Ep056: How to build high trust workplace cultures with neuroscientist Paul Zak

TalentGrow Show podcast ep056 How to build high trust workplace cultures with neuroscientist Dr Paul Zak and host Halelly Azulay

You could say that Dr. Paul Zak is uber-qualified to talk about trust. A PhD professor, neuroeconomist, and neuroscientist who was part of the team that first made the connection between oxytocin and trust, he recently authored the 2017 book Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies. He’s also the developer of Ofactor, a methodology that quantifies organizational culture within a company and identifies what it needs to change in order to increase leadership, team and organizational trust. In this episode of the TalentGrow Show with Halelly Azulay, Paul shares some of his best insights on how to increase your company’s trust and productivity (all of them backed by scientific research!) In this fascinating discussion, you’ll learn about his eight ways to build trust within an organization and build a workplace culture in which people want to work their butt off! Whether you’re a leader who wants to improve your team’s culture and performance or just fascinated by the science of trust, this is definitely an episode you don’t want to miss!

What you'll learn:

Listen to Stitcher
  • The eight ways we can build trust—OXYTOCIN: Ovation, Expectation, Yield, Transfer, Openness, Caring, Invest, and Natural (8:00)
  • Understanding ovation and how to maximize its effectiveness. How can you get the biggest possible impact out of any recognition program? (8:59)
  • Paul thought this question was great: “Did you find that any of the eight factors are either more important than the others or that they’re prerequisites to the others?” (And he gives a great answer as well!) (11:56)
  • What are the conditions necessary for a workplace culture in which people want to work their butt off? (15:29)
  • What is job crafting? (17:08)
  • What we can learn from Valve, an online game software maker, that gives its employees desks with wheels (both metaphorically and literally!) (17:55)
  • Paul uses the example of Morning Star Tomato, the largest producer of tomato products in the world, to demonstrate that the usefulness of the job crafting approach is in no way limited to knowledge workers (18:51)
  • Halelly gets her devil’s advocate game on (yikes, can Paul handle the fire?) (20:14)
  • What Paul discovered about trust when measuring people’s brain activity when they work (22:39)
  • Halelly asks Paul to address the issue of predatory people who take advantage of people’s vulnerability; those who use your trust and authenticity against you (23:35)
  • Paul’s story about the “bully” who just wanted to tell people what to do (and what we can do to not be like him!) (25:00)
  • Lori Ann’s fascinating question for Paul (25:57)
  • Why Paul is a big believer in… failure! (27:40)
  • Why is Paul so excited about “culture intervention tools”? (28:18)
  • Find out what Paul’s “stupidly simple” actionable tip is! (30:52)

RESOURCES

ABOUT PAUL ZAK

Paul J. Zak was one of the first scientists to integrate neuroscience and economics into a new discipline: neuroeconomics. His research has identified the brain processes that support such virtuous behaviors as trustworthiness, generosity, and sacrifice, as well as those whose absence leads to evil, vice, and conflict. He uses these results to increase flourishing by individuals, organizations, and societies.

He is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard.

His latest book, Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies, uses neuroscience to measure and manage organizational cultures to inspire teamwork and accelerate business outcomes. His 2012 book, The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity, recounted his unlikely discovery of the neurochemical oxytocin as the key driver of trust, love, and morality that distinguish our humanity.

Transcript

Announcer: Welcome to the TalentGrow Show, where you can get actionable results-oriented insight and advice on how to take your leadership, communication and people skills to the next level and become the kind of leader people want to follow. And now, your host and leadership development strategist, Halelly Azulay.

Halelly: Hey there TalentGrowers. Welcome back, episode 56 is a conversation I have been eager to share with you because it is about a topic that comes up a lot in my conversations with leaders that I work with, which is how to build trust with others and within your workplace. I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here at TalentGrow and if you’re a regular listener or reader of my blog, you might know that I am a pretty big neuroscience geek, so I’m super excited that I have been able to talk to the expert on trust and neuroscience today. On this episode I chatted with Dr. Paul Zak. He’s a PhD professor and neuro-economist and neuroscientist who was part of the team that first made the connection between the brain chemical oxytocin and trust. Paul is the author of the recently released and excellent book Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance companies.

This is definitely one of those episodes that I would have liked to keep going for longer, because there’s so much fascinating stuff to discuss but I did use self-regulation and I kept it to our 30-minute format, and yet we packed it full of lots of juicy, actionable content for you, like Paul’s eight ways to build trust within an organization, how to understand this thing called job crafting and how to build a workplace culture in which people want to work their butts off. Whether you’re a leader who is seeking to improve culture and performance in your employees and in your team or just fascinated by the science of trust like me, this is definitely an episode you don’t want to miss. Also, I play devil’s advocate with Paul and he gives a great comeback, so check it out. And here’s a little challenge. As you’re listening, I think Paul does a really good job of being a role model of one of his own bits of advice, so as you’re listening, see if you can catch and notice what I’m talking about and then tell me in the show notes comments after you listen what you thought it was. I’d love to know. All right, let’s do this.

Welcome back, TalentGrowers. This is Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist and I’m really excited for this week’s guest, Paul Zak. He is the founding director of the Center for Neuro-economic Studies and professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University. He was part of the team of scientists that first made the connection between oxytocin and trust, and his Ted Talk on this topic has received more than 1.4 million views. I’m going to definitely link to that in the show notes. He is also author of The Moral Molecules, and he has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, CNN, Fox Business, Dr. Phil and Good Morning America, but now the pinnacle of his career, he is on the TalentGrow Show. Just kidding of course! Paul, welcome to the TalentGrow Show.

Paul: Thank you so much Halelly. Happy to be on.

Halelly: Well, I’m so happy that you have agreed to be on, because I think that your topic, I have to tell you on my list of topics that I was looking to do a show on was trust. Number one was trust. So, when I was sitting on an airplane and I read your article on the Harvard Business Review called “The Neuroscience of Trust” and about your amazing book which I have since read, The Trust Factor, I was like, “Oh, this is exactly what we need on this show.” Because it is a topic that comes up so much and it is so tricky and so confusing. And so I can’t wait to get into it with you. But before we go there, I always ask my guests to give us just a big-picture overview of their professional journey. Where did you start, how did you get to where you are now?

Paul: Thank you for asking. I think I’ve always been interested in humans, the variation in human behavior, number one. Also number two, how to use that knowledge to use resources efficiently. So about 15 years ago, kind of happened on trust as a very interesting topic and somehow got sucked into spending the last 15 years of my life actually studying it. So, I think anyone who is interested in humans has got to be interested in the brain. And so as you know, I helped start this field neuro-economics and now we’ve applied this to management, to marketing, lots of areas. Because humans are pretty interesting species, I’ve discovered.

Halelly: That’s a nice way to say it, right? They’re so tricky!

Paul: They’re complicated and I think the reason for neuroscience here, relevant to our discussion, is that people cannot tell you why they’re doing what they’re doing. Yet by using these technologies to measure productivity, we can get really a deep sense of why people are behaving in particular ways and then can use that knowledge to create solutions to improve performance.

Halelly: And I’d love for you to describe a little bit more about the science that you use, and how you do some of the studies or you and your colleagues do some of the studies that are behind the eight ways that you describe in your book, Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies, that help managers and leaders actively create high-trust workplace cultures. I love how you say that the brain chemical oxytocin is the culprit or is the key to trust, it is the main chemical that helps generate and fuel trust. And conveniently enough, the eight ways that we can build trust, you have formed them into the acronym OXYTOCIN. First of all, everybody listening, you need to go get this book. This is such a great book and I’m going to link to it in the show notes, because there’s no way we can cover everything in depth here on this 30-minute podcast. But Paul, tell us briefly about these eight ways.

Paul: So the short back story is, we did this fundamental basic research identifying oxytocin as this chemical that signals not only that we find someone trustworthy around us, but actually that we will work hard to help that person, and so that got some media attention and at some point, companies started knocking on my door, saying, “Hey, we think trust is important in our organization. Can you help us measure and improve trust?” And the original way we measured oxytocin was through blood draws. And so my first answer – because I’m a complete doofus – was, “Sure, I’ll come and I’ll take blood from your employees and we’ll measure their oxytocin,” and these CEOs would just turn white. “Oh, no, you can’t take blood from our employees! That’s a bad thing.” And then I started thinking, if I’m some so-called trust expert and I can’t actually advise businesses on how to create trust, I really don’t think I’m much of an expert.

So we started running experiments, measuring brain activity while people worked, first in my laboratory and then actually at businesses. A number of nice companies like Zappos and Herman Miller gave us permission to actually put their data in the book by name and lots of other companies that we suppressed their names so we could actually identify the factors that allowed us to create trust within organizations and those were slightly different than one-on-one trust. Because they require more people to be involved in that interaction and then we related those factors to organizational trust, and then things like productivity, innovation, intention, sick days, I mean, it all worked so beautifully. So I’ll go through those eight just really, really briefly. I’ll just define them each.

The O is for ovation. This is recognizing top performers. The X is for expectation, designing challenges for people at work. The Y is for yield, which is delegating authority to people who are doing the work. T is for transfer, which is enabling job crafting. The O is for openness, which is reducing uncertainty by being transparent in the sharing of information. C is for caring, which is intentionally building relationships with others at work. The I is for invest, which is helping colleagues grow professionally, personally and spiritually. We can talk about that. And the N is for natural, which is for a leadership perspective, being authentic, being vulnerable, asking people for help.

For each of these factors, we developed a measurement tool. As you know, readers of the book, you have access to the tool. You can access your own organization’s trust directly in each of these factors. And as I say, the neuroscience provides very precise ways to get the most impact when you change these factors to get the biggest impact on brain and behavior.

Example – the first factor, ovation. Recognizing high performers. Listeners may be thinking, “Gosh, that was my first week in business school, we talked about how humans like recognition. Awesome.” Except the neuroscience has shown very clearly that to get the biggest impact on individuals in terms of affecting future performance, recognition that is unexpected, that is close in time to when a goal is met, that comes from peers, that is tangible, that is personal, that is public – all those factors will make any recognition program have a bigger impact. And when you do these ovations in public, not only do you recognize the highest performers, you give them a chance to debrief, to talk about how they achieve this high performance so others can learn from them, and you set up aspirations for others observing this ovation so that they can also be recognized by their community. So again, the book is super practical. It takes all this neuroscience and just gets it down to, “Do these things.”

Halelly: I agree, and I can tell you, not only are there stories in there about examples, like at this company, this is what they did and these are the financial results, the bottom line results and so forth, but you also break down the science. You really make it easy to understand by explaining the actual process of when we do this, it releases oxytocin in this way and when we did this study it showed, and it caused people to take this next action and so forth. And you talk about some things that backfire, right? So especially, with ovation, the idea that for example you want to make sure that it’s really close to the event, which is something that I also teach, because otherwise it has very low effect. It doesn’t actually cause a release of oxytocin if it’s something that’s sort of very passé.

Paul: And it’s really created this type of feedback loop in the brain that recognizes people at work as members of a community. We’re in this community of people who have essentially pledged, voluntarily pledged, to work hard for the purpose of the organization and for the people in it and for the stakeholders and want to create an environment where that pledge can be fulfilled, where you feel good about it, you take ownership over what you’ve done but you recognize that you’re in service to the people around you. And as you know from the book, we’ve shown experimentally and other groups have as well, when you have this higher purpose, what I call transcendent purpose, and you recognize that the hard work you’re doing has a positive impact both on your colleagues at work but also on the stakeholders that depend on you, then people are really motivated. And so that purpose has got to be lived. It’s got to be an important part of the DNA of the organization.

Halelly: Did you find that any of the eight factors – I don’t know if you’re calling them factors? Elements? Ways? That any of them are either more important than the others in terms of building trust or that they are prerequisites to the others?

Paul: What a great question. So the factors are ordered. The overall thesis to the book is once you have a way to measure trust, you should actively manage it for high performance, and it’s very similar to the Toyota Production System. Measure, intervene, see if the intervention had a positive effect on performance, and if so continue with it. If not you can roll it back. And continuously improving culture, so it’s really a continuous process. Because each of these factors has – sorry to use a technical word – a concave effect on performance, so it means as the factors get closer to their maximum value like 100 percent, if I go from 90 to 95, the effect on performance is much less than if I go from 20 to 25. So what we recommend to organizations we work with is start with the lowest factor. You’ll get the biggest impact on performance by increasing the lowest factor and then just keep working on that. For companies that have different geographic organizations, different business units, we also break it down by business unit, by organization, so perhaps the Santa Monica office is killing it, great. Trust is super high, they’re really productive, awesome. Find out what they’re doing in Santa Monica, right? Just copy that, and in the Kansas City office and they’re just sucking wind. What’s happening in Kansas City? What can you import from Santa Monica and apply it in Kansas City? Or, often as you know, Halelly, the IT group often is very beat down because everyone complains to them. So, we find often that folks in the IT business unit don’t have a lot of trust. They feel very stressed. So take what’s happening in sales, where people really rock and roll and they’re doing great, and try to apply that same culture intervention or culture practices to the guys in IT.

Halelly: Okay, so when you take the lowest factor, you mean the one you have the least of?

Paul: Right, so my tool quantifies, because these eight factors, it does it on a one-to-100 scale. Again, if your ovation is lowest, great. And as you remember in the book, we actually report the amount of impact each of those factors have on overall organizational trust, and they’re all around 50 percent or higher. Of course they’re not statistically independent. Anyway, the one that’s going to have the biggest impact is the one that’s lowest. You’ll know that because you’ve measured. And so that’s important.

Halelly: Okay, cool. That tool is free on your website, right?

Paul: It is, absolutely. Help yourself. Again, it’s going to be you as a leader, for example, your individual view and to really get valid data, you want lots of people in your organization to use the survey. But as a start, and particularly when you’re reading the book, so you do this survey, you find out that for the fourth factor I’m really low. Let’s say that fourth factor is called transfer. I’m really low on transfer, so when I read the book, actually I say it in the introduction – you can start right at the transfer chapter. If you want to skip ahead and see, “Here’s what I need to do,” and remember, after every chapter, I have what’s called a Monday morning list. Monday morning, here are some things you can do immediately. So the book is really about practice, a little bit of the science in there, but it’s really about doing things that are just going to make a culture for the humans who are doing all the work more engaging, more productive, and then as you know, we also see if people work in these high trust, high purpose organizations, enjoy their jobs a lot more. So that’s not a bad place to start.

Halelly: Yeah, and it creates the wonderful virtuous cycle. They enjoy their job more, they work better, the culture improves, the work product improves, everything.

Paul: They’re healthier, they’re happier, they’re happier outside of work, and so I think it’s really recognizing these volunteers in your workplace as whole human beings. They have a life outside of work, they have emotions, they have their own fears and worries, and if you accept that, that we’re all imperfect, but if you provide the right environment, people will actually work their butts off for something they really care about, for people that they trust.

Halelly: So you mentioned transfer. Let’s talk about that for a second. Because again, it’s really challenging. I want to talk to you about all eight. So for transfer, you say that’s enabling self-management, and job crafting. First of all, just make sure that everybody is on the same page – what do you mean by job crafting? And then the way you describe it in the book, you say that it’s kind of like, it sounds to me like the anti-micromanagement, a very flat and unstructured kind of approach to letting people do what they think is right. You describe a company Valve that does this really well, so it made me think of this concept of Holacracy. It made me think that there are certain industries where it might work better than others. So let’s talk more about transfer. What is job crafting, and does this kind of idea work in all kinds of workplaces?

Paul: That’s a great question. So job crafting is allowing people to choose how they allocate their time at work. Instead of me assigning a job to you, I come at our Monday morning all-hands meeting and say, “Look, we’ve got this new client and it’s going to be a three-month project. Who would like to work on this project or lead a team around you?” This allows you to have complete buy-in. It’s your project, so Halelly, it’s your project, you’ve got five people we’re going to have work with you on this project. You take ownership of it and then I as your, say, supervisor, I’m going to do check-ins with you, I want to make sure you’re hitting milestones. I’m going to set clear expectations. So a number of companies like Valve, which is an online game software maker, they hire really smart, interesting people, and they give them desks with wheels. Their employee handbook actually says, “Find a work group that’s doing something that seems interesting and exciting to you.” That’s a whole different ballgame than, “We hired you to work in this cubicle and do this job.” This says, “You are here because we want you to be innovative. We want you to be passionate about what you’re doing. So bop around and find a place where you can create some value.” When you have job crafting, essentially everyone starts to talk about value creation. So again, if I have someone in my group who hasn’t taken over a project, who isn’t engaging, I need to have a conversation with you now. “You know, you’ve been on other people’s teams. It’s time for you to run your own team, to think of a project.” Or it may not work for you.

As we did this work, my concern is this sounds like a great approach for knowledge workers, so-called knowledge workers. I think actually today, everyone is a knowledge workers, but for traditional knowledge workers it seems like, “We’re doing client-based work. Figure it out.” So I spent a lot of time at a company that was profiled in HBR about three years ago called Morning Star Tomato. This is the largest central-valley California, it’s the largest producer of Tomato products in the world. Tomato paste, tomato sauce, and 80 percent of their employees – actually, they don’t call them employees. They call them colleagues, and I like that term a lot better – 80 percent of their colleagues are seasonal workers. They work six to seven months during the harvesting season, and everybody self-manages. So, I thought, “Gee, if job crafting really works, it’s got to work in this heavy industry, blue collar kind of workplace,” and indeed, it works spectacularly well, perfectly of course. We could talk more about Morning Star, but every interesting company where the value of job crafting from a trust perspective is that I have to go and reach out to other people and get them to work on my projects with me. So now I have to, I have a motivation to build those ties to find out more about you, find out who has time, who has resources, as opposed to just being slotted in this little narrow bin.

Halelly: It sounds so amazing, but – I don’t like the use the word “but” but I'm about to do a devil’s advocate thing. The cynic listening might say, “That sounds like anarchy. Everybody is going to be huddling at the really coolest project and then the grunt work that needs to happen is not going to get done because nobody wants to wheel their desk there.”

Paul: Right. So sometimes, people have to want to do this. As I mentioned Zappos in the book, Zappos has used a version of this called holacracy, which is kind of a lattice organization in where you have overlapping circles of responsibility. And so again, the goal is you’ve got to have really clear milestones. You’ve got to know what you’re aiming for, and you better know who can help you with these different projects to move them forward. So a lot of lattice designed organizations – W. L. Gore which is the maker of Gore-Tex and lots of other chemically-based products – not only do they have this lattice organization, but they also keep work groups small. So even in their production plants, they are never bigger than 200 people. Because after 200, it’s hard to know anybody. At Gore, work groups are limited to 15, so you may have 200 people in total, but there are 15 that you’re typically working with. We talk a little in the book about the optimal size of these work groups and so it requires a different view of organization. Again, one of the themes of the book as you remember, Halelly, is that everyone is a volunteer. So if you’re a volunteer, I want to create an environment where you can really get into what you’re doing. You can really expend your passion because you know why and you know who depends on you to make this happen. That spurs the brain to make oxytocin to develop trusting relationships with others and then to perform at your best.

Halelly: And I guess we didn’t really talk about this at depth and I’m making an assumption, maybe, that people understand, but that link between oxytocin and trust you just described. That’s the thing that the science shows us. It’s not that this all sounds nice, but in fact we’re hardwired to create kind of a generous loop that builds higher trust, which builds higher connections, which builds higher performance, because of these chemicals we’re releasing that we’re not consciously in charge of any of that.

Paul: Exactly. You know, we’ve run so many experiments where we measure your brain activity while people work and what we found is that when people work in high trust environments, not only do they perform better, but they actually shed the stress of work faster. So you do this task, have you all wired up and getting lots of data out of your brain, and then when the task is over, we keep the equipment on you for another five minutes and we watch how fast you return to baseline and yeah, when you’re around people that care about you, that are working together independently, you just shed that stress more rapidly. There are so many details of the way the brain works that are useful in the book that tell us why these factors work. Not just that we sort of guessed and tried. You could kind of guess and try, but if you start with, “How does the brain work and how does the brain work in groups of individuals?” then it gives you a structure to kind of think about how to create cultures in which people can be as high performing as possible.

Halelly: That’s awesome. Just recently I was describing to some people about – I also talk about being vulnerable and being open, reciprocity, how it creates this, people are much more willing to be virtuous when you’re virtuous with them and open – and I almost always have someone who says, “You know, that’s now how I see the world.” And when you’re open or vulnerable, there are predators who will just eat you for breakfast. They will take advantage of you and if you show that kind of vulnerability, that is an invitation for those people to do something terrible to you. How do you answer those people? I’m sure you’ve heard them too.

Paul: I have. There are two answers. One is that it’s so much science, as I talk about in the book, that talks about how vulnerability is a great stimulus for getting people to help you. Again, I can demand you to help me – if I’m your supervisor – I can demand you do something or I can say, “You know, this is an area we really need to develop in our company, and Halelly, I know you have expertise in this area. Would you have time in your schedule to help me with this? Because I just think you’re the best person to do it and we really need this.” That’s a different conversation than, “I don’t really know how this system works. You seem to know it. You need to work on this.” I think if you have people who are attacking you because you’re being authentic, there’s probably no place at this organization for you. I think it’s time to go. I tell a story in the book about this, a consulting company I work at in the southern U.S., where we had one – I worked with the senior leaders on creating a culture of trust for a couple of days – and this one guy was a real skeptic. I think after spending two days with him he had kind of come around, more or less, but within six months he was gone. Of the six guys on the leadership team, one had to go. That happens. He just wasn’t on board. He wanted – not to trash our dear friends in Texas – but he was from Texas and he was this very dismissive, “I’ll just tell people what to do.” Well, okay, that’s micromanaging and then you’re essentially a bully. So if you want to bully me, honestly, I’m productive, I can go other places. I don’t want to bullied, I don’t want to be micromanaged. So being vulnerable is one way that you reduce the tendency that sometimes we have as leaders to kind of bully people into doing what we want them to do.

Halelly: I love it. Oh my gosh, I want to talk to you for so much longer. So we have a private Facebook group that is open to anyone who is a listener of the TalentGrow Show. It’s called TalentGrowers Community, and listeners if you’re not members of that group, come join us. One of our colleagues, Lori Ann Roth, submitted a question for you when I was bragging about how excited I was to interview you and asked if people had questions. So what she said was, “What do you think about when people take the approach of just letting their employees fail on purpose?” I think what she means is that whole, “Throw them off a cliff and see if they can fly.” Do you think that this is something that is going to build trust or does it damage trust?

Paul: That’s a great question. Thanks to Lori Ann for that great question. I talk a lot about this in the book about the importance of failure, creating a tight feedback loop in the brain. But you’ve got to be allowed to fail in an environment that actually cares about you and is supportive. So many companies, tech companies like in Silicon Valley, will have these monthly, “Congratulations, you screwed up,” celebrations, where people come in and talk about the biggest error they made that month and what they learned from it, so other people can learn from those mistakes. Again, think of the feedback loop of the brain. I give you some rope, you try something, it screws up, you come into my office and I scream at you for five minutes. What does that say to your brain? It says if you take a risk and try something new and it doesn’t work out, you get punished. I’m not going to take another risk again. But, if I celebrate what you’ve done and give you a chance to learn from it and share that learning with others, then I’m saying, “Yeah, take more risks. Try innovating.” Again, as a leader, you always want to have those risk management backstops. I don’t want you to bet the company on something, but yeah, make a minimum viable product. Try something new, let’s see if it works. Invest a couple of weeks of time and money and then let’s talk about it. I’m a big believer of failure. It is the best way to learn. We tell kids this, right? We say, “Oh, school is all about trying stuff and failing and getting feedback,” and then all the sudden you’re an adult and you don’t get to fail anymore? It’s kind of insane.

Halelly: Well, we need to start wrapping up Paul, so I am sad because I have too many more questions I’d like to ask you. Maybe we’ll have a round two or something in the future. But, before you give everyone a super actionable tip and they learn how to stay in touch with you, what’s new and exciting on your horizon? Do you have a new project or anything you’re working on that’s got you energized?

Paul: Thank you for asking. What we’ve done recently is to build out not just the survey, but culture intervention tools, using micro learning videos. So these little whiteboard animated videos and so we’ve had a lot of fun working with clients in which you say, “I am not very good at ovation, or not very good at transfer. We think that’s important for our business. Let’s create interventions.” As you know, it takes about 30 days to change a habit. So we basically nag you in a nice way for 30 days to begin changing the way you interact with your colleagues and in this way we find significant increases in people’s engagement, their trust, their performance. So for me, it’s so fun to work at scale, to work with companies where there are 5,000 or 10,000 people and say, “We’re doing this new thing. We think it’s going to be great for you as colleagues. We have something that’s going to be great for your organization. So for 30 days we’re going to remember to do this thing – to thank someone who helps u, so provide points to someone toward a gift.” These interventions, in some sense they’re stuff you learned in first grade, right? Say please and thank you. Recognize people who work really hard, and then give people some changes to do what they really want to do. Give them the freedom, the trust, to be excellent.

Halelly: Awesome. And those are going to be available to your clients, these micro learning videos?

Paul: They are. You can reach me at paul@ofactor.com, ofactor.com. Tons of information, free downloads, case studies, and love to talk to your listeners so they can reach out to me anytime and more about me at pauljzak.com.

Halelly: Great. And you’re also, I know you’re on social media because I was able to reach you that way.

Paul: Yes, on twitter @PaulJZak. Yeah, sign up! I really love this stuff, after 15 years, I’m in. You can’t get me out of this. I’m excited. I love helping people. So please, feel free, any listeners, to reach out. I try to end every conversation, Halelly, with the word service. I want to do the same thing with you. You were wonderful to have me on and I want to continue to be of service to you. So please, I want you to reach out to me when I can help you with something and I’d be glad to do that.

Halelly: I appreciate that. Before we wrap up, we always leave on something super actionable. What would be one actionable tip that you can give listeners that they can take action on today, or this week, to ratchet up their own leadership effectiveness from the trust perspective of course?

Paul: I think the easiest thing sounds stupidly simple, but we forget about it. That’s saying please and thank you. Just say, “Would you please do this for me?” And when it’s done, “Thank you very much. I recognize that it took effort on your part.” And so it sounds stupid, but man, the humans love it.

Halelly: That’s very, very actionable. I love it! I will link to everything that we talked about in the show notes and ways to get in touch with you, and I really appreciate you giving us of your time and your wisdom. I hope that everyone who has listened will go grab a copy of your book. It really is excellent, Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies, and stay in touch with you. Paul, thank you for coming on the TalentGrow Show.

Paul: Thank you.

Halelly: Oh my gosh, what did I tell you? I wanted to keep going and going. So what did you think? Please and thank you! And also did you notice what I meant about Paul modeling his own advice? I’ll look for your input on the comments on the show notes page at talentgrow.com/podcast/episode56. We’re proud that our show is featured as part of the C-Suite Radio Network of business podcasts, geared to add value to your personal and professional life, so make sure to visit us over there at C-Suiteradio.com. And as I mentioned in the episode, you should definitely come join us in our community of listeners, in our Facebook group called TalentGrowers Community. Just go into Facebook, search for the group – TalentGrowers Community – and ask to join and I will approve you. And thanks again listener Lori Ann for her great question, which we read on the air and Paul answered.

Okay, TalentGrowers, I hope you enjoyed this episode and that you’ll tell at least one other person about it. Help them download it, help them figure out how to play it if they’re not a regular listener of podcasts, and more people will grow their leadership skills. I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here at TalentGrow. Thank you so much for listening, and until the next time, make today great.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to the TalentGrow Show, where we help you develop your talent to become the kind of leader that people want to follow. For more information, visit TalentGrow.com.


Get my free guide, "10 Mistakes Leaders Make and How to Avoid Them" and receive my weekly newsletter full of actionable tips, links and ideas for taking your leadership and communication skills to the next level!

Don't forget to LEAVE A RATING/REVIEW ON iTUNES! It’s easy to do (here’s how to do it in 4 easy steps). Thank you!!