Hosted by a Millennial, Gen-Xer, & a Baby Boomer, On Connection takes on topics relating to organizational life, leadership, & how our quality of connection influences our ability to perform & feel personally fulfilled at work. Human connection is still a largely underutilized asset in organizations, & yet we know it is a critical leverage point for achieving results. Improving our connections means honoring & valuing difference, so along with our generational differences we will be seeking out various perspectives on topics related to life at work so we can be smarter & stronger together.
Love & Leadership
Talking about love in the context of leadership, organizational development, and strategy execution is not common, but we’ve decided it’s a worthy area of research. We have found that it is a uniquely human superpower, in a time when the human side of work is increasingly an area of strategic focus for business success. How would your approach to leadership change if you led with love? What experiences have you had at work, with leaders and peers throughout your career, that were acts of care for your development and you as a human being? How did those experiences impact your growth and your relationship with work? Robin Anselmi and Michelle Wonsley join Emma Rose for this conversation – the first of a renewed exploration we’ll be sharing with you over the year to come. Show Notes: The Art of Adjustment Disrupt HR: Love, the Next Leadership Skill McKinsey Future of Work research The Vitality Imperative
December 07, 2022
The Art of Adjustment
Our Anniversary episode!! The first year of this podcast has been a great experiment and success, and we are so grateful to the community of people that makes it possible. Thank you to all that have listened, joined as a guest, shared an episode with a friend, or sent us a note about how the show impacted you. It wouldn't be a success without you! Even when things are going well, occasions and mile markers such as anniversaries are a great opportunity to pause, reflect, and see what there is to learn from the experiment to-date. For any project, taking that pause is really hard to do, especially when we’re all running a mile a minute managing so many other things. But taking a moment to REVIEW what has happened and RENEW your commitments, intentions, and strategies means you move forward in a much smarter, more agile way. Emma Rose is joined by Robin and Mickey once again to talk about why adjustment matters, when it’s the right time to adjust, and how to leverage those moments to cause even greater impact for your investments of time, money, and energy. The Cycle of Value 7-step Adjust Protocol Books: The Communication Catalyst and The Vitality Imperative
September 28, 2022
Collaborating through Stress, Uncertainty & Complex Challenges
Most organizations in the world are experiencing dynamic change and facing uncertain futures. At the same time, their people are stressed, overwhelmed, and facing dynamic change and uncertainty themselves. Businesses face challenges of increasing complexity, which require high degrees of connection and collaboration to successfully navigate. Stress and uncertainty generally make human beings contract and pull away from connection, which can compromise collaborative efforts. In this episode, Kell Delaney joins Robin and Emma Rose to discuss the ways teams and leaders can move through these challenges and make progress on their important goals, leaning into connection and community for greater resilience and collective intelligence.
September 14, 2022
DEIJB: What does it mean?
Michelle Wonsley joins us for our second episode on Inclusive Leadership Design. This time we ask, what do we mean when we say the words "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice & Belonging"? They are so often used now, but are we on the same page about how we define them? And if we don't have a common definition, how can we know we're making meaningful progress in any of those domains? These are complex areas of study, discipline, and reflection, and simplifying them to an acronym does not reduce their complexity, or the need to clarify what meaning we step into with others when we commit to their cause. In this episode, we don't come to specific definitions but offer some wisdom on how to approach your own community with a respect for everyone's diverse views. The Intersection: Overview Handout
August 31, 2022
Sponsoring Responsible Autonomy
For many reasons, sponsoring an “ownership mindset” is a popular topic for organizational leaders. Increasingly, leaders want (and need) teams that can be self-supervising and take independent action in service of strategic goals. Given that distributed and hybrid work are here to stay, and belt-tightening across industries means fewer hands for the same amount of work, increased efficiency and trust in people’s ability to make decisions without hand holding is imperative to business success. There are leadership behaviors that can help or hurt autonomy and ownership, which is what Mickey, Robin, and Emma Rose spend the majority of this conversation focused on. A common theme: leaders that drive connection and high-quality communication while making expectations explicit will be most successful at sponsoring responsible autonomy. Links: Autonomy Ain’t Anarchy 6 Disciplines of Leadership That Inspires Ownership (Inc.) How True Leaders Take Ownership (Newsweek) 3 signs your team doesn’t have an ownership mindset and what to do about it(Atlassian) Ownership is Leadership: Three Steps to Owning Your Outcomes and Being A Better Leader(Forbes)
August 17, 2022
What is Culture?
It’s not uncommon today for leaders and employees to place significant importance on workplace culture. Culture and work environment is a major deciding factor for job hunters, hiring managers are tasked with assessing “culture fit” when hunting for talent, and increasingly caring for culture is considered a strategic imperative for business success. This word gets used so often and is weighted so heavily in the working world today, we thought it wise to take a pause and ask… what is culture? Robin and Conversant colleague Katie Mingo join Emma Rose for that conversation, having worked with many leaders and organizations on projects relating to culture and culture change, and the role of leadership in cultivating workplace culture.
July 27, 2022
Inclusive Leadership Design
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has made its way into the priorities and public commitments of countless organizations across the US and globally, with more and more companies creating jobs and initiatives dedicated to the challenge. While this may show up as progress on paper, the reality is that most of those efforts have failed to make a meaningful impact. As the world continues to learn what works and what doesn’t with regard to DEIJ, Conversant is evolving into its own perspective and approach, which we are calling Inclusive Leadership Design. The word “evolve” is purposeful, as this is an ongoing process that we are engaging our own organization in. For this episode, we invite you into that conversation – what is Inclusive Leadership Design? How can we make DEI efforts more impactful? Who do we need to be, as leaders, to cause the change we want to see?
July 13, 2022
Get Re-enchanted with Your Work
For any working professional there are times engagement and motivation are down, and calling it quits sounds like a good idea. Before we start editing our resumes and looking for greener grass, we think it’s smart to try a few things that just might get us re-enchanted with our work. If you’re in the leadership or HR world it isn’t new news that plenty of studies show a sense of purpose and meaning improves engagement, productivity, innovation, and more. As a result, clarifying purpose, at the level of self and at the organizational level, has become hot in our working culture. And while we may cognitively recognize it’s important, there are day-to-day leadership behaviors we can all be doing to make work more meaningful (for ourselves and those we lead). Mentioned in the episode: MIT Sloan: Why We Don’t Talk About Meaning at Work
June 22, 2022
Design Your Time: More Space, Less Burnout, Stress & Overwhelm
We are living through a time of massive disruption, and one of the symptoms is what many are calling an “epidemic of burnout.” The term burnout has been used increasingly over the last few years, along with other concerns around stress, overwhelm, and mental health. So much so that 4 in 5 organizations globally have reported that mental health and well-being is a top priority. There are lots of explanations and theories as to why it’s become such a ubiquitous problem, but so far effective solutions seem out of reach. While cultures of overwork and stress are worth addressing, we also have to look to the role we play as individuals. We are the guardians of our time, energy, presence, and what we choose to contribute. How we design our time impacts not only our performance and well-being but also the patterns of behavior in our organizations. Kell Delaney and Katie Mingo join Emma Rose for this episode to talk about what we’ve learned and observed about these trends, and some practical steps we’ve seen work to design more space into work, allowing for increased engagement, productivity, collaboration, creativity, and overall vitality.
June 08, 2022
The Power of Language
The work of linguists, sociologists, and psychologists reveals just how complex the science of language can be, but to be essential: it matters. It’s a powerful thing that we tend to take for granted. How we speak, what words we choose, and how we listen and interpret are all important parts of human interaction, and no less important at work. At the heart of truly valuable communication is an awareness of and mutual respect for how we as humans make sense of the world. We have to be able to engage with one another’s stories, listen for what matters and get curious about better understanding another’s world. We have to ask great questions, and give honest answers. That all happens through language, and through presence. Katie Mingo, Associate Consultant at Conversant, joins Mickey and Emma Rose for this episode about the power (and responsibility) of language.
May 25, 2022
Does LOVE Belong at Work?
Love may be a many-splendored thing, but it isn’t something we often talk about at work. Love falls into that category of soft, personal things we’ve traditionally shoved in a box and left at the door in order to be “professionals.” We think that when we leave love at the door, we’re leaving a whole lot of other valuable things with it. So, should we talk about love at work? Our guest on today's episode is Sara Heppner, a graphic recorder and facilitator with a passion for creative communication. Through visual and creative processes, she works with individuals and groups to cultivate awareness, nurture connection and create a world where all can flourish. Her new book, I Choose Love, was published earlier this year. By focusing on love, Sara believes that together, we can make the world a better place.
May 11, 2022
Expectations, Accountability & Trust
We hear from leaders and executives all the time that they want to increase accountability on their teams and across their organizations. Building cultures of accountability sounds like the right strategy for lowered supervision costs and increased efficiency and performance... but what does it mean to build a culture of accountability? Accountability is deeply tied with trust, and we’ve found through our work and research that most breakdowns in trust come from unmet expectations. There are ways to create an environment where accountability and trust develop with very little resistance, but it takes recognizing that we can’t assume other people understand our unspoken expectations. It’s through conversation that we can most reliably create cultures of accountability.
April 27, 2022
How to Be Heard
It’s not uncommon, both at work and in the rest of life, for people to feel like they aren’t being heard. We’ve all experienced that frustration, where you feel like you’ve said something as many times and as many ways as you can think of, and this other person just isn’t getting it. Whether it’s your manager, your direct report, or your spouse, there are plenty of reasons for that kind of disconnect, and while it may feel impossible to get through to them, we think there are some basic principles of conversation and connection worth trying before you give up entirely. In today’s episode, Mickey and Robin join Emma Rose to share what they've learned we can all do to improve the quality of our connections and conversations with others, including making it more likely that others will hear and learn from what we have to say.
April 13, 2022
A Younger Perspective: Millennials & Gen Z at Work
Gen Z, which is usually defined as those born between 1997 and 2012, is expected to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025. And they’re coming into organizations led by people from older generations who already have well-formed biases and expectations about them (including Millennials). In this episode, we focus on the younger perspective. While Millennials have been represented on this podcast, we wanted to invite in voices that are closer to the Gen Z age range. What motivates them? What expectations do they have for the future? What expectations do they have for leadership, employers, and organizations? Though earlier in their career, the youngest members of our organizations bring a different view of work and the world, one we can get value from if we listen with an intent to learn.
March 30, 2022
How to Disagree
One of the hardest parts of human connection is managing disagreements. It’s easy to assume that a lack of disagreement or argument is proof of a strong and healthy connection, but that isn’t necessarily true. Disagreements are inevitable, at work and in the rest of life, and while it makes perfect sense that we tend to avoid and fear conflict, it can be really valuable. In today’s episode, Mickey and Robin join Emma Rose to share what they consider to be the design of valuable disagreement, along with some practical steps for implementing it.
March 02, 2022
Alignment vs. Agreement
Alignment is a term that gets thrown around a lot in leadership and org management, but how is alignment different than agreement? We think there’s an important difference, and hosting conversations designed for alignment not only increases value but will reduce disappointments, costs, and pain down the road. In this episode, Mickey and Robin join Emma Rose to talk about this distinction and share what they’ve learned about alignment from years of working with leaders and organizations, including what gets in the way and what kind of leadership behavior makes a difference. Shownotes: https://bit.ly/3Jy3rIp
February 16, 2022
Practice Presence for Purposeful Leadership & Vitality
A leader’s ability to make a meaningful difference rises and falls with the quality of their presence. Presence dictates how much of our mental, emotional, and physical talents are available to us at a given moment. By presence, we do not mean charisma; we mean awareness. This awareness improves insight and action, but a lack of awareness assures that you are not fully connected to yourself, to reality, or to others—dangerous territory for a leader. In this episode, Emma Rose is joined by Richard McDonald and Roger Henderson, two of Conversant’s resident “presence gurus.” They talk about why presence matters, practical ways to support greater presence in your professional and personal lives, and why it’s a critical ingredient to healthy relationships, both at the office and at home. Show notes & resources: https://bit.ly/3Lf4Yoy
February 02, 2022
Change Vs. Evolution: A Mindset That Makes a Difference
Change is a near-constant part of life, leadership, and organizational management today. There are endless books, articles, frameworks, and best practices on the subject, and yet change is still one of the things organizations struggle to manage the most. We’ve found that it isn’t actually enough to simply change. Instead, we think a mindset focused on evolution is more valuable. So, why evolution rather than change? What’s the difference, and why does it matter? In this episode, Emma Rose is joined by Anne Murray Allen and Krista Spence, both Senior Consultants with experience leading, managing, and studying change. They talk about this distinction and what it means to adopt an evolution mindset.
January 19, 2022
The Great Resignation: Facts vs. Explanations
The Great Resignation is just one of the COVID-era phenomena many people, especially organizational leaders, are concerned with right now. Everyone wants to know—why is this happening? And why don’t we know by now, when it’s been nearly a year since we started noticing the trend? Most of the articles you can read and podcasts you can listen to have tried to analyze what exactly is contributing and what’s to blame. There is a long list of possible explanations that have been given, but no single clear cause. On this podcast we’re not going to be analyzing the why – you can find plenty of that elsewhere. What we’re most interested in is, how do leaders make decisions in the midst of so much pressure and uncertainty? We have a principle we think is helpful across challenges of all kinds and scales: separating facts from explanations. This is particularly valuable when it’s hard to find anything factual to anchor to and we’re swimming in a sea of explanations. That’s the case for most leaders as they face today’s “war for talent.” Shownotes: https://bit.ly/3HEpRH3
January 05, 2022
Achieving Interpersonal Flow
“Flow state” has been a popular area of interest since it was studied by positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi over 40 years ago. To experience flow is to be fully immersed in an activity, engaged to the point of hyper focus—being “in the zone.” Whether you’re in the business world, an artist, or an athlete, that level of productivity is something we’d all love to get the secret recipe for. While primarily studied in individuals, we started wondering—can you achieve interpersonal flow? Can a team be in flow? What can leaders do to make it more accessible for those they lead? Emma Rose is joined by her Conversant colleagues Kell Delaney and Roger Henderson to share from their experience what we can do to encourage interpersonal and team flow. Find show notes for this episode here: https://bit.ly/3EOxfyG
December 08, 2021
Community: Why it Matters & How to Build It
Community is an important part of building vitality in organizations, or for any group of people that wants to achieve something together. We define vitality as “the capacity to live, grow, or develop; the presence of intellectual and physical vigor; energy.” For organizations, we say that whoever masters vitality as a source of performance has an extraordinary competitive edge and provides a deeply satisfying life for themselves and the people they lead. In this episode, we focus on why community matters and how to build the kind of community that lends to personal and collective vitality. Link to show notes: https://bit.ly/3kH2YK3
November 17, 2021
The Conversations Are the Work
At Conversant, we believe that conversation and connection are underutilized yet critical leverage points for achieving results. Whether it’s meetings, one-on-one check-ins, emails, or chat, studies show that leaders spend the majority of their workdays communicating. What if each of those conversations was truly valuable? There is a design to conversations that drive value, and we can be students of that design, developing our conversational skills the same way an athlete works to get better at their sport. With practice, this skillset drives more results with less time, money, and stress. That’s why we say “the conversations are the work.” In this episode, we dive into that phrase, sharing why conversation is a worthwhile focus not just for leaders, but for anyone who wants their working and personal relationships to be a source of value and fulfillment rather than waste and stress. You can find show notes for this episode here: https://bit.ly/3GN3uj3
November 03, 2021
Joy at Work with Juan Mobili
At Conversant we often say “joy belongs at work.” Not only do we believe work can be joyful, we believe joy belongs at work. These two words, however, feel counter to one another more often than not. How many of us describe our workdays as "joyful"? Juan Mobili, leadership development consultant, executive coach, and long-time friend of Conversant, has recently reflected on joy in his poetry. Juan joined Robin and Emma Rose to explore this concept of joy a bit more: How is joy different from being happy? What is work without joy? How does joy relate to authentic leadership? How does joy contribute to organizational success? In this episode we tackle those questions and more, and get to hear some of Juan’s poetry which we hope will inspire similar reflections in all of you. You can find show notes and learn more about Juan here: https://bit.ly/3na45lT
October 20, 2021
[Unedited] Chris Hanslik with Robin Anselmi & Emma Rose Connolly
Should we be remote? In an office? Is hybrid the answer? These questions have been dominating business news and keeping senior leaders up at night for months. There’s no clear answer or one-size-fits-all solution, but we can learn from the leaders that are managing workplace policy decisions today. This is the unedited version of our interview with Chris Hanslik. The edited episode features clips of our interviews with two other leaders that have also been navigating the office debate challenge. You can find that version by the title, "Leading Through the Great Office Debate: In-Office, Hybrid, or Remote?"
October 06, 2021
[Unedited] Kevin Hanes with Mickey Connolly & Emma Rose Connolly
Should we be remote? In an office? Is hybrid the answer? These questions have been dominating business news and keeping senior leaders up at night for months. There’s no clear answer or one-size-fits-all solution, but we can learn from the leaders that are managing workplace policy decisions today. This is the unedited version of our interview with Kevin Hanes. The edited episode features clips of our interviews with two other leaders that have also been navigating the office debate challenge. You can find that version by the title, "Leading Through the Great Office Debate: In-Office, Hybrid, or Remote?"
October 06, 2021
[Unedited] Sté Crispino with Robin Anselmi & Emma Rose Connolly
Should we be remote? In an office? Is hybrid the answer? These questions have been dominating business news and keeping senior leaders up at night for months. There’s no clear answer or one-size-fits-all solution, but we can learn from the leaders that are managing workplace policy decisions today. This is the unedited version of our interview with Sté Crispino. The edited episode features clips of our interviews with two other leaders that have also been navigating the office debate challenge. You can find that version by the title, "Leading Through the Great Office Debate: In-Office, Hybrid, or Remote?"
October 06, 2021
Leading Through the Great Office Debate: In-Office, Hybrid, or Remote?
Should we be remote? In an office? Is hybrid the answer? These questions have been dominating business news and keeping senior leaders up at night for months. There’s no clear answer or one-size-fits-all solution, but we can learn from the leaders that are managing workplace policy decisions today. The latest episode of On Connection features three executives that have led very different approaches to this challenge: Chris Hanslik led an early return to the office for BoyarMiller, a Houston-based law firm. Kevin Hanes has been managing what a hybrid solution looks like for the cybersecurity platform Cybrary. And Sté Crispino leads Tribo, a Sao Paolo-based consulting firm that has always been remote, and she has a few things to say about building a strong culture in a virtual world. View the show notes for this episode, along with bios for our guests, here: https://bit.ly/3BjKHbR
October 06, 2021
A Multigenerational Perspective
In our first episode, we focus on why getting a multigenerational perspective on topics relating to work and organizational life matters, and the things we can be smarter together about if we allow each generation to mentor the rest of us in the ways they are uniquely able to contribute. We talk about how growing up in different times gave us different models for leadership and conflict resolution, and the silent biases we might each have about things like being in an office vs. remote work, hierarchical structures and power dynamics, mental health, and more.
September 22, 2021
Hosted by a Millennial, a Gen-Xer, and a Baby Boomer, On Connection takes on topics relating to organizational life, leadership, and how our quality of connection influences our ability to perform and feel personally fulfilled at work. While topics around human connection have become more mainstream in the business world in recent years, it’s still a largely underutilized asset in organizations, and yet we know it is a critical leverage point for achieving results. A key part of improving our connections means honoring and valuing difference. We believe differences + trust = brilliance, so along with our generational differences, we will be seeking out various perspectives on topics related to life at work so that we can all be smarter and stronger together.
September 22, 2021