Human Connection in The Workplace with Lindsay Tjepkema
Speaker 1: (singing)
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: This is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of the Badass Women's Council podcast, and I'm super glad that you're here. We provide reflection and connection for the high achieving woman. So, obviously the podcast episode you're listening to by yourself. So the connection you can find at badasswomenscouncil. community, come on in and join us. All right, here we go.
Speaker 1: (singing)
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I should have known that we'd have more to say than just one episode. I mean, it's just crazy to think that you and I could just do a quick little podcast episode and be done.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Never ever.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Lindsay's back!
Lindsay Tjepkema: I'm back. You can't get rid of me that easily, Rebecca.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Lindsay Tjepkema, the CEO of Casted.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Oh, that's me.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Is on the show again today, after her takeover last week. So after we talked, we kept talking and that led us to the conversation of what it means to talk in business and how that ties to the business as human framework and conversation. And we said, let's just do this on the podcast. And here we are.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Here we is.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Here we is. So, quick review when you interviewed me last week, I shared with you with everyone, the business as human framework, which is really simple. Two columns, on one side, the business needs to control, measure, and optimize. On the other side, humans are personal, emotional, and social, and we have very different needs than the business, but too often we try to treat ourselves like a business. And so, I want to talk a little bit about how we can be more human in our day to day conversations at work. And this is something you are super passionate about too in the work that you're doing at Casted.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Indeed.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Right?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Give us some context for that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: In the smallest little nutshell, Casted is a software platform that enables B2B marketers to harness the power of audio and video content to really fuel their entire sales marketing strategy. So, that's the nutshell. But bigger than that, what you and I talk about all the time is, is business is human. That's your jam, because it's true. And we've also talked a lot about this, connection is a basic human need, which makes it a basic business need. And really, the way that the best companies do that is their brands. And the companies that are most successful at humanizing their brands through authentic conversation, through real life situations, and relatable personalities, they win, right? I mean, we're all people, whether we're buying stuff for our home or stuff for our office or anything in between, we are people buying from people. Whether you're a marketer or not, we all know that, but the brands that don't just know that, but have that at the core and the very foundation of everything they do, those are the ones that win and that's what we're all about.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And that's what I... I love Casted because, and that's how I published this podcast. You're putting audio and video, which is real conversation, at the heart of business communication and strategy and marketing and all the things. Because we've all become so... Just, when we see things come over that's copy, whether it's an ad on Instagram or whether it's an email that we get, it just sounds so corporate- y. It sounds so... Ugh. And I don't trust things like that anymore, because when I read it, it doesn't feel human. I don't receive it as a human conversation. So my brain kind of goes, eh, they're probably trying to take advantage of me. That's not real. They're not really going to do what they say they're going to do. But if I hear a conversation, I lean in and I'm more interested in that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Truly. Yeah. I mean, when you read something, and this is obviously overgeneralizing because there's really, really great copy and there's really, really poor conversations. But when you experience content and something put out by a brand that resonates, it's because you feel seen. It's because the brand has successfully shown empathy, right? When you don't feel that, it's because you're like, this isn't for me. This isn't for me, either because it's poor, or because it just didn't hit the mark, or they don't get me. This obviously isn't for me. It's for a search engine, it's for an algorithm. It's not for me.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Have you ever worked for a leader, with a leader, or just been in the presence of somebody in a business setting where their conversation literally sounds like a best selling business book?
Lindsay Tjepkema: I know, right? I think that we've all sat through many of those keynotes.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Where you're literally just like, what? What are they talking about? And in fact, some companies have such internal lingo speak that if you're outside of the bubble, you can't even understand what the people are saying.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Mm- hmm( affirmative). Jargon is jarring. It just doesn't... I mean, you've got to speak like a human speaks.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Speak like a human.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Go home and talk to your friends or loved ones about your day, using the word synergy and circle back.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I contributed to that for a long time in the company that I was with, and it was, it didn't have malicious intent.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Right.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: In fact, in some ways having some common language does help people connect. But when you take it too far to where the words aren't words that you use on a regular basis, it took me years to kind of cleanse my palette, if you will, of speaking that way. Our friend, Alex Perry, she used to call me out on it. Like, we'd be in a conversation and she'd just stop in the middle of the conversation and she'd be like, I don't know what that means. I'd be like, what do you mean? She was like, you sound like a book now. I don't know what that means. And I'm like, oh, OK, let me try again.
Lindsay Tjepkema: You do.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And now, now that I've literally cleansed my palette of it, it's amazing how much more connected I feel to people. I'm like, I don't feel the need to bring that air of, I'm really smart, so I'm going to tell you how smart I am by these big words that I use. And I wasn't doing it intentionally, but I know that's how I came across.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, and I think that to your point, it's how are you showing up? How are you living your life? I mean, that sounds so broad, but like, if you are compartmentalizing and say, this is who I am at work, this is who I am at home, this is who I am with my friends. It is hard to switch and to let the other people into the different areas of your life. But if we've learned anything from the last gosh, nearly two years, as people and as employers and as employees and as brands, it is that... And this is something that you talk about all the time. There is no such thing as work- life balance, there's just life. And when you show up and we try so hard, you'd have to ask the team if we do a good job or not, but we try so hard here at Casted to be like, you're you. You show up as you, you bring you, and you take you home. And so if I show up as Lindsay and speak like Lindsay and allow other people and invite and encourage other people to do the same, that just makes us all more authentic and makes us all feel more connected. And that's really what we all want. That's what each of us wants from our employers and from the brands that we buy from.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And the more leaders do that, like you, that just have real conversations, the more employees feel like they can bring challenges to you.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: They can bring ideas to you because you are a human too. Yay! It's so true.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I actually saw something, somebody posted on LinkedIn a couple weeks ago that they were like, oh, I just finished this certification, and I'm really excited about it. How do I tell my boss, because I really want them to know, how do I tell them without feeling like I'm bragging? And I was just like, as someone who is a leader of people, I want to know. How else would I know? How would I know that somebody that's on my team or that I'm working with or that I'm friends with won on an award or finished a certification or finally fixed their garbage disposal by themselves or did something, had that tough conversation, if they don't tell me? And we normalize sharing our successes and our achievements and the things that we're proud of. And speaking as someone that's the leader of a company, I want to know. I really want to know, because I'm proud of that. I brought you on my team because I think that you're capable and crosstalk.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: It validates that you made a good decision.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Right. So again, it's all about being human. And if you're in a place that the leaders in your team don't or think that you're bragging, you're in the wrong place.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Facts. Facts. And we said that on the last episode, that if you're not in the what I... I think I've coined the term, maybe somebody's already done it. But the age of humanity, you're behind. It's happening, it's here, it's now, it's been here, and it's way overdue. But another part of speaking human is people will bring challenges to you more often. The number of times that I have been leading workshops or doing one- on- one coaching with people and they'll have something really challenging or are gritty that they want to share with their boss or their leader that needs to be shared. And they'll say to me, how do I tell them? And then they'll tell me the issue or the challenge, and I'll be like, like you just told me. And they have this moment where their eyes get really big and they're like, well, I can't just say it. I'm like, why? Because we feel like we need to dress it up. Dress it up to go to work. It has to put on a suit, it has to carry a briefcase before it can go to the boss. And you're like, no, just have a real conversation. But, if you are the boss who wants somebody to bring something dressed the suit, carrying a briefcase, dude, nobody's telling... Dude or dudette, nobody is telling you stuff because...
Lindsay Tjepkema: And that's what I was just going to say is like, look, I get it. Not everyone is in that situation, not everyone can go to their... I mean, there're different cultures to different workplaces. I get it. I've been there. I've worked in those places. But goodness gracious, if you are the leader in any way, shape, or form of a team, of a small group, of a pod, of a department, and goodness, of a company, you've got to lead by example. You've got to walk out into your team and be like, hey, I'm proud of this thing, or this was a tough thing. And you've got to be real. I mean, if you expect people to be real and honest with you, you've got to be real and honest with them. I mean, trust is not commanded, it's earned. And it all comes back to trust, all of it.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And the one communication skill that gets most underused that is the biggest part of speaking human, is listening. Because the deepest human need that we have is to be seen, heard, and known for who we really are. And the best way that you can honor that in someone is to listen.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Mm- hmm( affirmative).
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Genuinely listen. Be interested. I used to teach classes on listening. How funny is that? That we need a class to do the basic human thing of listening to each other?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, that goes back to our conversation that we had last time, which is about we've been conditioned as humans to be right and to do. So it's hard to check something off a list when you've listened to someone. It's hard to feel like you've accomplished something when you've listened to someone, just because it's been conditioned out of us. But I think, I think and I hope, that where we're at right now, what I'm seeing from a marketing and brand standpoint is the Netflix- ization and the Disney +- ization of the world that's got all marketers and brands, especially in B2B, saying, how do we apply this to Salesforce? Salesforce just launched Salesforce +, this whole streaming service, and they're not the only ones. And what that's doing is raising the bar on creativity and humanness and connection. And those that really achieve it will start to... I'm drawing a long line, but I promise I'll get there. By raising the bar and connecting on that level, it's reconditioning us as people to say listening matters, entertaining matters, connection matters, human matters. It's not just about, hey, we're going to help you save time, save money, reduce costs. It's like, we're going to help you connect, and we're going to help you find joy, and we're going to help you be a human in these different situations when you were told you couldn't be before. And that's pretty cool, that's exciting.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: It's really exciting. And I think it's going to go a long way to curb some of the mental health challenges that we've all dealt with, whether it's just a little bit of nervousness or acute anxiety or all of it. There's rarely a client or a friend that I'm with that hasn't battled with it or has a family member that's battling with it. And I think all those years where we stifled our humanity caught up with us, and our brains are just screaming for us to connect and be more human. And what I hope happens then as a result is that we start to raise our kids and change the way that we educate so that we can have real change, real generational shifts in the way that we do life and business.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's true. And from a business standpoint of what we're seeing with this whole great resignation is, and no one's immune from it because people are getting more connected of it themselves too and saying, what do I really want? What am I really worth? And that's good. But companies that, over the last 10 years perhaps, offered kegerators and free beer and ping pong tables.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: If you've got a ping pong table and a brick wall with a keg, you are killing the culture game.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Exactly. And hey, listen, we have brick walls. I'm sitting in my new office right now and we have brick walls and we have a ping pong table upstairs that inaudible the office. But you know that's not who we are. And we don't expect people to want to work here because of that. In fact, we're hybrid, just like a lot of other companies are right now. And say, you might never want to come into the office and that's okay, but we're here to connect with you as a person. And that's been tough for a lot of businesses to be like, yeah, but our office though. Yeah, but all these perks that we have. What good are perks if you don't care about the human?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And I've got stories of clients that worked at places where they had all the perks and you were actually shunned if you used them.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Right? I know, I've been there.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Don't you have work to do? What are you doing, playing ping pong?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Or the opposite. But we have lunch here, why would you leave for lunch? We brought lunch in, why are you leaving for lunch?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Right.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Why do you bring your own lunch? Yeah.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: When I work with my clients, I want them to discover their unique, personal story. So they can then stand tall in that story and live a life full of soul and emotions and their natural curiosity about their unique gifts, talents, and abilities so they can live a thriving life. Because our brains are hardwired for stories and our brain wants us to thrive, so I help my clients tap into that. And I also have a sponsor for this podcast called Storybook, which is a unique and innovative platform that helps you bring your company stories to life by tapping into the emotional flow and the natural curiosity that we have about your products and services. So, check them out. You can go to my website, wethrive. live, click on the stand tall on your story link, and see the kind of work they're doing for us, or go to their site canalo. tv. And there're hundreds of stories there that they've created that you can experience. Check them out. We're so grateful to work with them and for them to sponsor the podcast. No, but I think it's an interesting time to be in leadership, and I'm passionate about helping leaders navigate some of these shifts and changes. Because the other thing that we know, and we talk a lot about here on the podcast and you and I have talked about it incessantly, is neuroscience. Okay? This is fact, this isn't just Rebecca's going on a rant, because I do that occasionally, as we know. This is neuroscience. We operate off old patterns of behavior. So if we've been steeped in corporate speak, and steeped in a culture that didn't reward authenticity and being genuine, it is going to take re- scripting to do what we even want to do to make these changes. And so, I'm passionate about helping people make those changes.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And you're good at it.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Thanks. So let's come up with a couple of takeaways about being more human in our conversations based on our experiences and the things that we're passionate about. So one of mine is be cognizant of how much you're listening, genuinely listening. And you don't need a class on listening. If you want one, I can guide you there, but just speak cognizant of are you listening more than you're talking, would be one of my takeaways. What do you got?
Lindsay Tjepkema: I think I'm thinking in terms of brands and things like that, it's why are you doing what you are doing? Is to win something, is it to rank somewhere, or is it to connect? Who are you serving? Is it the algorithms or is it the audience? Truly ask yourself that.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And that's applicable from a marketing strategy, but it's also one of the things that I assign to my coaching clients, is to look at your schedule each week, look at the calendar appointments, look at your task list, and ask yourself, why are you doing it and who's it for? Get that human context in your work so that you're not just mindlessly responding to emails and putting reports out and not thinking about who is this for and why would it matter to them and to me? Because you might find that one, you're doing stuff that doesn't need to be done because nobody does care about it. Or two, you need to have a little more conversation or context with those other humans to make sure that it's adding value.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Well you just blew my mind, because I say who's it for and why are you doing it all the time when it relates to content strategy. But it applies to calendars and I think I need to go do that now.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: That's why you say it, because those are human questions.
Lindsay Tjepkema: True. True. You're right. You're right. Yeah. I think also as leaders, I don't know how often... I mean, certainly the world's been talking about it more as of the last couple years with what we've all been going through and coming back, quote unquote, back to work. I don't know where everybody was if we weren't at work. But I think we've all been working very hard over the last two years, but getting back to whatever this next round is. As leaders, we all know that we have a responsibility to our teams, but truly, it's up to us as leaders in whatever form that takes for you to be that change that you wish you had. To be the leader that you wish you had. And to be more open, to be more flexible, to be more human, to listen more, to communicate more, to be more yourself and to break the chain of a lot of bad behavior. It's an opportunity and a responsibility.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I like it. I like it. Thank you for continuing this conversation into a second episode with me. And I'm not going to promise that we aren't going to, later today, send each other a message and go, and that too! So, who knows?
Lindsay Tjepkema: We should have just kept recording.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: We may just, maybe you're just a co- host now, maybe this is just the way the world now works between Rebecca and Lindsay.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Right, So I'll see you in five minutes.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Definitely see you on Friday.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You're the best.
Lindsay Tjepkema: You're the best.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Thank you for being you and for leading a company that truly is leading with business as human at the forefront of your leadership strategy. To the point, even, and I'll add this as just an underscore to this point. As you've been out fundraising for your company as a startup, investors have commented on the culture that you are building in this company as a differentiator and a reason that they are interested in investing in you.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. And that truly, I mean again, you'd have to ask the team, it's really easy to talk about it. I hope with every ounce of my being that that's felt and that that's true and that that's real. But it's truly the only thing that matters, right? That's it.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I like it. I like it. All right, y'all. Make it a great day.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Thank you.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Okay, if you're not already following Lindsay Tjepkema on LinkedIn or on Instagram, I totally recommend it. She shares not only great information about amplified marketing, which is the platform that Casted, her company, represents. But she just has some really good thoughts, quotes, mindset around women in business. So, highly recommend that you follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram. Okay. Your reflection questions for today are one, as you look at your calendar, your task list, who is it for and why does it matter? And I highly recommend that that becomes a weekly reflection question for your planning purposes. And the second reflection question is, if you were to have a business conversation, could a seventh grader understand it? Because that's the level of clarity and simplification that we desperately need to speak human in our business. Okay, that's all for today. Make it a great one. And please join the online community at badasswomenscouncil. community, where we can continue the conversation and you can meet other badass high achievers like you. Thanks so much, make it a great day. If you like the music for the podcast, go to iTunes, Spotify, wherever you listen to your music and look up, Cameron Hession Clouds, you can download the full song there. He's got some other stuff out there as well. And y'all, he's my son. It'd be great if you'd go and download some of his stuff.
Speaker 1: (singing)
Lindsay Tjepkema is back for part two of her podcast takeover! Last week's conversation with Lindsay and Rebecca continued even after the mic was off, which made them realize they had to bring Lindsay back for part two. Listen now as Lindsay and Rebecca talk about how we can all be more human in our day-to-day conversations at work.