Change Proof Podcast | Niki Avram | Workforce Culture

 

Join us as legal entrepreneur and workplace and leadership expert  Niki Avraam dismantles outdated office norms. Discover how pre-pandemic structures, pandemic pivots, and the new normal all shape a future of belonging and empowerment. Learn the essential skills (beyond the cubicle!) that drive success in today’s workplace. Tune in and ignite your company’s growth journey!

Show Notes:

  • The Sisterhood [02:45]
  • The Transitions [09:22]
  • The Workforce Culture [23:18]
  • Reflecting On Life Lessons [32:29]

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Rethink Your Workforce: From Pandemic Chaos To Thriving Culture With Niki Avraam

I have a wonderful guest, an amazing woman. Her name is Niki Avraam. She stands at the forefront of a transformative movement in leadership and workplace evolution, a legal entrepreneur with a rich background in employment and discrimination law. Niki’s approach defies convention, challenging the established norms across various industries. Niki firmly believes that by instilling a sense of ownership in our roles, we become architects of our own careers, steering our organizations toward unprecedented success. You’re going to enjoy this conversation, I know. Sit back and get ready for Niki Avraam.

Niki, it’s fun to listen to somebody else introduce. I think it’s fun to listen to somebody else introduce you, read all these things about your life and your past, accolades, and curriculum vitae, all that fun stuff. You’ve heard me do that. I want to ask you one question that I know our audience is dying to know, which is, what’s something that’s not part of your bio that you would love for people to know about you?

Thanks for having me and for that intro. I guess this is front of mind because I’ve spent a lot of time with these ladies recently, but I have had the privilege of being born into this impressive trio of women. I’m the youngest of three. I’m speaking about the actual sisterhood. The chief executive is my mom. That’s given me a real gift of, in a sense camaraderie and resilience. That is an understated and undervalued concept or phenomenon because when you have people around you, people in your life who have your back, it gives you this strength.

I feel like I’ve walked through life, maybe not all the time, but I’ve often felt like I’ve had an invisible bulletproof vest, which has given me this incredible zest for life, an appetite for adventure, change and risk-taking. I think that foundational concept is I know I’ve got people who’ve got my back. That’s a real gift.

It’s an incredible gift. I was thinking to myself that I should have worn my Got Your Back T-shirt. Before we started recording, you asked me about the talking tees and the shirts with the messages that I wear frequently. I suppose people haven’t seen me in much else because I do wear them a lot.

I love those.

The Sisterhood

I’m wearing one that says Change Proof. There’s some element of what it takes to change proof meaning to walk through life the way you described almost with this bulletproof vest on that, to me, having other people around who support you and have your back enables that. It enables you to be change proof and experience change in all of its ups and downs and yet somehow not get completely wiped out by it. Am I tracking this? Does that ring true for you? I want to follow that up with a question, which is to say, tell me a little bit more about the sisterhood that co the idea that you gain resilience and that sustain that ability to be sustainable in it.

That is as difficult as it is because I mean, there are, people reading this who are doing quite well and people in some ways having a tough time and probably everything in between, but even the people that are doing quite well know that, that on a good day life business, etc., at the world is difficult. On the best of days, it’s challenging, especially if you’re sensitive if you feel, and if you’re tuned into other people’s suffering as well as your own. I want to understand at a greater level how it is you’ve been supported by your sisterhood and talk about that in the context of resiliency.

I’m in a space at the moment where I am reflecting on life lessons and how they can be applied in other arenas. My leadership lessons series, which we can talk about, is all about taking life lessons and applying them to even work, workforce culture and leadership. If you take that simple concept of people in your life having your back and that giving you that energy and that real strength you even look at it in the arena of work. There are lots of celebrations around individual achievements and rightly, but imagine and look at the strength that can be garnered from having collective support even behind the scenes or in front of clients.

I’ve been in meetings. My lawyer, by background in employment discrimination lawyer. I’ve been in meetings where one lawyer tried to outsmart me in the presence of a client, that lawyer didn’t have my back. It would’ve been so much better for the client and for the firm as a whole if we had gone there as a united front and delivered that advice, message or case strategy together as a unit and we would’ve felt more together.

That camaraderie and that sense of having each other’s back, which I came from day one to work with, I understood it inherently suited to growing up. That can lead to great work, innovation and people feeling that they are safe to explore and fail. I’m not a fan of referring to your work team as a family. I find it a bit cringy or even disingenuous at times, but there’s no reason why you can’t communicate that familial sense of trust and support.

I don’t think that’s cheesy at all that when you work with people that, you could feel close to them yet not feel like they’re family. It’s necessary for the sake of the culture statement or whatever other organizational development, training or work that the company’s paid for, that you have to adopt a fake family. because we know that organizations will get rid of their family rarely in your life are you able to get or fire your family.

Sometimes, you want to fire your family, but you can’t.

Some of them but you stuck with them. That’s the way it is. You’re cracking me up. I couldn’t agree with you more. There are many things you said that I would love to track. In our world, we use the term, “Got your back quite a bit.” In fact, one of the things that we do in organizations is work on how it is that you develop a got your back culture versus a watch your back culture, which is often more the case where people do fear that.

What you said about that scene, that moment in a law office or in a conference room, I’m picturing it, you’re around a conference table or something and you’re there to deliver a unified message to a client they feel confident in your services, etc. You got somebody that’s right there next to you that’s trying to take the glory or literally be the smart one. I was a lawyer for almost twenty years. I can remember it.

It’s staying with you. You can’t lose that.

That’s tiered into my mind and body probably as well, like a brand. I used to practice in the employment space. I did a number of things, but no federal court work in the US and very contentious work because when their employment disputes can be ugly, and aggressive, not your average run-of-the-mill commercial dispute over a contract or something. The law is definitely not necessarily one where you can count on people having your back.

They describe lawyers or have done as sharks because, in many ways, it is a solitary experience that if you’re weak, you get eaten and nobody wants to get eaten. You’ve taken yourself out of the day-to-day of it. I pivoted and wrote a book about that some years ago, leaving the law, etc. Tell us about that for you. What’s that been like getting, moving yourself out of that environment into new things you’ve already been talking about?

The Transitions

I love that you’ve written that book about those transitions. It’s important. I look at life like chapters of one big continuous story. My background, I speak a lot about smashing conventions, which sounds like anarchy, but it’s about not being bound and shackled by what’s come before. That’s relevant to the legal industry because the law is precedent-based and it has been a traditional industry.

We shouldn’t be bound and shackled by what's come before. Click To Tweet

I worked at bigger firms, but I had a very entrepreneurial, unconventional journey through law. I was building employment and discrimination departments at each firm that I went to. That meant a rejection of the conventional. I didn’t take the jobs that were on the table in commercial law. I put a business plan on the table at each firm because employment and discrimination law was a subcategory of another department.

It wasn’t a big established area. In collaboration with the firm, I had this vision of building that. It was about the societal impacts that I thought employment and discrimination was having and could have. I was more motivated by that want to work with autonomy and agency in collaboration with the firm and in alignment with the firm’s goals and objectives. I had that want, that want to owner own the work that I was doing and be in charge of how I did things day to day, architect my own job role.

The ownership culture, which I’m very focused on at the moment, is derived from that background as well as I’ve advised businesses for years. You get into the bones of the business when you advise them. I’ve acted for individuals as well. I’ve seen that I’m not that unique in the want to work in that way. If there are values and pillars that are strong in every organization, then you can afford to work independently because you have those structures.

Within that, have that power of what you do. I don’t often quote neuroscience because it’s not my area of expertise, but I came across a study the other day. I follow this lady Tali Sharot. She’s written a bunch of books. I can’t now remember the name of any of them, but she’s brilliant. She refers to a study, not just applicable to work, but the subject of the study was, “What elicits joy? What do people associate with happiness with invigoration?”

1) Have meaning and purpose in life. 2) Have control and agency of what you do. Social connections scored high on the list. Income was relatively low. That translates across the board in every sphere. It’s important for us to feel invigorated and significant at work. For me, that’s a big part of it. I’ve seen it in lots of organizations, individuals that I’ve advised, individuals that I interact with, the most importantly, I felt it.

Many years ago, I started my own firm, Howat Avraam London-based commercial firm. It does everything for clients as a whole, very collaborative. We sought to change the way we practiced as well as the way we engaged in work, but my entrepreneurial journey or my entrepreneurial journey started way before that.

I want to touch on one thing in particular because it feels that in the world we’re living in right now, the world of work, let’s say there’s been a massive shift and incredible transformation in that. I don’t try to use that word very much because I think it’s overused and maybe gets diluted that way, but something that’s transformative. The thing that emerges is wholly different than the thing that preceded it, the way a butterfly is entirely a different creature than the caterpillar that it’s birthed out of. We’ve hit a transformation period. We’ve been in a transformation in the world of work for some time. The pandemic exponentially sped that up and now what we’re seeing is that there’s an effort on the part of some to try to force the butterfly back into the cocoon.

I’ve never said it that way. I feel happy that the conversation has evolved. I’ve gotten some clarity for that one thing there because we’re struggling with it. The people that we work with, the companies that we support, much maybe the way you do as well are struggling with this return to the office. The RTO is very controversial, at least, as I see it in the organizations we’ve been a part of. the controversy in part flows out of what you described, which is that there’s a basic desire, not in everyone. I’m not referring to Maslow, but if you look at that hierarchy of needs, people’s needs, money is in there for sure, but maybe it’s not at the top and probably not at the top for most, but fulfillment might be there and meaning, etc.

For sure this idea of agency and control, I know that’s there. For me, it’s at the top of the pyramid. For someone else, it might be at the bottom of that pyramid. The return to office controversy is based in the fact that no two people are exactly alike. In a bigger subset of humanity, you’re going to find that many people would prefer to have agency and control over money or at least it would be higher on the pyramid for them.

When you say to somebody who created agency and control and were given it as a result of this thing that showed up out of nowhere and cleaned house in a minute, everybody had to work from home, work remotely, figure it all out then you tell that person who now has agency and control over how they work the way you said it earlier, want to work that way, how you would work the way you want and that you can’t any longer, or that it’s only a matter of time before we claw you back into the office, back into the cocoon for you, that’s a big deal. I think you put your finger on something important there.

When you are talking about something like smashing conventions or ownership culture, I want to understand, if you’re advising an organization now on RTO, let’s use this as an example, on Return To Office. How would you approach that? Do you mind if I make you create a fake cult case study for our audience to see what that advice when an advice section here and what this looks like?

Some of this might sound high level and in some cases, I’ve given concrete advice on that when I’ve been more involved in the day-to-day with organizations on the lawyering front. Coming out of COVID or even during COVID, this talk of return to work and how are we going to do it? What are we going to do? The real practical significance of it, as we came out of COVID, I was tired of this whole return to work, what to do hybrid working. I wanted to look beyond that. What does it mean? What are you getting at when you want to claw people back when you want them to be present every day?

Some of the big boys, for the purposes of the press and attention, they were like, “We’re going to go back to the office five days a week,” all the talk of Elon Musk having a firing people who weren’t there on the day that you strolled around the office, encouraging organizations to look behind that, “What is your culture? What are your values? What are your principles? What are the values that bind people together? What are your actionable principles and how collaborative are you prepared to be with your workforce before making those more concrete decisions?”

There was a lot of talk about, “Are we going to get back to normal organizations and individuals alike?” If you study of history, what is the point of history? It’s to focus on change. It’s a study of change. What is the point if you don’t learn anything from it? I feel like before COVID, we were already at breaking point. I’m talking globally here. It might be a big statement, but in our organization, we were trying to work more flexibly, but even working from home a day or two a week, was proving controversial with clients and even colleagues were like, “We want to be told what we are doing,” when trying to give everyone that autonomy.

The point of history is to focus on change. It's a study of change. Click To Tweet

COVID accelerated that. I was pleased about that because I felt that it needed a big push. That’s the way I’ve always sought to work, to have that agency and control and instill that. I’ve spoken about values and principles. If we have 1) The values that bind culture. We are going to make it happen or the broad high-level stuff that you see in mission statements and vision statements, if we have those and alongside or beneath, we have principles, more actionable principles at the big boys. If you look at one of Google’s principles, it’s what user first. Everything else will follow. What do you have? You have all the great web-based products. You’ve got free, Gmail, Google Docs, Search and Maps. That’s arisen from that principle.

I refer to Elon Musk before, what was behind him welcoming back Trump with open arms as opposed to his predecessor, Dorsey & Company, the principle was to grow subscription engagement. There wasn’t going to be as much censorship as before, but that’s aside from whatever direction his political alliances are going towards. Having those strong principles and values is what’s important, then you figure out the practices that fall.

We could see the advantages of building community and building that culture that can be assisted by face-to-face, going to the office, spending time with each other, or you build structures around it, have more team meetings, have more socials together, have more wellbeing meetings. The company should be free. I don’t have any strict views on whether or not to return to work full-time hybrid. Every organization gets to decide and hopefully do that collaboratively with the team members.

I love what you say about collaboration. That rings true for me. In thinking about how we advise on that question, it’s important that things have to flow in a logical sequence. That is one of the things that’s embedded in me from my practice of law that I don’t wish to get rid of. I’m a logical person in part because I was trained to look at things, looking for the logic, looking for the, if this, then and that construct. It makes sense that in thinking about how you would address return to office or return to work as a matter of principle, it would flow out of the values and what the company’s culture is all about.

The Workforce Culture

Every company is different. They work differently. There are different needs. I know that there’s an element of mentorship that’s missing. I know it in my bones, especially getting the privilege to work inside organizations, through our company work well that we get embedded because they’re looking to raise their engagement among their employees. They’re looking to increase well-being, etc. We get a front-row seat to see what’s going on. The good, the bad and often ugly. The truth is that if the culture itself is not one of collaboration, rigid in its approach, it will have more difficulty in finding the right harmony of ways to work. As we’ve said, everybody has a different feeling about that. You cannot accommodate if you’ve got 10,000 employees, you can have 10,000 different ways to work for people, but I don’t think it is like that.

Change Proof Podcast | Niki Avram | Workforce Culture

Workforce Culture: If the culture itself is not one of collaboration and is rigid in its approach, it will have more difficulty in finding the right harmony of ways to work.

 

I think there’s an element of if your collaboration is truly valued by the organization, you will find ways to collaborate and inside organizations, mentorship is needed. I know in my bones that mentorship is missing in places where people are remote and they’re not getting contact. Their only contact is through a 13-inch laptop screen or what have you and they’re missing something, especially younger people that maybe haven’t had a lot of mentorship in the past. They don’t yet know how that might impact their career path.

They don’t know how it’ll impact their career development, meaning the development of their skillset because it’s not something that they ever had to begin with. Those who were hired during the pandemic or since the pandemic may not be getting that. Being in the office and in the next in the in, in a room together is not the only way that you can provide mentorship. It is not the only way that you can effectively collaborate.

That’s a BS story when it’s being used as a tool to get people to come back simply because there’s a different agenda at play. If the agenda at play is truly, “We need to see people to know they’re working.” That’s the only way we can check to make sure people are doing their. I’m being blunt about it or some other similar agenda, then be transparent. I know this is a big important thing in your world, I want to come to you with this. Be transparent and honest about it. That way, people understand what matters then the culture is one of honesty. It may be doggy dog. It’s primarily about the stakeholder’s financial interests and KPIs.

There are people who want to work in that environment because it’s truthful and it’s based on money and their highest priority might be how they earn the most. That would work fine. Without that transparency and honesty, you have a culture of lies that only disintegrates when things are as tough as they are post-pandemic. I want to come back to you and ask you about authenticity, transparency, and truthfulness and how important that is in your work when you’re working in an organization and how you help an organization that seems to be one that’s built where the culture is built more on half-truths or being covert.

Transparency is key. People see through the BS very easily. I’ve changed a lot as a leader over the years. I started as a very top-down leader in bigger firms. When I was managing people in my team, It was very, “This is how we’re going to do it. I was passionate, you’ll be inspired by me. Don’t worry. Just come along for the ride.” Some of the people may have been inspired by my gusto and want to serve the clients and provide that full service, go above, and beyond and fight those cases. In the end, I think some of those people may have felt smaller as a result of that because of that more hierarchical structure. I evolved as a leader. I became very more collaborative.

I saw my role as being an empowerer, as in, “I’m going to empower you. I’m going to facilitate relationships and your learning journey through work because that’s important, that forward motion and progression to people. Now the biggest transition is that I’m leading more through inspiration, but with a view to having societal impact and sharing my journey to say that I want everyone to work with invigoration and significance. I want to do that by talking about my journey, the things I’ve learned, ownership culture and which I think is important, preferred discomforts, working outside your comfort zone, all of those things is all different types of leadership.

Going back to your point about transparency, it’s important to sit down with people and say, “What do you guys think?” This is the justification for working together in the office, having more face-to-face time because it builds community and you learn a certain amount through osmosis. In lawyering, I learned so much by listening to people on the phone and by being in that environment. Even if I look back on my household growing up, I learned much from the entrepreneurial journey and the struggles that my family went through.

All of that I was able to bring into the workforce. it is important to be transparent about all of that also for people to thrive at work, it’s important that they feel a sense of belonging. How do organizations cultivate that? That is important. I refer to the leadership lessons when I speak about the sisterhood,how can we apply life lessons to leadership and workforce culture? Greek is by background and my family is from Cyprus. This sounds bizarre that I’m marrying the two and perhaps completely off-point, but I’ll get to it in a minute.

For people to thrive at work, it's important that they feel a sense of belonging. Click To Tweet

I named it. Leadership lessons from the Greek separate kitchen because this was going back to all of the preparation that we used to do on a Sunday as a family. We’d have loads of people over and an abundance of food, not in an opulent way, but it was important that we present the best version of our home, having loads of food, giving up the best bedding of people, were staying over and the other kids were allowed to watch what they wanted on TV. We wanted them to feel loved and cherished.

On day one, I’d had summer jobs and part-time jobs before that, but first proper day at the law office, I immediately understood the concepts of serving a client, going above and beyond. If they were going to come to us, to my firm or to me, I would provide the best service like my family and I did on those Sundays. That’s why I say, “For an organization to thrive, it’s to cultivate that by creating that sense of belonging for everyone then the individuals and the organization, which anyway is a bunch of individuals thrive together.”

I would say to readers this in addition to maybe having a smile on your face in relating to what Niki was sharing or even if you can’t relate to it, that there’s learning involved if you could imagine. I think it’s easy to imagine what it would be like to be a young child in that beautiful family, Sunday comes around and there’s all this food and expecting people to show up. Everybody got the best. They got the best plates and whatever the best that your family had to offer to welcome those people into the home for them to feel as though they truly belonged as though they were like “family.”

I think that’s a phenomenal lesson when you think about how you apply something like that to how you treat your customers, clients, and employees and how you set the table for every engagement that you have in your life, business life, and maybe well beyond your business life as well. I appreciate that. I’m also thinking about this idea of cult or looking in your history for life lessons, because I speak as part of our work, I’m always speaking in front of audiences, corporate audiences, etc., and in many ways, it’s a conversation that begins but doesn’t end there because, and those same groups want to have us come and do work with them on how to apply those same principles. In any role, that ability to share a story, to look and search, it’s great to read books and find there’s wisdom you can apply from other people’s life experiences.

I’m a great big reader. I love it. What you’ve shown us is that you can search inside of yourself to find your own life experiences, important guideposts for how it is that you show up in the world, in the work and all around. Those are the most powerful ones because those are the most authentic to come back to the through line of that question from before. Those are the ones that you don’t need to try them on for size. They already fit. When you shared that, I could feel it. It was evident that this is how you’ve created so much of what you’ve done in your work life is based on what you learned at home.

Reflecting On Life Lessons

I’m doing lots of speaking at the moment to organizations that have various conventions. The talking or the speaking that I enjoy the most is to universities in the UK, speaking to Gen Zs. Young people perhaps haven’t entered into the workforce or maybe they’ve done like a sandwich year, any organization, the life lessons that I’m communicating to them are about inviting them to reflect on their life lessons. How can they have a leadership mindset to know what type of innovator disruptor they want to be if they’ve never entered the workforce? That’s looking at what can you take from your life. Maybe there’s a kid in there who’s looked after a sick family member, organized a funeral even, or had to take care of a younger sibling. The lessons from that can be taken and applied to work from day one.

It’s like I applied those life lessons. There are many vision statements, mission statements, and manifestos, sometimes they could feel like words. You are taking the things from your life and applying them to work, then you know the impact that those principles have and how that feels. Like you say, that’s so much more powerful. How did I know to serve people in the way that I did from day one? How did I have that scrappy entrepreneurial sense that’s taken directly from my familial background that I’ve referred to? My father came to the UK with nothing and he had various jobs and then created different small businesses. We had a fish and chip shop, a hairdressing shop, and all that was shared. We were shielded from nothing, which was anxiety-inducing at times.

I would’ve blocked it because we went through that journey. We knew what was going on with the staff or what problem or whatever, but we felt it and we went through it together. I applied that. I’m going a bit off point here, but when you align anything technical, whether you are a coder or a lawyer or an accountancy with what I call an essential human skills, what we’ve previously called soft skills, which isn’t an apt word for it. because they are essential. If you marry up the technical with some of those, you’ve got a superpower.

A lawyer is an entrepreneur who wants to do things differently, I found what I’ve done doesn’t sound that radical now building these departments and founding a firm, but it felt like it at the time. Imagine you’ve got a coder who’s a brilliant communicator, people don’t often associate one with the other, but why not? Imagine that’s like gold dust having someone like that. It’s in almost any industry. Whatever industry or whatever space you are in, there’s nothing to say that you shouldn’t exercise that mindset.

This is probably a good way for us to close out the conversation with something that is forward-looking, which you said earlier about facilitating the learning journey. When we go back to whatever it is, whether it’s the controversy around return to office or anything else that’s going on. In many organizations right now, there’s retraction. Many companies had their best years on record through the pandemic or post-pandemic and have done phenomenally well broken sales records, and yet they’re in contraction or retraction mode. In many instances, people are losing jobs. Even in the midst of that, it’s important that we think about how it is that you facilitate the learning journey for the people that you have the privilege to lead if that’s the case or follow as is also the case.

If in the midst of these challenging times or these uncertain or complex times that we are living in, which I venture to say, and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here, times get more complex and uncertainty will increase and the velocity of change will only become greater. In the midst of all of that, what are the real solid pillars that we can build stuff on? You’ve given us a number of them. one of which is I think to facilitate the learning journey because if that’s what is part of what you’re committed to at work and you’re committed to it personally, but you’re also committed to it for others, then every experience becomes something that you can learn from, through osmosis and through direct experience.

In the end, you are better. There is transformation. There is that butterfly effect for everyone, regardless of whether things are up or down at any particular moment in time because if you live long enough, you’re lucky enough to live long enough. What is that? It’s a constant series of ups and downs. That’s like the waves on the ocean. That’s the way it is. I would imagine is supposed to be for our growth.

I’m nodding furiously because I’m completely with you. I think the pace of change will increase. It will accelerate in the times that we are in. That ability to be agile is very important. Beyond the values and the principles that we’ve spoken about, supporting people to lean into what I’ve called preferred discomforts. That’s to say it’s the distinction between not pushing people into what they absolutely don’t want to do.

When you are on the precipice of something, you feel a potential thrill from it and you instinctively know that it’s going to lead to growth, invigoration, learning, it’s pushing through and doing that and getting over the fear to not do it. That encouragement and support for people to lean into their preferred discomforts is important for invigoration, significance at work and growing for forward motion.

That’s when people feel alive. That derive from my own experiences even growing up, going to work think of a million instances where I leaned into my preferred discomfort. It led to that growth. Setting that space where people feel that they are able to do that because I think that everyone has an appetite for that. Maybe varying bandwidths, but everyone has some appetite. Sometimes you don’t even know that you’re unhappy without that change.

Once you’ve made the change and pushed through, that’s when you’ve realized it. Some of those exercising those muscles is important. Everything that’s happening now with AI, robotics automation, and human skills is more important than ever. I read a study. I can’t remember what study it was. I read something that said that 75% of the UK’s professional workforce wanted to change jobs. It showed that they want to go into jobs in tech and sustainability, but there are a lot of jobs to supervisory jobs.

In the next ten years what we can predict will happen, whether it is managing data metaverse or whatever it is where we know those human skills will be essential, that ability to be agile, grow and push through. One of the things that that has been met with some controversy when I’ve spoken about it, controversy is strong, but I’ve had to explain myself. We’ve spoken about authenticity and being an authentic leader.

That word has been banded around lots over the years, that, “Be authentic. Be yourself.” As long as we are not bound by it, and that doesn’t prevent agility and forward motion, we have to have that ability to be multilingual in our approach so that we can connect with other people. Human connection is what technology can’t replicate as well as that want and need to look forward and to progress.

There are a lot of things that we share in common with every other sentient being for sure the need to breathe there, sunshine, love and things we’ve been discussed. What we also crave is growth. That is one thing we all share. We all have in common, things that don’t grow in nature. This is the greatest example that things that do not grow in nature we know, I ask audiences this from time to time, they always have the right answer. It’s not even a second before they say it, things are either growing and they know that intuitively we’re growing or dying and we seek growth. It’s the way a a plant is always moving toward the sun, a plant in your home is always leaning toward where the sunlight is, where the same exact way.

I appreciate everything that you share. There’s a lot to take away from this conversation. I’m personally taking away a couple of things that I think are important that I am going to focus on. Facilitating the learning journey is one of them, this idea of how we encourage collaboration and what can be done to do that, to accomplish that. That is not necessarily easy, but to win in the world at any time has not been easy to win in the world, that is changing rapidly right now for leaders that are reading this, it might not be as easy as it was. Lng for it to be easier or to have it go back to as easy as it might have been previous to this, you’re setting yourself up for failure and others around you.

To set yourself up for success, we have to recognize that in the midst of difficulty, we have to transcend that difficulty. We have to have the energy to do that and one of the things that I think we take away from this conversation is that to transcend that we can be more committed to facilitating the learning journey. We can commit to finding ways to collaborate more effectively. Everything else that you’ve said is phenomenal.

Change Proof Podcast | Niki Avram | Workforce Culture

Workforce Culture: We can be more committed to facilitating the learning journey and finding ways to collaborate more effectively.

 

I want to thank you for your time and insights. My last question and it’ll be a short one, but is there something that you do, because when we think about essential skills, what people might have called soft skills and maybe still do, but those life skills, you mentioned one early at the very beginning about resiliency. Is there one thing that you do on a daily basis that helps you to cultivate your resilience or strengthen your resilience? Can you think of anything ritual or a practice that you’ve got?

It’s difficult to think of something concrete, but if it sounds like a chore, what I do with my children in the morning, I have two young children and the morning routine is that ritual of making use of the time that we’ve got together in the morning. My daughter will be practicing piano. My son will be doing some of his Lego building. It’s that momentum in the morning to get us started. I hate to use Arnold Schwarzenegger’s phrase here, but it’s that being useful and using every moment of the day to learn and to grow and do something of significance and to start the day with that.

I wish I could say that I woke up at 5:00 in the morning and wake trained every morning. I try and keep myself healthy in every way. That ritual sounds like a bog standard dull routine. I find that invigorating. That starts me up. It starts us up as a unit. That sets that mode of resiliency from the morning and anything else is perhaps not as challenging as getting the kids up and getting them to do something meaningful.

We queued the Rolling Stones song, Start Me Up for. Forget Arnold. We’ll go with Mick Jagger instead. He’s from the UK anyway. I think it’s more appropriate. Don’t you think? Niki, thank you. To our readers, if you’ve got comments or questions for Niki or myself, please go to AdamMarkel.com/Podcast. Leave your comment or question there. We appreciate many of you have taken the moment and maybe it’s more than a moment to provide a rating for the show, a review of some kind. Five-star is great, but whatever is true for you, we appreciate that feedback as well.

What that does is it helps the algorithm. We all know that algorithms control much of what’s going on is certainly what content we see. If this is content that you think would be valuable to other people and you provide it with a review, then other people will get it. If you share it with friends, family and colleagues, that’s super helpful. We appreciate your help as our community continues to grow. Thank you all very much. Niki, thank you. Have a beautiful rest of your day.

Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

That track so many important places for me, which is where the breadcrumbs led us was beautiful. I love speaking with Niki. I think she’s got valuable and unique insights around things. For me personally, the idea of how it is that we facilitate the learning journey of people in our world, whether they’re our family, our friends, people at work, those that we lead and lead us, how is it that we can facilitate the learning journey is a wonderful question that I’m taking away from this conversation. We talked about collaboration in the context of some of the greater challenges that organizations face including the return to work and office controversy that is a cross borders globally

We talked about authenticity, ownership culture, and smashing conventions. We talked about essential skills such as resiliency and how it is that we create cultures where people recognize that there’s support, that they can feel that support and got-your-back culture versus a watch-your-back culture, which we see often in the world. We talked about resilience and the sisterhood as she called it. We talked about learning through osmosis and how that in many ways, it is a methodology or something that we can count on as a way to continue to mentor people and for there tobe continuous learning in the workplace, whether that’s virtual, hybrid or in person.

We talked about life experiences and how essentially those life experiences, the things that we learn from our past and own personal histories are the things that can not only teach us as we move forward toward growth, consistent and ever-present growth, but these life experiences become our greatest offering to the world and others for learnings that we all can share and places that we can relate to others. All these things dovetail with our conversation about how we create environments of belonging and looking at what has emerged out of the pandemic so the butterfly that has emerged from the cocoon and not wanting to see, trying to go back to something from the past, trying to force that butterfly back into its caterpillar state.

It is not the thing that is going to get us growth, which is what we all crave personally and professionally speaking. I love this conversation. and I hope you did as well. We’d ask if you did and you do share it with a friend, a family member or colleague as it were. It’s super helpful to us when you will do that because it helps to spread the word, the message, and get this show in front of more and more people. Our community is growing. Our show grew by more than double, meaning the number of people subscribing.

That’s because of all of you and your willingness to not just  read and take something of value, hopefully from the conversations, but that you’re sharing that value with others by whether it’s reviewing on Spotify, Apple or whenever by giving it a five-star rating or rating it in some way that makes sense to you and also by sharing it with those that you care about. Our offering to you at this moment is to help you to seek a greater understanding of your own personal resiliency, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually speaking. How are you doing right now?

We have a very simple tool that can help you to get a snapshot of how you are in fact doing at this moment. By that I mean, three minutes. Go to RankMyResilience.com. Three minutes is all it takes for you to get your own personal assessment established and maybe reestablished if you’ve taken it in the past find out how you’re doing in those four specific zones of resilience. It’s entirely our gift to you. It’s free and the resources that come with it, insights and report, all of that is yours as well, for being a part of this community. Thank you so much for joining us. We hope you continue to tune in and that you love these conversations. For now, I will say, ciao.

 

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About Niki Avraam

Change Proof Podcast | Niki Avram | Workforce CultureNiki Avraam stands at the forefront of a transformative movement in leadership and workplace evolution. A legal entrepreneur with a rich background in employment and discrimination law, Niki’s approach defies convention, challenging the established norms across various industries. Niki firmly believes that by instilling a sense of ownership in our roles, we become architects of our own careers, steering our organisations towards unprecedented success.