#018 - As designers and problem solvers, we pride ourselves on our craft and hard skills. But those will only take you halfway. Beyond that, you’ll need people skills to really be an impactful designer.
In this episode, I speak with Trenton Moss, Founder of Webcredible, one of the first UX agencies in the UK and author of ‘Human-Powered’, a book on emotional intelligence for digital product teams.
We explore techniques that will help you understand others better, run more effective meetings and become a people-centred leader.
In this episode:
Trenton on LinkedIn
Illustrations by Isa Vicente
Music by Brad Porter
Episode edited by Niall Mackay
[00:00:00] Trenton Moss: Doing amazing work is like half of your job
[00:00:03] and the other half is having everyone else think you're doing amazing work and
[00:00:06] just doing amazing work by itself, it's not enough.
[00:00:09] Nirish Shakya: That's Trenton Moss, founder of Webcredible. One of the first UX agencies in London. Trenton is also the founder of Team Sterka a company that coaches teams on people skills and leadership. He's also the author of Human Powered, a book on emotional intelligence for digital product teams. In this episode, Trenton and I chat about why your craft as a designer will only take you so far. And the people skills that you need to make a stronger impact in your organisation.
[00:00:38] We also explore techniques that will help you understand others better, run more effective meetings and become a people centered leader and keep listening to win a signed copy of Trenton's book, Human Powered, which I've personally found super useful.
[00:00:55] Shivaun: This is the Design Feeling Podcast with your host Nirish Shakya.
[00:01:08] Nirish Shakya: Hi, I'm Nirish Shakya, and I'm a designer, educator, and the host of my new podcast Design Feeling. Most of the time, you'll probably find me helping organisations put their customers first, or you might find me teaching design thinking and creative innovation, but I'm on a slightly different quest here - to explore the human behind the designer - who you are, what drives you, what frustrates you and why, and ultimately how you can bring more impact and meaning into your work.
[00:01:43] On this podcast, my expert guests, and I will be uncovering ways to increase your self-awareness, creative confidence and meaning.
[00:01:54] Nirish Shakya: Trenton, welcome to Design Feeling.
[00:01:56] Trenton Moss: Hey Nirish, how you doing?
[00:01:58] Nirish Shakya: Good. Thanks.
Trenton's origin story
[00:01:59] Nirish Shakya: We have known each other since 2014. that's when I joined Webcredible as a, UX consultant. but you had been running, Webcredible, UX agency way before you started back in 2003. Right. Yeah, probably one of the UX consultancies,in the UK.
[00:02:16] and then,from there, you have more recently started another company, a company, more focused on training,soft skills for people in organizations,called team stka.
[00:02:26] Trenton Moss: Mm.
[00:02:27] I would love to, hear your origin story in terms of how did it all start for you in terms of how did you even first get into the design industry?
[00:02:35] Trenton Moss: Yeah. Yeah, sure. Well, I mean, I don't really have a, a traditional design background. In fact, I don't have a design background at all, which is a bit weird. So basically after I graduated, I took a few years out to kind of go traveling and working in various different places. And, for the last couple of years I was working in Japan and I ended up just kind of teaching myself how to make websites just as a kind of hobby, cuz early naughties, it seemed like a sensible thing to do.
[00:03:04] And yeah, I built a few websites for, for. Various people. I knew I'd started charging people a little bit for it. So I was,teaching myself how to do it. And then I stumbled across this website called use.com, which is obviously Jacob Nielsen's website. And back then he was the, he ownedthe, the messaging around usability.
[00:03:24] no one else was talking about it and he was just basically just knowledge sharing, in a time where no one else was knowledge sharing. And, and I basically just devoured everything on his website. I just absolutely just lapped it up because it all just made so much sense to me. And I got back to the UK and yeah, well, I need to get a job now I need to do something.
[00:03:44] Trenton Moss: And I thought maybe I should start a company doing this kind of, usability stuff, no one called it UX back then. it doesn't feel like anyone's really doing it and it kind of all makes sense to me and. I don't really want to go work for someone else. So yeah, I'll start a company. So I started web credible just in the, in my rented house.
[00:04:05] So I was in, I just had a room in a rented house and there wasn't space in there for a desk. So I put a desk in the hallway, got a computer and a dial up internet connection. I'll always remember the noise it used to make, if you're listing and you're as old as I am, then you'll remember dialogue connections.
[00:04:21] Nirish Shakya: I certainly do.
[00:04:23] Trenton Moss: ah, you're as old as me Nirish.
[00:04:24] Well, not quite, we've talked about this, not
[00:04:26] Nirish Shakya: that's
[00:04:27] years behind me. be younger.
[00:04:28] Trenton Moss: yeah, sadly, so yeah, no, so I'd kind of, yeah, just set up in the hallway, computer internet connection. I made a website and away I went and yeah, just plugged away at it for about nine months before it looked like things were starting to go.
[00:04:46] Okay. And. I had a few clients by then. So that was good. Just really small stuff. And then I had a couple of really big projects lined up, that looked like they were gonna happen. So I was like, well, this is now outside of my skillset, outside of my capability. I think I need help. So I hired a couple of guys.
[00:05:05] we got an office or we got some desk space in someone else's office and that, and I became a we and we had an office and,that's how the kind, I guess the company proper really started then back in 2004 and those two huge projects that were meant to happen. Never, never materialize. So kind of a bit panicky then, cuz I got two people to pay now.
[00:05:24] but it didn't really matter because as soon as I became we and we had an office, everything kind of took off from there. yeah. And that's how web credible started. Really. and I was very fortunate because I was in the right place at the right time.
[00:05:36] for many reasons, first of all, the.com crash had kind of finished. So we were coming out the other side of it. So it wasn't a bad time to be, to be in business. Second of all, no one was really talking about UX. So if I did manage to get in front of a potential client, it just made sense, right?
[00:05:54] Trenton Moss: Like why would you not want things to work for users so you could sell more or achieve whatever goal you wanted to achieve?
[00:06:01] So it resonated with a lot of people.
[00:06:03] but yeah, it was one of the first UX agencies in the UK. And like I say, I just, I happened to be in the right place at the right time and happened to stumble across Jacob Nielsen's website and
[00:06:12] Trenton Moss: yeah, that's where it all began. yeah, and I, I still remember my first day at we carnival,back in 2014. I was, fresh,from Sydney and I didn't really. Much about London or just Europe in general. And I remember just showing up at office and I saw you,I think sitting next Alex Baxevanis, our other colleague from where credible.
[00:06:33] Nirish Shakya: And I remember thinking, oh, he must just be another designer because, you just felt like one of us, you know, you didn't have that kind of like, oh yeah, look at me. I'm the boss, I'm the top gun here. You gotta listen to me. You just like, you're so relatable, like so down to and I think that's when I started kind of realize, how much of a, a people centered,organization that you had built where, everyone was, was equal.
[00:06:54] and everyone had an equal kind of say in, in the day to day. And, and when I saw you, publish your new book,human powered, I would just say I was, I wasn't very surprised because I seen you, power your humans on a daily basis for a tell myself,
What inspired Trenton to write 'Human Powered' book?
[00:07:11] Nirish Shakya: So, tell me about this book you wrote, like what inspired you to write this book?
[00:07:15] Human powered.
[00:07:17] Trenton Moss: Yeah, well, I mean, it's the case that essentially. People don't have the human skills and the people skills that they should ideally have to succeed in the world. So there's a, a, a really interesting research study done by a joint one done by Harvard and Stanford universities. yeah, they found that 85% of job comes from having world develop people skills.
[00:07:39] So for if you're a designer, your, most of your success in your role is not down to your craft. It's not about the quality of your designs or the quality of the user centered design process that you've gone through. Yeah, that's important. But if you're gonna believe the Stanford, Harvard study, 85%,of your success is, is actually based around your ability to interact with other people and your ability to lead and inspire other people and your ability to work well with other people.
[00:08:09] And what I've seen throughout my career is that. Designers UXs. I mean, this kind of applies to everyone, the designers, and UXs generally tend to be really good at their really wanna, you really wanna have excellence in your craft like Mo the vast majority of designers I've I've ever met are so you're so into what you do.
Why doing amazing work is not enough
[00:08:29] Trenton Moss: You have so much pride in the quality of work. You really dedicate yourself to the craft and you forget that actually, you need to be as good at that as having other people as getting people to buy into your work. So doing amazing work is like half of your job and the other half is having everyone else think you're doing amazing work and just doing amazing work by itself,
[00:08:53] it's not enough just, and a lot of designers don't understand this. This is people of all professions by the way, but a lot of designers don't understand this, that, well, I've done really amazing work. I've gone through this fantastic process. Everything will be fine. Stakeholders and clients are gonna buy into this because of what I've done is so good.
[00:09:11] And, and that's not the case. It is an entirely separate set of skills that you need to have everyone around. You think that you're doing amazing work and as amazing as designers tend to be at doing they tend to be equally inspiring other people and getting them, getting non design people, excited about their work and buying into their work.
[00:09:31] And that's a big problem that exists in design and most so my book human powered is nothing to do with the craft of or nothing to do with the craft of engineering or of managing for those audiences, it's all about these are the people skills that you need to lead and inspire people aroundthese are the people skills that you need to make sure that everyone around you knows that you are doing amazing work, so they buy into it and you can get to better outcomes.
[00:09:53] Nirish Shakya: Mm. And I personally can certainly relate to those struggles that, I personally faced in my career in terms of thinking, I've done such an amazing job. I've put my heart and soul into this piece of work, but then. No one likes it or, people don't see it the same way. I see it. And I think that was the cause so many of my frustrating moments in my career where I thought I was right and they were wrong.
[00:10:18] And,you just, come back home from, from like a hard day's work thinking, what am, what am I even doing? Like, what's the point of all this? And, I, I remember like just, putting the black blame on and people who didn't get design, thinking, I wish they knew more about what, what I was trying to and I'm sure a lot of designers, face similar circumstances in their careers as well.
[00:10:40] Trenton Moss: nourish. it's, so normal. It happens all the time. And it's and you are sitting there thinking, God, they just, they just don't get it. They don't get design, they don't get user centered process. They don't understand what a good experience looks like. But the thing is, is like, I wonder if you went and asked those business stakeholders, what they thought about you and if their responses would be quite similar.
[00:11:02] Oh, he just, he doesn't, he doesn't understand our business objectives. He doesn't understand what our department is trying to he doesn't understand the specific objectives that I have and what I'm focusing towards. And if we all were able to actually understand each other and ifyou should be the change that you wanna see in the world.
[00:11:23] So if you want them to understand you, you need to start off by understanding them.
Understanding others first
[00:11:28] Nirish Shakya: Hm. And that's one of the things that I picked up from your, from your which I actually listened to the audio,book version. And, one of the things that you mentioned was around how, how crucial it is to start off by listening to other people, rather than, putting out your point of view.
[00:11:43] And I remember even as a consultant, like a design consultant or, an in-house design designer, I used to go in saying, Hey, I'm the expert here. listen to me. I know everything about how to build, great customer experiences, but maybe I didn't take the time to listen to them enough.
[00:12:00] Right. so, and that's one of the things that I really loved about book in terms of the, the value of true empathy starts with yourself, right? You're not just empathizing with the customers, but you're also empathizing with the people you're working with your business stakeholders, your technologies, stakeholders,
[00:12:15] et C.
[00:12:16] Trenton Moss: Yeah, and it, and it's amazing how, again, as designers, designers tend to be so good at empathizing with customers and end users, like so, so good at it and soterrible, at empathizing with stakeholders and, and you're absolutely right about listen, first, to be honest, it's more than just about listening first.
[00:12:35] Listening's obviously a really good, important part of it, but it's bigger than that. It's about understanding of which listening will help you get to it. So when you go into a meeting with a stakeholder, what, what is it that they want to do think or feel. As a result of your interaction, what are the, what are the targets that they've got that they're trying to achieve?
[00:12:56] What are the objectives that their department has been set? And before you go into your interactions with stakeholders is take the time to learn those are. you just, you can just ask around and say, I mean, you can ask the person directly if got a good, look, Hey, I'm designing you. we got this meeting coming out where I'm gonna present what I've done so far. I what are you trying ABC? what are your, if I, if you haven't asked already, what are your department's goals for this year and so on and so on. And then when you go in and meet with them, do some listen, but also like your narrative needs to be wrapped around the fact that this is gonna help you achieve these goals cuz of this, this, this, oh.
[00:13:30] And here's a designer I've done that helps do that.
No one's interested in your designs
[00:13:33] Trenton Moss: So remember no one, no one remembers what you say. They remember how you make
[00:13:37] Nirish Shakya: Hm,
[00:13:38] Trenton Moss: That's not me. That's Myer Angelou. but it's completely true. And if you go in and just kind of say all these things, no, one's interested. No one's interested in the hours and hours and hours, and probably days that you spent perfecting this widget to make it work for this really complex user interaction that has all these edge cases.
[00:13:56] No one else cares, like share that with your fellow designers and some session. what business stakeholders care about be it, whether you work or, brand side, what they care about is how are you gonna do you get me? Do you get where I'm coming from and how are you gonna help me achieve what I need to achieve?
[00:14:12] And so if you go in, start showing designs in your work, you're not showing them that you understand them, but if you go in and say, right, so just wanna make sure I've got this correct. Your department is trying to achieve this this year. And that's in line with this business objective. You got burnt last year when the new product went live because of this and this blah, blah, blah.
[00:14:32] And so on. All stuff to reflect back that you get them. Does that sound correct? What have I missed as you get a conversation going about where they're coming from and help them feel like you understand them. And then, and then if you go on to present your designs or talk about what you are doing, you wrap that narrative up based on, based on the, the objectives that they have and where they're coming from, because they, they, the stakeholders often don't care about the detail that they wanna feel understood first.
[00:14:59] And you might think they care about the detail because you get into all these arguments about the widgets and the colors and all these things often. Not, not always, but often that's because they're coming place of, you don't understand me and you're not listening to me. So I need to kind of like try and just get, get a point across, get something in here to, to help get this towards where I wanna be.
[00:15:21] Whereas if you already show them that you get where they're coming from, then everything
[00:15:26] Nirish Shakya: Mm. Yeah. And, I remember like kind of reflecting back on, some of those moments,a lot of times, I guess I knew that I had to understand their goals, but I just didn't have the time because I was so busy with like my own kind of day to work, which part of my remit, that I just didn't bother to, sit down and ask, or research.
[00:15:47] What, what, what were their target outcomes that they're aiming for? or, sometimes, Maybe I thought it was not really part of my, part of my remit to really, know, dig deeper into what they're trying to achieve because I've been hired as a designer or a design consultant and that that's all I'm here to do.
[00:16:01] And I, I mentally I was maybe a self-limiting in terms of, I probably should not tread on their territory. how would you kind of get over those,hurdles in terms of, well, first of the lack of time or the lack of perceived lack of time, because,
Making time to understand people will save you time
[00:16:14] Nirish Shakya: when I was reading your book, I was like, oh, this is, this all makes sense, but how am I gonna find the time and energy for all this?
[00:16:20] Cuz there's so much prep work involved,before you even have those interactions. Plus the, the mental blocks that you put in yourself.
[00:16:27] Trenton Moss: Yeah, yeah, no, it's just great question. And there, there's never gonna be enough time by the way. So like you, you can't be perfect at everything that's not possible. And then there's also Parkinson's law, which says that no matter how much time you have, you'll always fill it.So, we all just like to make ourselves busy.
[00:16:42] You could have two days or two weeks to design something, the same something and you'd get it done in two days or you'd get it done in two weeks. And both times you'd be working overtime. So with the time thing, the only thing I'd say is that Whil, it can feel that you're so busy. You haven't got time to do this stuff.
[00:17:00] You haven't got time to engage with stakeholders to make sure you understand them. You will generally save time in the long. because the engagement goes so much more smoothly. The working relationship becomes more and more positive. Trust builds up over time. And if they feel that you understand them, they're gonna buy into your work more and there's not so much back and forth and feedback and kind of people blocking you.
[00:17:26] So yes, it is more time upfront for sure. And more head space in my experience though, you get that time back and then some, so it is, it is entirely worth investing in. The other thing to do is to, is to be more smart with your time. So we've gotten in, particularly with remote working, we've gotten into this, this terrible habit of just being in teams meetings from nine till five, most days for many of us.
[00:17:50] And the reason the, the, the problem is that. People tend to call meetings when an email would do or some other format would do. They don't tend to prepare properly for the meetings. So they're not as constructive as they should be. And then they invite everyone to the meetings for fear of offending people.
Pre-meeting prep for more effective meetings
[00:18:08] Trenton Moss: And, and again, be the change that you wanna see in the world if you're invited to a meeting and there's no information behind it, there's no detail. You can rightly say, thank you so much for the invite. Just, just so I'm properly prepared for it. Can you tell me a bit more about the objective meeting? what to achieve, and what the agenda might be. And you can do this to a boss. You can do this cuz you say it's
[00:18:28] putting it from the point of view of I wanna be prepared and I wanna contribute as best as possible. So then you're forcing the other person to think about the objective, cuz it's, it's incredibly important.
[00:18:36] We have too many meetings with an ill defined objective and then you can say,
[00:18:41] well, I. well,and then you can say, well, look, I can see invited, nearish and Dave Michelle. and I work really closely with them. So how about just nearest goes and then he can feed back and so be, and, and, and so you can start getting more efficiency in meetings because a, you can have a clear objective and then B you have the minimum number of people required actually attend. So if we can just, this is becoming a bigger conversation now, but if we can generally reduce the number of meetings that we have, and you can do this, by the way, no matter how senior or, or, or Monsignor you are, you can do things like what I've just described.
[00:19:16] We're in a very polite, constructive way. You find out more about the meeting, and then you say I'm not gonna attend because nearest going. And, he'll fill me in so you can take back a bit more control of your diary, and if you do that well, then you have more time.
[00:19:29] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. Yeah, I I'd be really scared to do that. I'd be like, wow, what, what they think I'm pulling my weight or I'm just being lazy or, I'm not prioritizing their, goals.
[00:19:42] Trenton Moss: Yeah. And again, that's valid concerns to have. And then again, you, you allay those concerns in your coms and you say, look, the, the reason I'm not coming is I'm really busy doing this, which is gonna help you achieve this objective. And I really wanna help you achieve that objective. And me coming to your meeting is taking time away from that your meeting is important and my colleague Nire is going, and he's gonna fill me in on what you discuss, but I really want to help you achieve this objective.
[00:20:10] And therefore, I think it's better if I don't what do you think? And then you can grant them
[00:20:14] ownership of the decision. They can say, you know what? You're. Well, hopefully they say this, they might, they might say, okay, you know what? That, that sounds good. You're clearly focusing on something that's gonna help me achieve my objective.
[00:20:26] And you believe that not coming is gonna do that. So I appreciate you not coming. And hopefully that's the response you get, but, but we all have
[00:20:34] the, well, part of the problem is this FOMO, right? This kind of, which is kind of aligned with what you're saying. Yeah. This fear of missing out. But if I don't attend, maybe they think I don't care and maybe they think I'm disinterested and maybe they think I'm just mucking about, so yeah, I better just show and you can get the best of both words you can attend
[00:20:50] and are, you're, you are doing be more and better work as a result of not attending.
[00:20:55] Nirish Shakya: Yeah, I mean, I, I once worked for a,a big client,where they used to have these meetings where there was like 30, 40 people, in the room, in the virtual room. And most of those people didn't have a clue why they were there. They were just there so that they didn't wanna miss out on the, the key updates.
[00:21:10] and there was that, that fear that the, of missing out that a lot of people had, which, it was, it was pretty, pretty real actually. and, and it was such a waste of time for a lot of people to be there rather than, like you said, it could an update or a slack update or an.
[00:21:26] Trenton Moss: Yeah. Yeah. And if that's a, if that's their 30 minute meeting, times 40 people, it's 20 hours. That's two and a half days of effort
[00:21:35] Nirish Shakya: Yeah.
[00:21:36] Trenton Moss: Ah, that's
[00:21:36] madness. And, And, in the book I write, I have a whole chapter around facilitation and meetings and what you can do to
[00:21:41] make them more effective. And if, if
[00:21:44] everyone does that, if everyone follows what I've written in, I think then suddenly meetings will be so much more effective and we'll all know
[00:21:51] when we should.
[00:21:52] And when we shouldn't do meetings and we'll all be properly prepared for them. And they'll, they'll all be there achieving their objective in order that you want. but sadly, that's not the case.
Facilitating better meetings
[00:22:02] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. And that was definitely one of my favorite chapters in the book,where you mentioned the, the framework called ready, R E a D Y. And I, I have to say, I, I loved all those acronyms you used for the different frameworks just makes it somewhat easier to remember. but one that kind of definitely stood out to me was the one on facilitation,because you know, I myself do a lot of facilitations,workshops and things like but there was definitely kind of things that I picked up there that I currently am not doing. for example, what you mentioned around getting emotional commitment from people like before the meeting, being more set with some of the things that you say during the meeting, which I've never really done, that I'm not, I don't see myself as an assertive person.
[00:22:38] I like to be nice and soft all the time. and also the drive to outcome,which again is something that interesting more about as well. So, One of the things that you do mention there, is around all the, the preparation,needed before you,even invite people to a, to a meeting. Right.
Getting emotional commitment before the meeting
[00:22:56] Nirish Shakya: So what are some of the things that you would recommend,designers do,before let's say they run a design workshop or a stakeholder workshop.
[00:23:04] Trenton Moss: So, it it's all about, as you're saying, getting that emotional commitment. So a rational commitment is when you just practically commit to something. Right. So accept the invite for example, but you don't buy into it. An emotional commitment is when you understand why you're going there and you deeply buy into that reason.
[00:23:23] And what you wanna do is you want to get as much emotional commitment to your meetings and workshops as possible so that when they get going, everyone is raring to go and really wants to participate. And everyone understands the, the purpose of why they're there and works towards it. So it is, so imagine that you have those old balance scales, those scales with little weights on that go up and down, depending on which weight you put either side and on one you've got, the perceived outcome.
[00:23:51] So what I think I'm gonna get out of coming to this meeting and what it's gonna contribute the outcome. And on the other side, you've got the opportunity cost, cuz there is always an opportunity cost of me attending a meeting. So if I attend your, if. I might attend your meeting, but if I don't attend your meeting, these are all the things I might be doing instead.
[00:24:07] And that's the opportunity cost. And if you imagine that the balance scale has those two things perceived outcome and opportunity cost, and you want the, the opportunity cost the feeling of having an opportunity cost to be as light as is possible. So you want that to be as light as possible, that feeling of the opportunity Yeah. So, and then at the same time, the side of the balance scale, that's got the perceived outcome on it. You want that to be as strong as possible. So really, really strong perception of what the outcome's gonna be and how beneficial it is, and a really low level of opportunity cost.
[00:24:42] And there's so much you can do around this to make that happen. So. In your communications that go out. If it's like a really important workshop with like a long lead time, say two or three weeks, it gets booked in before it happens. And if there's big decisions that need making there, then you potentially want to do three or even four messages before first one, just
[00:25:03] Nirish Shakya: to to everyone who's attending.
[00:25:06] Trenton Moss: Yeah, in, in an ideal world. So, but this is
[00:25:09] only for the most important ones. You would do three or four
[00:25:11] messages for less important ones with a shorter lead time, couple's fine. cuz you always wanna send one out and then so for the most important workshops that you have, the big workshops where lots of people are coming that have a good two or three week lead time, you wanna send out as many as four messages.
[00:25:24] The first one
[00:25:25] just saying, yeah, the first one saying just like here, here, the, the meeting's happening. Ideally send a personalized email to every single person. I mean, there's gonna be copying and pacing involved obviously, but try and tweak it so that for each person they get benefits that are as personalized as possible to them.
[00:25:41] So in reality, you're probably gonna send two or three different emails to say the 10
[00:25:45] Nirish Shakya: So Trenton, is this,would this be an actual call invite or just an you send out the calendar invite, but you send an email. So you don't just put it in the invite. Cause people don't really often don't read that.
[00:25:55] Yeah, what I tend to do is basically put a, put the content,the information about the meeting in the calendar invite itself, and then send that invite out to everyone in the, in the attend list at the same time. And I don't really bother sending a separate email. So what you're saying is actually also send a separate email to each individual attendee as not just like a group email, but individually
[00:26:17] Trenton Moss: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Which takes an extra five minutes. Right. Cuz it's just a copy and paste job and you're slightly tweaking it
[00:26:25] So, you'd say hi near Ash. I've just the reasons we're doing it is this, this and this, which hopefully sounds personalized bit to them. here's the workshop? just let me know if you've got any to it. and then you might wanna follow up a week later maybe saying, just checking in if you've had a chance to. To review the, the stuff I sent about the workshop. Have you got any concerns? Cause you wanna elicit concerns if they have, because if someone goes into your workshop with concerns, those concerns are gonna come out in the workshop and often they don't come out.
[00:26:52] Trenton Moss: As someone saying, I'm very concerned about this, they come out as bad behavior and they come out as someone disrupting your workshop.
[00:26:59] So you really want to try and get those concerns from people beforehand, as much as possible, especially if you have
[00:27:06] someone that, yeah, this person, they always seem to disrupt it.
[00:27:09] So you want to get complete clarity from them that this is the objective. Are you happy with that? And what concerns have you got?
[00:27:17] And then
[00:27:17] you maybe wanna send, if there's any pre-work ideally for workshops, you will do pre-work cuz pre-work is a great way it's also a great way to support introverts, cuz a lot of workshops and meetings we do.
[00:27:28] Aren't great for introverts. They're often just LA this person gets to speak the most, which is always your
[00:27:32] extroverts. So pre-work is a great way of leveling the field, but also getting emotional commitment. Cuz the more I do for your workshop before I get there, the
[00:27:41] Nirish Shakya: Hmm.
[00:27:42] And you mentioned
[00:27:43] Trenton Moss: there's loads of lit, sorry.
Reducing the opportunity cost of meetings
[00:27:45] you mentioned earlier about, the opportunity cost for each of those individual attendees, and trying to reduce that, compared to their, their target design outcome. where do you bring that up? Like, how do you, well, first of all, find out what is the code for cost for them versus what is their desired outcome?
[00:28:01] Nirish Shakya: Is that, do you do that as
[00:28:02] of that
[00:28:02] email communication
[00:28:03] Trenton Moss: coms. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That comes out in your coms and you say, you say things like I know, and again, if you can personalize it the better, I know you've got this really large initiative let me know, is. Are you okay to attend the full workshop? Do you that, you have enough time to take away from that really large initiative to join?
[00:28:21] And if that person's already sitting and thinking, oh God, we've gotta go through this workshop with nearest it's a whole day. Oh, I'm so stressed out because of this other, other initiative I'm running and they'll come to your workshop and they're gonna behave badly because they're
[00:28:36] stressed and they're not necessarily thinking
[00:28:38] clearly. And if you say to them, like, I, I, I, I, I know you've got this big initiative coming. Are you okay to give up the full day, given what else you've got going on? Then, like I talked about before suddenly they're like, wow, nearest gets me. He kind of gets it. He gets what's going on. And if they then reply to say, you, you know what, like, it's fine.
[00:28:59] Like, it's not a problem. I can, I can do it again. They're making a commitment to being there. And then when they turn up the fact that you've acknowledged that with them and they said, no, no, no, it's okay. I can give up a day and they're opting into it. they won't behave badly in that meeting.
[00:29:14] Nirish Shakya: Mm.
[00:29:14] Trenton Moss: stressed. And then if you follow that message up with, with something like, okay, brilliant. I really can't wait for you to be that. I'm glad you're getting so happy. You're giving at the time. Now, if at any point during that workshop, you feel you need to pop out to deal with things with your initiative. Please just let me know and I'll see what I can do to adapt the agenda, just to make sure that you're able to contribute.
[00:29:36] And now that, that person's opportunity cost, you're making less in their mind. You're making less and less. They're committing more and more to being there.
[00:29:45] Nirish Shakya: I love what I especially love about that is you're not just, empathizing with the other PE person internally, but you are externalizing your empathy to them so that they know that you're empath.
[00:29:57] Trenton Moss: Yeah. Yeah. You're making it clear. I, I get you because people are busy. They always have an opportunity cost. And most of the people that you invite to a workshop. It like, it doesn't directly benefit them to be there. Do you know what I mean? Them being at that workshop is kind of helping something else that's over here that might ultimately them. you're running a workshop typically as a designer to help contribute to the requirements for a product that will ultimately then come back and support them. But it, it's not gonna give them any immediate gain. So by them being there, they do get an immediate loss. They lose that amount of time to the things they would otherwise be dealing with.
[00:30:35] And all it needs is just an acknowledgement of that. Soon everyone's a person we've all got stresses and worries, and anxieties, the anxiety you talked about before about, or if I don't attend this meeting, then people won't care. Everyone has anxieties, some like that, some other ones.
[00:30:50] And if you can just help acknowledge that person, the anxieties they may be having. And if you are wrong, they'll just say, no, no, no, it's fine. Just, just whatever. It's no problem. That's fine. It doesn't matter.
[00:31:01] You you've at least shown that you, you care, even if they say no, no, it's fine. Don't worry about it.
[00:31:05] Nirish Shakya: Yeah.
[00:31:06] Trenton Moss: but, but by showing that understanding, it's, it's amazing how much more
[00:31:11] committed they're gonna be supporting you, how much
[00:31:14] more on your team they're
[00:31:15] gonna be.
[00:31:15] Nirish Shakya: yeah, so many times,we tend to focus on the practicalities. For example, when does the meeting start which room it is in, like, those kind of like, I guess, logical things when there are so many other, things that are invisible to us that really impact,how effectively we are able to achieve the outcomes of the meeting, which I wasn't aware of.
[00:31:33] A lot of times during my career, as a designer,
[00:31:38] Trenton Moss: Yeah, that's exactly it. It's all of this. We don't gen you know, you're going back to the question you asked a while back about, you why did I write the book? Was we, we don't teach anyone this stuff and it's madness. We bring people into the world of design, in fact, every profession. And we just focus on giving them the skills to do the craft.
[00:31:57] And actually these skills are on emotional intelligence and people skills, as I said, they're the things that help you succeed. And we just hope that people pick them up, but actually you can teach them to people.
[00:32:10] Nirish Shakya: And that's what you are doing at the moment with, with your company team how do you, how do you teach people to be more emotionally intelligent?
[00:32:18] Trenton Moss: Yeah. It's it's not as hard as you might think. You've just got a, it's like any skill, right? So all skills, there's an element of how naturally that skill comes to you. How naturally good you are at it. And then how much practice you have, how much training and practice and so on you do, and for you to be really good at something, you, you kind of need a bit of both, right?
[00:32:37] If you are naturally not very good at something, but do loads of practice, you're never going to be amazing, right? You're always gonna get to an okay level, but you can still get to an okay level. And so when it comes to like learning emotional intelligence, there are so many best practices and things that you can do.
[00:32:52] A lot of which we've been talking about here and you just follow the process. And so what, what I do at teamster, what we do is the programs We. every two weeks, very short one hour training sessions focused on a particular topic around emotional intelligence and people skills. And session, teach, a particular skill, a certain topic, like for example, driving emotional commitment to meetings and many, other things, and people to people practice it and then go away and practice it in the real world and hopefully start doing it because they see the success, the success of it.
If you're invited to a badly designed meeting
[00:33:24] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. And coming back to, the, the topic of facilitation, right? Like for example, let's say, I have learned,to be more emotionally intelligent,a better facilitator. and then I go into a workshop, a workshop in air quotes. and this has happened to me as well, several times where I've been invited to what people call a workshop, you go in, there's a bunch of people and there's literally just two or three people talking.
[00:33:48] And it's literally just a, a meeting, where they're just, you know, having a chat about what needs to be decided. only like a few people in the meeting. The rest are either checking the emails or looking bored or not knowing what they're, why they're there for. And then. When I'm in, well, when I'm the one facilitating and running the workshop,I know I'm in control of,you know, how the meetings run and I feel more,comfortable with that scenario.
[00:34:11] But when I'm in someone else's workshop in air quotes, where I don't have any control over how the meetings run and now, you know, I feel my time's wasted. there was no agenda,no structure, it just an open discussion. And at the end, there's no action items and we don't know why we spend like an hour there, like 10 of us.
[00:34:28] Right. So when you are in a meeting like that, where you're not the facilitator, what can you do anything about it? Or is this just, just better to just suck it up and just end the meeting give the feedback
[00:34:39] Trenton Moss: it's it's a great question because know, if you're a, you're a victim of all this, and if the person running that meeting is more senior than you, or is a client, then it's hard. You, you, you can't really give them feedback. And if the culture of the organization is just around running these kind of meetings then, and you are not in a position of seniority, it's hard for you to change things.
[00:35:02] In an ideal world, organizations will have kind of guidance around meetings. So they'll have guidance around why you would or wouldn't have a meeting. And then when you send out a meeting invite, you need to explain why you are having the meeting. criteria I'm, I'm, I'm saying yes to, in order to justify the meeting.
[00:35:20] So you have to be, you should be able to, you should have to justify the meeting. And then when you have a meeting, it should never be a free for all discussion, because like from a diversity perspective, you're basically like not including introverts. Because if it's just a free form discussion, that's an extroverts paradise so you should have a, a meeting with structure where you do have some free form discussion, cause that there's nothing wrong in having that for some of it. But you mix that up with certain structured activities. So there's, brainstorming, which, an unstructured discussion kind of isn't you might have a structured brainstorm discussion, but then there's also brain writing and brainstorming is generally good for
[00:35:55] extroverts. Yeah. Yeah. Brainstorming is generally good for extroverts and brain writing generally good for extroverts and brain writing is where, like you might say, right, we've spent the last five, 10 minutes, 10 minutes discussing X. So what we're gonna do now is we're all gonna take five minutes in silence and we're gonna write down what we think are the three most important things to achieve X and then against each of those three most important things, you're gonna write down three reasons for each why it won't work or something like that.
[00:36:23] And then. You're bringing in your introverts into the conversation. Because as an extrovert, you tend to do your thinking while you talk. So that's why three, four meetings can be so good for extroverts, cuz you're all thinking while you talk and it suits you.
[00:36:38] But for an introvert, you generally do your thinking before you talk.
[00:36:42] So when you've got a bunch of extroverts yapping away in a meeting as an introvert, you have, by the time you're ready to speak, the conversations moved on. So it's not inclusive at
[00:36:51] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. And
[00:36:52] also if you
[00:36:53] Trenton Moss: what can you
[00:36:54] Nirish Shakya: yeah. And also if you are a, a junior designer or a junior staff member that makes it even harder when you have the, all the, the, the leadership, just having that discussion within themselves. And you're just there,sitting there quietly, just trying to figure out what's going on.
[00:37:08] Trenton Moss: yeah, yeah. And if it's not your meeting, there's very little, you can do so.
[00:37:12] back to your original question, what can you do? I mean, you can talk to more senior. If you're not in this wrong position of seniority, you can talk to more senior people. You can suggest some ideas, like how about we have this guidance around meetings and how about we bring in these kind of structures because free form meetings where you're all there with it's as you saying, it is more often than not a waste of time for many people.
[00:37:34] Trenton Moss: And I mean, for me, the number one rule with a meeting with any is, know your objective. What do you want everyone to do think or feel by the end of this, this meeting and what outcome do you wanna get to as a result of that objective. And if someone sends a meeting invite without an objective, as I mentioned earlier, you should always ask them like, what's the objective, and you can do this to someone more senior, like before.know, thanks for the invite, looking forward to it so that I can I can. contribute the best possible. Can you just about the meeting? what are you trying to achieve? What's the objective? What's the purpose.
[00:38:06] Nirish Shakya: Hmm, I guess that also kind of, shows your, proactiveness in terms of wanting to do the best for, for
[00:38:13] Trenton Moss: yeah. Oh yeah, absolutely. I don't, I don't think that's a, if someone sent that, I would hope no one would ever send that to me. Cuz I'd send out a meeting invite and an
[00:38:23] Nirish Shakya: You do walk the talk,
[00:38:24] Trenton Moss: was going on. Yeah. Hopefully, but if someone sent that to me, you would, I don't know. I, I, I'm pretty sure I'd think highly of that person just like, okay, they're taking it seriously.
[00:38:34] this invite. they want to contribute that they're telling me they wanna contribute in the best possible way and they want helps. They can prepare for it. That seems incredibly positive to me.
[00:38:45] Nirish Shakya: Mm,
[00:38:46] Trenton Moss: And again, if you, I said before that, the, the quote that allegedly comes from Gandhi, be the change that you.
[00:38:51] See in the world, if you can just start doing things like this, asking these things of people and kind of like just gradually like giving suggestions or questions that help them make their meetings more effective. You never know, you might start seeing them doing those things habitually.
[00:39:07] So one of the things in our, in like the teamster program for example, is when we do about the to meetings, I'd say you, you've got to have an objective for your meeting. And that has to go in the invite and in the email that you sent to explain it. And then what I afterwards is, is then internally, every single meeting now has an objective and it's just, and it's just like, yeah, we're just objectives all over the place.
[00:39:28] And then I hear back a few weeks later. Yeah. Our meetings are so much better. We all just know it's so simple. Right. But we all now know why we're. And if you know why you're there, even if you do no, don't spend any time preparing for it, you at least have seen that objective before and you are, you'll do a bit of thinking before and you come in knowing why you're there and what you need to talk about.
[00:39:48] And it just BEC even if you do just that one thing, share the objective, then everything becomes
[00:39:53] Nirish Shakya: Mm, absolutely. It's telling your team which mountain we are planning to climb so that they don't go and climb the wrong
[00:40:01] Trenton Moss: Yeah,
The READY framework for effective meeting prep
[00:40:02] is there like a, a template or some kind tool that you use to help people? I guess filling these boxes, the important boxes they need to fill in before they go into a meeting, like the objectives, the agenda, and so I, I, have like a, a, likely talk about the ready framework, which kind of like explains it all. And as in an ideal world, you do all of it, but you won't have time to do all of it for every meeting.
[00:40:24] Trenton Moss: So
[00:40:24] Nirish Shakya: you tell us what the, what ready framework stands
[00:40:28] Trenton Moss: sure. it's the responsibility for the meeting successes with you R so it's about, making sure that you set it up in the right way, and then E's emotional commitment. Get that, get everyone wanting to attend the a is then when you're in there about assertively leading the room, it's interesting.
[00:40:42] What you said before. Neil's like, you wanna be the nice person, but you can be the nice person and be assertive. The two are exclusive.so that's the a, the D is then driving everyone to the outcome because you want to get to the outcome. Otherwise there's no point in having the meeting and the why is that you are accountable items.are you talking, youlike the next steps, if you think about it, it should
[00:41:01] probably be red air because like the last one should be like action items, but then red air doesn't work as well as red E so it's
[00:41:08] you rather
[00:41:09] Nirish Shakya: So, what you're saying is, as a designer, if I've called a meeting, then I am also accountable for the action items. Even if those action items are not related directly to design.
[00:41:21] Trenton Moss: Yeah. If it's your meeting and there are action items, you you're in, you're accountable for them happening. You're not gonna be responsible for them, or they'll be DED out according to who's most appropriate, but you're accountable for making them happen. And then there are a whole bunch of things that you can do to make them happen.
[00:41:36] So your meeting is ultimately successful because if you have a meeting or a workshop, and then none of the action items happen, then you are no matter how much fun it was at the time that is a wholly unsuccessful meeting. And so time box, the last 10 minutes or so, depending on the meeting length of that meeting to discuss the action items and make sure everyone knows who's doing what and who's responsible.
[00:42:01] Send a group email group message out afterwards, summarizing what those are, send individual messages to the people who attended saying, right? So those are your, your actions. Just let me know, let me know how you're getting on and let me know what I can do to support you. I know you've got this initiative running and I know that's gonna keep you really busy.
[00:42:18] So if that like makes it half you to do these items, please let me know as soon as possible. Again, you're showing understanding you're not making the other person wrong. You're showing that and then also like the one thing we never do is we say to people when they've got an action item is the question we should ask.
[00:42:34] If you've got time, is why might you not be able to get this done? What will happen? That means you can't do this and you get people talking about the opportunity cost of their action item and the reasons they may not be able to do it. And then you can say, okay, great. What can we do to support you? And again, that, that, that gets it out in the open and it makes the other person.
[00:42:58] Less likely to use that as an excuse for why they don't do it because it's got
[00:43:03] the elephant in the room out in the
[00:43:04] Nirish Shakya: Hmm.
[00:43:06] Trenton Moss: So there's so many more things that we there's so many. I mean, there's, there's more than just this there's so many things you can
[00:43:11] do to, to increase the chances of actions actually happening.
[00:43:15] And there
[00:43:16] is no point in having a meeting. If your actions don't
[00:43:19] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. Love it.yeah, I think a lot of this kind of, again, comes down to have that, having that, that the shared, Understanding of what is it we're trying to achieve. Right. Even if there's any barriers that will,prevent us from achieving in on time. well,
A new definition of leadership
[00:43:33] Nirish Shakya: one,thing that I read in your book, was around leadership,and how you define leadership.
[00:43:38] And in terms of the way you define it is leadership is, bringing out people's best abilities towards a shared, shared goal. And I love that because a lot of times, when I was, growing in my career, I thought, leadership was about,you know, bringing that, being that strong individual, that alpha person, leading the team from the front, Whereas I think the way you've described it is it's around more about the team, right?
[00:44:01] So more about what you can do for the team in terms of helping them bring out their best skills, plus not just the best skills individually, but also helping them align under a shared goal, which,in my experience doesn't really happen in, in a often enough because we're all kind of so focused on our individual goals that we forget that there is a bigger goal we're trying to achieve together.
[00:44:23] Trenton Moss: Yeah, no, that's absolutely right. And leadership is not no longer something that leaders need to have. It is now something that and as you're saying, it's about getting the best out of everyone around you to drive towards a common objective. So if you are in whatever you're in, you can show leadership to the people that are more junior to you.
[00:44:46] You can show leadership to the people at the same level as you, and you can show leadership to the people who are more senior than you. Yeah. You can show leadership to your leaders. And the great thing about doing this is you are just enabling everyone to be the best that they can be whilst all working towards that common goal.
[00:45:04] you don't need to be the loudest person in the room in order to be a leader. You don't need to be full of confidence to show leadership You don't, you can syndrome, and still be a great leaders. People, all you need to do is help other people perform to the best of their abilities.
[00:45:21] Trenton Moss: And one of the easiest ways of doing this is I've talked about before there there's lots of things to do, but one just quick win that you can do show you understand all the things I've been talking about in this conversation. It all just comes back to empathy.
[00:45:32] And if you can just understand where they're coming from and what their stresses are, and then just say, well, look, whatever you need with that, just let me know.
[00:45:39] we're obviously going towards this goal, is that right? This is our objective. Great. Just let me know what we get there. and that's just such a wonderful
[00:45:46] Trenton Moss: start.
Building relationships in a remote world
[00:45:46] Nirish Shakya: And understanding, well, having the opportunity to have those, conversations with people outside of meetings,you know, it was a lot easier,before COVID, now I find it's a little harder to have those, spontaneous,serendipitous conversations.how, what kind of, what, what are some of the, the tips you have for designers or just anyone in general yeah, just be with people, learn about what their needs are and the concerns when they're not in the meeting, because once you're in the meeting, you're in business
[00:46:09] mode, but
[00:46:10] Trenton Moss: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's different. And there's usually 10 people there or whatever. So you can't just chat. It's really hard. Like it's really hard personally. I don't think the setup we have now in terms of our way are working where we're predominantly working remotely. I don't think that's right. I, I don't think we should go back to how it was before.
[00:46:32] I, I don't know what the solution is, but, but one of the major problems of us all working remotely is what you just described. You can't, it's very hard to have those informal conversations and those informal conversations are, are really important, cuz that's how you make connections with people. And that's how you can kind of start to build up empathy with them and that's how you and it's how you can start to just think differently about a problem and learn something different about someone that you wouldn't have picked up on in the, the formalness of a meeting. So what I mean, Probably that, that going back to your question, what can you do? It's really hard. I mean, everything's going through slack and teams now, so you can be messaging someone in slack or teams to try and get a conversation going.
[00:47:19] And as, and when they reply, you could say, slack now has functionality where you can have a huddle, so if you're on slack and they are then replying, are you then hopefully they're not in a meeting probably are. but if they're assuming they're not in a meeting, you say, look, can we just have a really two minute cut a two or cuddle, two minute huddle to just quickly chat about this.
[00:47:38] So if you've got. If you're using slack, you can do that. But then whatever other technology you're using, if you've hopefully got something that enables you to have a quick chat, as opposed to setting up a formal meeting, then, then that will help a lot. And I would really encourage you thatare not in meetings from nine to five and are able chat.
[00:47:57] Nirish Shakya: Mm, absolutely. you know, I just, before the pandemic, I was working for a, a government department and, the, the CTO of that department,gave a speech at the town hall and we were all all there. And just after the town finished, I basically, you know, went talk to him just casually, and had a chat and out of that five minute chat,we ended up,winning a, a piece of work, which, like, and I was thinking, how would I even make that happen in today's world?
[00:48:22] Cuz after that town or meeting is finished on zoom or teams or whatever,would not be able to have chat with that, with that CTO, he's never gonna be like, oh, let's have five minute chick call something.
[00:48:32] Trenton Moss: Yeah, no. And you probably can't eat. You probably wouldn't feel comfortable messaging him on slack or teams or whatever. Yeah. It's, it's hard. It's not, as I said, I think what we, where we're at now is, is not, I hope this isn't where it ends up. I think we're on a journey and this just everything having to be a formal meeting, it, it reduces everything.
[00:48:52] We just talked about it, it brings down the joy that you get from work just, and by joy just mean those small moments of joy of where you just overhear a joke in the office, or you just, you go to the kitchen, you just have a quick chat with someone or whatever. It might be. Those small moments of joy go.
[00:49:06] And you are the feeling of belonging, belonging to that organization, the feeling of like purpose and, and all of you in it together is no matter. I don't know for me, no matter how hard the business tries, that's always gonna be diminished. If you are remote. As I'm saying, I'm not, I'm not suggesting we all go back to where we were before.
[00:49:25] I don't think that's a solution. But I don't think where we're at now is, is in, is the right thing either.
[00:49:30] Nirish Shakya: Hmm. So what you're saying is,fully remote roles don't work.
[00:49:35] Trenton Moss: It's not, I don't, I'm not saying it doesn't work. I just think there are that there are, there are lots of, there are disadvantages to us being remote all the time and we need to overcome those
Trenton's biggest hurdles in his career
[00:49:48] Nirish Shakya: So Trenton, you've been a designer, you've been a design leader. You've been a founder who has run a, a design UX design agency for, for a long time. you've switched businesses. You are an author of a book. so looking back at your own career, what are some of the, the biggest hurdles you've faced and what are some, if you had to do the whole thing again, what advice would you give your younger self?
[00:50:16] Trenton Moss: yeah, E easily the, the, my biggest hurdle or the toughest thing.
[00:50:21] 2017. So 2008 was hard the recession hit, but 2017 was, was way worse. So recession in 2008 was, was not ideal because when recessions hit generally, what happens is brands just like freeze for three months while reorg. and then they come out the other side and they're like, oh, we're still in we still want customers. Maybe we should kind of get going with some of those initiatives again. And, and I predict the same will happen when 2023, I think the first three months of 20, 23 are gonna be really challenging and then everything will be okay after that. So 2008 was hard with the recession, but 2017 was truly awful.
[00:50:57] And that was
[00:50:57] Nirish Shakya: What, made it awful back in
[00:50:58] We had six months of consecutive losses. So we lost as a business. We lost hundreds, hundreds of thousands of pounds over the course of six months. And, basically it was because new business fell off a cliff for a whole. It was almost like we speculated why it was almost like the perfect storm of so together. but it meant that we had a, a massive in revenue, and we're we're hemorrhaging money. And it was like after what? 12, 13 years. Okay. So we're gonna go, gonna lose it all. And I, I've never worked as hard year. and it was awful. It was, it was, it was awful, awful time. My kids were quite young then, so they weren't sleeping very well.
[00:51:37] Trenton Moss: So at home I was getting hardly any sleep being woken up every night and then at work, it was just and I was having to work so. Trying to turn it around, just trying to get work for us, just new clients for us. So I'm constantly going out, meeting people, having coffees, trying to sell the dream.
[00:51:53] Whilst inside I'm just crying because it's all falling to pieces. Like it, it was, it was so awful. It was a real, real low point of my career and but after, but we worked really hard. We worked crazy hard. We had a proper plan to try and turn things around. And after about four months it looked like things were getting better, but in month, four big
[00:52:11] loss, okay.
[00:52:12] Month five. It's gonna be the one where we don't make a loss month, five big loss. Okay. Maybe month six. We won't make a loss month, six big loss. And then it's just like, this is, this is it. We done for it. It was so horrendous. And then month seven, we broke even. It's like, yay, massive celebration. we can only drink water cause there's no money to buy drinks.
[00:52:33] And then. Then all of that hard work paid off because then months, revenue just went up and up and up and we got more and more clients. And by the nine months later, we're at our, we were flying and we were our highest ever revenue. I mean, it was amazing the turnaround. And so when I look back at web credible and the 15 years of running the business, there's loads of things I'm proud of, but by far and away, the number one thing I'm proud of is, is us getting out of that hole.
[00:52:59] And that's, almost like, as, as coach, as I am nowadays, I, I help my clients reframe all their challenges as opportunities and, and gifts so that the 2017 orphans of it, I can say this, looking back now. I didn't think of it as a gift at the time, but I can look at it as enabled us to then go and do, because turning things around also that that prompted then the company's sale, the company's sale wouldn't have happened without the downturn in 2017. So everything that happened off the back of that and the, the feeling of pride of, of how hard we worked and how we got ourselves out of there is really, is a really nice feeling, but it was awful at the time.
[00:53:34] So that was the biggest hurdle. And then the only advice I'd I guess the advice I'd give myself is, is yeah, just whatever challenge comes your way, it isn't, it is always an opportunity. And no matter how awful it feels at the time, like how horrendous it it'll pass and you'll be able to look back on it as like a, as what it gave you and the gift that it was for you.
[00:53:57] and I think that would be my advice also have better emotional intelligence. Like I think I'm at a decent level now, given what my job is, you'd hope so, but
[00:54:06] I great. sort of probably like put myself my younger self on the teamster program to help me be a lot
[00:54:13] Nirish Shakya: Mm. And what question would you ask yourself that I haven't yet?
Trenton's tips on getting your book written and published
[00:54:20] Trenton Moss: The only thing that comes to mind is like, how do you write a book? Or like, write a book? Or like, how do you get a book written and published? And basically you just get on with it. Like you, you just kind of work out like with anything, you just define the outcome that you want your readers to have you. Then work out well, what are the key messages to get there?
[00:54:44] And those are your chapters. And then what are the key messages within each of those chapters? And then you just gotta bash it out, find a publisher and get it done. It's kind of hellish. It's fun to start with. And then it just gets like extremely arduous, but you get there in the end and it's
[00:55:00] Nirish Shakya: Also, does zero kind of motivation levels kind of go down as you go through the process.
[00:55:04] Trenton Moss: Yeah. I mean, it's, it starts off like six chapters in the book. And chapter one took me two days to, to write literally just days. And it was all written, first draft obviously, and chapter six took two months and then chapters two to five took somewhere between two days and two months as they gradually took longer and
[00:55:23] Nirish Shakya: Why, why did that happen?
[00:55:24] Trenton Moss: because it's just, yeah, it's exciting.
[00:55:28] Well, it's like all these things, right. They're exciting to start. And then gradually those excitement levels diminish as you realize the can of worms you've opened and the hurdles you have to jump
[00:55:38] Nirish Shakya: And how do you keep assisting
[00:55:39] so it came, it got ended up. How do you it's like anything in life, right?
[00:55:45] Trenton Moss: How do you keep persisting? You just, you just gotta keep keep going. You, you, yeah. You just have to keep going with, like, with anything, you know what the goal is, where what you need to do. You just have to do it, right?
[00:55:56] Nirish Shakya: So again, begin with the end in mind.
Trenton's last message to humanity
[00:56:01] Nirish Shakya: Great. I love that. So Trenton, imagine that it's your last day on earth and someone comes up to you with a very tiny piece of paper and a pen and asks you to write your last few words that you'd like to leave the earth with. And we'll put those words up in a massive billboard for everyone in the world to what would you write on that tiny piece of paper?
[00:56:24] Trenton Moss: I would write. Always assume the best of intentions in everyone, around you, because almost all of the issues that we have in our families at work in the wider world are just down to communications. And if we all took the time to understand where someone was coming from and what their true intentions are, then everything would be better because that person who annoys you or upsets you in a meeting, their intention is not to upset or annoy you.
[00:57:02] Their objective is not to upset or annoy you. It just happens that that's how it was. And if you take the time to get where they're coming from and what their needs and goals are and have them feel like you understand them and that you always assume the best of intentions, then everything's so much
[00:57:19] Nirish Shakya: Love it. Love it. Thanks Trenton.
[00:57:21] Nirish Shakya: I'm just gonna do a quick recap of, my learnings from, from that conversation with you over the past hour. And, one of the things that we started off with was how important it, it is for us to learn those people skills. And when you said know, 85% of our success, is probably determined by our people skills and not just by our craft of what we do.
[00:57:39] And a lot of times those people skills, are learn. You just gotta practice it or learn the techniques and practice the techniques, just like any other skills. And a lot of the times those skills do start off by listening. So listening, purposefully listening intently to the people around you and trying to align on what is the target outcome that we're aiming for here?
[00:58:04] what does good look like for both of us? Not just for you, not just for them, but for both, both of and taking the time to do that. we also talked about, Facilitating facilitation and how it goes beyond just the, the, the practical logistics of running a meeting at a workshop. there's, there's the emotional,logistics or emotional commitment that also needs to take less as well.what's in it for them. And whether that opportunity costs for them is lower than the, the expected target outcome. Again, that comes back to you understanding what is what's, what is that outcome that they desire? and one thing that I really loved about,what you said around empathy was that, and I used to think empathy was just me understanding other people.
[00:58:45] Nirish Shakya: But, what I learned from that was, that's not enough. You got also, Externalize that empathy and make sure that other people know that you're empathizing with them by,vocalizing, your, that understanding and addressing their concerns. So that it's kind of like diffusing the, the situation by you saying, Hey, I know how you're feeding the pressures you're on.
[00:59:09] So if you need to, you know, for example, check your emails during the meeting or jump out any time feels please feel free to do rather than,you seeming they know that you understand Also how, open discussions free for all discussions are really bad for,diverse thinking where you're not allowing people who are not comfortable with the kind discussions to participate, for example, introverts or more junior people in the meeting to part participate in those kind of discussions.
[00:59:37] techniques like brain writing, where you're kind of getting them to write, then write down the thoughts and sharing them can be more useful as we also talked about,leadership and how leadership is something that everyone needs to have, not just the, the people with the title of a leader.
[00:59:52] Nirish Shakya: Right. And it is about leadership is about other people bringing the best out in other people so that you're all working towards a shared goal. So aligning all the people with the shared goal, plus making sure that everyone can perform the best. And I have that courage and the safety to be able to perform the best.
[01:00:10] Well's talked about the importance of informal conversations and how we can,make those informal conversations happen, even,if we're working remotely. So kind of dropping that message on slack, maybe starting a little huddle. I know it's probably a huddle harder than when know, in person, but there are still things you can initiate to start some of those conversations and create that, feeling of belonging that you mentioned, which is so crucial in an organization.
[01:00:34] And your biggest hurdle in, in terms of any, any, and learning from that in terms of how, treat every challenge as an opportunity. it might not look like that in the moment. and up upon reflection does look like that, doesn't matter how,hard, any situation you're in might feel in the end it does turn out to be an opportunity that will help you grow, in, in your career or in your, in your business.
[01:00:54] and I love how you, finished off,with those last few words on a piece of paper, always assume the best of intentions and people around you. And I think that would save us from so much. Frustration and anger and annoyance in the workplace, if you just are able to do that because, no one is there to, sabotage you but most people,.
[01:01:13] Nirish Shakya: Are there for the best intentions. Right. And if you just have that mindset the people you're working with are, are trying to do their best job, right. It's just a matter of understanding what best looks like for them versus what best looks like for you and trying to align that, can be such a powerful mindset and approach to have in the workplace.
[01:01:33] So thank you so much for that Trenton. I've learned loads from that conversation and I'm sure like whoever's listening right now will, will have done the same as well.
Finding Trenton online
[01:01:41] Nirish Shakya: So Trenton. How can people find you online after this episode?
[01:01:46] yeah, probably the best place is LinkedIn. So if you just do a search for Trenton find me, and a guy out in salt lake city. engineer.so yeah.
[01:01:55] Nirish Shakya: so, don't look for the person in salt lake city. Look for the, the real trend and Moss that we're speaking to right now.
[01:02:00] Trenton Moss: Yeah. In London.
[01:02:02] Nirish Shakya: great. Well, thank you so much for that Trenton. Thank you so much for your time and sharing your insights and wisdom, and also sharing a lot of the, the, the learnings that you've written in your book as well.
[01:02:11] Trenton Moss: Brilliant. Thanks Nirish!
[01:02:13] Nirish Shakya: Thank you so much for listening to our chat. Here's your chance to win Trenton's new book Human Powered. All you have to do is write an honest review for the Design Feeling Podcast on Apple Podcasts by Thursday, the 15th of September, 2022.
[01:02:28] Sorry. Android users reviews are only available on Apple Podcasts at the moment.
[01:02:32] I'll send every thoughtful reviewer, a free Kindle version of the book, but that's not all. Trenton will also be picking the most helpful review that'll win a signed copy of his book delivered straight to your door.
[01:02:46] And don't forget to email me a screenshot of your review at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I know who to send the book to.
[01:02:53] See you next time.