Simon Haigh Inclusion for Growth

Inclusion and Cohesion Are Critical for Growth with Simon Haigh #046

Show Notes:

Simon Haigh is known as the Growth Strategist, he’s a coach, consultant, author and speaker. Let’s break that down a moment…

He’s the 5 star rated author of 3 books: Contract law in an e-commerce age, ‘How to be a Better Dealcloser’, and ‘Dealmaking for Corporate Growth’. The latter two of which were foreworded by Marshall Goldsmith

He’s a former lawyer in UK, Ireland and Australia, a successful entrepreneur where he built and sold out of tech, luxury goods and travel businesses, as well as a global CEO, and C-suite executive on 4 continents over 28 years.

Simon sat on 5 boards and currently is an advisor to 3 in US and Ireland. He’s featured on the BBC and is a global expert in negotiation, deals, business, leadership, mindset, brand growth.

He’s also the co-founder and partner of Inclusion in Leadership, all about driving measurable change and cohesive growth.

Topics explored:

  • Organisations are like humans, if they don’t grow spiritually they go backwards, so they get overtaken
  • 4 Key Things: What are the business growth processes and practices that need to be put in place?
  • Leadership Growth: What key things do leaders need to do to fit into the business growth?
  • Brand Growth: How does this impact your brand?
  • Growth Mindset of the people running the business is what brings the whole thing together
  • “I love the variety” and love mentoring and coaching, “seeing the lightbulbs going off”
  • It’s all about matching people’s confidence with their capabilities
  • “Confidence is the outer manifestation with communication of what’s inside, which is awareness”
  • Situational awareness: where do I fit in an organization?
  • “We need to demystify business, it’s not rocket science, it’s about communication and connection”
  • Simplify: Assertiveness is about firstly asking for what you want, feel or desire. Secondly, in a way that’s respectful of others
  • The 7 P Methodology of deal making, was a logical process that unfolded through the writing
  • A novice negotiator mistake is not leveraging simple things, a big example is not using silence strategically
  • Loose lips sink ships in negotiations, got to get comfortable with silences
  • 4 Areas that feed into emotional intelligence
  • Is this person really listening, really involved in this conversation or is it another box to tick?
  • 10 years in the Australia in the Aboriginal indigenous economic development space and head of indigenous tourism council
  • Companies that truly put inclusion and cohesion at the core of their strategies improve productivity, brand value and also shareholder return
  • Problem is most C-suites don’t even know this is an issue
  • Aboriginal economic development $8bn a year, but generated a net of $16bn
  • The 5 aspects or pillars organisational leaders need to believe in to drive
  • 1st is the right diversity, equity inclusion processes and policies in place, 2nd is gender balance, 3rd is cultural cohesion, 4th ethical win win communication structures, 5th ensure remote cohesive workforces are inclusive
  • How do you inspire and mentor younger workers when they’re not in the office?
  • The ‘us and them’ of those at HQ and those in the field, the latter feel excluded, the former often think they’re aloof
  • Just deal with these breakdowns instead of brushing it aside, demystify it and deal with it
  • Awareness to provide a safe environment for thinking things through and realise we all have biases, but it’s realising you have them and that each individual is unique
  • 3 aspects of assessment to any agreement: self awareness, situational awareness and assessing the other side and there’s the objective and subjective
  • Better negotiators ask better questions, not just more questions, but better
  • Some lawyers think it’s all fluffy, that it’s only about the document, about the law, but that’s only one of thirty steps


Al McBride 0:06
Welcome to the dealing with Goliath podcast. The mission of dealing with Goliath is to sharpen the psychological edge of negotiation and high impact conversations. For Business leaders with skin in the game, who want to be more effective under pressure, uncover hidden value and increased profitability. With expert guests across the business spectrum.

Al McBride 0:24
We deliver gems of wisdom, delving into their methods, their thinking and approach to business life and to problem solving. This is the grand cup of insight long form podcast interview, where we take the time to delve a little bit deeper into our guests experiences stories, and to get those priceless nuggets. I’m your host Al McBride. And my guest today is Simon Haig.

Al McBride 0:47
Simon is known as the growth strategist, his coach, consultant, author and speaker. So let’s break that down just for a moment now. So he’s a five star author of three books contract law, and in an e commerce age, how to be a better deal closer and deal making for corporate growth. The latter two of which were forwarded by Marshall Goldsmith is a former lawyer in the UK, Ireland and Australia, a successful entrepreneur who built and sold out of tech luxury goods and travel, and a global CEO and C suite executive on four continents for over 28 years.

Al McBride 1:26
To handle that. He’s also sat on the boards of over five boards, and currently advisor to three in the US, Ireland, and has featured on the BBC. He’s a globally recognized expert in negotiation, deals, business leadership, mindset, and brand grace. And I couldn’t be here rheged version. So Simon, welcome to the show.

Simon Haigh 1:50
Thank you. That is the abridged version. But yeah, there’s a lot there. I’ve done a lot of things. Some of the has been planned, a lot of it hasn’t been planned.

Al McBride 1:58
Well. That’s part of what we’re going to dive into today. So can you see what some of the key threads are through all of these different activities and different places in the world? What are some of those themes? Looking back to where, what, what brought you to the present moment?

Simon Haigh 2:15
Well, that’s a good question. There’s lots of different threads and themes. But I think, overall, you know, I’ve spent 28 years living in five countries working through various different industries, originally as a lawyer than did an MBA and became a CEO. And then the last nearly 10 years running my own coaching, consulting business, but also investing in businesses. And I guess the overriding core theme is, what I’ve noticed in organizations is a that they need to grow a bit like humans spiritually, if we don’t grow, we go backwards.

Simon Haigh 2:51
So organizations need to grow to go forwards, if they’re not growing, they’re effectively going backwards, they’re stagnating and somebody else is going to overtake them and be growth. While there is a quantitative aspect to it, and a financial aspect and a measurement aspect to it is predominantly about human beings and how they communicate and interact. So so you know, I guess I’m referred to as the growth strategist.

Simon Haigh 3:16
So I like to look at organizations through the prism of four pieces of jigsaw, if it works, fitting together, business growth, so what are the business growth processes and practices that need to be put in place leadership growth? What are the key things that leaders need to do to fit into business growth? brand growth? So what how does this impact your brand, and then finally tying it all together? The mindset, the growth mindset of the individuals running the business?

Simon Haigh 3:43
So there’s the four aspects. So I guess that’s the core theme is that people and businesses need to grow. And I’ve been fascinated by what it is that organizations and people need to optimize that growth. That’s the short answer,

Al McBride 3:56
the short answer, and I thought what, you know, what do you love about your work, you know, what really makes a day extra special or a week, that little bit better? Even just that you you don’t have to be asked to do a lot of this stuff anymore. You really have a choice of where you put your focus on your time and your energy. So what where does it where’s the joy in it for you?

Simon Haigh 4:21
The first word that comes into my head when you ask that is variety. I love the variety. So you know, for example, on any given day, I would be like tomorrow I’m doing two training programs online one, which is me for small medium businesses, I co hosting a 12 week program on growth. I’m also working with a hotel chain on inclusive and cohesive growth and how the individuals in leadership in the organization can work together to to to align and drive cohesive, inclusive growth.

Simon Haigh 4:52
I’m also writing stuff I’m now becoming an ambassador for a tech company over here. I advise about three businesses. So I love the variety. That’s the first answer. The second part of it is, what I really, really enjoy doing is when I’m working coaching or mentoring or training is seeing the light bulbs going off, right. And so helping people match their confidence. And I keep saying this, they’re matching their confidence shining a light on matching people’s confidence with their capabilities.

Simon Haigh 5:22
We all have capability levels, right? And what fascinates me is, how I can what it is, what is it about the individual or the organization that can I shine a light on to make them realize, ah, this is easier than we thought. So matching that confidence with the capability to enable them to then do it and move forward. So variety and seeing that light bulb moment?

Al McBride 5:44
Very good, very good. It’s something I heard from a colleague recently, that in a fairly substantial poll of executives, and C suite people that confidence as an issue came up far more than everybody thought. I mean, Does that surprise me a little bit? not usually, but a little bit? Did? Is that thought surprising to you? Or is that? does that fit with your experience?

Simon Haigh 6:07
No, it doesn’t really surprise me. I guess, for me, confidence is kind of the outer manifestation with communication of what’s inside, which is around awareness. Right. And, and I think, I think, unless you know, you know, everything, right. Unless you know that, right, you’re always looking over your shoulder thinking, is there more that I need to know? And I think so that that awareness, that self awareness, but also that situational awareness? Where do I fit in an organization, I think that’s a major issue.

Simon Haigh 6:42
And, you know, I think self and situational awareness, self management, which is, so you have, you know, self awareness and self management, and then you have situational awareness and relationship management, they both dovetail either side, the spectrum for individuals and, and groups, I think there are areas that more and more businesses really need to look at and look at demystifying this stuff, right?

Simon Haigh 7:03
There’s no rocket science to this stuff. It’s about communication and connection, as we are doing here, right. And so I think the confidence, or the perceived or actual lack of confidence comes out of organizations are not breaking this down sufficiently. To make this as simple as possible. It’s not easy. But to make this as simple as possible from a training or coaching or mentoring perspective. I think that’s a big part of it.

Al McBride 7:29
I think you’re right. You know, it’s, as you were saying that I wish I could nearly hear some day folks that have gone up more training, that much more training we need. But as you said, it’s it’s not the dumbing down. It’s, as you said, the simplification down to what is it in its essence, rather than making it more complicated than it need be? Yeah,

Simon Haigh 7:49
yeah. And that’s what I love doing. I mean, when I, I guess, if you would ask me, how what would be my life purpose, I’ve only just figured out at the age of 53, my professional life purpose is to learn as much as I can about the four different aspects of growth, and then try and distill them and simplify them and pass the message on. So for example, you know, I do a lot of training around influencing or say assertiveness, right.

Simon Haigh 8:16
And so nobody ever taught me what assertiveness is, and, and you can just assume it’s a whole muddle of complicated stuff, right? And then not bother with it, because human beings don’t really engage unless they can see a clear path through. So I train and I say, right, assertiveness is about, you know, getting what asking for what you want, feel or desire, number one, number two in a way that’s respectful of others.

Simon Haigh 8:40
That’s straightforward and simple. And people remember the one and two right here. And then I say, there’s a difference between assertiveness in the middle and aggressiveness on the right and passiveness on the on the left, you want to aim for the middle. So that’s what I love doing is just demystifying these things that people perceive to be hugely complicated. And then obviously, you need to build a process around that. But you start with that simple premise. And, you know, it’s a bit like anchoring people remember the simple premise first, and then I think they feel more empowered and triggered, then to connect with what you’re saying? Absolutely. It’s

Al McBride 9:15
Bill Gates idea of you start with a simple system, and it can get more complicated as it needs to but you shouldn’t start with a complex system. Absolutely. It’s a very good point. It’s that approach is something that you bring to your negotiation strategy or approach, isn’t it? I mean, you’ve written at least what two three books now on at least directly regarding negotiation and deal making in First of all, why do you focus on the deal making as in it’s often seen as the last part number one, and I suppose the other question is, there is, is what what is your take on this? What’s How do you differentiate your thinking on it?

Simon Haigh 10:00
Okay, so the first thing to say is there’s there’s there’s nothing majorly different between when you use the term deal making or deal closing or deals, people think that’s very highfalutin, and, you know, it’s very Donald Trump. And it doesn’t apply to me. And it’s really just about sales, right? It’s really all just about sales and negotiation. I’ve written two books around deals, I wrote a book on contract law in the past, but the first book was called deal making for corporate growth, right.

Simon Haigh 10:27
And so when I talk about deal making, I’m not I’m actually talking about the whole process, the whole ecosystem that a corporate needs to have to be good at dealmaking. So does it have the right people? Does it have the right processes, so I’m looking at the culture, the organizational setup landscape to enable that organization to be good at closing at deal making, right, which means identifying deals, having the right people on the deal, making team closing deals, doing the stuff afterwards. And then the recent book is, how to be a better deal closer, which takes it to the next stage.

Simon Haigh 11:03
So the first book was about an organizational ecosystem. How does the company become good at business development? Right? And the recent book is, having put that ecosystem in place, what systems and process do they need them to really be able to close deals efficiently? Right? So there’s the deal making environment, and then there’s methodologies for closed closing. Having said all that, all this, there’s not really much difference between the sales process and the deal, closed process.

Simon Haigh 11:31
The reason I talk about deals is that I’m talking about more complicated transactions, you know, not just going to a shop to buy something. And not all, not all sale, not all sales are deals, and not all deals or sales, or Brexit would be a good example of a very big deal. Right? So the deal making part was, who was on the the the EU negotiating team, what systems do they have? What research did they do about the British negotiation team? How much planning did they do?

Simon Haigh 12:01
What was the power equation, all those factors, so and in both books I created what again, because I like to simplify things, I created what I call the seven p methodology. And that literally, Al came out, I never actually plan that when I was asked to write the first book five years ago, I initially I was just going to pour my memories of all the deals that I was involved with. And then as I was writing it, a logical process unfolded. So the first few years principles, before you go into doing deals, do you have the right culture? Do you have the right value set? Do you have the right people on board? Right, then the second p is emm?

Simon Haigh 12:41
So that was principles, then planning, you have the right processes to enable planning and business development and tenders? Then power? Right? Do you have the right power structure in your organization? When you enter deal scenario, do you have the right power equation between individuals, players is the fourth one, then its performance, which is the actual deal, then putting it all to bed.

Simon Haigh 13:02
So you know, the boring stuff, actually signing the contract and heads of agreement, all that. So very important. And then finally, what I call payout or post mortems. So you’ve either done the deal, or you haven’t. But in either case, you need to have a process to do continuous improvement. So that seven step literally just came out, I was writing it down. And it’s probably been the best thing I ever came up with, because it created the two books, and then the associate association with Marshall, etc. So I just like to break things down.

Al McBride 13:28
It’s excellent. Yeah, I mean, I’ve read it. It’s a very, very good book. It’s one thing I would like to ask you. And that is, having done a lot of very successful deals in all sorts of different industries and countries. What do you find with maybe less experienced deal makers or less successful negotiators? What what are some of those key mistakes that they tend to make?

Simon Haigh 13:57
One key mistake is not leveraging simple thing well enough, which is using silence strategically.

Al McBride 14:06

Simon Haigh 14:07
Yeah, and so and there’s a saying, I do quite a bit of work with Dermot Mannion, the former CEO of Aer Lingus round negotiation training. And there’s this saying loose lips sink ships. And if you don’t need to say something in a negotiation, don’t say it, right. Don’t say it. And also, and this applies to me because I’m a natural people pleaser. I like to be liked. So if I ask a question, and I don’t hear a response, my immediate gut feeling impulse is to say, well, well, I meant this to try and help them along.

Simon Haigh 14:41
Don’t try and resist that just allow that silence to form. Because in hindsight, when I reviewed when I have the opportunity to review, you know, scenarios I’ve been in, I’ve looked back and I thought to myself, if only I listened to the silences and things that hadn’t been said, and you know, I had a gut feeling that that person wasn’t happy. And they didn’t say anything, but I didn’t allow them to be silent. Right? I just kept talking.

Simon Haigh 15:07
So I think silence is important. I guess another one then is influencing, I’ve kind of nearly mentioned influencing before, to be a good deal maker negotiator you need to be you need to have an awareness of what influencing is right. And influencing is not persuasion. persuasion has negative undertones, right? influence me is, there’s something about you, there’s an honesty and an enthusiasm and a likability about you a form of a feeling of gut feeling trust that brings others with you.

Simon Haigh 15:39
And, you know, there are seven different types of influence, which I won’t talk about now. But I think having a knowledge and appreciation of leveraging influencing skills is something that we could all do with. Nobody taught me I don’t know about you Al. But I think there will be the two using silence and having an awareness and using influencing skills.

Al McBride 15:57
It’s very interesting, you mentioned it in a very ethical way that you have an awareness of the gentle, almost honest, for one of the better word effect that one has on others, and vice versa, of how you’re also influenced by people around you, by people you admire, or have respect for Absolutely. The silence is a very interesting one. I noticed that way back when when I was an art dealer, that I used to close so many deals by just saying my piece having the conversation, you know, removing as many blockers as possible in the clients mind, and then just shoving the hell off.

Al McBride 16:38
And more often than not the next thing they’d say, it could be 30 seconds could be two minutes to silence or be. Yes, I think I’ll take it and then maybe they just needed that space. Yeah. It’s a very, very good point. But as you say, a lot of people want to feel that the nerves Yes. They come very, very true. Very true. So, tell me so as I said, in your very long and very career, what have been some of the more what have been some of the more instructive setbacks, or, as I said to some people, what have been some of your best mistakes, your most valuable mistakes?

Simon Haigh 17:23
Definitely, the first one that comes to mind was a business failure when I left Australia, four and a half years ago, which I won’t go into the details of it, because it’s still raw, you know, four and a half years ago, but to cut a long story short, I, I put too much naive trust in a business partner. And, and, and it all collapsed. And, and, and it’s easy to blame others. But I think we all have our own accountability.

Simon Haigh 17:48
And what what that has done is since then, I’ve never put my own money into businesses unless I’ve been completely and utterly convinced. And I’ve also created a kind of a three gate test now for me before I collaborate with anybody in any form, right? And I don’t know whether I mentioned this to you before. But before I do, I need to a like them or feel that I like them, right? It’s very hard to define these things. It’s kind of a mix of gut feeling, and head and heart.

Simon Haigh 18:16
So a do I feel like I like this person, right? And do I feel or and do I respect them? And that’s easier? I mean, just look at their LinkedIn profile? Do they have credibility? Is there anything negative about them? You know, what are other people saying? So that’s easy. And and then the third part is, do I feel like I trust them? Right. And that’s harder, again, because it’s very subjective. And it’s very much a gut feeling. And it’s kind of slightly informed by the respect one as well, because obviously, if they got great credibility and someone, like Marshall Goldsmith endorses, and whatever, then it’s easier to do that.

Simon Haigh 18:53
So I forced myself to operate through that. It sounds very artificial, but I try and use those three, that three pronged self analysis of when I use will look to collaborate. And and coincidentally, maybe it’s not coincidentally, I haven’t had a business failure since I haven’t actually fallen out with anybody since creating that. And so that’s kind of just an exercise in self awareness. I think self awareness, self management, as I said, relationship management and situational awareness to four areas, I think, really, which feed into emotional intelligence. So I think the old cliche, you know, you learn best from failures that actually apply to me.

Al McBride 19:36
Yeah, that Benjamin Franklin said, pain instructs me right? On the flip side of what you’re saying. I’m just wondering, what are some of your red flags? What are some of the little pointers towards that maybe not that they’re bad people or anything, but maybe they’re just not a great fit for you or there’s something a bit off about an organization or potential business partnership of some description.

Simon Haigh 20:03
Yeah, that’s a harder one. Right? So, you know, I’m looking for those red flags, and it’s very hard to put your finger on them. But there are that, you know, there are things like, you know, in a conversation is this person or organization? If it’s an organization? Do I really feel like they’re listening to me? To me? Are they really listening? Are they really showing an interest? Or are they?

Simon Haigh 20:27
Or is this one of a number of conversations they’re going through? Right? So it’s that how are they really, really listening? Not not just hearing, but listening. I guess that would be one. You know, I also look for body language, this kind of stuff. It’s around the human connection side of things. It’s not just for me, communication isn’t just the words isn’t just the message. It’s that feeling of connection, right. And so I allow myself to feel, you know, is this person really involved in this conversation? Or do I feel this is another box tick for them? And box tick is fine.

Simon Haigh 21:03
Right. So it’s very hard to define a so great question. Well, you know, maybe this is another book, what is it about? It’s very easy to talk about, as I said, the three great gifts are easy to talk about the things that you put barriers up to, but but to talk about the things that invite you in, or others into your psyche, that’s a that’s a that’s a complicated one. You know, it’s it’s very subjective. I do think connection is a subjective thing. There are people, unfortunately, who don’t like you, there are some people you just connect with, if anybody came up with an algorithm that defined that that would be priceless.

Al McBride 21:40
Most definitely, most definitely. It’s Are you working on another book at the moment? Not just yet. You know, I’ve

Simon Haigh 21:48
got a couple of books, but not one involving this.

Al McBride 21:53
Excellent, excellent. Just on a slightly different note, I know one of your more recent projects, is all around inclusion in leadership. And it’s a very interesting area. It’s, in some ways, it’s a hot topic. It’s certainly a lot of attention all across society. Tell us what’s why you’re interested in working with inclusion in leadership? And again, what what’s your take on that and how you do it a little bit differently to maybe other organizations.

Simon Haigh 22:29
So there’s two drivers to me personally, and you’ve met one of my co partners in the business inclusion in leadership, Elizabeth Suarez, two drivers. First is personal right. So I lived in Australia for 10 years. And I spent nearly six of that working in the Aboriginal or indigenous economic development space. A for bhp. I was a CEO for the world’s largest indigenous run business from Alaska in Australia, man, Australia, stands for Northwest Arctic native Association, Australia. And the role of that company was to create collaboration agreements with Australian indigenous businesses. And then thirdly, I was head of the indigenous tourism Council for Australia as a consultant.

Simon Haigh 23:12
And so I had a deep, you know, that here was a white Anglo Irish Polish guy from Europe, living in Australia, working with the Australian indigenous tourism Council and Alaskan indigenous business in Australia, working with Aboriginal people around the world. And it really opened my eyes on a very, very deep level as to how privileged You and I are just because of the way we look right and where we come from.

Simon Haigh 23:39
And so that that’s, that will never leave me out that spiritual connection, particularly to indigenous people around the world. Secondly, it’s the more mundane, but very pragmatic driver, I spend some of my time representing a London based company called brand finance, which is the world’s largest brand valuation agency. And they put values on corporate brands. And it’s increasingly being demonstrated through some of their work, that those companies who really put inclusion and cohesion and the various methodologies at the core of their strategy not only improve their productivity, they also improve their profitability and their brand value, and also shareholder returns.

Simon Haigh 24:21
So there’s an emotional aspect, and then there is a business imperative. So we’ve created this entity. And for me, it’s just common sense, right? So a, you’re doing the right thing to people. And B, if you do this the right way, we can talk about our methodology, you can also improve your business. So the challenge, though, is that what we’re doing is talking to C suites, right?

Simon Haigh 24:45
The challenge is a most of them don’t even know this is an issue. Right? Right. Be if they did, do they care, I don’t know. And even if they did care, so there’s three gates. Are they really going to get their hands dirty? They’re just gonna say Talk to HR. So the challenge is to persuade the decision makers that this is not only good. From a brand perspective, this is also good from a financial perspective.

Al McBride 25:09
Okay, so it’s very tied in with the ROI. Yep. Very tied in as as, as we talked about before her, you know, you have to be able to justify to the psychopaths in the room, the cold, hard numbers, right. Yeah. But that’s what I find fascinating about this, is that it it does justify all of those levels across the board. Right. And that

Simon Haigh 25:31
it does, it does, it does. And, you know, there’s a, there’s a you can, anybody can Google, there’s a report by brand finance, if anybody Google’s diversity in corporations, brand finance, they’ve done the work, they’ve done the analysis, right. And it’s, it’s proven that those brands that who invest in their reputation, particularly in downtimes, have a better time from a, from a from a, you know, growth and also stock market perspective has been proven.

Simon Haigh 25:58
I just guess it you know, it goes back to, we’ve been running business, the way we’ve been running business for hundreds of years, and it’s persuading the powers who be that maybe we should start looking at things slightly differently. And I do think it is changing the most successful companies in the world of those which make their entire team feel like they’re critical and integral, right. And I’m not going to rattle off examples.

Simon Haigh 26:21
But you know, there are examples, and I’ve worked for one in the tech industry. But this requires a culture of accomplishment, and sharing in the ups and downs, right? This this mean, this needs honest leadership, right? You know, a corporate culture is, you know, really cemented by when the whole company feels like it has purpose. And it’s very easy.

Simon Haigh 26:43
And there’s 1000s of consultants like you and I using these words every day. But I think the difference that we’re bringing is, and without going into too much detail, we’re hoping to cement a relationship with a technology company with a software that actually measures this stuff. I haven’t mentioned that to you before, but I’m not going to mention any names right now. The difference is, we can actually prove this right, as long as companies do things the right way. And we can talk about those.

Al McBride 27:09
I mean, that’s huge as well, that as he said, I remember we did talk about this and that there is a metric or a series of metrics coming in to actually measure the progress, starting points of various milestones. And then when you when you’re finished working with them and the improvements, which is which is quite remarkable. So if you will prove that inclusion works. I mean, for me, it makes perfect sense that it’s utilizing again, thank you for the cold, hard way you’re utilizing the resources that you have. Yep. Otherwise, it’s waste. You know.

Simon Haigh 27:46
There’s a good example in Australia when I was there, I think they had some of the three or four biggest consulting companies doing an analysis of if you spent certain money on indigenous economic development, Aboriginal economic development, Australia, I think was 8 billion years Aussie dollars. Most people the naysayers said that’s a waste of $8 billion. But the analysis, I think it was Deloitte came out with the analysis was that that would actually improve the overall GDP of Australia by 60 by a net additional $16 billion. And it’s the same with companies.

Simon Haigh 28:16
But you need to be open mind. And it comes back to leadership, right? So none of this works without leadership bought in. And, you know, a leader doesn’t just represent an organization, ie being the face of the brand, he or she also inspires or should inspire, and motivate an organization through challenges and opportunities, that is the leader who sets the tone, right?

Simon Haigh 28:39
And leadership’s a key influence on maintaining and develop developing the culture. So even though we have an irresistible process, and a way of measuring this stuff, the leaders still need to believe this and then really pass this through.

Al McBride 28:57
I mean, are they coming around? I would imagine they are. But is it still a bit of a battle?

Simon Haigh 29:02
Well, I mean, it’s early days, we’ve only launched the business in the last month, but we’ve you know, we’ve landed a university in the UK, and so Southampton University, so we’re and they’re in their program is in association with JP Morgan, one of the world’s biggest banks, and there’s real interest there. As I said, we’ve, hopefully we’re just about to sign this deal with a tech company provide measurement and in the States, I mean, in the States, and it’s interesting.

Simon Haigh 29:28
So you mentioned, you know, are they common ground? There are different ways the world is looking at this in different ways. So in the States, really, the focus is on traditional diversity and inclusion for obvious reasons, you know, in 2020, the world changed with the pandemic and you know, race riots and all this sort of stuff, a lot of it out of the states, okay. But over here in Europe, I guess we’re looking more around in Ireland because of all the tech companies here a multinational the conversation is around Well, how do we Maintain a culturally cohesive workforce or gender balance.

Simon Haigh 30:03
So there are five aspects which I’ll go into the five columns that organizations or leaders need to believe in to drive. And then we can measure and then provide an assessment and an ongoing process. The first one is, do you have the right diversity, equity inclusion processes and policies in place? Second one is gender balance. The third one is cultural cohesion.

Simon Haigh 30:24
The fourth one is F, do you have the right ethical winwin communication structures? And the last one, then is, is how do you ensure that remote cohesive workforces are, you know, really inclusive? Right? And which includes knowledge management includes How is that retained within an organization? How do you inspire and mentor younger workers, right when they’re not in the office. So this is complicated stuff. And it’s very broad. But if organizations do this the right way, we can measure it, and you’ll see the results and the effect on productivity, profitability, and brand value. In terms we leave this stuff

Al McBride 31:04
sounds very comprehensive, as you’re already talking about how to manage and get the most out of an have feels that they’re part of something bigger. When they’re working remotely. I mean, this is, this is, as I said, it’s more comprehensive than what many people would expect.

Simon Haigh 31:25
Yeah. Yeah. And I think I think that’s important, because, you know, I mean, and there’s no coincidence that we’ve called ourselves inclusion in leadership, right? So what we’re talking about there is inclusion from top down. So we’re all part of this, right. And, and also from left to right, right away from diversity, equity inclusion, right through cultural cohesion, right through how we, you know, remote workers are managed, right or, or empowered, you know, the seeds of a corporate culture are sown from day one, you know, and, and successful organization and culture is ensures that all employees are satisfactorily motivated and engaged, right?

Simon Haigh 32:05
That’s really what inclusion is about, it’s about satisfactory motivation, and engagement, is there not to each individual to drive their own pathway. So what we’re really talking about is how do we ensure inclusion and cohesion at the starting gate, that’s what we’re talking about. Most organizations aren’t even thinking about the starting gate, then it’s up to individuals to find their own pathway, you still need to have structures through that process. But that’s the key part.

Al McBride 32:32
That’s fascinating stuff, particularly as you say, when you are starting from the leadership, because that’s often where the culture dripped and drips down from. Yeah, I remember saying to a friend of mine many years ago, and I most of my experiences in smaller businesses, and I noted that small businesses are a direct reflection of the mind of the founder.

Al McBride 32:57
And their point was, they worked in a huge corporation and said, it’s actually surprisingly similar in these very large companies. It is it is it is. So with that in mind, do you have any kind of quick? Okay, because you’re a great for taking complexity and taking to the to the principle, if you will, which is simple, but not overly simple. Do you have any quick acid tests as to whether a company is on the right track with their inclusion?

Simon Haigh 33:33
It depends, it depends on which of those five challenge you’re talking about. There are different factors demonstrating progress, right? So for example, let’s just take one which is, you know, the remote cohesive workforce, right. So some of the things we look at are well, you know, companies need to proactively develop nurturing virtual teamwork environments, right. So the first thing is, are there online safe spaces for communication? Right? safe, as safe as you can be for communication?

Simon Haigh 34:02
Right? Number two, is particular sensitivity. This is really important shown to employees operating in field or remote locations, because often, I don’t know about you, but when I’ve worked for big multinationals, there’s been an art an Us and Them attitude. So people in the headquarters assume that people in field offices aren’t pulling their weight, right. And people in field offices, you know, I’ve worked for multinationals, I’ve worked in both HQ and the field office, assume that people in HQ are aloof, right? or excluding them.

Simon Haigh 34:36
So there needs to be a culture of sharing or there needs to be a culture of ensuring that there is, you know, particular sensitivity both ways, scheduling regular meetings, right. And I guess over communicating, honestly, is really important over communicating. So that just gives you a flavor of some of the math some of the processes that we look at Obviously, I can’t get into the detail of it.

Simon Haigh 34:44
But, but this stuff’s important because it’s very nuanced. But at the end of the day, how most of this stuff that comes down to human beings comes down to communication, right, which is the outward reflection of inner awareness. If an organization is aware, or senses there’s breakdown, why don’t they just deal with this stuff rather than just brushing it aside? So all we’re doing is we’re just, I guess, extracting the bee sting, or the wasp sting and saying, right, take the sting out, then just deal with this stuff, demystifying it and deal with it, rather than just allowing it to fester?

Al McBride 35:36
Very good point. And going back to a point you just made there reminds me of that phrase, I’m not sure if it’s sure who said it. But was the greatest problem with communication is thinking it happened. Often, some of you know if you ask them, is it Oh, of course, I told them everything. I told them that, you know, they’re welcome to x, y, and Zed. And they’re very, you know, very inclusive, but it’s how the message is received. That is as important. And I had a great an

Simon Haigh 36:03
example of that, that has, I guess, motivated me in all this. When I started work for bhp, the world’s biggest mining company in Australia 13 years ago, my job was to help develop indigenous subcontractors, you know, these are mining earthworks civil engineering companies, some of them as big as $350 million Australian dollar turnover significant companies.

Simon Haigh 36:26
And, and I had a year to come up with a process and I came up with a process that demarcated indigenous economic development, employment, and education, right. And what came out of this whole process was, and we improved KPIs by 72% in a year, right. So we improved the number of indigenous contractors who received contracts, and also the revenue they got out of it. And I, I spent a whole year we had been consulting, we had Boston Consulting, we had PwC represent each of those three limbs.

Simon Haigh 37:00
So bhp threw a lot of money out of this. And there were 1000s of reasons why there was communication breakdown between Aboriginal contractors and, and essentially, white heads of supply and procurement who are managing billion dollar contracts take obvious things like racism, ignorance, perceptions, on the white side, and on the indigenous side, similar, but in return, and by breaking down a lot of that stuff. And just getting past those assumptions and actually getting Aboriginal elders to talk to predominantly white heads a procurement. Bang, we saw the results, right?

Simon Haigh 37:36
So it’s, you can’t if you just keep assuming this stuff, and that’s what drives inclusion in leadership, it will keep happening, if you shine a light on it and can and for want of a better expression, bash heads together, get people to talk, guaranteed, you’ll see improvement, how much improvement depends on the organization. And critically, you need to measure it. So that’s really driving, I guess, you can hear that that time in Australia really underpins a lot of this stuff, for me.

Al McBride 38:02
Absolutely. I’d imagine there’s a huge amount of stories. Particularly in the conflict resolution side, because, you know, you are a coach, negotiator, or you’re a trained mediator as well. Was there a lot of mediation work in the field?

Simon Haigh 38:21
Yeah, there was. And there was, and I mean, I didn’t use it. I didn’t use it from a professional perspective. But again, it was really around the whole areas of awareness, you know, and, and, you know, and, and just providing a safe environment for thinking stuff through, right and allowing, allowing people to realize that, yes, we all have biases, right? And, yes, stereotypes exist, right?

Simon Haigh 38:50
Of course they do, right? All of us have biases, all of us have stereotypes, but and that’s fine. And they’re shorthand for various different things, but always scratch under the surface, and, and treat every single human being as an individual, right. And, you know, for example, I do a lot of work around negotiation as you do. And there’s a chart that shows, you know, those those cultures that are very emotionally expressive on the left and very emotionally unexpressive on the right, and very combative at the top from a negotiation perspective, and very, you know, very passive at the bottom.

Simon Haigh 38:56
And traditionally, the Israeli culture would be top left very expressive, very combative, and Japanese Bottom Right, right, completely opposite. But I’ve done work with very outgoing, loud, bombastic Japanese people. And I’ve done work with not so many quiet, reserved, suitable, Israeli people. So you have to just you have to get people together and realize that yes, these are shorthand signals, but it’s all about who you’re dealing with. And that was a big, so you know, I’m not a trained psychologist, but it’s all around that interaction is that trust is that communication is that PC thing.

Al McBride 40:00
It’s very interesting because I often talk to clients about as they’re trying to dig up some of those assumptions, but moving from assumption to hypothesis. Yeah. So that difference being a hypothesis here, hold right here, and you’re constantly updating it with new information, whereas an assumption has that that false certainty in it. Yeah, very dangerous. Yeah. Very dangerous,

Simon Haigh 40:24
very dangerous

Al McBride 40:26
in regards to deal making making agreements. So deal making making agreements, you know, there’s two Venn diagram bubbles that has an obvious overlap, but are also can be radically separate as well. You know, what advice would you give some people in how to maybe start looking at how they make agreements.

Al McBride 40:51
So sometimes, as you said, they can be for large contracts or whatever, but even just within their team, this is maybe where the the, the having people feel included and act included? And making agreements? Yeah, we’re just some of those were, we talked about some of the earlier mistakes, but what might be some of your advice on that? Maybe?

Simon Haigh 41:13
There’s lots of different ways to answer this, but

Al McBride 41:16
it’s sort of uncertain, 40 different ways. So yeah,

Simon Haigh 41:19
maybe a convenient way is I talk about three forms of assessment, right? So when it whenever you go into a negotiation, or an agreement phase, or on any aspect of navigating life, right. There’s three aspects of assessment. Right. So the first one is self assessment, then it’s situational assessment, then it’s assessing the other side, right? So. So there’s a practical component, there’s an objective and a subjective part of this.

Simon Haigh 41:47
So, you know, so when so if you and I, if you said to me, right, Simon, I want you and either start a process or around agreeing on something right? I will be that I’d start by saying, right, let’s do an assessment of me, right? Why am I Why would I say yes to this process? How do I feel about this process? What’s my motivation? What’s my intent? Right? What do I want to get out of this? Right? So I’d be looking at that stuff. And of course, you don’t do this in the heat of the moment, you need time? And then I would look at you, I’d say, right, so why is our really asking me to do this?

Simon Haigh 42:17
Why do I think what’s his intent? Right? All those kinds of things, and then I’d look at impartially, impartially the situation right? So you know, is is there? Is there a good reason for this? I aside from what Al is talking about is citing from what I think is there an objective, good rationale for this? So I try and break it down. And I find that that that it puts a bit of metric and a bit of discipline around that process. And so I talk a lot about that in some of the work I do.

Simon Haigh 42:50
And I think it’s useful to do that, because it’s about the self awareness and the situational awareness. And I think it’s often about the intent, right? What’s my intent for this? And what do I think your intent is? And the only way you’re going to find out is by asking is communication, right? I think it’s Tony Robbins says, you know, you know, better negotiators or deal makers ask better questions, right?

Simon Haigh 43:13
They don’t just ask questions, they ask better questions. So the only way that I’m going to find out your intent is by asking you questions, right, and, and then stopping and listening and allowing that silence occasionally. So I think breaking it down to those three components, those three types of assessment areas, I think that’s really important.

Al McBride 43:31
Very interesting. Yeah. I have a similar approach. And one of the things that always amazes me on that line is how little preparation sides, negotiators often do. In the thinking, or as you said, the intent of the other side, it’s often very detailed business arguments of know, what they’re instructed to and such and such but very little on, the more the psychological intent and where they’re coming from.

Simon Haigh 44:02
It’s funny you say that because, you know, as you know, I’m a trained lawyer, I spent 13 years as a lawyer in Ireland, England and Wales and Australia. I wrote a book on contract law 21 years ago. Thankfully, I got out of the legal profession, because it just it was like a straitjacket for me to an extent. You know, I’m very creative, and I like people and I like the thought process around growth, right.

Simon Haigh 44:29
So a lot of lawyers would dispute the relevance or the veracity or the importance of what you and I are talking about, they would say it’s really about is the fifth p in my five seven p process is just about performance. So when I you know, when I, four years ago, I was talking to law firms and and legal the law site in the UK in England as well, which is a client England, Wales, which is a client, and I was telling them about the process.

Simon Haigh 44:56
There was almost a response of well, this is all a bit off fluffy deals are just about the document they’re just about the law and i might you know eventually i managed to persuade the law society of england wales they’re a client of mine that this is not that’s just one if you’re going to visualize a slice a loaf of bread right and a deal making journey from beginning to end so beginning is having the right business development team then it’s you know putting the right tenders out then it’s when do you get the responses how do you deal with them assuming the deal lands on the table do you have the right people how do they processes it’s only about slice 22 you landed the performance right and even then the performance then you’ve got to have crossed the cross the t’s dot the i’s then you still got to have a deal review team so the legal part i’m afraid to say to the lawyers out there is only one of about 30 sizes

Al McBride 45:50
sub sir yeah and i find the same working with particularly the old professions substance only or you know their substance of their argument only is worth a tiny percentage of successful people is worth usually 55% so that goes meta studies so it’s what we’re talking about at the start it’s it is the know like and trust yeah because if they don’t have one of those or respect then they’re not even going to really hear what your substance actually is because they’re go i don’t care i hate you so much i’m just going to even take a lose lose which is in a lot of legal cases a very big reality… exactly exactly

Al McBride 46:32
you know so as you said that they you need some of that people people element very interesting stuff so thank you very much for your time today simon it’s been a fascinating conversation if people want to learn more about you about your multitude of different projects you have on or more specifically the inclusion in leadership where can they go

Simon Haigh 46:59
so there’s the as you said there’s various channels but i guess i’m very active on linkedin so simon haig ha i gh on linkedin all my website all one word

Simon Haigh 47:12
In terms of inclusion leadership as inclusion in leadership all one i think they would be the three main areas though through the website my website inclusion or on linkedin i’m a bit addicted to linkedin i’m on there all day long so feel free to

Al McBride 47:28
excellent thank you very much simon

Simon Haigh 47:30
welcome was great chatting thanks thanks cheers

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