When we are addicted to being right, we are not able to hear the truth or learn from others. This creates a culture of fear within our teams. When we move past our addiction and open ourselves up we are able to create collaboration and innovation within our teams. Listen to Rose Davidson open up this conversation with Jen Thornton.
0:00:04.2 S1: Talking with the Experts. Hello and welcome to talking with the experts. My name is Rose Davidson from RoseDavidson.com, and talking with the experts is about all things business by business owners or full business owners. And you can find me on soundcloud and on YouTube. And today my guest is Jen Thornton and Jen’s business is 304 Coaching. And we’re going to talk about the addiction of being right. Jennifer has developed her expertise in talent strategy and leadership professional development over her exciting 20-plus year career as an HR professional. She’s led international teams across Greater China, Mexico, the UK and the US, expanding into new markets, managing franchise retailers and developing key strategic partnerships all while exceeding business objectives and financial results. Welcome, Jen, and thank you for joining me today.
0:01:08.2 S2: Thanks for having me. This will be fun, I’m excited to talk to you.
0:01:11.3 S1: Terrific. So your Business 304 coaching, has it on conventional approach to building innovative workforce development solutions for companies, could you please explain what these solutions are and why they’re so innovative?
0:01:32.4 S2: So our approach is different because I think oftentimes, when you’re working with a consultant that’s helping you with leadership education or training or all of those types of things, it comes from a viewpoint of that’s what… It’s what we’re supposed to do, and yes, we are supposed to do that, but I look at development around talent very different, and I look at it as a partnership with your business strategy, and through my traditional corporate career, I was fortunate to be on a lot of new projects or new markets or new brands, and sometimes it was amazing, and sometimes it was horrible, and when I looked back and said, When did it go well? And when did it go? But that it was always around the talent, and what I find is people put a ton of work into their business plan, and some of these people are even pitching for tons and start-up funds. But then no one says, How are we actually going to do this work? Who do we need to hire? Why do we need to hire them? How are we going to lead them, how are we gonna work together? And so we come in with a different approach and we first say, what is your business strategy, and then what does your talent need to do to make sure that business strategy comes to life, and then that is the solution that we create
0:02:54.4 S1: At acquisition is often a miss, because people don’t have the right strategies in place, so… Yeah, I totally agree with that concept. So tell me a little bit more about why there is an addiction to being right.
0:03:12.9 S2: So it’s fascinating work and studies that are out there around the addiction to being right, and one of the things that we… One of the programs we teach at 304 is conversation intelligence and Conversation Intelligence is around understanding how the neuroscience of the mind works, how the chemicals and the mind actually work, and when you engage in conversation, how are those chemicals reacting in your mind reacting into those around you, so that you can use science for your benefit, oftentimes, we lead in a way that creates fear, and fear is never a good day because when we have fear in our mind, we’re actually closing down our creative parts of our brain. So part of that, when you start to think about the chemicals in the brain, when we have an addiction, we get a dopamine hit, and it doesn’t matter what that addiction is, it’s a dopamine head, it’s a chemical response, and so when we all can probably think of someone that we worked with very early in their career, and they were smart and ambitious and made really fantastic decisions, and they were collaborative, and they were just incredible, but they won a lot, and they were…
0:04:21.1 S2: Correct, a lot. And they were right. What happens is when we’re right, we get a dopamine hit like Let’s all face it, it feels really good when you’re… Right. Who doesn’t wanna be, right? But what happens is we might get addicted to that dopamine hit, and what we know about all addictions is that if you are addicted to that her, Do you need a little bit more each time for that same level of high… And that is how the addiction to being right starts, and then it kind of spirals from there… Yeah.
0:04:51.4 S1: My husband says is, you always have to be right. Feels good. There’s this great element in a rally, soot trying to be success or any of those sorts of things, which of the six has to be right more… Most often. And why is that?
0:05:13.2 S2: Oh my gosh, in the research that I have worked through, I have not read any research based on the Mel, female gender gap between those two addictions, but what I can tell you is typically when I’m working with people who we are working through this addiction and we are opening our way up to look at things differently, oftentimes, it is a mall, and I think that… When you think about Millers IP, it’s a very… Oftentimes, they personally feel like they need to be more dominant, they may feel that they need to be in control at a higher level, they wanna make sure that they look like they’re in charge, and it doesn’t necessarily come from a bad place, but it just kind of comes from how sometimes males or females are raised differently and told to behave very differently in the workplace, so I think a lot of it just comes from society and how we’re influenced.
0:06:12.5 S1: So I guess how can that affect people in the workplace and maybe even transport back to a home environment, having to be right at home all the time can damage relationships.
0:06:28.2 S2: Yeah, it damages relationships. Anywhere, you’re absolute right. If you’re having these issues with relationships in the workplace, chances are you’re having those relationships outside of work, those same problems with those relationships, and so when we’re addicted to being right, over time, what happens is we’re no longer willing to hear the truth, and I think we’ve all probably worked with someone who will fight with you about the color of a crayon and you’re like, It’s blue, and they’re like, No, it is red, and everyone in the room knows it’s blue, but eventually they’re like, You know what? You’re the boss, you’re right, if you wanna call that red, it’s read. And that is so dangerous because if we’re not willing to hear the truth about our business, and if we’re not willing to allow people to come to us and be honest about what’s going on with our product, our customer, our processes, then you were kind of dead in the water… And it happens a lot, I see this so often, where leaders really have no interest in the truth, because it takes away their security blanket, it takes away their dopamine hit, because if they are not the person…
0:07:35.8 S2: That’s right, or the person who knows it all. And it takes away, if they believe, it takes away a piece of who they are, and it’s really dangerous when it comes to truth telling in the workplace. Yeah.
0:07:46.9 S1: So how can we educate people to not be right all the time.
0:07:51.8 S2: So one of the things that I love to work with people is learning how to celebrate failures. Oftentimes leaders will come to me and they’re like, You know, my people don’t take risks, they don’t make their own decisions. Like all of this. My first question always is, Well, what about your leadership creates that environment? No one ever loves that question, but there is something about our leadership that creates the environment where people can’t make decisions, and so I think what’s important is getting excited about risk and failure, ’cause failure is other side of risk, the bigger the risk, the bigger the failures all those things that we know well. And so when we’re trying to help people work through this addiction, one of the things we start with is a… Specifically, they don’t believe it’s true. Typically, they’re like, No. My people love me. They tell me the true, we’re just a family. Yeah, no, we’re not. And so one of the things I love to have leaders do is think of a really hard and difficult question that they need their team to answer, and I kind of sat quietly as an observer, and when that leader asks a question, if everyone in the room kinda looks at each other and they’re not wanting to respond or they just are waiting to be told what to think that…
0:09:04.1 S2: I’m like, we’re here, we’re here. This is exactly what happened. So I think the first thing we have to do is get people to sign up to understanding that their addiction to being right, their addiction to power is actually harming their business results, and once they start that, then we get the real work. But yeah, first we have to admit there’s a problem like in tradition, we got admitted.
0:09:31.1 S1: Yeah, is there any like a psychological help other than the training that you’re providing, is the outside influences or outside hope that could help this person from being right all the time.
0:09:49.1 S2: You know, I think it depends on where they are personally, when we are coaching and developing in an environment with our clients and teaching conversation intelligence, we stay at that point as a coach, but I think that some of the people I’ve worked with have seek… That you’re sought out to help outside professional medical help, because it is this a true addiction and sometimes it causes maybe sometimes anger… One of the things that happens a lot more, more addicted to be right, we can seem very angry, and that’s because anyone who thinks something different than us or believe something different than us is jeopardizing our addiction, and so they have a lot of anger issues because they’re mad at people for not thinking the way that they have been told to think… Right. And so I find that oftentimes, they need that… The other thing I often find, which you had on earlier, is there’s usually problems outside of work and at home, because when you have that anger or you have that need to constantly be told that you are correct and always be the right… The correct person in the room, it damages their work or their…
0:11:00.3 S2: Relationships outside of work too.
0:11:02.3 S1: Yeah, I was speaking with them and just… I’m speaking with a lady yesterday, actually about… Her business had to be safe at home and how to be safe in business, because she believes that a work-place violence begins in the home, so these two sort of subjects could correlate with each other, that the person that’s having to be right at harms, we’ve discussed previously has to be right in the workplace, and this can cause home violence situations, which can then… And she believed quite strongly that if you’re an abuser, then you will take that into the workplace and you will start using your co-workers or your subordinates, whatever… So there’s two subjects are quite close, really in the addiction to being right and how she believes that home violence is brought into the workplace, so I won’t have to put you in touch with each other. Yeah.
0:12:10.4 S2: I would like to talk to her. It’s interesting you say that because one of the things that I’m really passionate about is creating better communities, and kind of the flip from her thought process is I believe if we create better work environments, we do create better communities, because if you are a… If you go to work and your supervisor has made you feel less than or has been very judgmental or mentally damaged you in some way through bullying or anger or abuse, when you go home, you don’t shed that, all those feelings when you walk out of the office or I guess nowadays, since we all work from home, out of our home office, so when you go and you interact with those that you love, you sit down to the dinner table and if you’ve been beat up all day long, you don’t have the compassion and energy to really be fully present with your children or your spouse, and on the reverse side, even if you had a tough day at work, but you felt like you were supported and you made it through it and people believed in you, you’re gonna go home and you’re gonna be a whole different person for your family, and those kids go to bed and they think about, Oh, my dad or my mom was upset last night, it causes fear and children, which means it’s harder for them to study and enjoy school the next morning, so I like…
0:13:35.2 S2: This person believe that home and work are very connected, and then as leaders, we have responsibility of making sure that we’re treating people with humanity so that those individuals can go home and create at our home lives there for better communities. Yeah.
0:13:50.9 S1: Absolutely. Alright, well, I’ll send you with an email actually sending one at Milan connect to both because I’m not… She’s in the US as well, a different state, but yeah, not from a affix set up because… Yeah, I think you could benefit from each other, and she’s actually creating an app that you can put on your phone, so I detect violence, so where the phone is close to a valance iteration that actually detects that violence and then it alerts either an authority is actually for real estate for tenants and landlords, but it could equate to into organizations where… So that you would know because a lot of changes in an organization, you don’t realize what’s happening at home and whether there’s some harm violence happening, and the person could be coming to work at the survivor who is hiding the bruises or whatever, or the mental stress and now at home, they’re so horrible, but it works, they’re perfectly okay, but either as the… Sorry, I’m not gonna start getting this out very well, the survivor is coming with all the trauma and everything, but bringing it to work, so it’s not giving themselves 100% to their job or on the first side, the abuser is all very nice at way, but at home, they just causing so much cost here could be so helpful for organizations to know that there’s a survivor amongst them, and I could have a quiet conversation if they’re taking extra time off or whatever, so yeah, that’s…
0:15:38.4 S1: I will actually put you so together, I think it’s one radio
0:15:42.5 S2: I would love to meet her. It’s interesting, one of the things that when I work with clients, a lot of things that we look at to create great environments is policies, and sometimes people think policies are the bad stuff, but we actually look at how do we create policies that create about our communities and one of the things that I always highly suggest, depending on what stayed in the US, often times, we do not have any policies or federal laws around the right to vote and providing time off to vote, which is a really big deal. And the other thing is domestic violence policies and saying upfront, if you are in a domestic violence situation, we as an organization are here to support you, we will provide you time off, we will provide you a safe place, here’s who you wanna need to talk to if you don’t feel safe at home, but if we don’t put those words in a handbook or on a policy, then people don’t know we’re willing to be there, but it’s interesting that you bring that up ’cause it’s one of the first policies… And I work with organizations, I’m like, Do you have protection of the whole person? And we have to think about that so that we get the best person and they’re at that place where they can really perform well, so that again, it’s like a spiral that goes in a good place, not a spiral that goes in a bad place.
0:17:08.1 S1: Yeah, it surprises me that the US is such a leader in so many ways, and having this conversation yesterday that they’re so far behind in protections for their staff in Australia, there is legislation in place that you must protect your employees, employers responsibility to have policies in place for domestic violence leave or cultural land, all sorts of other things, and people think that we’re a bit of a nanny state or country, but it’s not… It’s protecting people and it just surprises me, you don’t… The US just just doesn’t have them… It’s not mandatory. Yeah.
0:18:03.0 S2: It’s interesting, I have managed HR teams around the world, and obviously I grew up and I’m from the States. And so when I would sit down and be in the UK or in China or wherever I was, and we would start to go through how do we set up our policies, how do we take our culture in the US and implement that in another country? It was fascinating about the policies, and I’ll never forget, a full-time sales associate in London got a week more vacation than I got as an employee of 20 years at the director level, and I was like, Man, they’re getting so much vacation. But it was right to do. It is a mental health. And us, when you think about the country and how it was developed, it was this very much, you work hard no matter what. If you work hard, you get what you want, and that has influenced our policies and influence how we look at people… Well, every man for themselves, if you work hard, you can figure it out, what happened to you is your fault, and it’s interesting how it does influence policy.
0:19:15.0 S1: Yeah, yeah, I just don’t understand it. But anyway, that hateful. There’ll be some legislators around that, we’ll look at it. I mean, I believe in IT management in all organizations, whether you’re a team of two or a team of 2000, you should have all these policies in place regardless of the sale of your organization, you… Yeah.
0:19:44.0 S2: Playbook for safety, and it’s creating a safe and consistent work environment and policies remove fear, because if you don’t know the rules, then you kind of are like, I don’t know how to play, and having really great policies on board actually allows for safety and people to be more comfortable.
0:20:05.3 S1: I will have children have rules when they apply in the plan grant, what are you playing tag? There are rules to playing tag me, if children can have them work on adults…
0:20:17.8 S2: I know, and it just makes it easier. But yeah, it is fascinating how different laws, and even in the US, we have federal laws, but then every state can add additional ones on to that, so it depends on where you live in America, you can have completely different labor laws depending on the state in which you live… That’s crazy. It is complicated. Oh my gosh, yeah. And doing any kind of labor laws in the US because of… ’cause you can even go down to the county and city could have their own labor laws, so… Yeah, so it’s just layered on top of… Layer on top of layer.
0:20:54.0 S1: Now, that is in any way. So have you got any wise would about not being right?
0:21:07.3 S2: Yeah, so I think of that, what I would love to leave your listeners with today is to really ask them, start asking questions you don’t have the answer to, and so often as leaders, we think we have all the answers, so we ask questions and we all know the tone in which that’s asked, What do you think we really should do here right now, start asking questions you don’t have the answer to, so those could be… Not many solutions are working, so what solution have we not thought of… I don’t see where you’re going with this, but… That’s okay. Change my mind, really start asking questions that you don’t have the answer to, because you will start to instill confidence in the people on your team that they can bring you ideas and innovation and creativity, all the stuff are asking for that we think we don’t get… But the coolest thing about getting all of that at great information is that as leaders, you’ll grow and that will start creating an environment where you don’t have to be right, you have to be a great learner, and in today’s world, as fast as it’s moving, if we’re not into learning what’s new this minute, then we’re kind of dead in the water, and so that addiction to write will really start to hold people back even more as we go into the future than it has in the past, because the world is just changing so quickly.
0:22:28.4 S1: It is, absolutely. And I think 2020, I really bought that hard, it really has… Everyone just had to change everything about their life with… At the drop of a hat, basically just started and there’s no end in sight at the moment, but
0:22:48.2 S2: The resilience, and I think that our brains love evidence, and so any time you think cautious is really tough. How am I gonna get through this? Remember the evidence of this year, the evidence of this year’s show that humanity went on and we had some dark days, they’ll probably be more ahead of us, but humanity figured it out the best that we could and use that evidence to push through difficult situations in the future.
0:23:13.1 S1: Absolutely, absolutely. So Jen wacken, people find… Yes.
0:23:18.3 S2: You can find me at 304 Coaching, and we have a ton of free resources there and some great exercises you can do with your team, and I love to connect with people on LinkedIn at linkedin, I’m Jen Thornton-ACC, and we can connect there and continue the conversation.
0:23:35.6 S1: Perfect, perfect, thank you so much for your time today, and I will definitely hope you work with the lady from yesterday, and yeah, I look forward to having another conversation with you next, I think we could carry on this conversation maybe with… Between the three.
0:23:53.4 S2: Oh, that would be great. Let’s do it. That would be a ton of fun, I would say. Alright. You enjoy your evening. Alright, thank you so much, have a lovely evening. And thanks for having me on your show.
0:24:03.1 S1: Thanks to you too.