Bruce Daisley - Fortitude - The Myth of Resilience, and the Secrets of Inner StrengthMar 02, 2023
In this GYDA Talks, Robert talks to Bruce Daisley. Bruce formerly ran Twitter's business in Europe, Middle East and Africa responsible for the development of Twitter in three continents. He is now a writer/consultant on better working published in Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Wired, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and more.
He runs the top business podcast, Eat Sleep Work Repeat. His first book - about improving work & work culture - was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller (it has been translated into 14 languages).
Robert and Bruce discuss:
- Bruce's 2nd book, Fortitude
- Exceeding expectations
- Books as a positioning piece
- The writing process
- The first book, The Joy of Work
- The 4 Pillars of Culture: Voice, Articulation, Space and Affiliation
- Barcelona FC
- Resilience is what? For whom?
- Connection fosters better culture
- Why growth mindset and resilience programs don't work
What if what we've been told about resilience is a toxic myth?
We're endlessly being told that if we want to be successful in life we have to be tough and stubborn. If we struggle, it's because we're weak and uncertain. Bruce Daisley thinks this is simply untrue, and in his new book the Sunday Times, bestselling author of The Joy of Work takes the notion of resilience apart, explains how it really works, and puts forward a new programme for building self-confidence and tenacity. He calls it Fortitude.
In this book, Daisley disproves the myth that only extraordinary people are successful, shows how to achieve a sense of control through simple mind exercises, and, above all, demonstrates how we can draw on those around us to empower ourselves and build our inner-strength. Offering empirically tested advice, Fortitude sets out a practical path to greater self-confidence and courage, not just for the elite few, but for us all.
Robert Craven 00:07
Hello, and welcome to GYDA Talks. And today I am absolutely delighted to have with me Mr. Bruce Daisley, best selling author, the first book The Joy of Work, the second book Fortitude just came out. Hello, hello, Bruce. It's absolutely great to be with you.
Bruce Daisley 00:32
Hello, how are you doing? I like the fact that when you asked me to come on, I responded so quickly that I think you were a little surprised. So I like exceeding people's expectations.
Robert Craven 00:44
It's fantastic. I mean, normally you get, Yeah, we're just gonna go through to the office of the PA of the Secretary of the, you know, the speaker agency who will talk to you. And yes, there is a date in nine months if you can do it at three o'clock in the morning. So yeah, it's absolutely fantastic.
Bruce Daisley 01:04
And the only thing also, which is like a mad tangent, to start with, I should really sort of package this at the end, but I'll forget, is that if you are running your own agency, you're involved in setting up an agency, then you know, maybe you're interested in the idea of writing a book as a positioning thing. And I've turned everything I learned about writing, writing two best selling books into a PDF that you can get from my website. So if you go to my website, maybe and contact me there, I will send you that PDF.
Robert Craven 01:32
That'd be awesome. I know. I mean, certainly in COVID, there were 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 agency owners I know of who have done that. And some of them, it's quite interesting. Some of them did it as a pure lead magnet. Some of them did it as a way of getting their blueprint down on paper that they can share with others. And I think that it's probably the best calling card you can have. I wrote my first book in 2001. And certainly it was the best calling card, you know, very expensive, people don't tend to throw that calling card away if you give it.
Bruce Daisley 02:13
And also where it also acts. It's an act of organising your thoughts. Because if someone says to you, what's your disagreement with the world? Well, the one way to express that when you're in the midst of a pitch process or trying to prospect for new business, when you're asked to objectively put it down on paper, what do we stand for? It's an incredibly potent process just to write it.
Robert Craven 02:38
Yeah, I certainly found it, I found it really, I've found the process really quite easy. I can write books quite quickly. But it's the permanence of it. That is the worrying factor. Because if you go on stage and you wave your arms around, you say, all agencies ought to do this, or their price ought to be that everyone, Oh, yeah, is a big number, a big number, he said something very big and important. But when you're going into writing stuff in a book, and people then take it and use it as a manual, you know, you're that you're learning this deal, then in this precious position of making sure you get stuff right. I think the other fascinating thing about a book is you write it, he's asked, that's really great, really brilliant chapter on whatever it is, you go back to a week later and go, but if I only read it, blind, so to speak, you know, with not knowing not knowing what I know, would I actually be able to understand because it's like, this is what I'm trying to say, This is my process of trying to make them understand it. And now it's going around the other side. And as the customer, do you really understand what the person was trying to say? I think it's a wonderful process and really good. Do you enjoy writing books?
Bruce Daisley 03:59
I think one of the truisms you hear is that people say, I didn't enjoy writing, but I enjoyed having written. And I think, you know, the critical thing for me, I've just completed a second book. The first book was really something that was an assembly of the first 100 lessons I learned from doing a podcast about workplace culture. And it was like a cookbook. So to some extent, it was this episodic thing where I wrote one on a Tuesday night, one on a Saturday night, there were 30 of them. I took three weeks off work to get it done with this new book, which is a single coherent argument, which I think effectively tries to dismantle the idea of resilience that we've been given, and then assemble something that's helpful and useful, that we can all implement with our teams. And that was a two year project. And it was of an order of complexity way bigger, because I started off not knowing the answer. And so you know, of the month, a month, a month, a month of reading and reading and reading, where there are no words going down on the paper. And that humbleness, that humility that I don't know the answers here. But you know, I'm going to focus on trying to find the answers. Rather than starting with. I know the answers. People get ready, pull out your notebooks because I'm about to deliver some truth. It's a very different process.
Robert Craven 05:23
Yeah, I can totally see that. So can we just start with the first book, because I mean, we run mastermind groups is one of the main things we do, I reckon. And this actually applies to both but both titles, I reckon. Roughly a third of the issues we get are brought up. Every time we have a meeting it is around culture, people, lifestyle, bloody Simon Sinek. I'll put it that way. Because it kind of comes to Simon Sinek, the why the purpose thing comes up. And I'd say another third of the conversation is about I've lost my mojo, I've kind of just kind of gone, I want to set up the business the first five years, it was awesome. It was so exciting. I've up every morning, so I couldn't get to work early enough. And now it's like, it's tough, it's like, I'm not quite sure. You know, I've got the car and the house. So it feels like the two books almost cover both pieces. So I'm not quite I'm not quite sure. Let's do it. Let's just start with the culture there. Because I think the culture thing is like everyone talks about it. Everyone wants to be able to do it. And it feels almost like they're. I say it's almost like teenage sex, everyone talks about it. But not that many people are necessarily doing it that well.
Bruce Daisley 06:55
Yeah, so the first book is a science lead called The Joy of Work. Unfortunately, when we brought it out in America, we changed the title to eat, sleep, work, repeat. And quite often people will greet me by saying, I've just bought your first two books. And I'm like, Alright, okay, well, aside from three jokes that I took out for the American market, the books are identical. A couple of the examples have changed. Blackadder as a TV show doesn't exist in the US, so I had to put something else in there. But broadly, they're 99% identical books. But the first book, The Joy of Work is like a cookbook. That's the way I see. It's like, choose the intervention, you want to stage and then read that chapter. And it was informed by a couple of things. Firstly, I adore good workplace culture. Being around people and laughing all day was the thing that gave me the greatest satisfaction, the greatest joy of my own lifetime. I used to love the fact that I'd go and meet a friend that night. And there were twelve things that happened that day that made me laugh. I loved it, I loved it, I loved it, I loved it, I can't get any more of it. Now, the to the book was, if you're finding yourself in that zone, where you've joined a new team, and the Mojo is not right, or maybe you just feeling a bit frazzled yourself, what the scientific underpinnings for that, and it just struck me as I was, I was doing a podcast on these things I was just presented with time and time again, evidence that hadn't been aware of that just struck me that wow, if people knew this, I think it changed their perspective.
Bruce Daisley 08:29
So the book, The Joy of work is, I mean, it represents a cohesive whole, because I try to give you a model of how these things interact with each other. But it's an explanation of work, how we can create better work, and certainly, you know, listeners to these podcasts, I suspect have somewhere along the way, maybe in the before times, but if somewhere along the way, said, people are our best asset, or, you know, our brand is about our people, or there's something special about what we offer. And there's a few questions that come from that now. I've met in excess of 500 people who've told me about their workplace culture, maybe 1000 people, I have these conversations all the time. If people say to me, our people are our best asset, asset, or there's something special about the people here, my immediate question is, Great, talk me through your recruitment process. And they often talk me through an undifferentiated recruitment process, which is just about an advert going in there, and they've hired people. So then I say, Okay, so you've got no difference. So your people are your best asset, no matter who they are. And so the question then is, what do you do when people join, that makes them so different from your competitors? And they say, well, we don't really have trading as much. Okay. And what's different about your offering compared to your competitors? Well, you know, we're broadly the same, but our people are better. And as you know, the thing I say to them is, right, this is an illusion. And you're presuming that the people at the firm next to you are fundamentally doing a different job and they're different people. They are identical, you know, you would get on far better with them than you can ever imagine. Which is why when you hire them, they fit in pretty well. And so the question then becomes for me, so are there such things as differentiated cultures? Is there a way for us to achieve something that's different? That's a materially different look and this area, post COVID? I think we're starting to get substantially different cultures. The challenge we've got is that most people would say most leaders, bosses would say, the culture isn't amazing right now to what used to be their secret sauce now feels like it's a sort of code your version, it's a diluted version. So look, this is the the lessons in that book still stand. But it's all about trying to understand how we can create better connected cohesive cultures really.
Robert Craven 10:56
I totally agree with you. There's a desert, there's a recipe. But the beanbags in the corner but the dark waters over there. But the jukebox over there, we'll do free beers on a, on a on a Friday afternoon, and maybe Friday evening, once a month, the directors will cook barbecues for the team. And that, to me, is a fairly flimsy recipe. But I'm not saying there aren't many people who are doing that genuinely. But it's kind of what we think we need to do to make it happen. But it's almost like you have like, above, above the waterline and beneath the waterline culture. I mean, it's like, it's like, okay, so that might be going on. But that doesn't stop, you know, really nasty, toxic, passive aggressive behaviour going on sort of inside the emails and inside the meetings that go on.
Bruce Daisley 11:46
Yeah, no doubt. I mean, look, none of those things that you mentioned before are part of culture. So dark boards, or table football tables, or drinks or water jelly beans, none of those things are culture. You know, I used to work for a long time in Silicon Valley firms. I worked at Google for four years. And I worked at Twitter for eight years. And I know very resolutely that there's no relation whatsoever between the perks and benefits that people are given, and the day to day employee experience. So, you know, I know really clearly that. That's why the book is substantially completely different to that, you know, there's there's no mention whatsoever of perks and benefits, other than to say, you know, they're part of what is sometimes style, the smoothie delusion, the idea that by pressing a bottle of innocent fruit puree into people's hands, somehow they're more motivated is, unfortunately, a total illusion.
Robert Craven 12:36
So what do you mean, if you're invited in or you're asked to talk to business about it, about its culture? What are the things that you're looking for from the moment you're invited in to getting into that boardroom? What are the things which your senses are trying to try to figure out?
Bruce Daisley 13:04
Yeah, broadly, you know, there's four pillars that good culture consists of number one is voice, sometimes called psychological safety for people to feel that they've got a good culture, they feel the need to feel like they're a participant in it, rather than a spectator in it. So voice is really critical. The next one is affiliation. And maybe this is the most important once certainly, you need the foundation of voice, but you need a connection between people. It's almost certainly what anyone listening to this will have thought about was their culture, strength. In the old days, people liked each other people got on there was, you know, a work hard play hard environment, which is, unfortunately, on the wall of every culture of small agencies, let me tell you, it's no differentiator, but you know, the the sense of connection, and that affiliation is often expressed as a sense that we're all in it together, which is very consistent with my new book.
Bruce Daisley 13:59
The final two things have talked about voice, affiliation, space and articulation. So space is the fact that good cultures operate with slack in the system. If you've got a culture, which is run, running on embers, and vapours, and you know, if someone being off sick means that service levels drop or someone being on holiday means that you can't sustain the level of service that you normally offer, then you're not going to have a good culture by experience when when burnout intersects with culture, burnout always wins. And the final one is articulation. Good cultures always talk about their culture, and they reform them and so that can be very explicit. When you look at it I'm always reluctant to look at sporting institutions, but quite often sporting institutions and teams need to recognise that there's renewal built into the system. You know, you've got slightly different players this time around than last time around. You've got slightly different players year on year. And so you know, if cultures are going to sustain in that environment, then they need to talk specifically about what the culture stands for. So you hear really good examples, like you say, I'm cautious to give examples because I think we have to take sport with a pinch of salt. But organisations like Barcelona have got a sense of humility, a sense of Catalan pride as part of their culture. So that means as a result, certainly for a long time, you weren't allowed to drive sports cars into the car park of Barcelona, why? Because it didn't represent the humble spirit of the Catalan people. Now, that is something that, you know, it might be transferred by osmosis between the people who were there, but actually, if you can make that really stick, you need to talk about it. It needs to be expressed in the legends in the, in the, in the stories that people tell about that culture. So those are the four pillars of culture, voice articulation, space and affiliation.
Robert Craven 15:53
Nice and where do you feel the what I call healthy, healthy argument, healthy debate fits in there, because there's, there's always a there's like, it's been shown as dysfunctions of the team. He actually puts one of his one of his five things as an active constructive argument. And yeah, that shouldn't get on you should say, Oh, yeah.
Bruce Daisley 16:22
So that's sometimes described as psychological safety, it's all psychological safety, I sort of less jargony way to express that is voice. So that's people feeling like they can speak up with no consequence. So the leading person who did research into psychological safety says the fear of appearing ignorant, we don't give, we don't raise the questions we get for fear of being obstructive, we don't tell people what we really think. And we're constantly in the state of managing the impression we give to each other. You know, when you actually look at high functioning teams there have got that productive disagreement, they've got that sort of people brushing up against each other, but then going and having a cup of tea together afterwards, or laughing or meeting up outside of work, because, you know, these disagreements are part of the process. So that, that very, very intently, you know, you can't have good culture without the sense of voice, this psychological safety. It's the most enduring part. And you know, when I remember things that have gone wrong in the cultures that I've been part of, it's almost without exception, where the psychological safety is broken down, where trust is broken down, where people don't speak candidly to each other. But you'll recognise this, it's much easier to have psychological safety with new and I are sitting around a breakfast table, we're sharing a cup of coffee and a bowl of porridge. And we're talking and we'll, you know, I'll tell you something about my life. And you'll tell me something about yours. If you're on a zoom call with 30 different participants, half of them have got their camera's off. Some of them are from a department you don't recognise, you're far less likely to say what you really think, is your concern about the business or, you know, what someone did that's wrong, because, you know, who amongst us will speak up when we don't know who the potential audiences are? And so that's one of the biggest challenges if, if I'm invited into an organisation, you know, things that are almost certainly happening burnout as a space issue. There's no slack in this system.
Bruce Daisley 18:14
Number two, trust issue. People are talking about other teams, they're there. They're not getting on with each other, this distrust of politics is springing up. That's a psychological safety issue. People don't feel connected to each other. They don't feel like there's the bond that used to be, you know, they're arranging team socials, no one's coming along. That's the lack of affiliation. So all of these things broadly. I see them as a sort of self diagnosis. I remember seeing I'm not the world's biggest football fan, but I remember seeing someone talk about him watching a football game with Brian Cliff and Brian Cliff said, Anytime a team's going wrong. First thing you do is you look at the midfield. And it's, you know, anytime a culture is going wrong, you start looking at these the four things you start looking at.
Robert Craven 19:00
Nice. I really like that. I really like it because I think the trouble is that everyone says we really care about our culture. We really care about our people, as you say. And then you go, I'm not quite sure you do. I think you make the impression of caring about your culture, which is admirable. You've got the stuff written on the wall. But I mean, I think COVID there's one agency owner I remember really well. I did a long interview with him about how he wasn't going to hit the last thing that was going to happen was his staff were going to lose their jobs. He was going to cash in his pension. You know, we came off the cause, Oh, yeah, well known, well known independent agency. And then he said to me, You don't really think we're going to do all that to you. I said, Dorry. And I thought you were an unpleasant person. And, and he did, I think he did get found out. It took time. But I think it did get found out because I know there's a gap between the boss and the people and so on and so forth. But like, there's only so much driving Ferraris and Porsches that you can do before people say, Hey, hang on a second, you know, we're, we're taking the bus.
Bruce Daisley 20:28
We have something fundamental there, which is the sense that good cultures, almost without exception, have a sense that we're all in it together. And you see lovely examples of these through every industry from, you know, from retail to firefighters. If you say to them, then you ask the question, does the boss feel like the sort of person who works in this team? If they say, Yes, it's a really good predictor of how strong the culture is, and how, interestingly, how low the stress levels are. If you say to people, when you're to, when you talk about your team, do you talk about we or they, if they say, We, again, same, same predictors of culture. And that sense that we're all in it together is really critical. You know, one of the things if you are being political about it, one of the things that contributed to the downfall of Boris Johnson was that he went from being perceived as one of us to a cohort of people to one of them. And as soon as you've transgressed from being sued you are being booed outside. Because you look like one of them, you know, the people that they've decided that they disdain, then you've, you've transgressed, but there's something very relevant about that to any leader. And the way you describe this. So my whole books about this is what you'd call identity leadership, people like to believe that the person who represents them is one of them, you know, if people are working in a small independent agency, then they might want to believe that the boss is the sort of person that could be them in 10 years, or 15 years, you know, like, I really get this the sense that we're doing this, I identify with them. I remember during COVID, I did a session with one organisation where the boss had arranged a talk, and I was doing this talk about workplace culture dialling in, and the boss of this team behind him. So you know, these furious kick team members who looked like they were in the oven, I would describe it as the kitchens quite small, they look like they're being lit by the grill. And, and in contrast, the boss had a grand piano behind it, with the lid open, and it was like, Wow, you know, we're going live into this is, this is worlds colliding. And that's a dangerous thing. There's no need to say that we should try and present an artificially impoverished version of ourselves. But if the people don't believe that you're one of them, then one of us then they'll believe that, you know, you're, you're the problem. So it's critical. This identity leadership is a really valuable part of the way we need to think about this.
Robert Craven 23:04
I remember going. I once went on one of those Outward Bound courses, you know, where you get thrown off hills and bite the heads off rabbits and all that. And we did it with the UK number one high street retail brand senior management. A few of them though, tasting it, and saying what did you think about it, blah, blah, blah. They said it's great, but the senior team, the board won't be coming because it's like heroin, it's, it's your, your, your lower management, need this help to get on and relate to each other and think about things and bond. But you don't think you need it?
Bruce Daisley 24:05
Yeah, I was, I was very interested in the way that we hear the word resilience all around us. And it's become this sort of go to phrase, when if something's going wrong for someone, you know, we say our they need to be more resilient. If something's going wrong for an organisation, they need to be more resilient. And then I found myself seeing it from the other side of the people who were receiving that whether it was people whose exams had been, but if you remember, I was when I was just at the early stage of putting this book together. It was when those first round of level results came out. And the education secretary at the time, had decided that there was going to be no provision made and the results appeared to be generated by some sort of random number generator. And interestingly, the consequence was, if your class was over 30, you were given a different sort of random result than if your class was under 30. Interestingly, independent schools have classes under 30, and a class of over 30 in state schools. And it was just this extraordinary thing. Anyway, I saw one journalist say, Well, I think these young people just need to be more resilient, like, Wow, what a fundamental lack of empathy that we've told these kids for the whole of their childhood, that the most important thing you could do is dedicate yourself to study and then through an adult's decision, they've been given wretched results. And it's been largely influenced by what sort of education they've had. And our response to that is to say they need to be more resilient. It's like, Wow, that's kind of there's a phrase for that. It's called victim blaming. And and so once you identify that the phrase of resilience has this victim blaming element to it by God, you see everywhere. So you see workers who are suffering from burnout, they need to be more resilient. Hang on, what is it about the working day that's gone up by three hours a day in the last 15 years? That might make them suffer from burnout. But it's not an issue with the way we're working? Is it the fact that companies don't say no to anything, or there's no limit on how easy it is to arrange meetings? No, it's because people are less resilient. Or you witness that, you know, people whose I was in Beirut when this phenomenal explosion happened two years ago, almost exactly two years ago. And, and the first thing that happened was people said, Oh, would the Lebanese people be resilient because they're always resilient. And no one on the ground was feeling like that, people were feeling like we're pretty much ready to give up, but it appears giving up isn't an option right now. And so, anyway, the phrase is complicated and politicised, but worse, into the gap.
Bruce Daisley 27:02
So you know, if you were in an organisation, you've probably had resilience training pitch to you, you've probably heard someone say, Oh, look, you know, would you be interested in doing this resilience training? So I wanted to work out like a detective, to work out? What is this resilience training? Where the heck does this come from? That people have said, they've got the answer to this? Anyway, so I found myself, you know, going through hundreds and hundreds of academic papers and trying to study where it came from, and what your discoveries are and where this Resilience Training came from. It comes from, sort of largely one source or one one orthodoxy of psychology. And if you look into when it's tested, let's have a look. When this school resilience programme, by the same guy is introduced in school, so is it work? No proven to have zero impact? When it's introduced with the army? Does it work? No, it's been proven to have zero impact waste of over a billion dollars of US taxpayers money. When it's implemented in workplaces, does it work? No, it has zero impact, right? So then you're like, Okay, I'm confused here. Because, number one, I know that resilience exists, because we witnessed actual resilience to people bouncing back from adversity we, we know it exists. I also know that the demand for people to be resilient is often unfair and politicised, and that the interventions that are created for it don't work. So how do we square this? Well, what you discover is really clear, and I think this is an important lesson for any team leader. Resilience is the strength we draw from each other. So the examples I can give you a visa is resilient, when we when we witness natural disasters, you know, your expectation, if you and I witnessed today and earthquakes happened in Wolverhampton, what's going to happen, what will be the fate of the of the the people of Wolverhampton and the broader West Midlands region. And we might expect that, Okay, the road is going to be jammed, there's gonna be loads of people screaming for the hills, and there's going to be mass looting. But what you generally discover when these natural disasters happen, and when these sorts of these epoch shaking moments happen, is actually everyone's collective identities reset. You know, it's really interesting, you sort of see people who've survived, crashes, earthquakes, and you know, the rich guy and the poor woman, actually a united because now we are one, you see these beautiful testimonies of this after 911, where communities who never integrated with each other, we're standing in the street, sharing bottles of water, sharing beers just talking to each other, because resilience is the strength we draw from each other. And as soon as you realise this, and I make a very, very thorough case, demonstrating my ease, but as soon as you don't end because if you don't engage, I will hopefully will really strongly show you the way.
Bruce Daisley 29:52
But as soon as you accept it, and you go, Yeah, kinda that's true. I'll give you another example. Some remarkable work done with teenagers now, one of the things that you know teenagers have been beset with is accusations that somehow they are a snowflake generation that they can't cope with adversity that they're made of less us off. And one of the world's leading experts studying teenagers, at the start of the pandemic, she did this at the very start of the pandemic, she did this interesting piece of work. So this was the era where, you know, there was a shared family meal going on there was there was moments of bonding you you may be gathering around to watch the the daily PowerPoint slides, you know, gathering around at the Chris Witty trying to work out what what fate had for you, you're sending loan agent out to go and get four pack of, of toilet rolls and some pasture shells. And so but at that stage, what you discovered was that teenagers who were sharing a family meal every night, their resilience went up, their depression went down. Right? That's a really interesting lesson because I've taken probably one of the hardest audiences and probably one of the worst times and demonstrated that when we feel connected to other people, it completely emboldened him for us. And I think if you're running an agency, if you're someone who's running a business, and you're thinking, What can I do to foster better culture? What can I do to foster better hardness, then, nurturing that sense of togetherness, that sense that we're all in it together is the most important thing that you can consider doing?
Robert Craven 31:25
Yeah, that's not a pregnant pause, that's, that's a reflection. You're wondering nothing. So your argument is that resilience depends on fortitude, resilience depends on relationships with other people, as opposed to it being an internal thing. Because normally it's about, it's about, Oh, my God, I'm struggling with the business, I need to be more resilient, I need to be more I need to make, I need to be more rational.
Bruce Daisley 31:59
And the problem is with that version, because that's the version that's been trained and taught to us that has no impact. The problem with that version, you know, actually, when these extraordinary examples of when combat soldiers are taught this individualistic notion of resilience, and depression went up, prescriptions of sleeping tablets went up, they felt they felt like they were failing. It's like, Okay, I've been sent on this resilience training, I knew it wasn't coping before, kind of, I've been told, it's all on me. I feel worse. And, and it's, it's a fundamental flaw, the moment that we don't understand how resilience is our collective strength. As soon as we know that you start thinking, Okay, well, let me look for other examples. Let's check the homework here. Okay, people in Ukraine, people who, on a Friday afternoon, six months ago, were told that you either need to leave the country or take up arms on a Monday morning, and we look at them going well, never could I ever, you know, never could I demonstrate that capacity to just get on with life. But these people demonstrated it. Why? Because they stood shoulder to shoulder with people who reset identity, the bus driver stood next to the office manager, and they realised what we're all in this together. So you used to see them with like, remarkable, like, how are they doing this? They're doing it. They feel supported and emboldened by the people around them. And so once you bring this lens, you start noticing this happens throughout. There's an amazing social scientist, who ended up working for the US government, a guy called Enrico Koren, and his whole life was studying natural disasters. And he said, you know, the natural disaster you expect is going to bring out the worst of humankind. Far from it, it brings out the best, without exception all the time. You know, even like we occasionally hear of sort of bad stories about the aftermath of the New Orleans floods, stories about looting ghost tours about attacks inside the normal drama wave, it's called, let you hear those things, actually, when you delve into them, that was partly the curse of national press trying to look for stories. So, you know, issues were exaggerated and subverted, and, and toxified. Honestly, I, you know, I've spent two years really sort of delving into trying to get to the bottom of this and the satisfaction of feeling like, wow, this resolution here, and, you know, I've been so honoured this incredible social scientists looked at and said, Wow, this is such a valuable contribution to this debate. So you know, I'm thrilled with how it turned out.
Robert Craven 34:38
So, that sense of togetherness in Loncar like Liverpool after the dreadful disaster in that chase, for the police to actually admit they've actually made some mistakes that you go from crisis to community coming together pulling together over a common cause? Is that thing that you're talking about?
Bruce Daisley 35:07
Yeah, I look, you know, there's some, there's some grim episodes, you know, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the death toll was colossal, I think half the population could report having witnessed a murder firsthand, it was this extraordinary thing you might expect, in such troubled times that, that suicide and mental health would would, you know, take a massive hit hit and be sort of deeply affected, in fact, far from it. Because people felt connected to their communities, those who felt committed connected to their communities, so no impact on their mental health you got when you read the papers on it, you can't quite believe what's being said here, the more connected they felt their communities, the more it seemed to offer a protection against these is pretty wretched things that are taking place.
Robert Craven 35:58
So just spell it out for me. Yeah, if you're talking to someone who, who runs an eight run agency, they've got 30-50 people that work in the little cotton socks off the cotton socks off? We've got the playbook, you know from your first book, and we've now got the Fortitude stuff, what was it? What is it that you think people should be taking away? And what is it you think they should be trying to make happen in their workplaces?
Bruce Daisley 36:37
Yeah. The biggest joy of human connection is synchrony is feeling like you're doing things and enjoying things with people at the same time. And, of course, the instinct of a lot of us might be to say, well, you know, in the old days, when we're all together in the office, five days a week, it worked. So I know, I can't do that now. But I'm going to have them in the office three days a week. And to some extent, it's reaching a conclusion that's probably driven by the wrong things, you know, trying to be more intentional about how you create, curate certain moments. So okay, we want to team together. So what we're going to do is, you know, I love what I saw one agency focused on, and they do Wednesday plus one. And they invited everyone they said, We're going to, everyone's going to be working here Wednesday and plus one is, you know, your team might have another day that they're in, because it creates a sense that we're all in it together, the days feel different and special. But the idea that somehow we're going to get this from working together five days a week, I think, firstly, it's disrespectful to the economic situation a lot of young people find themselves in now. And the moment we're in, it's just, you know, not everyone has a parking space and the opportunity to drive in and, and be in the office, all of that time, the window we've been given into a different world. It's something that to some extent, we should be grateful of, you know, work has impressed itself into our consciousness by taking up an additional three hours a day, for the last 15 years, and probably hybrid working remote working with some quid pro quo. It's like some ability to recapture a sense of personal identity as part of that. So I think you know, but the most important lesson is that good cultures, whether they are firefighters, whether they are football teams, whether they are retail workers, whether they are people in an agency, the critical thing of a good culture is that we're all in it together. And that's where our resilience comes from.
Robert Craven 38:42
I love that. Everyone, everyone, we talked to all our clients endlessly saying, what's what's the world gonna look like for us? In a year's time in three years time, you know, for many of them, PPC people, you know, five years ago, Google was the only gig in town. Now YouTube now Facebook, the whole the whole thing. Being Tik Tok, the world's changing. I just wonder how you see that digital marketing landscape emerging? Do you see it becoming more monopolistic? Or do you see becoming more diverse? Do you see how you see that? How do you see it playing out?
Bruce Daisley 39:40
Certainly in terms of digital products, the benefit right now is to scale and scale brings the advantage that your product can improve quicker. So the thing that's astonishing about Tik Tok the average Tik Tok user uses it for an hour a day which is just astonishing because it means it's now competing with Netflix, it's now competing with some of the biggest parts of those people's lives. I used to work at Twitter, the average Twitter user uses it for about seven minutes a day. And so, you know, when you tell people that they go, Oh, wow, okay, that's relatively short, no, look, you know, it's not dissimilar to the amount of time someone might have read a magazine in the old days, but it's small. It's the amount of time that you might have read a free newspaper on the bus, but small, Tik Tok is an hour a day. And the thing that's in their favour, is that they've got so much resources to keep expanding on it, it's, you know, making billions of dollars in advertising revenue, before the advertising model has really got started. So it's going to be interesting, I think, in Tik Tok, for the first time, Google and Facebook have got a competitor that they can't buy out of the equation that they can't, they can't subvert. And so, you know, the big question becomes, do we continue to allow a company that couldn't operate? We couldn't operate in China? Will we continue to permit that? Certainly, I think if lobbying is anything to go by, I suspect there's more lobbying at the moment in the US and in Europe trying to get Tik Tok banned than ever before, because there's so many vested interests in taking it off the table. But, you know, the critical thing to think about when you think about digital is where is attention? Because attention is finite. And attention is where the value is.
Robert Craven 41:35
I think it's for agency owners at the moment, it's just for lots of it's just quite confusing, because there's a shiny object every day. And clients are moving goalposts all the time. And then the agencies are almost one step behind because they're dependent on their platform to tell them what's available, and what can be done and what should be what should be promoted. So they have that weird, weird idea of agency owners of being entrepreneurs. And then in some senses, they are like price takers, because they're waiting on the platform to tell them what should be pushed, what should be sold and how it should, how it should actually run. So I think it's a really, really, really interesting time, especially with the recession on the wire. I mean, it's just like, who knows where we'll be in a year's time?
Bruce Daisley 42:30
Robert Craven 42:32
Cool. Good. Love it. Love it. Right. So what next after Fortitude? What happens after Fortitude?
Bruce Daisley 42:40
Yeah, I spend, I spend the majority of my time I do a weekly, bi weekly newsletter about better workplace culture, free newsletter, that pretty much is just an aggregation of all of those things. You know, I'm constantly on the lookout for organisations that have created better cultures or differentiated cultures, largely because they're far rarer than you might imagine. And there's a lot of stuff and legend that comes from it. So look, I'm always looking for those things. If people are interested, my newsletter is called Make work better. But if you just search my name, you'll find it on my website. So that's it. You know, I'm just obsessed with understanding these lessons. Really? How can we make work more enjoyable for all of us?
Robert Craven 43:23
I do think there'll be a third book.
Bruce Daisley 43:26
You know, I'm in the zone right now. It's like asking someone just as they've been handed their foil blanket at the end of the marathon. The book came out last Thursday, and I'm most definitely frazzled. So, in fact, I'm in the zone right now where, you know, it's sold phenomenally well, last week. So I'm getting a lot of people who sort of contact me and say I love this bit. I love this bit of audio booking it, I've heard all of those things. But right now I'm sort of very much in the zone where I can't imagine ever ever writing anything again.
Robert Craven 43:59
I love you found this, because when people you write one writes a book, let's just say 300 pages just to make it really simple. Those pages are kind of sequential, if that makes sense. And you think chapter three and chapter five and chapter nine, and just like awesome. They're your best work. And then and then have you found that people have ignored my sample chapter three and said, No, they're really great chapter chapter, chapter four. Chapter Four is where all the gold is. We found people discovering stuff that you hadn't realised was there or finding stuff more valuable.
Bruce Daisley 44:33
The first three or four chapters are quite playful. They go into specific examples that go into, you know, stories that we might know there's a lot of stories, and then I sort of take apart their version of resilience. And that chapter is a bit more like explaining why the growth mindset course that your school kids have got doesn't work or why the resilience programme that your school offers doesn't work. So whenever people tell me I'm really enjoying the bit that comes after that, which is like a serious story, I'm like, great, they got through the meat in the sandwich. So they're on to the other side. Because that's the bit it's sort of needed to be done. But it's, you know, it's just trying to give you a strong rebuttal to, you know, when someone says, Oh, this is the resilience course that my firm offers. I just want it to be really clear why that doesn't work.
Robert Craven 45:21
Lovely. Absolutely. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you. It's been great to talk to you as it comes hot off the press. It's been great to compare and contrast the books and it's been lovely to have your insights into how people don't necessarily get this stuff, right. Just leaves me to say thank you very much for being an absolute star and being an absolute pleasure to be our guest. Thank you so much for coming on the programme.
Bruce Daisley 45:49
Thank you for having me. Thank you.
Robert Craven 45:50