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EP 18:  Joshua Encarnacion, Professional Leadership Development Consultant 

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:00  

Hi, and welcome to episode 18 of Talent Acquisition Trends and Strategy. Today we are joined by Joshua Encarnacion. Joshua, welcome to the show!


Joshua Encarnacion  0:23  

Thank you for hosting me, James. 


James Mackey  0:25  

It's really good to have you here. And we have some great topics to discuss today. And before we jump into it, it would be really wonderful if you could tell us a little bit about yourself and what you're up to these days.


Joshua Encarnacion  0:36  

Yeah. Serving as a leadership development consultant. It's a great label for just being able to work in all aspects of the employee lifecycle, talent lifecycle, thinking about recruiting, training, management, and retention holistically. Working with companies that are startups, true startups, we're talking about 1, 2, 3 million $, looking to scale. Companies that have scaled and are looking to rework some of the habits or some of the processes they've put in place that got them to where they are but won't get them to where they're going. 


And then working with companies that I've happened to spend some time with in the past. Throughout my career, I started as a Technical Recruiter at Google. I've built L&D training programs for Uber. And I've worked with a number of different companies in the Bay Area in Boston, and even in Europe. So it's been quite the ride, just thinking about people holistically, how do you find them? How do you grow them? How do you keep them? How do you make sure that they don't hate you in the process?


James Mackey  1:39  

Yes, that's always good, right? That's a good goal to have. So I know one of the topics that you're very passionate about is coaching and Talent Management. Obviously, it's a big topic. And we probably could spend the entire episode just talking about that. 


But I wanted to get a sense at a high level, of how you approach coaching and Talent Management, and maybe we could just kind of start with a high-level strategy, and then kind of boil it down into some tactical, actionable things that companies can be doing to build coaching and Talent Management Solutions, as well as maybe optimize them or maybe, a few things that they usually get wrong, right. This is how companies screw it up. Like all that stuff is valuable. So it's really up to you. But we'd love to get your thoughts on your philosophy and approach to coaching and talent management.


Joshua Encarnacion  2:28  

Yes, I appreciate you setting it up that way. I mean, the reason why I'm passionate about Coaching and Talent Management is because I've been served by a great coach in the past. And you know, that's a story for another day. But having accepted coaching in my life, I've learned that having somebody to serve as a sounding board, in any part of an organization and in any part of your career, really allows you to think about getting from where you are to where you want to be. And having somebody that's just willing to listen along the way makes all the difference. So you can continue to manage your own emotions. So you can continue to think about new strategies to deploy when you're up against a challenge. So you can see challenges as opportunities. 


And so a lot of what I mean by labeling coaching as a talent management philosophy, as a tool is thinking about how you embed this in your culture. Because I feel like a lot of times coaching doesn't come up until you know, somebody's in that remedial state, or somebody needs a pip right? Performance improvement plan. Or there's also just the, you know, the bias against coaching in general, where it's only for people that can't meet the bar, right? Do not exceed expectations. And I'm sure the world has moved past that conversation. And many pockets, especially the ones that we're having conversations in the world of HR. But a lot of times, folks still have this strong aversion to coaching in any part of the talent lifecycle, employee lifecycle, or HR process, simply because they don't understand it. 


They don't understand what it is, they don't understand how to approach it. They've never been coached, they've never accepted coaching. And so being able to introduce that thought, and that idea early on in the lifecycle of any HR department is really powerful.


James Mackey  4:27  

I think there's also a certain segment of people and obviously, this is not everybody, but there are I think a fair amount of people out there that think of coaching or I mean, for instance, it's not therapy, but any kind of like coaching or any type of resource that you're using to help you as almost like this. Maybe I don't know if weakness is the right word, but they look at it as this aversion to it. Like I don't want to open up or I don't want to share this with other people or it's kind of it's one of the things that I do sometimes to help people kind of overcome that. 


Just like my own team is just talking Like, look, the most successful people in the world have the most advisors, the most coaches. I mean, if you think about, you know, let's say you take the top athletes in the world, they're gonna have the most coaches, they're gonna have a nutritionist, they're gonna have a head coach, they're gonna have somebody to do, you know, I'm not into sports too much, but you get the idea, right? Like, they're going to have a tonne of people helping them. The President of the United States is going to have more advisors and more people. 


So people need to understand like, okay, as you're going to continue to move up, you're going to need resources, different people giving you different perspectives, and helping you be aware of your blind spots and helping you learn how to communicate, right?


Joshua Encarnacion  5:39  

Yeah. And as I'm listening to you speak, I'm understanding exactly what you're pointing to. A lot of people lack the vulnerability to accept coaching. And it's tough to open up, especially with what you've expected probably through experience, right? Because this immediately brings me to, you know, hurt people, hurt people, right, is that every time you do get vulnerable, either someone's trying to take advantage of you, or someone mistreats you, and that sticks with you for a very long time. And yeah, coaching is not therapy. But there's a lot of therapeutic work that's involved in coaching, or at least effective coaching. And it is tough, it is tough to want to open up again and receive support and receive help.


It's funny, I used to run this class for software engineers that were on the job search, and I would have them write 30, software engineers, all parts of their career, 20 years, two years, right? I'd ask them if somebody asked you for help, would you help them? Raise your hand. And all 30 would raise their hand and say, How many of you, out of your own initiative, today have asked somebody for help? You know, two, three hands. 


So a lot of times we're willing to help, but being helped almost feels like it's against ourselves. And so when you think about that, at scale, by that, I mean, in a department, in an organization, in a company 50 people, 150 people to 1500 people, that attitude, it creeps into almost every process that you try to put in place, every standard, every expectation, every recognition, every sense of reward every incentive. And you end up building a guild of people that belief accepting help is wrong, or asking for help is wrong.


And if you can adopt coaching as a talent management style, you'll start to see that what you're doing is shifting people's perspectives from a more competitive to a collaborative approach. And if you can get to that center, just that place where one plus one equals three, I mean, how, how can you see that as a bad thing from a productivity standpoint and an engagement standpoint? 


James Mackey  7:45  

I think one of the things that I'm most passionate about when it comes to coaching, particularly for leaders, particularly for new leaders, right? I think that if somebody is a new manager, they shouldn't be able to become a really a new full manager without I mean, people that are having performance conversations, not necessarily team leads, but if somebody's moving into a management position where they're involved with performance, then they really need to have an executive coach. 


Because, to me, one of the most important traits of a successful leader is somebody who can communicate high empathy and high standards at the same time. And it's just been my life experience that can be very difficult. And I can only speak for myself, it took me a few years to get that down.


Joshua Encarnacion  8:32  

I agree with you, it took me a long time to finally accept, hey, look, at any given point of the day, I might need a hug or a swift kick in the ass. And both have to happen simultaneously in tandem in balance. So that way, I can keep that discipline routine, that's getting me to where I'm going. But at the same time, I feel supported emotionally. 


And so I'm aligned with you, new managers oftentimes struggle with this the most because they're thinking of either A being popular, which isn't the job of a manager, or B trying to compete with everyone, which the label for that is so powerful, right? Like the Dunning Kruger effect, you've been really good at your job, then you get promoted into management, and you want to be even better at your job and just shit on everyone. It's like, that's not your job anymore. Your job now is to make everyone around you that much better, which requires on one end, right, higher standards and expectations. And on the other end, support will be through empathy and any sort of understanding. 


So I hear you loud and clear, and it amazes me how many teams just missed the point on how coaching as a style of working is powerful. 


James Mackey  9:43  

And I think one of the hard parts of coaching for some organizations is just the cost, right? What are your thoughts on that? I'm trying at SecureVision as we have up-and-coming leaders that are managing people, and making coaching accessible to them. 


How do you make coaching accessible to everybody? Is that really sustainable? Can you really get a great executive coach to speak with everybody on the team? Or do you do group sessions? How do you go about implementing it? Coaching? I mean, is it just like the manager is doing? Is it a separate person? How do you really make that scalable to where you can roll it out to an entire department or entire organization?


Joshua Encarnacion  10:28  

No, I think when we immediately default to it being for everybody, we're being kind of lazy. Peter Northouse has this great book Situational Leadership. And in it, he just talks about being able to quickly, almost immediately instantaneously identify, what situations call for what solutions and leadership being the person that uses each situation, to help them understand what tool is going to be most effective. And so in my mind, coaching has become this tool, it may not be necessary at every level, definitely not for everyone. 


But in the situations where the person has a larger-than-life impact, typically as your manager, right, but it could be a high performer, right? Like, there are a lot of teams where the manager plays number two to the person that's putting up shots, right? In whatever capacity, whether that's, you know, in a recruiting capacity, this person is the one that's causing the most wrecks, if it's in a training capacity, they're leading the most sessions, if it's in a management capacity, they have the most direct reports. 


But to me, it's finding those key players getting them the coaching that they need, doubling down on their investment because they're the person that's going to influence and they're the one that's going to act like the trim tab, they're going to be the fulcrum for the entire organization, or whatever part of the organization that they've, sent their influence into. And having them advocate for people finding support. Because it doesn't have to be all the way up to finding the best executive coach. It can really just be alright, let's start scheduling more time together as a team, and spreading these ideas more organically. 


I think one place that's often missed, really, and I've seen this time and time, again, is onboarding. Onboarding is the biggest place for coaching, like immediately because it sets the tone. But I don't know, I've worked on onboarding programs that are three months long. I don't think that's it. But I've worked on onboarding programs that are three hours long. And that's definitely not it. But somewhere in between that three months and three hours, you can find some form of programming that gets people into the right mindset, be it through, spending a lot of time with the business goals, the business origins, the business leaders, or through experiential learning where people are actually understanding like, okay, so this is what coaching as a manager looks like or being coached as a teammate of, for example, SecureVision looks like. 


It gives you grounding, immediately and permission, which I think is even more important to ask for help, which is what we're talking about, and more specifically, help from getting from A to B. Right? Not, just I'm going through a breakup, that's too much. But I mean, like, I have these goals, I'm struggling, is it okay to reach out to my teammate to the left or to my teammates on the right, is it okay to talk to a manager that may not be my direct manager, but has experience that I want to gain at some point. And I think any C-level executive would appreciate that happening organically.


James Mackey  13:46  

I think so. But I think a lot of C levels mess up when it comes to building a culture where people feel open to asking for help. Because some coaches might be so obsessed with the concept of like performance or something that they're so critical all the time that people just feel like, okay, if I speak up, or if I ask for help, that's going to be seen as weakness, or there's already an expectation that I should know how to do this, or I should know how to be successful or, or I will so and so think of me if I asked for help. 


That's why it's so important, like culture, it kind of become a buzzy term. And everybody's obviously talking about how important it is. But it really is critically important for C-level executives to make sure that they're creating an environment and processes and policies and picking the managers that are going to help people understand that it's okay to speak up and to ask for help and that's healthy and that's expected. 


We all have different strengths, right? And nobody's going to come to the table with the exact same skill set and so it's going to be important to collaborate and work together so we can find the answers to the things that people may need help with. So I think the biggest driver of creating that culture really comes down to the sea levels making it happen and putting the right people in management and leadership positions.


Joshua Encarnacion  15:10  

Yeah. And it's tough because getting to that level, you're used to an operating rhythm, you're executing it at such a high capacity. That thinking about talent management becomes second. Right? I mean, well, I guess I have a question for you. How do you rank that priority? We think about a C-level executive, like, where does people management fall? Or where should it fall?


James Mackey  15:36  

Sure, I mean,  it's very, fortunately, coming up in a services company, it was very early in my career, evident how important having a people-first organization is. Now I've worked for services companies that do not put people first and that they're basically just burning people out in this revolving door. So I've seen the other side of that. But, you know, that was my own cup. I mean, I can't learn that kind of toxic sales type of stuff.  So I know what that's like. 


But, for me it just made, I guess, some sense intuitively, but it was also just an evolution over the years like that, okay, people are going to be the primary driver of value, right? If we can take care of our people and produce great experiences for them, then they are going to produce great experiences for our clients. So let's focus on optimizing their experience, right? 


So as I'm running my company, my job is basically to create great experiences and outcomes for everybody, especially with my company, first and foremost, my employees, that doesn't mean that I always get it right, or we don't mess up, right? It's just that we really make it a priority to create great experiences for them. And that goes into our talent management. I mean, 

anybody can say their people first.


Let me just give some examples of how we actually do that. For instance, we max out the capacity for our recruiters so that they're only working on a certain amount of roles at a time. And that only not ensures that they don't hit a level of burnout, right? So a lot of agencies will have people working on like, 20,30 roles at a time. For startup and growth stage tech, that just doesn't make any sense. I mean, our recruiters are working around six openings at a time.


We do every federal holiday, we're closed, then attached to every federal holiday, we have another day off. So people get around one four-day weekend a month, we have a minimum PTO policy, I mean, we do things to help people get a good quality of life. When it comes to capacity, and time off, we have like the weekly one on ones we listen to. I periodically jump on conversations with people because I want to keep a pulse. You can't get everything from a survey, we do surveys, but sometimes you have to do things that aren't scalable, and to some extent, relationships are not scalable.


You have to get in there and have real conversations with people and figure out what's happening. And you can't ever lose sight of that. You know, as a business owner, Chief Executive, you have to realize that you have to keep a pulse on the culture. And you do that not through surveys, not just through feedback from your leadership team. You have to get in there and talk to people and see how they're feeling and doing.


Joshua Encarnacion  18:34  

That's so refreshing, especially on the other side of this big quit great resignation. What is it? The turnover tsunami, whatever, people are calling it.


James Mackey  18:42  

That's a good one!


Joshua Encarnacion  18:44  

It's refreshing to hear because I think the thing that goes out the window first when it comes to talent management. When it's crunch time, I should say, right, like, it's time to scale, it's time to hit the numbers, it's time to see the revenue, is trust. But it's like the first button on everyone's desk is like, let's just lie to everyone. I don't understand it. 


I guess it relates back to the first point you made around vulnerability because having operated in an executive level role myself, right it's like, the distance between feeling comfortable and saying, Hey, we messed up. Oh, we need to change directions and become so much farther away from you. When you are responsible for a lot of people. And I'm sure you see it clearly. And I think it gets us to that point in talking about psychological safety and other executive leaders when they have a hard time taking responsibility and saying, Hey, I messed up. And you know, back to that executive being the coach or receiving the coaching or providing the coaching, I don't think there's anything more powerful than just saying, Hey, I messed up.


James Mackey  20:12  

And if an executive has a good executive coach, hopefully, they are not screwing up too much. Because most of the time the way that leaders screw up is not even necessarily about business decisions. It's, you know, you get off one phone call that you know, was hell, right? You just have whatever kind of fire, right? And then you get on the next one with your team members. And you have to learn how to show up as your best self on all those different calls. And that's something that an executive coach can help you learn how to minimize, right?


Joshua Encarnacion  20:40  

Oh, yeah, developing that emotional agility, right? Like, hey, I'm not dragging this energy all the way through the rest of my day knowing I have 15 meetings left, right? Or this one meeting is going to have 22 people listening to every word I say, hanging on to everything that I'm thinking about. 


Yes, I agree with you. I mean, a great executive coach is able to help people process those emotions and those calls and not get hung up. But I think coaching as a talent management style, or just as a talent management framework really comes down to being able to implement a strong sense of psychological safety across an organization. Which I think is really what is at the heart of the best places to work, where a lot of people get hung up on the perks, and we know the perks come and go, like, if I wanted to slide at work, now I work from home, I can buy a slide into my living room. It's " do I feel as if I'm going to get reamed out on this zoom? Or do I know I'm going to have a job a week from now? Right? 


James Mackey  21:43  

That's the stuff that I hate. In my opinion, when a company is being run correctly, nobody should be scared of Oh, my God, what if I lose my job tomorrow? That should not be how performance is being done. That should not be how expectations are being set. In my opinion, if there is a performance concern, it's a multi-step process and feedback loop, and coaching strategy that goes into that. 


And you know, okay, if I haven't gone through all four of those stages that kind of escalate, if you will, where it's like, you get to the point like, Okay, if we have to kind of go through this again, then the next time it will be a pip. And of course, I'm right here with you. And I'll do everything I can. And here are some resources. But that's the type of structure that a company should have. In that way you can communicate with the employees, like, Look, if we have not had any conversations about performance concerns, you got nothing to worry about. This is a safe environment. And I think most companies are terrible at that.


Joshua Encarnacion  22:49  

100% And it's almost excruciating to be part of the talent team that has to uphold the standards that we all know are unfair, specifically experience and now far away from it, so I can speak with it. I speak about it without, you know, fear of backlash, but I'm putting in, you know, parental leave policies, and the question being asked, Should we just let this person go? As if someone got pregnant at the wrong time? That's horrible! Because you know, on the other side of that, having heard teammates say, hey, look, I'm expecting in X number of weeks, I'm hoping I still have a job when I get back. It's stuff like that, you know, you have to almost shut your laptop off. And ask yourself, did you make the right decisions when someone asks you what you wanted to be when you grow up? Because you're like, This is a day, right, like ruining family, isn't it?


I think it's just the detachment that is often an exercise at the leadership level when thinking about people in general, that gets dangerous, it just becomes dangerous. Because the moment that your people are just numbers on a spreadsheet, you're forgetting the humanity behind what you're building. So kudos to you, because some of those even just some of the things you mentioned earlier, like a minimum PTO policy, that's powerful. That's huge in terms of retention in and of itself. A lot of people are still operating under unlimited PTO.


James Mackey  24:26  

So it's weird, I agree with you, I hate unlimited policies, because What does it mean? It's obviously not unlimited. Right? You can't take six months, right? 


Like one of my buddies, he puts it in a good way. He says, like, Look, if you want to take more than a couple of months, and are you really in the right position and doing something you're passionate about, which I get that perspective, but then I'm also like, Well, yeah, also from a workload capacity perspective, is there really a need for a full-time person if they're taking six months? I mean, That's one end.


But the other end is like, yeah, people have no idea of what's actually reasonable for them to take. The companies that do Unlimited, they say, most people take around X amount of time.


Joshua Encarnacion  25:13  

And that's the companies that are doing it right. I believe I'm not gonna get this 100% Correct, right? Even having worked with what? 20,25 companies now, even the last couple of years, I still have such a small, small percent of a percent, of a percent, right? It's an opportunity to coach right then and there. 


So if we're getting tactical, right, what we're talking about is if you're going to introduce an unlimited PTO policy, have your managers train people or coach people on how to interact with an unlimited PTO policy. It's not taken six months off, it's if you know, that Fridays and Mondays are stressful. Shift your week. So Tuesday through Thursday is where you're the most productive. And Mondays and Fridays are when you're the most, you know, heads down, able to reflect and take care of what you need to take care of. 


Or if you know that you have a family emergency, you can anticipate or even when that you can't, that's when you should exercise communication and say, Hey, I'm off these days, but here are the reasons why sharing what you feel comfortable with. But giving people something to hold on to so that they know you're not just abandoning ship. Right. And I think those are the missed opportunities. And that's where managers are not coaching. And that's where I see most managers failing. They're saying unlimited PTO, do what you want. You're an adult?


James Mackey  26:43  

Well, the reality is that there are a lot of companies that I don't think are being transparent with unlimited policies, and I do think are actually hoping that people aren't going to take the time. And that's the type of stuff that really concerns me. 


And my advice to people is, Look, your PTO is negotiated in the offer process. I mean, the form is a request, right? Because obviously, there's a process and that's okay. But at the end of the day, you're not really asking for permission. This is part of your employment package. Right? And you wouldn't feel awkward or guilty about collecting your paycheck, of course, like, we're used to that. So why the hell are we going to feel guilty about asking to take the PTO? It's like, that's what it's there for you, negotiate, it's yours, right? And it's obviously harder in application because sometimes people don't feel supported.


But I would always recommend it, and I guess everybody's in different positions, and some people probably don't have the luxury of doing this. But if you do have the luxury of doing this, push it, you need to push it, you got to take the PTO, see how management leadership responds. And if you feel like you're in an environment that is not healthy, or is not supportive. And with the caveat, if you have the luxury of doing this, you should probably move to an organization with a healthier culture. Right?


Joshua Encarnacion  28:07  

The folks at SecureVision are lucky to have you at the helm for saying push it with management and leadership. Oftentimes folks are not saying that.  Again, I agree with you.


For those companies that are using information control against their staff, right, and like being ambiguous on purpose to get them manipulated.


James Mackey  28:29  

It's just like strategic ambiguity at the corporate level. 


Joshua Encarnacion  28:35  

That's got to be an HBr core course in the next couple of years. You know, those are the places and those are the decisions where you create the most exclusion.  I mentioned to you talking about balance as a means of effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices. What I mean by that is taking a balanced perspective on all things. Right, starting with what lives at the intersections of identities, sex, race, sexual orientation, gender, political views, and socio-economic class, right, like taking a balanced perspective is important. Because that's how you spread that empathy around, and understand where people are coming from. But also, taking that balanced perspective to write policies and procedures is really where you don't exclude huge populations of people. Right?


Unlimited PTO sounds very different to someone that's been working for tech companies for 15 years. Then somebody that's coming out of a frontline position and transitioning into a tech company, right? Where they were for the first time they're working digitally, right where for the first time though, they're prioritizing knowledge work right over their hands. You'd lack that balanced perspective. And you forget that the entire world is not on Zoom. If anything were the Select View. Right?


And I think it's almost lost on a lot of talent professionals to remember right? Like, this isn't the only arena that we operate in? And I don't know. And I guess there's another question for you. I don't know if that's because we've been incentivizing each other to not be as creative as we weren't when Tech was originally booming, right? Or if because we're all in this space of scarcity right now to recover from the pandemic. But it's beyond me how we're losing that balanced perspective when it comes to people and almost digitizing each other. So I wonder how you tackle that day-to-day.


James Mackey  30:52  

It's tough. From an onboarding perspective, we still have a lot of work to do. For instance, we are putting into our onboarding, more diversity, and equity inclusion training. We have a pretty diverse team, it's great. And what comes with that is, we need to make sure that we have the right I suppose, like process and training, and access to information, all that stuff needs to be in place, so people can understand the different perspectives that some of their team members are coming from. And make sure that we can be sensitive to how we are communicating in a way that the information is gonna be well received or interpreted and whatnot. And that's something that you know, as a small business, something that we're constantly working on. 


I've been meeting with my team to figure out what they're looking for, for us, one of the things we did to help because it is a heavy lift is we actually decided to get a PEO. So we actually brought in Justworks to help bring more structure to our onboarding, and our HR and to help provide us with some of the trainings that we need. So we can kind of eliminate some of those gaps and make sure that we're actually providing a truly inclusive environment. We certainly don't have it all figured out but what we are doing is we are, we are actively listening to employee feedback. 


And I think that companies need to be very careful when your team gives you feedback, you better act on it because if you don't, they're gonna stop bringing it to you. And so that's one thing that when it comes to onboarding and experience, particularly as it's tied to D&I and everything else when it comes to inclusivity,  we are very at least we tried to be very good about listening to the feedback and figuring out, okay, let's make sure we get a roadmap in place so that people continue to feel open in terms of talking about this because they know that we're listening and that we care.


Joshua Encarnacion  32:55  

Which creates a balanced perspective. You know, it's the reason why I hang on to that term. Because it's not who's right and who's wrong, or who's, you know, and it gets even to a painful place. Who's more diverse and who isn't? At work, I'm not quite sure, but I do know that people see things in a multitude of ways and listening helps paint the full picture versus staying to that one biased perspective. So I appreciate you saying that. And I'm hoping that as we move beyond, the pains of the pandemic, right, and the outpour of what it's done to small businesses, which, again, I appreciate you being able to rally a team around moving through this digital space. 


But I'm even thinking about like, across the street, there was a vendor that used to do like, on the corner, like just a food truck. don't see them anymore, right? And like, keeping that in perspective, right? It's like, how do we reintroduce some of these more balanced processes, and procedures, right? As we start thinking about reopening, as we started thinking about it in person, again, because I feel digital is gonna be forever, right? Like now that we got comfortable with Zoom, we're going to be zooming for a really long time, you know, and try out the zoom, maybe another platform, but in person is not going to go anywhere, at least in my opinion. So how do we learn these lessons? Right, because I feel like the beauty in digital was that we figured out we can work in a new way. But the pain in digital was the silos. A lot of people only had what meetings they had on their calendars for two years.


James Mackey  34:39  

Right. You lose that connectivity. And you lose some of the bonding. I don't know if bonding is the right word, but you can lose some empathy along the way. You're not as close to the team and so it's very important particularly for leaders to come kind of, I guess, keep that top of mind. Right? Is that where your head goes with it? I mean, that's kind of what I'm thinking.


Joshua Encarnacion  35:08  

I mean, and then like the uninvited exposure, right? Like, you think about days when you can commute, right? I'm praying that not everyone was just in a car, you know, with road rage, but like, for some of the folks that were walking or taking the train, or whatever it may be, you meet people along the way. I think we've forgotten that, right? Like, you have all these different touch points. And they're real. And they continue to shape your perspective, they continue to give you a creative outlook on things. And so I mean, yeah, I'm with you, the bonding. It's almost like just the sharing of energy, which makes conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion easier, right? Because like, I don't want to have to resort to the bar, right? Like, but yeah, like getting a drink with someone you don't know. Like, after a while, you're like, wait, we're here. We're drunk. And now we're friends.


James Mackey  36:03  

How'd that happen?  So what are your thoughts on Elon Musk's approach? Where he's basically just saying, Okay, you got to, come back to the office or get out? What are your thoughts on that from a talent management perspective? And I'm just kind of curious for you to break that down.


Joshua Encarnacion  36:22  

Yeah, you know, there are so many, so many ways to label that approach. But, with every opportunity to do this type of work, I get closer and closer to just fear-mongering, right? I mean, there is no doubt in my mind that he is going to act on those words in some way, shape, or form, right to send a message or to truly cut out a portion of the business that he felt was ineffective anyways. Right. But because we don't have proximity to why Elon is thinking, it's so hard to judge and label what he's doing. We can piece it, we can piece it together, obviously, like we can pay attention to the signals, but don't get lost in the noise and see what he what he's doing. But fear-mongering. It is what it is. 


And into your point earlier, that's when you start to advise people to find an organization that's more aligned with the leadership style they care about, right, that they want to support and promote, and they want to receive and be open to. Because I don't think a decision like that is being made. So sternly promotes or supports a balanced perspective, right? It's a luxury just for folks to be able to just step into the office at a moment's notice. Back to what we talked about with teammates that are expecting, families are expecting, right as you and I would experience, and I'm assuming and but being fathers if we were in that situation, how hard would it be to just say, oh, now I'm in the office, again, x hours a week. And so you're reaching beyond, you know, company culture and stepping into people's personal lives, because you're just shattering boundaries that people are trying to build up for themselves as they move through this pandemic, which is what we're exiting, or I hope that we're exiting. And you're saying this is what I needed. This is what I want right now. You know, it's a breach of the contract that you signed for at-will employment, like you mentioned, with unlimited PTO, right?


But if somebody is going to move that way, I guess the only way you can really vote in this situation is through,  withholding employment, and trying to figure out where else to invest it. I saw a post earlier today that said something like, you know, an employee's greatest accent or their biggest voice, and then somebody followed up with no, it's not, it's why they decided to work. That was like, that makes sense. And I think that's accurate. Right. So I mean, it's a great question. I don't have a very clear answer. I'm not trying to scare it away from the question. And I think fear-mongering is not something I support. In general, I label it that way. Because it's, it is what it is. And we've seen it in different arenas, right? We've seen it in many different faces and capacities. And I don't think it's gonna go away because some people believe that's the way to lead. I just think it's on us to support what we care about and continue to minimize the voices and decision-makers that are not aligned with who we are.


James Mackey  39:43  

Right. And one of the things that I've always found frustrating is that companies can be very successful and not put people first and can be non-inclusive and be very successful, they can lead by fear and be successful, they can be incredibly abrasive, and even verbally abusive, and still have a successful company. And so it really does come down to understanding your values and understanding the values of the company. More importantly, the values of the leader you're working for. Right? 


I mean, I think sometimes people put too much emphasis on the company or the brand. Versus like, who's the human, right, that I'm going to be reporting into? And do we share similar values and approaches to life? Of course, you want diversity. And you want I'm not saying but there has to be something underlying like, there is some core, you know, values and ways that we want to live our life that are aligned, right? I mean, I think that that's really important. And as you said, it's not necessarily your voice. It's where you decide to work, sometimes


Joshua Encarnacion  40:53  

Principles, right, even beyond the values, having aligning on some core principles, right, like collaboration, the empathy, one that came up often in our conversation. Yeah, it's aligning on core principles. I mean, back to being able to implement, like coaching as a talent management strategy, do you promote open communications organization as a leader? Or do you promote close communication?


And I think, as more and more of the world wakes up to not just the power, but the mouth effects of social media, right, because there's right now I have a platform, but also, I'm being influenced without my permission, will start to personalize companies, under the light of their leadership. And I think that's a process that's been happening for a lot longer than both of us have been alive. But I'm excited to see it continue to happen. Because I think that's probably the only way that we're really going to start to see a shift to this more humanistic approach to work, which a lot of people have championed, we can name names. But it's good to know that I'm in a community with somebody that cares this much to say those things. So publicly.


James Mackey  42:04  

Yeah, for sure. And this is, by the way, Joshua, this has been a tonne of fun. And I feel like I could probably continue to just riff on these topics with you for quite a long time. But we are, we're coming up on time here. And before we jump off, I did want to just ask,  if people want to follow you online,  how can they find you? 


Joshua Encarnacion  42:20  

The best way to get in touch is People will find a video there where I try to speak about the services I provide. And I have a quick form on how we'd work together. So whoever is interested in working together is thinking about recruiting, learning and development, executive coaching, performance management, reach out.


James Mackey  42:48  

Great, thank you so much. And thanks for joining us today. This was a lot of fun. 

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