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EP 5: Yuri Kruman, Chief Executive Officer - HR, Talent & Systems

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:00  

Hi, and welcome to episode five of Talent Acquisition Trends and Strategy. Today we're joined by Yuri Kruman. Thanks for joining us today.


Yuri Kruman  0:20  

Thanks a lot for having me. A pleasure to be here.


James Mackey  0:22  

I'm looking forward to this conversation. And would you mind telling our listeners a little bit about yourself, your background, and what you're working on right now?


Yuri Kruman  0:30  

Sure. So my business consists of several pieces. One is doing HR consulting for fast-growth companies, mostly tech startups. But currently, I'm actually working with a nonprofit in the telecom sector, as well as a large investment manager. 


And a lot of my work, you can look at it as building strategic HR functions from scratch. Of course, the number one subject is talent acquisition, where we are. But there are other pieces also: performance management, learning & development, awards & recognition. And also coaching. Coaching really is the glue that holds all these pieces together. 


You can have a brilliant project plan, and everything set up budget-wise, but if people don't understand what they're doing, or why HR is important. It's not enough to just say, HR has a seat at the table around, okay, you got a budget, great, who is driving the bus? Where are we going? How does this fit with the values of the company? You know, are things traveling consistently in terms of internal communication? 


So that's where everything starts. Actually, I would say that 80% will probably start with poor communication.


James Mackey  1:39  

I would agree. And I know, you were telling me earlier that you're very passionate about learning and development, and helping companies build out programs and playbooks so that they can go about implementing learning and development processes the right way.


I was hoping that maybe we could just start off at a high level. And you could tell us a little bit about why learning and development are so important and get into maybe some of the most common mistakes that you're seeing in organizations when it comes to learning development. 


And from there, we can kind of get into some tactical, actionable steps in terms of how leaders can start to implement some of these strategies as well.

Yuri Kruman  2:25  

Sure. So let's start with a higher-level philosophy. So first of all, in my book, learning and development is something that, ideally, you kind of think, well, I should have learned that in school or maybe the government should have subsidized that. In a lot of countries, that's the way things work, maybe in Denmark, etc. 


But in the US, obviously, it's a little bit different. I think the government's not really interested in subsidizing things like that, not in any open or thorough, or relevant way. And universities often teach skills that are really antiquated. We don't need to get into whether college is worth it or not, that's not this conversation. 


The point is when you get to a point where kids come out of college or grad school, and their skills, maybe they're relevant in terms of specific subject matter, okay, they've got an MBA or whatever. The problem is a lot of them, especially because of COVID, because we're working remotely, we don't have those water cooler conversations, office politics are not playing out nearly in the same way, as you know, for people that have gotten used to working in the office in the past. 


So a lot of things like, what we call soft skills or emotional intelligence are, you know, you're not learning these things on the job if the job doesn't really offer meaningful learning and development. And if you look at what we see out in the market, so most companies have something, they've got a system, they've got some compliance, they've got some, I don't know, random courses from Udemy right, yeah, your high potential, your high performance. Okay, that sounds great. What does that mean? I don't even know how it was chosen. Like, is it based on your performance, based on someone picking a number out of a hat? Okay. All right, sure. I'll take that Udemy subscription. Thank you! And then you know, 95% of those people never use the subscription. You got the 1,2,3 people that maybe use it and maybe use it a lot. But like, what do I do with this? Does this connect to my performance review? Do I get rewarded for this? I mean, it's great that I have Udemy courses, but that could be for them myself. Right? 


So learning and development, unfortunately, in most companies, even fortune 500 companies, is just going to be blunt. It's piss poor. It's over-reliant on systems. It's over-reliant on knowledge that's not relevant. It's not connected in any way to performance. We don't really know what people find relevant. I mean, how? We don't often connect what's in that LMS to how this makes the person's profile more valuable out in the market. Right?


So these are not difficult connections to make. But corporate, you know, learning and development are, unfortunately, for the most part, stuck in that kind of antiquated way of thinking. 


So with this in mind, I, myself have worked in, you know, six different industries and have had completely different careers. I've worked in very early-stage startups, I've worked in fast-growth companies, both as an employee and a consultant, and I've worked in very large fortune 500, companies, financial services, healthcare, and others. And I hate to say it, but as an employee,  my learning and development were just doing something I've never done, for whatever reason, that's been my career, I've talked my way to a lot of opportunities where I've probably had no business being. 


Just as an example, walking into a startup with about 50 people, I was like, number 45, to do finance and operations. Basically, off the street, which is insane, it was a crazy learning curve, I mean, completely burned out, and after I don't know how many months. But you know, you can call that learning and development or you can call it hazing. I mean, I don't know, that's, that's not something structured. That's not something that sits with a program that has someone overseeing it, you know, connected to any outcomes other than, like, sink or swim. So that's, unfortunately, the most common scenario. 


So coming in, just having been an end consumer of this, you know, horror of what's called L&D. And looked at it, I said, Okay, well, lots of self-help books out there. I've been a coach to different companies and leadership teams, and, you know, it's like a shot in the arm. Yes, vitamin B, awesome, right?  That's not enough. You have to really bake that into the way that HR works. You have to think about employee experience, of course, you need it to scale. So you have to think about systems. 


But the most fundamental layer is you've got to match market reality with what you need in the business, but also what people want and need. You have to ask, not just ask, you know, fill this Google Form. Talk to people, actually have those conversations, interview them. I found time and time again, as a consultant, I'm coming in as an outsider, and people open up to me, they'll never open up to the HR person because they're afraid "this is going to come back to me?" Is this going to reflect poorly on me? Am I going to get fired for seeing something wrong? So that's the way I look at L&D? Right? 


There has to be some rhyme and reason for why we're doing this. Yes, there has to be a program, there have to be quizzes, workshops, training some way to measure whether someone is actually getting value from this, they're actually retaining something. And yes, you have to connect that to performance management. Because if all your Udemy courses, or whatever you put in doesn't really count, what are you doing it for? What is the point?


James Mackey  8:17  

I'm feeling that those types of courses like the Udemy, I'm not saying that there isn't a place for it, but to me, it's like a cookie cutter approach to whatever you're learning, it's not necessarily going to be specific to the companies, the nuance environment that they're in, or their customers or the value proposition that they're supposed to be bringing to the table for their client base. 


So I would suppose the heavy lift right is figuring out okay, who really is going to own this internally? Not not only like, okay, who's going to produce the content? And the courses or the PowerPoint or whatever it is, like, who's gonna produce it? And who's going to kind of present it? And then and then how do we build a process around doing this on a regular basis, like, you know, how much of it should be baked into this kind of onboarding? And then ongoing development? 


Is the biggest challenge that you see. I mean, just speaking from my perspective, in growth stage tech, my assumption, which could very honestly be wrong, would be that probably the biggest bottleneck is figuring out, okay, who's going to have the bandwidth to build out this training because a cookie cutter, external class probably isn't going to do the trick, at least if we really, truly want to empower people and get the most value out of the opportunity of everyone working together and serving our customers. Somebody's got to produce that. Somebody's gotta own it, someone's got to implement it and track it. 


Is that the biggest prom like a bandwidth issue? And if so, how do you solve that? Who ultimately is going to own this on an ongoing basis?


Yuri Kruman  9:54  

So of course, bandwidth is a critical issue. There's no question but before we talk about bandwidth, I think there are some much more important conversations. 


Number one is how do we know what people need? Right? What do people benefit from? How does this help their career growth? This is connected to their performance. And yeah, of course, business results, we can just build this in a vacuum, right? 


So if we're training people, we're spending all this time and money and resources, especially pulling people out of their work, right to these sessions, you have to really make sure that this is truly valuable. And of course, if you ask people, "hey, what will you benefit from? And the implicit question is, "what's gonna get you to stay pretty please? Right? 


Then, you create a program, partly based on that, but also, you need to make sure, okay, mostly, there are several really big gaps that most companies have. So one of them and I've found this against this is not my research, this is not my finding nothing original here. 


Management, new managers have a lot of problems because they never got taught what the hell it is to manage. Nobody ever said, Hey, you're going from being an individual contributor to having your success based 80% maybe, on the success of your team, they've probably never done that. No one's born a coach, right? 


You need some practice, I mean, not practice where you're doing it live, because you know, you're poor, you're poor reports, guess what, if you suck at it, they're going to be gone. And they're not going to wait very long either. We see this time and time again, in the current climate. And so you need to create a safe space, the tool, we use that term, where new managers practice themselves, okay, how do I manage? How do I coach? How do I ask the right questions? How do I do it?

Because I'm answering the question, because I just want to listen, right? I want to understand better. How do I do that? And how do I do that? partly through systems because yeah, we need to survey people, you know, how are you doing? How are you reacting to COVID? You know, do you have what you need to do your job? Do you understand what your role is? Et cetera, right? So you have to ask a lot of questions. But it's not just this kind of, you know, survey until you're nauseous. 


Talking is the simplest way to find out what a person needs, not just empathy, but something deeper. I want to know who you are, I want to know how I can help you. Because you know, you're here for two to three years at most. I know that my job as a manager is to make your life as good and easy as possible so that you'll do your life's best work. You'll make me look good. Our incentives are aligned that way. 


But if you never say those words, your reports are just like, yes, yeah, boss. So to go back to how to build a Learning and Development Programme, you have to start with that kind of on-the-ground feedback. And unfortunately, sometimes the best way to get that feedback is by bringing in an outsider, I would say most of the time because, again, their salaries dynamics, people are not willing to share things if leadership suddenly wakes up, Oh, people are leaving, but they've been toxic the whole time. The people are not going to open up. There's no magic Open Sesame.


James Mackey  13:18  

How would you think employee surveys work for these types of things? Like if you put out an employee engagement survey when any part of that section was on learning and development, and you feel like that is going to get you the feedback you need. Or you also need that human element of somebody coming in and having the conversation so they can ask the right follow up questions and understand the nuance and, maybe get a little bit deeper.


Yuri Kruman  13:51  

Let me give you a couple of practical examples. So actually, two clients, one I was just you know, bright-eyed, bushy tailed CHRO my first role as a Head of HR. I'm coming into a company with about 120 staff. And I'm coming in again, I'm very like, you know, having my fortune 500 every startup stuff. This is a home health company. No one's ever worked in any Fortune 500 company, no one's ever worked at a startup. So there's not a great deal of sophistication, around these things, or what the hell is HR like Okies? Probably compliance because we're in health care? Benefits? No, guys. Sorry, this is a lot more interesting. 


I sent out my first employee engagement survey, and of course, crickets. I'm like, Okay, I can't just wait for maybe things to trickle in. I just went out on the floor and said, Hey, I'm Yuri, I'm the Head of HR. I'm here to help to make your life easier. Tell me what's on your mind. Talk to me. Okay. Let me just understand that I'm the chief employee advocate. I'm here to really make your life better. Slowly Okay, all right. Okay, well, fresh face like, you know, I changed the menu in the kitchen like, oh, wow, I got a stringer just silly stuff. 


So the next day I'm going around to another part of the office. I talked to one girl, "hey, you know what? I'm Yuri,  Head of HR. Like, have you taken the survey? No. I see she's not trusting. Something's not working. Like, you know, it's totally anonymous, right? Aha, like, welcome. Come with me, I'm going to show you come to my office, I'm gonna show you my screen in the back end and what it looks like. It is totally anonymous. Look, you see, she broke down crying. The girl broke down crying, she couldn't believe it was actually anonymous. I'm like, Okay, this company has some massive trust issues. 


Okay, so it's maybe extreme, but another client that I've worked with more recently. I'm coming in, I'm looking at those scores, everyone loves his company. You know, it's 4.4, 4.6. Again, I'm skeptical, like, I don't know. So I interviewed, there was something like 13, 14 people in leadership, team, whatever. And I talked to them one after another. All these things keep dropping, and we look at this, this isn't right, you know, the big boss says this, someone else says that. Things are not really moving. People don't understand what these department names mean,  the onboarding is not okay. So what's going on here? Right? 


Serving bias, very simple! Serving bias means you might have a couple of disgruntled people out the door tomorrow. Yeah, they might let it rip, but it's way out of proportion with everybody else. Great. Awesome. Thanks. Yeah, is that helpful? 


So to answer your question in a very long way, you have to talk to people and usually have to come from a place of " I'm here to serve you. Okay, here's how I'm going to help you. Now, give me the ugly stuff. I know the good stuff. I've seen the survey results, but tell me what's really bothering you. And again, this is completely anonymous and is not going to be connected to you in any way. This is going to go up in an audit report to the leadership team. They will hear the message loud and clear because they don't know where it's coming from, and have the percentages of people that mentioned the subject. That's a punch to the face. I don't think leadership is whoa, wait a minute, okay, this is a real problem. Okay. 


That's how I make sure the information is packaged in a way that's much more important. Becomes a business case, it becomes a project plan, and it becomes something that gets implemented.


James Mackey  17:40  

That's very helpful. There is a lot of value there. I think a lot of our clients are in a place where they're trying to find the right balance between making systems work at scale. And to some extent, that appeal of going a survey route, because it's like a process you can implement and it's almost in a sense easier. But what's the point of doing it if you're not going to follow up with the human element to actually get the buy-in and trust from the team to get the information that's actually going to help make the organization better? 


And just to kind of circle back on kind of closing the subject of learning and development was? It sounds like what you're saying is that learning and development really come down to achieving two outcomes. 


And one would be just retention and employee experience, right, like focusing on " how we can create a great culture and great environment for people here where they can feel like they're learning and developing and progressing in their career. And two the performance element, " how can we help them get to a point where they can add as much value as possible for whatever function or outcome they're expected to produce for the organization and for potentially, for clients.


 Is that an accurate summary like those two kinds of pillars of what you should be thinking about when building a Learning and Development Programme?


Yuri Kruman  19:00  

I think, of course, you have to justify an L&D program with ROI like anything else, right? You have to have clear, SMART goals, and all that good stuff. But I think it's very important to mention contexts. So if you're building just something and you're thinking, ROI, ROI, ROI, okay, yeah, I mean, you might get some limited ROI from some kind of courses and training and all that. But again, if you're not connecting it to the bigger picture, if you're not really serving the employees, if it's something that's built out of context, it's not really, you know, relevant to make the market value of your employees greater. 


If I'm not feeling that kind of actual care, though, of course, I mean, they either will not pay attention, they'll not they're not going to participate. We know that 97% of courses are never finished. Okay? So if you're doing it in a half-assed way, if you're just kind of putting a tech stack together and then like, hey, why don't you work on this? You're gonna get a half-assed result. So you have to zoom out and say, okay, yes, we're not all Richard Branson. And, you know, there's, there's a famous quote that, you got to, you got to basically train people well, so they can leave, but basically make their life so good that they don't want to, I mean, I'm paraphrasing. 


You have to understand that your four walls, your company, are just that, their four walls and the value, I would say the lifetime value of a happy employee does not stop at their end of tenure, right? Because they become an ambassador for your brand, they can come back later after going to learn somewhere else. It's actually I would argue that you got to push the walls out. Right? 


You need to think of the employee experience as something much longer term than, Oh, well, someone just got in the door? No, actually, it starts long before with the candidate experience, how do people look at your company and product? And what is their perception of it? Do they want to be associated with that? Right? So and then all the way out to okay, this person went for two years to work at a competitor now they're bringing all that incredible network learning experience, etc. To make things much better now for us. 


So learning and development it's a long-term game. Yes. The ROI is not always limited to hey, you know, can you test better on this quiz? Or can you do project management better tomorrow? It's a longer-term play. That's my philosophy of L&D. I believe that's the right way to do it. And there's a reason why my version of L&D is much more comprehensive. 


It's not just touching upon the favorites, yes, time management " be more mindful of expectation, management, negotiation, deal-making, and managing.  All those things are great. But you gotta start with the foundation. Health. You have to think about mental models, what's going on in there? What are the cognitive biases a person has as a consumer so you have to teach people, again, are never taught in college, maybe you know, how to manage your finances, how to manage your career, maybe you've got a side hustle, let's use that. Let's not say Oh, my God, no side hustle. That's it, you're out. Right?


So those things plus classical coaching, okay, how do you negotiate? Yes. How do you win a business deal? How do you manage up or down? How do you deal with family members? How do you gain emotional intelligence? Yeah, classic stuff. 

And then the bigger picture. Okay. What about your conversation? All of this is conversation language and psychology. That's my focus. That's for me the key to behavioral change. The last conversation is How do you talk to God or the universe? Or what do you see as the meaning of life? Things have to connect. Learning and Development is not done in a vacuum. It's just a skill-based thing. It's a lifelong thing.


James Mackey  22:57  

Agreed, I really liked the perspective of looking at it through the lens of employee experience. I really do think this is obviously an oversimplification. But for me, the way that I look at building my company is just, if I had to boil it down just about creating great experiences, I had to find ways to create great experiences for my employees, I had to find ways to create great experiences for my clients. But if I just look through every process, everything that I do is through the lens of how I can create an incredible experience. Right? 


And that's obviously it's very difficult to figure out how to do that at scale. And that's, that's the puzzle, right? But that really is, to me, kind of what it boils down to. And again, as you said, looking at things holistically, looking at it, when it comes to employee journey, or contractor journey or anything else like well, before they start and well after they leave, you know,  I would say that your thought process is very much so aligned with other industry leaders, thought leaders that I am speaking to.  It's kind of interesting, it's like a common thread, the higher up you go in terms of the experience that individuals have that are in a similar space to your own. 


There is I think, with a lot of the top people, people are pretty much aligned that yes, you can't just you know, this isn't just like a box you're checking or this isn't just, you know, you can't be is limited in scope, you have to think about the experiences you're creating for individuals before they join your organization. And after they leave. It's all going to come back. Right. So that's incredibly helpful. 


And I wanted to know we're kind of coming up on time here shortly. So I wanted to touch on performance management. And specifically, I would love to get your pulse on this. Okay, let's say that organizations are getting to the point where they're starting to scale very rapidly. And performance management really isn't centralized, maybe it's just done more so on a function level, right? Just through specific managers. 


How do you go about bringing consistency to performance management, making sure that it's in line with the culture that you want to build, and making sure that it's aligned with creating great experiences for employees? Isn't kind of tied into learning development. What recommendations do you have for companies that are right now and leaders that are right now starting to think about being a little bit more structured when it comes to performance management?


Yuri Kruman  25:12  

So, the first thing I always look at is philosophy. Right? Again, if it's just one more set of tasks for those poor managers who are not trained, and you know, they're overstretched, and it's like, Oh, my God, another 360 cycles, this is hell. I get this feedback. It's like, you're gonna get a lot of pushback that I don't know, I don't have time for this. It's the end of the quarter, it's the end of the year. 


Okay, so before we talk about that, managers, whoever's giving the performance reviews, and actually really everyone in the ecosystem if you're doing 360s, has to understand from a bigger picture level, how it serves them. What is it teaching them? How's it helping them? Right? 

It's the same principle as Glassdoor, for example, right? If you want to know the salary ranges, you have to contribute your own. So you're, you're part of a community, you're part of something much bigger than yourself. Okay, so kumbaya is great. How's it serving my career? Well, guess what part of the 360 process is, you give some you get some.

If you're learning, if you're early in your career, maybe you haven't managed anyone, take feedback, but also read between the lines, because the feedback is not always detailed. 


The second piece is to make sure the feedback is a lot more frequent. And the frequent feedback should live somewhere. There has to be some tracker for okay, hey, you just presented you know, you did this well. But you can work on this, come back to me in I don't know, two weeks, four weeks, show me that you've improved and do the next presentation. Where does that live? It's not by the water cooler, right? It's got to live in a system. I don't know if it's your culture around here. 


So you have to have that ongoing conversation. But the conversation isn't just over zoom and it gets lost, and it gets forgotten, everyone's busy. So you have to think about how we can scale this conversation between each manager and each report. And it can just be obvious, once a year, I think most people are well beyond that nonsense at this point. It's maybe you run to full cycles of performance reviews every year, maybe beginning at six months. Maybe you do two shorter cycles in between, you know, so you have every three months. And then you have that tracker somewhere. Again, it could be a Slack thread, maybe it's connected somehow to the culture app. I mean, all these APIs exist, this is not you. 


And the other thing is you have to think about okay, well, how does let's say this performance review, connect to a promotion cycle or higher pay or you know, rewards and recognition. All these things have to be standardized. It can't just be ad hoc, like, oh, oh, crap. It's Christmas. Oh, here's your Amazon gift card. Here's your bonus. These things don't work people see right through it. It's not genuine. See later. Okay. 


So you have to think about this beforehand. And don't just pull it out of your ear, ask people. 

There's something I use called A User's Guide to self. Very simple. It's a Google form. But it's very informative. Ask people questions, like, Okay, what's your preferred communication style? How do you want to be rewarded and recognized? What are your areas for development? Right? What do you want other people to know about you? Because hey, you're a human, you probably have some kind of, you know, interesting background, where you came from, or what you studied or where you worked. People want to know these things. But because, well, he's not doing it. Why should I do it? Well, the boss doesn't open up, why should I open up? Right? 


So because no one else is doing it we get into this group thing of “everything is great”. And doesn't serve anybody. When you ask people questions. And you have the manager and go first to say, Hey, I'm also human. I've also got kids, I've got a dog barking in my zoom background, sorry about that. But you don't have to apologize, just like stated upfront, you know, give, treat people like adults. Right? And that's, that's how you start creating some kind of meaningful guest performance management, and rewards and recognition, things are moving. You're tracking things and you're having that conversation. That's the key piece. Everything comes down to a conversation, you have to actually give a damn.


James Mackey  29:36  

Yeah, so one of the third topics that we discussed jumping into today was coaching and I know that's something that you're very passionate about. Talk to us a little bit about that. I would love to just hear your thoughts on how organizations can implement coach coaching structure.


Yuri Kruman  29:51  

I think most people at a certain level are well aware that, just as Olympians all have coaches right, all the top performers have coaches. So, what's so special about coaching? Right? Okay. I mean, we talked about some basic themes, you have accountability, you have structure,  you have, you know, somebody just to go with you, right to go with you on the journey. 


So, as a CEO, for example, it is really lonely. Okay, maybe you talk to some other entrepreneurs, but they don't usually share. It's not that open. 

A coach is someone who usually has been through very similar things. Otherwise, where are you aligning as usually, they build something similar to what you have, as, ideally, you know, similar values as well, and doesn't have to be exactly the same background? But there has to be some sense of "this person gets me" or " this person knows what I'm going through". And this person has already been at least two or three steps ahead of me so that they can help me think through what I'm going through now and how to plan for the future. 


So, it's not about maybe having the craziest coaching certification or having gone to Harvard and Stanford, I mean, maybe Maybe that's your background, maybe that's the coach one like God bless. But it's really just someone who is able to give you a different picture from what you see because you're too close to your own stuff. Right? The same way that a cobbler has their shoes. The coach says, hey, you know what? Look, look at your damn shoes. That's disgusting. Get it Get a new pair get unpolished Enough. Enough of this. Yes, coach, right. 

So you have that accountability. So when you have your call, maybe you're scrambling last minute to, you know, go through items one through five. I mean, I do this stuff with Nick Butch, there's something to be said about just okay, there's a regular check-in, I do have to really push through things that I'm not comfortable with or address things that maybe, ignored. 


So with that in mind, I believe, and it's not just my philosophy that I believe every person, every employee should have some kind of coach, not a mentor, a mentor is like, hey, oh, yeah, sure. We went to pet together. Oh, that's great. That's awesome. Yeah, let's check in in six months. Good luck. Who needs that? 


So coaching is structured, there's a timeline, there are certain goals, and a person can relate to you and kick your ass when you need it. Because that's the whole point.


James Mackey  32:34  

I agree with this philosophy a lot. So when I actually started Secure Vision, I think it was the first two years I started the company, I actually paid advisors and coaches, if you will, more than I was paying myself. Because I came into a situation in which I think in our first year of business, or maybe your first year and a half, we ended up closing around $600,000 in revenue. And I had to go out and hire people, I had no management experience. 


So I went from being basically a salesperson to Okay, now I got a team of like, 10 people pretty quickly. And you know, I've never done this before. So I don't want to mess this up too bad. 


So investing in coaching, in particular, in the early days, was incredibly helpful. And if you have a great coach, too, it's all psychology, and it helps. I mean, you're, you're going to become more aligned with their way of thinking. And you can get to the point, I think, where when you enter a situation, you're kind of you can start to kind of hear their voice in terms of like, okay, this is what this is my go-to reaction, but this is also kind of hear this other voice. 


What we're doing right now at my company is we're trying to roll out executive coaching for new managers that are stepping up into leadership roles. And the way that we're kind of structuring it is, look, it doesn't, yes, like, there's gonna be a lot of work situations that you need help with. But also, if there's something else that's going on, even in your personal life, or whatever else, like, the whole philosophy to our businesses, we want SecureVision to be a place where you can get the most out of life, personally and professionally. 


So when it comes to coaching, it's like, whatever is gonna help you get the most out of life. You know, it doesn't have to be on, hey, I had this conversation with a team member last week. How do I respond like, of course, it can be tactical stuff like that? And that's important, but we try to just kind of leave it open to where people can kind of take their own path and focus on developing in the areas that they feel are going to be the highest leverage for themselves if that makes sense. 


I would love to get to the point where I get offered a coach to everybody, I think, I don't know, that's it unless there's a resource I'm not aware of. I think that'd be pretty expensive. So that's, I guess, the one bottleneck in terms of how often and how many people were able to offer coaching services at this point in time, but I don't know. Are you familiar with any reason sources to help kind of open that up and give people more access to coaching?


Yuri Kruman  35:04  

Yeah, I mean, there are so many different platforms. You have Muse where a person can just go out and find their own coach. Maybe subsidizing Marlo, Bravely, and Go Coach I've been on a lot of these myself as a coach. Just maybe offer a little bit of a different way. We've seen billions, probably right. 


There's this Wendy character. Wendy is expensive, but guess what, she's one person. And that's her sole focus, right? She's running after HR processes and is just strictly there to take care of people's psychology and make sure that they remain A players, there's something to be said for that, right? Because yeah, you can hire 1000 coaches for your 1000 employees, that's, that's a pretty penny, that's not sustainable. Sometimes you have that one resource that may be by a bunch of hours, and you kind of create that pool for certain populations, and you grow that over time. 


And then the key piece, even more importantly, you have to teach your managers to become coaches. That's the most important strategic play, you have to teach people in your company to be great coaches. Yeah, that's the way you retain the value.


James Mackey  36:21  

That's hard. And that's actually an area that, I think is something I'm given a lot of thought to right now. It's like, how do you really teach new managers? At this point, it's like, a lot of what we're trying is like, very situational, right? Like, hey, talk to me about this, like, you know, How do you kind of help people avoid falling in some of the holes that maybe like, you know, for instance, that maybe that I did my first year as a manager, right? 


How do you help people kind of get to a higher level of competency sooner? And I think that the coaching aspect is critical to do that, right? Like you need somebody that you can kind of talk to about these things and just focus on development. 


Yuri Kruman  37:08  

You can look at it in one of two ways, or maybe both. So you have the Learning and Development layer, meaning, again, one very practical example. 


So when I build an L&D program, one of my clients, for example, there's L&D for everybody. So suddenly, the CEO just announced, hey, you know what, every single employee is going to have to do 40 hours a year of learning and development. Okay, so we build out the program, managers have a separate program, meaning they have certain skills that they need to catch up on, they need to do that role-playing, they need to learn how to code they need to learn kind of that mind shift between an individual contributor and now 80% of my successes, my team success, okay.


Now, you need to think, Okay, what might be, maybe coaching is partly venting, it's just saying, you know, what, okay, look, a little bit of that. Okay, now that you got that out of your system. Now, let's focus on your personal professional development plan, something more than just a couple of pages. Okay. You know, how are you doing with regard to your reading list? You know, what about creating content working on your employee brand, right, and empowering your team through coaching? How are you doing with that? So it's kind of like coaching, coaching people to be coaches?


James Mackey  38:26  

Sure. That makes a lot of sense,


Yuri Kruman  38:29  

That fits together really neatly. And you have, you have different ways for people to channel their energy. And again, to circulate information to circulate value in the right direction. That's what you want to think about.


James Mackey  38:43  

I like what you said just about, like the venting aspect to just like, giving people a chance to kind of get it out of their system, like, okay, get that out of the way. So now it's like, so what are we going to do about it now? Like, what are the actionable things that we can put in place together on this call? 


And I think a lot of times, too, once people have that opportunity, they can kind of figure out the answers like, you know, they just have some structure to like, working through the problem. And they can usually come up with their own answers. 


I could talk about coaching with you all day. I mean, that 's something I'm passionate about as well. But we are coming up on time. And I wanted to hear a little bit about the book that you have coming out next month.


Yuri Kruman  39:25  

Yeah, appreciate it. Great conversation. I really appreciate this, not that many podcasts go kind of deeper into this subject. So I definitely appreciate that. 


So about the book, the book is called Be your own commander in chief. As I mentioned, I'm all about language and psychology. For me, that's the key to behavioral change. 


So I'm trying to create a roadmap here, not a roadmap, you know, over the course of years per se, starting with LD. And if we're talking about conversations as the key to that behavioral change, language and psychology are two sides of the same coin. It's your external versus internal. So what are the four conversations that delve into? 


Number one is looking at your conversation with your body because most people don't think of it that way. It's just like, Hey, okay, like I eat well, I exercise, that's fine. No, but, you know, what's your feedback? What feedback are you getting from your body about what's working and what's not? So it's getting a little bit toward personalized medicine without all the biohacking and all that stuff, but just saying,  

I'm not LeBron James, I don't have a million dollars a year to spend on my body. God bless LeBron. Nothing against that. But okay, how can I set up my physical health, looking at sleep while rhythms, yes, fitness, nutrition, prevention, things of that nature so that I can regularly enter a higher cognitive state in order to do my life's best work? That's, it's that simple. Okay. 


Number two mental models and life skills. So when I look inside my mind, and I really think about, okay, my worldview, what makes that up, you know, where I'm from, how I grew up, my culture, my language. Okay, what about my cognitive biases, right? Most intelligent people have, I don't know, impostor syndrome, Dunning Kruger I mean, more than 150 different cognitive biases they may or may not be aware of. So what are they? Where do they live? What do they sound like? We don't have that little internal twitter. Hey, you didn't go to Harvard Business School? Come on, man. What is that? That's just my amygdala. That's your stress. That's who cares? Who gives a damn about our business school? Right? So you have to address what's in there. 


You also have to think about practical subjects. Okay. How do I manage expectations, manage my stress, and manage decision-making? How do I do that? From a place of core values? Oh, yeah. managing finances, my career, and my side hustle. That's a lot of stuff. Okay. But don't ask to live there. If you put things in the right places and make sure you're going from a set of, you know, something set of values. That's foundational. 


Number three is that classical coaching stuff. Negotiation, deal-making, managing up and down. And interview. Oh, yeah, those pesky family members. Like Wait, my wife, my kids, my parents, you know, how do I deal with them? They're very difficult people. Okay.


And then the last one is, you got to put everything in perspective. So okay, I've got all that stuff. I've got it all aligned, beautiful, awesome. Why? What's my "why"? It's a conversation with God or the universe, maybe something toward the meaning of life, maybe something about rituals and traditions, and really the deeper parts of life that are so critical to everything we do. And if you think about these four conversations as going up a mountain, it's kind of like a more elaborate Maslow's hierarchy of needs. 


Once you get to the top of the mountain, it's not all Kumbaya. Now. I know everything I'm pure and hope. No, far from it! You know, the path. And now you can go back and check in with each of those pieces. Every single day, you can ask yourself, Where am I holding? Maybe you have a coach who can help that conversation to be more meaningful and thoughtful. But really, there are four things I'm trying to roadmap, with this book. 


Number one is to gain clarity. What am I where am I going? How do I get there? This is the last question.  Number two is how do I find meaning? Okay, so meaning for me might be totally different from that of somebody else. Number three is once I've got those two, how do I create a positive impact in the world? And number four, you know, the thing people, everybody wants first success. Success is a byproduct of doing things the right way, with clarity, with meaning, and with impact. So that's what the book is about.


James Mackey  43:45  

That sounds right up my alley. I am really excited to read it.


Yuri Kruman  43:50  

It took a lot of divine inspiration, and a lot of perspiration as well. I'm really excited that it's finally coming out. It's actually four books, believe it or not.


James Mackey  44:03  

Nice? Well, yeah, definitely. I'm going to check it out. And maybe we could do this again, one day and three, six months from now, and maybe have a conversation more centered around psychology because I think we can have a lot of fun chatting through that. 


Unfortunately coming up on time, I know you have another engagement coming up, too. So I think we're gonna conclude here. I guess the last question real quick is where can people find you? Where can they follow you online?


Yuri Kruman  44:28  

Sure. Okay, so I'm all over the place. On LinkedIn, you can go to my website directly, The book is on Amazon, or at least the hardcover will be out on May 12. The Kindle is already up. And just feel free to reach out, you know,


James Mackey  44:47  

Great. Well, thank you, Yuri. We appreciate you being here. And for everybody tuning in. Thanks so much, and we'll see you next time.


Yuri Kruman  44:53  

Thank you very much, James. It's a pleasure. Cheers.

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