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December 9th, 2020

EPISODE 9: Summit 2020 Recap – The Biggest Insights from Our Biggest Event Yet

If you weren’t among the 2,400 attendees at our virtual Summit this year, we missed you, but don’t sweat it. This week on Your Brain at Work, we revisit our most insightful sessions from our three-day annual conference—all in one episode. Our senior NLI team shares how to implement large scale change initiatives, how to create impactful and scalable virtual learning programs, why organizations should strive to be regenerative—not just restorative, how to develop the leaders of tomorrow, how to build a culture of allyship, among many other things.

Episode Transcript





[00:00:05] GB: 2020 challenged us, all of us. 2020 also provided some hard-earned lessons that yielded valuable insights. Insights that can help guide us going forward, that can help us reimagine and rebuild better organizations and a better world. We unpack those lessons and insights across three days in November at our first ever completely virtual summit. But if you couldn’t make it, don’t sweat it. 


In this episode of Your Brain at Work, we revisit our biggest insights from the summit and reflect on how they can help us build a better normal. I’m Gabriel Berezin, and you’re listening to Your Brain at Work from the NeuralLeadership Institute. We continue to draw our episodes from a weekly webinar series the NLI has been hosting every Friday. This week our panel consists of NLIs CEO and co-founder Dr. David Rock; Senior Vice President of Client Experience, Katherine Milan; performance practice lead, Barbara Steele; and diversity equity and inclusion practice lead, Ester Neznanova. Together they share how to implement large-scale change initiatives. How to create impactful and scalable virtual learning programs? Why organizations should strive to be regenerative, not just restorative? How to develop the leaders of tomorrow? How to build a culture of allyship and many other big ideas? So buckle up, grab a pen and enjoy. 




DR: Good to be here with you and everyone. Good to be back in the swing of Fridays for a while as we, today, debrief the big insights from the summit. We’re not going to try and kind of tell you everything that happened, because it was a huge three-day experience. Really, 72 hours around the clock. But we wanted to pull out the big things that happened and share those both for viewers now and also for podcast listeners down the track. 


But thanks, Katherine, Barbara, Ester for joining to share the perspective. For those of you new to the summit, it’s an annual event we’ve run since 2007. The first one in Europe, in Northern Italy, and we’ve run at least one, sometimes two, sometimes three around the world. Although it anchored in New York for the last three or four years, and we were planning to keep it there. Next year we’ll be back in New York, hopefully, but we’ll run a parallel virtual summit based on the success of this year’s virtual summit, which had a lot of upsides that were kind of non-obvious at first. And that’s been I guess the theme for this year. A lot of challenges in 2020, of course, it’s been a tragic year. Very difficult year, but also some non-obvious upsides to working virtually that many people have had to experience. 


So let’s dig in a bit. If you’re new to NLI, we’ve been around a long time, 1998. We’ve got operations in 24 countries, now advising over 50 of the Fortune 100s. So it’s been a big 22 years in the last year. This last year has actually been probably our biggest year of growth with companies really respecting science and really wanting to take care of humans better. So we’ve been really busy with that. And the summit is our annual event to forward the field, to challenge ourselves, to tell our story, bring people together. 


This year we experimented with a whole different format that we’ve never done before. We had day one was all about the science. So it was from the lab. And those are just three of the many sessions that were in that day that were quite important. Day two priorities was more about what’s happening in companies now. And day three was more case studies and kind of more users conference in a way of kind of how this work applies in organizations. And I think the format worked well. Each day we had a series of foundation sessions that covered kind of some of the bigger models and frameworks and ideas. And then we had a trends and breakthrough session, and this was day one. 


And as I said, we’re only just going to kind of cover the gist of these sessions. So we’re not trying to explain everything that happened in all of these. That would be not respecting human capacity. But we’ll move pretty quickly. We’re going to move pretty quickly through some of the highlights of some of the sessions we thought were more important. But let’s dig into a couple of sessions on day one. I’ll kick off with some of the highlights. 


So we had an opening keynote for the science day and opening keynote for day two and for day three that was very kind of topical. We just started off with the science of change and what we know about change now. And this data that we collected actually replicates data from McKinsey. They found the same kind of number for the last – More than the last 20 years, that only about 30% of change initiatives achieved their goals. And we dug into that this year and said, “We wonder if the issue is habits.” And we did a lot of research on where is change really failing. We did a big industry study that’s come out recently. So this is our framework for how change happens. You’ve got to make something a priority, build habits and develop systems.


And we did some important research on habits that we launched this year, only 47%. So about half of people actually know what to do differently in a change. So in other words, people are setting priorities, but there’s no clarity about what the habits actually are. A bit north of a third feel their efforts, their actual habits are acknowledged, and only about a third saw their leaders role model a change as well. So the more we look into this data, the more we see that there has to be a much bigger focus on habit activation in organizations. 


And we spent some time walking through our framework for habit activation at scale, which is facilitating ways of giving people strong insights, ideally in social situations and doing that slowly one habit at a time over time. So the opening keynote really anchored on our foundational framework for change and what’s happening and where we think more focus needs to happen. 


Let’s go to learning in a disrupted age. Katherine, take us through some of the insights from this session.


[00:07:54] KM: Yeah. Thanks, David. So as we all know, our age has been disrupted. COVID, social injustice unrest, new ways of work have created a new reality for us that we need to adapt to. And in this session we explored how to leverage neuroscience to craft impactful learning experiences really purpose built for today’s age. And what we’ve found is that those experiences can actually be more powerful than the ones we’ve built in the past by building on the opportunity that remote work affords us. And in looking at how to do that, how to craft these powerful learning experiences, we landed on what you see here, which are kind of the three key elements of great learning. 


So the first sounds pretty common sense; make it effective. But what we really mean by that is making learning that equips people to do something differently as a result of that learning experience, which gets right back to what you’re talking about, David, with habits. Helping people build and form habits is the best way to get to behavior change. So we want to make sure that we’re building training around habits to make sure it’s effective. 


In order to deploy those habits, build those habits, we need to re-examine the architecture. It doesn’t work to just take an in-person learning experience, move it to a virtual platform and expect to really get great powerful habit-building learning out of that. So we need to re-examine the way that we’re building those learning experiences. We’re going to talk about one of the keys to that in a minute. 


And thirdly we want to make sure that those learning experiences are measurable. This is a cycle that feeds itself. We want to make sure that the habits that we’re building, the way that we’re designing it is something that we can capture, quantify make sure that people are, again, building the habits, changing their behavior as a result of it. 


One of the interesting things we did looking at reinventing the architecture was really examining the importance of spacing. We know from the ages model and years and years of research dating back to the 1800s how important spacing can be when crafting learning experiences. So this thought experiment that we developed is based on our observations. It’s something that we started to build data around this year. So to walk through this, let’s say that you’ve built three hours of amazing habit-based content that you need to deploy to a thousand employees. In a traditional environment you might think of booking one three-hour session. What you’d probably see in a voluntary training setup is about 75% attendance through to completion. And when we say attendance through to completion, what we really mean is people paying good, solid attention through that learning. Again, building the habits to do something differently. 


Because it’s a one-off training, you have one opportunity for a call to action. Calls to action are things like helping people learn how to build if-then plans, readings, activities focused again on helping them practice those habits. So 75% attendance. You’re probably going to see about 25% of those people actually completing the calls to action, which results in 188 total learning actions taken as a result of that one three-hour session.


Now let’s say instead that you take that three hours of content and you spread it out over three 60-minute cohort-based sessions. So now you’ve spaced these sessions a week apart. You’ve got three of them. You’ve created three times more opportunities to have calls to action. Because it’s spaced apart you are going to see a little bit more of an attendance drop off. So let’s say about 65% people completing the training through to the end. Again, good focused attention on that. But because you’ve created these additional opportunities to craft calls to action, what we’re thinking you’d see there is about 75% of people taking actions. So instead of having 188 total learning actions taken as a result of the session, what you’re looking at then is 1,462 total learning actions. So people actually going out and doing something as a result of the training, actually building the habits seven times more just by changing the format, just by spacing and breaking apart that content. So obviously the impact of spacing is really powerful and it’s easier to do now than ever before since we’ve got more people working from home, and virtual learning is kind of easier than it’s ever been in the past. 


So then how do we actually measure that? What you see here is data from one of our clients, SRP, Salt River Project. They’re a large utility based in Arizona, a multi-billion dollar company. We deployed our grow program there and we focused on assessing the behavior change through analyze proprietary model, BCP. That is behavior change percentage. And we use that to capture how frequently participants are engaging in key behaviors from the learning program. 


BCP is a great tool to use. It goes beyond NPS, because it’s not – Or smile sheets, because it’s not just assessing do people enjoy the training? It’s actually looking at are they building those habits? Are they forming new behaviors as a result of it? So you can see here really powerful results. 93% of participants sharing mistakes and learnings with a team member at least one to three times a week or more. Almost a quarter of people are sharing mistakes and learnings four to six times a week or more. So that’s almost daily, right? It’s a great way to look at how powerful, how effective your learning is. Are you building those behaviors that are then going to embed in habits? 


So, again, kind of key takeaways from this session. Focus on making learning effective through habit formation. Re-examine the way that you’re crafting the architecture to make sure that you’re helping people build those habits. Habits formation is a muscle, right? They need practice, need opportunities to do that. Spacing is the great way to make that happen. And then making sure that the experience is measurable so that you know that what you’re doing actually works.


Thanks, David.


[00:13:58] DR: That’s great. Thanks, Katherine. Yeah, it’s a lot in there. We had a lot of sessions. We’re not going to talk about today actually walking through case studies with real data from organizations, especially on day three. If you’re interested in those, get in and watch the summit another way. But it’s a great summary. 


So we we’re not going to spend much more time on day one. I want to dig into day two, which was priorities. And we’ll talk about a couple of sessions. Firstly kicking off with the build a better normal session. This was kind of an anthemic session in a lot of ways. We had some fantastic presenters with us. We had Becks Port, the head of talent at Netflix. We had Lynne, CHRO from Zoom. And also we had pre-recorded actually Dean Carter, CHRO at Patagonia talking about some powerful ideas there. But one of the big themes that came up is that this is actually a very good time to do big things. In fact maybe the best time to do really big things. 


I presented this one. I was talking about if you were a revolutionary in your younger years, if you got into talent and HR because you wanted to really care about humans. Now is perhaps your time to shine. Now is the time to be a revolutionary and do really big things. And firstly because our practices are uniquely unfrozen right now. And also we heard some research from Elliot Berkmann that when people make a few changes, they’re open to a lot more changes. So a lot more things are unfrozen right now. People are more open. 


So we talked a lot about the importance of leveraging this moment, but also you need a framework for that, and this is a theme we introduced last year. We came back to this year about kind of what’s the mental model that we’re going to use for making organization better? What do we mean by better? And there’s a really helpful framework from all the physical sciences and from agriculture and industry and primary industry and built environment, all of it. And essentially it’s are you exploiting a system? Depleting a system? Sustaining a system or making the system regenerate? And regenerate means you’re leaving it better than you found it. So regenerative agriculture practices, for example, means that every year that you’re farming land, the land actually gets richer versus more depleted. 


We took that in this frame and said for this session what would regenerative practices look like? And we saw three things that mattered a lot in this time, in this year, but also as we build a better normal. One of those was our sense of connectedness or relatedness. And we talked a lot about how we need to rethink human connection and the way that we value that connection. We also talked about our need for certainty and three different ways that we can create clarity rather than certainty now. For example, simplifying options, laying out timelines or defining principles. So we said in better normal we’re going to do a lot more work on creating clarity moving forward. 


And then the third one was autonomy. We talked a lot about the power of autonomy for not just motivating people, but helping people be resilient and sustainable and even potentially regenerative. So we talked a lot about different types of autonomy moving from just when and where you work to who you work with and how you work and all of this. So it’s quite a kind of anthemic session. I think the big theme that came out of it was now is the time to do big things. But you need a framework to anchor on for that. You actually need a framework to build on. 


We also had a session. I didn’t present this one, but I’ll talk through this with Rachel Cardero from NLI presenting, and we had Shawna Erdmann from Comcast, Bob Johansen from the Institute for the Future, and Joe Whittinghill from Microsoft. And a powerful session about developing tomorrow’s leaders. Some interesting data that we pulled this year, only 37% think decision making is transparent. only 34% percent see their leaders role modeling new behaviors. And only 60% know how to support the company in crisis as well, really interesting data. SO people are demanding more from their leaders, and there’s been some really clear gaps this year. 


We talked about three big movements right now, radically simplify your leadership model. And we’ve been leading the charge on that. We had Joe Whittinghill sharing his view there. A democratized leadership as well, which means, really, make it accessible to everyone. Everyone should have leadership skills and be a leader in some ways. And then, really, radically accelerate leadership development. It shouldn’t be a two-year process, three-year process. It should be something that is woven into the fabric of work and people are being improved on the job with tools that are there in the flow of work. So those are some of the big themes from transform leadership and some great presentations from Joe particularly from the Institute for the Future, but also Shawna from Comcast. So some big things. I think this was a meaningful moment, why leadership models flop. This is some research we did. Only 27% find them the models actually meaningful. Only 17% think they’re actually easy to remember. And they’re just too complicated. Overall, these are some data that we studied this year. 


All right let’s go to performance management. Barbara, take us away on the findings from the performance management session. 


[00:19:02] BS: Sure. Thank you, David. Well, much like you’ve laid out for our audience. In performance, we really looked at how do we help organizations take that regenerative lens and apply it to performance? And so helping them really think about and have insights around how can they go about leaving employees better off than before. So certainly a number of topics we covered and certainly a number of insights came forward, but the one that we’re really focusing on here is around bias because, really, it’s so common in the space, Talent leaders are guilty of this. We, who sit in consultancies are guilty of this, that when we think about bias and the mitigation of it, there’s a tendency to compartmentalize and think about it in terms of diversity and inclusion instead of looking at it holistically across the talent platform. And certainly, that’s where performance comes into play. 


And so here, in this part of the discussion, this is what we were flagging. How this topic of bias is very real. There are some statistics around it with respect to 77% of HR leaders say that when it comes to actually performance reviews, they’re not even about how the individual performed. So they’re not even accurate. How they cause harm? When it comes to mismanaged or what individuals feel like what has been for them. Misconducted performance evaluations, it is the number one reason why they leave the organization. So they feel like their contributions are not in fact being recognized. 


And then lastly, how it continues to be a big challenge. So on the one hand we know this is a real issue. The research, the data supports that. And yet there’s not enough attention around it. And so, David, if we go to the next slide, we can show how just from our own research, and we’re not the only consultancy that has demonstrated this, but doing this, capturing this data this year in the fall and surveying leaders about what their priorities are and where they’re focused. Only 19% of them, right? It’s a startling to statistic given how important this is. It’s not been a real focus when it comes to performance. 


And then we went a step further. During the actual session, David, we polled the attendees and we asked them about when it comes to bias mitigation, what they were working on? As you might imagine, a third of them said unconscious bias training is where they were focused. But surprisingly, a third of them said we’re not doing anything. We look at here, again, coming back to the importance of it and we see this notion of the idiosyncratic rater effect is not a new one. This research was done 20 years ago by academician and researcher. 


10 years later organizations started to pay attention and think about how do we go about operationalizing this and really addressing it. And slowly organizations are beginning to take a look. And so it just highlights that there’s such a big opportunity in the space in the current climate of social justice issues being raised. Individuals, employees are saying 88% of the talent leaders that we surveyed said that their employees are from somewhat concerned to very concerned about how they’re going to be evaluated this year given the disruption and because of this dynamic of organizations ability to actually evaluate them fairly. 


And so the real opportunity then for organizations when we’re talking about bias is to recognize several things. That, one, it’s the NLI mantra. If you have a brain, you’re biased. I mean that has to be the starting place for organizations and recognizing that it’s just this reality. That, number two, you can’t outwit it, right? Because it’s unconscious. And so, three, organizations really have to be deliberate about putting in place the strategies that will enable their leaders to actually address it. So that helps them from a habits perspective when doing that work. And then finally, at the systems level. So how do organizations really go about ensuring, looking at their processes and determining which ones are in fact perpetuating the bias so they can go about putting in new processes to obviously mitigate and control for that. So, David, that’s just a good recap of some of that conversation we were having.


[00:23:41] DR: Yeah, that’s great. Thanks, Barbara. And I know we talked also through the six different types of conversations that we think about with performance and we kind of walked through some of our data on that. We did we did some good work. I know you and Rob did some great work earlier in the year on these Friday sessions and also some blog posts on how to think about performance in this environment. Perhaps our team can put some of those links in the chat for folks interested in performance. So we did some good work on how to think about the different types of conversations now. It was part of the session as well. But, that’s great. Thanks, Barbara. 




[00:24:12] ANNOUNCER: If you’re enjoying this podcast, you’re going to love NLIs annual conference, the NeuroLeadership Summit. This year the all virtual summit centers around building a better normal, and will offer three days of impactful sessions focused on your most pressing issues. How to remain resilient? How to thrive through crises? Allyship, equity, equality and fairness and continually learning while in a work from home world. Join us online November 10th through 12th and attend sessions available across the globe. You can watch sessions live on your desktop or access content on the go. We promise you won’t want to miss it. To register and learn more, visit summit.neuroleadership.com. To save on a three-day non-member pass use the promo code podsummit2020. That’s podsummit2020. We look forward to seeing you there.




[00:25:10] DR: Let’s talk about allyship. This is a big project for us over the year, one of our bigger research projects. Ester, do you want to talk through this session and the findings that we presented?


[00:25:20] EN: Definitely. So this was a really great session with Sarah Gaither as well as Lindsay-Rae McIntyre from – The Chief Diversity Officer of Microsoft. And I know that you, David, worked a lot with Lindsey-Rae back, I’d say two years ago when we just started thinking about allyship and looking at how to approach allyship from a systemic, deeper level. And we’re so lucky to have Microsoft as one of our partners, because that really helped us frame what allyship is moving beyond race, moving beyond gender and sexual orientation into a really strategic pillar for the whole organization and a culture transformation. So this session was about that and identifying allyship and looking at the ways that we can approach allyship and ally from the science standpoint. 


But one of the bigger challenges there is that even though there are billions of dollars that are now being invested in diversity, equity and inclusion, there is still a really big disparity. And so allyship is one of the ways that we can really achieve equity. And we need to talk about our advantage positions when we actually talk about allyship. So the way we identified it is it’s when somebody is aware and uses their advantaged positions to actively support people in less advantaged positions. 


So it moves, as I said, beyond different groups into a really deep strategic, imperative and culture within the organization where, for instance, if David and I are in a room and I just joined an organization, he can be an ally for me. And at the same time in a different situation I can be an ally for David. But what we talked about earlier when we talked about the deeper transformation, not just creating an awareness, it is important the same way to approach allyship from the standpoint of priorities, habits and systems. 


So what we see in organizations is they set the priority for allyship and they use it as one of the ways to shift their employee resource groups where they build la ship systems. But they don’t actually focus on behaviors. And so we spent last year really diving deeper into what are those key behaviors when it comes to being an active ally? And it all starts with identifying inequity and educating yourself and also understanding different positions from different individuals. Lindsay-Rae talks about their model of la for one, ally for many and ally for all. And the first step there is really understanding how to be an ally for an individual and what is their experience. 


Then we’re moving into proactively increasing equity and taking specific steps to increase equity in certain moments and systemically. And talking about systemically, the third behavior around driving change collectively is about really driving for systemic change within organizations in a collective way, creating a deeper sense of belonging within the groups and within the whole organization. 


So then we went deeper into understanding, “Okay, we know what allyship is and we know different behaviors that we need to invest in, but where does it align when it comes to the overall diversity, equity and inclusion journey?” And we showed some of the examples of how you can roll out the habit formation, with the core habits being most people actively including, most people actively mitigating bias and most people actively speaking up on behalf of themselves and others. That’s where allyship comes in when that doesn’t happen. 


So the journey is when it comes to rolling out your diversity, equity and inclusion, habit formation is starting with a growth mindset moving into inclusion, moving into mitigating unconscious bias and investing in allyship or investing in speaking up and creating a culture of speaking up before diving deeper into ally. 


[00:29:35] DB: That’s great. Thanks, Ester. There’re lots in there in the session, and I think I was part of those teams. We were doing a lot of work. There’re a lot of fierce debate about the right habits and the science and then what’s practical. What works in language and organizations? All this. And I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done so far to develop this framework. And I know it’s starting to go into organizations shortly at scale to develop allies as well. So that’s on the way. 


Let’s uh go a little deeper. So day two, priorities. Day three from the field. So here we kicked off with a session on how to strategically impact DE&I, and we’ll hear from Barbara and Ester on this in a moment. We did a series of case studies over the day on leadership principles. So hearing companies who’ve transformed and radically simplified their leadership framework. DEI case study is a series of powerful ones of those. I think we’ve got a couple we’ll share here, and also on crisis management. Actually people who are leveraging our work in that space. 


We also had a really important session on impact scale and speed that Katherine and her team presented that was really challenging conventional wisdom on what’s possible. We also had a performance management case studies, a powerful day, and then we had some closing remarks at the end. But let’s walk through to start with the DE&I session. Barbara and Ester, do you want to take that away? 


[00:30:57] EN: Sure, David. So talking about – I absolutely love what Barbara said about a holistic approach, right? And that holistic approach has to exist when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion as well. And we talked about priorities, habits and systems as one of the key change transformation models. So I will not dive deeper into that. What I will say is when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, what does that mean? And the priorities here is really identifying what are your key priorities when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion and also getting the leadership buy-in. 


So what we talked about is that we often create the strategies and try to make people buy into those, or in reality, we need to create that buy-in first, and we often bypass that step. So what does the mobilized leader look like? They build and execute the diversity, equity and inclusion strategy with you. They’re an active DE&I ambassador and they really take ownership of DE&I initiatives and can relate to that on a personal level. 


And so we identified three core ways that we can really create the leadership buy-in, and those are creating an emotional buy-in, which Barbara will talk a little bit more in a minute. And then really showing the outcome studies of investing in diversity and inclusion, being better financial benefits, better innovation benefits, talent pool benefits, etc. And that’s what we see mostly organizations do. Where in reality, what we saw over years of giving those briefings weekly, if not daily, is that the best way to actually generate the buy-in from leaders is explaining the mechanisms and showing what diversity really is. How that relates to inclusion? And some of the challenges within it such as, for instance, that diverse teams think that they perform much worse and they have less confidence. But at the same time, their task performance is much higher. So I won’t dive deeper into that, but you can see some of our studies in Harvard Business review around why diverse teams are smarter and really investing in diversity. 


But, Barbara, really want to hear from you on some of the examples on mobilizing leaders.


[00:33:14] BS: Yeah, thanks Ester. There’s so much rich data, and we definitely have been a big contributor, as you’ve been talking about, in terms of diversity and inclusion, the business case behind it, so much rich research. And we get this question a lot with respect to how do we help however those in our organizations who don’t seem to be getting on board? And sometimes they even are labeled as detractors. And here when we talk about especially, Ester, this first point with respect to emotional buy-in, it’s an opportunity to really separate. When we’re bringing people along, of course there’s the important piece of providing them with the data so that they actually understand that business case. But you’ll know when a leader has actually been activated. You’ll know when they have actually been mobilized when they’ve had their insight. And that’s what we mean by emotional buy-in. 


And one quick example of that is one of the clients that I had the privilege – We’re working with them now actually on their DE&I strategy and we were having a meeting with the C-suite, the CEO and his direct reports. And this one individual who sits in the CFO role told the story, and I’ll shorten it here for the sake of time. But basically he happened to be a Caucasian male and talked about his life journey from that of being privileged, being completely insulated from bias and the experiences of others, to now – Once he had his insight and then realizing how much of an issue that this is just across the board and how he wants to be an advocate. He intends to be, and is in fact advocating. And, of course, that is so hugely important. 


And so I think, Ester, like that’s such an important insight for talent leaders to understand that. When we go through and we’re checking those boxes, again, to make sure that our key stakeholders are with us on the journey, it’s important to share the data. But what we really have to do is make sure that we’re helping them have the insights, because when they’re bought in, that’s when they can become our biggest advocates. 


[00:35:28] ES: Love that. Thank you so much, Barbara. 


So moving on from priorities to the habits, we talked about the key sets of habits when it comes to really transforming your diversity, equity inclusion efforts being most people actively mitigating bias every week. Most people actively including speaking up productively on behalf of themselves and others when this doesn’t happen. And here we really wanted to challenge. I know, David, you talked a lot about it. What is really possible when it comes to habit activation, habit formation? And in the next slide, you can see some of the results that we’ve had when it comes to the rollouts of mitigating conscious bias and inclusion. I would love for you, David, to share a little bit more here.


[00:36:14] DB: Yeah, for sure. This is across many different client sites across the last more than a year, but what we’re talking about here is over 9,000 people, 77% had mitigated a bias in the last week at least one to three times. So more than three quarters of people had done something intentional about bias just in that week. Similar pattern on inclusion over a thousand. This is data from over a thousand managers. Most of them, 91% were more inclusive. 


Again, this is at least one to three times in the last week. So you’re seeing evidence of good habits actually being taken up. The data from the bottom number is very low because we just launched our voice solution in the last year. We’re just collecting our first data. But we saw good results from voice as well just over three quarters speaking up at least once in the last week. So, exciting to see. 


I mean what you have to understand is that like that top number, for example, that’s 9,000 people managers, and that was done in under a month or a month basically. So the rollouts here are massively scalable very, very quick. So as we start to think about impact scale and speed, we’re really seeing very confounding results that kind of confound the way people normally think about this. You can impact tens of thousands of people actually very quickly. Remember that 90,000 managers means about 100,000 employees across those different companies. So that’s the highlight overall. 


And then, yeah, some closing comments, Ester, on this one? 


[00:37:47] EN: Yeah. So what that means is that – And we talk so much about it regarding our mantra, if you have a brain, you have bias. What that means is the goal is not to remove bias from organizations. The goal is not to become unbiased. The goal is to mitigate bias in the moment. So what that means is if you want to have a deeper impact within your organization, you need to get your whole organization building one habit at a time across 2021, and this is how you drive for true change. And what you also do with this is create that ecosystem to really drive for habit formation. And that ecosystem together with investing in other talent management systems is key in really creating a coherence between priorities, habits and systems and making sure that you drive transformation at scale. And I’ll pass it on to Barbara to talk to us a little bit more about the systems.


[00:38:41] BS: Thanks, Ester. And it’s like what we’ve said already a few times in this conversation is it really is about this holistic look of we’ve been talking about the habit activation, but now we have to ensure that the systems are actually reinforcing those new habits that we want to see really shape the culture. And so the places that warrant attention is what we’re sharing with you here. And so they’re all listed from technology through to organizational structure. 


And one quick example, in my role at NLI and leading the performance practice, I mean one of the places classic to really look at have this integrated or holistic view when it comes to the system, which performance is that as well, it’s one of the talent systems, is some of the classic processes that come into play like when we do talent reviews, like when we do calibration meetings. All of these different processes where we have an opportunity to see where might bias exist? Where might there be issues so that we can look at these processes and actually evolve them and make sure that they are reinforcing the behaviors that are needed and the work that needs to get done.


[00:39:57] BD: Great. Thanks, Barbara. Thanks, Ester, as well. Yeah, this was a big session, the opening keynote, day three. I think the thing that stuck with me the most, and we presented this on a Friday as well, was the inverted U. The bell curve of companies have been developing their strategies with like sort of unconsciously either at the far right of the bell curve with the people who are passionate advocates who sort of will take anything and run with it. There’s a big middle, which is probably the place to focus, of people who are maybe on the fence, maybe slightly positive, maybe not. But there’s a big middle. But there’s also – And this is what really stuck with me. We’ve got to remember that even for a really positive change initiative, about 25% of people actively fight it. This is old research. It’s continuous. But even something really positive that’s clearly positive, about a quarter of people actively fight it just on principle. And so if you’re designing your strategies for that lower 25%, all the top kind of people, you’re going to have issues. And I think one of the big insights that came out of this was particularly your mobilization strategies. As you’re thinking about mobilizing your leaders to become partners, make sure that you’re going after the right kind of people, not the people who are going to fight you or the people who are kind of already there. You sort of want to go after the middle there.


Ester, I think you’re going to talk us through the case studies just a couple of these to give us a sense. We’ve got about five more minutes. Yeah, take us away.


[00:41:15] EN: Okay. Five minutes it is. So I was lucky enough to share the stage with three phenomenal leaders in the DE&I space from new T-Mobile, Splunk and Bain & Company. So we really looked at practical applications of how do we build DE&I strategies at scale. And first we talked to Holly Martinez, head of diversity, equity inclusion at New T-Mobile. And we really discussed how to drive true transformation in a 70,000 people organization when two massive companies of T-mobile and Sprint join forces and use that as an opportunity to make the culture even better and to invest in it even more? 


And we’ve been working with T-Mobile for about a year now in really re-imagining what that potential might look like using the model of priorities, habits and systems and really refining their five-year strategy. Then after that, we looked at habit formation with Suzanne. And we looked at what was possible. So we invested in rolling out decide and breaking conscious bias within their organization. And they’re very, very innovative and very, very data-driven. 


And so we looked at the level of impact that one can have in rolling out the habit formation across the organization. 85% of participants use the strategy to deliberately mitigate bias at least once a week, right? So we talked about the future of being able to measure habits and behaviors and not just the awareness within it. And Suzanne also talked a lot about the importance of measurement and the importance of really being transparent with your data. 


And then the last one, we had a case study with Michael Woodbury from Bain & Company, and he was very open in sharing what worked and what didn’t work when it comes to mitigating conscious bias. And they started off with really creating awareness training first, and it just didn’t stick. And then they came to us and they said, “Okay, let’s look at how can we actually really drive for habit formation and how can we integrate it deeper within our systems.” 


And what was fascinating is that Bain is such a prolific organization that touches a lot of other cultures, right? They have so many great clients. And so we talked a lot about the butterfly effect of what happens if we actually invest in teaching the consultants to mitigate unconscious bias and what that does to the rest of the organizations that they interact with being one of the core ways that we can really impact societies? 


So I tried my best. It’s five minutes, David. That’s three case studies in five minutes.


[00:44:13] DB: That’s great. Katherine, I wouldn’t mind just hearing in the last couple of minutes a couple of other comments from you. I know we didn’t have any slides, but there were lots of big sessions on day three from your team as head of customer experience. We had the impact scale and speed session, the measurement. Can we just talk for a minute or two what your big insights were as presenting those and what the audience kind of found most meaningful from those sessions overall?


[00:44:34] KM: Yeah. The impact scale speed session and measure behavior change both on day three I think had really powerful data that we were able to share great stories from clients. And the insight for me was how much progress we’ve made in our ability to effectively measure learning. How to actually be able to evaluate if it’s effective? If we’re seeing habits form? And also the opportunities areas that we have. Where are we looking to go? And I’m really excited about the work that we’ve already started with looking at more longitudinal long-term measurement and ensuring that folks are keeping those behaviors up over time, right? We know that that’s a muscle. So looking forward to digging in more there.


[00:45:18] DB: Great. Thanks, Katherine. I know you and the team are doing amazing work there with measuring. And we continue to be really excited by the impact data even in a 30-day rollout at tens of thousands of people just what’s possible with the work. And in the end it comes back to have you got the right habits? Are you giving people strong insights? Are they doing that socially? Are you doing that one at a time? As you do that, you can do some quite incredible things. 


Let’s bring it together. So we had day one from the lab on screen here are some of the key sessions. We didn’t talk about all of these. There’re some really powerful sessions on perspective taking, on equity, quality and fairness, on learning. Day two, we had build a better normal allyship and also thrive through crisis, going a bit deeper into the threat model. And then day three, some of the key sessions were strategic DE&I listening, also behavior change. So a lot of big themes. If you are already a corporate member, you can access all of this now as part of your corporate membership virtually. I believe it’s all actually up online now, which is exciting. If you’re not a corporate member, go and talk to your company about getting one. You’ll be able to access all of it and watch it in your own time, which is really neat. I just heard that that’s now out. And that can be accessed by anyone in your whole team as well. 


And then just I hold the date for next year. We’ve actually set the date, November 17 to 19, 2021. This is going to be in New York, fingers crossed. And we’re actually got a plan and design and execute a fully virtual summit as well in parallel, but we’ll be filming hopefully the sessions rather than every single person virtually this year. If we’re not in-person, if whatever reason we’re not all in-person in New York, we’ll still have a virtual one. Try to be there in any case. We just found so many upsides to like larger teams who could all connect into the program properly. So we’re actually going to have a dual summit happening with both being hopefully really powerful experiences. 


But a big thank you to Katherine for presenting your findings, all the hard work you’re doing behind-the- scenes there. Barbara, the fantastic work you’re doing in performance. And Ester, the work you’re continuing to do. And DE&I has been really meaningful. Thanks for contributions today. Hopefully everyone else you found some value in kind of seeing what’s there. Definitely encourage you to get in and check this out. Watch the sessions with your teams. Also, if you’re in talent, choose the right sessions. Watch them with your teams together or just in the same week and digest. There’re a lot there. A lot of research, a lot of application. You’ve got a year before we come out with new kind of big things. So get in there, digest, apply and we look forward to hearing from you. So thanks very much everyone. 




[00:47:56] GB: Your brain at Work is produced by the NeuroLeadership Institute. You can help us in making organizations more human by rating, reviewing and subscribing wherever you get your podcasts. Our producer is Danielle Kirschenblat, and Cliff David is our production manager. Original music is by Grant Zubritsky, and logo design is by Ketch Wehr. We’ll see you next time.




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