Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen

Gary Lloyd - Gardeners Not Mechanics

May 14, 2021 Scott J. Allen Season 1 Episode 69
Gary Lloyd - Gardeners Not Mechanics
Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen
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Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen
Gary Lloyd - Gardeners Not Mechanics
May 14, 2021 Season 1 Episode 69
Scott J. Allen

Gary Lloyd has led organizational change initiatives for nearly thirty years. Over the last decade, he has also helped professionals make personal and career changes in his role as a member of Warwick Business School's Executive Coaching Panel and as a steering committee member for its mentoring program. He spent most of his career in banking and financial markets. However, through his consulting and coaching work, he has also worked with clients in manufacturing, construction, logistics, food processing, and IT services.

Learn More About Gary's Work

Quotes From Gary's Book

  • "The world of work is an ecosystem of interdependent organisations, groups, and individuals. So, if you want to make a sustainable change at work, you are more likely to succeed if you approach your change as a gardener, not a mechanic."
  • "Mechanics rely on predictability. They assume that the same inputs produce the same outputs, time after time. A car, for example, will perform as predicted on a tarmac road."
  • "Gardeners know that their environment is unpredictable, with much of it outside their control. Gardeners, therefore, take small steps towards a bigger goal. They experiment to find out what works and what doesn't and continually adjust to what they find out."

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

  • Books: Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment & Thinking Fast & Slow 
  • Books: How Emotions Are Made & Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain 
  • Book: Livewired 
  • Book: Think Again 
  • Podcast: Sideways
  • Documentary: The Mole Agent

About The International Leadership Association (ILA)

  • The ILA was created in 1999 to bring together professionals with a keen interest in the study, practice, and teaching of leadership. Today, ILA is the largest worldwide community committed to leadership scholarship, development, and practice. 

Connect with Your Host, Scott Allen

Show Notes Transcript

Gary Lloyd has led organizational change initiatives for nearly thirty years. Over the last decade, he has also helped professionals make personal and career changes in his role as a member of Warwick Business School's Executive Coaching Panel and as a steering committee member for its mentoring program. He spent most of his career in banking and financial markets. However, through his consulting and coaching work, he has also worked with clients in manufacturing, construction, logistics, food processing, and IT services.

Learn More About Gary's Work

Quotes From Gary's Book

  • "The world of work is an ecosystem of interdependent organisations, groups, and individuals. So, if you want to make a sustainable change at work, you are more likely to succeed if you approach your change as a gardener, not a mechanic."
  • "Mechanics rely on predictability. They assume that the same inputs produce the same outputs, time after time. A car, for example, will perform as predicted on a tarmac road."
  • "Gardeners know that their environment is unpredictable, with much of it outside their control. Gardeners, therefore, take small steps towards a bigger goal. They experiment to find out what works and what doesn't and continually adjust to what they find out."

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

  • Books: Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment & Thinking Fast & Slow 
  • Books: How Emotions Are Made & Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain 
  • Book: Livewired 
  • Book: Think Again 
  • Podcast: Sideways
  • Documentary: The Mole Agent

About The International Leadership Association (ILA)

  • The ILA was created in 1999 to bring together professionals with a keen interest in the study, practice, and teaching of leadership. Today, ILA is the largest worldwide community committed to leadership scholarship, development, and practice. 

Connect with Your Host, Scott Allen

Note: Voice-to-text transcriptions are about 90% accurate. 

Scott Allen  0:01  
Hello, everybody, and welcome to today's episode of Phronesis. We have a fun conversation that's going to happen today, we're going to be talking about gardeners, we're going to be talking about mechanics, we're going to be talking about systems, we're going to be talking about complexity. We are with Gary Lloyd. And Gary is, he's many things. He's a Buddhist, he is a coach at the Warwick Business School. He is a leader from organizational life, his lead major it trends, has led major transformations in it. He combines design thinking lean Project Management Systems Thinking behavioral science, and how he approaches this topic of leadership. And so Gary, maybe fill in some blanks. What have I left out there, sir?

Gary Lloyd  0:52  
That was just epic poker player for a couple of years. I think Scott, we miss missed out. I had, I've really had three stages in my career. Yes, the first bit that I don't tell anybody about, but I'm going to tell just you about it. And then there's the second part, which is really the stuff about leading change or helping other people lead change. That's generally it enabled, change. And then the third part, which is really like independent consulting, and teaching, I've written a lot of online courses. And coaching and mentoring, which I got into about 10 years ago for work business school. I was saying to you before, we came on out as students, typically between 35 and 45, unlike in the US where there are a lot of young, younger, so they tend to be senior execs or people heading for the boardroom or starting their own businesses. And you get we've had 1000 people go through the program in 10 years. So I've had a huge amount of insight from talking to those people. And I didn't talk to all 1000s. But you know, we do regular surveys to see how how it's going or dislike for them. We talked to the other mentors, I'm on the mentoring steering committee, and I major on continuing professional development, I was a bit of my career I don't talk about is, yeah, I was a programmer. I spent 13 years as an IT professional, I'm quite lucky. And I spent four years doing mathematical modeling. So I know what it's like to be a mechanic, My degree is in civil engineering. And then I spent three years in electronic publishing, just about when the max came out, okay. And then I went into banking. Now, the reason I don't tell anybody apart about that part of my career, is that what I found when I am then I went off to do an MBA, and I came back from an MBA on what we in what I was in it then called the business side, the business side, the evil, the evil is that the evil business side, the evil, the evil business. The reason I did that was that the people on the business side, I felt as an IT person were just terrible clients. And they just didn't know how to exploit technology. So I wanted to cross over. But once I'd crossed over to the business side, I didn't want people to know, I was a technologist, I wanted to be a bank or financial markets person with technology, knowledge, not the other way around. Otherwise, people just think that you're busking all the time. And they'll label you as a technology person. So that's the bit I don't talk about. But it's getting cooler these days to say that you're in tech, so I'm going to reveal it just to you. I'm sure you like this out.

Scott Allen  4:00  
I won't tell anyone, I will not let anyone know,

Gary Lloyd  4:03  
that would be good. So that's me

Scott Allen  4:07  
Gary, I'm, I always love speaking with someone who has just a buffet of different experiences and lenses through which they look at the world. So again, we could look to the Buddhism, we could look to poker, we could look to civil engineering, we could look to gardening, I mean, it's, it's really, really a lot of fun, because the convergence and the sense-making from all of those potentially desperate ways of thinking. I imagine there are some themes, and there are some connections and I think we're going to get into a little bit of that today. But I love that. That mosaic of background because I think it informs a different approach and a different way of thinking about this topic of leadership. Would you agree?

Gary Lloyd  4:58  
I do agree. I think I've just about got To the point where I'm useful. But by melding those, those things together, and the book, I'm sure we'll come on to the book. But the book, the book is called my latest book, I've written two books, the latest book is called garden is not mechanics, how to cultivate change at work. Actually, it's about how to cultivate change anywhere. But from a marketing point of view, you've got to try and find some sort of niche, or niche, like you, you might say, is there's a lot of all that stuff in there is hidden under the covers the risks of Buddhism, there's some explicit Buddhism actually, in the book. And I learned a lot from poker. I mean, the key thing I learned from poker was decision-making under stress. He said it's learning to live with incomplete information, making the right making the right decision, and getting the wrong outcome. That happens all the time in poker. And the garden is not mechanics thing was like an epiphany for me, was actually in Charlotte, North Carolina, okay. And I was they had the company, I was working for their work, or I won't say who they work, but they had something called an Emerging Leaders Forum. Yep. And I was running to back to back workshops for them. And somebody asked me a question, and said Gary, how would you deal with this, what is a good kind of coach, I'm trying to avoid giving direct advice. And trying to draw up some tools in my head, I've got racing around while design thinking would be really useful for that. There's some, there's some behavioral science in there, and that would be really useful. And the whole thing was on lean project management. I was teaching lean project management, sold these ideas. I just started to sweat. You know, I just went silent. It's like, what the hell am I gonna say? And, and there were like, 30 people looking at me expectantly, I was on my own doing this whole thing. America, a bunch of people I didn't know. I heard myself do you know, generally, you haven't got that feeling? Where you hear yourself is quite interesting, actually. Because my hobby is behavioral science and psychology. And, you know, we often don't know what we think until we've said it. I heard myself it was like an out-of-body experience. I heard myself say, well, it would help if you think like a gardener, not a mechanic.

Scott Allen  7:51  

Gary Lloyd  7:53  
And hit the floor, like a big lump of lead. And then somebody else somebody in the group said, what would it mean to cultivate? change? Somebody else chipped in, and they said, Well, you know, you need to, you need to prepare the soil. Relax the sack bag, I stopped sweating. And I thought, hey, this is this is good. I'd received. I didn't have to do anything. I knew facilitated classes. This is a dream, right?

Scott Allen  8:31  
You're done. You're out. Like That was my pearl.

Gary Lloyd  8:36  
When I got home. I mentioned it to my wife. She said, "Well, I think you're onto something." And she said she specializes in personal development. And she said, well in personal development terms, and she was off and running as well. And then the lockdown happened. said, hey, let's try and put this in a book. That's right. And so the garden is not mechanics. And you've had guests on, talk about systems and complexity. And the reason it thing is a bit relevant for me now is that we did lots of what we used to call systems analysis I have a really strong background in systems. But I've got frustrated that when people talk about complexity and systems, it's not in the terms that the alumni and Business School students that I work with, can get a handle on because of the jargon.

Scott Allen  9:37  
Talk about it. Let's jump into the book. I'd love to hear a little bit more maybe some themes that that maybe some themes that rose for you but bring us into that space. And of course, we won't give it all away but give us some thoughts to chew on. So that listeners will be enticed to learn a little bit more

Gary Lloyd  10:04  
So there are two parts to the book. And there's a timeout in the book as well. Which is quite important to me actually. So I'll try not to get it. So the first part of the book is like the key ideas, which is the I did some research into whether people will think the organizations are more like machines or ecosystems. Okay. I think the pandemics just made it through. I mean, before there used to be a debate around that. The pandemic, everybody just goes ecosystems that that's easy. People can see how things are interdependent. And then I asked people when it comes to change, driving change. How do we how do leaders think about their organization's think about them as ecosystems or machines? Everybody goes machines. And you go, Well, there's a problem here because we all we most of us think that organizations are like ecosystems and live within ecosystems, but we treat them like machines. What does that mean? It means that machines have a set of inputs that produce predictable outputs ecosystems are not like that. I picked out three characteristics in the book about ecosystems, which is unpredictability, limits of control, and interdependence. Now, unpredictability is often a result of limits of controlling and interdependent, but it's not just that because human beings are inherently unpredictable. I, Daniel Kahneman and Cass Sunstein, I've got a book coming out soon called Noise. They wrote an article in Harvard Business Review, white back and one of the anecdotes in that was about radiographers looking at cancer screenings. And the same radiographer on a different day gives a 40% variance in terms of the diagnosis that they give.

Scott Allen  12:28  
Wow, wow.

Gary Lloyd  12:30  
Yes, and I so I chase this down, I chase down the reference. And when you look into it, you go digging radiographers, journals, which I did. Honestly, I went there, I'm one of those people that somebody tells me something and I go, I'm not. I'm not sure. It's a good story. 30% of all change programs fail. It's a good story. I'm gonna have to go get the data. The medical profession knows how variable diagnosis is. They just don't tell us for very good reasons. Right? 

Scott Allen  13:14  
I just read something. I just read something this morning that suggested that you know, artificial intelligence is now reading cancer, you know, diagnosing melanoma at about a 95% accuracy rate, and humans I think, is at about an 87% accuracy rate. So it's just interesting, right?

Gary Lloyd  13:34  
So where I am on this is that in terms of approaching change, whether it's in our own lives, in society, or in business, we need to embrace unpredictability. And know if we do the same thing in the same place. It doesn't necessarily produce the same results. So how do you deal with that? You? You plan to be adaptable. And you experiment. I mean, I've heard you, Scott, on a couple of occasions, quote, who I think is actually for Moltke, which is "no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy." And, and when you read his essay, my wife is German translated for me. Then it's very much about being adaptable. And you know, to do this thing at West Point, the commander's intent, the commander's intent is always top of the battle plan. So that's the first part of the book is about really setting out the case. And I tell a story about Ron Johnson at JC Penney, which you and your listeners may know, I can tell you about if you don't know about that, and then the second

Scott Allen  14:58  
Say a little bit about JC Penney, I'm familiar with JC Penney, as a store haven't been there in years don't know if it still exists, but

Gary Lloyd  15:06  
It almost doesn't exist or 1100. Stores almost don't exist. So, Ron Johnson, Ron Johnson was a graduate of Stanford. With the passion for retailing. And he decided he was going to start from the bottom up, and he went to work for I think it was called Mervyn's.

Scott Allen  15:30  
Yep. Yep. 

Gary Lloyd  15:31  
Is that store? He made his name Mervyn's from bringing in designer brand stuff. From Mervyn's. He was hired by a guy called Steve Jobs.

Scott Allen  15:47  
Oh, that's right. And then he went to he went from Apple to JC Penney, didn't he?

Gary Lloyd  15:53  
That's right. And Apple, but when he was at, so he got what he always wanted was, which was the top Java somewhere, which was CEO, JC Penney, because he was never going to be CEO of Apple for obvious reasons. And when he was appointed, they described the chairman whose name escapes me for a moment, described him as the Steve Jobs of retailing. Okay. And on the day that his appointment was announced, hang on, I got a note of it. He is somewhere. Here we are. So on the date was announced, Penny's shares went from $24 to $35. Okay, so $35. And then Ron Johnson came up with a vision for the stores. He said the stores are going to be places that you go to as a doubt.

Scott Allen  16:59  
Like a store was at a store within a store kind of

Gary Lloyd  17:02  
Going to be there's going to be placed to eat and stuff like that. And there aren't going to be any tools. They're just going to be people with iPads. And people are going to pay with iPads and stuff, stuff. If you look at an apple store versus a JC Penney store, you may think to yourself, there's some trouble coming over the hill here.

Scott Allen  17:24  
Maybe not the same clientele? I don't know.

Gary Lloyd  17:27  
Some and so he came up with his vision. And he decided he was going to roll them out to roll out his vision to 1100 stores nationwide. And some somebody challenged him on it and said you can test this out. Ron, do we want to pilot this? drone pilot this he said at Apple, we didn't test anything. Which is absolutely not true. Because tech companies had mock-ups of Apple stores in warehouses in I think, Cupertino near the apple headquarters. So they did test everything every store, every new Apple store was a test because they didn't exist before. Right? But it did it anyway. To cut long story short, he was sacked after 18 months. The JC Penney share price was in absolute freefall. Remember, he took it he took over it for $24. It jumped up to $35. When he left it was $16. Wow. The chairman said it was an absolute disaster. However, it's not the end of the story. Because if you go to a department store in the UK, you will see exactly Ron Johnson's vision of the problem Johnson had was the this has happened with a few people I see the Hoover's kicks in and people start to think are infallible. And they do what I would call the big bet death grip, which kind of comes a bit out of the quarter and the whole reengineering fad. Because CEOs come in and do the CEOs hero bit. First, first 100 days, got a bit here to get the machine that changed the world and how Toyota came to rewrite manufacturing through incremental change. It's way too boring if you're getting paid really, really big bucks. And that's what the first surfer said first part of the book. Scott kind of lays that out. And then the second part of the book, I took a walk called the elements of gardening, which are pink pinched from a gardening blog. And I wrote There are nine elements of gardening. I can run through those three elements of gardening, I've got a personal story. And I deliberately did it as a personal story. Like, I am not the CEO of JC Penney. And Ron Johnson. By the way, if you're out there, you know you. I'm huge admiration for you. So, you know, I'm pitching real people, the sort of people that I coach and mentor. You know, I mean, people can go and read Harvard Business Review, CEO, how I did it. I hate that section. It's rarely how we did it, right?

Scott Allen  20:34  

Gary Lloyd  20:35  
How I did it. Okay, so I'll go quiet in a minute. Scott, I'm conscious of having listened to your podcasts are. So often, it's supposed to be a conversation, not me broadcasting, which is kind of what's happening. 

Scott Allen  20:51  
I want to get these nine things, I want to hear these nine things,

Gary Lloyd  20:53  
I'll probably do a bit overclockable. For some people it's standard,

Scott Allen  21:00  
Okay. Because I know nothing about gardening. So I love the fact that we're applying gardening to change right now. And well,

Gary Lloyd  21:07  
You and I. So here's the thing, you can cut this out in the edit, right? Here's, here's a challenge for you. We can go through this with a real chance that you have that you would like to make somewhere. If you're prepared to talk about it on our

Scott Allen  21:23  
Yes, let's do it. 

Gary Lloyd  21:25  
Okay, so let's walk through the nine elements of gardening. A list of what they are, before we do that, or do you want me just to? Do you want it to be a surprise?

Scott Allen  21:34  
I want it to be a surprise. And so this is we've got real-time coaching here of something I want to change, or that I know I need to change. Okay, let's do it. I'm in.

Gary Lloyd  21:48  
I'm ready. Number one. client, do you want me to talk to you about what the changes, let's use just want to keep it in your head.

Scott Allen  21:58  
I could articulate the change for sure. I tend to take on more and more and more. Because it sounds like and I have a lot of interests. And there are so many fun things to explore in the world. So I say yes, and take on more at the expense of me at times. And ultimately, then I think probably my family because then I might not be my best if I'm doing a 12 hour day, you know, today was up at six started working. And I'm going kind of straight till about eight o'clock tonight to the same thing yesterday. And so I've created a little bit of a monster for myself, only because I have so much passion for everything. But it's in the long run too much. And I need to discern, I need to extend the timeline. I don't have to say yes to everything now. Or I need to learn how to say I'm going to let that go. So you know, an example would be I'm teaching I'm writing, I run a nonprofit that just started a for-profit, have a podcast up was gonna start a second podcast. And again, it's all really, really fun and interesting. And I love it. But I take on too much. And then I kind of drive myself into the ground at times. Because I've I've created the monster in some ways.

Gary Lloyd  23:37  
Okay, so let's, let's design a garden. By the way, these things, the elements of gardening, we're going to go through them sequentially. Okay, but in a real garden, these things are all going on all the time. So the listeners shouldn't think that I'm advocating this as a kata style sequences are what needs to be fair to call John Kotter, who is a business school professor, why do I need to be fair to John Kotter, he did come back to it and say, write another article and say, all these things go on at the same time and an article called accelerate a few years ago,

Scott Allen  24:15  
And you know, I spoke with him. I spoke with him one time, Gary on the phone, and I said, is it these nine things every time? And he said yes. I was like, wow, okay.

Gary Lloyd  24:28  
See the thing. The thing is, before we get into this thing that bugs me about it is I was asked to write a change leadership course for somebody. The first question I got asked was, are you going to teach teachers kata? That was the first. So consultants and educators are still using it kata wrote that in 1995. Anyway, so garden to you two years time, Scott. Okay. What do you if you ask the gardener for a plan? What do you think you would get?

Scott Allen  25:02  
If I asked a gardener for a plan, well, it's going to be, it's going to be extended, because we may not. We may be in August, and I should have done something in June, that would have been the appropriate time for something. So there's going to be time involved in that it's going to be fairly extended, depending on when I'm starting. So there's, there's a process depending on the weather, depending on when things need to be done.

Gary Lloyd  25:35  
Okay, so there's, there are some seasons around that. But another way of looking at that is the if I'm, I'm your consultant, landscape gardener. Say, what's the purpose of your garden? What's the vision for your garden? Yep.

Scott Allen  25:58  
I like that.

Gary Lloyd  25:59  
So that would be so that's that. So. So for me, if you ask a gardener for a plan, often, again, give you a layout, they're going to give you a vision, they're going to give you some graphics to kind of bring that to life. So if I was working with you, then I kind of get you to close your eyes. And tell me what you can, we won't do that. Now I'll probably take too much time. But what you can hear see smell, you know, that kind of thing. So the first step, so the first element of gardening is to plan. Okay. The next element is to prepare the soil. Hmm. What would that mean for you in your context?

Scott Allen  26:46  
Of the problem, I'm working? Okay, so prepare the soil? Well, I think to prepare the soil, you have to do some investigating, you have to do some learning, you have to understand some elements about soil. And so so there's some that come to mind for me,

Gary Lloyd  27:09  
What would be analogous to Scott? In the change that you're thinking about Scotland? What would be analogous to the soil?

Scott Allen  27:17  
Well, I think for me, in this situation, the preparing the soil. For me, at least, what comes to mind is having some conversations, having some conversations with my wife, having conversations with other trusted mentors, and individuals who can help me gain context and help me gain perspective. That's what comes to mind for me first. I hope I'm going to the right area. 

Gary Lloyd  27:50  
The point about this is the reason I really like this way of thinking about it. And this is why there's a timeout in the book. Because I in the book give lots of examples of these things from my own personal experience and some others personal experience. But so the power of an analogy is when it means the most for the person using it, right? I'm not trying to give people this is just a set of prompts. You get people to take their thinking down pathways that would remain unexplored. And under the hood, they're thinking in systems terms, because a god is a system, it's complex. So the next thing I would ask you would be, what does it mean to plant? Well?

Scott Allen  28:42  
What does it mean to plant? Well, I think there's going to be intentionality behind what you're planting and when and where and how much sun there is, and what's the season. So I think planting well at least a word that comes to mind for me is intentionality. And again, understanding so that what you're trying to accomplish that vision has a chance of living. That's what comes to mind for me. Am I doing okay, Gary?

Gary Lloyd  29:18 
Here's an easy one for you.

Scott Allen  29:23  
So my kids, when they take tests they have they have I forget what it's called. But the questions get easier if you're doing poorly. Is that what it goes that what's going on? Do we have adaptive scoring going on?

Gary Lloyd  29:36  
Clearly no right answer.

Scott Allen  29:38  

Gary Lloyd  29:40  
This is this. This is the educator, part of the story about somebody who went into an exam and they came out and encountered the professor. It was economics, by the way. And the guy said, like a student coming out and say, I don't know if you realize that the questions you set are exactly the same as they were last year. The professor said, Yep, the answers have changed. So, the fourth element of gardening...Prune.

Scott Allen  30:21  
So what do I need to prune? So this is so timely, Gary because literally, they say that you need a person for everything in your life. Whether that's a great accountant or a great attorney, or a great, and we have recently found that person in our life for our, our, how we do our landscaping, because this person can walk around our house and say, now this should have been pruned last October, this should have been done, then it hasn't been. So I'm going to do it now for you. And so it's interesting. But yes, I mean, I think, what is getting in the way of the vision occurring? And how do we need to help the garden in fact, we can help the garden grow by pruning some elements. So when it comes to me, I was literally having this conversation with my wife yesterday when we walked because we walked for a couple of hours a day. And we were having this conversation. So if it's me and pruning, it's discerning what is no longer relevant or no longer of service to where I want to go? I think part of the challenge and as I reflect on this conversation right now, Gary, I don't know that I have a clear vision for the garden. There's a lot of gardening happening a lot. There's a lot happening. But what it's all in service to, I, I don't have, I don't have a clear vision of that. It's just a lot of stuff that I really enjoy. So it's like saying, I love begonias, I love tomatoes, I love cucumbers, I'm going to do all of these things. But there's less of a really clear picture at the end of it. Does that make sense?

Gary Lloyd  32:26  
It makes total sense. And you know, there's only one element of gardening in the book where I'm a little bit dogmatic. And that's actually around plan, a huge believer in purpose and vision. And, you know, I go all the way back to when I did my MBA, which was, well, I did my MBA, which is 990 93. Yes, I came in two times. Already, I was on the throne. My MBA, and the most popular book at the time was Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline. Yep. And I always remember from that book, a "shared vision," and he highlighted the importance of a shared vision. And, you know, I've run a lot of projects, programs, change programs, and so many of them built on sand because people don't have a clear vision about what they want to achieve. It doesn't mean it can't change that once you know, it has to be chiseled. But it's good to know the direction that you're traveling.

Scott Allen  33:38  
Right? There is an overarching direction that has come more into focus. And I've talked a little bit about this on the podcast, there's more of a direction that's coming into focus, which is around digitizing my work digitizing my teaching, digitizing. A podcast is a form of digitizing. And so for me, there's so that it can be done anywhere. Because I think part of the long-term vision would be that I could be anywhere I could be doing my work in the UK right now. And we can go have a pint in a little bit because it's what you know, it's the afternoon there. And I could be doing my work from there for three or four months, or I could be doing my work from somewhere else in the world and living and experiencing the world. So I know that that's a piece of the puzzle. But it's not totally clear.

Gary Lloyd  34:34  
It's not totally clear. So we're just doing one pass through this. So his is the thinking process. So then, so I'll take you quickly through the other elements just so we've got a feel for them. And the next one would be watering. What do you think that might mean for you in your context?

Scott Allen  35:04  
Well, am I overwatering? Am I under-watering? Am I watering at the right time?

Gary Lloyd  35:08  
What might the water be? What's the water? Huh?

Scott Allen  35:15  
For me, the water all of the tasks, all of the stuff that I'm putting into motion. Again, sometimes I'll do things to myself. Like I'll say, Well, I'm gonna release four episodes this week. And I almost overwater. Right. And so I think how much is too much? What's enough? And from a workload standpoint, I think that would be the water, the number of things I'm putting into motion?

Gary Lloyd  35:55  
And then might be, just to something else you might consider in there would be relationships. How do you water the relationship? Right?

Scott Allen  36:05  
Yep. Yep.

Gary Lloyd  36:06  
So that would be another thing. Now the in the book at this point, I take a time out. And the reason I take the time out was for two reasons. One is to say, I've got lots of stories in the book. So I trust the second half of the book in stores. This is the way I've thought about it. But we're doing it kind of life now. This is what it means for you is much more important. And really, the book is called gardeners not mechanics, how to cultivate change at work. That's it, you don't need to read the book, the book is padding, you know, if you just grab, grab the analogy, run, run with it, told our listeners not to buy the book, but there's some good stuff in it, honestly. And the other reason is that I talked about emotions in the book a lot. But, um, two of the books that have influenced me most over the years one was Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow. But the other one is Lisa Feldman Barrett, how emotions are made. Okay, so so I had to take a little bit of time out to say, to talk about emotions in the book, so and then we move on to stake. Now stake, my accent is probably gonna be a problem here. Why steak? I mean, something you put in the ground? Yes. Now that can serve more than one purpose. Okay. Right. So you run with it for a moment. I'll come up, I'll dive in if I need to.

Scott Allen  37:36  
Well, a steak at least in my yard is helping for one small tree that we have helped it stay in shape, helping it grow as it should. So having support mechanisms or have for me had I the bowling is coming to mind for me where they have in the States, at least, you can put up these guardrails for your children when they're bowling and it doesn't allow gutter balls. But for me, I think it's what are those signposts or guide guidelines that are going to help keep us in the right direction?

Gary Lloyd  38:24  
That's really interesting. That's really interesting, Scott, because you've, you've combined two things that are absolutely spot on with gardening, which is one is support. So where is the support going to come from in change? And the other one is a constraint. I mean, constraints are the engine of creativity, right? It's a book called A Beautiful Constraint (Mark Morgan/Mark Barden) and can't remember the author for now nice escapes me. But I'm, you know, engineers use constraints all the time. And people have constraints in their visions and certainly the iPhone the Sony Walkman if anybody on the podcast is old enough to remember. Okay, we're nearly there. We're

Scott Allen  39:03  
Okay, we've got two I think questions gonna get harder now again.

Gary Lloyd  39:09  
Number eight-element a gardening bear in mind listeners. It's not sequential these all these things are all going on in the garden at the same time.

Scott Allen  39:17  

Gary Lloyd  39:18  
Ensure good health. What does that bring to mind?

Scott Allen  39:25  
Ensure good health. So if I think of my Well, I said at the beginning when I said the problem statement, I tend to say yes to everything else, almost at the expense of me so that I'm kind of on "E(mpty)" and am I prioritizing elements of health am I eating because of stress, am I not sleeping well, because so much is kind of going on in my head and I'm not in a restful place because there's so much And so what was the one again?

Gary Lloyd  40:04  
Ensure good health

Scott Allen  40:06  
Ensure good health. That's that's sustainability. And if I'm not, I'm kind of running it like a sprint right now and not a marathon. And at the expense of my own health at times. 

Gary Lloyd  40:19  
So then it would be a case of saying what, you know, what would you do? What would you change to do that in organizational terms? In the stories in the book, I talk about organizational culture. Like things that go on in a garden, you tend to think of pests and diseases, but don't really like to think about eliminating and think about culture or as organization culture as a potential inhibitor, your growth? And I've done a lot of work in organizational culture over the years and have, you'd be surprised to not have a view on that. So the growth mindset, of course, you can't leave gardening that growth mindset. And so finally, the so then the final one is, enjoy your harvest. Now you can enjoy your harvest? What harvest Are you going to enjoy? It ties back to purpose.

Scott Allen  41:24  
Yep. That's part of my problem. Gary, I enjoy meeting you right now. I enjoy these conversations I and that's part of the harvest is that I'm getting energy from in these constraints, you said? You said constraints facilitate creativity and innovation? Is that what you said?

Gary Lloyd  41:47  
That's true, isn't it?

Scott Allen  41:49  
You know, my wife and I were on a walk the other day, and she said, I'm feeling a little bit isolated, I'm not connecting with others the way I normally do. And this year has been wonderful from that perspective because I'm meeting people like you from all over the world and having conversations and building relationships, cultivating relationships, you know, continuing long-standing relationships. So, you know, in an odd way, this is this conversation right here is the harvest really cool conversations with cool people who are thinking about leadership in very interesting ways. And if that can help other people think about leadership in different ways. That's really, really a lot of fun. That's cool. So in, in a sense, the harvest or the high, the dopamine hit that I get from engaging in all of these different projects with different people and the enjoyment that that brings, that can at times cause me to? Well, my, my boss, I had said you might have a tomato plant problem. Does that make sense from a gardening standpoint? 

Gary Lloyd  43:04  
Of course.

Scott Allen  43:12  
But I just really like tomatoes I guess.

Gary Lloyd  43:15  
I'm the homegrown ones are the best. Right? The ones that the supermarkets are terrible, terrible anyway. Because they're grown to be able to travel and bounce. So then I would challenge you. So so very interesting. How big is your garden?

Scott Allen  43:43  
Well, it's conversations like this that are so meaningful and fun. Because literally in the moment, right now, I'm kind of scrambling, because you're challenging me to think about things in a very, very different way, which I love. And you're, the metaphor of the garden is a wonderful one. Because there are so many connections that can be made.

Gary Lloyd  44:18  
The thing I like, and the thing I like about it is that you can, you can talk about systems and complex systems and emergent properties and order kind of jargon that goes around complex systems, but everybody gets a garden. And they know that if the plants get if your roses get greenfly on them, or, you know, your tomatoes, get blind or whatever, you know that things are interconnected. So when you start to think about it in the way that a gardener would think about it, it's just natural to think about the interconnections. It's natural to understand that the weather is not under your control. And it's not you know, it's not up to perfect analogy. No analogy is perfect. But my goal, my goal is just to get people or ask people rather ask people to pursue the analogy, even if they don't like it if you don't like this now, this analogy stinks. I'm halfway through I finally got around to reading the Jobs biography.

Scott Allen  45:25  
Okay, Isaac said the

Gary Lloyd  45:27  
Steve Jobs might say that analogy is shit. And I'd say, I say, well, Steve, you know, just run with it. See, see if it takes your mind down some paths that would have otherwise remained untrodden. And that's, that's, that's, that's all it's trying to do. So thinking tool?

Scott Allen  45:46  
Yep. I love it. So how much do I owe you, Gary? You bribe me, You tricked me.

Gary Lloyd  45:57  
I do some pro bono coaching. I do some coaching for the management team, a hospice. And that is so enjoyable. And I've really got over my fear of working with people that are towards the end of their lives. It's, very, and the people and the people that work with them. Because I do some stuff in the community. And I do some stuff with the management team as well. And that is really enriching, good, you get a really, really different point of view.

Scott Allen  46:35  
Oh, that is, whatever God is for you. I don't I'm not putting any particular faith in anyone here. But they're doing God's work. And I've said this one other time on the podcast, I think, but I had a, I had friend colleague in the International Leadership Association community who we got on the topic of hospice once. And we kind of rumbled around with an idea of an article. Because in many ways, they're kind of leading people through the process, leading the family leaving the individual through this. And so we'd had this idea of an article like you're the last leader. But to do that work is it's incredible. It really is. And again, especially with the family and the loved ones that are also not at their best and difficult time for many.

Gary Lloyd  47:33  
The hospice I'm with runs a scheme called compassionate neighbors. And it's trying to do people often have a vision of a hospice, it might be different in the US, where it's, it's like a hospital where people go. So what our Hospice is trying to do is to do much, much more in the community. Like that my mom, my mom died 15 years ago, and she wanted to live her last years in our own home. And so do much more with that. And when you talk, we get on a call, we have a weekly call with the compassionate neighbors. And don't mean this the wrong way. They're ordinary people. You know, they're not intellectuals. The wisdom that comes out of the people is just or inspiring. Use it. Don't use the term lightly. I'm, not one for hyperbole. Amazing, amazing work and talk about, you know, change and complexity. You got it right there.

Scott Allen  48:42  
Okay, Gary, such a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for challenging my thinking. Thank you for bringing your perspective to listeners. I think it's just a wonderful perspective. And I'm excited to buy the book. I'm excited to read it. I'm excited to reflect more on how you're thinking about the topic. I really am. Like, as soon as we close up shop here, I am going to switch over to Amazon and I'm going to buy the book. And thank you for the work that you do. As you know, we always close this out by saying, you know, asking the question of what you're listening to what you're reading, what you're streaming, it could have something to do with leadership. It doesn't have to have anything to do with leadership. But is there something that you found useful that listeners might find useful?

Gary Lloyd  49:34  
I've got some things. In terms of reading. Lisa Feldman Barrett just put out a book called Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain, which is terrific, terrific. It's, it's a lot less difficult than her book, which is like a semi-academic book, How Emotions are Made. It's essential reading for leaders as far as I'm concerned, same as I think you should be allowed to lead anything until you've read Kahneman.

Scott Allen  50:06  
Thinking Fast and Slow?

Gary Lloyd  50:08  
The other two books Live Wired by David Eagleman, which is about how the brain works, which is fascinating. And it's easy to read the on the beach. No offense, David, it's just really well, while we're in, and the other one was an Adam Grant, just written a book called Think Again. And that really tried to my book, my Buddhism, because one of the things in Buddhism is nonattachment. One of the things in there is nonattachment to ideas of views, and let go of deeply held views and ideas can be somewhat of a challenge in terms of things that I've watched or listened to. I'll mention two things. The first, the first thing is, there's a BBC podcast called Sideways. And it's taking a second look at things. And one of them is he did one on OODA loops. You've talked about OODA loops before. Yes, yes. Our calls. That was one on loops. And, but there was one on Max Martin.

Scott Allen  51:19  
I don't know, Max Martin.

Gary Lloyd  51:20  
don't know who Max Martin is. But you know who Britney Spears is?

Scott Allen  51:23  
Oh, yes.

Gary Lloyd  51:25  
So I was tempted to try and sing it. So Max Martin is a Swedish songwriter. And he has had only Lennon and McCartney have had more. US number one hits, singles, and is virtually unknown. Really interesting. two interesting things about Max Martin. While is he's a mad collaborator. I mean, he collaborates a lot to produce good work. And also they experiment with tracks. They will take tracks out into clubs to see what works and what doesn't work before I decided where it was. He wrote most of the hits for the Backstreet Boys. It's not my cup of tea musically, but Britney Spears, Taylor Swift. Katy Perry's career was in Terminal decline. She was called Kate Hudson when she came back as Katy Perry. Max Martin. Anyway, it's 30 minutes, and it's great. It's great. It's great fun. It's always interesting. That's very cool. The last thing a nonwork thing if I may, just because of more hospice interest, there's a Chilean documentary is nominated for an Oscar. And the English name is The Mole Agent. Okay, now, this description of it sounds terrible and depressing. Right? So somebody puts an advert in the paper to recruit somebody between the age of 80 and 90 to go into an old people's home to investigate whether their mother was being mistreated.

Scott Allen  53:14  

Gary Lloyd  53:15  
I mean, it sounds terrible and dark isn't it's really it's truly uplifting. If if you like Schitt's Creek, then you would like this. It's like taking a warm bath is just full of compassion. And humanity is a great watch if you don't mind subtitles

Scott Allen  53:35  
Oh, that's wonderful. I will put that in the show notes for sure. For viewers and I will take a look at that as well. And I wasn't expecting you to go to Schitt's Creek Creek with the setup of that

Gary Lloyd  53:50  
The thing I love about that one The thing I like about Schitt's Creek is that so much comedy By the way, I'm somebody that my favorite comedy program of all times Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Scott Allen  54:02  
Oh yeah.

Gary Lloyd  54:04  
The thing I love about shits Creek in this time of COVID is the I like all the people in it. You know that humor isn't anybody's expense. Everybody's laughing along and so when I'm you know if I'm not feeling best in my game I'll watch an episode of shits Creek who doesn't do that?

Scott Allen  54:26  
It's a great show. It's a great series. We've found a lot of joy as a family in comedies, whether it's The Good Place if you watch The Good Place,

Gary Lloyd  54:37  
I felt the first two series were fantastic, the third series I felt they were busking a bit. 

Scott Allen  54:45  
Yes, you know, we really enjoyed that. We got t-shirts for our Thanksgiving of that said Jeremy Bearimy me on it, and it's kind of celebrated as a family but comedy has been some One thing that's been absolutely wonderful in the last year and my daughter's this is, this is parenting when Gary they can quote whole passages from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Gary Lloyd  55:13  
I would say you know what I got a bone to pick with you on this because you don't get to hear Emily until the credits are over. We do not get enough of her. I'd love to hear her recite it.

Scott Allen  55:29  
I can literally call her down here right now and she could give you the "we are now with a night to say."

Gary Lloyd  55:37  
I'd love to.

Scott Allen  55:40  
Well, sir, thank you so much. I really really appreciate the conversation. So much fun.

Gary Lloyd  55:44  
Thanks for the time Scott. Really appreciate you. 

Scott Allen  55:46  
Have a great day. 

Gary Lloyd  55:48  
You too.

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