Creating Happy Workplaces With Henry Stewart And The Power Of Persistence In Success With Milos Kovac

There is no exaggeration when we people say that an unhappy working environment is disruptive. It is not only demotivating to those who work but also creates bad business outcomes. On his quest to help organizations create truly great workplaces is Henry Stewart, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd. He sits with host, Diane Hamilton, to share to us how he has been doing that while also giving us the idea of how important happiness is in an organization and where the role of the manager fits into that.

Also with Diane is Milos Kovac, an Innovation, Curiosity, and Human Potential Coach. In this episode, Milos shares powerful stories of real-life breakthrough and persistence moments. While life can sometimes be difficult and unpredictable, it is also very generous to those who push through. Milos imparts with us the beauty of persisting along with being curious and innovative through his books, Break Through and P.U.S.H. 

TTL 657 | Creating Happy Workplaces

 

I’m glad you joined us because we have Henry Stewart and Milos Kovac here. Henry is the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd. He’s the author of Happy ManifestoMilos is an innovation, curiosity and human potential coach. He’s an author and a storyteller. They both have fascinating jobs and we’re going to talk to both of them.

Listen to the podcast here:

Creating Happy Workplaces With Henry Stewart

I am here with Henry Stewart who is the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy. Founded as Happy Computers in his backroom in Hackney many years ago, it created a reputation for the most enjoyable and involved IT training available. The company focused on helping organizations create truly great workplaces and has won wide recognition for its innovative approaches to management and customer service. Henry was listed in the Guru Radar of the Thinkers50 list as the most influential business thinkers in the world. I got to see him speak in London and it was exciting. It’s nice to have you here, Henry.

Thank you. That’s a lovely introduction.

That was fun to get to meet you and I loved the talk that you gave. It was inspirational. You were alongside some big names like Marshall Goldsmith, Rita McGrath. It’s quite an event.

There were amazing people. I was honored to be there.

You did such a great job and you were at my table. It was fun to hear about happiness. I’ve had a couple of different happiness experts on. Michelle Gielan and others have been on my show. Happiness is fun to talk about because it puts you in a good mood. We get the dopamine going. I want to get a little background on how you got interested in happiness.

How against it would be by working for a seriously unhappy company. I realize how disruptive that was. It was a terrible place to work. That’s what made me want to work out how you created a happy and productive organization.

That’ll do it for you. Part of my interest in exploring curiosity was working around people who weren’t as curious sometimes. The atmosphere killed it. Around that atmosphere, it’s tough. It’s funny because one of the greatest companies I work with, Novartis, you worked with too. They’re into being curious. Do you work with companies like that on happiness? What do you work with them with?

On the part is specifically where we’re Happy Computers. We still do IT training and that’s what we worked with Novartis on, training people in their new systems. With other companies, certainly we do work on how to create a happy workplace. That’s our main focus.

Is that what you got nominated for at the Thinkers50 was for your training with happiness or something else?

There was a specific topic there to remember, which is why people should be able to choose their managers. That was a specific thing.

What makes most people unhappy at work is their manager. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about it. Why should people be able to choose their managers?

Let’s talk about the facts. That’s a study in the UK. Probably because in the UK, one found poor management costs the UK economy £84 billion a year. I don’t think I can be surprised by that. We all know the extent of poor management. Another study found that 49% of the UK working population would take a pay cut to choose a different manager. That’s how bad things are. Somebody comes to me and says, “I love my job. I love the people I’m working with. I’m even happy with what I’m being paid, but I can’t stand my manager.” I say that towards him. I had lots of people who recognize the situation. They’d been there on one side or the other. What normally happens as a result of that? The person leaves. When the primary reason people leave organizations, they join a company. They leave the manager. At Happy, we have a simple solution. If somebody is coming to me and says, “I don’t like my manager,” we simply say, “Who would you like instead?” We believe people should be able to choose their managers. Why not? Who is better than you to decide who best supports you, who best motivates you and who you’ll feel most fulfilled by?

In that situation, let’s say you’ve only got three managers to choose from and they’re all not too great because they were trained by somebody who wasn’t too great. What do you do then?

First of all, you’ve probably got a less bad one to choose from. Let’s come back to the whole question of who becomes managers. Do we have this crazy radical idea that you should choose your manager’s people based on how good they aren’t managing people? Couldn’t that catch on? What people are normally chosen for is their ability in the core job and how long they’ve been there. If somebody is a brilliant coder, they’re going to get promoted to the coding manager. That wouldn’t happen somewhere like Google. If you’re a brilliant coder, they’ll make sure they make use of your coding skills probably hugely for it, but not put you in charge of anybody. That would be a waste of your time and probably something you’re not that good at. That’s what happens to organizations. The people who are great at the core job got promoted to management. On the stuff that looked at these records that 10% of the population are natural managers. Another 20% can be taught it and you should forget the rest.

Do you mean the Peter Principle? Are we promoting people to their level of incompetence?

Absolutely. Ask me, “What happens to a man who doesn’t get chosen?” It’s not terrible for them. They often didn’t like it. I had one person talk to me. She joined a company. Amanda came to her and said, “I’m not a people person. I probably won’t even remember your name. I’d much rather be sitting at my desk writing reports.” That manager doesn’t want to manage people. That manager is much better sitting at their desk and likes to report. If they believe that again will pay for it. What we need in organizations is two tracks of management. We need one track for people to manage people and one track for people who are going to be great at the core skill.

You can still promote them so they can still increase raises. They get raises, they get new job titles, but they’re not managing people.

Many tech organizations do this already. IBM has been doing it for decades. I forget the name that it gives them but having these people who are experts in their field, it’s crucial to happiness because what makes most people unhappy at work is their manager. Make sure that the people who are managing are good at managing and that you have a choice over your manager. You will hugely increase happiness in your organization.

What role should the manager play then?

There was a program in Britain some time ago called Boss Swap where they swapped two bosses every time. If you like Wife Swap, which you probably have got in the States, but not as much fun perhaps. They swap the bosses. There were three programs for six Boss Swaps. It was a disaster and it never ran again. The reason it was a disaster is that these managers walked into companies they didn’t know, they had no experience of and started telling people what to do. It was hopeless results because they didn’t know anything about what to do.

There was no relationship. They have no foundation.

TTL 657 | Creating Happy Workplaces
Creating Happy Workplaces: Poor management costs the UK economy 84 billion pounds a year.

 

What they were doing with the typical manager roles, you promoted to manager because you’re the expert, you know best. You’ve got to make the decision. That idea that many of us have as a manager is the fault at the heart of most of the management. The role of a manager is not to be an expert. It’s not to tell people what to do. It’s to enable people to be their best. Google did an extensive survey of this called Project Oxygen. They wanted to find out what the most important behaviors of managers were and whether they will be able to manage it. They did an extensive study, tens of thousands of performance appraisals and they came up with eight things that managers should do. I’ll give you five of them. Have a think about which you think is the most important one. There was communication, especially listening skills. There was show interest in people. Empower them, micromanage. There was be a good coach. The vision was five of them. Which would you say was the most important one?

The first one, communication.

That came fifth. Not many people get this, I’ll give you the top three. The third was showing interest in your people. The second was empower, micromanage. Third, the single most important behavior of managers is to be a good coach.

I remember communication, be a good coach, empower and show an interest. What was the fifth thing?

That was a vision. There were eight in total. I’m not saying seven.

I’m surprised the communication was low. Are you surprised by that?

I’m not. The key is being a good coach does involve being good at communication, but using it in a particular way. Have you ever had a personal coach yourself? Have you been coached?

Yeah.

If we think about what they do, what they do is they’ll tend to ask you questions, build your confidence, help you find your own solution. They won’t tell you what to do. That’s the role that managers should play, not telling people what to do, building their confidence, asking questions, helping them find their own solutions. Wouldn’t you like a manager like that?

I would. Where does mentorship fall? Is that in the coaching area as well? Can you separate that?

The role of a manager is not to be an expert, not to tell people what to do. Click To Tweet

That’s separate. Your manager isn’t necessarily your mentor. You can have a mentor anywhere in the organization. I would say the moment the manager becomes the mentor, I fear that complicates things a bit. Although, they can’t tell you that though. The important thing is separate for the manager to be clear when they’re coaching and when they’re providing mentorship. They are two different things.

You’re looking at this as a reverse pyramid, servant-leadership role. Can something go wrong with this? What if something goes wrong with this?

It’s giving people lots of freedom. When something goes wrong and I say, “I believe you should celebrate mistakes,” what is my innovation? Creativity is a blame culture. One of the things people love most about Happy, I notice because they told me, is if they know, if they do their best, if they try something new, they take a miss and it all goes wrong, then celebrate. The best companies in the world do this. There’s some tradition. Let me give you a story from Britain. A company called Huntsman, which is a chemical company based in the northeast of England, used to have a big red bus. On the wall, if you pressed it, it discharged the chemicals into the local river. It’s not a good thing to happen. One day they have the scaffolds there. You probably guessed what happened. The guy carrying the scaffold pole nudged the button. He got sacked by a scaffolding company, but Huntsman came to them and said, “No, reemploy him. Send him back to work for us.” They had a party to thank him.

They look at this as a learning opportunity when things go wrong instead of as a huge failure.

Let me tell you a bit more of the story. Nobody saw the guy press the button. He could have scrapped it, but instead they went into the control room and said, “I’ve pressed some buttons and there’s a red light on.” It meant they could solve it in twenty minutes instead of 24 hours with minimum environmental damage and no fine. The problem with a mistake is not normally the mistake itself, it’s the cover-up.

It’s hiding it and trying to pretend it didn’t happen.

If somebody comes to me and says, “I’ve messed up with our biggest customer,” I can solve that. They come straight away. I could always solve that. If I don’t hear two weeks later and then from the customer, it may be too late. Do we want mistakes?

Sometimes you learn the best things through mistakes, don’t you think?

Absolutely. Imagine, I’ve been with you three months and I come to you and I say, “This is my price we pay with and I’ve made no mistakes. What do you think?”

You didn’t grow much. You didn’t learn anything.

Either that or I’m lying, it’s one or the other. We don’t want to be of those. We want people to be experimenting, taking risks. We want people to fail fast.

TTL 657 | Creating Happy Workplaces
Creating Happy Workplaces: People should be able to choose their managers who best support and motivate them and who they feel most fulfilled by.

 

I understand the failing fast thing and it’s hard though. You have companies set up a certain way. You’ve got organizational charts already in line. You’re hiring and the recruitment process. What do you even ask in the recruitment process to see if you’re getting the right people? How do you fix the org charts that are set up for promoting people no matter what? You’ve got a big issue.

Let’s start with recruitment. Most recruitment is designed to recruit the wrong people. At Happy and our best recruitment, we don’t ask any questions.

It’s better not to ask questions about recruitment. Why? 

We’re a training business. Let’s say we’re going to recruit a trainer. First of all, we bring them in groups of six. Any idea why we bring them to a group of six? One of our key criteria is that we’d be positive and supportive of each other. I have no interest in asking anybody to tell me when they’ve been positive and supportive. I want to see them being positive and supportive. I want to see how they interact with their colleagues. We train them until they’re clear on what’s needed and then we get them to train. I’ve asked many interviewees, what makes great training? I have some perfect answers and then they go into training them and they do something completely different. I’m not interested in what people can talk about. I’m interested in what they can do. If they’re techie, get them to fix things. If you worked in customer service, get them to talk to some customers, real or imagined. Get them to do stuff or whatever level they are. That’s what we do in our interviews. What we’re looking for is we recruit the best attitude. We have never asked for a qualification or certificate from anybody. We’re looking for attitude and capability.

Formal education doesn’t matter to you?

Not at all. It’s normally discriminatory to look at it. If you ask for a degree of somebody, then basically you’re discriminating against disabled, black, and working-class people who are less represented in our university. There’s a great example from Google. I don’t know if it’s still the case, but it used to be the case that in a particular department, you had to have a computer science degree. As a result of it, there are three key Silicon Valley figures, including the founder of Instagram, who could not get to work at that department so left Google and set up their own company. It was a crazy restriction. It made sense. It appeared to make sense. You’ve got to have a computer science degree.

That makes sense, doesn’t it? It doesn’t make sense because it’s quite possible to have people who are brilliant at programming. Get them to do a computer science degree. Stop asking for qualifications. We employed somebody, a woman called Natalie. She joined us at sixteen. She had no qualifications at all. She had never sat at school exams. Within three years, she had become our finance manager. No qualification in math at all. In all the time as a finance manager, she never had to calculate the angle on a triangle or do that equation or any of that. They are nice qualifications but little relevance to the job people do.

I’ve got one little question there though. Isn’t some of that foundational to learn some of that stuff to find out what you’d be good at if you don’t know what you don’t know? You might’ve been great at something that deals with figuring out angles of triangles and building the next building as an engineer. Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, and that’s great. They are 1 or 2 things. If you’re going to be a doctor, it’s quite nice to have a medical degree. One or two things where it is useful and if you’re going to be an engineer or an architect, you probably do need to calculate the angle on the triangle, but there are not many jobs where you do need that ability. In our experience, in our work, there’s no job we’ve ever had in many years that’s required a qualification.

We talk about getting the people in, but now that they’re in, let’s say you go to a company and you work with them and their org chart question that I asked as part of my multiple-part question. What do you do if you’ve got it set up this way to promote people? Instead of the two ways you can go, there’s just the one way you can go?

Being a good coach does involve being good at communication and using it in a particular way. Click To Tweet

We shouldn’t scrap the org chart.

That takes a lot of reorganization.

The company has inspired me, people like WL Gore. Do you know them? They make Gore-Tex, which you probably do know, and the whole range of medical and other products. They were rated by Fast Company at one point as the most innovative company in the United States. They have no org chart. They let people choose their managers. One of them, a guy called John Housego, spoke at one of our conferences and somebody asked him, “How did you get promoted at WL Gore?” He said, “You take on extra responsibility.” Nobody promotes you. Nobody says you’re vice president or something. When you see you’re ready for it, you take on the extra responsibility,

Did they pay you for taking on the extra responsibility? I’ve worked in a lot of companies. The more responsibility I took on, I never made any more money. Some companies don’t reimburse for them. 

Who pays you are your peers at WL Gore. Everybody selects a salary panel as I understand it. We do a similar thing at Happy. My managing director and I formed half the panel and the rest of the panel is elected by the staff. People put in their proposals. The panel together decides who has stepped up, who has taken extra responsibility, and who deserves that raise.

That is a little bit like Jos de Blok, a model with his nursing that we met. He was sitting at our table in London as well and he’s been on the show.

I’m honored to be following him on your show because Jos de Blok is an absolute hero of mine. What he’s done at Buurtzorg in the Netherlands is amazing, an organization of 14,000 people with no managers. It’s become the best place to work and the best place for care in the Netherlands. It’s astonishing.

It was interesting to talk to him and what you’re doing is unique as well. I was honored to sit with you, sit with him, and meet all these amazing people at this event. What you’re doing is there should be a lot more happiness in the organizations. A lot of people could learn much from you. If they’re reading this, they probably want to know how they could reach you. How do they reach you and where do you work? Do you work all over the world? Give me a little bit there for people.

We’re based in London, but we do work around the world, not so much in the States. I was out in Korea and then to India next. You can contact me. Feel free to email me at Henry@Happy.co.uk. I’m @HappyHenry on Twitter. We’re about to come out with an online program about these concepts, where you could learn everything I’ve been talking about and how to put it into practice in your organization. My mission is to create a movement for happy workplaces and a world where the happy workplace is the norm and not the exception.

It’s nice to have you on the show. Henry Stewart, thank you so much.

Most recruitment is designed to recruit the wrong people. Click To Tweet

It’s a pleasure. I’m going to say one other thing. One of our key talks at Happy is that people have joy at work in 80% of what they do. How do they achieve that? I’d come back to Daniel Pink’s Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. Do you have a sense of purpose? Are you doing something that you’re good at? At Happy, we recruit to the job description and then we throw it away. Work out what they’re good at. To work out what the talents are. The most important is autonomy. Do you have the freedom to make your own decisions, to use your own judgment? That’s what motivates people. I, as the boss of the company, try to make no decisions.

This would have been nice to have around in the ’70s and ’80s. 

It’s never too late.

A little too late but it’s good. 

You weren’t around then.

It was a little bit different, Mad Men era back then and I’m fascinated by what you’re trying to accomplish. I agree that we could use a lot more support from below instead of pressure from above. I love what you’re doing, Henry. Thank you for being on the show.

Thank you, Diane. I loved being on it.

The Power Of Persistence In Success With Milos Kovac

TTL 657 | Creating Happy Workplaces
Break Through Featuring Milos Kovac: Powerful Stories from Global Authorities that are Guaranteed to Equip Anyone for Real Life Breakthroughs

I am here with Milos Kovac who is an innovation, curiosity and human potential coach. He is the co-author of two books, Break Through and PUSH. Together with his business partner, Johnny Wimbrey, they’ve collected powerful stories from ordinary people of their real-life breakthrough and persistence moments. He’s certified Thinking into Results for Leaders Consultant and Business Partner with Proctor Gallagher Institute. Interestingly, we have much in common with our focus on innovation and curiosity. I’m looking forward to talking. Welcome, Milos.

Thank you, Diane.

You’re welcome. I’m excited to talk to you. I’m curious about how you got into curiosity. People always ask me that. It’s your turn to answer it. I’m curious.

Curiosity, I would say, the best people or humans that can teach adults about curiosity are children. I believe one of those biggest stunning moments in life around between 2010 and 2012. The moment I was living in the United States and I had newborn babies. They were born in the Czech Republic, but they love traveling in the United States a few months old. I remember moments when it was time to start going to preschool. I don’t know how, but somehow my wife and I were successful in inspiring them that this is going to be something easy and something fun. I remember my first boy, his first day in school, he was saying that he is going to teach all those kids to speak a foreign language. I said, “Fine.” He was happy with that. Throughout the exchange another way around a few months later, he was speaking English. Those were the moments you got to wonder why those kids, small children learn fast and after six months, he learns the English language better than me in fifteen years.

Isn’t it amazing how kids do that? That got you interested in curiosity or how kids think?

Those first moments, my curiosity was triggered, “What is going on?” That’s what the first moment was.

It’s fascinating to look at curiosity through the eyes of a child. I gave a talk about it where I show a picture of two little girls looking through an air vent on the ground in a famous art museum where they’re supposed to be looking at the art gallery on the walls, this beautiful artwork. Instead, they want to see what’s behind this air vent on the ground. Think about it, when did you stop wanting to look behind that vent? When did you stop having that desire to explore? There’s a lot of it we’ve seen in research that around age five, we start to see a marked decline in curiosity. You’re an innovation, curiosity and human potential coach. What does that mean? Who do you work with? What do you do to help people? Do you do a personality assessment? What does that entail?

I am working with Honeywell Aerospace. My former engineering background in aerospace, I was working engineering in aerospace for several years. Thanks to my children, when I started to look at my kids like they’re learning fast, let’s look at the time of the moment I saw an open industry. Bob Proctor was one of my first teachers in that industry. I know much it stays from the moment up until now. I switched from a typical engineering position to starting to look at how to develop in all of us so they are more proactive. It’s because of the fast-changing world, especially my feeling in the years. I’m moving the Internet of Things into the play and a lot of the pressure from the competition.

Innovation became a big topic even for hunting out. That’s where I turn in to use my engineering experience but personal development. It’s everything I learned from Bob Proctor and other guys that are in personal development for a long time. My goal here in the company is focusing on people. During those discussions, open their minds to the way that they stopped talking about or from the perspective what they see is possible. A lot of the tools that I am using, in every discussion, I am saying that, “We are not working for Honeywell. Don’t think that we are working for Honeywell. Keep talking about your dreams. What documentary, maybe movies you are watching when you are not at home? What books do you read?” They start bringing people outside of what they think or believe is possible or even what they believe is possible. Sometimes they won’t try to find what they think, is their dream may be impossible, then finding the way how to make it possible.

A lot of it is asking questions and exploration.

In many cases, sometimes when I stop talking with this new person, I ask the question, “What do you dream about?” One particular case that I have in mind, I receive immediate feedback, “Do you mean what do I want or what do I dream about?” That was immediate information that is something more.

It’s hard to know what motivates people sometimes and what is the driving factor. I’ve had a lot of experts on the show who study motivation, drive, different things. No matter who I talk to and I ask, “What comes first?” they all say, “Curiosity comes first before motivation, drive, engagement, innovation,” you name it. I’m working with a lot of major organizations, corporations in the world to develop curiosity. What I’ve found is there are four things that keep people from being curious and they’re fear, assumptions, which are the voice in your head, technology and environment. You deal with a lot of these issues as you’re coaching people. How are you shifting their perspective so that they become more curious?

I understand that every conversation paradigms that are taking place, the paradigm of the tactical oppressed. Even we are talking but I’m not talking just with you, I’m talking with whatever you did maybe twenty minutes ago. How do you feel mentally? Your level of physical fitness, your belief system and all this stuff, it’s filtering every word I say until it goes somewhere in your mind and then you somehow understand what I mean. That’s what I know that it’s taking place in every conversation. If you are talking about curiosity or inhalation, the first thing I always would like to find out is what this person is interested in, what movies or books or everything here.

When you are in the cinema and watching, for example, a science fiction movie, you like it. There is a reason why do you like exactly these movies. Maybe you like this technology. Maybe you like how that person in the movie behaves. You don’t even think if it is possible or not because it’s a movie. You don’t realize the conscious mind where all your emotions and your belief system is creative. Your paradigms, your subconscious mind cannot differentiate what the difference between reality and imagination is. When we start talking about imagination, about those green visions or what these movies are about, after a while there is a possibility that I am intentionally stepping to reprogramming the mind of this person. We are looking for maybe ideas or synchronicities that may bring something that we can start or taking action on this idea.

TTL 657 | Creating Happy Workplaces
Creating Happy Workplaces: Focus on your goal not on your weakness.

 

Often, in the beginning, we don’t see anything in real life that may help us. After a while, for example, the person that I mentioned asked me if I am asking for his wants or for his dream. At that moment of time, I soon realized this is not what he’s enjoying a lot. I see future development for new airplanes. It took at around 6, maybe 7 months that nobody from us has an idea of how we can move towards the direction. I am in a management position. I have stipulated that after around seven months that the new customer and they started a discussion about developing a new airplane. I already knew about the special. I proposed that yes, this engineer could be a good fit to be in the first team of people that will be working directly with the customer on the design. I see the picture design of this new airplane. This person is doing that several months later. This is the process. It’s persistence. It’s talking. Don’t think about if it is possible or not. It’s nothing personal in the beginning. Where is your focus that is placed by your energy flows and makes and look around with an open mind?

It’s hard for a lot of people to get that open mind. You share a lot of stories in the book, Break Through Featuring Milos Kovac: Powerful Stories from Global Authorities that are Guaranteed to Equip Anyone for Real Life Breakthroughs. Those are powerful stories of people who’ve been successful and persistent. Do you have any other examples within there in your writing that companies or people, individuals who embraced curiosity and stood out to you?

In that book, Break Through, I am talking a lot about my personal life and how kids impacted a change of thinking. One particular example, when we ask in one of those coaching calls, Bob Proctor, how to teach all these materials to kids. He said, “Don’t even try it. Give them all those videos that you have from me. Let them watch it and they will understand it much faster and better than you can.” Not like following up my kids if they are watching or not, but from time to time we had some discussions about what we believe if it is possible or not. In one particular moment, we’re living at this moment in France. I was invited to visit my friends with my family. We went there in two cars because I was driving from work and my wife and kids from home.

When we were coming back home, I went with my car, the oldest one, and my wife with our personal car with the younger ones. While we are driving, I realized that my wife turned to different directions. We came home and we came second from only one reason. It’s because I was not familiar with the area and talking with the older son. I entered the wrong entrance on the highway. Instead of going home, I was moving away from home. When we come back and these younger ones, they were already at home. He was jumping and laughing and saying, “Mama, I told you so. Daddy is right.” I was wondering, “What the heck?”

My wife told me that he was driving fast and he asked me if we can go somehow in different directions because he would like to be first at home. She answers by, “Yes, we can go through the town, but daddy is going through the highway and we cannot be faster through the town.” His answer was, “Daddy said if I believe that something may happen, it will happen.” That’s exactly what happened. Maybe from the higher perspective, I don’t know if he was somehow telepathically influencing his brother or me to make sure that we will be slower.

He put a hex on you. 

I don’t know. Those were moments because of the knowledge from personal development, from how our mind is working, it was a powerful moment for me.

You share a lot of your powerful moments in your books. I’m curious, you’re the author of two books. The other one was PUSH. Tell me a little about that book.

PUSH is Persist Until Success Happens. I believe that if we experience failure or what typically goes fail up in our life, it’s only for one reason. We make decisions to stop trying. One big story that I shared in that book is about how I was doing my private pilot license in the United States. It was a moment where after a second check ride, there are up to three check rides, this last one is the final one. It’s instructors and the FAA instructor. After the second one, my instructor told me, “It seems that maybe three more weeks and we will be done.” I made good progress. Three months later, I failed to do test flying. It was the moment where my instructor decided, “I will find another instructor for you to have a few training flights.” The only reason was I had a challenge with crosswind landings. I was able to explain everything entirely, what is happening during crosswind landing, what corrections should I do, what situation.

In reality, my timing and intensity of my correction of the control system on the airplane were not right. It was like a hard landing. Sometimes even go around and so on. There were multiple things that kept me from continuing. One was that my departure from the United States was closer. What was even more important was my experience many years ago in my path in doing martial arts. I realized during those martial arts that my coach, whatever he asked from me, I did it. I trust him so much that he doesn’t want to harm me. I just did it.

The best people or humans that can teach adults about curiosity are children. Click To Tweet

During this pilot training, my belief system was already set up that I had 100% trust in my instructor. I knew that I need to keep going again. It took almost five months for me when during one landing, I felt something different. I did require correction. Those corrections are always the right timing and the right intensity as usual. I felt some tiny different airplane responses. That was the moment when it reaches in my mind that my subconscious mind was finally, after five months reprogram, that is three more weeks to finish my pilot’s training.

You had a breakthrough and that ties into you talking about breakthroughs and persistence. Does everybody get that breakthrough? Can you keep going forever and never have that? Is there a time to cut bait? Was there a time to say, “This is not for me?”

Yes. I believe that everybody with the right persistence and it’s important to keep your focus on the positive things. Focus on what you are doing well. Focus on your goal, not to focus on your weakness or what is not working well. It was a similar situation when we were born. If we imagine maybe after 5 or 10 times when we fall learning to walk or maybe had someone, some small injuries, accident. If that moment, if we will say to our parent, “Mom, it looks like I am not going to work. It’s not my ability. I cannot do it.” From that moment on, I gave up. No, we’ve got to try and try, for some cases it takes maybe seven months. In some cases, it takes maybe two years to learn walking. It’s a question of time and persistence, everything.

We experience failure only for one reason: we make decisions to stop trying. Click To Tweet

I meet a lot of people who are not persistent and give up and I’m glad to hear that you share such great stories of people who hang in there. As soon as you give up you get nothing. There are many students I’ve taught and time goes by quickly. A lot of people think of things as overwhelming. If you realize it a little bit longer, a little bit more, you can get there. What you’re talking about in all your writing and what you do is similar to what I talk about. I was looking forward to chatting with you on the show, Milos. I was wondering if you wanted to share how people could reach you if they want to work with you, read your books or find out more from you.

Probably the two best ways are my LinkedIn profile and also my web page, MilosKovac.org. That’s the fastest way you have a contact information of me and that’s the way where we can chat and talk.

Thank you, Milos. This was a lot of fun and it was interesting. I enjoyed having you on the show. I appreciate it.

Thank you, Diane. It was my pleasure.

You’re welcome. 

I’d like to thank Henry and Milos for being my guests. We get many great guests on the show and it was fun to talk about happiness and curiosity and some of the stuff that I talk to organizations about daily in my research. There’s much that we can learn about improving people’s ultimate potential of what they’re capable of. It ties into behaviors. How happy are we? Can it be tied to how much everybody around us is supportive? How much they allow us to be curious and exploring different opportunities? We don’t often see a lot of curiosity promoted in some of these workplaces because the culture is tied into the way things have always been done in the past. I’m trying to get companies to get away from that status quo thinking, that old way of doing things.

That’s what happened to the Kodaks and the Blockbusters and the companies that are no longer the successes they were because they used the old standard model of doing their businesses. That’s what I do. I talk to organizations. I help them look at what’s keeping people from being curious so that they can move forward and develop more innovative cultures. If you’re looking to find out more about developing curiosity, you can do that by going to CuriosityCode.com. You can also contact me through DrDianeHamilton.com. I’m happy to answer any questions.

We’re also certifying consultants and HR professionals because they could get five hours of SHRM recertification credit for going through the Curiosity Code Index training program. A lot of consultants are looking to become more relevant and help people. We’ve done DISC, we’ve done Myers-Briggs, and we’ve done emotional intelligence, whatever different assessments that are helping out there. This is something new and innovative. Companies are interested in making serious changes to be more innovative. I hope you take some time to explore DrDianeHamilton.com and CuriosityCode.com to find out more. I hope you enjoyed our episode because I knew I did. If you missed any past episodes, you can go to my website and check it out. I hope you enjoyed our episode and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

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About Henry Stewart

TTL 657 | Creating Happy WorkplacesHenry Stewart is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy. Founded as Happy Computers in his back room in Hackney 30 years ago, it created a reputation for the most enjoyable and involving IT training available. The company is now focused on helping organizations create truly great workplaces and has won wide recognition for its innovative approach to management and to customer service.

Henry was listed in the Guru Radar of the Thinkers 50 list of the most influential business thinkers in the world. His first book, Relax, was published in 2009. His second book, The Happy Manifesto, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for Business Book of the Year.

About Milos Kovac

TTL 657 | Creating Happy WorkplacesMilos Kovac is an Innovation, Curiosity, and Human Potential Coach. He is the co-author of the two books; Breakthrough and PUSH. Together with his business partner Johnny Wimbrey, they have collected powerful stories from ordinary people of their real-life Breakthrough and persistence moments.

His is a certified Thinking Into Results for Leaders consultant and business partner with Proctor Gallagher Institute.

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