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Creating Impact with Tania Luna – Episode 97

3 top tips from Tania Luna.


1.Get the person talking.

Then get them to place where they’ve heard themselves through that playback. Make sure you’ve kind of teased apart the different strands of that problem. So it’s clear which problem you’re solving.

2. Soon funnel.

The other tip that I’ll throw out there is we use a coaching framework. There are many out there, the one that I really like is the one we made up and it’s hold on all. It’s called the soon funnel as in soon, you’ll get to the solution soon. And it stands for success, obstacles, options, next steps. So in that situation, I might say something like, well, what would success look like for this project? And that’s a really important place to start. Because it is incredibly easy for us, especially when we’re stressed to just focus on the problem.

3. MIT method, most important thing.

It’s something called the MIT method, most important thing. And it is as easy as starting your day by going what is my MIT? What is that one thing that I want to get done today? And it sounds kind of silly, simple. But what we find is that when people don’t ask that question, you either do the thing that is right in front of you, because you’re too tired to even think about it. Maybe you do the thing that’s really easy, because you want that dopamine hit that quick when the thing that someone who stresses you out asked you for. And so you have all these decision criteria that are not actually linked to what is truly most important for your organization. So it could be that you use this tool yourself and you go, whatever, what’s my MIT today, you could use it on a team level




people, manager, called, feedback, organization, skills, problem, conversation, business, person, book, talk, feel, ideally, micro, important, extroverts, noticed, learning, quickly

Tania Luna  00:00

We had to figure out how to get through this very tough period where so many businesses were cutting costs and doing layoffs and just freezing all expenses that they didn’t see as a must have. And so it was a very tough period. And in many ways, it was also the best experience, because that’s where all of the groundwork and all of the sort of foundation building that we had done up until that point of building a really strong culture of building the kind of place where people could be creative and responsive to the uncertainties around us and trusted each other and felt passion and commitment in their work.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  00:38

So good morning, and welcome to another episode of Better Business Better Life. Today, my guest is joining us from Pennsylvania, us. And I’m really excited this, this lady is just amazing. She was the co founder. And for a long time the CEO of LifeLabs learning. She’s an established author. She’s a researcher, writer, and educator. She’s written for Psychology today, and HBr, and a whole host of other places. But most importantly, she’s also she’s working with rescued animals, which just really makes my heart sing such as there’s just this amazing, well-rounded person. Hey, Tanya, lovely to have you on the show.

Tania Luna  01:14

I’m so excited to be here. And as you said that one of these rescued animals decided to make some noise. So I apologize in advance. But we’re bringing you and your listeners into the thick of my life. So there might be some sounds from time to time.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  01:29

I love it. And we do this all live and we deliberately don’t cut it and sometimes my dogs who said that they want to, you know come into the podcast studio or want to leave the podcast studio or bark at there’s something about us. That’s all fine. So you’ve got 21 rescued animals, haven’t you? Right?

Tania Luna  01:41

Yeah, started off very gradually. And then it just we ended up moving. I grew up from Ukraine. Originally, I grew up in New York City, relatively recently moved to Pennsylvania and for better or worse, got a lot of space outdoor space, which we then promptly decided to start filling up with animals that needed home. So we have a family of five pigs that lives outside nine goats. We’ve got two pigs that live indoors, dogs, a cat

Debra Chantry-Taylor  02:07

Pigs that live indoors as well. I’m actually I’m gonna come visit one day, I’ve got to see this. Amazing. Yeah. Now I know that you’ve just recently stepped away from being the Co-CEO of the LifeLabs learning. And but you took that business from being a two man band right up to 150 people? Would you like to share with us a little bit of that story? And you know, even where the idea came from, as well. And the other from the beginning, if you like, Oh, my goodness,

Tania Luna  02:33

Yes, I will try. So the idea actually didn’t come from me. It came from my co-founder, Leanne Renninger. She started a version of life up before I joined that had workshops that were open to the public on what she thought of as kind of the school the skills that you don’t get a chance to learn in school. So she was teaching about topics like how do you make small talk really well? What are what are wisdom skills, things like that. And she and I actually met because I had another company at the time, called surprise industries, where I My background is in psychology. So I had been doing research on surprise psychology and surprise industries. We both created these experiences where you show up and you don’t know what you’re going to be doing until you get there. And we would work with companies and think about surprise through the lens of organizational health. Where do you remove unpleasant surprises where you add positive surprises. And Leanne, who started LifeLabs, she also was really passionate about surprise, psychology was looking to create a workshop on surprise. And so that’s how she found me, we got together, we designed this workshop on surprise psychology, the strangest of topics, and started actually booking corporate clients. My background was more on working with companies. And so over time, we sort of blended our businesses together. And more and more the, the training the the advising piece of it picked up steam. So her expertise was in designing these learning experiences. My expertise was in the kind of b2b organizational development and working with, you know, corporate clients side of it. So my job was to kind of grow the business into this b2b shape out of the b2c shape that had had before. So I wish I had like a nice simple story, a linear path. It was a very strange kind of windy road into becoming part of this organization. It was the two of us, the year one. And then, seven years later, when I was ready to step out of the CEO role. We were about 150 people, we, at that point reached about 1500 clients. You know, when I joined, we were three clients. So it was quite the adventure.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  04:39

Wow. And so you’ve obviously you’re still involved in that role, aren’t you? So you’re doing a lot of the doing the chair of the board and things like that. What do you think were the things you’ve been most proud of throughout that journey? Because I mean, that’s a it’s a huge journey. There must have been some really great highs but also some some challenges along the way. What are you most proud of?

Tania Luna  04:58

Sure one of those challenges is called 2020. And actually, maybe the highs and lows in many ways go hand in hand, like if I think about the toughest year we had for sure was 2020, as I’m sure many businesses did, we were at that point 70% of the the, so we do leadership development manager training, and about 70% of our business was in person. And then the pandemic hit. And we had to switch everything very, very quickly to virtual workshops, we had to figure out how to get through this very tough period where so many businesses were cutting costs, and doing layoffs, and just freezing all expenses that they didn’t see as a must have. And so, it was a very tough period. And in many ways, it was also the best experience, because that’s where all of the groundwork and all of the sort of foundation building that we had done up until that point of building a really strong culture of building the kind of place where people could be creative and responsive to the uncertainties around us and trusted each other and felt passion and commitment in their work. You just saw this incredible sort of rising up within the team of people going well, okay, well, we can’t do this thing anymore. So let’s come up with this other business idea. And, and people just, you know, job titles didn’t matter. And you know, how long people had been there didn’t matter, people just really came together. And we’re so agile and responsive and inspiring, frankly. And those were the absolute best moments as seeing that it really took on a life of its own the culture, the people co created it and really made it into this flourishing entity, you know, that, that I couldn’t even wrap my head, my hands around anymore, because they they turned it into what it was. And seeing that, that evolution was incredibly inspiring. That’s wonderful.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  06:56

And you obviously you’re in the middle of all of this growing a business and going for this, you wrote a book as well. And the book, I’ve just lost the title of the Leader Lab. That’s right, the Leader Lab. So tell us what, where that came from and why you wanted to do that.

Tania Luna  07:11

Yeah, so it’s called the leader lab core skills to become a great manager faster. And it’s really a synthesis of our most popular courses. So we saw again, and again, the biggest impact we can make within organizations that were limited in time and money is focusing on really accelerating the effectiveness of managers. And so of course, we do that through our workshops, where we’re focusing on skill building, but we wanted to make a book accessible as well, both to our our clients, but also to people who don’t have access to our training or whether they can’t afford it, or they’re not quite ready for it. We just wanted to kind of democratize access to the skills and tools because we see the incredible difference that it makes very quickly. And to the point of your the whole theme of your podcast, both in work and in life.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  08:00

Absolutely. So the key. I mean, I remember when I looked at your website, the thing that really struck me was, you know, instructions for human kindness is actually the first thing I saw when I landed on your website. And of course, the whole leader lab is all about being empathy, empathetic, compassionate leaders, too, in order to improve business. Tell me a little bit about you know, what do you what are the common issues or challenges you see in the businesses that you work with in the leadership or management teams?

Tania Luna  08:26

Yeah, well, so for some context, the companies we work with, we work with organizations all around the world of various sizes, but the thing that they tend to have in common is there’s a lot of uncertainty, both positive and negative, either they’re growing very quickly, or things are changing around them very quickly. And what we notice is, incredibly often the challenge is just the managers who are kind of chucked into these roles don’t quite know how to do the job, well. They want to the intentions are there, but there isn’t clarity around what does this role look like when it’s done really well. And so the biggest and kind of in many ways, simplest challenge we wanted to address is how do we give managers? How do we simplify the complexity of it? How do we give them the tools, the vocabulary, the habits to be able to be multipliers, because that’s the point of a manager, oftentimes, we forget that you’re not meant to be like, you know, a controller, which is, you know, a synonym for a manager, you’re ideally you’re not just overseeing people and telling them what to do, you are having this one plus one equals three effect, where the work that you’re doing with others, accelerates and amplifies their effectiveness. So number one thing we wanted to do is just figure out, alright, how do we take people who are feeling overwhelmed who either have not enough experience or not enough experience, managing this kind of environment, and give them those tools that are going to set them up for success? And we both Leana and I have a background in psychology and so we started off by doing research on what are the specific skills that distinguish great managers. And then we broke those skills down into what we call behavioral units. So what To the tiny actions kind of micro actions that result in, you know, strong performance, commitment, engagement, passion. And that’s what the book is. And that’s the training that we do as well.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  10:12

Fantastic. So I think I’ve seen this with some of the people’s businesses, I work with people after get promoted, because they’ve been there for a long time, or because they just have the natural person or or were with other family businesses might be a family member who comes in and takes on a role. Or it can just be that somebody has actually started a business quite early on showing some potential, and they want to take them up to a management level. But it’s very, very different sort of, you know, doing things versus managing and leading people, isn’t it? And I think that’s what you’re saying is that people, you know, go out and get thrown into this, but they haven’t been given the skills to actually be the most effective leader or manager.

Tania Luna  10:46

And oftentimes, there’s no correlation between actually, I would say, usually, there’s no correlation between really good at doing your job as an individual contributor, I don’t know, maybe I’m doing sales or engineering, and then supporting others in achieving results, it’s actually an entirely different skill set. I mean, they really, there’s very little parallel between them. And so partially, one of the challenges is sometimes individuals who don’t even want to be doing the job of a manager, and that being in the job of a manager, and then even if you want to be doing it, it’s not even like, Absolutely, they need the skills. But before that, they don’t even know what the job description is. So even just starting off with saying at or at our organization, what is the purpose of a manager, you know, what does it look like when it’s done? Well, what are some of the results that you’re looking to achieve? And truly, if you do that, well, we’d still love to work with you, but you won’t need us nearly as much. Because so much of the pain is just what the heck is a manager. And also it just, you know, again, the the world around us is changing so quickly, what success was for a manager 20 years ago, 10 years ago might be different than what success is and what expectations are today. So I think it’s just a really important thing to not take for granted that that expectation needs to be clear.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  12:01

So how does an organization know that they’re perhaps not doing things as well as they could be? What are the signs that you might see that says, hey, the wheels are falling off?

Tania Luna  12:11

Yeah, so I’ll say the, what does it look like when the wheels are falling off? And then maybe what does it look like when the wheels are creaking?

Debra Chantry-Taylor  12:18

Okay, that’s good to hear.

Tania Luna  12:21

From people when they’re just starting to notice the creeks, not when

Debra Chantry-Taylor  12:24

Chauffeur down the motorway.

Tania Luna  12:28

I mean, the wheels falling off, we see things like people quitting, you see this, either they’re literally quitting, or they’re kind of quitting in place where they’ve checked out, you see, you know, really unproductive conflict, a healthy conflict can be a wonderful thing, but conflict that gets tied up in ego and defensiveness. And, you know, people feeling disrespected, things like that, having a really hard time hiring. And so you know, your business is really constrained in its ability to achieve anything. And then oftentimes, this is somewhere between a wheel falling off and a creek is the the founders or the the leaders just being incredibly overwhelmed and burned out and underwater because they can’t rely on their team, they can’t achieve the results in the hopes and dreams that they have. By being able to leverage the power of the group. They’re just putting everything on their shoulders and feeling burnt out and feeling exhausted and feeling frustrated and irritated and things like that. The earlier signs are things like an over reliance on managers, for example, that’s one that people often don’t pick up. You know, managers often feel great being problem solvers, you come to them with a question, they give you an answer. You walk away happy, they walk away happy. And that for us is actually a really important red flag. Because ideally, what happens when a manager has someone come to them with a problem is they don’t give them an answer. They ask them questions, and they help them figure out that solution on their own so that the person believes not with an answer, but with a skill set and improved skill set in finding that answer on their own.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  14:08

It’s that whole teach the man to fish rather than fish for him.

Tania Luna  14:10

Yeah, exactly. And oftentimes, it’s not even it’s not even about direct mentorship, it’s just being kind of a someone who’s there to help them even work through what is the problem, you know, it’s like, what am I actually thinking, you know, and so that, you know, other other red flags or creaky wheels are things like avoiding difficult conversations. Another one might be everyone feeling that they’re constantly overwhelmed and busy, really big red flag. We can’t get done we can’t get to those things because there are too many things that are high urgency, high importance. So things like slipping through the cracks or or people getting all the things done and then just being incredibly exhausted and burnt out.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  14:56

Yeah, okay. Just make a few notes. So that’s that’s really interesting. Yeah, I’m sure that’s a few people are listening here now saying, Oh yes, we’ve got a few of those things going on. I know that I know I’ve certainly seen it not only in my own businesses when I when I’ve employed sort of staff and what not, but also in businesses that I work with and, and I think that the busyness you know, we’ve got too many things like that that are too urgent or too important, we just haven’t got time to do anything else is a real red flag in terms of okay, this is not this is not good.

Tania Luna  15:28

Flag to because you while you’re in the midst of the busyness, you can feel really productive, you can feel frustrated, you can feel anxious, but you can feel really productive and really good about yourself, especially the across those 100 things off your stick. Yeah, exactly. So in many ways, it’s a problem that everyone feels really mean, even we hear it from from founders from executives, I don’t have time I have too much on my plate, but you’re the one putting it on your plate. Time ideally, isn’t something very much like management, I’m coming to believe more and more that people shouldn’t manage people, they should sort of, you know, work in partnership with people. And I’m thinking the same way about time, you shouldn’t try to manage time and control time as though it’s your enemy, you should really be kind of befriending time and collaborating with the time that you have. But everywhere we look, there’s this kind of adversarial relationship people have with time, they’re like, oh, I want more of it. And it’s going away I want. And so there’s this chronic sense of strain and stress and an urgency. And again, it’s it’s fascinating, because in many ways, we’re putting ourselves in those situations, because we’re the ones putting those things on our to do lists, even the individuals with the most power in the organization feel that amount of strain. And if you imagine the individuals who have less and less and less power throughout the organization, they feel it even more.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  16:52

So what’s the first step to kind of tackling some of these things? So let’s just say you’re sitting here, you’re gonna be recognizing going yes, we definitely got those issues in our organization, what would you suggest is the first step towards making a difference?

Tania Luna  17:03

Yeah. So when it comes to the, the issue of over reliance, you know, when when people are constantly coming to you, whether you’re a manager or an executive within your organization, the thing that we found in our research was actually what I was kind of getting or hinting at earlier is managers who stand out as most effective have a much, much higher question to answer ratio than managers who are seen as average in terms of ratings from their direct reports. And so literally, one of the things we found in our research is, we would see a conversation one on one conversation between a manager and their direct report. And managers who are again, seen as most effective, they’re asking about 10 questions in a 15 minute interval. On average, you’re seeing about two questions per 15 minute interval. And we did this across several different countries, it varies somewhat, but really, the ratio piece is still there. So as strange as it sounds, the first step is really actually starting to take more off of your own shoulders, and place the responsibility or the power of problem solving of thinking things through or figuring things out onto other individuals. And it’s actually Oh, sorry, yeah, no, go

Debra Chantry-Taylor  18:21

Go ahead,  Sorry, go.

Tania Luna  18:22

Well, I was gonna say, um what that does is it essentially, if it takes the power of problem solving, and it takes it out of this, like small bunched up cluster of the small number of people who can figure things out on their own, both in terms of skill and confidence, and it spreads it, it like sets it free across the entire organization, which means that in kind of an indirect way, but very quickly, workload becomes distributed, as well as decision making becomes distributed. So now I not only have less to do, but I also have less to decide. And I have the power to make high quality decisions about what’s most important.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  19:00

I think we kind of use the terminology of accountability in our, in our EOS world where we, you know, we actually sort of say, Hey, look at you, that’s your accountability, contour accountability chart. And so you actually encourage the person to try to find the answers themselves by asking questions and things by helping them by supporting them, rather than trying to do it for them. But it’s really tough, because I have to confess, I’m a wee bit of a control freak. I’m half I’m half German, so I like things to be done properly. And so often, yeah, there’s this tendency to kind of go up, but it’s just so much quicker to do it myself than to try to help somebody else. So how would you?

Tania Luna  19:35

Yeah. I was good at anticipating your question. I mean, there’s a few different ways to go about it. One is to try to change the other is don’t try to change and just collaborate with your inner control freak and go Yeah, actually, if I do want control, if I do want really good results, then actually, it behooves me to think about, what do I have to do to actually allow that to happen, not just today, but over the long haul and not just with a team of two people, but with a team of 200 people, you know, 300 people, you truly can’t achieve excellent results by holding on too tightly. That’s the great paradox of it all. So it’s, you know, it’s actually asking yourself, you know, what is if I truly am the kind of person who wants to make sure that the results are excellent, then what is the scalable way to get there, you can be a solo printer, you can do that all the things on your own, as soon as you want to be able to leverage, you know, the effectiveness or the power that happens when you get a group together. That’s where control starts to happen by giving up control in many ways. Yeah,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  20:43

I completely agree. I mean, we actually teach our, our clients about letting go of the vine and just allowing other people to step up. And, you know, it’s about having systems and processes and measurables and having to be able to have those conversations with people. But can we try and use an example? So let’s just say, an employee comes over, and I’m the manager, and they say to me, Oh, look, I’m struggling with this. Can you tell me what to do? How would you then put that back onto them? What’s the sort of the techniques you might use? Yeah,

Tania Luna  21:11

I love that question. Well, the first thing I would consider is, do they actually have the information to solve it on their own? You know, sometimes I’ll use the example of like, if I don’t, if I come to your office, and I don’t work there, and I say, Where’s the bathroom? It doesn’t help me for you to go. Where do you think the bathroom is? Purging opportunity. However, if someone is coming to me and asking about their project work that they’re really close to that is a wonderful coaching moment. So I’m gonna kind of split it out just really quickly into two one is the internal work we have to do as leaders. Again, my co-founder, Leanne, one of the things that she used to study was something that is gonna sound unrelated, but I promise it is. So she used to study taxi drivers in New York City. And we’re trying to figure out why is it the taxi drivers honk, even if it doesn’t make a difference? I don’t know if you’ve ever I bet New Zealand does not have this problem.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  22:02

We don’t have, have not been to New York, but I have I have lived in London. So I can understand a little bit of also India.

Tania Luna  22:09

In any any any of those places where there’s just this constant barrage of honking. And you know, sometimes you use it to warn someone, but usually you’re doing out of frustration. And so they tried all these interventions to try to reduce honking. And what they found was the most effective way to get taxi drivers to stop honking is to label what they call the honk urge. So the moment they felt the urge to honk, they would just go, Okay, I want to honk. And that would pause them just long enough not to do it. And so going back to managers, number one, if someone’s coming to me with a problem, the first thing I have to do is label that honk urge within myself to solve the problem for them. That instant, you know, if you think about it from a neuro psychology perspective, I’m gonna get that dopamine burst of, you know, success quickly. Yeah, like, boom, I solve that for you. I feel like a hero, it’s great. So I have to just label it, you know, whatever word you use, you know, works. For me, I go coaching moments inside my own head. Sometimes I say it out loud. So that’s, like reducing that that urge to problem solve. So then number two, once you start actually working with the individual, I would say even before you think about, how do I ask really thoughtful probing questions, it’s just what we find is getting people to talk out loud through their own problem, allows them to actually understand the problem better and solve the problem faster. There’s this concept in neuro psychology called spreading activation, which is essentially what happens when you say, you start talking through something out loud, and more and more parts of your brain, essentially go online and get activated. And just talking out loud. This works for extroverts and introverts, even if you’re listening, you’re like, I hate talking out loud. I need to talk things through it works in writing as well. But talking out loud works in for introverts and extroverts. So the first thing I would do is say, you know, tell me more about, you know, tell me more about the problem, walk me through it, I would do what we call playbacks and split track. So playback is just our version of essentially like a repeat back. I like the word playback, as you imagine yourself sort of winding back the tape and go okay, so I think I heard you say this, did I get that right? A split track is what we call teasing apart if there are different tracks to what the individual is saying. So often, they’ll say something like, oh, I have this project. And I’m really stressing out I’m not sure how to start it. And the deadline doesn’t even seem realistic. And so I don’t even know if I should be working on it now or later. Bla bla bla. So I might pause and go, okay, it sounds like you’re heard two things. One is sounds like you’re not quite sure where to start. And the other is sounds like you’re questioning the deadline, which of those should we talk about first. So number one, get the person talking. Then get them to place where they’ve heard themselves through that playback. Make sure you’ve kind of teased apart the different strands of that problem. So it’s clear which problem you’re solving. And then the other tip that I’ll throw out there is we use a coaching framework. There are many out there, the one that I really like is the one we made up and it’s Hold on all. It’s called the soon funnel as in soon, you’ll get to the solution soon. And it stands for success, obstacles, options, next steps. So in that situation, I might say something like, well, what would success look like for this project? And that’s a really important place to start. Because it is incredibly easy for us, especially when we’re stressed to just focus on the problem. And that can really get you into tactics mode, versus what’s the objective, what’s the strategy? So what does success look like? Whatever they tell me, Okay, so what’s standing in the way? What are the obstacles? What’s what’s holding you up? And then we go to auction. we brainstorm. We generate ideas. And then finally, like, next steps, so okay, we’ve just talked through all the options you have, which of those are most viable? What do you want to do next? And so throughout this entire conversation, all I’m doing is sort of amplifying the effectiveness of their mind and they’re problem solving. At no point do I actually have to tell them what to do? And ultimately, they get to a solution quicker, and they walk away with better problem solving skills.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  26:05

I absolutely love it soon. Okay, soon for longer than that using that. So I’m gonna go back a little step, because I heard you say that, yeah, this talking out loud works for both extroverts and introverts. And my understanding of extraversion versus introversion, certainly, according to Myers Briggs is not about how, whether you’re the lightness of the party, but it’s about how you actually tend to solve issues. As I’m an extrovert in terms of I tend to talk things out in order to get to the solution. My husband is an absolute introvert. And so everything is kind of processed in his head first, before anything comes out. So how did how did the introverts cope with this talking out loud? Because to me, it seems it seems counter intuitive.

Tania Luna  26:40

Yeah. So and I guess I’m not as familiar with Myers Briggs, but you know, kind of the the aspects I’m familiar with, or verbal processing versus internal processing. So the idea here is ideally, you’re getting a person to a place where they can verbalize what’s going on, it doesn’t mean that that’s the first step. So the first step could be you ask a question, you go take your time, if you want to write it out, or I’ll ask you a question. Now, let’s talk about it tomorrow. Or, you know, or ideally, I asked you and I say, How can I be most helpful? Do you want to talk through right now? Do you want me to, you know, share with you some ways that I could recommend thinking about it, and then we’ll pick up the conversation tomorrow. Ideally, you’re kind of calibrating with the person, so they can let you know what’s the most helpful way to work together. So the goal is not to force someone into talking out loud, right there on the spot, it might be that they just need anything from, you know, 30 seconds to just think about it before they answer to maybe they want to sleep on it, and come back and continue the conversation if the situation allows for that kind of time.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  27:47

Timeframe. Yeah. Okay. So what you’re saying is you’re giving, you’re not saying right, we’re gonna talk about it a little bit right now. But it’s more about actually setting the the expectations or boundaries around what works for them. And you talked about writing things down. I know that certainly, especially with difficult conversations, I find that actually writing things down beforehand, just to get some clarity around what you wanted to talk about as well. I think oh, so. So use the soon funnel, look at what the success looks like, explore all the obstacles, come up with some options, and then the next steps regarding it. Okay, brilliant. Hey, so that’s a great sort of first step. What other what other things can we pick your brains on? Well, we’ve got you on the show. What are the other kinds of common mistakes you see? And that, could you go over a little bit of advice around?

Tania Luna  28:33

Yes. So maybe I’ll go on to feedback next, since that is such a pain point, especially when you’re working cross culturally, and in remote and hybrid, meaning some people are in persons and people, some people are virtual situations, that is a real pain point. Without feedback skills without feedback, comfort, you just see. Learning just crawl. Yeah, it’s so difficult to be able to be responsive and agile without being able to very quickly go, and this thing that you did, here’s the impact that it’s having. And then either Great, that’s it’s positive. And I do more of that, or Oops, there’s an issue there. And we have to calibrate Man Of course, correct. So it is such I can’t stress enough the the value of it to be able to be this Athol high performing environment. Not to mention to be able to, you know, it’s it’s hard collaborating. And if we can’t talk about what works for us what doesn’t work for us, then we’re kind of feeling stuck together and miserable, but we don’t know how to fix it. So feedback skills to the rescue. So to your point about writing things down, one of the things that we teach people is a really simple framework for writing out your feedback that you want to deliver. And then delivering it ideally live. You know, some feedback, I think could be delivered in writing. There is research shows, though, that we tend to perceive written communication as more negative than live communication. I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten an email we’re like, yeah, yeah, you’re reading it. You’re a hurt person is day To me, or this person is horrible. And then you talk to them afterwards. And they’re like, No, that’s not how I meant, and it was totally natural.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  30:05

So I think I’m actually guilty of that, because of being half German, I tend to kind of be very blunt on my emails. And sometimes people come back and they’re like, You know what I do to upset you. It’s like, I don’t know what you’re talking about what your email was so bland, oh, I’m just was busy. Sorry.

Tania Luna  30:19

Was I’ve seen early on in my career, I facilitated this kind of conflict resolution conversation between two branches of a company, one in the US and one in Latin America. And they had completely different cultural norms around greetings for their emails. So in the US, it would depends on where in the US, obviously, but they will say things like, you know, Debra, I’d like to check in on the status of that report, you said, you were gonna get it to me, and you haven’t yet. In Latin America, they would say, oh, Debra, how are you doing? Isn’t the weather wonderful? And how have you been? And how’s your family? Oh, by the way, there was that report, I’m still waiting on a different approach to communication. And they, instead of seeing it, as, you know, it’s a communication style thing. They were going you don’t respect me or you don’t see me, you don’t value me things like that. So Wow. Yeah, definitely. What we recommend is, especially if the conversation can be sensitive, it is so valuable to have it live, you know, virtually or in person, person, but write it down first, actually, so many people miss that step. What they do with feedback conversations is, generally they either avoid them, or they avoid them and avoid them and avoid them until they just kind of blow up. And they say things that aren’t fully thought out. And, you know, when we’re saying things from a place of that kind of frustration, then of course, the individual hearing it is going to hear it from, you know, in a very defensive way. And so I’ll just quickly share the model that we use to help people craft a better feedback message if you’d like. Yes, please. So we start off with what we call a micro Yes. And what we noticed, again, observing managers who we’re seeing again, and again, not just managers, actually, we looked at anyone in the workplace who had the best reputation for giving effective feedback, we monitored what was it that they were doing behaviorally, and we noticed this microscale of starting with a micro Yes. And so instead of just saying, hey, look, this, here’s the thing you did, they would start with, Hey, can I share some feedback with you about how that conversation went? Or I noticed something during that meeting that I’d love to, you know, kind of debrief about Would you be open to having a conversation about it. So that already makes the conversations so much more likely to be successful? Because the person is, you know, hopefully, they take a moment to consider is a good time for that. Do Am I ready for this conversation? Don’t want to hear this message? Once they say yes, they’re also in a state of collaboration versus defensiveness. So there’s the micro Yes. Which by the way, should not be can we talk? That is not a good for anyone anyway. So number one, is that Mike? or Yes? Hey, can I share some feedback with you about how that meeting went? Next is the behavior. So what was it that you actually noticed? One of the things that we really tried to focus on life ops learning and in the book, the leader lab, we talk a lot about the skill of deep learning. So often, our communication is very rich with blur words, words, it could mean different things to different people. So a blurry piece of feedback might be something like, Hey, I noticed that you weren’t paying attention during that meeting. What does that mean? Not paying attention? How do I know and right away even though it sounds kind of innocuous? Most likely, people are gonna get at least somewhat defensive. And so slur word free behavior would be something like, Hey, I noticed that during the meeting, you checked your phone a few times.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  33:43

So that to be quite specific,

Tania Luna  33:45

As ideally specific and that probably speak, you know, resonates with the German aspect of your communication style. I have a German coworker who will say things like, I was monitoring you during that meeting, and you checked your phone four times.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  34:01

That’s not so good.

Tania Luna  34:03

He doesn’t know what you’re talking about. And when he

Debra Chantry-Taylor  34:08

Ambiguous, so not so not something that could be misconstrued, which is a deep learning thing. Yeah. And ideally,

Tania Luna  34:13

Picking the judgment out of it, right. So not sure. You weren’t paying attention, but I notice this thing. Then, step three is what’s the impact? So you’ve got micro Yes, behavior and impact impact is, you know, I mentioned it because I found myself getting really distracted. And you could even you know, you can even say, maybe that’s on me, but I wanted to bring it up, because I was hoping we can come up with some a solution, or maybe the impact is, I mentioned it because I noticed that then other people started taking out their phones. And I ended up having to repeat myself a few times because people missed the the information that I shared. So it wasn’t really efficient. So whatever that impact statement is, and then finally, ideally, you end with a question and so that could be something like what are your thoughts? What do you think about that or, you know, moving forward Would you be up for experimenting with a different way of doing it? And the same goes for positive feedback. So it might be something like, Hey, can I share some feedback with you about that presentation, I noticed that you went around and asked everyone their perspective. And I mentioned that because we got to hear from everyone in the room. And I think that really led us to have much better ideas at the end. How’d you do that? You know, or, you know, what, what? What helped you remember to check in with everyone, that question at the end is so valuable, because that’s the piece that takes feedback from the past and moves you into the future and helps you both repeat and build on the things that are working well and tweak or change the things that aren’t working? Well.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  35:39

Yeah, that sounds absolutely fantastic. So the micro Yes. What’s the behavior notice? What’s the impact? And then a question to finish it off? I have to ask this question, though. Because what happens if they say no, when you have the micro the micro? Yes, question. Okay,

Tania Luna  35:53

Wonderful. Because it means, you know, so maybe I’ll say, Hey, can I give you some feedback on the last podcast episode? And yeah, you go, Oh, you know what, I’m just not I had the kind of day where I don’t think I’m gonna process it. Well, I can go. Thank you for telling me that. You know, what, when would be a good time for us to talk about it? I would say throughout my whole career with the hundreds of micro yeses I’ve I’ve used, I’ve probably gotten, I don’t know, maybe five to 10 noes. In almost all of those cases, it was just about Okay, so when can we talk about it? I think in one case, there was someone who was like, I just don’t want that feedback. And so it was my opportunity to go, Well, how important is it? How significant is the impact? Like, is this going to harm me or harm others or harm the individuals career, then I’m gonna go, we do have to share with you, but you let me know, what’s the best time to do it? What’s the best place to do it? Otherwise, I can go you know, what, if you don’t want it, that is okay, because that’s gonna save me some time.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  36:52

And that’s good. So it’s about prioritizing for you, you know, with what the impact of not giving that feedback will actually be. Brilliant, hey, I usually have this quite a bit more structure. And second, we have three top tips for kind of getting there. We’ve got the soon funnel, we’ve got the feedback thing. What’s the third thing? Give me something else?

Tania Luna  37:09

Okay, well, so, man, I’m so torn. Okay, I’ll end with just one of my favorite tools from our work on helping people develop prioritization skills. This is a really, really small, easy one. It’s something called the MIT method, most important thing. And it is as easy as starting your day by going what is my MIT? What is that one thing that I want to get done today? And it sounds kind of silly, simple. But what we find is that when people don’t ask that question, you either do the thing that is right in front of you, because you’re too tired to even think about it. Maybe you do the thing that’s really easy, because you want that dopamine hit that quick when the thing that someone who stresses you out asked you for. And so you have all these decision criteria that are not actually linked to what is truly most important for your organization. So it could be that you use this tool yourself and you go, whatever, what’s my MIT today, you could use it on a team level. So with with my team, we actually write it out in our one on one documents, so that we have kind of clearly clear alignment on what are our most important things. And oftentimes, we’ll actually write out and here are the things that we will not do until the most important thing. So what is your like? Your, your do not do list. And you can also do it in an organization wide level, which I think is incredibly powerful to be able to say, as a company here is our MIT, everything else is less important than this one thing. And going back to the conversation we were talking about, with wheels falling off, and people quitting and deadlines being missed and burnout. So much of that stems from the lack of certainty and clarity around what is the most important thing. And so that tiny tool that can work on a micro level or on a macro level?

Debra Chantry-Taylor  38:57

It’s really interesting, because obviously, with the work we do, we very much want to have a laser sharp focus on the most important things. We said our 90 Day rocks and and we’re always saying your less is more. And I know that as humans, we naturally sort of want to do more, but it’s actually if everything’s important, nothing is important. Yeah. And and I see companies who get you know, the you can see that the staff are working so hard, and they’re they are overwhelmed or they are completely stressed. It’s because they’re trying to do too much. And if they could just prioritize with that one most important thing you know, then I think it’ll make a huge difference.

Tania Luna  39:27

And it takes courage, you know, it takes some courage to go I’m gonna not I’m not going to do everything I’m really going to commit. It’s almost like getting married, right? Like, there’s a fair commitment there. What if I do this most important thing that ends up not being the most useful thing? So I you know, that the research does support what you’re saying. organizations that have fewer priorities consistently outperform in terms of revenue growth organizations with a larger number of priorities, and I think that’s because it allows you to focus and and have depth and learn more quickly, so maybe you didn’t choose the wrong thing. But at least you go in Run in that direction. And then you can learn quite quickly that you chose the wrong thing. And then that’s okay, you can change it and you do something else. And otherwise, you’re just constantly constantly suffering.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  40:10

But the thing I actually also really liked that you MIT said, also that anti to do lists. So what are the things you’re not going to do until it’s done? Because I must admit, I am hugely easily distracted. And so even if I’ve got my most important things, I will, I might just do this, this and this and this first, and then come back to it. But if I can actually go, Okay, what am I not going to do? until that’s done? I think that will actually motivate me to get things done.

Tania Luna  40:29

So you have to have your vegetables and then you get your dessert in some way? Yes,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  40:35

it is. In an adult version? Yeah. Fantastic. So I’m assuming these kinds of things are talked about in your book? Or how do people find out more? because I mean, the stuff we talked about today is just absolutely invaluable. But they want to find out more about it, where would they go?

Tania Luna  40:49

Yep. So if you want the, you know, get it within the next 48 hours version, you can get our book, again, it’s called the leader lab core skills to become a great manager faster. If you are interested in training for your organization. We do all of these workshops, live both through both live workshops, and digital kind of nudges and practice intensives, and things like that. And so our website is LifeLabs

Debra Chantry-Taylor  41:17

Wonderful. Hey, look, I have really, really enjoyed that conversation today. If people wanted to get in contact with you personally, how do they get in contact with you? How do they I mean, I You can google you, I think and you can find you pretty easily.

Tania Luna  41:28

I am Googlable of all. Or you can go to my website, which is Tanya TA N I A Luna L U N A .com.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  41:37

That’s fantastic. Hey, look, again, thank you so so much for your time, I really appreciate everything that you’ve shared. And congratulations on what you do with the LifeLabs learning as well. I mean, that is no mean feat to get well, you and your co founder, of course, to get to where you got to so congratulations on that. I know that you’re writing a new book, aren’t you? So you want to tell us a little bit about that before we finish up? Oh,

Tania Luna  41:57

Sure. Well, yes, depending on when you listen to this. This will be either in the far future or the or the past. It is power with and it comes out in September of 2023. And it is the book focused on how to distribute power well, in the workplace. It is written in a very different format than my other two books. It is. I’m calling it philosophical fiction. I think that I think my editor is calling it a business parable. But it’s sort of like a fictionalized story that I was really excited to try out as a format, because there’s so much research that shows that we learn better and remember things better through story than just through, you know, the facts. So it’s, again, power with and yeah,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  42:46

I’m coming out in September. Yeah, I have to say Patrick Lencioni is one of my favorite kind of authors because he does exactly that. He does the business fable thing with with meaning and behind it. And I just find them such an easy read. But also, as you said, it sticks in your mind more the message that he wants to get across. That’s what our whole thing.

Tania Luna  43:03

Thank you for saying that.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  43:05

No, no yeah, no definitey. I mean, I’m just one person. But I tell you, I love those kinds of things. So I’m looking forward to it. Look forward to seeing that in September. Again, thanks for your time and look forward to following you with interest and hopefully catching up and seeing your goats and your cats and your dogs and all the things you’ve got in your rescue yard.

Tania Luna  43:20

Visit your wonderful country where there are no snakes and no uh, no poisonous spiders. So yeah.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  43:27

Yeah. It’s the best country in the world.

Tania Luna  43:29

Thank you.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  43:31

Lovely thanks so much, Tania.



Debra Chantry-Taylor 

Professional EOS Implementer | Entrepreneurial Leadership & Business Coach | Business Owner

#betterbusinessbetterlife #entrepreneur #leadership #eosimplementer #professionaleosimplementer #entrepreneurialbusinesscoach

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