We have Megan Macedo and Marcia Daszko. Megan is a consultant, a speaker, and a marketing strategist. She has been referred to as the Brené Brown of marketing. Marcia Daszko is a leadership transformation specialist. She’s the author of Pivot, Disrupt, Transform. She deals with innovation and transformational leadership.
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Telling Stories In Business with Megan Macedo
I am here with Megan Macedo who is an Irish writer and entrepreneur. She runs a marketing and storytelling consultancy in London where her work is about helping people be themselves in their professional lives. She writes and speaks about authenticity in marketing and taking an artistic approach to business. Welcome, Megan.
Thank you for having me, Diane. It’s great to be here.
Is your company called The Website Goddess? If so, how did you get to be named The Website Goddess?
That is a previous version of my company. That company is not going anymore. I used to do direct response web design. That was how I got started in the marketing world. That time of my life was my professional adolescence. I was trying a bunch of different stuff. I was trying to figure out who I was. In a little niche of direct response market and in the UK, people started referring to me as The Website Goddess. We ran with that and had a bit of fun for it until I realized I don’t want to be a web designer and this isn’t all I want to do in business. That gave me something to do while I figured out, “Who am I? What does it mean to be me in the world? What does it mean to be me in my work? What does that look like?” That was my jumping off point in the world of marketing.
You are the marketing genius. Perry Marshall has been on my show and he’s the author of 80/20 Sales and Marketing. He says you’re the Brené Brown of marketing and that’s pretty impressive. You did a short film and that’s a completely different realm. Your film is called Becoming Yourself In Your Business. It’s a video interview series. Did you do a video series as well?
The Business of Self Disclosure was a video interview series of talking to other people. Both the film and the interview series were trying to get at the same thing of starting from this assumption that we are human beings who happen to be operating in the business world. A lot of how things are talked about in the world of business ignores the fact that we’re human beings. There’s this switch that people flip where it’s like, “This is my personal life and this is my professional life.” It doesn’t work like that. Your brain is not divided in two. We are who we are. People come and they talk about their business problems with me a lot. I’m reminding people that people don’t have business problems. People have problems and those problems show up in your business the same way as they show up in your personal life. The interview series was talking to other entrepreneurs about what does it mean to make your business work and do your work? The film tells my story but it’s about the same message of this thing is all businesses. Human beings connecting with other human beings. It’s all about relationships like life. Let’s not pretend that we have it all figured out and we know what we’re doing.
I study personality and emotional intelligence and curiosity. Some of the factors deal with psychology-related things in business and it all ties in. What made you interested in that human factor? What’s your background that led to that? Can you give us a little bit of your background?
I don’t think I had any awareness around us whenever I became interested in this stuff initially. Something I’m interested in is helping older people understand their background and how that plays into their work as well. I have at least a little bit of clarity on my background. I’m sure that more layers will be revealed as the years wore on. I started out studying geology. When I was a kid, I was into archaeology. I was digging in the ground. I was digging out worms. I got interested in geology and how the world works and how the rocks around us came to be. That’s what I studied and then I abandoned that and got into marketing and business. Now, I see how those things link up. It’s because I was constantly trying to understand the world around me. I grew up in Northern Ireland towards the end of The Troubles. Still, to this day, that’s an interesting culture. It’s a culture that involves quite a lot of secrecy and code words. It played out a lot in my upbringing in subtle ways. The poet, Seamus Heaney, who’s from Derry where I’m from, he has a poem in which he’s talking about the people of Northern Ireland and the culture. He says, “Smoke signals are loud-mouthed compared to us.”
This whole vibe there is what’s talked about on the surface and what’s safe to talk about on the surface, but then there is all of this stuff going on underneath. I can see this kid who’s taking in the grind is trying to figure out, “What’s underneath?” This kid who then goes to university to study geology is like, “What’s underneath? What is around me?” My interest in psychology and marketing and all of that stuff is taking that question further. It’s like, “Let me understand the people around me. What’s going on inside the people?” That’s what a lot of my work is about as well is helping people tell their stories. I’m constantly trying to see like, “What’s the real story?” People come along and they think they know their story. When you talk to them you can start to see these themes that aren’t obvious to them because it’s hard to see your own story. That’s one of the things I’m interested in is seeing this story behind the story and that’s usually the real truth.
It’s all based on curiosity, which is my main focus of what I’m researching. You’re a curious person and I’d like to know what makes people tick as well. You say that maybe they don’t recognize it but sometimes they don’t want to share it if they have situations. What real stories have you dug up that surprised you, which may be surprised them as well?
You say that people might not be aware of it and then if they are aware of it, they might not want to share it. It’s interesting because the process of how it works tends to be in a few stages. The first stage is they might not know what their story is so I get them to unearth raw materials. We take a look at that and we begin to see like, “This is what the real story is here. These are the themes that are playing out in your life.” The final stage is, “How much of this is private?” and you want to keep it private and, “How much of this do you want to share?” You can tell your story without oversharing if you understand what the themes are at the heart of your story.
It’s not so much that you’re digging up facts that they didn’t know about. You’re helping them see the themes. I had a client who on our call together realized that her story was all about being on the run. In all of these, she created these extreme circumstances in her personal life, in her business life over and over again throughout her life because she was constantly on the run from things. She’s made things work. There is a resolution to all that. It was getting clarity around like, “That’s the theme here that helped her understand like, ‘This is how I tell my story.’” For a lot of people, it’s overwhelming to tell your story because you know all of the ins and outs of it. If you can get curious about one of the themes, it can make it less overwhelming. It can help you make sense of it, simplify it and understand what that can mean for your work and the decisions that you make as you go forward.Looking at from within ourselves makes it hard to see our own story. Click To Tweet
You do some interesting interviews in your series. You’ve done a few things with filming in general, which interest me. What were you trying to achieve in becoming your own self in your business in the short film? Do you want to go into filming? Is it still consulting? What is your focus?
We do both of that. We do make films and videos for people and I consult with people around telling their story. Part of it is that my husband is a filmmaker. That’s something that I believe in as well is that we should do the things that come naturally to us and that makes sense for us. I was thinking about this message that I wanted to get across by being yourself in your business and not feeling you have to follow all of the systems and formulas that are there that don’t necessarily fit you. As I was thinking about that message, I realized I have to tell my story to illustrate that message. I knew I wanted to tell my story. It made sense to do it as a film because that’s something that’s easy for me to do because my husband is a filmmaker. The story itself involves Ireland a lot and involves these scenic places and this amazing landscape. It made sense like, “This lends itself to film.” The film is one of the forms that we use but it’s not the only form.
You talk about Ireland and the artistic approach that you have. You talked about taking an artistic approach to business. Are you getting this artistic influence from your husband? Where is this artistic approach coming from?
You have hit the nail on the head. I grew up not thinking I was particularly creative or artistic. I was good at sciences and stuff like that. That was the direction that I went diving. There is no model in my family for what it meant to be a working artist. The full story is in the film that I ended up abandoning that research career. That road that I was heading. I was lost and bouncing around for a while. I got a job in a record shop because I like music. That’s where I met my husband and I started hanging out with more artists and all that stuff. I got to see how my husband works. He’s a signed artist as well as a filmmaker. I got to see other artist friends’ work. Over time, I realized I had more in common with the artists that I knew than most of the business owners that I knew. The way that we approached our work, the questions that we asked, the struggles that we faced were similar and also some academic friends I have. I realized, “To be an artist doesn’t necessarily mean the work that you produce or that you have to be working with sound or working with visuals or whatever it is.” I started to think of it more of, “This is a way to approach your work whatever it is.”
Through working with clients and seeing inside lots of different businesses and different ways people work, I came to the conclusion that there are two different types of entrepreneur. One is the business person type who get excited by the game of building businesses. That’s what they’re passionate about and they can take a model and a formula and run with it. They will know what their exit strategy is and they’ll be on to the next thing and they’re looking for these opportunities. I am not that entrepreneur. I figured that out. I am the other type of entrepreneur which is the artist type. The artist type of entrepreneur is interested in building a body of work. The thing that they’re passionate about is the actual work that they do. They might build a business around their body of work, but the primary focus is, “I’m building a body of work here,” versus, “I’m building businesses and I want to get out and do the next thing.” The businessperson entrepreneur is a bit more they’re flipping houses. Whereas the artist type entrepreneur is looking for a house they’re going to live in for the next 50 years. It makes me cringe to say that I’m an artist and I’m not an artist but I work as an artist.
It’s in a creative approach and it’s not a serial approach like a serial entrepreneur would take. What advice would you give someone who wants to take an artistic approach to business?
It comes back to the thing that you’re such an expert in, which is curiosity. It has to be about following your curiosity. There is a fine balance between you have to follow your business instincts because you have to pay the bills and you have to keep things taken over. You also need to give yourself enough freedom to follow your curiosity and research things that you’re interested in. I don’t think in terms of revenue goals and five-year plans and stuff like that. I think much more in terms of the project to project, how an artist produces a piece and then they might research something else around a particular topic and then they’ll produce a piece off the back of that. I think more in terms of that. It’s important to give yourself that flexibility. Allow yourself time to have little projects that you’re doing on the side. Things you do for fun. Things that you do because you’re curious about it and you want to see where it goes. It’s not as strategic as you might be in the rest of your business but it’s giving yourself that space that you will start defining the thread that you’re interested in.
It does tie into what I found. I’m curious where you find your ideal customer? I know you shared the stage with Jay Abraham, Perry Marshall and a lot of others. How do you get your business because you’re in England? Do you try to keep within England? Do you try to go around the world? Who is your ultimate customer?
We have customers all over the world. About 50% of our customers are in the States. The way that I get customers is by doing what I described. I create work. I guess the market world would call it content but thinking of it as content does it a disservice. I create work that is interesting to me. Like the film, like the video series. I write a lot and I put that out on the internet. We run some YouTube ads and Facebook ads and things like that. The things that define my ideal customer are not typical demographics which I had the experience of targeting customers like that when we were doing web design and more straight-up marketing advice. We were targeting small business owners in certain areas of a certain age but my ideal customer is set apart by their mindset and the things that they’re interested in. That’s how we try and get in front of people. You mentioned Perry Marshall saying that I’m the Brené Brown of marketing. My ideal customer is someone who is interested in marketing and business and also is a fan of Brené Brown. We know that if we can put our YouTube Ads on particular types of videos, then the person who would want to consume that content is probably interested in business in some way, shape or form and is probably of the mindset of our ideal customer.
You help them with their YouTube videos. You help them look at their business from a new standpoint. What is their biggest concern usually when they come to you?
A lot of people when they come to us, one of two things is happening. Either they are in some transition phase in their life. They’re not all business owners. I came from that background. We were working with business owners. As the years have progressed, it’s interesting to see they’re entrepreneurial thinkers who might be working within big organizations or they might run their own business. It’s across the board but they tend to be in a transition phase where they are looking for more meaning in their work. They are in some way dissatisfied with what they’re doing. They’ve usually reached some level of success and realized, “This isn’t completely what I want.” They’re looking for something that engages their curiosity more. They have a sense that they have something they want to say and something they want to put out there to the world, but they don’t necessarily know what that is yet. I help them start to clarify that.
The other type of person that comes along is they have clarity around what they want to say. They’re struggling to tell their story because it’s virtually impossible to tell your story on your own. I had helped to tell mine. It’s hard to see the wood for the trees. That’s the other stage that people are at. They’re ready to get out there and they know what they want to say, but they don’t know how to bring it all together in a way that people get and people will immediately resonate with.
Do you deal with people who use their name like I would have my brand be me? Dr. Diane Hamilton is my brand. Are you dealing with a lot of people that do that? Are you dealing with large companies?
Typically, it’s people where they’re creating some personal brand. Some of our clients don’t have a personal brand publicly but they are trying to do that within bigger organizations that they work in or work with. They don’t necessarily want to go stratospheric with their message but they’re trying to figure out, “How can I be as influential as possible in the world that I’m in and progress the work that I care about?”
What’s the biggest mistake they make when they’re trying to do that?
There are usually two mistakes. One is hiding and not telling your story. Trying to be too professional, trying to not reveal too much like people are not necessarily comfortable going in and saying like, “This is my story.” The other mistake is at the other end of the spectrum which is oversharing and making it too much about their story and too much about them and not thinking about who the audience is. What you want to do when you’re telling your story is if you think of a Venn diagram, you’re one of those circles and your audience, your ideal customer is the other circle. The overlap, I call the empathy zone, those are all of the experiences that we have in common. That’s the shared story that we have. That’s the story you want to tell. You’re telling your own story but how the audience experiences it is you’re really telling them their story by telling them your story. You’re making sure that this version of your story you’re telling them is something that they can relate to and see themselves in.We should do the things that come naturally to us. Only then will we create the most impact. Click To Tweet
I’m doing a training to certify people to give my Curiosity Code Assessment. Part of it is trying to combine the story and also tie in the importance of all this to emotional intelligence, which empathy is a big part of. How do you know when you’re in front of an audience what you share? What’s in that zone?
You have to know who’s in the audience, to begin with. It’s difficult if you don’t know who the audience is but you can infer and you’ll know this because you deal with many people and you understand psychology well. Human beings are not that complicated. There are not that many different varieties. If you’re talking about the real stuff and you’re looking at the real emotions of what are people afraid of? What do people have shame around? What are people aspiring to? There aren’t that many variations. If you know a little bit of information about people, you can get a sense of like, “These are the things that they care about. These are the things that they value.” You can make sure that your story matches with that and you can’t force that. If your story doesn’t naturally match with that, it’s never going to work. If you understand their perspective, you can tell your story in a way that there’s an entry point for them to get in and understand it.
There are a lot of people who admire your work and you mentioned you admired Brené Brown. Is there anyone else who’s had a strong impact on you?
Lots of people. This might seem it comes out of left field, but the book that in a lot of ways has shaped my work most is a book called Adult Children by John and Linda Friel. It’s an old book from the ‘80s but it’s the book that I recommend most. They’re psychologists. They’re a husband and wife team. It’s fascinating for understanding how human beings work.
What about human beings, did they explain that we don’t understand?
The subtitle of the book is The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families. In the first chapter, they say that pretty much 98% of families are dysfunctional. They explained the dynamics of family systems and that’s what shapes all of us. Every human being learns to experience the world and interact with the world through whatever family system they grew up in. That’s another filter that I put over my work. It’s the lens of family and family systems always remain the highest truth. If you’re trying to understand what’s going on in a business, it’s like, “Let’s imagine this business as a family and I walk into their home and I see how they’re interacting and I see what’s happening. What would I say about this family?” That’s a useful lens to put over things because we understand family dynamics. We understand all of that stuff. Business can get complicated and there are all these different variables and factors that we’re trying to think about. When we strip it back to human beings and family systems, we all innately understand that stuff.
My research on curiosity came up with four factors that keep people from being curious and they’re fear, assumptions, technology, and environment. The environment is exactly what you were talking about there, in the lens that impacts whether you’re curious or not. A lot of your childhood, your family, your teachers, your friends, your peers, your bosses, all that is a huge impact there. I hope a lot of people check out the Adult Children book because it has a huge impact because to me it all comes back to curiosity. If that’s impacted, it’s impacting many other things like innovation, engagement, creativity, drive and everything we’re talking about. All your work is fascinating and I know a lot of people are going to want to know more about how they can reach you and what you do. Is there a way you can share how they can do that?
The best thing to do is to go to my website, MeganMacedo.com and you can watch my short film there. That tells you more about this stuff and more about my story. It’s probably the best place to start.
Thank you, Megan. This was so much fun. I enjoyed having you on the show.
Thank you so much. I enjoyed it.
How To Pivot, Disrupt, And Transform with Marcia Daszko
I am here with Marcia Daszko who guides entrepreneurs all the way to Fortune 500 C-suite boards as a catalyst for strategic change, innovation, and transformation. She’s also the author of Pivot, Disrupt, Transform. It’s nice to have you here, Marcia.
Thank you for having me. I’m looking forward to this lively exchange.
I’ve watched some of your videos and I’ve looked at some of the stuff that you do. You talk about a lot of things that are important to me as well in terms of transformation and change and some of the things that a lot of organizations are having issues with. As I looked at your book, I noticed you had some interesting statistics about how 90% of startups will fail and more than 60% of original Fortune 500 organizations no longer exist. You have three parts: stop, start, transform method in your book. I’m interested in talking to you about that. I’d like to know more about your background and what led to your interest in writing this book.
I wrote the book because I have seen over many years of consulting that many executive teams, leaders, professionals and project and process improvement teams struggle so much. They flounder and they fail and it’s not necessary. I wanted to write the book with the ideas in it about what they need to first stop doing. How they need to start thinking differently with new knowledge that they don’t currently have and then how to transform themselves and their organizations. I wrote the book to put all these concepts in one place so that I could use it with my executive teams and when I teach MBA classes that I have that book to grab and go to as a resource. That’s why I wrote it because of the messages that I wanted to get out there to the world.
You teach at UC Berkeley and a few others?
I have taught at about six different universities across the United States. I don’t often because of my travels, but often I’m able to squeeze in a ten-week class and try to manage that, to be there for the students. I love the interaction and to be able to teach them, knowing they’re going to go out in the world. If they have this knowledge that they don’t typically get at school, then we’ve got another group of students that can go out and make a difference.
I’ve taught of so many courses in business and a lot of them when I was MBA Program Chair and I saw how much education needs a little bit of a rethinking. I saw a couple of your videos talking about how we can transform certain things. It will be interesting to see the future of education and how much of this gets incorporated if we’ll even have degree programs if it’ll be bits and pieces. What you’re talking about also ties into some of my research of curiosity. I noticed one of your keynote talks is, “Fear Erodes Profits.” I did a lot of research in the area of fear and curiosity because it holds people back. I’m curious what you talk about in your keynote and why do you think fear erodes profits?
People run into fear every day and it doesn’t matter if it’s the top leader in the organization or people who have to work within a system full of fear. When there is fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of uncertainty. I’ve given talks before and I’ve asked an audience of 200 CEOs, “How many fears do you think are in your organization?” They think about it for a minute and they go, “Five or six.” I come back to them and I say, “There may be over 100 because leaders have to continually work on reducing fear and building trust.” Those top fears, fear of change, fear of failure, fear of success and fear of the unknown and so on goes on and on. The more deeply fear is embedded in an organization, it shuts down communication, information flow, and workflow. All of that shut down in that strangling of the flow of what an organization needs in order to survive does the same thing with your body. If your blood is not flowing, you’re going to die. That’s true about an organization too. That’s why the leaders need to address fear and reduce fear and build trust. The more they do that, the more chance that an organization may have to survive. When there’s a lot of fear then it erodes people, productivity and profits. It hits the bottom line.Fear erodes profits. Click To Tweet
The research I did with curiosity, we found that fear was a huge influencer of curiosity. If you don’t have curiosity, that impacts your innovation and engagement. The level of things that it impacted was interesting to me. You talked about to survive. I’ve had a leader say, “It’s harder to kill an organization than to start one.” Sometimes it takes a while before they fizzle out. They aren’t growing. They aren’t doing what they could be doing. You discuss that a lot in your talks that some companies deserve to go out of business and they will.
Eventually, they will even the Fortune 500 companies. One of my mentors, Dr. Perry Gluckman, said to me, “Sometimes they’re like a big dinosaur and it takes them longer to come to their knees.” We see it every day. We saw it with Circuit City and Blockbuster and Sears is coming to its knees. IBM has been struggling for years. They’re trying to latch on to an innovation here and there or to partner with somebody but they’re struggling. If you look at their stock price in the last few years, it’s come down 100 points. If you look at the number of employees, they’ve pulled it back by 100,000 people globally. It’s like, “Where is the leadership?”
You say that a lot of the issues are they need to be learning, creating and discovering. That’s what is important to tie into is how we get them to get to that point. It’s a cultural change that has to start from the top. You probably find that companies or the leader doesn’t buy in, the change doesn’t happen.
The difference is people can change and change back. There are three different kinds of change and transformational change is what an executive team, what leaders need to be focused on. They succeed if they are open to learning new things like systems thinking and statistical thinking and how to make decisions and they have to have courage. If those two elements are not present and they don’t have the knowledge that they need to move forward to continually improve and innovate, chances are they’re going to have a lot of struggles.
You mentioned three types of change. To close that loop, what would the other two be in your mind?
Traditional change and transitional change, those are described in my book.
You talked about a lot of different things in your book and I’m wondering how much you’ve seen changed? I saw one of your videos from 2012 where you say that at least 50% is wasted in organizations. Do you still see that numbers? Has it gotten better or worse or different?
I would say it’s probably worse.
It’s a lot of waste out there. It fascinates me when I go to organizations is how much things are done to fill time. Meetings are set just to have a meeting. There’s a lot of death by PowerPoint still going on or where you have meetings to plan the next meeting.
I would say 50% to 80% now in organizations is waste that I see. Usually, if I go in and I spend even a couple of hours or a day talking to people walking around, I know based on the language and vocabulary they use if they’re going up or going down. The language of failure is talking about cutting costs and, “We need to pull back.” The language of success is more about possibilities and opportunities and serving customers and developing our people. Those are the conversations that successful companies are having. The companies that are floundering are internally focused and they are not talking about forward thinking. They’re tightening their belts and covering butts and things like that instead.
A lot of people found things work for them in the past and they hold on to them so much because they were great at the time. I worked in education where it was helpful to get students in this ABC way and it worked well, but then that doesn’t work anymore but they still cling to that. As their model doesn’t change and the whole industry changes, they start to go under but then they go, “It always worked in the past. We’ll throw more money at something that worked in the past.” How do you get through to leaders to have them see that what they’ve done in the past won’t get them where they need to be in the future?
They know that they’re not happy. Things aren’t working. They’re struggling. How I get them to open up to new thinking and new learning is by asking questions. I ask them many questions they’ve never thought of before. In fact, I was at one of my plain off sites years ago. The president, after the first few hours of the first day, at noon he said, “Marcia, it doesn’t bother me that we don’t have all the answers to your questions because we’re pretty smart and we can figure them out. What bothers me is I’ve been leading this organization for about 30 years and I’ve never thought of these questions.” From there, we proceeded. Another plant wanted me to help take him from $30 million to $35 million or $40 million by changing their thinking and many other things, bringing in new concepts on thinking and guiding their application of it. They went from $30 million to $300 million.
What questions should they be asking themselves?
The first one is what’s your compelling purpose and never let that go. That every meeting should start with, “What’s our aim of this company? What’s our aim of this team? What’s the aim of this meeting?” Everybody has to share that aim and understand it and then they can move forward and have the discussion about who are we serving and what do they need. You always link the aim to the customer and then by what method will we do it? It’s a look of, “What do we need inside? What resources do we need to serve our customer? What are all the strategies that we’re going to use to serve our customer, achieve our aim and make a difference?” Those are some of the basics. Another one is how do we measure progress, not just success? I don’t want them focusing on the bottom line, the profits, the results. I don’t want them to focus there. I want them to pull that back. Get out of their two-day budgeting and forecasting meetings and spend 30 minutes doing that.
Most of their time focused on their purpose, their customer and their methods for achieving that aim and get away from talking about their bottom line. They do that by measuring progress. They look at the data over time and even if they do everything looking at a run chart. That will be a step in the right direction versus looking at the base numbers and looking at arbitrary numerical goals. The companies that are saying, “Let’s increase sales this month or this year by 6%,” without a methodology. They have no clue what they’re doing. They’re just picking a number out of the air. That’s what they’ve always done. I start my clients as resources. It’s great if they get my book, Pivot, Disrupt, Transform but also two resources that I start with for my clients are The Goal, which has been around for decades and Profit Beyond Measure by Thomas Johnson. Those two will help give people a different way to think.The more deeply fear is embedded in an organization, the more it shuts down communication, information flow and workflow. Click To Tweet
As you talk about some of the stuff, it reminded me of when I was in pharmaceutical sales. We used to get a forecast and they wanted you to be about 105% of forecast. If you came in at 102%, they drop it next year. If you came in 108%, then they’d increase it. There’s no motive for us to do it well. You do whatever you could to stay in the middle because they’re going to change it anyway. As far as the questions when you talk about your purpose, that all ties back to engagement. If people don’t understand what they do ties into their overall goals for the company. That’s one of the reasons why people are lacking engagement and why companies are spending hundreds of billions a year in lost productivity. In your book, you say there’s a three-part: stop, start, transform method. Can you talk a little bit about that?
The stop that is there is many management fads and, “Best practices,” out there. They’re eating alive companies, the health of the company. That’s why many companies have toxic cultures and they’re floundering. The reason that I focus on asking companies to stop doing these things is that in order to help them improve. If I say, “Let’s improve and we’re going to do these things,” but they don’t stop doing the bad things, it’s like putting fresh strawberry jam on moldy bread. We need to get rid of the moldy bread first and then we can go try a lot of new jams. I want leaders to stop giving performance appraisals and doing 360 assessments. Bottom line is they are judging, criticizing and blaming people for the results of a system that they created. Sometimes people get a good performance appraisal, but even if they get a great one if one comment is made by a manager to an employee and they don’t agree with it, it’s demotivating. I’m not saying that people don’t ever have a conversation and get feedback. The coaching should be developmental and it should be a casual conversation. Not where rank and rate and judge and criticize you.
Another critical stop is to stop looking at that bottom line. Instead, focus on developing healthy systems and processes and develop your people. Another one is stop creating arbitrary numerical goals like what you had to deal with in the pharmaceutical company or industry. You don’t need to do that. It’s such a waste of time to create these arbitrary numerical goals. You can create goals and it can be about improving, increasing, developing, generating all of those things but you don’t have to put a number to it. Do the right things, working together, learning together, improving together and the numbers will then blow you away like the plan I had that wanted to go from $30 million to $40 million. If I would have put that number in my head and if I would’ve said, “Let’s tell all of your employees we’re going to go to $40 million.” When they got close to $39 million to $40 million, they would have slowed down. They would have stopped. They would have said, “We made it,” and celebrated. We didn’t communicate those numbers. I kept them in the back of my head and I said, “Do you not communicate this? We’re going to go wherever you go.”
I’ve worked in companies where there’ll be quite a few people who have similar jobs but different bosses. It will be subjective. The leaders would say, “You fill it out. I’ll sign it. You get all five out of five.” Another person’s maybe working harder in another division. They get some jerky boss that thinks nobody can even get a five. It’s all subjective in many ways, even though there’s a numbered system assigned to it. I had attended a Forbes Summit where one of the guys said he got rid of performance appraisals at his office because that’s the latest thing. We’re trying to get rid of them. A lot of people requested that they had them back because they wanted to have some feedback in a written way that told them what they were doing. What do you tell somebody like that? I’ll tell you what he did. He said, “We’ll put them back in, but you have to design them and what you want to hear.” At least you have that feedback.
That’s the difference is that it’s important to get rid of the performance appraisals especially in the current way that they exist. It is also essential to have conversations to develop people to give feedback but it should be casual. It shouldn’t link to rankings and ratings. It certainly should not link to their compensation. That’s another big mistake. There’s a great book about that called Abolishing Performance Appraisals. It’s based on four years of research by two authors, Mary Jenkins, who is a VP of HR out of GM and Tom Coens, who is a labor attorney. They took many of the beliefs and the myths about performance appraisals, what everybody thought that they should be doing and they debunked all those myths. You’ll see probably hundreds of books about how to improve your performance appraisal. The biggest improvement you can make is getting rid of it. It doesn’t mean to get rid of communication. Instead, think about how do we share what we need to communicate? How do we give feedback? How do we help each other? How do we serve each other internally? How do we develop our people? That’s a different conversation.
You’ve given some great resources and I appreciate that, Marcia. If people wanted to hire you to speak or to consult or buy your book, how would they reach you?
The book is on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s in some of the stores. They can go to my website which has all my contact information and that’s MDaszko.com. On there is also a bibliography of books. It’s a one-page of how you start to transform yourself. The foundational place is the website or contact me at MD@MDaszko.com. I’m happy to help and I definitely want to get out there and do more speaking about the messages in the book because they are powerful and provocative. One of my clients said, “Marcia, I’ve had these problems for the past many years. What you’ve taught us in the past few months was transforming everything.” He finally feels like, “Now, we’re solving the problems that I’ve been struggling with for many years.”
They don’t know what they don’t know until they go out and they talk to somebody who can see it from an outside perspective. That’s what’s great about what you do. Thank you so much for sharing so much information, Marcia. It was fun having you on the show.
Thank you very much for the opportunity. It was fun.
I’d like to thank Megan and Marcia for being my guests. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can find them at DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com. If you want to know more about curiosity, you can go to CuriosityCode.com where you can get the book Cracking The Curiosity Code and the assessment, the Curiosity Code Index or CCI. Everything should be on those sites if you need it. I hope you take some time to check it out. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
- Megan Macedo
- Perry Marshall – Previous episode
- 80/20 Sales and Marketing
- Becoming Yourself In Your Business
- The Business of Self Disclosure
- Adult Children
- Marcia Daszko
- Pivot, Disrupt, Transform
- The Goal
- Profit Beyond Measure
- Abolishing Performance Appraisals
- Pivot, Disrupt, Transform on Amazon
- Pivot, Disrupt, Transform on Barnes & Noble
About Megan Macedo
Megan Macedo is an Irish writer and entrepreneur. She runs a marketing and storytelling consultancy in London where her work is about helping people be themselves in their professional lives. Megan writes and speaks about authenticity in marketing and taking an artistic approach to business.
About Marcia Daszko
Marcia Daszko guides entrepreneurs all the way to the Fortune 500 C-suite/Boards as a catalyst for strategic change, innovation, and transformation. She develops bold leaders, new thinking, business models, strategies, systems and processes, M&A integration, and innovation—for results never before achieved. She is the author of Pivot Disrupt Transform.