top of page
Search

Podcast Episode 52: Kelly Buchanan | Chief People Officer, Revinate




When building out initiatives to bolster culture, it's important to feed the hungry, says Kelly Buchanan, CPO at Revinate. Kelly suggests that instead of focusing on what's not happening with the initiatives people leaders put together (such as not hitting on attendance goals), our focus should be on what is in front of us -- the people that are showing up and are hungry for learning and connection. Those people can then become ambassadors for future endeavors, which in return will help grow them.


Here are some of the top takeaways from the episode:

  1. Invite everyone into your initiatives, support them and give them room to spread their wings to fly.

  2. Listen actively, attentively and with intention to your team to find the gold or the sweet spot for what they seek.

  3. Show up as you, the human version of you. Whether that means you send GIF's or you're a bit more relaxed in meetings - understand that we crave authenticity and humans connect with humans.


So many golden nuggets and applicable tips from Kelly in this episode - enjoy!


TAKE A LISTEN TO THE PODCAST:


What was your biggest takeaway from this episode?


CONNECT WITH KELLY..


LEARN MORE ABOUT…

About Revinate


SPREAD THE WORD

Leave us a review


TRANSCRIPT


Aaron:

Kelly, it's so nice to actually be recording this conversation. Our last conversation was so much fun. It was really good to get to know you your background, the way you think about the business world, the world of work, and the, the people space. And I say the business world first because , you come from kind of a unique background, so I'm just curious about what originally drew you into leadership, learning and development , and ultimately the people space.


Kelly:

Yeah. Thank you, aaron. Thanks for having me. , as I like to say, as I think many people, leaders might say, I fell into hr. I didn't wake up knowing that's what my career would be, but it is an interesting journey how I got there. I was an English major. And I loved you know, I, I wanted to be a teacher working at an international school overseas.


But it turns out at that time you had to have a teaching credential and two years of experience. So that didn't really work out. And I decided I'm gonna set up shop in San Francisco. And I started off in public relations, which little did. I know. Even though I decided not to pursue a full career in public relations, how much that experience would serve me later in my career.


How to handle, how to know your audience, develop a story, handle crisis communications, just how important communications is in, in this work. So I worked in public relations and I went and worked for a web design and development company as a, as a project manager. And then after that I, you know, I was laid off when the, the tech bubble burst in 2001.


And I thought I'll just get another job in the tech industry. And that turned out to be kind of challenging, but I wanted to do something more. Creative and strategic. Those were my two key words. And the creative and strategic theme led me to a foot in the door job at Lucas Film. Actually it was Industrial Light and Magic, which is the division of Lucas Film that does all the visual effects.


And I did not have a film background, but I, I came in as like the admin assistant for an incredible woman, Vicky, Vicky Beck, who is sort of like the for ilm. And I was thinking of going business school, she said. Don't need to go to business school. Come here, you'll learn so much. And we were part of a little team, like the business process improvement team, which sounds kind of boring in office space, like, but it was actually super interesting.


So we mapped out all the company processes, tried to figure out how do we make things better, faster, cheaper, and really when you identified the operational problems and did the root cause analysis on it, what we found is the root of most of the operational problems were people related. So it was things like not enough honest feedback being given, not enough investment in employee development and not enough trust , in leadership, for example.


And so we decided through that work that we needed to create a leadership development department. And just focus on this. And so that's when I learned about this field of organization development. I'm like, oh, it's the people side of change. How do you take kind of a subjective statement and break it into objective solvable pieces?


and kind of got recruited internally into that leadership development team, which was an incredible. Incredible experience, opportunity. We were moving to the Presidio from our old offices in Marin. We were opening a studio internationally in Singapore. And I had a chance to go to Singapore.


And run a program called the Jedi Master's Program. And I became really steeped in leadership and learning and development. , all aspects of training and development. And so even then we thought we're the training team, we're not the HR team. Cause people always had this sort of negative


Aaron:

mm-hmm.


Kelly:

Connotation of hr. HR is the personnel department that like fires people. And you know, we tried to distance ourselves from that. And after Lucas and I worked at Zynga in leadership development and after Zynga, I had this opportunity to become the VP of people at Revenue. And that was when I really made a pivot and I thought, you know what?


I'm gonna just rethink the way we think about people in hr, and I'm gonna make this a cool position that thinks more broadly about culture and people, and how do we create an environment. People can do their best work. And I'm gonna kind of rebrand HR and make it my own. I'm not the HR person. My name's Kelly I'm your VP of people and I'm here to make this a great place to work and kind of set the tone that way. So it's been an interesting journey and now I'm the Chief people officer of ade. And I'm very happy, to be here. Glad to be here.


Aaron: I love that you talk about it that way and talk about the people role that way. And you, you mentioned something in our last conversation about , this concept of best practices is just how somebody else does something or did something. Can you tell me how you've taken that idea into the work that you're doing? Leading people and leading the business?


Kelly: Yeah. And I can't claim credit for that quote that's from Patty McCord who was, you know A sort of famous HR leader in Silicon Valley who helped co-author the Netflix culture deck.


And, and she, she's sort of irreverent and brilliant and funny , and I just remember her saying that best practice is just how somebody else did it. And so I think there was no crazier time for the role of chief people officer than the pandemic when no one had experienced any of this before. How do you guide a culture through.


A global pandemic through working from home through mental health challenges, and there is no playbook for it. You cannot find it in a book. And so I think kind of just have taken on a more experimental approach. Also, going back to my original Lucas Film days doing change management, where if you wanna change something, this idea of just pilot it, just try it and see if it works.


If it doesn't work, then throw it out the window and try something different. And so, for example, one thing we just tried. In our work, we're in a hybrid environment. We're trying to think of ways to make people feel more connected. And we thought, let's just try, at the end of our all hands meeting where we have about 400 people, let's try a five minute breakout room.


And we put people in rooms of three or four people in Zoom and we pick a topic that's not work related. And so it could be what's the best vacation you've ever been on? Or what was the first job you ever had? And we, thought, this is kind of scary to take 400 people and oh my gosh, but let's try it for five minutes, and people loved it.


And so you test the waters and then now we can add to that, you know, make it more programmatic, make it fun. And so that, that's just one example of a something we tried, an experiment we tried in hybrid work that I never, I didn't read about in a book. We just kind of came up with the idea the other way.


I helped come up with ideas cuz I'm just one person. And the people team is just one team is, we have a culture club. And we invite all employees to participate who are passionate about culture, and it's just once a month and we brainstorm ideas, we get a finger on the pulse. How's everybody doing? We kind of try to mine the best grassroots ideas from the people who care the most and give them a chance to also lead their own ideas forward.


We had one participant who wanted in February to do random acts of kindness month. We said, great. Do it. And she, you know, Created a whole program and Slack channel and encouraged people to do something nice for someone else and tell us about it and post it and just kind of spreading that energy , was perfect.


In, February. So, love letting people just have ideas and run with it.


Aaron:

Okay. I have a lot of questions about this experimentation. Maybe the more interesting thing is the, culture club. I hear often and we see often kind of this challenge of, okay, it's gotta be grassroots, so, you know, like


Kelly:

mm-hmm.


Aaron: The people need to do it, or it's gotta be top down and what you're saying in this is let's give anybody who wants a platform to try something. And like it's on us , to do things and to put things in place. That's not gonna stop. But at least once a month, we're giving people the platform to do something. And if they wanna do something, like, it doesn't have to be run by the people team. It can be run by you, it can be run by whoever. And so it, to me it's kinda like bridging that gap where I often hear,


Kelly:

yeah


Aaron:

I'll hear both sides of the story. I'll hear like, employees or you know, managers complain that like, this isn't happening or we don't have this, the people team hasn't done this. And then I hear chief people officers are learning and development people complaining like, We can't do it all. We need other people to actually show up to this event. We have a happy hour, but no one attends. And this is a little bit of that, crossing a little bit of those lines.


Kelly:

Yeah.


Aaron:

giving ownership to, to both parties.


Kelly:

Yeah. I would say it's just really important to invite everyone to participate. Everyone's invited. We don't have 400 people show up for Culture Club. We might have five or 10. But a phrase , that I've adopted well, my colleagues I used to work with closely at Lucasfilm, Andrea, Rob, we used to say, feed the hungry, that if you put on a training course, Even if only one person shows up, they're the most important person in the room.


Give them your full attention and make it as valuable and meaningful as possible for the people who show up. And then they will in turn become ambassadors and spread the word and bring others along with them. But you can't force it. But invite everyone in and see who engages and give them sort of positive encouragement and support And let them fly.


There's another person on my team who's our recruiting coordinator, and she's really passionate about nutrition, and I've said to her, great, we have these wellness initiatives. Why don't you do a lunch and learn on nutrition 1 0 1? And she was really excited about it. And so working with her on that, and we could just put it out there.


And see who shows up and share some knowledge that might help people in their jobs. That's not about the job itself, but more how to take care of themselves. So there's just a lot of wisdom in the people on the team, and a lot of people who really care and want to contribute. So it's trying to come up with enough structure to give them a way to do it, and then kind of get out of their way and let them, let them do it.


Aaron:

I wanna pause this for a second cuz the people who are listening, I don't want to gloss over too fast. What the numerous things you've just said, right? Like the importance of one, just putting it out there and experimenting, like go out and try it out. You are a chief people officer at a 400 plus person fast growing company


Kelly:

right?


Aaron:

And you're saying let's, let's try it, let's test it. Like we don't need a five page proposal. We don't need 10 approvals to do.


Kelly:

Right.


Aaron:

Five minutes of zoom passed in all hands, We don't need that to do to do happiness or a webinar on this. Like keep it simple and experiment.


Kelly:

Yeah.


Aaron:

And then you also said some other like really real, like each of these are in and of themselves are really important, so I don't wanna miss them, is like invite participation.


And we talk about that all the time, even in just like when we do our trainings, our leadership training of like creating an inclusive space and inclusive can get


Kelly:

Yes.


Aaron:

Caught up and being a word of the, you know, A D E I initiative. But really it's


Kelly:

right


Aaron: a human initiative of like, we have to invite people to participate. We have to invite people in who want to be in and, and give them the space. To share their ideas, their thoughts to do the work. And then I love that.


Kelly: Mm-hmm.


Aaron: It's almost like a, one-two punch of like, invite them in and then feed the hunger. Right. Like, then give them what they need to succeed. Like, I just, I don't know. I like that, I have this quote written up on my wall that says like, let them shine. Which like reminds me to shut the heck up, which I'll do in a second.


Kelly:

Right. Right.

Aaron:

But I, like feed the hungry, let them,


Kelly:

yeah.


Aaron:

Give them the tools to succeed and let them freaking run.


Kelly:

Yeah. And don't worry about who doesn't show up. Pay attention to who does. Cuz they are your champions and they care and they're giving their time and energy and just showing up , you know, makes a difference and it's important. So, so I love that. And you know, the other thing you're reminding me of is this idea of being generous with your knowledge is another kind of philosophy that I have.


So I remember once upon a time, I think part of it was cuz I spent a big chunk of my career at Lucas Film, where at Lucas Film, obviously we're in the entertainment industry. There's a lot of confidentiality. So, you know, don't tell anyone about the movie that's being made before it's released. It's super important.


So you really, you know, you're kind of trained to be very confidential about everything when it. HR leadership space you know, how does our performance review system work and this and that. I think there's been a wonderful evolution in the last five to 10 years in the software and the attitude around the community in for people, leaders where it's share your knowledge instead of saying, oh, I'm not, I don't wanna tell you how I do it, cuz that's how we do it.


It's like, no, no, no. Share the knowledge for the benefit of the community so that we can all learn from each other and elevate each other's success. Cause we're all just trying to help humans be excellent at their jobs and create great places to work. Why should we, you know, hide any of that. There's a certain part of HR that must be kept confidential, of course, to protect people and laws and things like that.


But there's a whole other space where it's just exciting to see so much more knowledge sharing because I think. Being generous with your knowledge just helps everyone along. And I also, another one of my philosophies that I learned from an amazing mentor that I had at Zynga Glen Ententes, who's an Academy Award winner, creative leader in the games industry.


He used to say the best way to learn is to teach. And I 100% agree. You have to teach someone how to do something, it forces you to learn it. So even as someone who's a trained facilitator and teacher, I wanna make sure I'm always giving the mic to someone else as well so that they can learn and teach and share, and everyone has wisdom to share and gifts to bring.


And so there's a lot of different, I guess, themes I would say I tie into my approach. I try to pull from all my different experiences depending on what the situation calls for.


Aaron:

Well, I guess, you know, if I'm putting the, my, chief people officer hat on and I'm saying, oh, cool. I love this idea of experimentation. It sounds good. It sounds fun. It's...


Kelly:

mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.


Aaron:

Great. And it's easy, but like, part of my role is also like HR and also. I don't want to get it wrong, right? Like, what if we do an experiment that has severe negative effects on the busi, like and how do you balance the fear of getting it wrong?


And, and I'm not just saying like something that people don't like, but maybe something that offends a portion of your population or whatnot, like how do you balance that in the, in the seat that you're in?


Kelly:

Well, I guess it depends on what the thing is that you're trying to experiment with. I'm trying to think of something that would offend someone.


But I can give you a different example. The, all hands experiment was, you know, Using five minutes of 400 people's time effectively. You know, that was that experiment. Another one I'm considering is I was just introduced to a new HR tool. I get hit up a lot by vendors. Try this, do you need this? Do you need that?


And every once in a while I will say, okay, yeah, let's look at that one. I'm just looking at one that's trying to apply AI to management, coaching and development, and my curiosity was peaked. I'm like, this sounds really cool. But before I would roll it out to the whole company, I would pick, you know, you'd pilot it, pick 20 people to try it out with and see how it goes.


Test it, find a safe way to test something out so you could shrink the group size. Try to make it not a costly experiment. And you know, what's in it for the vendor is if it goes well, then we might sign up for more, but they're not expecting us to just sign up for the whole thing. Right away. So it's kinda like just anything you can break into a smaller piece to test the small group helps.


And also just being an excellent listener, tapping the wisdom of the team. We were just talking about What are some things we wanna do in the month of June to celebrate pride And someone on our team came up with, we have this thing we tried that we love, but now that's five minute Fridays where every Friday for five minutes we share a little tip or a trick about something.


And someone from my team said, why don't we do a five minute Fridays and educate people about pronouns and just tell people how to use different pronouns, respect other people's pronouns, how to make sure that you show your pronouns and our HR systems. And it was just a really wonderful. Simple idea that we were able to action and it wasn't a huge program, it was just, Hey, we're acknowledging this is an important topic and we wanna share it.


And here you go. So again, it's like a bite-sized piece. It was, you know, probably took 30 minutes to write and a couple minutes to share. And we're, we're just sort of peppering the population with little tidbits. And then you see what. What takes, if that makes sense.


Aaron:

Yeah. It kind of feels like we have this like hot plate popcorn maker at home. And it just kind of feels like, you know, these different ideas popping and coming up.


Kelly:

Yeah.


Aaron:

And eventually filling up the bucket of robust people strategy or robust. People support. And I guess I go back to what you said earlier when you're like, when I took on this role, I wanted it to be different.


And it's, it's very clear in our conversation so far today and in the past that like you've done, you've, you've managed to take a team of HR folk people, folk, and having them you fostered creativity and learning and


Kelly:

mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.


Aaron:

But what I'm curious, because, you know, traditional hr


Kelly:

mm-hmm.


Aaron:

Came from a space of reducing risk of making sure payroll's filled.


Kelly: Mm-hmm.


Aaron:

Of making sure you don't screw up and get lawsuits of making sure. And it still is a lot of that stuff like making sure sexual harassment or whatever it is


Kelly:

Right, right.


Aaron:

Is taken care of in order and it's, it's typically a risk averse, not as, not thought of as So creative. So how, like what are some things you've done to foster people on your team saying, Hey, let's do this, or let's do that. Or like, how do you enable that with your team?


Kelly:

Yeah.


Aaron:

You think that can be extrapolated in so many different ways?


Kelly:

No, I mean the risk you're mitigating against is someone who I come back to. This is, is someone who feels unhappy or unfairly treated. So like on the more serious side of hr, it's like if someone is terminated, but they understand why and they've been given a fair chance to improve, and you truly believe that if you treat people fairly, do the best you can. , then that's great.


And I think the, the risk comes if people feel mistreated. So the flip side of that is make people feel treated fairly included and actually enjoying and having fun at their jobs. And I think you mentioned the creativity piece is interesting cuz I think that that's kind of a theme, I think of part of , who I am.


But I try to be vulnerable and silly and invite people in. Like just yesterday it was a, you know, a 10 meeting zoom day and we have our Slack channel and you know, someone, one of the engineers like five years ago told me how to do a GIF in Slack, where you just do a backslash, GIF and then, then you can pick a ridiculous.


Image to show of something. And it's just one of those silly little things that makes you laugh. And I realize that I do it all the time, but I don't see my team. So in Slack. I was like, Hey guys, what a crazy day. In case you haven't noticed, I use these gifs. It's kind of fun.


Here's how you do it. You just write in this little command and you do it. And it makes you laugh. And then like, you know, the afternoon, there you go. I ordered up laughter, like it was just hilarious to see. I was like, oh, watch out. I just taught the people team how to use guess and you know, you just


You know, you just have a laugh and enjoy yourself. And then that also reduces stress and you can. if you give yourself outlets like that to just sort of laugh and not take it so seriously, then you have more energy when you do have to do the serious part of hr, which is part of the job. But you can approach it with a little more of a level head and also just a little more teamwork.


The other thing I do in our team meetings is And I'm very like goal-oriented person. I'm always trying to achieve our goals and et cetera. I have, you know, high standards and so forth, but I started being a little more loose with our meetings where I just have everyone go around and I say, okay, this is a, you can all look at the Asano board to see what the goals are, but let's just share what's one personal win from this week and what's one work win from this week.


And so people get to say something they're proud of that they accomplish at work, which is important. And then share something about their personal life and you just all get to know each other better. And, and the reason I do that is directly from our offsite last year where I asked them all for feedback and they said, we do a lot of meetings about our work, but we really wanna get to know each other better.


So I've been trying to like really take that to heart and figure out how can we lead by example with our own team of creating space just to get to know each other better and not always be so focused on. Hitting the goals. And if we can do that as a team, then we can share that spirit with managers and employees and everyone else we come into contact with.


Aaron:

I love that. What's at the heart of this, which is like heart you know, you said be vulnerable and silly and that's who you are, and it comes through and. You know, whether it's tough or fun things, it's treating people like humans.


Kelly:

Yes.


Aaron:

And that's been a difficult thing as a business owner, right? Like you need to make sure you're mitigating lawsuits and whatever else could happen. But the truth is, if you treat people like humans, like. We all operate better. And we were fortunate to have a team member let us know six months, maybe more in advance that she was leaving and taking her next journey in her career.


And today's her last day. And we had a bunch of, we had that, Jiffy threat going through of just like, love and thank you and, you know, what happens when you, yeah. Are yourself. And yeah. I think it's a, it's a wonderful reminder of somebody in your role leaning into, we've probably all experienced people in your role who are like, okay, mitigate risk first. Don't say that. Don't do this. You know, and this kind of meeting, you have to sit and it's like, but at the end of the day, you don't feel like you're interacting with a human. And I had that early in my career having to let go of being what I can and can't say. And like, there was a wall in between.


Kelly:

Yeah, put yourself in someone else's shoes. I had an experienced once at Revinate where I had to terminate someone and it was, you know, and I've been terminated before too, by the way. And I, I'll jokingly say, I highly recommend that everyone gets laid off at least once in their career because you learn that you can bounce back on your feet and you're gonna be fine.


But it's, you know, when you're on the other side of the table, it's, it can be pretty, pretty intense. But I remember having to, to, to terminate someone. And he was a really nice guy. He just wasn't performing in the job. And I worked with the manager to have the conversation and I sat through it and when all is said and done, you know, and there were a couple tears on both sides of the table.


And at the end of the day, the, the manager said, Kelly, That was such a, he's like, I've never had an experience like that with hr. I was like, what do you mean? He's like, well, you, it's just, you're not like a robot. I was like, no, like, I, like, I care. And I, I will say like, you know, wanna be like the department of Smooth landings.


Like you wanna just handle everything. How would you wanna be treated if you were going through something like that? And how can you, how can you be graceful and firm and thoughtful and, you know, Take an unpleasant experience and try to try to be as just, just thoughtful as possible about it and really wish, genuinely wish the person well on their, on their next step.


And I think just the tone, it's almost like the tone that you set goes a long way with people and it's worth the extra effort. Cuz the last thing you want is for someone to, you know, just leave with a really bitter taste in their mouth.


Aaron:

And I think the insight here that anybody who's listening could take away is like the importance of being yourself, being vulnerable.


Kelly:

Yeah.


Aaron:

Right?


Kelly:

Mm-hmm.


Aaron:

Because part of what you're saying requires you to be vulnerable and looking like, I want to be a robot, what I put on the other side, or did I like a robot when the robot was on the other side of me? Like, no, I'm a human. They're a human. Let's be honest and let's give that.


And you know, like people are always like, well, let me read a book on how to do this.


Kelly: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.


Aaron:

Sometimes be be yourself. Like, hey, do the prep work so you can have clear language. But outside of that, like be you.


Kelly:

The other sort of a tangential thought that came to me earlier speaking of Patty McCord, she also, another one of my favorite quotes of hers is basically be the best place to be from.


So she talked about how in the HR world, there's this longstanding feeling like that you have to retain people forever. Retention, retention, retention. Instead of saying, you know what, we're all here on this journey for a chapter of our career. And, you know the skills you had at the time you joined.


Are gonna evolve and what, you know, what, what you came with and, and what the company needs a few years later might change. And that's totally okay. Like maybe you should actually expect that. And be able to graduate. In her case it was , from Netflix to say, let people leave Netflix and say, yeah, I'm a product of Netflix.


I got to work there. Like, you know, that was a, a great chapter and it's just sort of an interesting, again, just a, a way to think differently about it all. Like be proud of the culture you create, but don't expect to hold onto everybody forever. But make them wanna stay. I mean, I think one of the things I'm amazed with, with Revinate and you know, and I'm a boomerang.


I went to Revinate for six years. I got wooed away. I left for a year and I came back, which I never could have scripted in, into my career journey ever. But we have a lot of great tenure and I'm really proud of that cuz people choose to stay on their own. And there's, everyone has their own reason for joining and their own reason for staying.


But that's also where the gold is of listening and learning. Why, like, what brought you here? What keeps you here? And that those are the conversations by the way, that lead to, like last year when we reinvented the company values post merger, it's like really being inquisitive and understanding the why's behind people's choices and behaviors and what connects them to the company.


Aaron:

And you gotta always kind of keep your finger on the pulse with that. I mean, I'm sure we could go for, I know. We could go for hours. This, it's fascinating. You said a word that like language matters and, and the language you're using. You could tell like whether it's choice or just you coming through, you said this. They're choosing to work here and it's something that I've kept in my mind as a founder of everybody that works for me with me is constantly choosing every single day.


Kelly:

Yeah. Yeah.


Aaron:

They're there a 10, whether they're W two. It's, might not feel like it's a choice, but it's a choice to continue to work here, to continue to do this work.


And for me, when I take that choice, I'm like, I continue to choose to do this. It makes me excited and, and energize and engaged. It also reminds me like, there's a responsibility to make this a place where people want to be, as opposed to saying, I'm paying your salary, so do what I fucking say like part of my language.


But that's how some of us can think. And it's the truth is like, no, it's a choice. You can choose to do it or not.


Kelly:

Right.

Aaron:

There's consequences, but like, and I just love that perspective of the world of work where we create a place where people choose to work with us. Talk about engaging.


You're gonna have people super engaged and you will, you do have people super engaged when they're, they know. They're choosing to be a part of something with you.


Kelly:

Yeah. Yeah. There's other things that we've done that I never, once upon a time I never would've thought we would do, which is we have half day Fridays, we made this decision that.


Not a summer thing, it's a year-round thing for our, you know, our software development branch of the business where like people work so, so hard. And how much do you really get out of everyone on a Friday afternoon from the meetings and so forth that they're in? And why not? We do no meetings on Fridays and a half day Friday.


And I can't tell you how far that has gone because people really value it. And then we say, use this pic Slack channel to share a picture of what you're doing with your half day Fridays.


Aaron:

I love that.

Kelly:

And we see people going to their, you know, kids soccer game or planting a garden or going for a hike or, you know, sometimes, and, and even for me, like sometimes I choose to work.


Because I have a lot to catch up on, but no one's forcing me to, I'm like, I want to use this extra time to get my stuff done. So it's like I, in some ways can be super productive that Friday afternoon, but I also have the choice where I know no one's expecting me to be there and this is my chance to go give myself a break and recharge my battery so I can come back Monday morning firing it up.


And I think that's been, people talk about it and they genuinely value and appreciate that, and that's, I'm really proud of us for having the courage to try that out. That's an experiment that would be hard to take back. I don't think we could suddenly be like, oh, by the way, we're getting rid of, you know?


That's another thing I've learned in my career. And any HR leader would agree. When you give something, it's really hard to take it back. So be very thoughtful about what you give and make sure that's something that you can give sustainably. Cuz no one likes it when something gets taken away or like dialed back.


I mean, yeah


Aaron:

even if it's not being used. It's the thought that we're losing this.


Kelly:

Yeah, like years ago when in 2005 when Lucas film was moving to the Presidio, I remember in San Rafael everyone had free parking. And then suddenly we're moving into these gorgeous office spaces in the Presidio, the Letterman Digital Arts Center, this brand new incredible facility.


And suddenly people were gonna have to pay for parking and it wa and pay for the bridge toll, you know? And it was like, what do you mean? You know? And eventually they put in a, parking's free if you carpool and stuff like that. So, But it was, you know, change is hard. You have to just, you know, guide people through and hopefully, you know, the pros outweigh the cons.


And once we got settled in, it was like, gosh, this really is a beautiful place. And people figured out how to get their parking taken care of. But policies, humans, and it can be tricky. As another friend of mine said, humans, or maybe I said it, I think I said it. Humans are messy. Humans are messy.


another colleague of mine from Zynga once said you know, humans we're just giant balls of emotion. Like, yeah, yeah, we are. Well work at a company and show up every day, but like, yeah.


Aaron:

I always say it like figuring out your own shit in your own life is hard. Now multiply that by 400 people and then have them all interact with each other to produce something else, right? Businesses are just an accumulation of human people figuring it all out right as we go. No matter how old or young, we're all figuring it out on a daily basis


what I love that you've done and the perspective you bring is this like idea of. The freedom to not feel like I have to be locked into doing something a certain way. And the creativity to explore and to test and to experiment. And so, I like that. Just like as I'm thinking about, I'm like, just feel so much freeing and there's so many more possibilities to this like this new world of work that we're talking about that you're living in, that we work to, to live within.


Kelly:

Yeah.


Aaron:

And that this is what excites me.


Kelly:

Yeah. I mean, it also, you're hearing, reflecting that back to me, it also reminds me of a chapter at Lucas Film when we did some work and at Zynga where we did some work with IDEO and sort of applying this design thinking approach where, you understand who is your customer, what do they need, how do you have empathy for the person you're building this product or this.


Program for under really listen and understand what they need. How do you come up with a concept and then this idea of rapid prototyping, like come up with a quick experimental way to kind of rinse and repeat and try it out. And that this sort of design thinking process can guide you through to wonderful new ideas that you never, you would never have gotten to if you were afraid or following someone else's best practice or not allowed to brainstorm.


It's like how do you open up. This sort of creative thinking. Grab the gold, the best, the best that you find, and then, and then carry it forward. And it's hard. It takes patience. And I once thought that on my LinkedIn profile, maybe I should have my background be a picture of someone herding cats.


And then I was like, I actually don't wanna brand myself that way Maybe a better or, or some, maybe a better analogy is like a. Conductor of a symphony, something like that. It would be more elegant version. But you know, here again, like bring a fun metaphor or way of thinking about your work that makes it more, more playful and meaningful and unique to you.


Aaron:

This has been so much fun. I was worried our last conversation that I was like, oh my God, I'm gonna know too much and we're gonna, this conversation's so rich. And there's so many just learnings and ways of being and like people listening are gonna get so much from this. So thank you for sharing your insights, your perspective, yourself in this conversation. Super grateful.


Kelly:

You're so welcome. Thanks for the opportunity and I'm just, you know, blessed to be here and excited about all the work, good work we've done, and good work there is ahead for the whole community of people, leaders out there. Keep up the great work and every, every moment, every person matters and bring your own creativity to the table. It'll be awesome.


Thanks for listening to the show!




Comments


bottom of page