Inclusion Safety in Practice

To kick off this series, Tim and Junior will talk about what it means to behave until you believe as a principle, behaviors and environments that foster inclusion safety, the difference between bonding and bridging, and give you specific, real ways to create an environment of inclusion.

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Episode Show Notes

In today's episode, we're kicking off a new four-part series on the Change Management Principle, Behave Until You Believe. These episodes are focused on the practical application of each of the four stages of psychological safety and focus on the key principles and behaviors that will help you foster an environment of high psychological safety. To kick off this series, Tim and Junior will talk about what it means to behave until you believe as a principle, behaviors and environments that foster inclusion safety, the difference between bonding and bridging, and give you specific, real ways to create an environment of inclusion.

The goal of transformation (03:36) If we aspire to transform ourselves and our organizations, we must be willing to change our behavior. Tim and Junior set the stage and explain why this cultural goal, as daunting as it is, is essential for organizational well-being and growth.

Why the traditional approach to transformation is broken (05:12) Tim and Junior present the traditional, linear approach to cultural transformation, which is achieved through three categories and five stages. Those stages are (1) awareness, (2) understanding, (3) appreciation, (4) belief, (5) behavior.

What does it mean to behave until you believe? (10:50) In order to achieve transformation both personally and professionally, you need awareness, but you should work on behavior simultaneously. As Richard Pascale once wrote: “People are more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking than think their way into a new way of acting.”

Increase inclusion through bridging, not just bonding (28:10) While it may be easier to bond with people who are similar to you, inclusion comes through bridging the gaps with people who aren't like you. Unless we close the distance, our relationships stay superficial and transactional. Tim and Junior share three ways to put this theory into practice.

Be the first mover and share your story (30:52) One of the best ways to close the gap between yourself and a colleague is to learn more about them, and one of the best ways to learn more about them is through asking them to share their story.

Ask twice as much as you tell (39:32) Each of us has a personal inquiry and advocacy ratio. Ask yourself: "Am I in inquiry mode right now, or am I in advocacy mode right now?"

Express gratitude and appreciation (44:30) Are you showing gratitude and appreciation not just for performance in a team setting, but for effort? And remember: Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.

Important Links
Psychological Safety Behavioral Guide

Episode Transcript


0:00:02.1 Producer: Welcome back, Culture by Design listeners. It's Freddy, one of the producers of the podcast. In today's episode, we're kicking off a new four-part series on the Change Management Principle, Behave Until You Believe. These episodes are focused on the practical application of each of the four stages of psychological safety, a focus on the key principles and behaviors that will help you foster an environment of high psychological safety. To kick off this series, Tim and Junior will talk about what it means to behave until you believe as a principle, then move into Stage 1, and behaviors and environments that foster inclusion safety, the difference between bonding and bridging, and give you specific and actual ways you can create an environment of inclusion. As always, this episode's show notes can be found at That includes a link to our free Psychological Safety Behavioral Guide with over 100 practical behaviors to improve psychological safety and culture. Thanks again for listening. Enjoy today's episode on behaviors that foster inclusion safety.


0:01:13.0 Junior: Welcome back, everyone, to Culture by Design. My name is Junior. I'm here with Dr. Tim Clark. And today we'll be discussing Behave Until You Believe focusing on inclusion, and we'll dig into that title and why it is the way that it is. Tim, how are you? 

0:01:27.1 Tim: Oh, great, Junior. I'm looking forward to this conversation. This is a very, very important principle.

0:01:32.3 Junior: Yeah, you and me both. I've been thinking about this the last few days as we've prepared for today's episode, and there are a lot of really interesting things today. We've got some really good quotes in here that I'm excited to get into today. So today we'll be talking, or introducing rather, a four-part series. And we're calling this series Behave Until You Believe, and we'll talk about why. We're going to discuss behavioral change at the individual and the organizational level, and why acting and not thinking is what will help us achieve transformation. So in each of these four episodes, we'll share two or three of our top picks from the Four Stages Behavioral Guide as actions we can take to "behave until we believe" across the four stages. So, Tim, in a general sense, why are we spending time here? Why is this important? 

0:02:21.6 Tim: Well, I think we're spending time here because with individual behavioral change, it's not that we don't want to think or reflect about where we need to go and what we need to change and what we need to learn. Of course we do, but when it comes to individual behavioral change, we need to generate our own data. We need to generate our own confirming evidence about what works or what doesn't work, or what's right or what's not right. And as we go through the conversation, I think this will become more clear. Isn't that interesting? So in many things in life, when we learn things, we take data from different places that people give us different sources of data. But when it comes to inclusion in particular, Stage 1, inclusion safety and becoming a more inclusive human being, the rocket fuel is found in the experience that we have ourselves, in the data that we generate ourselves. That is what really prompts and fuels the change and gets us to make progress over time. We'll spend some time talking about how that actually works.

0:03:36.5 Junior: So the aspiration for all of us as individuals and organizations is transformation. We wanna change. And transformation, we think about, what implications do you see in that word? What does it lead you to think about? Is transformation purely a consequence of thinking? Is it a consequence of ideation or depreciation? No, it's a consequence of action, of behavioral change. And so if we aspire to transform ourselves individually and our organizations, we have to be willing to change our behavior. So how do we do that? Well, organizations often have an idea of how to do that. And we're going to discuss how not to do it and why many organizations take the how-not-to-do-it approach and why they do and what they might be missing, not out of ill intent, but we hope to add to the conversation today. So Tim, maybe you could help us walk through the traditional approach. What do organizations typically do? 

0:04:38.0 Tim: Well, let's think about change and what that means, and what has to change. So there are three things that have to change. You have to change your head, which means what you think and what you believe... Or what you think, rather; your awareness, your understanding, your appreciation. You have to change your hands, meaning your behavior. So I've gotta change my head, what I'm thinking. I've gotta change my hands, what I'm doing, how I'm behaving. And I also have to change my heart, what I believe.

0:05:12.6 Tim: Well, the traditional approach is to begin with your head. So let's increase your awareness, let's increase your understanding, let's increase your appreciation. For in this case, we're gonna talk about inclusion, so let's increase your appreciation and your understanding and your awareness of differences, for example. And then your heart will change and you'll believe differently. And then finally your behavior will change. That's a very traditional linear approach to cultural change at an organizational level. Change the head through increased awareness, understanding, and appreciation; then change the heart through a change in belief, which comes through change in your head; and then finally change your behavior.

0:06:03.0 Tim: I think what we're going to suggest, Junior, is that that sequence is wrong. It's not completely wrong because starting with the head is not wrong, it's just not sufficient. What we're going to suggest is that you start with the head and the hands at the same time. Because which of those three components changes last? It's the heart. The heart is always the lag indicator. It always changes last. And so we've gotta go to work on the head and the hands at the same time, and then that lag indicator, that heart, that change of heart, will occur. But to focus just on the head, the increase of awareness, understanding, and appreciation is not sufficient. It's not wrong, but it's not sufficient. So we're gonna talk about working on the head and the hands at the same time, and then seeing the change of heart occur. Is that fair? 

0:07:05.0 Junior: Yeah. There's a slide that we have in a few of our decks, and it's labeled "Inclusion Continuum," then the title of the slide says "The Traditional Approach," and it talks about these five things, and it moves from left to right: Awareness, understanding, appreciation, belief, and behavior. But there's this cool piece of the model. It's this big, stark, bold line that's vertical, that separates "appreciation" and "belief." It's the separation of head and heart. And that threshold of conviction, what is conviction? Conviction is a deeply held belief. There's some emotion behind conviction. There's some real motivation behind conviction.

0:07:46.2 Junior: And the assumption in the traditional approach is that appreciation will be enough to cross that chasm to move through that threshold of conviction to true belief that happens in the heart. So in order for the traditional approach to work, that is the assumption. That is what must be true: That people will move to behavior if we achieve appreciation. That's a massively heroic assumption, and it's an assumption that often doesn't pan out for organizations. That's where we see the breakdown in most organizations. So we're saying, why is this insufficient? Because we've seen it dozens and dozens and dozens of times with some of the biggest organizations in the world. The entire approach stops after appreciation, and the organization assumes that the individuals will continue on that trajectory, they will move through the threshold of conviction, and they'll end up with an organization that's behaviorally transformed. But it's never worked, to my knowledge. That's just a heroic, heroic assumption.

0:08:54.4 Tim: It is very interesting, Junior, because organizations, they launch these massive, what we might call "awareness campaigns," and they're working on the head, and that's wonderful. That's a great thing to do to increase the awareness and the understanding and appreciation of, for example, differences, in the hopes that we are going to become a more inclusive organization, that people are going to shift their beliefs and then their behavior. But they end up waiting a long time. In fact, it doesn't happen. In fact, they hit a wall. And that's a failure pattern that we're going to address today. Right, Junior? 

0:09:35.4 Junior: Yeah, and it's often, I think, the same assumption is made, or the same frame can be applied to the other stages. This doesn't have to do exclusively with inclusion. If you look at learning, contribution, and challenging, the same assumption is made; that if we make people aware of how important it is to learn and make mistakes in a safe place or how important it is, we generate awareness about contribution or we generate awareness about how important it is to challenge the status quo, we're making those assumptions across each stage. And it's insufficient across each stage, not just inclusion.

0:10:14.1 Junior: So what is the appropriate approach? If we're poking holes in this one, what do we have to put on the table? Well, we keep the same model, but instead of working linearly from left to right, we work simultaneously from both ends. Because as Tim said, the last thing to change is the heart. And so while we're going to be working on the head, we're going to involve the hands and we're gonna move from right to left, and do that at the same time to achieve a change of heart. You have to work from both ends. You need awareness, but you need to work on behavior simultaneously.

0:10:50.8 Tim: That's right. So we've gotta work on the head and the hands at the same time. So let's talk a little bit more about this, Junior. I wanna begin with a statement that I like very much from Richard Pascal who was at Stanford for many years. He said, "People are more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking, then think their way into a new way of acting." Do you see what he's saying? He's underscoring the sequence here, the order of operations. So behave until you believe. Let me just say that again, "People are more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking, then think their way into a new way of acting." Why is this true? Why do we need to act first? Why do we need to behave until we believe? 

0:11:44.1 Tim: Well, in many things in life, we have to learn by and through experience. The process is experiential. That's why we use that word "experiential." You have to go create an experience and learn from that experience. It's immersive. It's a matter of self-discovery. Now, I don't know that we understand this fully, but for some reason we don't accept each other's data when it comes to personal change related to the way that we interact with each other as human beings. We need to generate our own data, our own data set. It's not that we invalidate your data set and your data set and your data set. But we're not saying that; we just don't believe it applies to us. We're not convinced. So we have to generate our own data, our own confirming evidence. And this is especially true when it comes to inclusion. You will not read or watch or listen your way to becoming a more inclusive person. You will only behave your way to becoming a more inclusive person. So do you see why the behavior has to come first so that you can generate your own data set? 

0:13:00.2 Junior: Absolutely.

0:13:00.3 Tim: That's why you have to behave until you believe. I can't borrow another person's feelings or emotions. They're valid for you but they're not valid for me.

0:13:10.8 Junior: Well, some things it seems we can learn pretty easily observationally, but others we need to experience. And it makes me think of my own children. And they often don't accept my data, right? They will touch the literal or metaphorical hot stove after I've said "You probably shouldn't do that" a few dozen times. [chuckle] And then it happens, right? And I don't know. I don't know if you're right. You touch that stove literal or metaphorical, and you feel it, and you learn that that stove was hot and you don't do it again. And that can be true in a negative sense and a positive sense. Do this and things will be way better.

0:13:47.8 Tim: That's right.

0:13:48.2 Junior: Well, I don't know. And I think about my own life, and there are instances where you might know that it's true theoretically. But part of what I love so much about the model is the word "conviction." Theoretical understanding and conviction feel very different. The way that I perceive both of those words, "theory," "conviction," very different.

0:14:13.8 Tim: That's right.

0:14:14.5 Junior: It's very difficult to achieve understanding alone, but conviction is an entirely new level that I think comes often only exclusively from experience.

0:14:28.1 Tim: Junior, when it comes to creating your own data set, we also have to realize that we're generating through our behavior, through the experiential process that we're going through, through the self-discovery, we are creating or generating feelings and emotions. That's part of the data set, the feelings and emotions that come from our experience. And so that's part of the evidence that we're going to be considering. For example, if you say, "Oh, that person is a wonderful person," that may be true for you but I don't know that. So I'm inclined to say, "That's nice," and I may give your statement some credibility, but I have to learn for myself. So what we're saying is that, in human interaction in these areas that relate to the four stages of psychological safety, much of this is experiential. You have to learn through self-discovery.

0:15:30.5 Tim: Now, here's the paradox. We are relational creatures. We long to belong. We are biologically and emotionally and spiritually driven to connect. Here's the paradox though. And yet we fear difference, and fearing difference motivates us to do what? To not connect but to maintain separation. So we need to connect with each other but we fear doing it. Well, how do you overcome that dilemma? Are you gonna read about it? Listen about it? Watch about it? Just observe? No. How do you overcome your doubts and fears? How do you do that? So this brings us to a deeper understanding of why we have to behave until we believe, because it's out of the space between people and the differences that define them, that three things emerge.

0:16:28.9 Tim: So let's talk about these three things. Number one is bias, number two is prejudice, and number three is discrimination. Now, let's think about the natural progression of these things. And I like the conceptualization and kind of the taxonomy that Robert Livingston puts forward. He's a social scientist. I think he's still at the Kennedy School at Harvard. But he frames these three elements as a progression that follows... Well, let's just think about cognitive behavioral therapy, perhaps the biggest discovery in psychology. The biggest discovery is that we begin with thoughts, and thoughts lead to feelings and emotions, and then feelings and emotions lead to behaviors and actions. So we have this linear progression that goes from thoughts and beliefs, to feelings and emotions, to actions and behaviors.

0:17:30.3 Tim: Now, what's the parallel? And this is what Livingston points out and I think it's true. He says, bias is what? It's thinking. So that's Category 1, Stage 1. Bias is a fodder, a belief. And then what is prejudice? It would represent feelings and emotions that are based on the bias. So you begin with the anchor bias that gets us started. So if the bias is a negative bias or a destructive bias, it leads to a negative prejudice and a destructive prejudice, and the forms of feelings and emotions. And then we go to Stage 3, which is discrimination. What is discrimination? That's where it becomes expressed in behavior and actions. Isn't that interesting? So we go from bias to prejudice to discrimination, as we move from thoughts to feelings and emotions to actions and behaviors. So there's the natural progression.

0:18:36.0 Tim: How do you unlearn those things if they're not right? How do you dismantle that sequence if you begin with a negative bias that is false, that is misplaced, that is just illegitimate? How are you gonna do that? Again, Junior, are you gonna read your way out of it? No. You've gotta go out and behave differently to generate a new data set. And then you're gonna go through that sequence again, and you're going to be able to surface the bias that... Well, it could be conscious, it could be unconscious. Regardless, you're going to be able to analyze your own bias much more clearly, and then begin the process of dismantling the negative bias, the negative prejudice, and the negative discrimination. Does that make sense? 

0:19:36.2 Junior: Yeah. I love the idea of reverse engineering it. And one of the things that strikes me is that many of us may end up in Stage 3, not necessarily discrimination, but action, unbeknownst to us how we got there. We may be completely blind to how we ended up there through Stages 1 and 2. And it could be that we were socialized in a way that that bias came in really early and that prejudice came in really early. And we wake up one day then have this realization that, hey, our behavior is not what we would like it to be. Our behavior, there's dissonance between where we are today and where we think we want to go. It is almost like this awakening that can happen overnight.

0:20:24.0 Junior: And I have seen this time and time again in my own life, not with discrimination, but talking about thoughts then feelings then behavior. "I'm doing this thing I wanna stop doing." Okay. Or, "Start doing something I'm not doing. I wanna make a behavioral change." Really, really different, difficult to think your way out of that. So if you think about it as a street, like out and back, you've gone down three levels. You can't go back to the beginning of that straight without moving through the places you already went. You have to go back the same way you came. And I think that that... I really like this model. It makes a lot of sense to me.

0:21:05.0 Tim: I'll add a point, Junior. I'll add a point. So the fundamental principle that we're talking about is that we have to behave until we believe. And in the process of behaving, we generate a new data set, we generate new understanding, and we're able to unlearn and then relearn. Well, when it comes to inclusion, what is the fundamental behavior that we have to engage in in order to become more inclusive? Let me come back to Livingston because I want to quote him on this. He says, "Relationships provide a portal for facts to enter and learning to occur." All right? So it's based on relationships, but then he becomes even more specific. And he says this: "Conversation is also a primal way for people to form bonds, build trust, and create community."

0:22:05.0 Tim: So how do you do it? It's in conversation. It's in dialogue. It's in talking to people that are not like you. If you don't have those conversations, you will not engage in that self-discovery, you will not generate that new data, and you'll not be able to dismantle the bias which leads to the prejudice which leads to the discrimination. Now that sounds really simple, and that's the good news, is that the most powerful way to behave until you believe differently is to engage in conversation and dialogue, and get more proximate to people who are not like you. Can you do that? Yes, you can do that.

0:22:49.0 Junior: So Tim, I had an experience about this just last night. In the past, people have told me and I knew at a conceptual level, and sometimes you learn things and you have to relearn them like 30 times; I fall into that category pretty often. But I had learned conceptually that it's important to go and get to know your neighbors, like your literal neighbors, right? 

0:23:12.9 Tim: That's a good thing. You learn that in principle.

0:23:16.4 Junior: I have learned that in principle. But again, I've learned it in principle many times, and I've had to learn it behaviorally many times, and I'm really good at forgetting stuff like that. But anyway, we got some new neighbors and these new neighbors moved in just a couple days ago. And I knew in theory I should go get to know these neighbors. In practice, in behavior, I wasn't getting there. And the more I thought about it, the more it didn't help me get over there because I just thought about it, right? "Oh, I should probably go over there. Nah, I'm busy."

0:23:51.8 Tim: [laughter] Yeah.

0:23:52.0 Junior: You know? "Well, you should probably go over there anyway. Well, I'm more busy now." And it came to the point where... Here's how I did it. This was the way that I got myself to do it. I said, "Hey," I asked my children to draw the neighbor children, the new neighbor children, some pictures. So then we had an excuse to go over there and give them to them. And so we took over some baked goods, we took over some pictures and somewhat begrudgingly, I'm like, "Oh my God, we have other things to do." We go over there and we meet the new neighbors and had just a delightful time. And they invited us over. We had a great chat, learned a little bit about where they were from, learned a little bit about their history, what got them there. And it was just a great experience. And I wouldn't have had that experience or have been able to generate that confirming evidence that getting to know your neighbors is a good idea without putting my shoes on and going over there. And so everything up until that point was difficult and full of friction, right? There's no confirming evidence that's coming from the preparation, right? Or the thinking.

0:25:00.0 Tim: Not yet.

0:25:00.9 Junior: It was only after we're walking home that I was able to say, "Hey, you know what? That was a good experience. That was worthwhile. It was good for me. It was good for the family. And the next time we have new neighbors, let's go do that again." And so I mentioned jokingly but not jokingly, that I forget pretty quickly. We all forget pretty quickly. It's not like you can have that experience one time and then you're set for the rest of life. You need to continually remind yourself. And so when you mentioned, you need to go have conversations with people, you need to go have conversations with people that are different than you, you gotta do that over and over again. You have to do that continually because the moment you stop doing that, that chasm begins, and it gets wider and wider and wider until we end up in behavior that we don't want. And so that frequency, there's something to that as well. But I thought I'd share that experience.

0:25:56.2 Tim: A fantastic example. And what did you do? You went over to build a relationship to get proximate and to enter into dialogue, and you came back with a new data set. And it's just true in life with some of these lessons like inclusion, we have to learn them through participation not observation. Observation is helpful to gain a conceptual understanding, and you had that before you went across the street to visit with your new neighbor. But then you start the actual work of entering into dialogue and lo and behold, you're generating a new data set. It's experiential and it's exhilarating. I love that example.

0:26:41.8 Junior: Well, and there's also something to be said about personality, and I want to just throw that in there because not all of our behavior is product of our socialization and experience. There's some hard wiring. And some people may be more inclined to go and get to know the neighbors out of personality. Maybe they're more extroverted by nature, they enjoy that type of thing. For some people, myself included, that's not the first thing we would choose to do. And so I think that there's something to that that you might have to... There's a little bit more friction maybe for you personally than for somebody else with a certain behavior, and maybe vice versa. Maybe something comes very easily to you but it doesn't for someone else. And so I think that that's... We need to give each other room for those types of things and just understand from a position of compassion and empathy that those things can be difficult for people. And so what is your experience will not be someone else's. And we all have these specific things that might be more difficult for us that we should still go and do.

0:27:47.0 Tim: Great point. Just a great point. Yeah. A lot of times there's inertia, right? What's that old statement, Junior? "For people that are willing to drill through the bedrock of inertia, life springs forth like a geyser." So it's not easy, but if you're willing to do it and confront the discomfort at the front end, you're going to have rewards at the back end.

0:28:10.5 Junior: Certainly true. Okay. So let's get into some of these behaviors. We've talked through why this is important and theoretically what the model is. We need awareness, we need behavior at the same time, we move toward the heart. But what are some real practical examples that we can use as behaviors to make change? We're going to talk about three that have to do with Stage 1 inclusion, safety. And we've pulled these from the Behavioral Guide. And so if you haven't seen the new version of the Behavioral Guide, go ahead and download it. We'll put a link to it in the show notes. It's revised and really, really well done. But these are things that we can go and do today that will help us achieve the transformation that we're looking for. So in inclusion specifically, there's this idea that, Tim, I would love if you could just go through quickly, of bonding and bridging. We've talked about this maybe a couple dozen episodes back, but what's the point here? 

0:29:07.0 Tim: The point is that we bond with people that are like us or agree with us, people with whom we have natural affinity. And so bonding most of the time it's not hard, right? To go connect with someone that you have great affection for, that you have affinity with. That's not hard. What we're saying is, that to become a more inclusive person, bonding is not going to be enough. You're going to have to learn to bridge. And bridging is different. Bridging is connecting with people that are not like you, at least initially, and then finding some common ground, and then you can move more into a bonding process or bonding experience. The problem is that it's not easy. It may be awkward. You may have doubts or fears that get in the way of bridging, especially taking that initial step toward someone that's not like you, but that it pays massive dividends.

0:30:10.8 Tim: So that's an example. We have to bridge often with people that are not like us before we bond with them. So think about that in your own life. Think about the people with whom you bond, and then think about your tendency or inclination or habit to bridge with people that are not like you. Do you do that? Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone and do that? Do you push yourself to do that? Do you feel that it's important to do that? So that's an example of the distinction between bonding and bridging and the vital importance of bridging.

0:30:52.5 Junior: Very helpful. So let's get get into these three behaviors. Number one, share your story, learn their story. This is one of my personal favorites. It's one that I aspire to be really good at and I'm working towards. But this one I think is one of the most powerful. Share your story, learn their story. Often with the people we interact with personally and professionally... Let's talk professionally. We log hundreds and thousands of hours with these people. You know who they are. Think about your team, right? People that you spend many, many, many hours with, but we don't really know each other. This isn't true for all of us, but it's true for many if not most of us. And unless we close that distance, the relationships we have are going to stay very superficial and they're going to stay transactional.

0:31:46.2 Junior: So this behavior will help solve that problem. Share your story, learn their story. So who's the first mover here? You are. It's why the behavior's written the way that it is. Share your story. You have to be the first mover. So, Tim, I'm wondering if we could practice this, if you would be open to practice this with me on the podcast. I would like to hear... And we have not rehearsed this, everyone, just so you know.


0:32:12.7 Tim: Where is this gonna go, Junior? I don't know.

0:32:15.0 Junior: Well, hey, how about this? In the spirit of the behavior, which I just finished describing, I have first mover obligation. So let me share with you a little bit of my story and then I'd like to hear a little bit of your story. I was thinking about this just yesterday. I've had some interesting experiences this week as it relates to the podcast this week, I guess. But I got a text that showed a brand new baby from one of my cousins. And really interesting story, I guess they had a really hard time getting the baby here. It was really difficult delivery for the mother and for the baby. And my response to that, I think, was informed somewhat by my own experience. We had a really difficult time getting one of our children here. And I'm married. My wife was in the hospital for several weeks before she gave birth. And the baby was in the NICU, the intensive care unit for newborns for a month. And during that time, things were pretty dicey.

0:33:23.2 Junior: And what was really interesting is with the condition that my wife had, she was getting worse while the baby was getting better. And so you have these lines that cross at some point where you don't wanna take the baby too early because that's bad for the baby, but the earlier you take the baby, the better it is for the mother. But you don't want to go too long with the mother because she starts to shut down. And so there's this moving target that you try and find and you take the baby and early. And so what was interesting to me about this experience this week in terms of share-your-story is I related some of my experience and we were able to connect and I was able to ask what, in my opinion, were more informed, meaningful questions because of my experience with my family and my wife.

0:34:15.2 Junior: And perhaps with an experience like this, empathy wouldn't be the one of the first 10 words that you would describe my reaction before I had my own experience. Now it's probably the top one or two because I can connect to it. And so part of the reason that we share stories and try to learn other people's stories is to learn how they're wired. What are their values? What is their vision? What is their motivation? How do they see the world? And so that's one of the things that we, I, as a family, have been through with my wife and my children that has informed our values, our vision, our motivation, the way that we see the world. Because we see that life is so delicate, and after that experience, we see life as much more delicate than we saw life before.

0:35:06.4 Junior: And so the way that we see other people's experience as well, I think, has informed the compassion that we have, informed the degree of empathy that we're able to have, as well as the appreciation that we have for people who can help. That's an entirely... I mean, I could talk about this for hours and hours, but without the professionals that we worked with, the doctors and nurses that helped not just physically but emotionally through the entire process; without family, a support network, that experience would've been different and it could have been very different without the expertise of those types of people. And so it just brought a wave of emotion yesterday when I saw that text message, and kind of interesting. So, Tim, there's a piece of my story.

0:35:50.3 Tim: Yeah, it's an important piece of your story. Thank you for sharing that.

0:35:54.1 Junior: Yeah. So I'd like to hear more about you. Maybe there's something that you think maybe I or the listeners haven't heard that might be interesting to learn about you; something that maybe has affected your own values, vision, or motivation.

0:36:07.9 Tim: Well, you know what comes to mind, Junior, is as we think about the importance of building relationships, getting more proximate to people and engaging in conversation, that those are the most powerful tools to become more of an inclusive person. Kind of related to the experience that you had of going across the street and meeting your new neighbors, in the last few months, I've made a new friend. And the way that I made this new friend is that around the block, we had some new people that moved in from the East Coast and I took over... Again, this is not something that you always just want to do, that you're excited and you're anxious to do, but I just took over some treats. And they weren't home. I just left the treats on the doorstep, and just thought that would be a neighborly thing to do, and then didn't think much of it.

0:37:07.3 Tim: And a while after that, the gentleman that moved in, he was walking around the block and we struck up a conversation, and we figured out that he was the new neighbor and that I had left the bread and jam on the doorstep, and we struck up a conversation. And that has turned into a pretty deep and meaningful relationship, which is really quite interesting. And I've learned so much from this gentleman. He is a veteran of two wars, and he's been deployed to several parts of the world. He's a highly decorated former Army Ranger and Green Beret, and he has been able to share so much with me that I just never understood. I never understood the perspective that he's been able to give me of many things. So I made a new friend, Junior. And how did I make this new friend? Through bridging. And then the bridging turned into bonding. And what tools did we use? Conversation, dialogue. It was again, a process, a journey of self-discovery. It was experiential and the rewards that have come from that have been incredible.

0:38:34.9 Junior: That's awesome.

0:38:35.8 Tim: But again, if I had not been willing to behave first, this would not have happened, I don't think any of this would have happened. So it confirmed the principle that I had to behave first and then the rewards came.

0:38:52.3 Junior: Well, I imagine in developing that friendship, both of you have engaged in this behavior of sharing your story and learning the other person's story, right? And that's probably what has developed your appreciation for his experience, right? So there you go. There's the first one, share your story, learn their story. The challenge here for all of you is to do this one time in the next week, preferably with someone you work with closely but have only a professional relationship. Share a little bit of your story, try to learn a little bit about their story, and do that with a genuine interest. And I guarantee that you will have a positive experience.

0:39:32.3 Junior: Okay, number two, ask twice as much as you tell. This is the second behavior. DJ Kauffman said this: "Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk." I really like this quote. "Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk." and this goes right in line with asking-twice-as-much-as-you-tell. Each of us has a personal inquiry and advocacy ratio. Usually when we're speaking or we're listening, we're doing one of these two things. We're inquiring and then we're sitting back listening to what the person has to say, or we're advocating. And what I have found is I have tried to ratchet back my ratio because it was skewed heavy advocacy and lean more into inquiry. And I think each of us have tendencies, we tend toward one end, and many of us just open our mouths and start advocating where we should be asking and then listening with this mode of inquiry. And so this is another one of my favorite behaviors that's why I put it on this list. I think it's awesome. Tim, what do you think about this one? 

0:40:43.1 Tim: I love it. In order to get better though, Junior, you've gotta engage in some, I guess, some meta-cognition. You've gotta be really aware of yourself...

0:40:52.0 Junior: Yeah you do.

0:40:52.9 Tim: And you've gotta monitor yourself and you've gotta say, "Okay, am I in inquiry mode right now, or am I in advocacy mode right now?" And you've gotta check yourself several times during the day to monitor that and then try to intentionally make adjustments. And I think for many of us, it's moving a little bit more, as you say, to inquiry and enjoying the rewards and the benefits of that.

0:41:23.1 Junior: Well, think about, let's say you're in a team of five people and everyone's ratio is like one to five inquiry advocacy. What happens? You just have all these people running around frantically advocating for their position and nothing happens.

0:41:38.0 Tim: Well, I think we see what that looks like, Junior, as people are just talking over each other...

0:41:42.8 Junior: Yeah! 

0:41:43.3 Tim: And it's not quality dialogue. It's not quality collaboration. It's pretty frustrating because everyone wants the air time. Everyone wants the oxygen. Yeah.

0:41:55.0 Junior: And you may have a relationship where the one person is really heavy inquiry almost by force, because the advocacy on the other end is so harsh. And so I think it's important to monitor that in our relationships and our teams to see where we land. So this one I really, really love. And there's a challenge with this one too that we would extend to all of you, which is to monitor your interactions tomorrow and write down a ratio at the end of the day of asking and telling. What was your inquiry versus advocacy ratio that day? If you do that, I think it's a very helpful awareness exercise, and if you can do it across time, let's say that you did that every day for a day or for a week straight; that at the end of the day, you wrote down, "Today I was two to one. I was one to one. I was three to one," that will help bring awareness to this, you'll start thinking about it in the act of engaging with people, and it may lead you to ask a question when you would have normally made a statement. And so that's something that I would extend as an invitation to everyone. Tim, any final thoughts about that behavior? 

0:43:08.4 Tim: Yes. I have friends that have ratios, some friends that have ratios of... It's like 1 to 10, inquiry versus advocacy. And I love them but I can only take them in small doses, because I know that when I spend time with them, I simply have to listen. And I love listening, so that puts me... So my ratio when I'm with them is 100% inquiry and zero advocacy, [chuckle] which is fantastic, but you can't do that all the time, and it's not a sustainable mode of interacting with another person or sustaining a relationship. But it's interesting to reflect on people that have ratios like that. It's exhausting after a while. And so then that makes me think about myself, "Wow, Tim, are you... Where's your ratio? And are you making it hard on others? Have you shifted enough to inquiry and compassionate curiosity, asking them questions, being a good listener?" So it really makes me think because of the way that I feel after I've had some time with one of these friends, I love them, but they talk and you listen.

0:44:30.4 Junior: Yeah. As has been said, "You got two ears, one mouth. Use them proportionately." So that's Behavior 2: Ask twice as much as you tell. Behavior 3, express gratitude and appreciation. This had to be in the top three. This one goes a long way. To show appreciation, and in a team setting, not just for performance, this is where I think a lot of people get it wrong, but for effort, this, in a professional setting, I think is very, very important. Because people say, "Well, show gratitude, show appreciation," and then we just say, "Well, thank you so much for doing a great job. Thank you so much for hitting your number this quarter. Thank you so much... "

0:45:12.0 Junior: And it's like, well, that's not gonna go as far as showing gratitude and appreciation for just the person being there, maybe? Gratitude and appreciation for effort? I was listening to a snippet the other day, was it a podcast? It may have been an article about "intelligence praise" versus "effort praise," and the outcomes are very, very, very different, especially longitudinally. And so I just point that out because this is a failure pattern that I see a lot in gratitude and appreciation, is we're showing gratitude and appreciation for the wrong things. So gratitude and appreciation for effort, I think, is very important. GB Stern said, "Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone." And I like that quote because often I will feel gratitude towards someone, but I won't say anything. Well, what a waste.

0:46:06.9 Tim: Yeah. What a waste.

0:46:07.8 Junior: What a waste. I just let that feeling stay with me, and the other person has no idea. I thought about that a couple of weeks ago. I had a friend that did something nice for me, didn't have to do, and I feel like I felt gratitude, and I caught myself several hours later, as if I expected my feeling to transfer through the ether to this person, and they would know that I was really grateful. Like, come on. And so all it took was just a quick note and that was that. But to express that gratitude, silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.

0:46:44.9 Tim: Yeah. I really love that, Junior. It has to be expressed. And it's free. It doesn't cost you anything.

0:46:49.0 Junior: Yep.

0:46:49.5 Tim: It's not a scarce resource to be grateful.

0:46:51.9 Junior: That's right. Here's another quote, Albert Schweitzer. "At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has caused to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." I thought this was an appropriate ending quote for today because we are relational creatures. We do depend on one another. In some form or other, we are dependent. And without other people, we would have a hard, if not impossible time. And so the gratitude element of this is really interesting because it's important for us to look around, see those people on whom we're dependent, and show gratitude verbally, behaviorally, to say "Thank you." That goes so far.

0:47:42.9 Junior: If you've been on the receiving end of a really meaningful "Thank you," you'll know how this feels. You wanna provide that experience for another person. And talk about crossing the threshold of conviction, conviction can certainly come through this type of a behavior is expressing gratitude. So the challenge here is to think about, is there someone to whom you should express gratitude today? Pull out your phone and send a text expressing gratitude to someone. And do it in the next 30 minutes after we finish up this episode. Pull out your phone, send a text. It can be very simple, it can be 10 words, but that goes such a long way.

0:48:25.0 Tim: Well, Junior, let's also acknowledged that when you do that, you will generate data because you're behaving. So you're gonna generate data in the form of the feelings and the emotions that come to you after you engage in that action. And you'll have a data set to evaluate, and then you can stand back and ask yourself, "So what do I think: Better or worse?"

0:48:54.8 Junior: I love that. "Better or worse?" Yeah. Go say "Thank you" to somebody and then ask yourself if it's better or worse after the fact. I guarantee you it will not be worse. Okay. So those are the three behaviors today. Behave until you believe is the concept, and in action, these are the three. We've got Share your story, learn their story; ask twice as much as you tell, and express gratitude and appreciation.

0:49:23.1 Junior: So next episode, we're gonna be talking about behaviors in Stage 2, learner safety. I would encourage you to come back and check out that episode. I think we're gonna have a great conversation. So thank you, everyone, for your time, your attention. We appreciate you very much. We're very grateful for all of the work that you do in the world. We've been talking about that this week as a team. We're so grateful for the people that we are able to work with and interact with, directly and even indirectly, through the podcast. We know that there are many of you out there, most of you out there, that we haven't had a chance to meet in-person, I would love if one day we got that opportunity. Maybe we will. But thank you for what you do. You can always reach out to us at If you liked today's episode, give a Like, leave a review, and share it with someone you think might find it valuable. Take care, everybody. We'll see you next episode. Bye-bye.


0:50:21.0 Producer: Hey, Culture by Design listeners, this is the end of today's episode. You can find all the important links from today's episode at And if you found today's episode helpful and useful in any way, please share it with a friend and leave a review. If you'd like to learn more about Leader Factor and what we do, then please visit us at Lastly, if you'd like to give any feedback to the Culture by Design podcast or even request a topic from Tim and Junior, then reach out to us at or find and tag us on LinkedIn. Thanks again for listening and making culture something you do by design, not by default.


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Episode Transcript

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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How to customize formatting for each rich text

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