Warming Up

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” – Napoleon Hill

Let me ketch (you) up.

We are in the Netherlands this week facilitating an offsite with Kraft Heinz.

Some people don’t like offsites: they can be tedious, waste time, and you’re stuck with people. Do we really get anything done?

I know I have felt that way once or twice.

But this week is different.

I’m thinking about Tuesday morning. We assigned each of the executives to do a walk-and-talk. This means two colleagues walking side by side—the adult equivalent of parallel play—discussing how they can help each other be successful.

It was a misty, foggy morning for a walk.

Relationships are like that at first. It’s not clear where you’re headed or what will happen.

There can be a bit of a chill in the form of social discomfort and awkwardness. Especially if you are meeting for the first time or for the first time in a long time, as was the case for the pairings we were working with this week. 

But being face-to-face tends to draw out human warmth through sharing stories. Our brains wire themselves to be a friend, not a foe.

It’s easy to think that we can accomplish all we need to while working virtually. I, for one, have discovered many advantages and am a big proponent. And I am grateful that we have been able to find our way and become more efficient through the pandemic.

But what I know and can clearly see when I’m in person at an event like this week’s offsite, and as I said last week,  there’s no substitute for showing up in our personal life or professional life.

Of course, my business partner, Amy Humble, and I were spectators of sorts, facilitators, not actors in the play. But here are a few delightful moments:

        – Seeing a person that I’ve worked with—virtually—for three years. To finally see them again in person and be able to hug them. Such a reunion.

        – The head of sales bringing in two tubs of ketchup for the restaurant to ensure they serve the right ketchup. This is a Kraft Heinz offsite, after all.

        – Listening to diverse individuals share their S Curve stories, the stories that have shaped them and made them who they are.

        – The surprising, delightful moment when Amy and I realized we were the only two native English speakers in a room with a mix of Portuguese, Spanish, German, and French. All finding a common language. All wanting to change the world and help their people change the world.

I’ve joked for many years that when I first started my career on Wall Street I had to throw down my pom-poms to get in the game. Being on the sidelines wasn’t actually in the game.

But we all need cheerleaders, and we need supportive heroes. People who show up for us. Cheerleaders who facilitate, advise, and coach.

It wasn’t a game I would have thought to play back in the Wall Street years or wanted to play, let alone try to teach other people how to play.

But now it’s the only game I want to play.

And by the way, Tuesday warmed up, literally, as the morning sun burned away the fog; it grew warm with connection and collaboration too.

It was a beautiful spring day in Nijmegen.

This week, our podcast guest is Johnny C. Taylor, CEO of SHRM, Society of Human Resource Professionals, and author of the book Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.

It’s a fascinating conversation. One of my favorite things he said is that now is the time for HR professionals to show up as emotional first responders inside their organizations.

Thank you, as always, for being here!

My best,


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