Positive Leadership

Transforming organizational culture (with Herminia Ibarra)

March 08, 2022 Jean-Philippe Courtois Season 3 Episode 1
Positive Leadership
Transforming organizational culture (with Herminia Ibarra)
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to a brand new season of the Positive Leadership Podcast! We are kicking off with someone JP knows very well: Herminia Ibarra – academic, thought leader and author. 
JP first met Herminia while he was leading a massive transformation of Microsoft’s sales organization. 

Five years later, he has become one of the case studies in her MBA classes, and they are reuniting in this episode to reflect on that time together, draw out lessons from the experience, and discover more actionable insights about leadership and change management.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Herminia, good morning and welcome to the Positive Leadership Podcast. 

HERMINIA: Thank you so much. Hello, Jean-Philippe.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: So great to see you in person. 

HERMINIA: After all these years…

JEAN-PHILIPPE: After all these years! Now Herminia Ibarra is Charles Handy Professor of Organizational Behaviour at London Business School. She's an academic, thought leader and the author of influential books, such as Act like leader and Think like a leader. S

She's done extensive research into how established organizations transform for the digital age. Now, I want to talk with her about that, because I'm sure it is something a lot of you are experiencing.

But also wants to talk about a personal transformation too. Actually when I first met Herminia a few years ago, we spent tons of time talking about a change that I was leading in Microsoft, transforming our Salesforce globally. 

And it became actually a case study at the London Business School. And I'm going to be talking about that later today with some of her MBA students. That'll be fun.

HERMINIA: They're really looking forward to it. You'll see they have a lot of questions for you. And they're, you know, they are the perennial questions about how do you create change, when by nature it's a long-term project? And how do you sustain momentum? Where do you start? Do you change the structure? Do you change the culture? You know, all of those questions.

And really, how do you take an organization that was born in a different era? 

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Absolutely... four or five years ago…

HERMINIA: And take it into a new one, in which a lot of things have to be reinvented.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: In today's episode, Herminia and I will be looking back on that time together. We will also be going deeper into her research and thinking around leadership and change management, so that we can draw lessons from my own experience in Microsoft, but also to help other managers looking to implement change in their organizational culture today,

VOICEOVER: Jean-Philippe, JP, Courtois is Microsoft Executive Vice President and President, and the founder of Live for Good. In the Positive Leadership Podcast, he talks to some of the sharpest minds in business and beyond about their approach to leadership. Inspiring and intriguing conversations from around the world, with business leaders who are making a difference.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: So, Herminia, I’d like to start with you first and talk about yourself. Early life, your background. Where'd you come from, Herminia?

HERMINIA: All right. Well, as you know, Jean-Philippe, I was born in Cuba, in the provinces in Matanzas, Cuba, not Havana. And we left when I was seven years old.

It was a very dramatic thing, we left on one of the last flights out of Cuba, in 1968. And we'd been waiting for a very long time because you had to have a family member call you from the States, in order to be able to come. And it was my mother's brother, who was young and foolish at the time. So the whole process was quite elaborate, it took some time. We moved to Miami, which is where I grew up since then. And, you know, firstborn child of an immigrant family that believes a lot in education, if you can get the profile. And so I think for a long time, my goal was to stay in school as long as possible. And here I am still. Here, I am, still have never left the educational context. I'm a career academic.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Yeah. So tell me more about this passion. And is it coming from your parents, from yourself? Some people have been role models for you? From readings? Where does it come from?

HERMINIA: You know, I've tried to figure it out. Because as you pointed out, to me, it's a very weird thing to be interested in the field of organizational behavior. As a teenager, as I was, actually. 

Actually I didn't even know it was called that I was interested in Organizational Psychology. And I really don't know where it comes from. My mother had a very charismatic friend who after she, you know, as an adult, mid-career, having immigrated from Cuba, she went back to school and did a degree in clinical psychology. 

And I was a bit of a guinea pig guys, she needed people to test out questionnaires. And I think that kind of intrigued me. 

But having visited a few… kind of institutions, in which psychology is done, I was a scared bit of it. And I thought – I read about the application of psychology to the business world, and I thought, this is intriguing. Maybe people won’t be as nuts. That was a wrong assumption to make. 

And I also thought, you know, I was very interested in making a good living here as an immigrant. And so I thought this is a field in which I can do something interesting and also make a good living. And so that's how I ended up there. And it turned out to be a really good hunch.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: I'd love to go back to the moment when we met, I think in Davos and in Paris, and ask you why, in the first place, did you want to take a shot at myself and Microsoft, kind of case study?

HERMINIA: Yeah, there are a few things that came together. You know, it's very serendipitous that we met in Davos on that breakfast panel that we did together. 

One thing was, I had read Satya’s book, and I said, Oh, this is really interesting. This is an interesting story about change that my students could get into. So I had already identified that. 

And then he, you know, in the context of our panel, we were talking about the whole message that people don't always get, that it's not about the technology, digital transformation is a lot about the behavior. And I think we kind of hit it off there. And I just thought, Oh, this is so interesting. So often, in our case studies, we look at just the big picture, you know, what did the CEO do? But of course, that has to be aligned in every other organization, and how do you, working for the CEO, take and run the idea, make it your own, transform your organization according to its own specific needs. And so I thought it would make a good sequel, which it did.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: No, I and I remember vividly because at the time again, for the last six years, I've been running all of our global sales and marketing at Microsoft and I was tasked by Satya, Satya Nadella himself, to basically transform that entire salesforce globally that we've had for decades, that used to sell software licenses, that was what we were doing as a selling organization, to customers, to transform that into basically an organization, we could become eventually a trusted adviser for businesses to become digital businesses themselves. Wow, that's a big shift. And at the time, when I was starting that, you got me to think more about actually the transformation project I was working on.


You know, I’d love to come back to one of the great books you published Herminia: Act As A Leader Think Like A Leader. It's really interesting because it's almost like a paradox to me. You know, I've been using one of my favorite quotes, actually, I think this quote is given to different people. I would say from Lao Tzu says, what your thoughts they become your words, what your words they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits, watch habits they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny. 

And I love that quote so much, because it starts in the brain, the thoughts dedicated to the action, and actually your book was all about the opposite, at least at the surface, it looks like the opposite.

HERMINIA: Not quite. So you're not quite you know it. Yeah.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Tell us about that!

HERMINIA: So, you know, there were lots of inspirations for that title. But one of them is Socrates’ idea that you are what you repeatedly do. And so when it comes to changing, you've got to change those behaviors. And it is in doing that, you actually start to change how you think. 

Now, if I could take a step back, that book is really about how people step up to bigger leadership roles, or how they increase their impact. Maybe it's a promotion, but maybe it is broader impact. 

And what happens is we grow up in our careers, leading and doing in a particular way until it's no longer what's going to make us successful, because the situation changes.

The classic is you're a functional expert, and you become a general manager. And the problem is not so much that you can't acquire those broader leadership skills or become more of a communicator or delegate a bit more. The issue is the way you've done things is who you are, it becomes you.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: It defines you.  

HERMINIA: it is, it's your competence, it’s what you're rewarded for. And it becomes how you see yourself and it's very hard to move away from who you are. Yeah, right. And so people get stuck in that and they think, Alright, who do I want to be? Or what's the answer? Let me figure it out in my head. When in fact, what you need to do is take lots of smaller, maybe counter to who you are…  Actually things that are against your nature, outside your comfort zone, you force yourself to delegate or you force yourself to focus more on the people side of things. And over time, you get better at it. When you get better at it, you like it more. And when you like it more, you do it more. And eventually it becomes the way you think, because you can't…

We talk a lot about mindsets. You cannot change a mindset directly. Your mindset is the product of your experience, what has worked, what hasn't worked. So the only way you change it is you give people new experiences, or you push them to do new things that eventually change their minds. So it's not about acting without thinking. I would not advise that to anyone! But it is really about acting your way into a new way of thinking.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: And particularly acting, I guess outside of your area of comfort, right? 

HERMINIA: In organizations, we do the same thing. That's why you create structural change, you force people into doing some different things that eventually change their habits and how they operate.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: I’d like to elaborate a bit on that, because you've been also defining and explaining your concept of outside. So can you tell us more about that concept of outside? What is that?

HERMINIA: Yeah, it's just the simple idea that when we get to these, ‘what got you here won't get you there’ moments, reflection doesn't help that much, because it's not in your past experience. 

And so what you need is just fresh perspective, by doing new things and interacting with different people and getting their feedback and prioritizing that, over self-reflection.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: I can remember vividly actually, back in 2016, when I got this mission about transforming the entire salesforce. What I decided to do is actually to visit like dozens of Microsoft subsidiaries in the world, meeting with hundreds of customers, partners, to ask about this new reality we were going into as a company. To become what we called at the time, Satya, mobile first cloud first organization! With a new mission. 

And that gave me so much, not just inputs, but insights into the need for the change. This is the way they see the company. And perceptions are reality as customers. This is the way our people feel the change that is happening or not happening in the right way. That gave me the energy and the clarity to pick a few things, a few bets, to get started with the challenge. 

So I love the outside. Because I think to me, it's always about outside in first. 

HERMINIA: Outside in!

JEAN-PHILIPPE: To get really, those mindful, I would say, next steps to accomplish as a business.

You meant really the connection between the transformation and the cultural shift of an organizations. Culture matters a lot. 

HERMINIA: You know, I think people realize this – culture matters a lot. I think what they don't realize is the depth of transformation required in order to change it. You know, it's, I can't tell you after since Microsoft has been so successful, I can't tell you the number of executive education clients that we have here, or companies I work with, who say I want a growth mindset, culture…

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Give me the playbook!

HERMINIA: And it's not about that. It's about identifying something that needs to be done, a critical task, an opportunity, a threat, a business imperative. And then what's going to help you and what's going to block you. 

And typically what happens, I mean, this is what… Culture is a little squishy. And that's, that's why it's hard to deal with. Typically what happens, an organization is founded, it starts up, it has leaders that have deep convictions, you have experiences that teach you what works, what doesn't work. And then those things get embedded in systems, in stories, in heroes, all of those things. 

And then lo and behold, things start to change, you have new competitors, the world changes, technology, and that stuff doesn't work anymore. But it's so deep seated, you can't even see it. A lot of times it's unspoken assumptions. And that's when you get into the need for that change. 

However, if you tackle it only as culture change, you don't get anywhere. Because culture is what behavior you're incentivizing, what you pay attention to, what you reward. And so culture change is vital. 

Now, the specifics, and I don't know an organization that isn't trying to make the same kind of culture change. Honestly, everybody wants to be more nimble, more innovative, more agile, more customer centric, you know.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: All the right words.

HERMINIA: We all want, we all want that. And at the heart of it, what is really there… and I think that's what Satya captured so well at the outset, is we need to be a learning organization. All successful incumbents were successful because they eventually became efficiency machines, just really optimized for doing something really, really well, flawlessly, repeatedly on time, on budget. And all of a sudden, you had to do something different that you didn't know how to do, which means making mistakes, which means having to learn, which means working with different parties and different kinds of odd characters. And that's, that was the shift that had to happen. And I think one of the things you guys did so well, was just articulated the why of… Not just the what, but the why.

Why, you know, cloud, it's a huge opportunity, but we're not going to be able to take advantage of it if we keep operating the way we're operating. Because in this world, what gets prioritized, what gets valued, what gets rewarded is learning how to do new things, not executing flawlessly. 

And that was… it was just crystal crystal clear. Now of course then starts with the work of actually making it happen. So really today is about how do you create a learning culture and experimenting culture and iterating culture or learn-it-all, rather than know-it-all?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: It's been super vivid in my mind, in our lives at Microsoft for last seven years… And keep working on it, by the way, because as we all know, the growth mindset is not binary. I mean, we are not either a fully fixed mindset or fully growth mindset. So it's kind of in between. But the key thing is, having a deep consciousness about those moments. And the way you want to prioritize when and how you can learn from others, much more than the way you get people to do things all the time, repeatedly, as you said. And I think that's to me, that's been the biggest reflection when I… Not just Satya, the entire… not just the leadership team, because there was really a bottom-up movement at Microsoft to say, we had some issues as a company, and were clearly at the time well, not innovative enough to be relevant in this new world where cloud-based computing was available around the world. We were not the company doing that. 

And reflecting on that, we had many great attributes in our culture, but one, which was not great was, we knew-it-all. And we were a really bright people, incredibly bright people from engineering to sales, marketing good markets, but all of them knew it all. And were not open enough to capture all those moments of learning from customers, from the outside, from inside. And we started really breaking that as a culture and saying, This is something we got to change. 

And it's hard work. Because, as you said, it's so embedded within the culture, that's the way things have been done for decades. But the way that not just the leaders, but people start embodying some of the new attitudes of listening more than talking, or being more outside than inside the company, to get the outside in view of the world. What's really going on? What's the needs of the customer? What are these competition doing? That starts to get the needle moving in the right direction. 

What would be your kind of key advice at the top to implement cultural change in the organization? In the right way? What is the… Not a magical recipe! But what would be the…

HERMINIA: I do have a magical recipe! I do. I do. And I give it to my students for free. It's the idea plus the process plus you. 

JEAN-PHILLIPE: Idea, process, you. Okay.

HERMINIA: The idea, the process and you. And so the idea is just articulate clearly what you're trying to do and why? It's not I want a growth mindset culture. It's, there's an opportunity, we want to go after it. And that's what's required. 

The process, you know. It's where do you start? How do you get a sense of urgency that now is the time that we have to move? You know, it's so interesting, in Microsoft, you were so profitable, even though the reputation had gone down, even though you felt that you were not innovating. 

How do you get urgency? When you're doing well? How do you get a group of people around you who are going to be role models? Who are going to get things going? Even though the system is still completely stacked against you. How do you communicate it? What are the things that you change first? What are going to be those quick wins that show to people we really mean it? You know, just to get kind of momentum going in. 

And in that process because… I'm going to ask you, how long does it take to do a cultural transformation? Because it's so long, is people need to have hope, you know, something that hang on their faith that this is going to continue to move forward. Part of it is those quick wins and some milestones, but part of it is the leader and the leader is the kind of who, who wants to be led by you. You know, what is it about you that is real, that makes you believable? Of course there's walking the talk. But there's even more than that, who are you as a person can I connect to what you're trying to do? And that matters enormously, because the timeframes are vast, and you need people to be inspired for the longer haul.

JEAN-PHILLIPE: In many ways. I mean, what I've tried to apply in terms of my own practice was, you know, first of all, always start with the why. And always that external reality of the world and just starting with ourselves, because we are very much self centered. 

Number two is about saying, then what you going to do? And then actually do what you said you're going to do. So being principled about the way you're going to make yourself at the top and everyone all accountable for what you're going to do. 

And sometimes you can also to do some radical changes. I mean, I can share a story of this iconic tradition, we have a company, at Microsoft, called the Mid-Year Review. It was like a UN assembly.

We basically for 25 years, we're running this process for two months, two months, where we were reviewing 120 subsidiaries, reviewing all the businesses of the company, and involving like thousands of our people in a huge drama. 

Because people leaders are coming to the table kind of, you know, showing what they've achieved, what they should do and of course, it was a lot of drama in terms of success and failure with colour. 

It was wonderful in terms of insight. But the cost of doing that, in terms of no customer touch, no presence in the market. And really being just with ourselves for two months in a row. That when I took my role, two months role, I just decided to kill it. 

And that was a pretty big moment, I realized, because I was the one who actually amplified Mid-Year Review for so many years. I was at the core of it, I was known as someone actually pretty good with numbers… Always, like challenging people on this and that and so they were over prepared, because we're worried about JP asking the drilling down.

And one day, I just decided to stop it, and free up the times of people for two months. So I'm just hearing that because I'm sure you've seen these other companies, the symbolic moments and, you know, iconic legacy of the past that you need to let go.

HERMINIA: Yeah. I mean, that's it's such a classic example of where you have a clash between what you say is the culture you want and what the real culture is. Right. Right. 

And so as you said it, you know, part of what that was signaling is, it's more important to focus internally. And not just to focus internally, but you're managing your career. Because those are the moments that make or break a career. You know, you've shown yourself as high potential, you've shown yourself as able to answer that question, you've shown yourself to be a good Microsoft person. You've learned what it is that you need to show. 

And so it's a dramatic change, not just in terms of the time you're not spending with your customers, but it's in terms of how am I supposed to shine? How am I supposed to get visibility with senior people? How do I manage my career? 


HERMINIA: And it's always in those things that you're signaling what it is that you want people to do. Now, in that there's a lot of assumptions about control, and control of behavior, and how do you make sure that people are doing their best. 

And one model is you subject them to extreme pressure and high visibility, and they'll rise to the occasion.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Yeah, I've been guilty of doing that. Not going to lie.

HERMINIA: And you know, and that works. And so and people worry what happens when you loosen that up. But another model is you empower them, and you… Everybody's got the information. And somehow, because you're in more regular contact, that will bring out the best in them. Or because they’re in regular contact with customers.

I would love to hear your thoughts on that kind of dilemma, because the idea of control is integral to management. What replaces that manner of control, when you shift to this kind of looser system?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Obviously, when you manage a global business, kind of hyper scale, and you put in place some so called management systems, where you manage scorecards, KPIs, efficiencies, resolve all the stuff you discussed before. But then you realize when you need to do such a shift in terms of what are people supposed to do to become the trusted advisor, you've got to change the way you lead yourselves. 

And in my case, what I decided to do, and it's been really hard for me to let it go, because it was so much in the control of operations, making sure I could deliver every quarter, of course, expected numbers for the company and the quality of the people. And loving people! And be always loving the people, caring for the people. 

But I decided to take on that kind of coach-like attitude. And I went all the way to myself, kind of getting certified on the coaching methodology with this guy who became my friend, Michael Bungay Stanier, who wrote this great book. He's also on my podcast, by the way, coaching habits. And trying to practition a few things he talks about, which is surreal. 

One, it's about be curious. Be curious. Be curious means really, deeply listening. And probably, you know, the time you get to spend with your customers, people, 70% of them is listening as opposed to talking. Okay, that's pretty good start. 

Number two is being lazy. Lazy. Wow. So people are shocked lazy. I’m not known to be that lazy. But to be precise, lazy in the sense of not giving the solution to a problem that person comes back to you on. So, and I've done that for so many years. I say, eh Herminia…

HERMINIA: I’ve seen it before. DO this!

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Yeah. Herminia, just do that. Okay, then let's go to next topic, because we're done… We know the playbook, the way to do it, go and do it. 

So be lazy in a sense of letting the person come up with the confidence, number one, and then the ability to express and find a solution by yourself. It's so critical to empower, to give real meaning to the employee. Well, that's what it's all about to me. 

And number three, be often in the sense of capturing those moments. And it's really… it might happen very differently. It could be five minutes of coaching moments after customer meetings. I've done that so many times, which is more about a couple of questions you ask the person as opposed to tell them what you’re going to do. Where you capture the deep inside learning of the great things they may have done, or the opportunity ahead of themselves, as the next. 

HERMINIA: Jean-Philippe, one of the things that's really hard in a change process is that you're trying to change people's behavior before you really have fully the capacity. So for example, in the case study, one of the things that we talk about is how when you were at 50%, the traditional licensing business and 50%, cloud, you decided to change the incentive compensation system and make it close to 90% compensation based on sales for Cloud products and services. That's hard on people. 


HERMINIA: How does that work?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: To be honest Herminia, it’s hard but this is not the only hardest challenge, to be honest. I mean, it would be easy for a compensation formula to fix it all. So I would say it is an important element of the mix. But I think what I've learned through this process myself as I went through the challenge is, the way you unlearn the habits of what you used to do. As a seller, as an example, as someone who is selling software for his life. In a way, you're basically introducing a new set of skills to be ready, to be confident in having a different conversation with the customers in the first place. 

We come back to the discussion we had together on growth mindset. How do you incentivize people to fulfil themselves by learning new skills, which are actually both tech skills, industry skills, but also soft skills, by the way, soft skills are super critical, the way you show empathy and cognitive intelligence to the customers. 

So I would say that's, to me, part of the way you try to basically address the pain problem. You've got the pain because all of us love to be automating our practices. This is what the brain loves the most when you are set by in safe, automated mode, right? And you do what you've done for years, so well. 

So getting outside of your area of comfort, and then incentivize you to learn more, which we did, and keep doing a lot more. 

Number two, defining success differently. Success in a way, you're rewarded, not just financially, but the way we can actually show you, share you and have you talking about the role modeling you’ve been doing with customers. And really using those example as stories to resonate about those heroes. Actually, at the first couple of years at Microsoft, kind of a context of the best heroes were the kind of club making makers of the company. And those were the people that were talking about the journey they had to change the customers and themselves. So I think you need to have all of that coming together.

HERMINIA: But let me pick up on the pain… on the pain point. Because you talk about, of course, people have to get out of their comfort zone, if they have to operate differently. It's hard to do that when you feel a bit under threat. It's hard to do that when you're thinking, Am I going to be here next year? Am I going to be able to upgrade my skill sets? Maybe? I'm not a cloud engineer, can I understand it, can I up my skills? So how do you get people to do that, in that kind of environment where you are also radically changing your employee group?

JEAN-PHILIPPE: No, it's a great question. I think what I found and observe, obviously, first of all, I mean, every person is different. So it's not like you could have a formula for all of them which is going to work the same way. 

So you got to have this on- to-one approach. And this is where the manager proximity matters a lot. I think we discussed together the way a manager should get a lot more empathetic, understanding the people, the way they work, the way they think. I think the second thing is, again, reemphasizing all the time, the why. The why, the why, the why, the why. 

Number three, do not threaten them, of course. I mean, if you start having a threatening culture, that is going to send such a bad signal. So it needs to be a reward, yet… you're super clear about the outcomes you want to get together.  

I'm not naïve. It was super clear about the cloud mix you talked about, how much needs to happen. But we focused on the habits and the steps taken by our employees one by one, to get to such outcomes. 

Maybe Herminia, just to finish almost on a couple of the topics… We’ve been digging into so many topics, but I would be passionate about, because I've got two daughters, as well… is the way you see, or can businesses and organizations…

But in the first place, how can female leaders, who are not leaders yet, grow themselves.

HERMINIA: So I think a lot of that comes down to ambition and inspiration. And that's where numbers are so powerful. You know, when you see entrepreneurs who look like you or CEOs who look like you or social entrepreneurs who look like you, it's much more inspiring. Unconsciously you say, Oh, I, you know, if I work hard, I can be that person I can do that. 

The other part that's that is really driven by numbers is networks. It's something that I've studied for a long time. You know, networks are driven by people's sense of, we've got something in common. And that is not just driven by gender, but that's a part of it. Because gender also drives what social activities you like to be involved in, do you like to play squash, you like to go shopping just to take a stereotype. 

And so they get very segregated, particularly the informal part by gender, which means that sense of belonging and inclusion is not quite the same, and you don't get as much of the gossip and, and so again, it, you have to, you have to be conscious of that it doesn't make it impossible. There's lots of ways of connecting with people. But you have to be a bit intentional in creating that. In seeing that it's not just about what you know, and your skill set, it's about who you know, who will give you information and support and will help you and will talk about you. And that all that part is not just really vital, but totally legitimate. It's not trying to get a special deal. Nobody gets ahead without help from other people. And so for me, those are a couple of the key points to keep in mind…

JEAN-PHILIPPE: So raising your hand to get some help… reaching out and extending your networks as well. 

HERMINIA: Yeah and just… From the get-go, be as much about building a network of relationships, as about building your skillset.

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Your skillset, I love it. 

Just finishing and you know, in a way going back to the starting point of our conversation this morning, Herminia, on psychology that could be positive, right? 

As you know this podcast is all about that kind of positive mindset, positivity… How do you see that playing into the new leadership evolution of the world? And not just in the business communities you’re studying so much, but you could think about the public sector as well. You could think about NGOs, you could think about the bigger issues at stake. 

Do you believe that we need a lot more of those Positive Leadership attributes in the world to actually connect people, every one of us, with their own kind of purpose they have for themselves. And the bigger world impact they can have. I’d love to pick your mind on this question!

HERMINIA: I mean, it's a huge topic and we see very much a thirst in the kind of the generation that's coming out on the job market now. They want that. They will not be led by jerks. 

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Not any more. 

HERMINIA: They will, they will not stay in toxic environments. That's a bit over. And I think that that's a big part of what's going to create the change. To that I would add is, you know, we've realized that people want to be inspired and they want to belong.

And, and I think we've tried to tackle it so far through kind of big picture inspiration. You know, here's my vision, come with me. Or kind of authentic leadership as let me share my story. 

And the one thing we've forgotten is that it's relational. It is about one-on-one people relationships. Do we connect? How do I feel about working with you? How do I, am I energized when I interact with you? Or am I dejected after I leave that meeting? 

And that relational aspect is a huge part of Positive Leadership. It's a huge part of our just intrinsic needs as humans. And I, you know, I think because the pandemic separated us from that, it's become more salient. And everywhere I go, that's either what's missing or what's really working for people. 

JEAN-PHILIPPE: Thank you so much, Professor Herminia Ibarra. 

So what are the key takeaways from our conversation about how to bring about positive change in yourself and your company? 

Remember that it is in doing that we actually start to change how to think.

So start acting positive first, and then we can start thinking positively, in that order.

Be clear about what you want to do and why, and be principled about how you as a leader, and everyone else, are going to be held responsible. It takes a long time to change a culture in an organization. You're going to need people to be inspired, to stick with you for the longer haul.

Get some first perspective, even prioritize that over your own self-reflection. It will give you so much valuable input and insight, but the next steps that you need to accomplish. 

Don't let the way you've done things in the past define you. Get outside of your comfort zone and think about how you can incentivize people to fulfil themselves by learning new skills.

Finally, don't be afraid to make radical change.

VOICEOVER: to hear more from the global business leaders who are making a difference, subscribe now to the Positive Leadership podcast with Jean-Philippe Courtois. 

JEAN-PHILIPPE: In the next episode, I'll be talking to the former CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, about how far business leaders are prepared to push their companies in order to solve the world's problems.

I hope you can join us again. That's all from me for now. Thanks for listening. Goodbye.