Today, we’re meeting with Michael Leckie and we’re talking about human systems. What those are, how we need to be incorporating them into our business, and how technology simply isn’t enough.
He speaks internationally on the art and science of leadership, digital leadership, culture change, and influencing and communication skills.
Michael shares his journey with us as a leadership consultant and speaker focused on transforming organization’s cultures to those that have a balance of both human and technology systems.
So let’s dive and figure out what human systems really are and how we can leverage them.
See you in there!
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Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of technically speaking. We’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin and today we’re talking with Michael Leckie about human systems. What those are, how we should be incorporating them into our business, and how technology simply isn’t enough. Michael speaks internationally on the art and science of leadership, digital leadership, culture change, and innovation and communication skills. Michael shares his journey with us as a leadership consultant and speaker that’s focused on transforming organizations cultures to those that have a balance of both technology and human systems. Let’s dive into today’s episode to figure out what human systems really are and how we can start leveraging them as always stick around until the end for some awesome resources, and we hope you enjoy this one.
Austin: All right. And we are live Michael, welcome to the show, man.
Michael: Glad to be here with you gentlemen.
Austin: Oh yeah, so glad to have you. You’re one of those people that I was just super excited to have on both because I love the way you run your business and I also just love you as a human being, so we appreciate you making space in the calendar to come be with us.
Michael: That’s very kind, the love is mutual. I love working with you guys and the work that you do is great for a person like me in my business,
Austin: Oh man, you’re going to make me blush. Anyways, we’ve got a bunch of stuff that we want to cover with you today, but I want to start off just talking a little bit about your philosophy and how you ended up where you are. We were reading on your website. And one of the things that we saw was this idea that you focus on human systems as opposed to technology systems or maybe laterally to technology systems and I think that might sort of summarize kind of how you look at your practice. Can you just kind of fill us in? What’s led you to the point that you’re at in your ideas about business?
Michael: Great question. Mostly just pain and frustration. But longer ago than I care to admit now I started studying change in culture and organizations and I was getting my master’s degree in OD at Pepperdine, and I had the great, good fortune to study with some of the great thought leaders in that space even way back then. And over the years, what I saw was the same thing. We talk about change or change management and culture like we know what we’re talking about, but we just kind of gloss over it. And I can’t think of how many times I’ve seen, big firms come in and say, here’s the big project we’re going do all this and change the culture. But what does that mean? How do you do that? Or they start to get more specific.
I need to be collaborative or empathetic or humble or vulnerable or engaged and all these good words. And they spit these good words out, and most people are like thinking, oh geez, because I’m kind of an arrogant jerk who’s mean to people. I’m so glad informed me. No people think they’re actually pretty good people in doing these things so it’s nothing that’s actionable. And that’s where it kind of came from. I thought, what is going on here? When I talk to executives constantly, they’re always saying, look the technology, I can figure out, the processes and the operating models, I can figure out. Getting people to want to go where we’re trying to go is where we’re getting stuck. What’s slowing us down. It’s an actually doing when it comes to real human beings. So for me, I thought so what’s going on here?
And I really dug into it, what I really realized is that we have not invested time in building change as a capability. Because as human beings, we’re not about change. We’re all about keeping it the way it is, staying safe, keeping it status quo, you know, being comfortable, all those kinds of things and change, disrupt so many things. It’s a bit of an unnatural act for human beings so we need to teach those skills and build those capabilities and the organizations that have those, the do have the ability to continue to evolve and to shift and to rethink what they’re doing and to stay relevant and stay fresh and also providing a much more human experience. That’s what really kind of got me involved in this side of it, is it seemed to be the missing piece and I’d be the guy that gets called in after the big alphabet soup names, consulting firms leave a big, beautiful overprice, dusty binder on their shelf and nobody can implement. And they’re like, well now what do I do? It’s like, well now we actually have to get down to the hard work of engaging human beings. That’s what led me to it.
Austin: Oh, that makes sense. It’s kind of weird that organizations being just collections of human beings, struggle with this human being element. That’s the whole thing, and I don’t know, it’s really easy to get diverted from what actually matters.
Michael: You totally nailed it right there. You totally nailed it because organizations don’t exist. There’s always a logo there’s papers that incorporate them, there’s buildings, there’s t-shirts all an organization is, is a group of people with hopefully a shared purpose moving towards that purpose. But yet we treat it like an organization exists and it’s a thing. And so we start to manipulate aspects of it, feeling like the people just come along with that somehow it’s such backward thinking, but it’s really come from the mechanistic models of Frederick Taylor, back in the day when it’s like get me the guy that just has the mentality to slog pig iron up and down, that’s all I need. Well, the nature of work has changed and even the guys moving the pig iron now, need to be thinking about the whole value chain of where it works and how they’re going to impact that and what outcomes they’re achieving, because if they don’t, their competitors are. We’re still working as a friend of mine says, in fifth generation or sixth generation information technology and second generation human systems, we haven’t changed them much. I think you nailed it with your observation.
Austin: Well, that’s good to hear.
Austin: Paying attention, I guess, gets you somewhere, I suppose.
Austin: Do you feel like that this is sort of a I don’t know, tangential to the world that we’re living in now that this is becoming more of a conversation? Let me give some context to that question, that felt a little bit disjointed. If you go back 50 years ago or whatever, when we’re looking at the automotive space, for example. Seeing human beings as just like quote unquote cogs in a machine, kind of makes sense because it was that assembly line status that made the whole thing work. But now in today’s world where you have robots building cars and it doesn’t require a human being twisting screws every single time, we’re able to better leverage what human beings are good at. Being creative solving problems, being innovative. Do you think that this increased focus that is necessary right now is because of some of those technology advances that we’re seeing in other areas of business?
Michael: Oh yeah, absolutely. I think the technology taking away some of the more transactional work definitely is a part of it. And I think the other aspect of the technologies making things possible and how fast it evolves, when you think now about, the products and the new technology products, this is a consumer you’re buying. Used to be, there was a new one every once in a while. The gap between the dimension of the cassette tape and the CD was a long time, then it kind of goes faster and faster, all the distribution. What’s happened to that old model and that great old model wasn’t wrong, it’s just no longer right because back in the day we had the time, the problems we were solving as an organization, the needs we were meeting were relatively stable.
We just need to figure out the best way to meet them, and you could do that with a small group of smart people who are leaders at the top, and then a whole group of people that would just execute the hell out of that and get it done and that was your competitive advantage. But when you get to a point where the problems we’re solving are changing so much faster, a lot brought on by technology and just the nature of the world we’re in, and the fact that people now have the ability to think more about what’s tomorrow and the next day, as opposed to just surviving today, it doesn’t work anymore. That’s what’s caused these organizations that are much more nimble and agile and have people closer to their customer or client able to make decisions and strategize and pivot and pilot and try things, that’s what made that model work so well. But hierarchy, status and power is a hard habit to break so organizations are having a hard time moving to that. People are having a hard time letting go of a model that served them well in so many regards to move to something like the one that world requires nowadays.
Taylorr: That makes perfect sense. I am completely new to this subject, especially the words, human systems, particularly so I’m excited to learn a little bit about this more. What does a human system mean in comparison to technology systems? And even though humans have been around for so long, why are we on the sixth or seventh generation of technology systems and only on the second or third of human systems, can you break that down for me a little bit?
Michael: Yeah. I think it’s because technology isn’t personal. It doesn’t react to you scrapping the old one and moving onto the new one.
Taylorr: I see.
Michael: But for people, we evolve and we evolved in a world that value the number of things, one of the things I talk about in my book, but one of them is learning before knowing. We evolve in a world where knowing mattered, the more you knew, the more valuable you were and the person who knew the most then lead others and help them know more and then went up and that’s one of the avenues to power and status and seniority in an organization. And I was having this conversation with the late great Clay Christiansen before he died. I got a chance to spend a…
Taylorr: Clay Christiansen. Wow.
Michael: One of my heroes, and through a friend of mine, we spent a whole afternoon up at Harvard. He and I, and three other people and we just sat and talked. At one point he says to me, he goes, Michael I’m having a bit of an epiphany here and I’ve told this story before, but I love it. He says, it used to be that we had to develop the skills and the abilities and experiences to get the job. Now we find ourselves in the job needing to develop the skills and abilities and experiences to do it and what comes next. And it’s so true and technology’s driven that. And as we thought about it, it took us down a path a little bit farther, which was how do people react to that? If I was still in a corporate job, in my fifties, I’ve gotten to a point where I’m senior leadership, a lot of authority, you know, nice desk, nice car, nice house, nice wife, big package, I got the money, it’s all good.
And I got there because I was the guy who earned it. I was the guy who knew the most. Now what if that’s just my launching pad and I have to learn things? Well for most people, unfortunately, that’s really threatening. It’s like, well, maybe I’m here now illegitimately, because always before I had to have it to be here, have the rules really changed or am I going to lose all this stuff? And so I really just pushed back on that reality and pretend it’s not there. Then there’s that minority that says, well, wait a minute, I’m here because I should be here now, but now what’s required is different and I’ve got the best launching pad to go on and do what needs to be done next. And they see kind of the positive side of it. It’s just been my non-scientific experience that that’s a minority of people and that’s really kind of challenging. But did I go off in your question? You want to talk about human systems. I’m not sure if I went in the wrong direction.
Taylorr: No, that was super informative. I just think I’ve been looking for like a box of what human systems are really and you addressed that perfectly.
Michael: Yeah. And I think that, say it by a little bit more, there’s a guy name Gervase Busheis, is a great thinker, is a Canadian and organization science. And he says, basically an organization can be defined as who talks to whom about what. That’s what human beings do. They do their work and they talk to each other and they work together. The human system is basically how are all the humans interacting? What conversations are they having and about what, and what expertise and information and things are they bringing to those conversations? So there are other, also a far less controllable and desirable system. They’re infinitely malleable, they’re what technology wants to evolve to with artificial intelligence. Right. But yet we’re undervaluing the actual intelligence and we’re undervaluing investing in people having great conversations. And you say that to an executive, like invest in, people have con… oh, okay.
So now we got to have a kumbaya conversation and sit around and talk, when are we going actually do the work? But yet the work gets done or doesn’t get done because of the conversations you have because of who you know, because your ability to influence them, because the relationships, because of trust, it’s all those things that make it work or make it not work with most organizations. And it’s almost like a learned helplessness, like beating children or something and it’s like, well, it’s never going to get any better, this is just the way organizations are so you make the most of the dysfunctional family. But we created the dysfunction, we can actually take it away.
Taylorr: Yeah, I totally can see how that would be true. How do you feel like this scales down to a smaller organization? I’m asking this because a lot of our listeners here, some of them certainly are part of these larger organizations and hopefully this is helping sort of reframe this. But a lot of our people too are solopreneurs or much like you, a small team that’s helping support this machine that’s happening. How do you feel like that this idea of human systems at the large level can be scaled down to the small level?
Michael: That’s a great question the small and even in the, kind of the solopreneur level. Well, again, it’s about building the, and its core to some of what you gentlemen do, building the connections, the relationships, the networks. I’m an individual, I’m an individual entrepreneur, solopreneur is just me. I have as you know, my marketing partner, Fay who’s great and handle social media. I have you guys who handle all the system stuff for me, by the way, if you’re not on their stuff, get on it. It’s just done deal…
Michael: Just move on and do it. It’s the best thing out there. But what I have, I also have other people like my partner Bob Mesta, he has his own business, The Rewired Group, does jobs to be done theory. I have other friends a company called Werq, W E R Q, Olanna and her team. I have an ecosystem that’s built on my relationships, my understanding of my goals, where I’m trying to go, what I’m trying to achieve and I work with them to figure out how do I get that delivered. As a result, I can go into Fortune 25 companies and I can step in where a McKinsey or a Boston consulting group didn’t deliver and actually deliver and do what needs to be done because I can pull in just the right people at the right time and the right processes and tools. That can happen in a small organization too, so I have my human system, part of it involves both of you. You need to build those skills to see, okay, I’ve got a goal, I’ve got a north star that I’m going to achieve. What do I need to do that?
And there’s certain things I need. If you look at like there’s one organizational model [inaudible 14:56] model of organization design, he says, okay, so what are the work capabilities you need? What are your processes? What are your decision-making the communication system, just like those management systems? How are people rewarded? And how do you bring people in and develop and get them ready for that? Well, I can do that across a half a million person organization, I can do that myself with just my relationship. So I would say, oh, well, one of the things I have is I have to have business processes. My business processes come from SpeakerFlow.
Primarily that’s what I do. I’ve found this partner, I’ve tried different things. I’ve tried cobbling together. Now. I’m like, nope, these guys understand my business, the kind of person I am, they’re the best fit, so I’ve evolved to that and so you’re part of my ecosystem as I manage my business. Maybe it’s a long-winded answer, but it’s to say, at any level, as long as you know where you’re going, you can start to look at what is the system I need to build to do that either within an organization or outside of just me as a solopreneur or anything in between.
Austin: I love that.
Austin: Also, this is not a paid promotion.
Taylorr: Not a paid promotion [cross-talk 16:03]. Holy cow, I was like I’m blushing over here.
Austin: Thank you. Thank you.
Taylorr: Thank you. Yes, for sure. What I love about what you just said is like, it doesn’t start with the systems, it doesn’t start there. You got to know where we’re going first before we can even build the systems around us to help us get there And I think that can get overlooked sometimes.
Michael: Yeah. Yeah.
Taylorr: Let’s talk about your business model, Michael. You found your niche, your core expertise, how did you build this business around it? Did you always start with consulting and speaking, does speak and come along? How did this whole thing take shape and you know where are you heading with it?
Michael: Well, I’ve done a little bit of all of it. I’ve been a business leader internally and are running a P and L at companies like Gartner, I’ve been a consultant in large and small organizations. I did a lot more speaking and writing when I was at Gartner because I was on stage a lot there and got to work with a lot of great speakers. But when I really moved into the business, and I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m starting to figure it out now, but I didn’t know what I was doing, and it’s an entirely different life when you’ve had teams of hundreds or thousands of people, and hundreds of millions of dollars in a budget and all of a sudden, it’s you. [Cross-talk 17:10] do everything.
Taylorr: Talk about culture shock.
Michael: Yeah, you do. And you start to find those partners that you need and start to figure it out. But for me, I had to really oriented around, okay, what is my purpose? And, for whatever strange reason, that was one question I was able to answer early on. I was in a conversation with Rodd Wagner, who was at that time, a lead scientist at Gallup and has gone on to write books and do other kind of solopreneur work as well. And he said that one of the questions they ask when they’re interviewing people for their consulting division, which is actually a pretty good group, he said, is what’s your mission? And he said, they asked the question, people who can’t really come up with something pretty quickly, oftentimes they’re concerned about do they have the right kind of drive and purpose?
And he asked me, I said, what’s your mission? And I said, to make the world a better place to live and work, one organization at a time. And it just kind of came out of me and I realized that’s what I wanted to do and as I dug more into what kind of my great work was using my friend, Michael Bungay Stanier’s model, my great work is in creating a space that others can step into to do more and be more maybe than they thought they could or imagine they could. And generally I do that through conversation and questions and framing things and kind of pulling them out and challenging a lot of the more coach-like stuff I do. So I thought, well, that’s what I want to do. I want to make the world a better place and I want to create these spaces.
Then it simply said, okay, now what am I good at doing that I can make some money on as well. And that led into a actually getting a phone call out of the blue from a woman named Sue Mormon. And Sue she just retired, but she’s one of the, probably right now, the leading thinker and organization design in the world, she’s brilliant. And she was doing an organization redesign project for a big CPG company. And she got to a point where she said, you know what? You guys don’t have the change skills or abilities you need, or the infrastructure to deliver those so why don’t we just stop the project? And they’re like, stop the project known as important project. She said, well, I don’t think it’s going to work. And they said, what do we do? What do we do?
And she goes, you call Michael Leckie and you ask him how much of his time you can have and what it costs. And you just agree to that. And so they literally did, so we just need help. I was like, okay, but it was right where I needed to be and I had that relationship with her for a long time. And so started doing the consulting work and helping them with the change and with building the culture and the relationships and the conversations. Then stepped back into the speaking as you guys know, wrote a book, writing and then talking from that and I’ve all just let it evolve with a lot of experimentation. I do a lot of things that I try and see if it works, try those small, minimum viable products or test to see how it goes and then continue to move forward. But the core has been the consulting, because I’ve done that for a long, long time, the consulting with the executive strategic leadership coaching and the speaking and the writing, and then products and stuff. Those I’m all just testing out and learning from others who know how to do it better and getting their advice and seeing what seems to connect to the market.
Austin: Yeah. Well, what I love about what you just said is really, you’re just trying to complete your mission, make the world a better place. And it sounds like all of these various mechanisms that you have to do that, they’re just that. Consulting is a way that you’re able to make that change happen and so speaking and writing and the products that you create and everything. So it’s all kind of just one ecosystem that’s feeding into you solving this core problem. Am I hearing that right?
Michael: You’re hearing it totally right. One of the things I talk about in the book is I say, value path finding over path following. So I’m doing path finding, but I know where I want to. I know that outcome, that vision. It’s like, what are the better paths to get me there? And some are more good and in some are less good. one of my colleagues, who I was talking to the other day a former colleague Gartner, they just had their big symposium and their keynote, which surprised me, was Matthew McConaughey at a big tech conference.
Michael: But [inaudible 21:06] Nuno who did the interview was able to get really in-depth and ask him questions he’d never been asked. And one of the things she [inaudible 21:11] was, how do you make choices? He goes, well, my desk is covered with a hundred things that I could do, and he goes, they’re all great things. The question is, which are the five or 10 at most that drive towards what I really want to do and who I want to be in this world. And that’s the hard thing, because there’s so much stuff we can do. And initially, if you’re on your own, you might have to take what you can do because that gets you going. But as you move forward, it’s an evolution into, and what do I really want to do? What fits my purpose the best? You’re narrowing it down to the type of work or the type of clients, the type of outcomes and it just continues to get better. And you take things off your plate that you did at first that were not good work, they’re just stuff that has to get done. And you find a partner like Speaker Flow, or like my partner, Fay, who helps me with the things that you’re good at that I’m not so good at. It’s like, great. You’ll teach me how to automate it or do it better or faster or outsource some of it. And that allows me to focus more on the stuff that is finding the path to the goal that I’m seeking.
Taylorr: Yeah. I love that you have this kind of like a scientific lens with the experimentation bit and your business. You’re testing things that work and going deeper with the things that are actually having results, which honestly we find most successful businesses do. There’s a vision and then we’re going to test a bunch of things and we’re going see what works and kind of bring focus into those things that are working. One thing though, that we’ve learned, as my own business owner, this happens to me a lot. So I’m hoping you have some strategies here to help me pull my head out of the weeds maybe, but do you ever find that you lose sight of your vision a little bit? Maybe not that core purpose, but the actual vision, like how do you keep that thing front and centre when you are in the weeds and you’re working with clients and you have to work in your business and you’re writing the next book and doing the next thing? Have you found anything that works for you to make sure like we resettle why we’re doing this thing when times get a little bit in the weeds?
Michael: Yeah. Geez. What a great question. One of the things that it was kind of a happy accident, I guess in my life that’s helped with that was I went to graduate school at Pepperdine university and got a Masters in OD. And the program is I think, unique and it’s built upon kind of these three legs. They call it the three legs of the stool. One is deep theoretical knowledge, we had to read the books. I had a stack of books taller than me. Practical application, You had to be in a job and you had to be doing stuff of what you were reading. It couldn’t be theoretical. And the third was what they call self as instrument, and that was the most painful part. And we would meet like in a variation of kind of classic tea groups or encounter groups from the seventies where basically you’re giving and receiving feedback.
And it can be very personal and interpersonal. Some people get really angry, some people would cry. It was intense, but what it was meant to do was to start to give you insight into yourself and build yourself awareness and tools to allow yourself to build self-awareness. So I think that for me, I’ve come to know some things about me to be true and what can trip me up and they always will continue to trip me up. You just peel back the onion on how they do it. So one is I like to be liked. [Inaudible 24:19] I like being with Michael and sometimes after I get to know people, I will be less honest or truthful, especially about the things that may cause some conflict intentionally and some awkwardness in the relationship when it’s the right thing to do.
I just have to be aware of that and know that that one’s going to trip me up. I have to be aware that I grew up a teacher’s kid in Montana, we had a fine life, we never had money like you see in the world and the Huston West Coast and and things like that. I know that I get kind of excited and sucked in by the glamorous and the big money. And I can tell you that one of the greatest things I ever did for myself was saying no to a job with a lot of money behind it. I’ll make obscene amount of money. The first time I said no to money, man, I gained more control over it than I thought I would ever have and that happens nowadays. I literally do get jobs that are seven figure jobs.
They’re saying, hey, you know, come do this. It’s a big deal, and you can make bank on it and you can make an image and a reputation, a whole different brand and make far more than I’ll make as a solopreneur, at least in the, in the near term. But it’s not the right thing for me and I know that because I know where I’m effective, and I know that I need to be that voice from the outside to be effective because inside of you get too compromised, you get too worried about fitting in, you get too enculturated and I’ve learned that the hard way. So long answer to your question, I think just increased self-awareness and then making those hard choices based upon continually sticking to the self-awareness the values and the goal that you have is the only thing that’s kept me from going down those paths more often than I have.
Austin: Man, the thing that I just heard is it was so intentional. You’ve done the work, you’ve done the work to know what you want, what you value, what is in alignment with where you want your life to be going, so when things arise that can take you away from that, you can centre yourself again in terms of the decisions that you’ve made about where you’re going and the self-awareness thing. We joke about this sometimes that self-awareness is one of the most underutilized traits that human beings have a lot of the time, and it’s because it’s hard. Looking internally as to what we actually want, that’s tough. That’s a tough question to answer if you haven’t ever really sat and thought about it, but if you do, and if you do define what it is that you want and where you’re going, well, then it makes it easier. Okay, maybe easier is not the right word, simpler to make those decisions when they arise.
Michael: Yeah, totally.
Austin: Do you feel like that’s…
Michael: Even harder when you’re asking for other people to help you see yourself because they’re not always accurate. And so you want to get defensive where the parts they’re not accurate and it hurts to hear it sometimes. Because we’ve [inaudible 27:15] those moments of when you realize something about yourself and say, oh man, I just realized I do this. And if you’re looking across at somebody, that you’re very close to that knows you well, [inaudible 27:26] will go. Yeah. We all been seeing that one for years buddy, glad you caught up for the rest of us.
Austin: Yeah. It reminds me of personality tests that sometimes people take. Have you found that as a useful tool for yourself or any of the work that you do with your clients?
Michael: Yeah, I do some. I’m one of those people’s kind of wary of tests because first of all, part of my character is I don’t tell me who I am. Don’t put don’t pigeonhole me, it just irritates me. Because I think that what’s happened with some of those tests is we use them and say, oh, well this is truth. It’s not truth. It’s just one lens, that’s been applied in one way, but what can I get from it that’s useful or valuable and in the restaurant I have to worry about. I have used some in the past the one I really like, it’s a more expensive and more thorough, but stuff. The Hogan Assessment, the Hogan Personality Assessment, and it’s the one they have in there, it actually talks to you about kind of your strengths and how those strengths become derailers under stress or pressure. That one, I think is fascinating and very, very useful. I like some of the emotional intelligence stuff. EIP 3 is good. For those of you who love it, I’m sorry, Myers-Briggs is garbage.
Austin: Ooh, shots fired. [Cross-talk 28:40].
Michael: It’s completely disproven. It feels good, but it’s like astrology, you know, it’s like, oh yeah, I see myself there, but it’s only one step away. So yeah, there’s my negative rant, LinkedIn, MJ Leckie, go ahead and fire away and make your comments.
Taylorr: All right. We’ll put that in the show notes so be ready.
Austin: You write your words, not ours Michael, so don’t blame us.
Taylorr: One of the things I want to touch on before…. I feel like we just have conversation, maybe we should make these episodes a hour, Austin.
Austin: I know. Gosh, dang.
Taylorr: One of the things I definitely want to touch on, especially because you’re so mission driven, so purpose driven is you have this balance between like providing value in your business as a revenue centre, but also being a world changer yourself and the philanthropic efforts that you have going. Could you share light on that and how you blended your consulting practice into this ability to also add more value to the rest of the world around you?
Michael: Well, thank you for that. It probably overstates what I’ve been able do philanthropically, but one of the things we talked about in the camp in an earlier conversation just around the other work we were doing is it’s hard to actually give away your services sometimes, especially some like mine, finding out where do you contribute to the world. Because I’d go volunteer in the soup kitchen, there’s nothing wrong with that, but is there something better or more I could be doing with the skills that I bring to the world into the market? Trying to find those places is hard. I do do pro bono consulting for people and I can’t do a ton of it, but I always have some time set aside. I work very hard, I got to do some work with Adam Grant and got to know him and it really is give and take whole approach to being a giver through connecting.
So I really work hard to set aside time to connect others together that might be able to help each other more than I can just provide the help myself. And the last thing is I try and find a way to integrate that sensibility into what I do. We talked previously and I have a company and I can only go so far into details, because [inaudible 30:42] I know confidential, obviously, but they’re in a large, you know, retail organization and like everyone they’ve had the challenges in, in this kind of post-ish COVID labour market or second or third stage COVID labour market where everyone’s saying, I want something different, I want something new. My eyes have been opened to a different possibility or reality around work and so they’re having a hard time getting the people they need.
We looked at what it was costing them to bring in contract labour for these jobs, like in distribution fulfilment centres. And literally you could end up paying 200% premium on the job to the agency to get people in. And they weren’t even that productive of people and they didn’t fit and they weren’t going to stay, they didn’t mesh with the culture. And moved you know, back in June as you know, to the Pacific Northwest. And so we’re looking at this, this area and I said, well, it’s a lot of homeless people here and there, a lot of homeless people that have some real mental health problems that are intractable or will take a long time to solve. And there are some with some real drug and alcoholic additions problems that it’s going to take a long time for them to sort out, but there is a lot of people who just fell off one last rung and a really hard economy during a pandemic.
I said, how much could it cost to actually bring them in? And I’m not talking about train them, I’m saying, give them a home, give him a bus pass, give them childcare, give them the clothes they need, put food on their table, advance them some money, give them the training and help them have a career here. What could that cost? And so what we’re doing right now is we’re looking at it and our assessment is can’t cost near as much as we’re spending on other things aren’t near as good. And so our goal is, and hopefully at one point I can reveal who it is and we’ll have a local news, maybe a national news team saying, hey, what did you get for Christmas?
Well, XYZ company gave me a job, a home and my life back. That’s a story to tell, and this is an organization that is a family, involved in their communities and it just hit them immediately. They’re like, we got to do this. There’s all sorts of things that get in the way, but trying to bring things like that into the organization that I’m working and trying to raise the humanity quotient is really where I try and spend some time and not divorce, who I am as a person from the work that I’m doing, when the opportunities present.
Austin: Oh man, raising the humanity quotient. What an awesome line there man.
Taylorr: That might be our title, thank you Michael, appreciate that.
Austin: You’re looking for opportunity, that’s the thing. I think that people look at giving back and making an impact on the world as this grandiose mission that somebody’s going to go on, where they’re going to remove all of their pleasantries about life and go and build a school somewhere. It can be that I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be that because if you feel like you should, do it. But what you just said, you were just paying attention. But back to the self-awareness thing, you were just looking at the opportunities and ways that you can help and you’ll benefit because your client is happy and because you get to be involved in this awesome adventure, but more than anything, you’re just looking for ways that you can make the world a better place with the resources and experiences and scenarios that you already find yourself in. And that’s attainable to anybody that’s running any type of business.
Michael: It is. And I think especially for people that may be watching this that are kind of the clients you work with as well, oftentimes we’re working with leaders and senior managers. So think back on that great manager you had and how good she or he made you feel and how you grew and think back to the other one. When I work with senior leaders, one of the things I’m thinking, especially when they frustrate me or when their progress is slow on thing is, you know what? If they become 10% better in who they are as a manager and their humanity and how they lead then the, oh, wait, they have a department or a division of 180,000 people whose lives are now 10% better at work. That’s a huge impact. And so helping bring up the humanity quotient of people who are in very difficult, high stakes jobs in which the job and the circumstances often conspired to Rob them of that humanity can be a very, very powerful way to impact the world around you as an individual consultant, solopreneur, whatever you want to call it.
Taylorr: Wow. Michael, thank you so much for coming on today. You sharing this idea of human systems, talking to us about how you’ve ingrained them into your business, also how you’re having a bigger impact just while you’re doing the work you’re currently doing, I think for so many people listening, we all want that internally, and you found a way to make that abstract concept super easy to understand. So thank you for coming on. As you know, we’re all about providing value for our audience, what are some of the things you’re working on right now that our listeners can benefit from?
Michael: Yeah, well certainly, obviously the number one would be yep, there it is. There’s the book is going to focus? Heart of Transformation. This is my attempt to actually show people the behaviours and the questions that they can use, It’s very practical to actually start their own change journey and build those capabilities in the world around them. And there’s a lot of stuff at michaelleckie.com, my website. There’s tools and series and things that we do for free. There’s one, actually we just did like 26 or 28 short parts on the leap from corporate to freelancer or solopreneur that people might benefit from. And of course, you know, connect with me on LinkedIn. I am active. It’s that MJ Leckie on LinkedIn, and I’m glad to connect and stay in touch with people. I’m a networker and if you’re ever coming across something, you say, hey, I know somebody that maybe is ready for a conversation about how they can drive change because they’re willing to change themselves, I’m a great guy for that. And if I’m not the right person, I’ll put you the person who is, but always love to talk to people and see what the opportunities are.
Taylorr: Awesome. Well, we’ll make sure all of those links and handles are in the show notes, especially so you can roast him about Myers Briggs. And hey, if you liked this episode, don’t forget to write it like it, subscribe to it. And if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources. Thank you so much for chiming in. I just wanted to take a second to thank our sponsor Auxus. Auxbus is the all in one suite of tools you need to run your podcast and it’s actually what we run here at Speaker Flow for Technically Speaking. It makes planning podcast simple, it makes recording podcasts simple, it even makes publishing podcasts to the masses simple and quite honestly, Technically Speaking, wouldn’t be up as soon as it is without Auxbus. Thank you so much Auxbus. And if you are interested in checking Auxbus out, whether you’re starting a podcast or you have one currently get our special offer auxbus.com/speaker flow, or click the link below in our show notes.