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WGT: Creating happy and great workplaces [transcript]

Please enjoy this transcript of my conversation with Henry Stewart.


Imagine a workplace where people are energised and motivated by being in control of the work they do. Imagine they are trusted and given freedom, within clear guidelines, to decide how to achieve their results. Imagine they are able to get the life balance they want. Imagine they are valued according to the work they do, rather than the number of hours they spend at their desk.

Wouldn’t you want to work there? Wouldn’t it also be the place that would enable you to work at your best and most productive?

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[00:00:00] Lech Guzowski: Hello? Hello. Hello. You are in for an absolute treat today. I'm interviewing Henry Stewart, who is the founder of happy, a London-based learning provider who has been rated one of the top 20 workplaces in the UK for five consecutive years. And he now.

[00:00:22] Other organizations create happy workplaces. He possibly has one of the coolest job titles you can imagine. And that is chief happiness officer. And I mean, it's an amazing title.

[00:00:34] We've just pressed record and we just let it go. And we talked about some amazing things. One of which was the command and control approach to leadership that. Leaders take, especially in crunch time, especially during the pandemic and you know what, this is what has happened to Henry.

[00:00:51] He's gone into that mode, but very quickly realized that it didn't work so that he needs to go back to the old way of working, just following the principles that they got at happy. And actually he introduces us to some of the principles, core principles, core beliefs that guide the happy.

[00:01:09] We talked about the important psychological safety and how to create, how to hire people into your organization. So how some of the recruitment processes that we've gotten out a broken how do we move managers to be coaches? We talked about how to have better meetings, how to sell them.

[00:01:26] Mistakes. So this is what you can expect in the interview with Henry Stewart from happy. It was an absolute delight having Henry on the show. And I, as always hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed recording it.

[00:01:44] Here is my interview with Henry Stewart, the founder and chief happiness officer at happy enjoy.


[00:02:07] Henry Stewart: Hello?

[00:02:08] Lech Guzowski: Hello? how are you doing?

[00:02:11] Henry Stewart: I'm fine.

[00:02:12] Lech Guzowski: Good man. Good, man. Well, thank you for coming along. I love your shirt. Is it ducks? Is it hearts? Why have you got on there? Little flowers. actually.

[00:02:21] Henry Stewart: Flowers. Yes.

[00:02:22] Lech Guzowski: Okay. Very nice. Very nice. How . Have you been

[00:02:25] Henry Stewart: a been grand, this is, you know, we've, we've had a challenging lock down, but we're now back to levels we were at before which is pretty good.

[00:02:34] We put everything online. We Greg made it interactive and engaging and people loving it.

[00:02:40] Lech Guzowski: that's brilliant. That is a

[00:02:41] quick pivot. Listen, we'll, I'd love to hear a little bit more about it because

[00:02:44] I've actually been speaking to hyper island yesterday in

[00:02:47] but what we were talking about was it's actually quite interesting of what you just mentioned, that you

[00:02:50] had to quickly pivot because everything was face-to-face. So you had to pivot to online for the past 12, 18 months, you've been designed thing, designing things differently.

[00:03:00] Henry Stewart: Yeah.

[00:03:01] Lech Guzowski: start slowly emerging and some clients will probably prefer height.

[00:03:04] Maybe some face to face. So it will be a nice mix. But then, because when you design for online, you have to design it differently to face-to-face. So initially we were adopting from, face-to-face just kind of reaching into content to fit it online. Now we've been designing kind of just to fit online and now we're going to have to do it the whole thing in reverse to a certain extent to design it for the classroom again, to a certain extent.

[00:03:25] Henry Stewart: yeah, I mean that, that, that, that big, the classroom is easy. Online is easy. The challenging bit, which you're going to have to reinvent again is the hybrid bit

[00:03:32] Lech Guzowski: Yeah.

[00:03:33] Henry Stewart: some of our clients, we want something to beep in the classroom and some people. Nah, I've done a couple of those Let me

[00:03:40] Lech Guzowski: yeah,

[00:03:40] Henry Stewart: know.

[00:03:40] Lech Guzowski: I can imagine because that's the thing it's like, but the other thing that happens is you are able to. I think clients are a little bit more open to, to space it out. so I don't

[00:03:50] want to say drag it out space now because when it was done just face to face, they would say, okay, we've got these two days, let's cram it all in

[00:03:56] but now there we'll be able to do so.

[00:03:59] Okay. Let's do this like half a day session online. Then in a few weeks

[00:04:03] time, let's get together

[00:04:04] to kind of facilitate that what we've done before and

[00:04:07] then in a month's time, let's catch up again. So I think actually it's beneficial because before they would just cram it into two days, job done magic pill.

[00:04:15] Everything's fantastic. We

[00:04:17] know that's not the case.

[00:04:18] Henry Stewart: my favorite one at the moment is something I called productivity blitz. So what We do is 15 minutes in the morning. 15 minutes in the afternoon for five days and one productivity tip a day. and of course you could never do that in the classroom. Cause you know you couldn't come to the classroom for 15 minutes, but it's it's hard.

[00:04:36] It's hard, the adds anything for that day. And on the last one, of them said it, was the most productive week in months.

[00:04:43] Lech Guzowski: Wow.

[00:04:44] Henry Stewart: those kinds of

[00:04:44] Lech Guzowski: that.

[00:04:45] Henry Stewart: of things you can do now,

[00:04:46] and that was from people around the world, you know,

[00:04:49] Lech Guzowski: Everybody dials

[00:04:49] it. We'll see. That's, that's the thing

[00:04:51] that I, I despair at hearing that some

[00:04:54] organizations are going back to completely in the office and I'm going,

[00:04:58] we've made so much progress. Why undo it? Oh God. At the very least give people the hybrid hope, but I'm really happy when I hear people or hear of situations where employees were told by the companies we're going back to the office and employees are going, I don't want to, I'd like to go hybrid.

[00:05:16] Can we, can we work something out? Can we work out the arrangements today? We're being shown flexibility and the organizations are going no online and sorry, going back to the office. And then the people are going actually, You know,

[00:05:28] what, in that case, here's my notice. And I'm going yes. Power to the people for that, because they've got that confidence that if your current employer doesn't offer that they know that more organizations that are so much more open, more open to it compared to what

[00:05:43] Henry Stewart: Well,

[00:05:43] Lech Guzowski: few months ago,

[00:05:44] Henry Stewart: yeah,

[00:05:45] Lech Guzowski: year.

[00:05:45] Henry Stewart: so I'm happy. I'll play no role in that. It's entirely up to the people themselves in their teams to decide. So if they've got a course on that day, someone from the admin team will probably come in and, you know, do some links. And some people will want to say a time, some people want to pin, but isn't totally up to them.

[00:06:00] Why should I play a role? They know what their responsibilities are.

[00:06:04] Lech Guzowski: Yes. Henry, this, this goes down to the way you manage your people and the culture that you've got within your organizations that you've,

[00:06:10] Henry Stewart: Yeah,

[00:06:11] Lech Guzowski: that you have that people go like, Yeah,

[00:06:12] fine. I know what to do. I mean, And, you know, I'll look up some stuff. It doesn't matter what day of the week I work, what times at work I'll be.

[00:06:20] So unless you've got

[00:06:20] meetings, But that doesn't happen in other organizations. the reason for that is they don't have that culture in the first place. There's a,

[00:06:27] disconnect. And my managers are basically micro-managing because they don't want to get rid of that, They don't want to get, you know, let

[00:06:33] that, control go.

[00:06:36] And that's

[00:06:36] the,

[00:06:37] Henry Stewart: although the real surprise is when Google said it, because Google. Is, I know that I do everything right, but they are, they are.

[00:06:44] back giving people freedom and control. And when the Google had said, you've got to be, if you, if you work at home more than 14 days a week, a year, got to have special permission.

[00:06:54] I thought is going on there?

[00:06:56] Lech Guzowski: the killers.

[00:06:56] Henry Stewart: You know,

[00:06:57] Lech Guzowski: What the latest one I heard is the backlash with apple they've announced that they will be going back. They've kind of hybrid model, fixed days and things like that in please. Leaking to the press and not happy that they kind of, it's an ongoing discussion. I only saw a snippet, which is a bit of a clickbait, I think a few days ago.

[00:07:16] And it just, and I thought, oh my God, Apple's going back to the offices full time, because that's what the title suggested. But then when I went back, went back to it. I think yesterday I read that it's Yeah, it's a mixture of work from home back to the offices. So it's fixed days and things like that. And the employees are just saying, you know what, when we want more flexibility and again, power to.

[00:07:35] Because

[00:07:35] Henry Stewart: absolutely.

[00:07:36] Lech Guzowski: we need. to move to that model.

[00:07:38] Henry Stewart: Yeah,

[00:07:38] Lech Guzowski: was talking to another guest last last week. I think it was about

[00:07:41] where we stand on this, that kind of micromanagement elements of control that we basically no longer work in that of nine to five, that kind of shift work because that's by let's, let's face it.

[00:07:51] That's where it's come from. And fact is people no longer work in that set because whatever creative process that happens, the mental process that comes behind any

[00:08:01] good idea or any type of work that happens out of nine to five, that

[00:08:03] happens on weekends. So Y you're only

[00:08:06] paying people for the 40, for 40 hours a week or whatever country you're based in. But they actually work in pharma. So why shouldn't

[00:08:12] they be based and graded and salary based

[00:08:15] Henry Stewart: absolutely. at the same time it happened where we're big on not working. You know, so w so we we're, we're very big, you know, you shouldn't, I shouldn't, you shouldn't expect to be contacted in the evening or weekends, or anytime like that, where it's, that, that in. Yeah. You might have barely damaged, you

[00:08:33] Lech Guzowski: Yeah,

[00:08:33] Henry Stewart: they are.

[00:08:34] But it's not working all,

[00:08:35] the time.

[00:08:36] absolutely

[00:08:37] Lech Guzowski: absolutely not. I'm fully against that. What I meant by

[00:08:39] working kind of all the time is,

[00:08:40] not being accessible and checking your

[00:08:43] emails every five minutes and on

[00:08:45] weekends. Absolutely not. I'm more

[00:08:47] talking about the mental process. That's like prices because if you obviously you're doing your work or during, during the

[00:08:52] week, And then it's natural.

[00:08:54] When you disengage over the weekend, what happens there

[00:08:57] is your brain continues to

[00:08:58] work at it, whether you want it or

[00:08:59] Henry Stewart: Right.

[00:09:00] Lech Guzowski: and you might get an idea might hit you. So this again, in my opinion, there's an argument for

[00:09:05] considering people And just talking to people based on results

[00:09:08] and the work that they do, not the work and not the hours that they work.

[00:09:11] Henry Stewart: Yeah, Yes, absolutely.

[00:09:14] Lech Guzowski: There's still, there's still a lot of work to do for people to have that self-discipline

[00:09:17] they don't feel guilty that they are not working the hours that they used to, because that often happens as well. That is like, oh, you know, I need to do work because I haven't done that much this week. So I'm just going to log in on Saturday morning, which I think is not a good thing either.

[00:09:32] Anyway, listen, we already started this. Normally

[00:09:36] we kind of

[00:09:36] Henry Stewart: right?

[00:09:37] Lech Guzowski: a bit of a ramp up, but we've already kind of got into this. Which is, which is really cool. I like when it's a natural conversation and that's how I want these to podcast to be. And I'll ask you a question. I normally actually start off with just gonna use you

[00:09:48] to start it.

[00:09:48] It's the,

[00:09:49] Henry Stewart: for them in question.

[00:09:50] Lech Guzowski: the,

[00:09:50] the question is what did you want to be when you grew up, when you were little, what was kind of

[00:09:54] that dream?

[00:09:55] Henry Stewart: I've got two answers for this one.

[00:09:56] Lech Guzowski: Go for it.

[00:09:57] Henry Stewart: one, when I was seven, I'll teach us this, what we wanted to be. And we all put cream van driver.

[00:10:02] Lech Guzowski: Okay.

[00:10:02] Henry Stewart: And the teacher said to me, but Henry, when you

[00:10:05] Lech Guzowski: Okay.

[00:10:05] Henry Stewart: to be a mathematician and I was very keen on maths and I thought, You can spend all your life doing maths, that foveal.

[00:10:12] And so from the age of seven, I decided I wanted to be a mathematician. But then when I got sixth form, I, I was.

[00:10:21] using computers to play to and to play games. This was in the days before computers and screens, all, you know on ticker tape and things like that. And I thought what I want to do is, is is be a program makes computers play games.

[00:10:36] And I went to IBM in my year off before university. And I tell them, this is, and I tell people, this is what I wanted to do. And they said to me, everybody there said to me, Henry, there's no way that they can be, we'll be able to make a living pregnant computers to play games.

[00:10:53] Lech Guzowski: Priceless.

[00:10:54] Henry Stewart: And so I gave up the idea,

[00:10:57] but there you go.

[00:10:58] Lech Guzowski: it's it's like that man. I don't remember his name was that man who sold his initial shares an apple in a 1987 or whatever that would

[00:11:06] Henry Stewart: Well, there were

[00:11:06] probably a

[00:11:07] lot of people That did,

[00:11:08] but yeah,

[00:11:08] Lech Guzowski: Yeah.

[00:11:08] But he was one of the

[00:11:09] Henry Stewart: Yeah.

[00:11:09] Lech Guzowski: people, the early people who started the company, there was, he was one of the sort of, you could classify as co-founder.

[00:11:14] So he

[00:11:14] had one of the first employees he had shares and he just sold it. It's just, it's just fascinating how, how that happens. But you know, the other thing that is, I can't believe the coincidence, the other guests that I've mentioned, I was talking to literally a few days ago, Elin Almroth. She said the exact same thing, but she wanted to be an ice cream driver, what she wanted.

[00:11:32] She wanted to sell ice cream, and sugar. And so what are the chances the same, the same answer to the same question. Four days apart.

[00:11:40] Henry Stewart: little kids often want to do

[00:11:43] Lech Guzowski: Never heard that before anyone that, that people wanted it to be that way. I kind of get that.

[00:11:47] Henry Stewart: being in the van all day, ninth grade,

[00:11:50] Lech Guzowski: You have another brother, Henry, but that's the thing that the job is not eating ice cream, it's selling it. That's the thing. but I always, and I said this to Alan. I always like to link this to what people do

[00:12:04] and kind of try and see some sort of pattern to what they do now. And the thing that I? arrived with Ellen,

[00:12:09] and she was actually surprised that, that this is some sort of being driven by an idea or hoping to be delivering joy to people, I guess, because I associate ice cream majorities, honey, sunny, happy days, happy people walking around in the park Holland holding that at 90 nines.

[00:12:25] Right? That's all, that's what it is. And it's kind of giving people that happiness and

[00:12:30] similar to you, the line of work that you're in now, what you've done with happy, this is what Ellen has done. She's kind of a chief people officer for, for Visy Becca, which is a healthcare organization in Sweden. And there is that link.

[00:12:42] And I always find it fascinating that with people in the

[00:12:44] line of work.

[00:12:44] Henry Stewart: another link. One thing you don't know about happy is that at four o'clock every afternoon, we give all our delegates ice cream

[00:12:51] Lech Guzowski: So you

[00:12:51] fulfilled

[00:12:53] Henry Stewart: Yeah, I feel fulfilled

[00:12:54] I fulfill that dream. And you can always tell who on the staff is here as Jordan relative division, because they still have ice cream. That was the more longstanding ones that I spent. I had to ask him every day for seven years of the first seven years that happy. Now I have it all rarely.

[00:13:12] Lech Guzowski: priceless. What a question? What

[00:13:13] do you do now? When everything's in the online world, do you send people ice cream?

[00:13:18] Henry Stewart: no. That's, that's the thing people often ask when the evaluations at the end of the day, when you asked them what would have been better, they said if I'd had an ice

[00:13:25] cream, you know but now we haven't managed to find an equivalent.

[00:13:28] Lech Guzowski: But listen, I know there are, there are companies and an hour of a company based in Poland that actually sells ice cream online. So they've got ice cream shops all over the, all over the, country and you can order ice cream delivered providing the reason ice cream shop of theirs in the city

[00:13:45] Henry Stewart: Yeah.

[00:13:46] Lech Guzowski: live.

[00:13:46] So you could, you could potentially, if that's not available in the UK or wherever, let's start with the UK, let's start with a small market. If that's not

[00:13:53] available in the UK, job is, is is a

[00:13:56] Henry Stewart: I need to set up in Poland. Don't I? Yes.

[00:13:59] Lech Guzowski: You could do. Yeah, I don't, they don't, they won't ship, but I

[00:14:02] Henry Stewart: I think

[00:14:02] you guys should set up the ice cream business

[00:14:04] in this country, but

[00:14:05] Lech Guzowski: or yeah, one of the other sets up do a subsidiary of happy in Poland.

[00:14:10] Give me a shout. I'll help you out. Or the other way round do an ice cream business that does delivery in the UK

[00:14:16] Henry Stewart: yeah, I think that's slightly outside our scope, but there we go. That's a good

[00:14:21] idea.

[00:14:21] Lech Guzowski: and a little bit about.

[00:14:24] Henry Stewart: to what you're good at Iowa.

[00:14:25] Lech Guzowski: Yeah, you're good. Yeah. But, or find, find people you can collaborate with who are good at the other

[00:14:30] Henry Stewart: Yeah,

[00:14:30] Lech Guzowski: do.

[00:14:31] So

[00:14:32] Henry Stewart: absolutely.

[00:14:33] Lech Guzowski: think the scope there isn't, I've never thought I was going to be talking about

[00:14:35] ice cream on this podcast, but there you go. There's always a first. So we talked about happy. We talked about how can you view got into

[00:14:41] what you've what you, what you're doing, what

[00:14:43] kind of, how happy it's been operating, the challenges that you faced, obviously with with, with the, with the pandemic as a, as a result of it,

[00:14:50] And obviously you, you, you wrote

[00:14:52] happy manifesto, something that I've

[00:14:54] been been reading in the past few weeks, and I've made so

[00:14:57] Henry Stewart: Oh, excellent.

[00:14:57] Lech Guzowski: beyond, beyond belief. It's a good to PDF. So I don't run into Amazons, copyright infringements because of copying and kind of highlighting and

[00:15:05] exporting so many things.

[00:15:07] Henry Stewart: it for free from our website.

[00:15:09] Lech Guzowski: Yes, I've got, I got it off your website.

[00:15:10] Henry Stewart: need to go to Amazon.

[00:15:11] Lech Guzowski: Yeah, didn't go to Amazon, go to from your website. But

[00:15:14] I tend to highlight a lot in export my highlights to make notes. And there's a there's a, there's a U

[00:15:19] w if you do it for Amazon,

[00:15:20] I think it's 15, 20% of the book you can't export more because otherwise you're infringing. So I'm glad That I've, I've, I've got the PDF directly from the

[00:15:28] website because there's a lot of

[00:15:29] highlights. I made a lot of comments. But the the kind of the, the, the, the story that I'm really interested in is

[00:15:34] obviously you, you described a bit of a journey that

[00:15:36] you've been on with happy as well, and kind of things that have happened.

[00:15:38] I'm really keen on the, the one element that actually made you start

[00:15:43] happy or kind of you've when you realize you realize that you've, I think it was, you were working for some sort of a project where you were given a grant with an, and you just kind of within a number of weeks, you manage to spend the, the, money that was that was given to you were

[00:15:57] for the organization and how, what, what was that?

[00:15:59] Yeah.

[00:16:00] Henry Stewart: in the

[00:16:01] Eighties or eighties, you know, I was a bit of a left wing activist and I had was together with other activists. We decided to set up, but national newspaper, we thought, you Know they'd stop complaining about the media and start and create some new media.

[00:16:15] So we created national left wing campaigning from the newspaper, which Those new K is it was going to be the left main equivalent of the daily mail. And we raised six and a half million pounds in, in, investors. And you're right. We lost it. We lost it all in six weeks after the lodge which was a bit of a disaster.

[00:16:35] In fact, the book it, about the paper is called disaster. and what we did was okay. A true deal for culture. You know, I often say that we should have, should have had a bunch of managers and been the journalist on that, but we instead became the managers and we weren't very good at it and we're great to Trudy or for culture.

[00:16:56] And so I left that determined to find out how you create a great workplace culture that is principled and that's an effective place to work because realized while I was there. That the IBM, which had worked on back in my year off was a better place to work. Then the news on Sunday, despite all I find principles, not ethics and all this kind of thing.

[00:17:18] So been my journey in the 33 years since then to find that how you create a truly great workplace and I'm still learning

[00:17:26] Lech Guzowski: I was going to say. I was actually going to ask, what, how would you feel, how far along that journey are you in terms of figuring that out?

[00:17:35] Henry Stewart: February. Know what I mean? Back in years, but we, we were

[00:17:39] in the top 20 workplaces in the UK for five years in a row. So I think we've, we've got a lot of the key, the key elements of it. And that's what we teach people. You know, that's what we're about. Nowadays. We start off in it training, helping people make software enjoyable.

[00:17:56] And now we, we teach leadership and management and how to create a truly happy with.

[00:18:01] Lech Guzowski: So that's, it's, it's taken you this one year to kind of get to this point and you, obviously you learn throughout the, and you put some really cool, a and useful tips and principles in your book, which by the way, there'll be links to, to that book for everybody to download it. And it's one of those books that you'd definitely have to read Because obviously you've got that you have that

[00:18:20] foundation and you that's kind of that moment where you were announced, that's where you're going to devote your time to,

[00:18:25] Henry Stewart: Yeah, I had that foundation on, you had to create a truly awful workplace, but the question was how you turn that man into integrated to the great workplace.

[00:18:34] Lech Guzowski: See, the segments are like to often have on the podcast is asking people genuinely what they've messed up, what they didn't go according to plan, because it's all for celebrating wins and, you know, it's, it's fantastic. We need to do that probably a lot more than we do, but the real learnings come from the, the times where we got things wrong.

[00:18:56] When we, where we failed one way or another or we just didn't foresee a consequence of all, we're going to do those things. Got, you know, the world changed. Things get derailed things fall over. That's where the biggest learning comes from. And that's actually what, I would like to really focus on. And in, in your time, in your journey to creating this or the, the, the happy workplace with happy or with your clients, what are some of the real proper moments where you've failed of what you learned the most from something that has gone wrong?

[00:19:30] You've mentioned the first in the foundation with the being the left, the left wing activists, where you've just in six, six weeks, you blew a several million pounds. What are the summer, some of the other learnings that got you to where you are now?

[00:19:42] Henry Stewart: Well, there's lots. So yeah, that, that is a pretty, you know, that normally beats, most people that one does the six and a half billion. There was the time when I, I sat someone until leave that day.

[00:19:54] Okay. Now that was back. it was back at 96 or something. But that was what had happened to me once,

[00:20:00] you know, and that's, that's what you did if you know, somebody wasn't performing. But it caused huge problems with, with other people. And even 10 years on, there were

[00:20:08] people who were still saying, why did you rid of David? And after

[00:20:11] that we decided, okay, you know, let's have some concern for these people, even if they go in. So, so now what we do is if, we get to that point, we give people three months or

[00:20:23] so to find another.

[00:20:25] And, and, and we don't, you know, stack them on the day and make them miserable. We try and call, We help people feel good about themselves. That's one of our five core principles. And so we do that also with

[00:20:38] people who, are leaving, unless it's,

[00:20:41] you know, unless they've stolen something or something like that.

[00:20:43] so, so that was one key

[00:20:44] lesson that treat the people who are leaving

[00:20:47] well. And the other advantage of that is

[00:20:49] of course, they leave, well, they will think good. They'll think well of you. Whereas the pur, whereas as David back at

[00:20:54] 96, probably, you know, hate it, doesn't totally fence. There's another one more recently, we're actually the being in the pandemic

[00:21:00] is that at the beginning of the pandemic,

[00:21:02] we we'd lost

[00:21:03] 95% of our work.

[00:21:05] Our classroom courses things

[00:21:07] looked pretty desperate. and I started, you know,

[00:21:10] people said, oh, this is a time for leadership. This is the time when you have

[00:21:12] to start. You

[00:21:14] know, doing command and control or whatever. And

[00:21:16] so for a couple of weeks, I did that.

[00:21:18] I started to tell people what to do. I did, you know, I, I got very involved in decisions and all sorts of things and it didn't work.

[00:21:30] It didn't work at all. And after that, I very fortunately got coached by somebody and suddenly realized this was the opposite of my approach. It was stressing me out and having a bad effect. So after that, I stepped back and allowed people again to have their freedom and their trust and people, and the growth in happy over that period has been thanks to that because you know what I was saying to do as the outfit made note, isn't what the clients wanted.

[00:21:56] I'm not actually that much in touch with our client. You know, many of our, many of our people speak to their clients, speak to our clients several times a day, more than that. I might speak to them maybe once or twice a day, they know what the clients need. They know what they want. And they were able to put him in place courses, which really met the client's need.

[00:22:14] Once I stepped back, once I stopped being involved in, you've got to make this new course and that kind of thing. So that was a, that was a key lesson, which I should have known years ago because it's the corporates, the packet that you give people just to beat them. But it's even the case in a Southern pandemic when it looks like the world is crushing and you're, you're about to go bankrupt.

[00:22:35] Lech Guzowski: I'm pretty certain, there, there are a number of business owners, CEOs senior leaders in many organizations that went into that command and control mode.

[00:22:45] Since you went into it. Why was it? What was the kind of motivation? What was the thinking behind it? That kind of just pushes that this is what I need to do.

[00:22:55] Henry Stewart: Well, it was kind of, can you see how terrible it is? Can't you see, you know, we've got to, we've got to move instantly. We've got to do this. We've got to do that. And of course, some people like we, we adopted a core, but which actually comes from, from like the Canadian federal agency, which has recognized that, that some people are gonna find this difficult just because you're doing okay.

[00:23:15] Doesn't mean they're doing okay. you might find it difficult just because other people are doing okay. It doesn't mean you're doing okay. we started to recognize that that it's about checking in on people, not checking on people. It's about listening to people, listen to how they are supporting them, helping them find their own solution.

[00:23:34] I mean, although as late as this, the coach. So that's so I think I just fell back to their old ways. I mean, I was in a complete panic, you know, my wife tells this story of how she was on, on session with her colleagues and she heard all these shouting upstairs. I hadn't I have, I keep her, I said, look, I can, I can do all sorts of technology, but I can't cope with shouting.

[00:23:55] Yeah. Hmm. And then what, I was talking to someone at the bank of England I can't remember how it got in contact with him, but at that time we didn't differ though. And we had just had loans and I was so angry about the, that they would do nothing to help the pitchers economy, whereas people like Denmark were providing, providing income.

[00:24:12] And yeah, I was angry and stressed. But three days later they brought it

[00:24:17] further. So Hey, maybe that was, it would be having the agriculture.

[00:24:21] Lech Guzowski: You never know. You never know, but see the thing.

[00:24:25] I see seen this story is you had a normal, what I would call a normal human reaction. The

[00:24:30] world is pretty much crumbling

[00:24:32] around us or very much being

[00:24:34] shaken. We don't know what to do. And

[00:24:36] I think a lot of people will find it, themselves

[00:24:39] and will find themselves

[00:24:40] in the future and see of similar situations. and that's where we do tend to go into this command control, especially if we can,

[00:24:45] this is, I

[00:24:46] know I do that. So I worked on many projects. I'm a project manager by trade. As soon as the project was starting to go a little bit

[00:24:53] pear shaped that's when I would step in and say, this is what We

[00:24:56] need to do. And I think it's that because I've found

[00:25:00] some comfort

[00:25:02] in the fact that, okay, a Gleason.

[00:25:03] Now, if things go wrong, I can say it was my fault that I had done it wrong. Not that somebody,

[00:25:09] you know, missed the deadline and deliver the quality and things like that So I think that's w now I'm reflecting really on, the fly, why I

[00:25:15] did used to do that. But it's, I think it's not in a way a natural

[00:25:19] instinct.

[00:25:21] Business owners, especially business owners, because you obviously you and your business, it's, it's

[00:25:24] literally your baby. It's something that you're very emotionally attached to. I think it might be different if you're a CEO that comes into

[00:25:30] an organization, that for them is just the job. Yes. I'm not questioning that they don't have that commitment and

[00:25:35] that connection, but I think it's different when you have nurtured it from the start, when you've built it from ground up.

[00:25:41] Henry Stewart: that's probably true. And it is my baby. It's taken a lot of time to, to and the other, the other thing, let me, let me explain another one then another one. But back in 2017 I I was still involved in intake in decision-making and things like that. That's happy. And I went to, I spoke at a conference in Copenhagen from womb who are a company over that.

[00:26:03] I was speaking with on the platform with David Marquette. No, David Marquette, us Navy submarine commander. who charge of submarine because it wasn't something we need to be trained for found. He couldn't tell people what to do. So instead he decided to make no decisions apart from the one pressing the the, the torpedoes, apart from that he would make no decisions and that submarine became the best performing submarine in us, Navy history.

[00:26:28] And I Heard that and came back to happy. And I think it took me some months, but I came back to happy. We would do, we were flat lining. We were making a loss. We weren't doing well. And the managing director at the time left, and you might think a founder, I would then get more involved, but learning from David, I decided, no, I will leave this to people to take responsibility.

[00:26:49] And I said, I won't even replace the managing director. If you see some of his Wells that you want to take on, take them off. And since then, I've tried to make no decisions are happy. And the result was three years of 20% growth and the big return to profit because people were stepping up and taking real responsibility and real ownership.

[00:27:10] And however much in the past, I talked about trust and freedom and you know, everybody's got, everybody's got responsibility. It

[00:27:16] was clear that actually making that decision to make no decisions. Made a real difference and I've done it with other CEOs and all of them when I've asked them to make no decisions for three months and all of them have reported their KPIs increase that the staff feel happier, all these kinds of things.

[00:27:36] So I recommend to that 20 CEOs on this call and the senior leaders make no decisions

[00:27:41] Lech Guzowski: That's to a lot of people. Shocking. that's exactly. That is the question that I've got for you. Why are so many people? So tight-fisted when it comes to this, that they would find it so, so difficult to make no decisions. Where, where is that from? Do you think.

[00:28:05] Henry Stewart: coming from, you know, a well, I, you know, I had it a lot at the time, you know, it's coming from, I believe I'm. I believe I'm good. I, you know, I'm, I, I think you said what you want to do now. Who are you doing that for? What let's, you know, I'm very clever and make the best decisions. It's taken me 30 years to realize.

[00:28:22] And partly because people are toasted the front line, but partly they did. Some of them are better at certain things than me. So let me give you an example. John and Ben decided our prices needed to be needed to change, to be increased. So you may be aware of the advice process, so don't, if you're on, but the advice posted is where one or two people take responsibility, take advice from lots of people, but then make the decisions, the decision themselves.

[00:28:44] So this isn't about consensus. It's about one or two people having responsibility in deciding, and they took advice from me and ignored it and increased the price. Because that was their responsibility. We decided that was their responsibility. And it's a classic case where I'm not the best person to make decisions.

[00:29:02] Cause I've been in this business for 32 years. I remember what prices were like in 1990. And so price is now a seem completely at distinct sync with where they were. And so they, compared that they looked at the market then looked at what was going on and that was a key part of helping us improve those sales, you know, a decision I would have blocked if I had been, if I had been in charge of decisions,

[00:29:24] Lech Guzowski: The decision making process that often creates bottlenecks. And this, I don't really like the fact how you've described the process, which says they are not seeking consensus. Are research and their response to my concern. And this is where a lot of organizations growing That decisions are made by consensus.

[00:29:40] And this is a massive bottom line, but I've got a question for you. so you, you would have said no to the price increase,

[00:29:47] Henry Stewart: Yeah.

[00:29:48] Lech Guzowski: obviously they were there. They ignored you. As you, as you admit, rightly So it worked out happens at happy when don't go well, that you say you would, you you've, you would have, if it was your decision, you would have vetoed it.

[00:30:03] You would have blocks it. And it turns out actually you were right. Or, or that it wasn't, it didn't go as expected. What happens there?

[00:30:11] Henry Stewart: Then the people responsible take responsibility. So if the price increases that meant that nobody was booking, then it would have been their responsibility to do something about it. they did with some clients, some long-term clients, you know, did get some, did get there. Some, some prices reduced on that.

[00:30:28] it's, it's trusting that the people. I able to make the right decision. And once they've made them to adjust for whatever's needed, do you trust your people? Don't you? That's the question?

[00:30:39] Lech Guzowski: Very true. Very true. I know where we kind of where we, where we agreed to talk about certain things. We're bouncing around a few topics. I really really like the thing I like about what you've mentioned is the fact that you, you have to trust your people, but a lot of organizations are kind of, as I said, really tight fester when it comes to that and they do go into command and control for different, different reasons.

[00:31:01] You know, when you decided not

[00:31:02] to not to make any decisions, because I

[00:31:04] Henry Stewart: Yeah.

[00:31:05] Lech Guzowski: will. resonate with a lot of business owners, a lot of team leaders to D who want to try that is how badly were you itching to make decisions And how did you stop yourself not getting involved?

[00:31:17] Henry Stewart: I'm not sure how badly I will. I mean

[00:31:19] Lech Guzowski: Or is that a question I should ask you Or the people working are happy.

[00:31:22] Henry Stewart: you should certainly ask them I mean, what I did, I mean, didn't the

[00:31:28] matter of your gift go off and go on the golf course or anything it's it is you set the

[00:31:32] framework. So let me give you one example of that we're training

[00:31:36] business, right? And there's two key elements in, in the metrics that we need. One is

[00:31:42] how happy the clients are. Right? So all of our trainers

[00:31:46] are focused on how happy clients at the end of the day. But there's also training utilize. What is crucial to the profitability of the business is that trainers are fully utilized. So another one they tend to look at, right? So in the old days that that old managing director would send them a report every three months about how the utilization was.

[00:32:06] So, one thing I did say, I said okay, at the end of every month, I want you to calculate your train utilization, right? I'm not going to say you're a target, but I just want you to calculate it. And as a result of that, that's

[00:32:18] that single act then calculating it every, every month meant that the cost of the trainer and the cost of the course went from 42% to 29%.

[00:32:28] And that alone made a hundred thousand pounds increase to our profit. So, so w I

[00:32:33] wasn't telling them anything. I was just asking them to measure

[00:32:36] something. I want you to measure

[00:32:37] something there's only one way you want it to go. You want it to improve.

[00:32:40] So part of my role is

[00:32:42] to spot the key metrics that need To

[00:32:44] be.

[00:32:45] To make sure the framework is

[00:32:46] there, that people are being coached rather than told what to do. These kinds of things are the kind

[00:32:50] of role that I do. And the other bit

[00:32:52] I get to do the fun, fun stuff for creating new products. that what I love doing?

[00:32:56] Lech Guzowski: Obviously you, you mentioned frameworks, but before you mentioned a couple of core principles that you've got are happy that I actually really like too, that you've mentioned. Can you? share with us some of the others principles that you, you have a happy.

[00:33:09] that guide and I'm pretty sure facilitator help the process of people just being able to do their own thing without you getting involved.

[00:33:17] Henry Stewart: Absolutely. And people often refer to these principles because they're so, so one is delight the customer. Now that's fairly obvious, but it's, it's, it's delight, not satisfied the customer delight the customer. people often think they you know, what would delight this customer? That's, that's a key question that happens at happy hour.

[00:33:36] If something goes wrong, then the aim is to over respond to it, fully delight them. is make every, make everyone feel good about themselves. That's both your, your colleagues and the clients. And that's even if you can, if you're tackling something tough, yes. Say something, somebody is not performing, whatever the aim is always leave them feeling good about themselves because people work best when they feel good about themselves.

[00:33:59] That's a, that's a, that's a core, core element. What else have we got believe the best of people. So it may look like somebody is messing up is, is, is, is something wrong and whatever, but the best thing, you know, if a client you know cancel the course or something, or does something else, or is behaving provocatively, believe the best than what is going on to them.

[00:34:19] Celebrate. That's a key piece, but when I found it happy my key mentor told me, go make mistakes and I've made plenty. And thing I often ask is, do we want mistakes? Do we want mistakes? What do you reckon?

[00:34:31] Lech Guzowski: I would say we do, but we need

[00:34:33] Henry Stewart: Absolutely. I feel if somebody came to

[00:34:36] me then the probationary period after three months and said I've been here three months.

[00:34:39] I've made no

[00:34:40] mistakes. What would you think?

[00:34:42] Lech Guzowski: Yeah. Probably didn't try hard enough.

[00:34:44] Henry Stewart: Yeah, they either they were lying or didn't try hard enough. don't want that. I will. of the things I know people love about

[00:34:51] working at happy, cause they've told me is that if they try something, take risks and it goes completely wrong. They know we will celebrate that mistake. And so that's, that is key to innovation.

[00:35:03] Ensuring things go well. And having a no blame culture and the other fifth one is make a difference in the world. So one of the things we did in the last year was we gave we've given 800 free places to NHS staff. Okay. Now there's a couple of reasons for that. One of those reasons is that back last March, and that your staff couldn't get money for anything unrelated to COVID.

[00:35:24] So if they wanted to come to, of course there was no way they could get it. And in things like liberating shorts shirts, we can talk about in moment, they, they would be really helpful how they were working. But the other element of that is I was in those early days, we were getting nobody on our courses and I just wanted to teach something.

[00:35:40] I just want it to be able to have a class with 20 or 30 people and be able to teach something. So it met both our needs. That's you know, a, it was, it was, it was helping them adjustment. B meant I could actually, you know, we could actually create those vibrant courses that worked for them.

[00:35:57] Lech Guzowski: That is an amazing the initiative or the initiative. I didn't realize that you

[00:35:59] did that. I understand kind of mutual benefits of of this. I've worked with the NHS for many, many years in my pharmaceutical

[00:36:07] days as a, as a project manager in marketing for, for them. So, and actually my role for them was creating opportunities, study days And conferences for them to

[00:36:16] come and learn.

[00:36:17] And the core principle of, of those events was it was not for the organization to

[00:36:23] make it. because it

[00:36:23] didn't, it wasn't expensive. Yes. We were

[00:36:25] getting business out of it as a result because it was networking opportunity.

[00:36:30] But the core principle, there was

[00:36:31] never product mentioned the company's product.

[00:36:34] It was

[00:36:34] fully, fully educational in the six years I was there. We got it from first event, had

[00:36:41] 40 people, just under 40 people. The LA the last event I ever organized had 200 people on it over the six years that I did that

[00:36:50] Inadvertently the organization became known in the, the, the NHS sphere that it was responsible as a training provider, not

[00:36:59] as a pharmaceutical provider, which is, which is

[00:37:02] So so,

[00:37:03] funny. But at the same time, it shows how important that element of training to the NHS is. So I'm really

[00:37:09] delighted to hear that that's what you did with the, with the NHS as well. I really love the celebrating

[00:37:14] mistakes principle that you've, mentioned. However, I've got a couple of issues

[00:37:19] with that. Doesn't that give people the opportunity to, just to kind of go,

[00:37:25] yeah, I made a mistake, whatever have that attitude of

[00:37:28] doesn't matter.

[00:37:29] So they actually don't value that and just

[00:37:31] take a bit of a,

[00:37:32] Kind of laid back to them too, too, too much of a laid back approach. How do you, what does celebrating

[00:37:37] mistakes actually look like in practice?

[00:37:39] Henry Stewart: Okay. So yeah. If somebody say turns up late every day, That's timekeeping or, let me give you an example of, this is a train who still remembers this was about 10 years ago. Who was, I was, it was training, of course, that went badly and all our facilitators know that they need to come into the office for that the admin staff now I was nearby and he said, I and I went up to him and asked, okay, tell me about the course.

[00:38:07] And he said, oh, it went so badly. I didn't prepare well enough. I didn't learn the stuff. And it, when it, when the course happened, I got defensive and I, I didn't deal with them well, and I gave him a big hug and say, I didn't say, what have you learned from it? I'm quite happy. They'll go away and, and do that with someone else.

[00:38:26] But no, just, well, what w what was key to his response? How did he respond to my question? He responded by taking full responsibility. You can't celebrate a mistake that somebody doesn't get it. You said, yes, it was my fault that you can then celebrate underneath. And he still, he still remembered that years, years later that that, that we've done that for him.

[00:38:49] And that's the kind of thing we celebrate. So if somebody comes to me and says, I've made a terrible mistake, I do say something, I'd say, okay, how many people have been killed? And go, which I'd happy, no behalf at other places. But then you've, you've no, but Amy Edmondson and her psychological safety.

[00:39:04] So as cycled, because they've about creating a no blame environment and amen, and started it by working hospitals on a PhD study. And she, she, found that the teams that had the most.

[00:39:19] Drug Everts right. She looked at which teams are the most real gathers. And she found the themes that the most, your givers were the same teams who were most effective, or you might expect that to be the opposite.

[00:39:29] The things Metro gave us were the least effective. No, they were the most effective teams in the hospital. And she, at first she didn't do the dentist. Then she went back and realized that what they would do, what was happening was they were, they had enough psychological safety to be able to report. Yeah.

[00:39:44] So if they got but joke wrong and went to wine too. Oh my goodness. they could immediately report it and deal with it. Whereas the people in the, in the coaches and the teams we blame, oh God, do I report it? What would happen? You know? So even in of like the NHS where you can kill people, if you make mistake, the importance of psychological station, no blame culture

[00:40:05] Lech Guzowski: listen could not agree more with you that about psychological safety the it's so important and one of the key things that's missing and you can, you can, you can see that straight away within, within minutes from walking into an organization or a workshop meeting, just how people interact and how open they are to sharing certain things.

[00:40:22] I purposely asked that question about celebrating would say, well, what that looks like because many organizations do say, oh, we celebrate mistakes. We, you know, we've got tolerance tolerance for failure and Okay.

[00:40:32] That's great. But my follow up question to that is,

[00:40:35] but do you have

[00:40:36] intolerance of encompass.

[00:40:37] Which is what you started off with by saying, If somebody turns up late to work every day, that's not a mistake that is

[00:40:43] for whatever. There might, again, there might be reasons why they're turning up late. So again, come following with the principle you

[00:40:49] said

[00:40:50] Henry Stewart: be, I believe the best.

[00:40:51] Lech Guzowski: the right, the best in people, there might be something that's happening outside of work that they're just not ready to share yet that it's impacting the fact.

[00:40:58] So again, it's taken that into consideration, not just assigning blame or in competence or self love the bit about taking ownership, but I think that's one thing that is also missing from general

[00:41:08] interactions throughout the day in our

[00:41:10] our lives, not

[00:41:11] just at work, just take ownership for, for your staff, where you've made mistakes, where you haven't done something,

[00:41:17] or actually when you've done something, because we often kind of shy away from, from,

[00:41:22] that. and then just being, because we don't like to brag, which I think is a culture that we also,

[00:41:25] Have a, have a bit of a problem

[00:41:26] with this. Brenda, have you heard of extreme ownership

[00:41:29] by

[00:41:29] Jocko Willink?

[00:41:31] Henry Stewart: no,

[00:41:31] I

[00:41:31] don't Know that one.

[00:41:32] Lech Guzowski: J American Navy seal.

[00:41:34] There's a tech talk that he did, and he basically just has gone into

[00:41:37] leadership training following his Navy seal.

[00:41:39] He's very, he, he's, he's tough, tough to listen to

[00:41:44] because he's very kind of no nonsense approach, direct

[00:41:47] typical Navy seal. and it's actually useful, but can be

[00:41:53] a bit of a shock when you listen to him. So he's not a very, everybody he'd also

[00:41:56] does have a podcast where some of his episodes are literally three And a half hours

[00:41:59] long we're conversations, which is just insane, but They are, they are really,

[00:42:04] really good.

[00:42:04] Henry Stewart: But told van competence. If you've, why have you recruited them? If they're competent.

[00:42:09] Lech Guzowski: that's the other thing?

[00:42:10] How do you recruit people to screen for that? Because let's face it, a lot of the recruitment processes,

[00:42:15] I would say I'm massively broken because we recruit the wrong, the wrong people based on the wrong things. And have a standard process

[00:42:24] interviews and I hated interviews when I was back when I was interviewing for organizations a set number of questions, asked to every single candidate and everybody's like,

[00:42:31] there's no kind of where's the human in that element.

[00:42:34] Where is

[00:42:35] that?

[00:42:36] Henry Stewart: so we believe in not asking questions and interviews,

[00:42:39] Lech Guzowski: How'd you do your envision?

[00:42:40] Henry Stewart: we got people to do the job.

[00:42:43] Lech Guzowski: Tell me more.

[00:42:44] Henry Stewart: So here's a, here's another example. I got one and I got it wrong. This here. In fact, even after 33 years we've been recruiting for online facilitators. And we, we, we did it by rush. We did it by suddenly and we, we, we got them in and we, they, they, we got them in, we get people in groups of six, right?

[00:43:03] We want to see them interact. One of our key criteria is that they're positive and supported by others. I have no interest in asking them, when have you been positive and supportive? I want to see them being positive and supportive, right? So we've got them in groups of six and then they trained us. And what I realized at the end of it was they had no idea what we were looking for. You know, we, I do believe that we have got the most engaging and interactive online courses, anywhere sitting in the UK and problem possibly on the planet. And then no way to know that. And we ended up frustrated. They ended up frustrated. They probably won't recommend us to anybody else. So we then ran it again.

[00:43:40] And this time I gave a one hour, one hour presentation on how to deliver great training, the happy way. Okay. And then we did, we had a first round with just five minutes and then a second round with 20 minutes. And I actually wrote a blog on it. On LinkedIn and three of the candidates wrote in about, in the comments, how much they'd appreciate it, including one that we would get to the first round because they actually, all, they've got to learn something.

[00:44:05] They got to understand how we did things. When they then presented to us, it was so much

[00:44:09] better. And and we were able then then to recruit, whereas we couldn't very well the first time. So, get people to do the job in the interview.

[00:44:18] I've lots of collaborative get lots of people from, from happy be at the interviews the more people you get, the

[00:44:25] more,

[00:44:25] Diversity you'll get.

[00:44:26] let's stop asking questions, please.

[00:44:28] Lech Guzowski: I'm all for that. However, I will ask a question now is when you've got more technical

[00:44:34] roles.

[00:44:35] Henry Stewart: what,

[00:44:35] Lech Guzowski: Fantastic. Well, if you've got more technical

[00:44:37] roles,

[00:44:38] Henry Stewart: solve techie stuff,

[00:44:39] Lech Guzowski: so you actually fit

[00:44:40] Henry Stewart: getting to solve.

[00:44:40] Lech Guzowski: them case that this is solved for yet. That's what I thought, because obviously there's an element. I work with a lot of tech companies.

[00:44:46] They, they, they hire a lot of developers. need to check for the

[00:44:51] Henry Stewart: Yeah. Get them to get them to solve a problem or do a new piece of code or something like that. Why would you do anything else?

[00:44:57] Lech Guzowski: but then how do you, how do you do the other elements of making sure that they kind of fit with the culture that you've got at know.

[00:45:06] Henry Stewart: That's where you, that's where you bring them in groups of six and get them to go and see what they like. So one of the companies I'd love is, is, is next jump, you know, next him.

[00:45:16] Lech Guzowski: Love him.

[00:45:17] Henry Stewart: Okay. So they, as they say, they in in the two thousands hide a bunch of very skilled jerks, right. Who who were paying to deal with because they did only look at the programming.

[00:45:30] Okay. And you're quite right to ask them all. Now they hire on humans. And they look for and yeah, some of that is they do so last question. So they will ask, ask about a project and if you say it was all about you, they won't hire you. If you say, well, there were 7,707, so they, they, they will be more likely to hire you.

[00:45:47] So yeah. Having on your humility, having on the frills on the positive and supportive of others, you get people to work together to see how they work.

[00:45:54] Lech Guzowski: This next jump. Still have the policy that you cannot be fired for related issues.

[00:46:01] Henry Stewart: I believe they do. Yes, they do.

[00:46:03] because they found that the founder was asked by, we've said we're a family. And somebody said to said to him, you know, well, how come you're filing it? Would you find people from your family? And he went away and thought about

[00:46:15] it and decided that no, he wouldn't.

[00:46:17] So yeah, that's, that's their policy.

[00:46:20] Lech Guzowski: I Love I love, that I've one of my favorite books is an everyone culture where they are featured along side to other

[00:46:28] American companies. Fascinating read such a good bit. And that's why I've learned most of my about, mostly about the next jump as well. The, the thing that you mentioned about family there's another one I think is Barry Waymiller.

[00:46:38] I think they're a manufacturing organization in the U S when that. CEO treats people, he doesn't, he doesn't believe in head counts. He considers his heart counts. So it's the same in the same vein

[00:46:53] of what you said, that you wouldn't find somebody from your own family. So by doing it, considering people's hearts, rather than that, because it didn't headcounts, it's, you're kind of closer.

[00:47:02] You're connected to them as a result. And they were now going through some, I think it was 2008 issues. Did you manufacture that? They lost most of their business. He, they introduced this

[00:47:10] policy that they will have to lay people off.

[00:47:12] And how, how, how did they do that? And So they came up with the idea of eh, mandatory leave that people would have

[00:47:19] to take a month off.

[00:47:20] Unpaid leave, but that would prevent mass layoffs. And when they

[00:47:25] introduce the idea, what started happening is people started sharing, started swapping.

[00:47:32] Some people said,

[00:47:33] actually, Lisa I've, you know, I've got another

[00:47:35] income in the household. I don't need to take that much time off. So I'll take

[00:47:39] month and a half off.

[00:47:41] So somebody else

[00:47:41] only has to take a

[00:47:42] half, half a month off and things like that. and it was the kind of the trading that happened that just really brought the team together. and they've

[00:47:48] survived as an organization. That's fantastic case study as well that.

[00:47:52] I suggest

[00:47:52] people to, to to look into right.

[00:47:54] There's been a couple of questions. Well, quite a few, actually

[00:47:57] that way. Asked by the listeners, because I did

[00:48:01] mention to, to people on the mailing list, listen, Henry's coming on. here's your opportunity to pick, pick his brain.

[00:48:06] so you have in the happy manifesto, many

[00:48:09] suggestions, when you rules many kinds of, principles that organizations can use, how do you prevent

[00:48:15] what I call the Toyota supply chain issue from happening? Because everybody copied

[00:48:21] Toyota in the last 20, 30 years

[00:48:23] did basically copy and paste And things are failing.

[00:48:26] Now, actually we needed, it's been most visible during the pandemic where the supply chain has been so

[00:48:30] disrupted, because what happened is that it was just the kind of the

[00:48:34] surface rules that were taken from Toyota and not the actual culture and some of the principles beyond the bit below the surface that make it work.

[00:48:42] How do people. Avoid taking what you put in to happy the happy manifesto and not just kind of pacing, making sure that it doesn't happen to them, they fail.

[00:48:53] Henry Stewart: That's a very good point. At my natural artist is to say that you learned how to do it properly. So we, we have some fabulous ones. So from a book you can hopefully pick up some stuff and some people have picked up an awful lot from it. I was one guy who rang me and said, can you, can we meet for coffee?

[00:49:08] I've read your book. And I said, yeah let's, let's meet up. And he told me that he'd read them. Put it all into practice and had entered the Sunday times and come talk.


[00:49:18] Henry Stewart: And I thought, Andy, and that's a guy who didn't buy anything from us. He didn't even buy the books and they gave it to but I, I love that.

[00:49:24] I love that some people like to do that, but you might, in some organizations, you can't just put in place of the things like, like one of our key things, it pre-approval the idea that of coming back for approval, you approve somebody in advance with guidelines. I mean, my classic example, which is in the book and you've heard me before will know this one, but it's our cafe coordinator who was 19 years old and she wanted to

[00:49:48] improve as a Catholic.

[00:49:50] she, instead of saying, give us a proposal and we'll look at it, or that form a committee, we said, here's the budget. Let's think about the check. You understand how it. Looks and feels, then left her to decide for herself. And I thought for the first time when it had been implemented when it was done, but just think as like, how do you think that 19 year old, three months in the first job, walking into her Catholic each morning

[00:50:13] Absolutely proud and felt a real sense of ownership in it. So , pre-approval I always say pre-approval is like the first step, but my colleague Nikki said to me, hang on Henry. What you don't understand is that not everyone has the level of psychological safety we have happy. And actually, if you tell somebody pre-approval and they're going to get blamed the results, they will just be.

[00:50:36] So, yes, there's a whole picture. You need psychological safety in the organization. You need managers who are not experts who tell people what to do, but instead coach that people, you need the concept of playing to people's strengths. You need all of these in place. You can't just pick one of those.

[00:50:53] You can't just pick the peer boobs and think all the vest with Matt, because they've been, since we're often asked by clients to come in and facilitate a session on resilience for their people. And we'll often look at, I can say, hang on, what's management doing here because they're basically saying, well, we've got toxic management.

[00:51:11] We'd like a, to more resilient. And we say no to that. We say, no, unless you let us train your management. Then we weren't, we're not going to help facilitate session resilience for your people because actually there's no point if it's got, if you've got a toxic work.

[00:51:23] Lech Guzowski: Yeah.

[00:51:25] Henry Stewart: genuine that actually many, some organizations really get it.

[00:51:28] So like I was talking to I went into the boardroom of a charity and along the, along the wall, they had 13 best workplace. Right. And you might think, well, that means they don't need me, but actually I thought, great. These people get it. And I gave my talk and a week later, the

[00:51:44] chief executive said, these are the eight things we have done as a result of

[00:51:48] your talk, which have made a difference in our organization.

[00:51:51] The some organizations absolutely get it and can put these things into practice. Some, you know, listen to a talk. And haven't quite got around to organize, going to beacon to think about it two months later, you

[00:52:03] know and there, and

[00:52:04] I don't know, I guess they had a kind of pizza do need the Grogan, but, but the programs work, you know, they help transform organization.

[00:52:11] Lech Guzowski: They for sure though. And actually it's funny. You're right. That the organizations that walk into things like, wow, how can I help them? They're already doing things in

[00:52:20] Henry Stewart: Yeah. They're the ones who get it.

[00:52:21] Lech Guzowski: The ones that would get in such a joy, working with organizations like that, where you

[00:52:26] Henry Stewart: Yes.

[00:52:26] Lech Guzowski: more time, eh, thinking of what you can do, different, what you can do better.

[00:52:31] So how we can go to the next level rather than

[00:52:35] having to use a sledge sledgehammer to get rid of some of the concrete that is, you know, things are setting in, in these organizations, which is an important

[00:52:42] thing. And actually, again, power to organizations who want to get rid of that concrete. You have to start somewhere and it's such

[00:52:49] an important, such an important point that. you know, numb is the same that I like

[00:52:54] is it goes the start.

[00:52:58] Or small doesn't matter, as long as you start and it's with the organizations, work in the Calgary has exactly the same thing. You know, It's that first

[00:53:05] half of that first workshop, I'm always in two minds. When you also, you mentioned

[00:53:09] the organizations that you've worked with, you've done a meeting with them.

[00:53:12] You I've done a

[00:53:12] program with him with them, and they've taken two months to do a

[00:53:15] follow-up to, to kind of action. Some of that stuff that's happened always in two minds by organizations who do do that, it's like, okay, yes, I will help you out, but you still have to take that ownership. You still

[00:53:24] have to do take it to the next

[00:53:26] Henry Stewart: Yeah. And that's why, yeah. That's why on a four day program, we don't do it in four days. We do it over three months so that we, so that they have. to come back And report on what they've done,

[00:53:36] you know? And,

[00:53:36] and you know, and it helps you hear all the peers and what they've done, and you, you have to have something to present.

[00:53:42] Lech Guzowski: Okay. Another question that was sent in, I'm guessing somebody who must've listened to Kate's interview a few weeks ago as Well about the main change that you've introduced that kind of rendered deliver the best results into the organization for look, I think it was that he, they started treating people as adults, which I'm pretty certain is as a result of reading the happy manifesto.

[00:54:06] And I absolutely love that, but I guess my question to you is over, over the years working,

[00:54:12] just limit to narrow it down to, to happy. One of the things that you've introduced at happy big or small doesn't matter, but which one do you think had the biggest impact on, on the organization, on the company culture and the people in it?

[00:54:26] Henry Stewart: Okay. I think it has to be moving managers to be coaches because. That role of being an expert, telling people what to do, it doesn't work. And, you know, and we've had, we've had managers who did that. We had one manager we lost three people because of, until we realized what was going on. So the key change is that your role as a manager is not to tell people what to do.

[00:54:49] It's to build their confidence, ask questions and help them find their own solution. And as long as that is, that is the role. It's the role that Google found in project oxygen was the role of the manager to be a great coach. that's the biggest difference. I think that over the 30 years which is something I never, never saw at the start, because that isn't the way we expect it to, but it is increasingly becoming the way that organizations work.

[00:55:13] But I'm glad to say so for the, all you have.

[00:55:16] If you're manager is your role to coach. if you're being managed, is that the volume plan that your, your, your manager is taking, maybe you're self managing that be even better?

[00:55:27] Lech Guzowski: That's the other thing, I think this kind of goes in a bit full circle, what we started off with managers holding onto that control and, and having that lack of trust in people that they will be able to, just to do their job and considering them as just focus on the results that they deliver. I think you've mentioned when we, we ha we spoke before is something around the, the people should be able to choose their own managers.

[00:55:49] Henry Stewart: Well, obviously,

[00:55:50] Lech Guzowski: Tell me more. How well do you think that works

[00:55:53] Henry Stewart: okay. So let's say somebody comes to you and says, I love my job. I love the people I work

[00:55:58] with. even happy with what I'm

[00:56:00] being paid, but I stand my manager. Okay. What normally happens in most organized.

[00:56:06] People peop people will leave people . Leave managers, don't leave organizations. So we do is simply what we use, well, that'd be the coaches, but what we do is we simply say, who would you like instead? So and then we, that people, people should be able to choose their managers.

[00:56:22] And if your manager is a coach, rather than a hierarchical, whatever, then it becomes really easy. And we've done that with one large public sector organization where 600 people are now choosing their own managers. and, that they, yeah, they they're, people say it's enabled me to gain control of my career.

[00:56:41] I can't see why you would have an organization where you don't choose your managers. Can you

[00:56:45] Lech Guzowski: No other than because we've, we that's how we've done it for the past. God knows how many decades, which is something that most organizations cling on to that's because we've done it this way. And why should we change

[00:56:55] Henry Stewart: yeah, it's it just to me makes absolute obvious sense. I couldn't imagine the Indonesian way

[00:57:01] if anyone's got any other, any reason why you, why have to choose your manager, please send them in. I'd love to hear it because I can't think about it

[00:57:08] Lech Guzowski: There is a call to action for our listeners. Please, please do send in your comments and suggestion why you shouldn't do that. See, the thing I often mentioned is, and something that I very, very deeply believe is the fact that we are. And as I said, the reason why a lot of people don't change it's because the arguments, because we've done it.

[00:57:25] So in such a way for so many years, and that's where a lot of the business practices that we use up until now relics from decades ago, they worked for different times of developed during certain times. And that was fine and it's not vilifying them, but they just don't work. They haven't But being able to choose your own managers, one of them which for a lot of organizations will be extreme.

[00:57:43] But the other thing that we just, we just spoke about at the

[00:57:45] Henry Stewart: Well extreme. Why, why extreme?

[00:57:48] Lech Guzowski: Again, I believe because that control, I, it.

[00:57:51] Henry I definitely on your side with this, it's just in it's absolute insanity. Why we cling on to so many things.

[00:57:58] Henry Stewart: Let me tell you, I did, I did a forethought talk on this on major for 15 minutes on why she choose you and manager. And I got lots of feedback and I got lots of people saying, oh, it could never happen here, but I got nobody saying it. Wasn't a good idea. Not one person.

[00:58:12] Lech Guzowski: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's always, it's often that reaction wouldn't

[00:58:16] work my company.

[00:58:17] Henry Stewart: Yeah.

[00:58:18] Lech Guzowski: think it's somebody who, you mentioned that a few minutes ago, that somebody pointed out to you that certain organizations don't have of the let's call them that happy does the psychological safety, the openness

[00:58:28] and things.

[00:58:28] I had to introduce these things. and I

[00:58:31] Henry Stewart: Yeah,

[00:58:31] Lech Guzowski: that's where potentially answering the question. My own question, I've asked a while back, was take the, the, copy and paste approach to your principles. They try and start

[00:58:42] them at their organizations, but they don't have those

[00:58:43] prerequisites. And that's why they fail.

[00:58:45] Henry Stewart: yeah, yeah, absolutely. But someone like Luke, you know again initially he didn't, he didn't, we did we did late to facilitate coaching for him, but initially he just read the book and put it all into practice.

[00:58:58] And it just worked. And because again, they had the kind of dynamic organization that could make it.

[00:59:03] Lech Guzowski: The chat with Luke that I, that

[00:59:05] we had, it was just a fascinating lesson. it was such a fascinating, it was wonderful. It was the first episode where I thought, yeah, where we're meant to be

[00:59:11] talking for about 45 minutes. Cause that's the usual length

[00:59:14] of

[00:59:14] the episodes and I'm going, I'm not gonna there's no chance

[00:59:16] we can get this done. So I just let it run. And we, I think we talked for about an hour and a half henry, what have you

[00:59:22] got going on? Because you mentioned obviously the happy it has gone

[00:59:25] through. Transformation the last 12 months, because of everything that's been going on, you have to shift your kind of your

[00:59:30] programs and how you deliver them and so on and so forth.

[00:59:32] So what has the next two months, three months or the rest of the

[00:59:36] year lined up for you and yes, by the way, this is an opportunity to plug away anything that happy does, and I'll be more than happy to include all.

[00:59:44] the links to whatever you mentioned in show

[00:59:46] notes.

[00:59:46] Henry Stewart: Okay. So there's a, there's a couple of things I'm personally involved in. One is we are what I call the happy MBA. Now it's not a real MBA because we don't have a university accreditation, but what this is is 20 months where you will get to learn all the epic on concepts, trust and freedom psychological safety, of this kind of thing, and able to put it into practice in your organization.

[01:00:07] And if you're in the, if you're in England, it's fully, it pretty fully funded. If you pay the pension. It's fully funded from that. If you don't, it's 95% funded

[01:00:18] Lech Guzowski: Wow. Wow.

[01:00:20] Henry Stewart: you can have a 20 month program as a senior leader to 700 pounds. If you don't pay the pension levy you will, what

[01:00:27] Lech Guzowski: Yeah.

[01:00:27] Henry Stewart: get in that as you'll get to experience, you get really to learn all of these ideas and be able to put them directly into practice.

[01:00:35] And we've got the first one just started a couple of months ago. I've got 30 people on it and we've got another one starting September. So that that's, that's the thing I've been putting all my effort into. Cause it's a real realization of everything that we've achieved and been able to fund it to a pension levy makes it really attractive for people.

[01:00:53] I'm also, I also do you know, liberating structures.

[01:00:56] Are you ever at meeting like one or two people?

[01:01:00] Lech Guzowski: Quite often. Yes.

[01:01:01] Henry Stewart: Yeah. Okay. So liberating structures. Well, let, let me do the phase I'd love, which actually comes from Google is be aware of your posts. Do you know what a hippo is? And the idea is it's not, I'm not talking about a swamp, swamp based African animal. What do you think it might mean?

[01:01:15] Beware of the highest paid person's opinion.

[01:01:19] Lech Guzowski: oh, I love that.

[01:01:21] Henry Stewart: Yeah. So particularly as the highest paid person is probably not in touch with the frontline at all. So they've structured the 33 methods that give every been equal. And this is a key part of what we've been teaching on those free courses to the NHS. We we, we, we teach them in full day workshops where you get eight or nine of them, or to ask sessions where you get, where you got four of them.

[01:01:44] And just give you a simple example. Any of your listeners can try this. It's called one to four all. Okay. And so you pose a prompt or question in your, in your meeting and you spend one minute in private reflection, two minutes in past four minutes in

[01:02:00] pause before you come together. And what that means is every bit is a chance to talk about it.

[01:02:06] If people weren't quite sure if they're thinking that I've got a good, a good sense of whether other people think it's a good idea. And and then you come back together and you might put it all in chat, or you might put it on a document, or you might be talking about. But that's one very simple way to give everybody an equal force.

[01:02:20] So that's one of the liberating structures. There's lots small. And this is bad three years ago, I posted somewhere on LinkedIn, God, Amit, our clients have so many meetings. Can you think of a way to improve them? And somebody responded with, yeah. Have you heard of the new structures? And they make a real difference that we've got, got some NHS trusts that they're using them through apps

[01:02:42] at the moment.

[01:02:43] And it's it meaning that it's not the loudest people that get to, get to have the decisions. It's gets to think about it. So liberating structures is something I absolutely love and adore. And the other stuff where we have a four day, as I said, the four day leadership

[01:02:57] program, is how, if you haven't got 20 months you, you can just do it over four months.

[01:03:01] And we've also this year started a brave

[01:03:03] leadership program, which my colleague, Kathy Nikki are doing for women. So what, what does women's league. Look like so there's all sorts of exciting things, things on, as well as all the old Excel training that we, we've been doing for 25 years,

[01:03:18] Lech Guzowski: So you still, you still do the stuff that you started off with. Happy.

[01:03:22] Henry Stewart: we still do that. We still do

[01:03:24] Lech Guzowski: Amazing.

[01:03:25] Henry Stewart: want word or access, but they still XL is still something that people need to learn.

[01:03:31] Lech Guzowski: I might register I'm rubbish with XL. I avoid it like the plague. yeah.

[01:03:34] Henry Stewart: you must register. Yeah. it goes at the moment, it's all online

[01:03:37] Lech Guzowski: Okay.

[01:03:38] Henry Stewart: We hope that we have some classrooms at the moment, but mainly it's, it's 90% and we make them truly engaging.

[01:03:46] Lech Guzowski: That's some really, really brilliant initiatives. I really like the ones about liberating structures. They mentioned I've never heard of the concept, but I'll

[01:03:51] definitely be checking that out. Cause that's one thing I do a lot of meeting and workshop facilitation, not

[01:03:56] just stuff that I deliver, but I

[01:03:58] can get brought into to help clients.

[01:04:00] And you're right. It's always, it's often the two, three people in the room. That's like the entire attention

[01:04:06] and I'm sure I can learn a lot from that. From, from the liberal college searches And things.

[01:04:11] Henry Stewart: nowadays what the others do is they just go off and do their email because you know, they're online and, and you, there's no way you can do your email, you another breaking churches event because you have you're involved.

[01:04:22] Lech Guzowski: Yeah, well, that's the thing. We've got so many meetings that we've got meeting after meeting after meeting was when do we actually find time to work and which meetings are important? There's one thing that I literally a few days ago put on LinkedIn and do daring people in their organizations to try this and give your people in, in the organization, the power for one week to say no to an internal meeting and just say, could you send me.

[01:04:51] the summary?

[01:04:52] And see what happens, first of all, how many people take that advantage to which will be indicative of how psychologically safe they feel to do that? First of all, second of all, it's for the organizers, people who cost these meetings might be a bit of a scary lesson because they might find out that a lot of people are actually requesting, but if That's what needs to happen, that's when this happens, because that will just bring to give to the fourth at that forefront that, you know, you are having meetings that they have no purpose,

[01:05:17] just get rid of him.

[01:05:18] Henry Stewart: what response did you get

[01:05:19] Lech Guzowski: People were shocked and goes like, fantastic idea. I love that but a lot of organizations go in wouldn't wouldn't work in my organizations, classic response.

[01:05:30] I haven't, haven't heard back. It was literally two or three days ago. So I'll, we'll be checking with people whether they, they will be,

[01:05:36] we'll be doing that for sure. Cause I'd love

[01:05:38] to learn.

[01:05:38] Henry Stewart: One thing, I, I love it. It comes from blue states And he was also speaking at our conference who used to be five to Twitter, monk mode morning. the idea of monk mode morning is at, least two or three days a week. Have no meetings And no email before 11. Just get stuff done.

[01:05:54] So I would recommend that your readers it's, it's worked brilliantly for me.

[01:05:58] Lech Guzowski: The, the other, the other thing that I used to do. in my project management days, it works far better in real

[01:06:04] life than it does on virtual set. The settings is I would do my best ho to have meetings in rooms where there were no

[01:06:12] chairs, so people can sit and get comfortable and you know, what surprisingly productive and brief meetings happen then.

[01:06:18] Henry Stewart: That'd be good. That'd be good. That's that's a good one.

[01:06:21] Lech Guzowski: So definitely, definitely. If you, if you, if you, if you're back in the offices, then for sure something, something to try And I'm going to try and wrap this up, but what, the one question that I'd really like to ask you, because you're the, type of person definitely has gone through a lot in the, in the last 20, 30 years, you've, you've kind of been on the journey.

[01:06:40] I'm really curious. What do you think is kind of the future of organizations and company cultures? And specifically for me this is, a very broad question because I'd like to leave in Tanya up to you. is the future of company cultures, the importance of, how the organizations kind of develop and what do we need to do?

[01:06:59] What do you think that looks like? would, what would you like it to look like in, in

[01:07:05] your

[01:07:05] mind?

[01:07:05] Henry Stewart: I'd like it to look like, whether it will get there. I don't know. I mean, I want my aim is that a happy workplace is the norm and not. That's what we want. And so we, we, we hope they will be organizations based on trust And freedom, where people have the autonomy to decide for themselves where people are doing what they're good at, where the managers coach them.

[01:07:26] And hopefully there'll be a good range of self managing organizations because the examples like bits org just at, so, so world away from anything else out there, you know, I mean, I'm sure, you know, the Dutch care organization, but there are 15,000 staff and no managers. And as a result, their overheads are 8% rather than 30%.

[01:07:48] They, they, people, people that have told me, they, I feel like.

[01:07:52] I got my vocation back cause I'm able to decide, decide what I do. And they all work in teams of 10 to 12. And that only managers that's the, that for me is, is the future of work. And it's spreading and hopefully it will spread further.

[01:08:07] Lech Guzowski: I've got absolutely nothing to add to that. And it's actually so

[01:08:13] delighting to hear you say that, that you kind of, you want this to become the norm rather than the exception. That's kind of the mission that I've got with this podcast that I want to see organizations that are people focus, that they put that people have been numbers and showcasing

[01:08:28] Henry Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

[01:08:30] Lech Guzowski: example REDICO in the industry, people on the other side to help other organizations that's who I want to showcase because I want these organizations to become. The the norm, rather than the exception, that type of approach would become the norm rather than the exception that is at the moment to say it was an absolute joy chat with you, it would be just the grossest of understatements.

[01:08:51] It's, it's fascinating to speak to people like yourself and read who have been through that, continue doing that and have that balance because I think if we are to undo change the practices that we've been using for the past 30, 40 years, we need more of that. And I think it's in our responsibility to, to do that now, now, so we build these organizations for the future generations, for them to be better so that we create that shift and we have this fantastic opportunity to do that.

[01:09:18] And I'm so grateful for, for, for your time. I'm so grateful for, for sharing your notes. And as I say, there's been absolutely talking to you and there's something that's

[01:09:27] Henry Stewart: And do you like.

[01:09:28] Lech Guzowski: Thank you very much. I know there's something that's always missing from, from the podcast that I can see you, the listeners cannot, they can only hear you.

[01:09:36] And one thing I've been saying is the Henry has such energy about him. He's sitting here, he's sitting there in his lovely, colorful shirts for the flowers, and it's just with the biggest beaming smile on his face. So just to bring you I've been experiencing for the last hour and a half, and I'm hoping at least half of this energy comes through on just the audio without the video.

[01:10:00] It's been an absolute pleasure Henry yet again, thank you very much.

[01:10:03] Henry Stewart: A pleasure. Thank you very much.


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