Reshaping Corporate Culture: A Focus on Wellbeing, and Resilience with Matt Smeed

ON THIS EPISODE

How can organizations reconcile the drive for high productivity with the imperative of maintaining employee well-being and work-life balance?

🌟 We get into the significance of promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace, focusing on the balance between productivity and work-life balance. He emphasizes the importance of addressing psychosocial risks, promoting psychological health and safety, and adopting a risk-based approach in addressing potential hazards.

The discussion also touches on the need for flexibility and innovation in the workplace environment, in line with addressing the growing concern for employee burnout. Lastly, Smead shares the advantage of co-creating solutions with the workforce to effectively address these concerns.

ABOUT THE GUEST
Matt Smeed

 

Matt Smeed, a business psychologist recognized as a leading thinker by HR Magazine in 2023, shares his insights on wellbeing, engagement, and resilience in a corporate setting.

SHOW NOTES

🔑 Key Themes & Takeaways:

Optimizing Well-Being for Sustainable Success:

🌟 Matt Smeed introduces a paradigm shift, emphasizing that true, long-term excellence in the workplace hinges on optimizing well-being. This approach views both well-being and productivity as outcomes of effectively managing workplace pressures.

The Causal Link between Well-Being and Business Metrics:

📈 Matt discusses the correlation, and potentially causal relationship, between employee well-being and key business outcomes, such as retention, reduced sickness absence, and a stronger employer brand. He suggests that organizations can foster well-being by granting autonomy, ensuring positive leadership, and preventing overload.

Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace:

🧠 Highlighting the importance of psychological health and safety, Matt advocates for a workplace that avoids causing harm by managing psychosocial risks such as workload, autonomy, and relationships. This preventative approach aims to ensure a psychologically safe environment conducive to well-being.

Beyond Tick-Box Benefits to Address Psychosocial Hazards:

✅ While acknowledging the value of benefits like yoga sessions and cycle-to-work schemes, Matt stresses that these cannot substitute for addressing fundamental psychosocial hazards within the organization. True improvement in well-being requires tackling underlying issues first.

Empowering Teams to Navigate Workplace Demands:

🚫 Matt speaks to the necessity of empowering individuals and teams to manage expectations and workload effectively, suggesting that the willingness to set boundaries and communicate limits is essential for preventing stress and burnout.

The Business Case for Well-Being:

💡 Citing research, Matt presents a strong business case for prioritizing employee well-being, linking it to superior organizational performance. He also touches on generational shifts in workplace expectations, indicating a growing preference for well-being over traditional rewards.

Innovative Approaches to Work Design:

🔄 Discussing a European consultancy firm’s approach of encouraging employees to pursue side hustles on a four-day workweek, Matt highlights innovative work designs that can enhance purpose and autonomy, contributing to both individual and organizational success.

Co-Creating Solutions with the Workforce:

🤝 Matt advocates for a participatory approach to solving complex workplace challenges, emphasizing the importance of co-creating solutions with employees. This involves listening, adapting, and iterating on strategies to enhance well-being and productivity.

We talk about:

  • 3:09 How can organizations strike a balance between high performance and wellbeing

  • 06:09 Thinking of wellbeing being an outcome

  • 08:26 Metrics to measure wellbeing

  • 10:49 What’s getting in the way of pleasure and purpose for people

  • 15:06 Difference between psychosocial risk and psychological health and safety

  • 27:57 What could individuals, leaders, or organizations do to bring this notion of health, safety, and wellbeing to their organization

  • 34:17 Thinking about generational differences of purpose and pleasure and the drive each one has at work

  • 37:01 Innovation around work

  • 41:00 Return to work/hybrid work in the UK

  • 47:35 Advice around health, safety, and wellbeing for their teams and organizations

  • 50:41 Rapid fire questions

 

TRANSCRIPT
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Carolyn: Our guest today on the show is Matt Smead, a business psychologist. I have to admit when I saw his title, I had a little bit of a pang of envy. I’m really excited to talk to Matt today though. He is an expert in the area of wellbeing, engagement and resilience in the workplace. These are all areas that we have heard talked about over the past 10, 15, even 20 years, and I’m really excited to dig in deeper with Matt’s background and experience in workplaces and with his educational background.

I’m really excited to hear an innovative, new, engaging approach. Matt was recognized in 2023 by HR Magazine as one of the most Influential HR thinkers of that year, and he’s got a master’s degree in occupational psychology with a wealth of experience. I’m really, really excited to talk to him today about well being engagement and resilience in the workplace.

Tune in. Let’s see how it goes.

Welcome evolve community. Really excited to have you here with us today. And my guest is the one and only Matt Smead from the UK. Hello, Matt.

Matt: Hey Carolyn, how’s it going?

Carolyn: Not too bad. How are you doing?

Matt: Yeah, yeah, I was saying just before we started, we pressed record, I was moaning about the weather because I’m in the UK, so, other than being freezing cold in about three layers, I’m, I’m good, I’m

Carolyn: I’ve like, when is the weather really good in the UK? Oh,

Matt: for about a week in July and that’s about it.

Carolyn: maybe I was there. I know I was there, uh, two years ago. Um, we were in Scotland and we had sun every single day. It was in August. So maybe that’s the good time.

Matt: Yeah, I’ll be honest, you know, without talking just about the weather, it has been a bit more extreme recently, so we’ve been getting hotter weather. Not a huge amount of it, but hard to weather, but then yeah, I’m in the north of England, so it’s typically grey and

Carolyn: Hmm. Yeah. Well, if you’re tuning in, we’re not talking about meteorology today. We are talking about workplace well being. And Matt, you have a really cool, I said in the opening that I’m a little envious of your title, business psychologist. I think I’m a wannabe certified business psychologist. Um, but today we’re going to talk about well being and I know that that’s really an area that you’re quite passionate about.

Um, yeah. And I want to, got to get right to the heart of something right away and love to get your perspective. So I know that there’s like this relentless pursuit between productivity and trying to like find workplace like, or work life balance. You know, how, how can organizations strike a balance between this notion of high performance and wellbeing? Getting right to it right

Matt: Yeah, there you go easy question um look I think my take on that question is that Fundamentally, they’ve got to believe that it’s not a balance. Ideally, you believe that you’re not trying to balance one or the other. It’s not a playoff. They’re not mutually exclusive things. It’s not, I can be productive or I can have a good work life balance and, you know, have a great time outside of work and manage my well being.

Actually, you know, it’s taking the mindset that I can only be my most productive self, certainly in the long term. If I look after my wellbeing, right? Um, so not seeing them as mutually exclusive. So I know it’s difficult sometimes and sometimes you’re going to have to play off one against the other. So if you talk about productivity as pure, you know, hours worked, we’ve all done those, you know, those projects where it’s run up to the deadline and we work through the night and sure you’ve maybe not through the night, but you know, you work the long hours and your wellbeing suffers as a result.

And then maybe it becomes about that word balance. But long term, long term, it’s about shifting people’s perception that you can only be your very best in the long term, in a sustainable way, if your well being is optimized.

Carolyn: I love it. You know, I was talking to someone the other day about the beliefs around this big transformation that’s going on in their organization. And. You know, through the conversation, it was kind of clear they were equating burnout with a lot of work or transformation and organization. And what I’m hearing you say is those 2 don’t have to happen.

Like, we can still have fun and feel good and have lots of work.

Matt: Yeah. Another way of putting it is, productivity and well being, I see as outcomes of work. That’s one way of saying it. I’ve not fully thought this through, but let me think it through. So, I see them as outcomes of work. Uh, so the things that can contribute to both wellbeing or productivity in the workplace, uh, you know, your, your deadlines and the amount of workload that you have on and your relationship with your manager and your levels of control and autonomy, and, you know, all this sort of how supported you feel.

So there’s lots of different things, job security change. There’s lots of different things which will affect you in the workplace. Plus there’s a whole heap of stuff that will affect you outside of the workplace. But essentially in the workplace, the outcome that you’re looking for is, is wellbeing and performance and productivity.

So you’re seeing them as outcomes, not necessarily, you know, how do I, yeah, it’s not, how do I manage my wellbeing day to day so that it allows me to be productive? It’s like, they’re both just outcomes of managing some of those pressures effectively,

Carolyn: Wow. And so how, so let’s, let’s hone in on wellbeing. That’s a hot topic. Um, talk to, talk to us a little bit more than about wellbeing as an outcome. Like what are the pieces that, that we need to be aware of to create this outcome of wellbeing?

Matt: you, got you. So wellbeing is outcome for an individual. Pleasure and purpose. That’s how I see it. So, in the workplace, do I go home or do I start every day? A level of pleasure. I am, I excited, enthusiastic, happy content, those sorts of things to a reasonable extent, you know, to the extent that I would, would be normally.

Um, but also, do I have a sense of purpose? Do I feel like what I’m doing is meaningful, worthwhile, I’m contributing to something, and from, from working with kind of hundreds, if not thousands of people over the years, I find that most. Well, everybody’s a balance between pleasure and purpose. Some sort of mix between pleasure and purpose, I should say.

Some people are more pleasure driven. It, they’re, they’re hedonists, they do, they, they value positive emotions over purpose. Other people are very purpose driven and it’s all about a mission, and that’s fine. And, you know, pleasure comes a little secondary, but, but everyone has a, some sort of balance between those two.

So if you’re looking about an outcome. Do I go home from work or at night, or do I finish the quarter or whatever it may be and feel like I’ve got a smile on my face, pleasure, and I felt like it was worthwhile. That’s, that’s how I’d boil it down for an individual. For an organization, in terms of an outcome, well, Wellbeing as an outcome is correlated, I think causally, but certainly correlated with a whole host of business level out, uh, business level metrics.

So, you know, better retention and reduce sickness absence and better employer brand and all that sort of thing. So if you’re getting wellbeing as an outcome, you should see more positive results in those business metrics. But in terms of how you drive that. At an organizational level, it’s some of those things that I mentioned before.

It’s giving people autonomy in their roles. It’s making sure you’ve got good leaders and managers who have a positive impact on the people around it. It’s making sure that people aren’t overloaded, you know, these sorts of things. So, you know, the organization I think can create the conditions for somebody to have that sense of pleasure and purpose.

And if they have it, it’ll probably be good for the business as well. Is that succinct enough?

Carolyn: Yeah. No, it, it really is. And I think, so what, what kind of metrics do you currently see organizations use to measure well being?

Matt: Uh, lots. Lots. Some better than others. Uh, gosh, that’s a good question. So, obviously, your surveys, uh, yeah. Your traditional way of measuring the difficulty with well being pleasure and purpose, right? Is that it’s it’s not objectively measurable, you know I can’t necessarily kind of hook you up to a machine that will tell you how happy you are or Whether you’ve got a sense of purpose and you believe what you do the things you’re doing So it’s always gonna have an aspect of subjectivity around it.

I guess I, I guess, well, part of my brain says, could it ever be objective? Is there a way of making objective? And that’s where things like, and I don’t see a whole, whole lot of organizations doing this, but could you use things like heart rate variability data to give you an insight in terms of how, you know, for want of a better word, stressed people are right, or whether they’re well.

But in reality, you know, we’re not quite there yet in terms of developing objective measures. It comes down to survey results collected in different ways. It could be your annual survey. When not done very well, it could be a more regular way of collecting data. But then, really, I’d want to see businesses, like I mentioned before, kind of Um, having a balanced scorecard of that alongside other business metrics that we know are associated with wellbeing, you know, your retention, your employer brand, your customer feedback, your, um, job satisfaction levels, you

Carolyn: in essence, then as the wellbeing metrics, even if they are subjective, as, as you see those, um, go higher, even if we’re just to look at like, how happy are you at work As those are higher, you should see elevated, um, Um, results as well for customer satisfaction and, and achieving other business metrics.

Is that, that’s what you’re saying

Matt: believe so, wouldn’t you, you believe so. I think probably the, the relationship between the two is, is. Bidirectional, is that a word, you know, the impact on one

Carolyn: now,

Matt: you work in an organization where everyone’s performing a real high level and you’re hitting all the targets and all the rest of it, that will positively impact your wellbeing, but at the same time, if your wellbeing and your pleasure and purpose is there, that will allow you to unlock some of those performance benefits as well, potentially.

So, yeah, um, absolutely. You’d expect to see those things. At least correlated with one another. Yeah. Um,

Carolyn: in the way of pleasure and purpose then for, for people, do you believe?

Matt: well, I keep coming back to it. So I keep coming back to those workplace pressures. So, but a subject that I’m really quite interested in and passionate about, have been for a number of years now is this idea of psychological health and safety. Um, so it’s not particularly sexy in terms of it. They need to think of a better name for it, but essentially it’s a, it’s what are the workplace, what are the factors in the workplace?

That could contribute to those, that pleasure and that purpose, those wellbeing outcomes. And I’ve, I’ve mentioned them already. It’s relationships, it’s autonomy, it’s workload. It’s the, you know, we call them psychosocial risks. Now there’s a couple of ways that an organization could look at that. I believe that they should be looking at taking prime or.

Um, as a priority, they should take a risk based approach. So the priority should be, let’s not cause harm. Okay. And I know that you’ve written a book on trauma, right? You know, so, so the priority is let’s not cause harm. We don’t want a workplace where the demands are so high, the relationships are so bad, the autonomy is so low that it causes stress or worse, right?

So that should be the primary focus. And that’s where the, um. That’s where the link to health and safety comes in, right? You know, so you want to create a safe environment where someone doesn’t fall off the ladder. You want to create a safe, a psychologically safe environment, which is a little bit different from psychological safety, that Amy Edmondson talks about, but a safe environment in the sense that you’re managing those potential hazards, those psychological hazards that people may experience.

But then, you know, I am also an advocate of positive psychology in the sense that, you know, if you’ve got some of those. You know, you’re not causing harm. There are a whole load of positive things you could do as well. So, you know, giving people access to things to promote their wellbeing. Right. Um, and you know, so I think organizations should keep, I’m always, sorry, turning into the longest answer ever, but I’m always,

Carolyn: it. Keep

Matt: well, so what I was going to say was, uh, you know, organizations.

On the, on the, on the downside, one of the things that they do with well being is they’re drawn towards things that promote health and well being that fall into the, into the benefits or what I like to call the tick box category. So it’s, you know, cycle to work schemes, yoga sessions, you know, root drops and, and look.

They are not the best solution if you have a whole load of psychosocial hazards. That is not going to fix the bad relationships in your, in your company. That is not going to fix the lack of autonomy. That is not going to fix the overload that people experience. But, back to my original point, if you’ve, if you’ve got a handle on some of those hazards Why not offer some of those benefits?

Because that’s the positive psychology bit, right? That’s the almost like the added, the added extra. That’s what takes someone from a 7 out of 10 to a 9 out of 10, because they feel not only are they not stressed and they like their manager and they’ve got some autonomy, but also they did a yoga session before they left work and they really enjoyed it.

So it takes that pleasure up. And I think organizations could do both. I mean, probably depends on their starting point and their maturity. Um, some organizations I think should pretty much, if I’m being candid. Forget about the benefits for a bit and sort out, sort out the hazards. Um, but if you get to a point where you’re mature enough, you should be looking at both, right.

You should be monitoring the hazards, but also providing access to some of those benefits as well. Yeah.

Carolyn: And I’m guessing when you say benefits, you don’t mean like benefits that we get like as part of our, our, our, our payroll type thing. You’re talking about benefits like, um, yoga at lunchtime or massages on Tuesdays

Matt: Um, uh, yeah, I’m talking about things that you wouldn’t typically associate with, with work, right. You’d more typically associate with, with traditional views of wellbeing. Right. You know, so

Carolyn: And I, I, I mean, I learned this from you. Um, I believe like what you’re talking about there. That’s, that’s based off of that World Health Organization model, right? The mental health at work, where they talked about promoting, supporting, preventing and protecting. Yeah.

Matt: Yes. Yeah, yeah,

Carolyn: I found that. I found that really me.

It was one of those moments when I was like, Oh, wow, I think the more of the world needs to know about this, or just to, it just, to me, it just gave some structure that I, I am able to articulate, um, with more clarity to, you know, to HR leaders when I talk about this. Um, so. The psycho i’d, I’d love to talk a little bit more about the psychosocial risks.

Um, what’s the difference between a psychosocial risk and psychological health and safety?

Matt: Well, so I think psychosocial risks are an inherent part of psychological health and safety. So the way that I, the way that I understand it, psychological health and safety, in a nutshell, is can you look at psych psychological risk in the same way that you would do physical health and safety. So if you’re managing physical health and safety in your business, and I’m going to show my lack of knowledge here in terms of, uh, I am not a health and safety professional, but my understanding is that you risk assess, right?

So you say, you go to a building site where you’ve got people working and you say, right, what are the things that could cause people harm? Are we going to have to go up a ladder at some point? Is somebody holding some, you know, handling some hazardous materials? You know, are they working at height? This sort of thing.

Um, Off the back of that, you calculate risk. So you say, how likely is it someone falls off that ladder? And if they did, how hurt would they get? And based on all that information, you put control measures in place and your control measures are. Avoid, mitigate, and respond. So, avoid would be, do we need to go up the ladder in the first place?

Or could we just stay on the ground? Um, it may be that we have to go up the ladder, because we’re going to put a new roof on this house, right? So, but we’re going to mitigate the risk. Where’s your PPE? So your hard hat, or your harness, or your proper training. And then finally, you need things in place to respond.

So, you know, inevitably, some of those may fail. Someone might fall off the ladder. But you know, immediately, where’s my first aider, where’s the nearest hospital, I can deal with that, that risk. Psychological well being, people don’t, or organizations don’t do that at all. Well, that’s a bit harsh, but could they

Carolyn: It’s not, it’s not in the muscle. It’s not in the, it’s not a muscle that they flex yet.

Matt: Could you take this in the throat? So could you say what are the potential hazards out here? So if you think about, I think about my job, but you think about your job, what are the things that could cause me psychological harm? Well, it might be this project I’ve got that I can see the deadline is looming and it is going to be close.

Uh, it could be that relationship I have with a colleague or a manager. You know, that has the potential to cause me psychological harm. And we’re talking, you know, stress and anxiety, maybe worse. Then you calculate risk. How likely is that to be a problem? And if it did show up, how would it show up in me?

And then you put control measures in place. So, you know, so could I avoid it? Could I never speak to that manager again? Maybe not. Could I mitigate against it? Could I improve the relationship somehow? And respond. Like what happens if that relationship breaks down to the extent where. It is negatively affecting me.

Who, who can I go to for help? Like, who can I go to for support? So back to your original question. That’s, that’s the, that’s the model of psychological health and safety. And where the psychosocial risk fits in, are they are the factors? I, I think this is interesting actually. I was speaking about this yesterday and I don’t have a clear answer on it.

I think it could either be that the psychosocial risks are, they could be hazards. So, you know, workload, relationships, control, whatnot, job security or insecurity, they could be hazards themselves. I also think they could be risk factors. Um, they could amplify hazards. So, you know, imagine you’ve got someone doing a safety conscious role and they do have to go up the ladder.

Right? Some of those psychosocial risks might actually amplify the chance of them having an accident. So if you’re walking up that ladder and you’ve got all your physical PPE on, you’ve got your harness and your hat and all the rest of it, but you feel like you’re being bullied and you’ve worked three back to back long shifts because you’ve got this looming deadline and, you know, that sort of thing.

You may be more likely to fall off the ladder because

Carolyn: the apli amplifier.

Matt: yeah, the psychosocial risk may amplify. So they could be hazards themselves. They could also be amplifiers, I think. Um, so that’s kind of where they fit into the model in my head.

Carolyn: So what comes up for me, um, I, I, I love, I love this concept and I think, I think it’s gonna be a hard one for leaders to, um, wrestle with. Um, balanced workload to me is a risk. Uh, it’s an amplifier and. I would love to get your perspective on how can we reposition that or reframe it or like help out with it?

Because that is one of the, you know, in Canada, we have the national standard, um, for psychological health and safety. There’s 13 risk factors and balance workload being 1 of them. And that is, in my experience, the elephant in the room.

Matt: Do you know, before you said that, I was going to use that exact same phrase. Absolutely. Um, because they play around the edges, right? You almost, the unfortunate thing is people say, Well, there’s nothing we can do about that. You know, the work, the work keeps coming. The demands are always going to be there.

So let’s focus on better relationships and better management and, you know, giving people better job security or pay them more, or, you know, something like this, which, you know, reasonable ways, certainly that’s, that’s a better way. I think of helping someone to deal with that workload by providing more autonomy, by providing.

Better relationships in the team than giving them a yoga session. Right. And by the way, I’d just like to preface all this by saying I’ve got nothing against yoga and I love a bit of yoga, but you know what I mean? You know what I mean? You’re, you are taking more of a preventative approach, but you’re right.

There’s still this big elephant in the corner of the room that is the workload that’s not going anywhere. Um, so you asking for my, my, my, my solution to it?

Carolyn: Well, I’m asking you your thoughts. I mean, gosh, if you had a solution, you’d be a bajillionaire, right? Like everyone would want it.

Matt: My thoughts, my thoughts are that often I find it needs to be tackled at a very senior level. So, you know, you work with teams, and I’m sure you’re the same, you work with teams, and They feel like the workload is out of their hands because it’s something that was decided in a boardroom in an ivory tower three months ago or longer, you know, by a set of execs who don’t know what my job is, right?

Um, and you know, there’s, there’s, there’s, there’s truth in that. Absolutely. Well, looking at it the other way, there is some truth in the sense that I do feel sometimes people can fall into this sense of learned helplessness and, you know, you’ve got so used to delivering. Under such high demands that that becomes an expectation and even like a badge of honor.

So there is something here about individuals and teams, you know, willingness to say no, you know, like, no, we can’t actually do that and not seeing it as a, as a sign of weakness and having a bit more openness and honesty around that. But at the same time, you know, senior level within the organization, you’ve got to work.

So the question is whether if you’re sat around a boardroom, whether you’re willing to potentially take a dip in productivity and performance and profit in the short term, I would expect it to be in the short term so that you can recalibrate some of those demands. And I guess you’d only do that if you were firmly bought into the belief that.

Because long term, that will allow us to be more productive and higher performing and make more profit. But it is a, you know, there probably, there will be a short, I don’t know your thoughts, but there will be a short term effect, won’t there? So if you just, if you just, so, so for example, you know, you’re a, you’re a retail organization or any organization, you’re going to take on a big new project and the project is worth X amount of tens of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

You could just turn that down, you could just say no, we’re at 100 percent capacity, we can’t do that, and, and it’s gone. Um, because we want to, yeah, because we want to, to, for our people to be well and we know that we can’t, they can’t take that on. It’s a very difficult decision to make though, right?

Because you feel like you’re missing out, you feel like you’re losing that money. Um, Yeah, I’m a bit lost with this answer, but yeah, I think, I think the point is that those conversations need to happen at a senior level. And often they don’t. Often the

Carolyn: don’t. Well,

Matt: shifted down the line. Usually they

Carolyn: I think, I think the, the, you know, senior leaders are under tremendous amount of pressure, right? You have to perform if it’s a public company or sorry, a private company, you have to perform and, you know, make the profits. Um, and that’s like, that’s a really intense pressure to be under.

So to turn down business or contracts isn’t really acceptable. you have to have some pretty strong evidence for that to be acceptable. So you’ve got that pressure, which really is, is in my mind, it’s a scarcity mindset. We can never have enough. We have to keep getting more. We have to keep getting more and really, you know, What you’re talking about, and I agree with you.

I think if, if we did slow down a little bit to sort of reset and set some parameters, I do think in the long run, you’d have, you’ve had, uh, would have higher productivity. I just don’t know. Collectively how. It could happen.

Matt: yeah. Cause sometimes I say that sort of thing and I wonder whether it makes me sound like anti capitalist, you know, like capitalism’s all about just sell more stuff and make more money and build more things. Um, but I don’t think it is because my belief is that if people’s wellbeing’s optimized and you’re seeing wellbeing as, you know, positive outcomes in terms of wellbeing, it helps you be more productive and make more things and make more money.

Um, So it’s a complete, I guess, shift in mindset and, uh, and, uh, you know, it’s never going to be perfect. The other thing is, I think you’re right. Something that you said before or alluded to, you know, very rarely have I come across, if ever, have I come across a senior leadership team who maliciously sit around a boardroom and say, how do we stress our team out, like, you know, or how do we make it a living hell to work in this, in this business?

You know, they’re not. Maliciously doing it often. It comes down to the pressures that you’ve just described that, you know, they’re under a level of pressure themselves and that, that filters down into the organization. I don’t know if you also seen this buffering as well that people talk about. So I come across this a lot.

So, uh, all levels of a business, um, people would describe themselves as buffering the pressure.

Carolyn: Yes.

Matt: the level below I, as a manager need to be really stressed out so that my team don’t feel all those things. And I’ve just thought about this recently, but I’m not sure I’m buying that anymore. I think that it,

Carolyn: I think, I think it’s antiquated. I think it, it, you know, I want to come back to your comment about capitalism. Um, I don’t think it’s anti capitalistic, but I think we have, like, we’re way too far. Like we’re letting the system.

Matt: yeah.

Carolyn: Drive our behaviors at all costs. And I think there’s an opportunity to bring a little bit more balance.

I think we can make, um, and, you know, some people listening might think, oh, you’re out to lunch. You’re being too idealistic. I think I think we have to find a different solution because people are burnt out, worn out and the quality of work. It doesn’t matter how brilliant or amazing you are. The quality of work is taking a hit.

And I think that’s where we’re at. You know, how many times have you heard people say, Oh, this isn’t what it used to be. This product isn’t what it used to be, or I’m not getting this on time or the service just isn’t right because we’re all fried. We’re all burnt out. So we have to find a bit more of a balance.

Matt: yeah. I wonder sometimes whether it’s that, you know, human beings, we prioritize instant gratification as well, you know, so it is very difficult decision to, you know, sit there in a boardroom and say, do we take that hundred thousand pound project, which will hit our account in 30 days? Or do we? Turn that down, get our ducks in a row, deliver the projects that we have because we know that will make our brand stronger and da da da.

So in a year’s time, we will have a million pound contract. Hits the accounts rather than a hundred thousand. Do you see what I mean? So that you’re kind of playing the long game. So that’s why I’m saying it’s not anti capitalism because you’re still, you’re still driven by profit. But you just feel like the way of getting there and a more effective way of getting there is.

Through, in a sustainable way, which is very, very difficult to do, right? Because it’s

Carolyn: it is.

Matt: I, I want to eat the, I want to eat the chocolate bar rather than, you know, to go to the gym. And then in a year’s time that might pay off.

Carolyn: Well, and you’re

Matt: eat the chocolate bar.

Carolyn: your. You’re measured by your the results. You can deliver right away. Not 3 years down the road. So, so what’s the account at, like, what could, you know, I, to me, I’m going to come back to the system and understanding the system within which we work, I think really can help individuals move away from this martyrship.

Like you were talking about the buffering, I have to protect my people. So let’s talk a little bit about what could. Individuals do or leaders do. And then what could organizations do to help bring this notion of health, safety and well being to a new level in their organization?

Matt: Yeah. So, so individuals, it probably comes down to confusingly psychological safety, right? You know, so you’re Amy Edmondson, psychological safety. Can I bring my whole self to work? Can I put my hand up if I’m really struggling? Can I ask a stupid question? Can I try something out a little bit different? So, like I say, It’s very confusing because you say the word psychological health and safety and a lot of people think of psychological safety, very different things, but they are linked to one another because if you have that level of psychological safety, as Amy Edmondson and others would describe it.

That may allow people to say no, or say, you know, or have a proper conversation about how that’s going to impact on them rather than just saying yes. And then moaning about it to their colleagues, um, behind closed doors. So, you know, the psychological safety and that probably is driven by, you know, every, every member of the team, but also the leader, the line manager has a huge impact on that.

So there’s something there about creating that environment where people can have honest conversations about this stuff. Um, yeah,

Carolyn: a 2nd. Um, I think there’s an opportunity for that work to evolve a bit more because what isn’t addressed in the, the, the site health and safety construct as I’ve seen it is this notion of power and privilege these silent these silent, um.

Impact or these silent things that that are going to impact psych health and safety. So I’m excited to hear where that goes now and and how those things can be integrated and talked about more overtly because I have seen a lot of folks. Yeah, we’ve got a psychologically health and safety or psychological health and, uh, safe environment and, you know, they, they are all the same color and they are all the same age.

And so I think there’s an opportunity to expand. What we know about psychological health and safety and, and, and be more broad with our, our understanding.

Matt: Agreed, agreed, agreed. I always think to myself, the, the key is when, when does this shift actually happen? You know, because in those moments where I start to have existential crises and think that nothing that I’m doing makes any sorts of difference, which probably happens on a weekly basis. Uh, no, not quite.

But when I have those moments, it’s probably when. I hear things that I was hearing 15 years ago, you know, about like, people will, people will get this soon. Like, you know, they won’t be able to ignore wellbeing as an important aspect of the workforce. And, you know, those organizations that prioritize wellbeing will outperform those who don’t.

And the data seems to suggest that’s true. By the way, there’s some amazing research coming out of the university of Oxford, for example, the group there and university of, if you get a chance, have a look at that research. The data is there. It shows it, you know, that. There is a very strong business case for wellbeing, alongside performance.

But you sit in a room with leaders and you, you sit in a room with individual team members and it’s still not quite flowed through. So where is there a tipping point? ? Is there a tipping point? And I, I, I heard 15 years ago probably that this tipping point would come generationally. You know, so people come in and, and I think that is happening.

It’s just slow though, right? You know, so I, I spoke to a recruitment, um, professional recently. So they own a recruitment business in London and they said really interestingly, they said that they were trying to fill a position for a corporate firm in the city. So I think it was a law firm. And this law, this particular law firm has got a very bad reputation for long working hours, you know, you basically sell in your soul, right?

Pay very well, but you, it’s going to be hard and they are finding it more difficult than ever. To recruit new graduates into positions. So previously it was, we all kind of knew that, but we’re still going to do it. We’re still, we’re still just going to do it. Whereas they were describing that they feel that they’re, they have actually reached a point where they’re struggling to get the level of, you know, the, the amount of, and the level of recruit of graduates that they want to, because people are saying that’s not worth it.

You know, I’d rather earn 20, 000 less. And not have a heart attack at 30, right? You know, I value my wellbeing more than I value money. Um, I always, I, I, I think linked to that, I don’t know if this is the same globally, but I think maybe in the UK that’s partly because I’m never going to be able to buy a house anyway, because they

Carolyn: Oh, no, that’s the same here. It’s totally. In fact, I read an article about that, um, as well is that this next generation is like, I don’t even, I don’t even need to buy a house. It’s too much of a liability. I’m going to rent

Matt: but it’s, but it’s almost, I don’t need the money. I’m not saying they don’t want money, but like, I don’t need the money because I can’t afford that in any way.

Carolyn: Yeah, exactly.

Matt: rather just be happy. Right. And I wonder whether, so it was just, sorry, last thing on that recruitment, um, people that I spoke to, they went back to that company and said, look, we’re struggling.

All the rest of it talks to them about. Amending the, the job description and they said, can you put an extra 10, 000 pounds on the salary that this was the law firm suggestion. So they just, when they put an extra 10 grand, that was sorted out. Um, so they were through gritted teeth. They did, and it didn’t help and it didn’t help.

They, they still weren’t, they had the same struggle. So maybe, maybe we’re reaching some

Carolyn: Yeah. I, I agree with you. Yeah. I think I do think this, so that, that would be the gen Zed. I do think that they are challenging these old, um, beliefs and structures that, you know, you and I would have grown up in and you just, you just work hard. I think. This is where I think the quality conversation is going to come in, um, where, okay, you can work less and, and I, I, I really do.

I think there’s, I think there’s a balance we need to find and I haven’t, how do I describe this? I’m going to bring my kids into this. They don’t usually listen to this podcast, but, um, you know, I find that their expectation of service levels is up here, but when I look at their, um, their own work ethic, okay, you know, they’ll, they’ll work hard enough, but still, there’s still like not putting everything into it and so.

How, if I come back to purpose and pleasure, you’re kind of like going to work to just do something and the purpose doesn’t seem to have the same, um. The same drive for them. So I guess what I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is, and maybe it’s, it’s something I need to challenge myself in is if you aren’t working hard or long, are you being driven by purpose or are you just kind of being driven by pleasure?

Oh, that’s interesting.

Matt: Yeah, if I was going to play devil’s advocate to some of that, I would argue that every generation thinks the previous generation or the next generation are lazy. You’re lazy, you know, compared to your parents and grandparents and, and is that true? I don’t know. I don’t ever know whether that is true. I mean, we probably are a little lazier than, you know, like, uh,

Carolyn: Well, we’re different. We’ve had different technology. So yeah, I would, I, I hear, I hear what you’re saying. I hear what you’re saying

Matt: maybe that, maybe. And it’s not quite. But maybe it comes down to the psychological contract as well. You know, there’s two, it takes two to tango. This isn’t just a loaded, you know, lazy grads coming into the workplace who don’t really want to work hard. It, you know, they’re coming into a workforce and then into a set of employers that in their eyes don’t value loyalty anymore, you know, there’s all sorts of things like that.

So,

Carolyn: Absolutely.

Matt: there’s certain, there’s certain things, which just. It’s beggar’s belief that it even still goes on, you know, the extent, the extent that, that, that companies don’t value loyalty and are quite happy to lose people and then spend so much money and time and effort trying to re recruit and then moaning about how hard that is, you know, you’ve, not that it all comes down to money, but, You know, I will through, I’m a, I own a company, and I will through gritted teeth give someone a cost of living increase in their wage.

You know, that equates to a few thousand pounds or dollars. Um, and they’ve got to go on a performance plan to be able to achieve that and prove that they’ve ticked all these boxes. Da da da da da da da. But if they left And I’m recruiting and I’m putting the adverts out and I’m deciding what the salary is.

Uh, is it 35 50? Like, you know, I’m just, I’m just chucking numbers around. So I, so they, they seemingly don’t, they, organizations sometimes seemingly don’t value loyalty. So why should I, you know, why should I?

Carolyn: I totally, yeah, totally agree. It’s, it’s really, and you know, we’re working, we’re living to work instead of working to live. Right. Did I get that right? Um,

Matt: There are some interesting other ways before I start, because I feel like I’m getting sucked into like a dystopian view of things like, but there are other, you know, there are other, like, let’s look at this completely differently. I came across a company recently, um, uh, consultancy firm in Europe, mainland Europe, and they’re doing something really interesting.

Um, I don’t know whether it’s public or not yet, but if it is, it’s, it’s, it’s really interesting, um, where they, they have some, they’re called slash workers. Or split workers and the slash worker means that your. Your, um, uh, contract with your employer. So with this consultancy firm is four days a week and on your one day that you’re not contracted, you are actively encouraged to have a side hustle.

So you are actively encouraged to have another job. So what they’re saying there is, look, we, we actually think that we’re going to get the best out of people if they’re doing something that brings them a real sense of purpose on that one out of the five days, right? And they’re willing to take the risk.

that some of those side hustles will take off and people will leave, you know, someone will, some of those people, I’m sure, I don’t know exactly, but I’m sure their side hustle will take off and they’ll say, I like doing that better than my day job. So I’m just going to do my side hustle. But, but they’re willing to take that risk because it’s, it’s for, for every one of one or two of those people that they lose.

The, the, you know, the goodwill that they get from the other people who end up staying, but they have more autonomy over their working lives and more purpose around their working lives.

Carolyn: And it’s a four day work week, which I know there’s more and more evidence showing that that actually gives you higher levels of productivity.

Matt: Absolutely. So, so that’s just one example. And I don’t know whether that’s the solution, but, you know, it feels to me like, Maybe we just need to think of like more innovative ways, which comes back to your original question. How do we, how do we sort demands out? There probably is no, I, I wish I could just give you that answer now, but why, where I do think the answer lies is with the people who are affected by those long workloads.

So we need to. Empower people to be able to innovate and create potentially new ways of working, which will be beneficial for the individual and the organization alike.

Carolyn: So what comes to mind for that is, um. Different decision making

Matt: Hmm.

Carolyn: right and not top down. And have you ever ever done any work with folks in the Teal community or in Holacracy or any of those sort of models?

Matt: Sounds interesting though. No, tell me

Carolyn: Yeah, it’s. I mean, I don’t, I know of it, I know a little bit about it, but I haven’t worked in an organization that that uses those models.

Um, but what they really do is they focus on distributing, um, the decision making. And with that comes autonomy. And it also comes with like radical accountability or radical responsibility. Cause you know, now, now you have to be accountable for those decisions. And I think that that’s a hard jump for people as much as we don’t like being told what to do when we are given the accountability or responsibility to make some of these decisions, like, holy shit, what I don’t want to do the wrong thing.

So it’s, it’s, it’s, you know. There’s a shift, there’s a shift here that I think really is going to help our organizations and ultimately, we all individually, I believe, play a role and, and have to really understand what it is we’re asking for. It can be a lot easier to just wait till the person above me tells me what I need to do.

Matt: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. But it’s innovation, right? It’s innovation. Yeah. Sometimes you feel like the workplace is the only thing that doesn’t innovate. You know, we’re still, we’re still not quite because we, a lot of remote, remote working, but we’re still just turning up to office blocks and sitting in seats with computers and you know, has that changed in 50 years, a hundred years and, and then we’ve got other aspects which are moving seemingly at the speed of light, you know, in terms of innovation.

So.

Carolyn: It’s so true, isn’t it? Like, what’s going on in the UK with the whole, uh, return to work and the hybrid and where are you getting your work done?

Matt: well, it’s tricky, isn’t it? It’s a, it’s a real hot topic at the moment. Um, you know, I, I’m sure you’ve had the same from the people that you work with. There are as many people who absolutely love working from home. And so COVID is a written, COVID is a good thing. Um, would never say that, but you know what I mean?

The, the,

Carolyn: Yeah. An opportunity.

Matt: it was an opportunity. That’s a better way of putting it. Um, as, as you get as many people who feel like that, as would absolutely desperate to come back in on day one, um, and wanted to be back in the office. And, you know, I still get it, you know, cause we work in the field of well being or I work in the field of well being and how am I meant to know, you know, you saying that I need to look after the well being of my team.

That is even more difficult when I don’t get to see them. And when I do on a team’s meeting, the camera’s off and I can’t, I, you know, how am I meant to have a deep, meaningful conversation? Now I would see that all is just a challenge. Like that’s a challenge that we can overcome. Um, but it is an added layer of complexity.

Um, but at the moment, organizations, they’re, they’re, they’re trying to wrap their heads around that, right? You know, in terms of how we, we’ve lost all our environmental cues that we used to have in terms of, yeah, just, just the safety of being in the office and all working together. How do we make sure that we don’t exclude people now?

How do we make sure that we’re using technology effectively and all this sort of thing? And then there’s really interesting stuff. Sorry, just a bit of a tangent in terms of, um, money and where are people based? I was away, I was talking to a HR professional the other day, and they were saying that they, uh, have a case in their business where somebody is earning, I don’t know if you have it where you’re based, we have like London waiting, so you get a much higher wage.

And then you do in, in not much out of which there is a, uh, yeah, uh,

Carolyn: the market, you, you need to have higher wages in certain markets

Matt: There’s an extra flap of money put on top, but what they found out was some people were getting that London waiting wage, the additional wage, but they’d relocated to Northern and North of England, right? So they didn’t live in London.

So they were, they were in the shopping in the cheap shops, although I live in the North of England, it’s not that cheap. They were shopping in the cheap, they were shopping in the cheap shops, but they were earning the London wages. Um, and. Gosh, that blew my mind. I was like, what do you do about that? Do you say they can’t?

Do you bring their wage down? Like that’s not going to go down very well. Um, that is hard. That is hard. Yeah.

Carolyn: It’s what, what is, what is, um, I mean, COVID, what happened there is it, it kind of the genie’s out of the bottle, right? Like we can do work differently. We, we know that to your point, it’s different there, there it’s, it’s, there’s more complexities to it for sure. That is more work, more cognitive load to try and figure out.

And we’re already feeling overworked as you know, to begin with. And then we had to catch up because of COVID right. And navigate through all of that. So I’m really curious to see what it’s going to be like 10 years from now

Matt: Yeah. Me too.

Carolyn: Because we’ll have this next generation who will be, you know, moving up in terms of roles and I’ll say seniority, um, and we’re going to have more technology.

And I think there’s a, with that stronger focus on wellbeing, I don’t, I, I hope maybe this is wishful thinking. I, I am going to hope that organizations are going to feel less driven to force or mandate people back into the office because they’ve been able to find a new way to exist in this reality.

Matt: I mean, I, I I’m with you. I, I don’t think organizations, if I was going to give out dollar advice, unsolicited advice, I don’t think they should mandate it. Right. Um, you know, I think, I think look, let’s look at. Let’s, let’s, let’s admit that we don’t work online as a group quite so well as we do in person and that we need to find ways to overcome that, you know, maybe it’s a day a week, or maybe it’s a, you know, something that we do online, but we do in a different way, but, you know, you need to be back in on three, three out of the five days.

Yeah, I don’t, I don’t see how that’s, that can ever be the answer really. The difficulty and the reason why people do it is because. When you scale anything up to more than probably 150 people, how do you make it fair? , you know, how do you make it fair? Um, that’s easy. When, uh, I’m managing a team of 20 people and my organization totals 20 easy, I can have 20 separate conversations.

I can work out how people really like to work. I can say that person’s gonna be in three days, that person two days. How the hell do I do that when it’s 10,000 ? How the, how do I do that when it’s 10,000 people?

Carolyn: Yep.

Matt: And keep it fair. So then what you do is you say, That’s too difficult. So everyone’s got to be in on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

Because that’s just easier. That’s easier. But then it causes all sorts of problems. Yeah.

Carolyn: efficiency and productivity being sort of the driver versus wellbeing and I, you know, it’s interesting. I think this, this, our entire conversation, it’s, it’s, it’s a real, um, balance isn’t the right word. It’s, it’s, um, it’s going to be an ongoing, um, skill to balance those two things.

And I think that, um, It’s helpful for us as leaders to understand that there are different levers, there are different forces at play. And that’s going to change as you go through different parts of your life and different parts of the organizational rhythm and to learn how to navigate through them.

Matt: yeah, yeah. I was just gonna say, but then something really innovative might come along and all this is, uh, moot point. You know? AI just does our jobs for us and we turn into a wall y situation where we just still sit around watching TV all day. Perhaps not that far, but you know, like the gig economy, that was one that was recently, you know, maybe the workforce completely changes in a way that we don’t see coming.

Maybe you and I work up, wake up every single morning and check our phones, like an Uber driver, and Select the bits of work we want to do that day. We’re not tied to any organization. No one’s tied to an organization. We’re all just like,

Carolyn: well, that’s a great, that’s a great way to end the podcast, Matt, to throw that in there, like, whew, it could all be, and, and hey, you know what, like who would have thought like how many, 25, 30 years ago when I started in the workplace that I could do everything on

Matt: well, yeah. And that you’d be doing teams calls and podcasts online. Oh yeah. You blow your mind. Yeah. So maybe there’ll

Carolyn: Well, I always knew I’d like to talk, so I’m really not surprised I’m doing something that I like to talk with, but Matt, how would you wrap up? Um, I, uh, just sort of your insight or maybe a little bit of advice. This will be solicited advice, uh, for anybody listening who is in this leadership role.

How can they, what is advice for them around health, safety, and wellbeing for them and for their teams and for their organization?

Matt: so, so my, my, my, my thought would be that despite the fact that points during this conversation, I don’t, I, I don’t have all the answers, unfortunately, so I don’t have all the answers. If I could just tell you here’s three things, do these three things and suddenly, you know, everyone, no one’s stressed and the well being of everybody is optimized.

I’d just tell you that, I’d tell you them. Um, I don’t think they necessarily exist in that form. I think if I was going to give one piece of advice, it would be. Can you co create that within your organization? So, you know, I’m a big advocate of something called design, um, thinking, um, human centered design thinking.

And really it’s taking what we call a participative approach. So these are all really complex issues and, you know, from what’s the mindset of our board members and profit versus well being and all that sort of right down to How long is an individual working every single day and have they got a proper work, you know, workspace like this is all really complex.

These problems are not going to be solved by senior leaders sitting in a dark room around a boardroom, working out themselves or by for the, by the, by the way, listening to experts like me telling them what they should do and reading the latest book about. You know what they should do as an organization and, and swallowing that and just implementing it.

I, I think they need to open their ears and their eyes and go out and speak to people and co-create solutions with the workforce. Not gonna, the, the last thing I would say, sorry, is it is not gonna work first time either. If they’re expecting to go out into the workforce, speak to people, listen to them, and work out the perfect solution first time. That’s wrong as well. You’re going to mess it up. You’re going to mess it up. You’re going to, you’re going to go in with the best of intentions to improve people’s wellbeing, productivity, performance, all that sort of thing, and you’re going to implement something. Related to anything that we’ve talked about today.

And it’s not going to work. It’s going to, it’s going to have the reverse effect. It’s going to be a horrible failure, but it’s then how do you, back to your point about resilience, like how do you adapt, how do you adapt? So it’s a long winded way, but I think, yeah, not trying to work it out themselves.

Speak to people, listen to people and, uh, co create solutions with your workforce is what I would say.

Carolyn: I love it. Well, thank you, Matt, for coming on, uh, on the show. Um, but before we cut you loose here, I ask all my guests three questions and I’m just realizing I don’t think you know those

Matt: No.

Carolyn: All right. Well, uh, are you, are you game to, to hear what

Matt: I’ll give it a go.

Carolyn: you can, you can pass if you would like, I’ll give you that.

So, uh, these have to do, uh, with self awareness, self regulation and co regulation. Those are three elements in my evolved model that I think help leaders, um, So the first question is about self awareness and is there an anecdote or a lesson that you learned, um, that really elevated your sense of awareness where you learned something about yourself that you didn’t know?

Matt: Oh, gosh.

Carolyn: Whatever you want to share in short. We don’t have another 50

Matt: No, I know. I know. Um, something that I, that, that happened.

Carolyn: a moment, a moment in time or a story where you had a real lesson in that moment about self awareness, kind of like a Holy shit. I didn’t know that I had that impact moment.

Matt: Well, well, I have, if I was going to go for a positive, I’m sure there’s been ones where I’ve, I’ve realized I’m not as perfect as I think I am, but there

Carolyn: Yeah,

Matt: have been moments where, um, yeah, so, so I, I, I work with, um, people at, uh, all different levels of the organization and sometimes, if I’m being honest, I find it a little more difficult sometimes to talk about things like wellbeing with For example, frontline employees sometimes within certain organizations, because here’s this psychologist talking about, you know, well being and pleasure and purpose, and I just want to get on with the job.

Right. And I might connect him with them. Um, I, this goes back a few years. I was working with a, an organization, a business. And these, these guys that came into the room, they were manual workers, right? So there were manual workers and we had this guy and they’d been, they didn’t want to be there, let’s be honest, they didn’t want to be there.

And I thought, is this having the impact I want it to have? And this guy at the end put his hand up and he said in front of everybody, he said, do you know what, Matt, this is the end of the session. Do you know what, Matt, I thought that was going to be absolute bullshit, but it was actually all right. And I was like, I’ll take that.

I’ll stick it on my CV. So, uh, yeah, the fact that. Yeah, it’s not complete bullshit. And it does resonate with people at all levels of an organization.

Carolyn: Uh,

Matt: Kind of stuck with me.

Carolyn: cool. Thank you. Thank you. So the second one has to do with, um, a practice or a ritual that. It really helps you either return to a calmer, more regulated place or, or keeps you in, in that place. But basically, yeah, like a practice or a ritual that helps your nervous

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Mine’s really boring. I go outside. I know you probably heard that a hundred times

Carolyn: Why is that boring? What’s boring about

Matt: I want to think of something really innovative, right? I want to be able to like, you know, go out on my, you know, Segway scooter or something like that. Do they still exist? No, probably not. But no, no, honestly, it’s just going outside.

So, um, I used to run a lot, um, not so much now because I keep getting injured, but, um, I certainly walk, um, and just, just. The amount of times I have been banging my head against the table trying to work something out and spinning in circles. And I just think I can’t do this anymore. And I go for a short walk, even in the rain, like literally five minutes, and I am running back to my house, to my desk if I’m working from home, because I’ve worked it out when I was on the walk.

And when I’m not trying to think about it, right? When I’m not trying to think about it, then my brain just kind of catches up with itself. Um, and I like to think of myself, I think, as quite creative, and that’s where my most creative ideas come from. Some of them are terrible, but, uh,

Carolyn: So if we, if, if people see you out, out walking through your, your town or what, is it a village, a town? I don’t know. When I think of the UK, I think of villages. I don’t know why.

Matt: it’s a village. Yeah, yeah. I live in a village.

Carolyn: so if, if they see you at walking around, there’s like creativity, like swirling around

Matt: Yeah, sometimes. Yeah, other times I’m just listening to football podcasts, but you know,

Carolyn: All right.

So last question. This might be the most difficult one. Maybe, maybe not. Um, what is a song or genre of music that helps you feel connected to something bigger than yourself?

Matt: no. Oh no. You can’t ask me that question. So again, I’m going to sit on the fence here. So I have the most eclectic, like, likes, yeah. music taste in the sense that I, I literally like everything or, you know, I, I, I’m equal, I’m not a fan of anything. So I, I sometimes wish I was like, I’m not a, not a fan of a band or a genre, you know, there’s some that I prefer over others, but I’m not, I’m not a fan of anything.

And I,

Carolyn: What, what type of music really makes you like kind of be in awe? Maybe that’s a different way to frame it.

Matt: it all, well, no, but what I do is I match my music to my mood. So I listen to, I listen to a lot of rock music, but then rap music and pop music with the kids and Disney music with the kids and you know, um, like literally anything, but it’s matching. Matching the mood. Sometimes you just want to feel really melancholy, don’t you?

And listen to, uh, you know, like some Bon Iver or something and pretend that the world’s falling down. Um, but it kind of matches your mood at that point, whereas other times you Yeah.

Carolyn: Does music help you feel connected to something bigger? Like what I’m hearing you say is there’s, there’s sort of life is a myriad of emotions and feelings and, and I can use music to go into all those different places.

Matt: Possibly. Possibly. It certainly affects you physiologically. You feel it, right? You feel

Carolyn: Yeah. Oh, I was like, before we got on our podcast, I was, I was like, I need a little jolt of energy. So I put on like my favorite dance song, um, right now, which I’m not going to disclose what it is. And I just needed to like jump around in the kitchen for a little bit. Um, and, and I find yeah, music, music is a gateway for me into joy, uh, and, and to feel just connected because artists, live music, it just, it, I just am in awe of

Matt: Yeah, there’s certain things, there’s certain things, there’s certain things. Um, I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you one. Um, this is a bit hipster. But, uh, Fred Again, um, the, I guess you call him like DJ producer. Um, Fred Again, um, he’s got quite, like, how would you describe it? Like, it’s like house dance music, but it’s quite ethereal, like quite

Carolyn: Hmm.

Matt: And when you listen to that, um, he’s got a couple where, um, they’ve recorded whole live sessions.

So it kind of just, you know, it’s just an hour of continuous music and tracks and you can get a bit lost in those. Yeah. You can get a bit lost in them. Yeah.

Carolyn: Well, yeah, I mean, my, I, I love music out of the UK and it started way when I was young. So, um, is Fred again,

Matt: He’s British, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think he’s actually like a aristocrat of some kind, which I didn’t know until very recently, but yeah. Yeah.

Carolyn: Very good. Well, Matt, thank you. I’m so glad that, uh, our, our worlds intersected this year in 2023. Um, thank you for coming on the podcast and, you know, wishing you all the best in, in 2024, wherever your pursuits take you. And Hey, maybe you’ll be like HR thinker of the year for 2024 as well.

Matt: yeah, maybe. I think I’m in the list.

Carolyn: All right. Thanks again for coming on.

Having Matt on to kick off 2024 was definitely intentional. Talking about well being and resilience, my hope is that he and I were able to give you a few things to think about, to reflect upon, so that you can bring some new perspective, uh, or maybe elaborate on a few threads that you’d started in 2023.

But in essence, I hope you leave this conversation recognizing the important role that you play as a leader. And while you might not have the most senior position in the organization and sometimes feel like you may not be able to impact change throughout all levels, a lot of little things can add up to big changes.

And I really, I’m going to send you hope and inspiration that. you can make a difference. You can make a difference by the way you treat people, how you co create and how you can tune in and be attuned with where your team is at. I thank you for tuning into this episode. I hope we’ll see you for many more.

I’m looking forward to bringing lots of more incredible guests to you. Please let us know what you think about the episode. You can either send me a DM, uh, you can comment on this, uh, the pot, the platform that you listen to, uh, and please like, and subscribe. Thanks so much for being here with us and wishing you all a great day.

 

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