Episode 25 – productivity for all – the evolution of Happy Space – with Clare Kumar
Productivity catalyst, highly sensitive executive coach, and international speaker Clare Kumar examines the intersection of productivity and inclusivity – paying attention to both being and doing. She inspires individuals to design for well-being and cultivate sustainable performance while avoiding exhaustion and burnout. Clare encourages leaders to design inclusive performance to invite the richest contributions from every member of their team. This is a topic Clare explores with innovators as host of the Happy Space Podcast.
With the podcast reaching its 1 year anniversary in April, I realized I was feeling compelled to widen the perspective of the podcast. High sensitivity will always be the lens through which I perceive the world and sometimes be the subject of what we explore but through giving leadership workshops all through the pandemic about how leaders need to evolve to invite their team’s best performance, it seemed time to look at challenges and opportunities more comprehensively - to benefit wider groups of marginalized individuals.
We all deserve an opportunity for rich and fulfilling lives. Since giving is the precursor to receiving, we all need an opportunity to contribute. Indeed, everyone deserves a Happy Space.
00:04:32 The Museletter
00:05:09 The Seed Model of High Sensitivity™
00:13:05 Highlighting past Happy Space Podcast episodes
00:13:17 Podcast theme: Regulate
00:19:09 Podcast theme: Design
00:24:34 Podcast theme: Leadership
00:29:49 Podcast theme: Systemic change
00:33:03 Through the lens of sensitivity & beyond…
00:39:02 The ASK Model™
Elaine Aron - HSPerson.com
Kristen Neff - Self-compassion.org
David Clutterbuck - Coaching & Mentoring International
Book Launchers - Julie Broad
Stephen Shedletsky - "Speak-Up Culture"
Dan Pontefract - "Work Life Bloom"
Theo Smith - Neurodiversity advocate
Craig Bowler - Lighting Merchant, The Home Depot Canada
IMAGE CREDITS (see images on Youtube video)
All image credits go to Clare Kumar, Canva, Envato Elements, and the Happy Space Podcast guests.
Learn more about and follow Clare:
Highly sensitive executive coach and productivity catalyst, Clare Kumar, explores the intersection of productivity and inclusivity continually asking how can we invite the richest contribution from all. She coaches individuals in sidestepping burnout and cultivating sustainable performance, and inspires leaders to design inclusive performance thereby inviting teams to reach their full potential. As a speaker, Clare mic-drops “thought balms” in keynotes and workshops, whether virtual or in-person. She invites connection through her online community committed to designing sustainable and inclusive performance, the Happy Space Pod. Why? Because everyone deserves a Happy Space.
Believing that productivity is personal, the podcast is produced in a variety of formats so you can enjoy it in the medium you prefer:
Listen to the audio right here or on your fave podcast platform.
If you prefer to watch video, check out the episode on YouTube.
If you prefer to read, please see the transcript below.
Ready to learn more, or want to find out more about coaching with Clare or hiring her for your next engaging event? Contact Clare here.
If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a heartfelt review as this will help other listeners discover the podcast. Please invite your colleagues, friends, and family to listen as well. Together we can design a more inclusive world where everyone can make their richest contribution.
And don't forget, everyone (including YOU) deserves a Happy Space.
Audio and Video Editing: To Be Reel
Production Assistant: Luis Rodriguez
Song Credit: Cali by WatR. from Pixabay
Clare Kumar: Even people who are ill or have a disability or a temperament that doesn't work with the busyness of life have a lot to offer. And this flexibility that we achieved in the pandemic is the gateway to really inviting everyone to contribute. We can't lose that You are listening to episode 25 of the Happy Space Podcast, where I'll share the expansion of the focus of the podcast from thriving as a highly sensitive person.
To advocating for and celebrating efforts to invite everyone to make their richest contributions.
Welcome to the Happy Space Podcast, where productivity meets inclusivity, and everyone gets things done. Hello, I'm Clare Kumar, highly sensitive executive coach. Speaker. And your host. Studies show that diversity leads to better business outcomes. So doesn't it make sense to invite everyone's richest contribution?
Yet too many people are invited to burnout or opt-out, and we are squandering talent. On this show, we'll explore a two-part solution. Part one, cultivating sustainable performance, the individual design of work and life to preserve our energy so we can keep contributing. And two, designing inclusive performance.
The design of spaces, cultures, products, and services, which invite the richest participation. I hope you enjoy these conversations and find inspiration and encouragement, for everyone deserves a Happy Space.
With the podcast Reaching its one-year anniversary in April of 2023, I realized I was feeling really compelled to widen the perspective of the podcast.
High sensitivity is always going to be the lens through which I look at the world and all of these topics I want to explore. But I realized through giving leadership workshops throughout the pandemic, that there was a bigger opportunity. I was giving workshops and realizing that inclusivity, diversity, all of those conversations seemed to fall like news for a lot of the people I was working with.
And I thought, you know, sensitivity is one angle to look at, but there are a lot of marginalized groups who deserve to be invited to perform and included in the way that we work. And so I decided to expand the focus of the podcast beyond just high sensitivity to really address marginalized groups who are being excluded from performance, and it's this marriage of productivity and inclusivity that I'm really feeling well positioned to talk to.
Having studied productivity for over 15 years now, I'm starting to not count anymore and living life as a highly sensitive person. Adding in my experience of neurodivergence in my family, and very much so in my client base too, as I help people with executive function challenges, figure out how to get rid of time blindness, how to make their tasks more concrete, and how to hold their attention, bring it to those tasks.
All of that makes me feel really well positioned to invite conversations and expand the thinking in this area. So, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm hoping that you'll feel compelled to share the podcast and you'll find the information relevant. I also am curious if there are questions that you have around this concept of productivity and inclusivity.
That you have, I would love to hear from you. You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find me on Twitter so far at @clarekumar. We'll see what happens there. I'm following that with interest and I'm on all the socials, so find me and reach out. And we're going to be responding to the questions that you have for upcoming episodes.
So know that I'd love to hear from you and the other opportunity for you too, to keep in touch and really understand some of their recent developments. Get the latest podcast episodes right in your inbox. Sign up for the Happy Space Newsletter newsletter because it's really about you. Who inspires me to keep creating content and researching as well. So please reach out and I look forward to being in conversation with you. Enjoy this episode.
So thank you again for joining me. I thought I would take you back through this evolution of the podcast and start with where I started in episode one. That was really focused on high sensitivity, and I really outlined there the SEED Model™ for high sensitivity, which I think puts a really positive spin and plays with the acronym that Elaine Aaron came up with and makes it more memorable and, highlights each of the elements, even a little bit more clearly.
So just to recap that real quick, it's the SEED Model™. SEED stands for sensitivity to stimuli. The first E is emotional responsiveness. The second E is empathy. And under the real cornerstone of highly sensitive people in our recept, perceptive responsive brains is this ability to deeply process. If you followed me for any length of time, you will know
I continue to think about things that many of you might say, let it go. But, if something is sort of latched in my brain, I will deeply, deeply think about it. If I watch a movie, I will think about it. If I read a book, I will carry it with me for some time and process it. So if you're highly sensitive, there is a lot of content and there will still be content around learning how to thrive as a sensitive person because each of those SEED items.
Has a real strength, a real benefit, and also some challenges. So episode one looks at that, and then I moved into looking at, gosh, on that journey to thrive as a highly sensitive person. What are the steps there? First, we need to recognize how the trait is showing up for us. We really need, and I talk about this a lot, to tune in.
Before we lean in, I talk about this a lot when we are designing our work and life together. If we really understand who we are, what our capacity is, what our intentions are, the better we can then shape our lives to preserve our energy, respect our resources, ultimately respect those priorities, and then continue to be able to perform really well.
And that all means this isn't hyper run on the treadmill faster or don't sleep. This is on our mind, body, spirit, truly respect it and who you are and what motivates you and lights you up, and then move forward with all of that to accomplish your very great work. So, recognizing is the first step.
Regulating that's the next step, and that is all to do with understanding, you know, when we're feeling tired or hangry or emotionally triggered, how do we move through some of the challenges of being highly sensitive? And this would be procrastination and perfectionism, and throw that in there too. How do we move through all of these things so that we don't get spun in that deep processing cycle and we can emerge through it with clarity of thought, calm presence, and move forward in our day? So that was second step number two. Step number three is to advocate. And here I'm talking about speaking up for yourself. And I look a lot more deeply at that as, as I'm moving forward. And it's also going to be part of the book, which I'll get to in a little bit.
But self-advocacy is really huge and in looking at what's going on, I find that the people who are prepared to speak up are really often in the minority, and it's for numerous reasons. So it's worth exploring that and building the skill to speak up so it becomes less uncomfortable, we become more successful and we can ultimately then pave our path forward to be able to contribute.
I've got stories about asking that didn't go well, and I've got stories about asking, which really turned into great experiences. So it's a continual journey. The situations will always change and we need to always be, I think, building those skills. I mean, I think the ultimate goal is to be unflappable so that we can stay in that grounded, centered place and handle whatever is coming at us.
From there, because I think highly sensitive people are such a special breed of people in the world with their ability to be driven by empathy process, deeply connect the dots, and then if we can be moved into a place of sustainable performance, we can then change the world. And I call that activating.
And this is where we're motivated not only to self-advocate, but we are allies. We are motivated to speak up for change that affects the people around us and invites better conditions for people all over the world. And so that's my big motivation and really stepping into that and hoping that this podcast will be something that will be a tool to invite those conversations.
Spread learning, shift mindsets, all with the goal of inviting more people to make their richest contribution. So you can see the evolution from sensitivity with sensitivity through to this and it continues. Just want to connect the dots a little bit. If I looked at that journey of recognize, regulate, advocate, activate, it almost followed for me those seed principles for sensitivity, that recognition, that's the sensitivity to stimuli, that's the emotional responsiveness, that's really being tuning into what we're feeling. That's how we recognize. Regulate is then working with this responsiveness and figuring out how to soften the immediate response, that startle response, which is wired to be such a powerful thing. I mean, it's such a valuable tool that's tied…
I think the regulation is tied to the emotional responsiveness. The advocacy is linked to empathy. We have to feel empathy for ourselves. Kristen Neff's self-compassion. Just love that concept of empathy being something where you can also set boundaries. So I'm big on boundaries and really being able to speak your mind and then activating really brings in all this deep processing so then we can then take it and apply it further than to ourselves.
And that's why I think when I look in the world and I see the people that are really changing the world for the better, it's highly sensitive people out there. So, going from there, now what's coming up and I first want to give you a little bit of a highlight as to some of the episodes that have passed in the past 24 episodes and what they focus on.
There are some that focus on this regulating piece for highly sensitive people and beyond. I'm thinking of the episode with Sunil Godse, episode four, where we were talking about tapping into intuition. And ever since that, if you listen to that episode, you fear me, sort of have physical shivers. When I realized now and have, well, I had one right there where whatever I'm talking about or considering is so profoundly on point,
I kind of get the shivers that chills down through your back, through my spine. I think it's the vagus nerve stimulation. But it's much more profound now, ever since really trying to think and tap into that. I think of Jenn Turnham in episode five, who is a highly sensitive extrovert, and so a really neat combination.
I consider myself one of those two. So extroverts are seen to be people who are looking for social connection, looking for interaction with others. At the same time, since we are easily overwhelmed, we can be exhausted and so this is why Jenn Turnham says there are no such thing as ambiverts, which is what I thought I was.
We are indeed highly sensitive extroverts and so need to really understand sensitivity and our need for social connection and really have some specific strategies to mitigate the over-commitment that we might be compelled to do. I really love to shine a light on Harold Taylor, which is episode eight.
He's an octogenarian productivity guru. If you're in the productivity space, you know his name already. And he shares not only some, because he's full of wisdom, always about how to do things better, but he shares his own personal journey and experience with sensitivity as a child who was shy to be someone who was on leading stages and really influencing people.
All over the world with respect to performing better. and then Katie McDonald in episode nine. Self-Care strategies. Listen to this episode if you are looking for more beautifully crafted soundbites, a relentlessly positive attitude. I think we're cut from the same cloth, Katie and I, which is why we hit it off right away.
She's someone who I could be in conversation with, I think daily. So have a listen to her because she's got a specific way through talking about her own journey and struggles to invite others now to really take care of themselves. So love Katie McDonald, episode 14, managing Anxiety with Paul Sheppard.
Beautiful gentleman out of the UK who through his own journey, finding solutions that did not work. Figuring out now such practical advice and ways to keep calm and carry on and really hold on to that. So, tune into him. Find him on his social media channels. All the links are in the show notes. That's episode 14.
Then. I was thrilled to talk to Andre Solo in episode 15. He is one of the co-authors of the book “Sensitive”, which came out in February of 2023. And he gives a fresh take on sensitivity and, really enjoyed talking with Andre. He also gets soundbites and a way to make ideas stick. So if you're interested in the latest sort of big book on sensitivity, that is one to take into account.
Given that ADHD, autism, and many ways of neurodivergent, ways of being, also have a through line of sensitivity. I include my episode with Peter Shankman and an upcoming one with Theo Smith on ADHD here in the regulate piece as well. Peter Shankman, I'm going to warn you, he's not only written the book, “The Boy with the Faster Brain”.
I'll swear he is the man with the faster mouth. I don't know if you can turn the speed down or if you'll need to on the podcast, but I know he's the fastest-talking person I think I've spoken to in a long time. And there are gems in every, almost everything he says, almost every statement is full of some wisdom, so lots to pay attention to there.
And I love, he's stepping into really being a role model for youth with ADHD and helping them feel, seen, feel normal, and feel like they have indeed a superpower. So Peter Shankman, episode 19. Amazing. Then I had the pleasure. Paul actually connected me with another gentleman in the UK who wrote a book called “Red Face”, which was around social anxiety and the fact that he would blush uncontrollably as a child and then there would be like level one reaction, blushing, and then because you're embarrassed about the blushing, it was like level two.
So it would last longer. Meet Russell Norris in episode 22. He was just a wonderfully articulate and thoughtful man, and he's a copywriter, so he has a way with words. I invite you if social anxiety is part of your experience at all, really to check into what Russell did and how he's reframed some of the things that he went through and has a lot of, again, wisdom to share with us.
From there, shifting gears a little bit, that was, those are the episodes on really self-regulation and boosting our ability to deal with challenges, whether it be high sensitivity, particularly or not. I love, love, love as anybody who's followed me in the organizing world and into productivity coaching still,
I think a lot about design. If I'm going to travel, I want to go to see the design stores, I want to go and see the architecture, and I'm always looking at how things are designed and the impact of people on people in that space and in that experience. So episode number three in the design category is the salon
Samantha James Hair Design, and Samantha and James, that's the combination of the two owners' names, they are the first service in Winnipeg to put a silent hair salon service together. So if you do not want to be chatted up, you need peace, you want, or you're introverted and you want some quiet time, they make it really easy to ask that it's a menu item and you get a robe that marks in an unobtrusive way just by colour that the staff should also respect your preference for peace in that service. I thought that was cutting-edge. They're also, I checked their Instagram recently and they're also offering gender-free pricing. And I'll tell you, this short hair girl is all over that because not sure my haircut should cost the same as flowing trusses layered look with all the blowout and so on.
It's definitely something we need to look at, and sexist pricing really has no place in the future. So kudos to Samantha James Hair Design for being at the forefront of inclusivity, on many fronts and affordability. So, yay. I have to invite you to really check out if you're interested in workplace design.
Episode two and episode six, and a couple of others as well are amazing. Episode two is Mary Kate Cassidy and Kay Sergeant. Kay is still with HOK, which is an architecture and design form. Mary Kate Cassidy has moved on to the work, design, I think it is magazine. Amazing publication as well, full of insights into design into the workplace.
So definitely follow both of them, but tune into this episode because it's really fabulous how Kay really and Mary Kate are moved to understand the different ways of being different neurodivergent ways of processing information. And making sure opportunities are present in the workplace for everyone to process at their best.
I can't wait to talk to Kay and Mary Kate again, in the future. They're at the forefront. They're speaking on world stages, recognized for their work. Definitely tune into episode two. In episode six, Andréa de Paiva out of Brazil.
Loved speaking with her as well. She really connects the dots on the science that has gone before us to help us influence how human beings can be more comfortable and productive in space. And part of being productive is being calm and rested, right? So we can't dismiss that. And that is what, Andréa and I explore.
She is the founder of @neuroau on Instagram. I think that last check there were 26 or 27,000 people there. I'm sure it's more than that now. Beautiful Instagram feed with de inspiring images and design principles. All about increasing the opportunity for more people to perform in our world. Episode seven,
I loved, loved, loved talking to David O’Coimin if you're going to say it properly and Irish language, but I think, Gaelic, it would be different. And since I always like to try and learn somebody's name properly and hopefully honour them by saying it properly. So David and I talked for a while. He is the director of Nook Pod which is a line of furniture that invites calmer or more stimulating spaces, depending on what you need in a workspace, you can adjust the lighting they have, fidgets built in under the desk for someone who needs more stimulation without bothering the other people, it's amazing. Acoustically, dampened. If I lived in an open concept or I had to work in an open concept office or had to share in a coworking space, I would want to have these in place.
So check out episode seven with David. Episode 23 is my good friend Robbie Samuels. He is a networking expert. He is someone who thinks deeply. Fellow highly sensitive person. And just so full of empathy and intuition at play. We talk about designing events for rich connections, so bringing the new networking together and bringing inclusivity together.
I thought, “oh, nobody better than Robbie”. So you'll delight in meeting him. And if you get to be in his orbit, in his community online, in his, some of the events that he hosts, you will see that he is modelling what he talks about in everything he does. So a gem there. Then I move into a group now of topics that I talked about, which are really about leaders and shaping the way we work moving forward.
I talked to Keith Isaac of TD Bank on episode 10 about how they're modifying their hiring process with the help of specialist Erna and his daughter is neurodivergent. And this was motivating Keith to actually make a difference because he wanted the work world to be more inviting for his daughter to make her best contributions.
So I am finding, definitely, this is a repeated theme as I talk to people in the space, there's a close connection to neurodivergence and it's often a family member, and that's motivating some of our senior leaders to actually take action. If we can invite leaders out there to recognize that they are. You know, not very far from someone who is going to be benefiting from this inclusive action.
More leaders will come on board. Lisa Mitchell I talked to in episode 12, she's a coach. Beautiful energy. Again, if you want to listen to a calm voice with beautiful wisdom, listen to Lisa and I in episode 12. She talks about talent management with sensitivity. Then if you want a firecracker, a longtime management guru, who didn't want to be called a guru,
I love Tom Peters, episode 16. I was thrilled. We actually connected on Twitter and I was so thrilled when he agreed to be in conversation with me. He is a super champion of women, and inclusivity and performance. He just, he's always lived this and advocated for it. So tune into that episode for some real gems of Tom's wisdom and at the end, how I challenge one of the things he says.
And he says he is going to talk about how to talk about quiet people, about leaders, and looking for quiet people differently going forward. So that was an amazing conversation. I also talked to Sally Page of WorkTripp. They're a company that focuses on making offsites easy, and offsites are the new on-sites, essentially, for any company that has significant hybrid or remote work, which are many, many, many organizations today. That is not going anywhere despite the media hype around return to office.
There are so many organizations firmly committed to this, and WorkTripp is there to help them make it easier to connect with really rich, onsite, maybe a remote location, not in the corporate office, but outside of the carpet office retreats. They want to be the Airbnb of retreats, and Sally and her partner, Sophie Bailey, are right on their way to do that.
You will not want to miss episode 21. That is Joe Mull and he talks about his latest book, “Employalty”, which is the combination of employee loyalty and humanity and that important dose of humanity is why I love Joe and what he talks about. Follow him. He's got a podcast called Boss Better as well. Just love his thinking and was happy to be able to bring some of that wisdom to you.
And then I wrap up with John Lee, who I connected with on LinkedIn. He's the CEO and Co-founder of Work From Anywhere. And Work From Anywhere is poised to help individuals and organizations who are looking at really remote work. So whether you're a remote worker working in a different country or a digital nomad, we explore what those things are.
We explore the tension between corporate tax. And individual tax and how that is, there's a push pull on that with respect to really having somebody say, I want to go live and work in a place. Right. There's a lot to consider. I have been an expat in Toronto, or sorry, not Toronto, in Tokyo and Montreal. I remember understanding tax consequences of the decision and setting things up to be thinking about planning, well for the future, lots of complicated things there. And John's background is, as a successful entrepreneur and finance expert, brings this to bear along with, I'm going to say a cultural curiosity and sensitivity, which really again, shows, brings that humanity into the work. And the goal there is to support more people being able to live.
And work in a way that supports their ability to contribute in a rich life. So that's a quick summary of the first, 24 episodes, including the episode one and 13, which I, share a little bit about, which I've shared in this recap. But, mostly I do interviews and I love the interviews, and I will keep doing that.
I'm thinking around every 12 episodes. I'm going to jump on here and do a solo episode. Showing you where my thinking is has been and where it's going, and giving you the highlights. So I hope this is useful for you. Oh, there's, I forgot one category and it's probably the most powerful: systemic change.
Systemic change. Episode 11, I just adored my conversation and meeting Leigh Marz and Justin Zorn. They are the authors of Golden, the power of silence in a world full of noise. Anybody who knows me, knows that I talk a lot about noise pollution and light pollution, and there were some beautiful gifts.
It's a spiritual book. And it's also based in economics. That's Justin's expertise and Lee is a really effective leadership coach, having people at NASA. So these are two elite minds, bringing you their thinking and understanding of noise and how to navigate a path forward. Some real gems in there.
One of them being the invitation to, to understand Jarvis J. Masters, who was charged with a crime. On death row for a very lengthy time, still working to clear his name and has written a book, which over picked as, and it's about his lessons.
Clare Kumar: He's had to learn how to exist in a prison environment where you don't have any control over the noise around you and be successful. And I still haven't read that book. I've taken it outta the library and I didn't read it in time. So it's returned, but I'm going to buy it because I know there's something in that book for me in terms of the regulating piece and how to become that unflappable person. I'd love to be. Anyway, that's the power of silence.
Moving on from episode 11, episode 18 in the systemic change theme is talking about revolutionizing work with a concept called workstyle. So we have lifestyle now we're going to have workstyle. And the belief from Lizzie Penny and Alex Hirst, who I interviewed together, and they're just gems also from the UK.
They believe that the future of work is asynchronous and that we're going to be able to generally operate independently and accomplish work and choose when we come together in synchronicity and in place. And it's going to liberate, our opportunity. Lizzie went through cancer and realized that flexibility is absolutely critical.
Even people who are ill or have a disability or a temperament that doesn't work with the busyness of life have a lot to offer. And this flexibility that we achieved in the pandemic is the gateway to really inviting everyone to contribute. We can't lose that. And Lizzie and Alex totally get that. And the last person in the systemic change piece is Nola Simon, who's, a fellow Canadian.
And really, I love the way she thinks. She puts out a lot of great content. I follow her on LinkedIn mostly for the articles that she shares in her perspective and stories as well. And she's someone with a great voice in this space around the future of work and where it ought to go to invite participation from everyone.
So that's the recap. I, want to share a little bit now about the shift forward that I'm making as I integrate productivity, inclusivity, and leadership. And the reason that the three are coming together is because I realize to have the greatest impact… now, don't get me wrong, I adore one-on-one coaching.
I will always adore it and always make room for clients that, really want to make a difference and work with someone who's not afraid to make room for what's really going on, but in such a compassionate and loving way that you're going to feel safe. So that's going to continue. But I realized if I wanted to have the most impact, I need to be influencing leadership mindset.
And the way to do that is with. On the keynote stage in workshops and in facilitation through the podcast as well. So you'll see this whole theme now, bringing the three parts together. The other thing I recognize is that leaders for sure need their teams to be productive. And so I'm hoping, as there is significant fatigue, I'm sensing in the world around DEI initiatives, and we need so much more than lip service. The hook, if you will, is to anchor in the productivity gains, which have been proven from having a diverse workforce to really go beyond diversity and say, now we need to really include and we need to make things accessible as well.
It's really the three that need to be held together because it really starts with leadership in an organization and leadership at any level. So if you're a. junior manager listening to this, it's leadership in your team. If you're a CEO listening to this, it's your perspective on how to invite the performance.
And it will trickle down. It can trickle sideways and up as well. It takes a little more patience and crafting. With looking at LinkedIn today, David Clutterbuck, who's really renowned as a group, a leadership coach, and a group coach. He was saying, you know, what do you, when you want to invite a mindset shift, when you know something is morally challenging and you really want to, you see that a leader is going to be more effective if they change their mindset, it's there.
He offered up a couple of questions, which I'll share right now. He was saying, you know, instead of challenging the belief directly, which causes and triggers defensiveness, What would it be like if you said, what? How is this thinking serving you? I'm thinking of Dr. Phil, what are you getting out of this way of being?
How is it serving you? How is it serving the team? How do people feel about this attitude and this way of being? How do they feel about you? How do they feel in the organization? So it's examining it without challenging it. Okay. And I just have to show you, this is what I deal with. So Ellie was sleeping.
You've probably met my cats before. Ellie was sleeping on my desk. I've got this now gray carpet here, and that's where Ellie goes every day when we're working together. And now he's just turned on his back to say, rub my stomach. And so, you'll meet Allie in the podcast. He's usually here at the beginning.
And, sometimes purring gets really loud. If Zoom isn't cutting that, you might be able to hear him. But Ellie's here for this episode. I wanted you to know that. As I think about, productivity, inclusivity, and leadership, I just thought I'd give you top really quick soundbites on each one.
Productivity is really looking at the productivity CPR Model I put together many years ago now and have been working with for some time. CPR of course stands for something else. Compass setting direction. That is all about setting intention, and performance, that is all about wellbeing. That's about managing our attention so we can bring it to those intentions.
Absolutely critical. Rituals. The R is for rituals that is the execution, the productivity, traditional things like time management, task management, ergonomics, all kinds of things. Perfectionism, procrastination, all of that, which I can speak to after studying in this area for, I'm thinking it's 17 years now, but all of those things.
And then looking at how it relates to someone who's neurodivergent, oh, guess what? Productivity is personal. So as a productivity coach, when I'm working with someone, I don't say the only pen you should use is a purple fountain pen, which I happen to adore. Maybe it's pencil, maybe it's no pen at all, because you have, disability with written expression and those fine motor skills are just going to drive you nuts.
So maybe it's just a keyboard, maybe it's a walk and talk, understanding how people work and recognizing that productivity is personal, leads me into the inclusivity piece. It's just a no-brainer then, right? How if we recognize that productivity is personal, we have to look at how we're going to be inclusive, and so expanding inclusivity is the big thing that I've been working on with leaders.
It's looking at things like neurodiversity, it's looking at invisible illnesses, disability caregiving, responsibilities, sexism, ageism. The ultimate goal is to #nevermindthelabels, but until we get there, we have to come to understand each of these things as we understand them, we can then be, I don't need to ask the question anymore.
I need to go to the big question, which is in the leadership section, I talk about the ASK Model™ based on a question that I've found in invisible disability research in the US. You know, as a leader, we want to get the most other people. We want to understand people, but we also have to protect privacy. So asking people, what do you need to succeed?
Absolutely critical. And then turning that word ask into a model to go forward, and to not only understand what that is. I'll break that down in just a sec. But to acknowledge the ask we're making, not to assume that coming into the office is easy, is convenient, is what somebody wants to do, to acknowledge what we are asking.
Every time we ask someone to show up, we have to be respectful of the energy that went into that. Now, the ASK Model™, it's about inviting optimum performance for all. And ASK here stands for three things: Anticipate, suggest, and know. So anticipate, anticipate what? Anticipate the challenges that you think you will have.
This applies to yourself as well, or your team will have. Anticipate based on what you know, anticipate what someone will need. From there, suggest solutions, source solutions. Find ways that you know of already that can be helpful, whether it's recommending an EAP program, whether it's… I've shared therapist recommendations with clients and given referrals.
Suggesting solutions that you think will be helpful to someone is the standup desk for ergonomics. All kinds of things fall into the suggest bucket and then commit to knowing your people better, and that's a cycle. Once we know more, then we can anticipate more, then we can suggest more correctly. Then we move back into knowing and continuing to work.
That cycle will mean that it's not a static thing. It's not one-and-done because everything is always changing, right? But if we can ask those questions in a way that makes people, if we can have these conversations about asking if we can, if. Step in that, what do you need to succeed? Place with genuine empathy and curiosity.
We'll find out what we can do and we can co-create it together. So I mentioned book recently. That is what I'm working on and right now that is, taking up most of my time and it's around the conversations that we need to be having to drive this inclusive performance. To banish burnout and to really have this great, rich participation from everyone.
So stay tuned for news on that, and I'll be coming out to the community too to ask for input and questions. The other thing I want to let you know that I'm doing going forward is I have a new little bit of content here that is bringing the conversation forward around design and services experiences, that are out there.
And I'm calling it what to do and what to do better. And I'll give you one example now, but you're going to find this in my Museletter, the Happy Space Newsletter. If you'd like to sign up for that, it's right on my homepage. clarekumar.com. Click on a button there and sign up for the newsletter. And you will, this is something I'm going to start adding in and I'll give you one example.
Recently, if you've been following already, you would've heard of a pretty poor experience I had in a learning environment where the materials were watermarked in such a way that I found them incredibly distracting and hard to read in that class. Things did not go well when I asked for what I needed in another class on book writing, run by book launchers and Julie Broad, there were some technological challenges with connecting to a meeting.
There were course date changes and what struck me as so different between these two experiences, was things went wrong with both of them, but how they were handled was in one case with book launchers, a total example of what to do. And in the case of the watermark materials, a what not to do or what to do better.
And so I, I'm going to be talking about things like that with the book launchers. They apologized for the technical glitches and the missed calendar dates and or in term they had redesigned the dates and not showed the original plans, but they honoured it. They decided to act in the client's best interest.
They offered. This, the classes they had intended to take out, they over delivered by, making a book coach available. And here's the nice thing about that. In so doing, they learned that the book coach is really an incredible value add piece. In this program that I participated in, it's going to be an ongoing thing.
So sometimes when you're giving to clients, you're also learning. I hold that spirit true. Whenever something goes sideways, I'm like, okay, there's something to learn here. What am I going to learn from it? So that was what to do with the watermark issue. There was no apology. There was a, well, no one else feels like this or not, no one else.
They actually did a survey and 19% of people actually felt the same way I did, but it wasn't the majority. So tough luck for the 19% and it was not lost on me that the Happy Space face is turned 19% because that represents the almost 20% of people that are highly sensitive and see the world differently.
Well, guess what? This was a complete and staunchly declared dismissal of the 19%. There was, a continued to advocate and try and. Invite a shift and I was actually kicked out of the glass, so I wrote about that on a blog post, which you can find at clarekumar.com/blog. And I write about that, but this is going to be the kind of thing I talk about.
I have a toothbrush I want to tackle, right now from Procter & Gamble. I love the way this toothbrush feels. I love what it can do. I really think there's no place for bright white light two inches from your eyeballs when you're going to bed and brushing your teeth. So what to do and what to do better, what to do better.
Get rid of that light, make it something you could turn off, change the colour temperature, all kinds of things that could be done to do better and respect the human physiology. So that's the kind of stuff I would love to hear from you with examples of what to do and what to do better and might feature one of those in an upcoming newsletter or maybe even in a podcast.
I am going to be interviewing a few more product people. I think there's one coming up around lighting and I talked to the buyer for lighting for all of Canada, for Home Depot. And we have a fascinating conversation about the evolution of lighting and Ellie's now moving around saying, you're not petting me, so I'm going to knock some things around on your desk. So, I'm getting close to wrapping this up anyway, I wanted to yeah, just mention that, what to do and what not, what to do and what to do better. It's the word not out of there, which is kind of negative. So I want to always stay encouraging. Happy Space, the newsletter, sign up on my homepage and you know, I'm always going to say, I'm going to appreciate a review if you find the content valuable. Please share your comments, please share your feedback. It's Apple, it's Spotify. It's, I think they've cancelled Stitcher, so I probably got to take that off my webpage. But have a look there. There's several places you can find the podcast and, reviews are really wonderful because number one, I'll tell you what, you don't get a lot of feedback in a podcast.
I'm talking to a camera right now. I'm imagining you listening, and I'm so grateful that you're here. But does it ever make my day when I hear that something landed that an idea was valuable or that you chose to share it with someone who's highly sensitive, who has anxiety, who's a designer, who's a leader.
Just knowing that it has value and will go further, make my day. How about that? I would love it if you would share with me on social media or in a review that the podcast is, has some value for you. And if you have any requests, I'm all ears. So until the next episode, and there are great episodes coming back, some which I've recorded already, I'm so excited I have to plant a seed for two.
Steven Shedledski is coming up with a book “Speak Up Culture” in October of this year, and you know how I feel about speaking up. I mean asking is everything. And so getting comfortable enough to ask. I can't wait to read what Steven has written. And then my friend Dan Pontefract, who's written, I think this is his fifth book now, he's written “Flat Army”, “Open to Thank”, when this next one is called “Work Life Bloom”.
And if you followed any of my pictures of peonies, you know, I'm all over his marketing for this too. His book is coming out also in the fall, and we're going to have a chat about it. He's someone I respect. He writes a Forbes column. He interviews CEOs all the time and he brings humanity firmly into the conversation and into his view of how leadership ought to be.
So those are a couple of conversations coming up along with Theo Smith, Craig Bowler from the Home Depot, and some incredible women too. I'm placing some invitations right now and, can't wait for who's going to come. So please, let me know what you think and I look forward to hearing from you. And I hope in the interim, you are definitely finding your Happy Space.
Thank you so much for listening. You can find all of the Happy Space Podcast episodes over at happyspacepod.com. I love learning what resonates with you, so please leave a comment about this episode over social media, or even better, post a review wherever you tune in. And if you have an idea for a topic to explore, or an inclusive action to celebrate, I would love to know more about it. It might even appear on an upcoming episode or an issue of the Happy Space Museletter. Please, help me spread the word about people doing great things. After all, doesn’t everyone deserve a Happy Space?