Las Vegas 2023

Fireside Chat: Finding the Right Fit with André Martin

Fireside Chat: Finding the Right Fit with Dr. André Martin


Dr. André Martin

Chief Talent and Learning Officer, Author, Wrong Fit, Right Fit





So, uh, I'll be doing a fireside chat, uh, with Dr. Andre Martin. He's an organizational psychologist and the author of the upcoming book, no, this, this book's out. Uh, it's out Wrong Fit, right Fit, how We Work Matters More than Ever. Uh, so I love this guy. He spent 20 years as a chief learning officer, uh, or the Chief Talent Officers, uh, like, uh, at, well-known brands such as Mars Incorporated. Nike. He was AB VP of a people Dev at Google. Yes, sir. Um, and at Target. So he's now an operating advisor, board member, executive coach, consultant, um, focusing on high performance teams, employee engagement, culture building, and strategy development. So Andre, Hey Gene. Awesome book. Uh, I love the phrase, uh, to succeed as a company, all you need is engaged employees, satisfied customers, and sufficient cash flow. But I always found the link between business outcomes engagement, a little tenuous. We had a phenomenal speed talk on that, uh, yesterday. But something that really made everything, uh, fit together for me was this amazing quadrant diagram in your book. Can you tell us more about that? Yeah,


I'd be happy to. So one of the things that came up for me early in writing the book I was doing these interviews with talent was this idea of commitment versus engagement, right? And when they started talking about the work that was happening, they started to look at their work on two different vectors. One was, how much impact does that work have in the company system place that I'm working? And the other one was, how meaningful is that work to me? And what was really true in the Matrix was to get full engagement. It is essential that you're doing work that both has meaning to you. That is, its in your craft. It's something you care highly about. You're learning a great deal from it, and that work actually has impact on the company. When one of those two things are true, you get commitment. And when neither of those things are true, all you have sitting with you is a compliant employee who is a narrowed version of themselves and probably not adding the value that they could add every day if you gave 'em a chance to do their best work. And so that's really where it came from. And I gotta tell you, everybody that I talked to when they were in a right fit situation, when life was flowing, when it felt like everything was working, that work was both meaningful and important every time.


Uh, it's amazing. Uh, and so you talked about how team leaders can, uh, what team leaders can do to help, uh, their teams find fit to keep them, uh, fully committed, engaged, um, and you had this, uh, concept of inspirational buffers. Can you talk through each one of those and describe what they are and why they're important?


I will. So the buffers came through this idea that I kept getting questions in the interviews around, Hey, if I have right fit, how do I keep it? If I'm in a hard fit situation that is, life just feels a little bit more difficult at work than it should feels like I'm riding with my non-dominant hand, how do I make it better? And if I have a wrong fit situation, I know this isn't the place for me to do my job. How do I make it palpable and easy enough that it doesn't destroy the rest of my life? And so these buffers were born, right? And they were born outta two different areas. One is, there's buffers that are about inspiration. It's about you connecting or helping your employees connect to this singular question about why is the world better with us in it? And the other set of buffers are relational.


It's about sort of our relationships and sense of belonging that I have. And so on the inspirational side, I could talk about all of them for days, but I'll give you two that really stood out for me. One is, if you're in a situation that you're sort of in a hard fit, one of my greatest advice to you as an employee or as a leader is to make sure you connect with a customer or a consumer every single day. That could be a story on a website. It could be reaching out to a customer that's satisfied and find out why do you love working with us? It could be listening to a story or reading one on the internet, but some way to remind yourself why being in this system, being in this company matters to somebody all the way downstream. A second one in the inspirational buffers is just giving your employees or yourself a legitimate relationship with time.


In the days that we live in, folks time, we've lost our relationship with it. We've somehow gotten this mindset that it is infinite. And so we go back to back, to back, to back to back. We close our door, we open up our computer, we're sitting with our family, and we've got one hand under the table scrolling through all the emails that we're trying to read. One of the greatest ways to erode your engagement and commitment is by not utilizing your time on million dollar conversations, making sure that the time is going to places and work and people that are feeding you, that they're giving you energy, helping you do your best work. And so one of my biggest advice for leaders is if you want highly committed employees, help them manage their calendar by managing your calendar, your calendar is your company. And if you don't, make sure that you're having million dollar conversations, I gotta tell you what, everyone downstream, those are $5 conversations they're having, man. Right? And so on the other side are the relational buffers. And a couple of these that really stood out, that came through the, uh, interviews was this idea of finding your workplace BFF or doppelganger, your workplace. BFF is someone in the system, in the company that you can turn to and say, man, life is just hard right now. And you know what they're gonna say in return? I'm busy. Yeah. <laugh>, I


Hope not. Sorry, what do they


Say? Yeah, yeah. No, I, I hope they don't say busy. I hope they say, you know what? Tell me more. I'm here for you. Right? Having that, or helping your employees find that greatest way to keep someone in seat. 'cause if we have just a little sense of belonging, the days are a lot easier. And then the second one is your doppelganger. And this was a really fascinating one for me. Your doppelganger isn't the person in the world that looks just like you. Your workplace doppelganger is the person who has the same experiences, the same skills. They're likely in the same role, except there's one key difference between you and them. They're walking through this company riding with their right hand. It feels easy, and they're being a great success. While you might feel like you're slogging in mud. And the reason they're important is this, if you can have an example in this company of where your doppelganger is succeeding, there's a really good chance you could too. And so finding them, talking to them, figuring out like, what did you do, gene, to get so good, to make this so easy, be such a success. That's super important. So these buffers are all in the book, and I gotta tell you, any one of them used for yourself or with your team, and you're gonna be able to keep that commitment above water. And people are gonna feel like they're doing more than just treading through the day, right? Every single day. Versus


Just compliant <laugh>, which made me feel so sad. <laugh>. Um, so, uh, you know, what I've learned very lately is that leaders are responsible for the outcomes, but you know, they achieve those outcomes by saying the conditions so that people can do their work easily and well. Yeah. So you described this in your book as, uh, the three P's, principles, practices, and patterns. Uh, tell us more about why you, uh, tell us about the framework and, uh, how we can use it to be helpful and how can it be used to help leaders achieve more?


You got it. So before we get into them, I want to tell you a piece of research that has literally turned me on my head. MIT along with Culture 500, did a piece of research studying the cultures of some of the best companies out there. And they did it in two ways, right? They took the espoused culture that the leaders would stand up and say, this is who we are. They looked at career sites, they looked at annual reports, they look at leadership ship speeches, and YouTube videos of all the things that leaders say we value in our company. And they waited those based on, which were said the most often thinking that what they must be the most important, right? And then they took those values and looked on the employee review sites to see how often those same words were a part of the felt experience that employees in that company were having every day.


And one of the most disappointing thing in the world is that they found zero correlation between those two things. The espouse values that leaders were standing up and talking about were not the felt experience that people were having every day. And that just breaks my heart as an organizational psychologist, because I believe and have always been committed to saying, everyone deserves to work at a place where they can do, do the best work of their lives. And so you leaders out there and those who are above you, the piece of work you have to do, the thing that we don't do very well today is we don't get super clear about our work principles. What are the ground rules for how work gets done here? Our practices, what are the methods for how we set strategy, make decisions, solve problems? How we collaborate, how we manage conflict, how we give feedback, how we socialize our relationship with time?


How do we think about rest and recovery? These things are core to every random Tuesday in October when someone walks in your door and tries to be great. And we leave it to chance, we, it's a newcomer. If you came into my company right now, most companies would say, Hey, gene, this place is crazy. It's a good kind of crazy. And the only way you're gonna learn how to be successful is you just gotta go out and bump into it. So good luck, <laugh>, right? And all you do, every time I have to bump in the company to figure out how it works, guess what you're doing to my engagement? You're chipping away at it. Because the day before I joined your company, I was sitting with my partner, my spouse, my mom, my best friends, and I was telling 'em, I can't wait to go work for Jean. And then I get there and no one tells me how to be a success. And so every day I'm just losing a little bit of commitment. So get really clear about those work principles, those practices, and you all are in this space. The platforms that we do work from, that is the core of culture and the future. Those platforms are built to create a certain way of working, and they matter now in hybrid and remote work more than ever before.


Awesome. You know, there was actually one thing in, uh, your book that just, uh, stunned me. Uh, you know, most leaders in this community, uh, they live or die by the quality of their boss. Yeah. Uh, so I was startled by your claim. The team makes the manager not the other way around. How can leaders train their bosses so that they're more supportive?


This is the secret. The secret to having a great high commitment, high engagement experience is that this is what's true. I've worked in the world of executive development culture for 20 years. And the one thing I can tell you that as you rise up in an organization, you get less and less quality feedback as you go. The higher you are, the less likely anybody is to give you high quality, useful developmental feedback. Why? Why do you think that is?


Uh, I'm too afraid.


Yeah. I'm too afraid. I'm not safe. I'm worried that if I say something negative to you, it's gonna impact my career. And so here's my advice to all of you, is you actually can make your manager. Because when you're in a dearth of feedback, every manager, every leader out in the world is looking for someone to tell them how to be better. And so I would tell each you to do this today. Take out a piece of paper, make a list of the 10 top qualities of a leader, the 10 behaviors that if you had, you could do the best work of your life. Carry that around everywhere. Put it on the inside of your jacket if you have to, right? And then every time you see a leader or a manager do one of those things, you walk up and you say, Hey boss, you kicked off the meeting with an inspiration dose. You open my eyes to something new. I really appreciated that. You know what's gonna happen at tomorrow's meeting? They're gonna do it again and they're gonna do it again, and they're gonna do it again. And after about six months, you've created the leader that you wanted to work for. Positive reinforcement is by far the most powerful way to change behavior. And everyone loves a good compliment. So get out there and make the manager the person you want them to be. <laugh>. All right.


Okay. I would love an experience report on that. Uh, <laugh>. I might have to be anonymized. So, uh, by the way, um, I'm so thrilled that, uh, we've been able to do this over the years. Uh, so like everybody, uh, I have everyone, uh, say what is the help that you're looking for these days?


Yep. So the first thing is, if you wanna talk more about this stuff, I got a learning session at three o'clock that's gonna dive deep into some of the excursions. So come join us. Uh, the more, the merrier. Second thing is I'm also running a new newsletter. It's called Monday Matters dot sub The intent of that newsletter is that, you know what? I want you with your first cup of coffee to read some insights and ideas that'll help you make this week just a little bit better than last week was. It's practical, it's easy, there's cool stuff there. I do haikus in it. There's if you love that. So check that out. Secondly is go to my website, wrong fit, right There's a ton of resources out there. Um, and buy the book. Buy the book for yourself. Buy it for somebody that you work with that's struggling.


I wrote this because I firmly believe right fit's available to everybody, and I just want the book to find an audience. So that $7.8 trillion of lost productivity goes away. If you want to talk to me, have me come out, talk to your team, my email's on there as well. And the last thing which I'm super excited about is that Jean and I are stu starting to study the leadership needs of technology leaders. Right? We know that the work that you do is essential to the future of our companies. We also know that often you are highly trained in the technical aspects, but maybe don't have all the skills you want or need to be able to be the executive that you want to be and that your company needs you to be. And so we're gonna start studying that in the community, and we hope soon to be able to run a few workshops or programs to start giving you that sort of leadership development and make sure that you're able to go out and help make our companies great.


Fantastic. And again, so if, uh, uh, round of applause for Dr. Andre Martin.


Thanks everybody


Again. Uh, that was an awesome offer. Um, if you, uh, want to take advantage of this, see you at when


3:00 PM 3:00 PM today. Fantastic. Or catch me around the conference. Thank you so much. It was so much fun, ma'am. Thank you. Thanks Andre. Bye everybody.