Starting the conversation…

How do we fully face the fact we, as leaders, have more soft skills to learn – even with all of our experience?

Host: Jessica Dewell
Guest: Nadine B. Hack

What You Will Hear:

Approaching conversations with different opinions…sometimes even adversarial.

Connect to the core purpose even when it results in challenging discussions.

Sometimes there is sabotage that happens to us right down the office hallway.

The gig economy and ability for organizations to move everyone toward the same goal willingly.

Successful organizations are able to engage more people to move together toward a common goal.

There is a paradox of instant gratification and underinvesting time to get engagement at every level.

‘Slow’ and fast action both play a role in disruption.

The classic business book “Who Moved My Cheese.”

What’s the motivation for and value of being an engagement leader today?

Live Audience Question: How do we slow people down in disruptive innovation, so that we get the right result?

Share three things that are most often overlooked when implementing an effective engagement strategy?

The importance of personal awareness.

Live Audience Question: How can we embrace and put back the focus on that knowledge (instead on failure) because people seem to compete in failing?

What makes it BOLD to evaluate capacity for impact?

Notable and Quotable:


Nadine B Hack 4:23
I really love the Welsh proverb, “She who would be a leader, must be a bridge.

Nadine B Hack 4:35
What I call “engagement leaders” are in fact bridges. They are people who have the ability to connect extremely divergent types of people for the advantage of each and for all.

Nadine B Hack 4:55
People value being asked their opinion. If they feel validated by being heard, they’re so much more likely to embrace the outcome, even if it isn’t the opinion they preferred, and research shows this.

Nadine B Hack 5:13
It’s simply on the fundamental level everybody likes to be seen, heard, legitimize. And I call this connectedness.

Nadine B Hack 5:38
Often people are sitting side by side in cubicles, and they don’t know what the other person is doing at the least, and at the worst they’re trying to sabotage what the person in the next cubicle is doing. And they’re losing all the synergy of if they could collaborate and work together.

Nadine B Hack 6:54
The more diversity you include in deliberating complex issues, the more likely you are to come up with sustainable solutions.

Nadine B Hack 7:04
Engagement leaders know how to create what I call safe spaces. intimacy, mutual trust to encourage civil discourse, even if you have really differing perspectives, built on very fundamental core principles of inclusiveness, mutual respect and trust.

Nadine B Hack 8:33
The most notorious failure of virtually all strategic plans is that they don’t take into account who is actually going to do what, by when, within what budget.

Nadine B Hack 8:55
Even before you get to the point of execution, you have to engage people in a process of “buy in” to the plan. If people don’t have a sense of ownership, and this undermines their sense of responsibility, and worse, if they don’t feel a sense of agency in the decision making process, they can actually become totally disengage from any obligation to carry out a plan.

Nadine B Hack 9:26
No one likes to be dictated to. Everybody prefers to be conferred with.

Jess Dewell 9:44
I think the gig economy appeared because of people deciding and being told what to do too much. So I’ve got a skill, or a set of skills, and I know I can trade my skill for money, and I’m going to go out on my own and I’m going to do that.

Jess Dewell 10:29
We all are on the same bowling alley with our bumper lanes closed up. So we’re going to hit the pins together.

Nadine B Hack 10:39
There’s an enormous amount of research and thought leadership going into the future of work. Things are changing at a dizzyingly speed because of technology, and the speed with which we get information.

Nadine B Hack 11:06
The acronym VUCA, “Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.

Nadine B Hack 12:34
The Millennial Generation is so used to engaging. They are becoming the customer base? They are becoming the workforce? And whether businesses like it or not, they are going to have to adapt to deal with that.


Nadine B Hack 13:38
In my mind, professional and personal issues are inextricably interconnected. And when you’re not happy in your professional life, you’re going to affect your personal life conversely.

Nadine B Hack 14:39
These people are fed up. I can’t do this anymore, and it’s not that they’re not getting a pay raise.

Nadine B Hack 15:01
There is a mythology about the mommy check, that the reason women leave businesses is because they have their children, and they decide they can’t balance that. You know, when you interview women 10 years after they had their children, and ask the question, “Why did you leave?” they say, “It was because I was not being listened to.”

Nadine B Hack 15:27
How many times have you heard the story, “I was sitting in a board meeting and I offered up a suggestion. It fell on deaf ears. Five minutes later a man said the same thing and everyone’s in that’s brilliant, and I thought, are they deaf?” It’s debilitating and demoralizing. It’s why more and more small and medium sized enterprises are women led. The future of work is really changing dramatically as we speak.

Nadine B Hack 16:48
Leaders are tending to really significantly underestimate the amount of time it actually takes to get shared commitment to a goal.

Jess Dewell 18:55
The majority of the work of problem solving and decision making when it’s done really well, is before any action and discussion and dialogue ever occurs.

Nadine B Hack 19:49
One of my colleagues at IMD, Bill Fisher the Idea Hunter, he famously says, “More ideas are better than fewer ideas.

Nadine B Hack 24:39
It can be that brilliant ideas are coming up and everybody’s in agreement, but if there’s like one board member who’s got a lot of power, who is in a different mindset — it’s usually a he, there’s more and more she’s on boards, but still too few — he can stop it dead in its track.

Nadine B Hack 25:06
This has to be multi directional. This engagement, it can’t just be top down. It can’t just be bottom up. It really has to be a true 360 loop. A feedback loop.

Nadine B Hack 25:21
People have practiced a great deal of whatever specific technical expertise they have in their respective spheres. But they haven’t practiced as much of what we’re talking about, which are typically called soft skills, which I find extremely ironic, because I find them to be the backbone of what makes things actually happen, or not.

Nadine B Hack 26:39
We share mirror neurons that allow us to match each other’s emotions unconsciously and immediate.

Nadine B Hack 27:15
In a world that’s becoming increasingly polarized and fear driven, it’s vital to show that while we’re each of course, unique and different, we’re fundamentally so much more alike. And even difference the diversity, contributing it makes the hole so much greater than the sum of the parts, and it strengthens us.

Nadine B Hack 31:41
Right on my computer is a little sticker with three phrases. The first one says, Slow Down. The second one says, Do One Thing at a Time. And the third one says, Take Breaks.

Jess Dewell 32:31
Sometimes starting slow and willing to recognize mistakes and blind spots quickly is the best, fastest way to getting to the right solution.

Jess Dewell 32:55
Just like crawling to walking, there are muscles that must be developed by crawling to allow us to have the wherewithal to stand up, eventually. When we’re failing, trying to walk before we’ve even crawled. There are fundamental other skills though, in the interim between the two, that must be learned. And we’re not very good as humans of recognizing, going backwards to learn. We always want to start where we’re at and go forward. And that’s a little bit of an issue when we’re talking about soft skills. I would say even personal awareness.

Nadine B Hack 34:05
The difference between what I call highly competent managers and truly great leaders is the level of self awareness. The willingness to look inside and acknowledge and on the good the bad the ugly.

Nadine B Hack 34:27
What some people call embracing the shadow self, doing that makes us so much more holistically intelligent. Not just IQ, but EQ emotional intelligence, and LQ learning intelligence. It just allows us to ground.

Jess Dewell 36:19
Compassion. It’s an amazing word. And sometimes I use the word love in business because if we don’t love ourselves, there’s no way we can have any sort of connection or compassion toward another person, let alone potentially love them for what they bring the positives. And the negatives, which, by the way, my positives and negatives are great positives and negatives in certain situations and in other situations, they’re reversed. The great negatives become those positives.

Nadine B Hack 36:23
Every strength has its Achilles heel and vice versa. Every vulnerability has its power.

Nadine B Hack 36:32
There is a reason when you say you have to love yourself, know yourself in order to love and know others. There’s a reason why an airplane they say put on your own oxygen mask first. You cannot help anybody else if you’re not alive. You cannot help anybody else if you’re not healthy intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, psychically and there’s so much showing that the stress that’s created in the modern work environment works against all of those levels of health of individuals.

Nadine B Hack 37:05
Unhealthy individuals create unhealthy organizations, create unhealthy societies. It’s not rocket science.

Nadine B Hack 40:58
There’s a parable that I heard a long time ago, and I’ve said it so many times. A little boy, the tide is out. And there’s hundreds of thousands of starfish drying under the beating sun. A man is watching him throw one, and then the next one. And in the end, the man comes up to him and says, “Kid, what you’re doing is futile.” And the kid takes the next one throws it in and with a smile says, “Not for that one, it isn’t.

Nadine B Hack 41:55
I came of age in the 1960s and I really believe given the context of the world at the time. We were going to change everything right away, right then now and then. I got a little bit older and I began to look at it more as a marathon. I have to pace myself. I have to stay at this for the long run. Then it became a little bit older. And now I see it as a relay race. And I may never see, I likely will not see, the complete fruition of all the social good that I care about passionately and that I’ve worked for. But I have a sacred obligation to carry the torch while I’m here. I think it really comes down to each person thinking that way. It’s up to me. Be the change you want to see.

Nadine B Hack 44:05
People who are willing to take an experience of not succeeding at something and analyze it and be honest and figure out what could I have done differently? What happened? What do I now know that I can apply for the future, will continue to grow and learn and be richer and fuller and bring more of themselves to the table.

Nadine B Hack 45:25
There’s a psychological term called “Working Through,” where you learn something and then you kind of forget it. And then you learn it again, and you run it at a deeper level. And it’s like concentric circles going out and concentric circles going in, and you learn it again and you forget it and you enter it again and eventually you actually integrated then so that its knowledge that you hold on to. But you really do have to have the patience to go through that learning process.

Nadine B Hack 46:05
I’m utterly, deeply profoundly inspired by all the teenage activists around the world who are doing extraordinary, remarkable social justice work. They give me hope for the future.

Nadine B Hack 49:28
Last year, I was shortlisted by ethical corporation to be the responsible CEO of the year and it was with the CEOs of Patagonia done on Accenture, Yes, Bank Globe Telecom, feminists, and I had an opportunity to interact with leaders from each of these companies. And I’d already known about some of their social commitments. I’ve been following Patagonia for quite a long time, but I learned that they too are engaged in their own tough conversations about how to transform their business to truly become responsible businesses. And it just takes a lot of courage walk the talk. And as I said earlier, I’m hoping the Millennial Generation will have an impact on that. I will keep contributing everything I can to that.


Co Creation Through Engaging


connectedness, advantage, engagement, diversity, soft skills, safe spaces, learning intelligence, emotional intelligence, strategic action plans

How do we fully face the fact we, as leaders, have more soft skills to learn – even with all of our experience?

Evaluating capacity of our team and our entire organization starts with introspection of ourself. To build capacity, we must be active engaged life long learners that can guide and direct the development of teams to maximize success. Jess Dewell talks with Nadine B. Hack, Social Responsibility Leader and CEO beCause Global Consulting about a leader’s responsibility for Direct Impact on Core Business.

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