatka Hlupic (36:19): If you start doing research in this area, you will find a lot of different labels from complexity, leadership, shared leadership, distributed leadership, servant leadership, et cetera, cetera. So there are lots of different labels, but the key idea is, is similar in sense that here we have more horizontal leadership at level three is over vertical. We have to follow the rules. We, we know that decision making is done at the top, but it just doesn’t work because people at the top, they don’t have all the knowledge required to make well inform decisions because everything is moving. And there is so much to know in, in, in any organization, especially in larger organizations. So it just doesn’t work anymore. So with with humane leadership or level four leadership, horizontal leadership, there is more trust. There is more transparency. So leaders trust that their employees know how to do their work well. So they give them responsibility. And this is what is happening. Now, when people work from home, they have to be giving responsibility. They can’t be micromanaged.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (37:35): Yeah, of course. Yeah. Yeah.

Vlatka Hlupic (37:36): So that, that is one aspect. Another aspect is allowing decision making to be done on the basis of knowledge and skills rather than hierarchical position. Because as I said, leaders at the top, they don’t have this knowledge and that it might be needed, but people that are closer to customers, they have knowledge, they have experience, they know what customers want to need, and they, they should be empowered to make this decision at, at that level whatever it takes to provide extraordinary service or, or product for a customer. For example, also talk about values that that should be lined with corporate values and the purpose, common purpose, individual purpose should be lined with higher purpose of an organization, for example, and, and caring organizational culture is very important where for example, leaders create psychological safety at level four. Yep. So it’s safe to speak up if something is wrong, it’s safe to, to say if, if, if you are struggling and then there will be a way of, of finding some support for you, for example it’s also about this communities, communication communities and connection among people where they can self organize, pursue some some passions they have, which are related to companies goals as well, but they have freedom to experiment with new ideas to try out.

Vlatka Hlupic (39:17): And, and, and this is how innovation emerges, for example, and of compassion. A good emotion intelligence from leaders is, is required and its kindness and compassion, which is linked to emotional intelligence, psychological safety, et cetera, cetera, cetera, all that will lead to places which are happier, more purposeful, more productive, more engaging. And ultimately this will impact a bottom line profit. So it’s a win-win win for everyone.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (39:52): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Can you ask, so what about examples of these sorts of businesses? I mean, do you look around you and say, right. Okay. So, you know X is a typical level three business, whereas Y is a great example of an emergent for level business and you know, whatever. And Z is this incredible example of a level five. Are there any, you know, specific companies or organizations that you point to as, as being indicative of these points?

Vlatka Hlupic (40:27): I, I have tools that can measure where organization is so we can use a six box diagnostics and we can see what is going on. Because with this diagnostics, we have possibility to collect quantitative and qualitative data where people can write anonymously what is going on in organization. So that is one data point before the lockdown, I used to visit a lot of organizations as well for business meetings or for doing interviews. And, and mm-hmm , and as soon as I walk in, in the reception area, I just pick up the level, I just kind of have this inner knowing mm-hmm . And I, I would say that those organizations, which are clearly around level four, which means the leaders have to be around level four mm-hmm culture should be around level four. I could just sense it from the way that the body language, the, the, the, the energy of people, people happy, smiling.

Vlatka Hlupic (41:29): Often you can see flowers and reception. In some cases, there is some, some background music as well. So, so there details like that, that can tell me a lot about organization, good life, all positive art on the wall. So these all little things that really make people happier to be there shows attention to detail from, from the management as well. And, and, and then I do research around organizations. I, I follow the news and, and articles, and I, I see how people are treated in some organizations where they don’t even have a comfort breaks or yeah, yeah. Et cetera, et cetera. I prefer not to name the organizations. I don’t anyone if, if I, if I give examples at lower levels, but once you get into this, you will soon be able to, to, to tell a awareness of the levels where organizations are, where leaders are, and have tools to measure that as well.

Vlatka Hlupic (42:41): On the other hand, for example, organizations that are operating at high levels they also tend to be more charitable. One example from human capital book in Salesforce, they give 1% of time for charity work for communities. Mm-Hmm, , they give 1% of profit for good causes to support, to support communities mm-hmm and what set of product time. So, so there are examples or quickly I can share example when I interviewed a, a CEO of handles banking Swedish bank. Yeah. Survived the big crash 10 years ago, or 12 years ago. Yep. Much more easily than any other big bank mm-hmm so, so I went to interview CEO and one of the buildings in the city of London. Yeah. He shared the story. Well, how they decentralized the whole operation many, many decades ago or 50 years ago, they realized that they can’t centralize decision making.

Vlatka Hlupic (43:54): So, so the CEO told me, I’m, I’m sitting here in this Ivo tower, and yes, we were about 15, 16 floor up, up in the air, so that I’m sitting here. I have no idea what our customers want in specific areas and regions. And this is different in different regions in the UK. I, I have to allow a branch managers to make older decisions and, and manage. So I think this is the model that many large organizations, even governments can look into and see what they can learn from that. And then things would be easier and better for many people, if, if many many leaders can this awareness.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (44:39): Yeah. Yeah. Wow. So in that case, just last couple of questions before we begin to finish off and it’s been, so so interesting talking to you’ve like a what about on, on a on a sort of cultural, social level how, you know, bluntly put, I wonder how your thinking is taken on board as you were just before half in, up to the, the pandemic, which rather stopped or travel at that point. So let’s say, you know, if you were traveling around for the most obvious places, you know, Silicon valley early in the week, midweek being, or late week being over in let’s say in, in Shanghai or Beijing and then after somewhere like Melbourne or whatever for instance, do you, did you tend to find that depending on where you were in the world, but your audience were having a different reaction to your advice

Vlatka Hlupic (45:35): Somewhat. Yes. so I can give you some examples. So some cultures are more hierarchical, more naturally, and there is are big cultural reasons that go back for many, many, many years where hierarchy yeah. Accepted as, as a normal way of being and working. Yeah. On the other hand, there are some cultures which are more progressive where those cracks on the wall appear so quickly and easily, and, and those cracks were there already in many cases. So example countries. So, so I’m, as I, as I mentioned, I’m going work now in Scandinavia and in Sweden with theirs. Because there, there is a, a, a great awareness there that this, this is, this is powerful and those insights can really help those leaders to take their organizations to the next level. And when people ask me how your clients work how, how do your clients find you? I say, mm-hmm, through inspiration or desperation. So the Navy obviously are in the first category, but in the second category could be leaders that are used to command and control, and it feels quite natural, but they feel unless they do something differently, organization will not survive. And, and indeed what many leaders told me when I interviewed them for human capital, they said, if we did not go through this big shift years ago, we would not be around today as an organization. So after a survival for many companies.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (47:23): Mm, well, how interesting. So in that case, I mean, just sort of a final question for you, and it’s the, sort of the million dollar question. So here we are sort of in a late summer of of 2020. So how are you looking forward to where things take us now over the next year or so you know, bluntly put, are you filled with hope or are you pessimistic, or, you know, where do you stand as you look into your crystal ball?

Vlatka Hlupic (47:53): I’m always an optimist. And I, I refuse to, to have optimist to have a pessimistic outlook. So what I can say is we, we don’t have a control on external circumstances, but we do have a control on how do we respond to external circumstances? What do we do? How can we work on ourselves to become more resilient, more, more adaptable more creative. I, I feel this situation we are going through is going to be a kickstart of some kind of a new Renaissance with, with new inventions new, new art and new insights and, and so on. So I think this is a chance to really unite that humanity needs to unite and, and based on love and compassion work together on the world that we want to co-create. So, as I said, at the beginning, live behind what didn’t work so far and adopt new thinking new behaviors, new practices, new initiatives, new ideas that will help co-create this new world. Now we have a chance, and we also have to remember coming back to this example from pharmaceutical company, that we all have the power to create ripples, to make a difference. It may take one short email. It may take one blog. It may take one conversation on zoom, or hopefully face to face. We all have the power to make a difference, and this is very, very important to remember, and we just have to make a decision take one day at a time and do our best

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (49:47): Mm-Hmm well, fantastic. That was absolutely superb and suitably inspiring in there as we look forward to a new Renaissance. And I’m certainly with you on that one. So Vlatka Hlupic, the award winning international thought leader, keynote speaker author, who was also the founder and CEO of The Management shift Consulting Ltd. Who advises CEOs and board members of major international organizations. Thank you very much, indeed.

Vlatka Hlupic (50:14): Thank you, Sean.

Sean Pillot de Chenecey (50:19): Thank you for listening to The Speaker Show podcast. Please leave a rating on iTunes. We’d really appreciate it. And also it’d be great. If you could subscribe to the podcast itself, you’ll find it also on Google podcasts, SoundCloud, or your favorite podcast app. Thank you.

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Podcast host

Sean Pillot de Chenecey speaker

Sean Pillot de Chenecey

Foresight strategist, author and podcast host Sean Pillot de Chenecey is an inspirational speaker, who’s also consulted for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Sean has a very deep level of knowledge regarding the genuine issues impacting brands from a cultural, social and business perspective.

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