Episode 186 – Be Brave and Do Amazing Things!
Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to our Becoming Your Best Podcast listeners, wherever you may be in the world today! We are delighted to have a special guest with us today, Moe Carrick, and this is going to be a fun visit! She is a delight, so welcome, Moe!
Moe Carrick: Thanks, Steve! I’m happy to be on.
Steve Shallenberger: Good deal! She helps brave people do the hard things that make organizations great, and benefit people, results, the partners, the environment and the community. We’re going to hear all about that today in our interview. She’s a best-selling author, founder of Moementum, and not Moetmentum.
Moe Carrick: Although that would be fancier, maybe.
Steve Shallenberger: Yeah, we were just talking and Moe had been in Paris and they called her, Moet. She seeks to just really help people build their companies, to help them thrive, and she especially has an approach that’s unifying and successful on really powerful, dependent, strong human relations. So, tell us, Moe, about your background, including turning points that you may have had, that led you down to the path where you are today and maybe critical learnings that you’ve had, that have really made a difference for you. We’re so excited to talk about what you’ve just written about in your book and everything that’s going on.
Moe Carrick: Well, thanks! Thanks so much, Steve, and what a great way to frame that question around turning points. At this stage in my career, I am definitely looking somewhat in the rearview mirror, although I hope to still have many great and fun things ahead, but when I look behind, it’s really interesting to see how my trajectory has unfolded. I talk sometimes with my children, who are in their 20s, about that because they’re curious and they’re looking ahead at their careers and saying, “How did you end up doing what you’re doing and where did that land?”
Moe Carrick: My background is, I’ve been a consultant for a long time, I’ve been an author only for three years, this is my second book, “Bravespace Workplace”. I was an English Major in college, I went to school in the University of New Hampshire. I actually thought I would be a novelist, I was planning to write the great American novel, which hasn’t happened yet, I’m in the business book genre, so I’m taking a leap to the left. Early on in my career, I ended up being a wilderness guide and I worked back in the ’80s and the early ’90s in a field that has really become much more mainstream now, which is adventure-based learning and adventure-based therapy for youth, in particular kids with chemical dependency issues.
Moe Carrick: So for me, making a decision to go into that work was definitely a turning point, being a guide full-time, living and working in the wilderness and working with groups, especially youth, was powerful work, I loved it, I felt inspired to be a helper and also loved the adventure side of that equation. And I think another turning point for me came after I had done that work for a few years, and traveled around the country and had the privilege of being in some of the world’s most beautiful places, I decided I did want to pursue an advanced degree and I was interested in getting a MSW, that’s what a lot of people in my field did.
Steve Shallenberger: MSW?
Moe Carrick: Masters in Social Work.
Steve Shallenberger: There you go! We just wanted to be sure you don’t leave Steve in the dust.
Moe Carrick: No, good qualifying question. I’ve got to watch my own field of speech. Yeah, Master of Social Work, which was kind of a more clinical degree and at the same time I was faced with this nagging thought of, “This isn’t for me.” So another crossroads for me, I don’t know how this was for you, Steve, but I had a friend, my closest friend actually, who was enrolled in a program, it was a different graduate program and it was in Organizational Development or OD. I had never heard of that field of study, I was like, “What is that?” And she said, “Well, it’s like therapy for people at work.” And I remember thinking, “That sounds interesting!” So I went with her to school for one day and went to some of the classes and it was one of those real lighthouse moments for me around saying, “Oh, this is the work that I’m meant to be doing.”
Moe Carrick: So that’s when I decided to shift gears, left the clinical realm, moved into the organizational realm and I still use adventure often as a catalyst for learning and I still do sometimes within my work, but that embarked me on a career, really, as an internal consultant, as a student to people and systems and then [00:05:12.28] eighteen years with my own firm. So, that’s a little bit about my background and there are lots of other turning points that I don’t want to bore you with, but there are two that, I think, jump out for me.
One is, I’m a cancer survivor. The cancer I had, I’ve had it twice, I am a melanoma survivor. My first melanoma, I was thinking about this the other day, I was only 21. That was a young age to be diagnosed with a disease that’s really quite bad when it spreads and it put me in touch with my own mortality at that time and gave me a mindset about ‘Carpe Diem’ a little bit. I’ve been very lucky my melanomas were caught very early and I never had to have chemo for them or whatever, but they were clearly turning points. And then, of course, the birth of my children, becoming a mom and all of the ensuing years which has been 26 years now, of motherhood, has changed how I see the world and I probably learned the most, perhaps, in that role.
Steve Shallenberger: Good! Thank you for great answers in terms of helping me and our listeners get a real insight into some of the things that led you to where you are today. Great going!
Moe Carrick: Thank you!
Steve Shallenberger: You bet! Now, let’s just talk about your book. Why did you decide to write Bravespace Workplace? Tell us about the book and what led up to it and what’s the vision and purpose of the book?
Moe Carrick: Thank you, great question! It’s funny in publishing, you know, you’ve written your own book, which I’m about halfway through and loving, I think that, when you write a book, it’s such hard work, that you do it because you want to do it. Like, you’re compelled to do it. I don’t think anybody would write a book if they didn’t have some sort of reason why they felt it was important to get this stuff down. And so, for me, the call to writing Bravespace Workplace really formed when I wrote my first book, which was called “Fit Matters: How to Love Your Job” and I wrote that book and it was published in 2017 with a co-author, my friend, and colleague, Cammie Dunaway.
Moe Carrick: Cammie and I really were about trying to tell a story of how people entering the workforce or people that were miserable in their jobs, could find the right place for them. And it was really driven by our belief that there is right work for everybody and that it takes a different algorithm than what we often see in the media or in the ‘great places to work’ surveys to figure out what’s a great place to work for me, as opposed to just generically, what company gets higher ratings on a magazine surveys. And so, when Cammie and I were researching that book, it started to really form a seed in my mind about my consulting practice, all of these many years I’ve been supporting leaders in organizations in their transformation and my desire to say, “Gosh, you know, it’s not rocket science how we create an organization that really facilitates the human beings in it, bringing their highest and best work to work every day, and so I’m going to write down what I know about how to do that.”
Moe Carrick: So, in many ways, Bravespace Workplace is more a book of my heart, around saying, “Hey, leaders out there, who are trying to figure this out, it’s not rocket science, or isn’t easy, but here’s the things people need from work and here are the levers that we can pull to activate that.” And some of that it’s born out of my own fatigue that we haven’t quite got this right, yet. There’s a lot of miserable people at work, don’t you think?
Steve Shallenberger: Oh, yeah. The studies I’ve seen are that engaged workers in the world and the United States range between 20%, in a Wall Street Journal article I saw just last week, to 38%. That’s a pretty sad number, really, and so, what do we need to do to unleash the genie?
Moe Carrick: Right, yeah.
Steve Shallenberger: Unleash the potential.
Moe Carrick: You’re right, and the numbers don’t get better. I mean, I think this is part of why I say this book is the work of my heart because I got my graduate degree in 1989 and I say this in the book, but we knew then what we know now about what it is that makes human beings be able to bring forward their most innovative ideas, their most powerful collaborations, and yet we still really struggle, whether you’re a small, medium or a large, or even a mega company to figure out like, “Okay, so what is it? How do we do that equation?”
Moe Carrick: So I’m trying in this book to, in a short and concise way, I wrote the book hoping that people could read it on a long plane flight, to be able to get your head around, “Alright, I’ve got to pay attention in this system to these five things and that will help activate the best that my people can bring everyday.”
Steve Shallenberger: Good! Okay, let’s dissect this just a little bit. How about the subtitle, “Making your workplace fit for human life.” Who’s that directed to?
Moe Carrick: Right? Well, I am definitely speaking to the leaders in the organization, or the owners in small businesses, or the people professionals, the human resource professionals. I think the pressure is on for leaders and people leaders to be the ones who decide what it is in their organization that’s going to be designed well for people. I kind of played with that tagline, I got it from Animal Activism, actually, when you see things like some of the media news about the terrible treatment for livestock, chickens being two million chickens in one building and saying that these are not conditions that are fit for animal life. They can’t be sustained, you can’t get organic, delicious, fresh eggs, from chickens that are under stress because they’re too fat and they don’t have access to water.
Moe Carrick: I was looking at that and saying, “Well, hang on a second!” To a certain degree, when we take human beings, with all their beauty and all their messiness, and we put them in the workplace, we have to pay attention to their needs, just like we would with livestock in that other equation. And design and figure out how do we make this work for people. And most of our models, Steve, I’m sure you’ve seen this too, in your work, our models for how to run organizations, are largely based on a foundational mindset that comes from the Industrial Revolution, which is kind of an overseer model, like management’s job is to keep the people in line and keep them organized and have them produce the maximum output.
Moe Carrick: To a certain degree, that model has a lot of subtle innuendoes, that ends up treating people as if they’re predictable, as if they are machines or robotic in their approach and we’re not, we are infinitely more complex than any machine out there, and we require special care and feeding almost to a person by person basis, in order to activate our greatness. So, that’s where the tagline comes from.
Steve Shallenberger: Okay, yeah, clearly our world is changing, I mean, this older management leadership, hierarchal styles, and designs just aren’t as near as effective in today’s world in bringing out the best in people. So, let’s just talk about that, what is at stake for leaders, in terms of the people part of their business? What are we talking about here? Because I love your insight, it’s a fresh insight, we don’t hear a lot of people talking about two million chickens in a place where there should be one million and causing us to think about the workplace, but we should. We should think about these little tweaks that can make a lot of difference in unleashing the greatest potential, the best that people have to give. So, what’s at stake here? What do you see, from your point of view?
Moe Carrick: From my point of view I think it’s hard to not act cavalier in this way, but part of me really feels like everything is at stake. Scott Allan who’s General Manager at Hydro Flask, Hydro Flask makes the beautiful aluminum bottles, they were the first to have triple insulation, their little brand is now owned by Helen of Troy, and they’ve just grown tremendously and Scott was an endorser for my book and he said, “This book offers inspiration and practical tools for any employer who wants to win both by doing what is best for their people and, subsequently, winning the war for talent.”
Moe Carrick: And I think that’s what is at stake for leaders, which is to say, you know, in order to get the results you want in your business, whether you’re looking for profit or you’re looking to meet your mission, you’ve got to have people bringing not just 80% of their greatness, every day, but as close to 100% as you can, so that they’re occupying the full capacity that they have. That’s how you’re going to win with your results, it’s how you’re going to win with the competition for talent. And the incoming generations, the millennials, the generation Y that are right behind them, they’re looking at the world of work very differently than baby boomers, my generation, and even generation Xers have, in terms of the kind of contract they want with employers. And they’re going to sign on to meet their needs kind of first and foremost. So, I think for the leader in business, they have a lot to lose if they can’t both attract and also, perhaps even more importantly, retain the diverse skill set and talent in the human beings that they hire, that will activate the results of their seeking.
Steve Shallenberger: Moe, what do you talk about in Bravespace Workplace that helps that happen?
Moe Carrick: Well, there’s two big buckets of the work that I’m addressing. One is, I spend some time early on in the book, calling out what I see as the seven things that people need from work. And then, in response to those seven things, I call out five, what I call ‘levers’ for change, which are the things that I think leaders can do to manifest our “bravespace workplace”. And the seven things are really interesting, Steve, and some of these I know you will resonate with from your principles in your work, that drive some of your work because I think a lot of them are connected. And you know, again, none of this is necessarily new, I’m not the first person saying these things. We are hearing this from a variety of different voices out there. But when I look at the seven things that people need from work, I’m looking at basically the things that drive nature. Do you remember Maslow’s hierarchy?
Steve Shallenberger: Of course, sure!
Moe Carrick: Yeah, so most of us do, we remember Maslow’s hierarchy and Maslow had an awful lot right on his hierarchy of human needs but there are some things that he had wrong, and not because he was not a solid professional psychologist but I think that he didn’t know, then, some of what we know now. One of the examples of the seven things people need from work is the need for human connection. Brené Brown, who’s a mentor of mine, I’m certified in her approach and I’m a member of her global team of facilitators. She talks about it this way, she says, “Human beings are social beings. We need other human beings to connect with, just as much as we need food, shelter, water, safety, and security.”
Moe Carrick: And that’s what Maslow had on the bottom level of what we need. And we see that playing out in terms of the risks of isolation and loneliness on human beings, and many of us if we’re working full time especially, we’re bringing that need for connection right into the workplace. And I won’t bore you now with all seven of them, but there are dimensions that are related to our humanity more than they are just our contractual obligation with the employer, which are, you know, the essentials, in that, we need the paycheck, we need to feel that we’re being paid fairly, we need some benefits, we need to understand where we should work, is it virtual or do we have an office? But those things are not the big levers that activate people’s greatness. They’re kind of like what gets you in the door.
Steve Shallenberger: Okay, well, Moe, tell us just one or two things from the book that you consider to be the most significant things that can be helpful?
Moe Carrick: Great question! I would say that in addition to what we just were talking about, which is being able to understand, as a leader or a people support person in this system, to be able to say, “What is it that people really need to thrive?” I think that’s one thing, those seven things people need from work. I think the other thing is when we look at the levers for success, there’s five of them, but the first one I think it’s probably the most important and I’m hoping most readers will walk away with some insight around, which I call, the human essentials. And the human essentials has really two parts to it. One, is leaders with a head and a heart habit, so leaders who can think clearly, use their logic and their cognition really powerfully, but also have fortified emotional capacity. They can help people feel seen, they can connect and inspire followership and I think those [00:18:01.09] often in the world of worker, underdeveloped in leaders. And then the second part of the human essentials is teams who care. One of the really important studies that Google produced in 2015 was the Aristotle Project. Have you heard of that?
Steve Shallenberger: Nope.
Moe Carrick: Aristotle Project was Google’s attempt to better understand what makes a team healthy and what makes them high performing. And the study revealed, there was a great New York Times article about it in 2015, it revealed that the single most important dynamic for teams that were performing within Google, was their social capital. So the psychological safety that they have combined with their capacity to tune into and feel one another emotionally, which we also call emotional intelligence, and that’s, I think, very informative around where a leader ought to start. And I’m hoping that if people get nothing else from my book, they get the capacity to say, “Alright, I’ve got a firmer ground, I’ve got more clarity on what do people need to really thrive and then what do I need to do with my leaders and my teams to activate that?”
Steve Shallenberger: Okay, good. That’s good! I was just reading an edition of the Harvard Business Review, this was either May or June’s edition, and they dedicated it to engagement. Interestingly enough, they said they could demonstrate from very significant research, that employees involved with teams almost doubled their engagement levels. It was the one thing that moved the needle so there’s a lot to what you’re saying that create the dynamics that can work. Well, Moe, what are you being brave about right now? How about in your business, in your personal life?
Moe Carrick: Yeah, right? I know, I’ve got to be able to talk my talk. I think there are a few areas, one is definitely, I was just talking to one of my employees about this, recently, it definitely feels brave to be publishing a book and then talking about the ideas in the book because we never know, our readers are going to love it, are they going to hate it, are people even going to read it and there’s this vulnerability that comes with putting your point of view out there, in writing. So I feel like I’m constantly fortifying my approach and reminding myself, “It’s okay if not everybody loves it.” Because I stand by the work that’s born out of my many years of experience and the good news is most people are really resonating with it. But I do find myself still feeling kind of exposed sometimes around that journey, you know, how do I spread my own point of view?
Moe Carrick: I think the other piece for me is I’m about to be an empty nester. My daughter is a teen, she’s heading out to college next year and I’m aware that I’ve got a new stage of life ahead which is where I’m not primarily needed as the mom. And that’s exciting but it’s also curious for me, around, what does that mean as my identity shifts? I’ve always worked, so I’m not too worried, I can fill time with work but I am going to miss that piece of having kids in the home all the time. So, that’s taking some courage for me too.
Steve Shallenberger: Good for you, and congratulations! I love the idea of being brave about things. There are things we need to be brave about and to go forward with gusto, humility, and confidence at the same time, that’s being brave! You go for it!
Moe Carrick: Yeah, it is, and I think, you know, I talk about this in the book and it’s definitely one of the pieces of Brené Brown’s work that resonates so strongly with me, it’s whenever we’re being brave, we’re also often really terrified. Like, when I’m being brave, my palms are sweating. It’s not like I’m just brave about that. I wrote an article recently for somebody, that was a piece about the book and I submitted it to the editor and I’ve noticed myself being, you know, at the same time confident, like, “Oh, yeah! This is going to definitely resonate in their publication” but also anxious around, “Oh, no, will they like it? Will I have to rewrite it? What if they think it’s stupid?” So I think anytime we’re called to being brave, we’re also called to feeling exposed and it is important to stretch ourselves, I think, in those ways, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Steve Shallenberger: That’s for sure! Moe, any final tips that you’d like to leave with the listeners today?
Moe Carrick: Gosh! I would say, what I would love to leave with your listeners is to give themselves permission to be really curious about the things that they pursue. That seems hard, particularly, of course, in the realm I deal with, this whole notion of the workplace. But if someone’s unhappy in their job or they’re a leader and they feel they’re not thriving, to really turn towards that, instead of away from it and say, “Gosh, this is a problem that I have, I am not alone, there are solutions, I just don’t know what they are, yet. And I’m going to talk in, to being really curious about how others have handled this, and what else I can learn, to push through.” So, I think that’s what I would leave. Stay with it, even when it’s hard.
Steve Shallenberger: Good! That’s inspirational, thank you! And how can people find out about what you’re doing, Moe?
Moe Carrick: I’d love to have them follow me, I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc., as Moe Carrick. My website is moecarrick.com. The book has its own website, bravespaceworkplace.com and its sister book, Fit Matters, is on fitmatters.biz. LinkedIn is another good way, I’d love to have people friend me there and connect, we can stay in touch that way.
Steve Shallenberger: Thank you, Moe Carrick, for being part of this show today and what a great and productive visit this has been. So many good ideas and I love your perspective and refreshing approach, your background that you bring with it, and this is a great subject.
Moe Carrick: Awesome! It’s been a privilege to talk to you, Steve, and I really appreciate your leadership and the work you’re doing, just really consistently and regularly out in the world, so thanks for taking the time to talk to me!
Steve Shallenberger: It’s been a delight! We wish all of our listeners the best. We appreciate the fact I”m continually reminded of how extraordinary you are, the listeners and the impact that you have in your own life and we have so much in common for just trying to become our best, to do the best and it makes a difference. And in the process, you are inspiring. Way to go! Isn’t that the truth, Moe?
Moe Carrick: It is, it’s so true, that’s what gets me going every day!
Steve Shallenberger: It’s been a lot of fun visiting today. We wish our listeners a great day. This is Steve Shallenberger, with Becoming Your Best, signing off. Have a good day!