Connecting Human-to-Human in a Digital World with Jane Piper

leadership mindset people and culture podcast Nov 24, 2022

In this GYDA Talks, Rob talks to Jane Piper. Jane combines a strong background in psychology with 20 years of practical experience in HR. Jane started out with a Masters in Industrial and Organisational Psychology from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. After 10 years working in businesses around the world she decided to embark on an Executive MBA to gain better understanding of business. In 2008 she completed a MBA from Henley Management College, UK. She used this knowledge to advance to senior positions in HR in international companies.


Robert and Jane discuss the hussle culture, productivity, connecting and getting more done! The world has changed rapidly and digital is here to stay, but our brains have not. We need to re-imagine the way we work in a digital era to rebuild the social capital that we lost over the pandemic.

Topics covered:

  • 4-day week
  • Culture (work harder or less hard?)
  • Top down or bottom up culture?
  • Lead loudly
  • Matrix of motivation and focus
  • Learn to delegate
  • Human to human
  • Gender and leadership


Have a listen to their conversation. 

Want to learn more about Jane Piper? Click below:



Robert Craven  00:07

Hello, and welcome to GYDA Talks. And today I'm delighted to have with me the wonderful Jane Piper from Pipsy. Jane is an Organisational Psychologist, but rather than me stealing your thunder, Jane, would you like to introduce yourself to the audience? For those who aren't quite sure who you are or what you're known for?


Jane Piper  00:30

Yes, well, thank you very much for the opportunity. It's so I am an Organisational Psychologist, which is possibly something that not everybody has heard of, basically, is around businesses and people and how we make them work together effectively. So sometimes it's about changing organisations. And sometimes it's about the behaviour and mindset of people inside the organisations. So the work I do is around coaching and consulting professional people who are usually working in the knowledge sector, meaning that they use their brains to produce results rather than their hands. So the sorts of creativity, innovation and ideas that perhaps you would expect to see in a agency and helping those people and the organisations they work in to actually get the best out of people and our brain power so that we can come up with new ideas, solve problems, use our emotional intelligence, and basically enjoy our life and work.


Robert Craven  01:42

Wow, that's a big ask, isn't it?


Jane Piper  01:47

Yeah, I couldn't put a pitch shorter as I just try and make work not suck.


Robert Craven  01:52

I think work does not suck as well. That's really interesting, because our audience agency owners, leaders, founders are, are well won, most of them are kind of what I would call a reluctant entrepreneur. In other words, there's one of me, there's five of me to turn on my word, I'm running a business. How does that happen? It also does. I mean, there's just so much there is so much stress. I was reading an article this morning about to-do lists and how to do lists are entirely up, which I believe I don't, I don't use them entirely upside down and you should be blocked from booking your time on major pieces caught doing deep work on one thing and deep work on another. And yet everyone ends up with Asana or to do lists or, or to do it whatever it is just going bonkers, not enough hours and the time if I only had another hour, if I could if what's the I mean? Is that right? That people are kind of almost like hardwired that they have to think they have to be working? Why can't people take Friday's off? I mean, answer any of that wherever you want, wherever you want to start.


Jane Piper  03:02

Well, I was just saying, because, you know, the four day week campaign is a very interesting one in large companies, certainly there is a lot of time, which is wasted, you know, answering emails, going to meetings where you're not supposed to be there. And really, if we were braver, and I will say this has got nothing to do with me, we're not achieving anything we probably could take every Friday off. And it was an interesting study, that work was done in a company in New Zealand. And they basically gave people that they said, if you can get your work done in four days, then you can have the fifth day off, but you tell us how you're going to make your work more efficient. And so they were an organisation sort of in the semi legal insurance field that did trusts and things they managed to, most of the teams managed to find ways to do that. But they did need to be a lot more focused when they were actually at work and just focused on the things that Ray needed to get done. And look at improving systems and processes. Definitely when it comes to creativity, if you think about it, it's got nothing to do with the time if you want your people to come up with, you know, the most interesting, exciting, innovative campaign. Asking them to sit at the desk for another hour is probably not going to do it. So it is about having the time off to be able to switch off from work and actually not be thinking about it and when you are not thinking about it, then you probably are more likely to find some connections or find some way of bringing together some creative ideas which would be a little different than I saw.


Robert Craven  04:47

I tried to not work Friday. I tried to do a four day week. But my thinking is slightly different because this is more in line with Cal Newport. He wrote the book Deep Work, which is, so I don't work on Friday. So what do I do on Fridays? I go swimming, I go running, I paint stuff, I play guitar, I walk the dog, but all the time my brain is pounding away. And, and I've never, I never had a great idea in front of a computer. So I come back on Monday with better ideas, more succinct, better formed, better articulated as a result of not working on Friday. That's my first point. And the second point is every Thursday is a bit like the day before you go on holiday, kind of your walk, you got lots of stuff to do. And my third point is that to do a four day week, you just need to do it efficiently, like 15% more stuff each day, you know. It feels like we confuse the number of hours we're selling, with the quality of our outputs.


Jane Piper  06:11

Certainly, and for professions where you're used to billable hours, there is a bit where it may not depend on whether your clients are prepared to pay for it or not, but may not encourage you to actually become more efficient. Whereas, you know, the motivation for those people in the company in New Zealand was, you know, if you become more proficient, efficient and able to focus and get the same amount of that grind work done, you can have the extra day off. And so I agree with you totally that the day that you take off, the brains are not asleep, and they're unconscious, even if you're not consciously thinking about them unconsciously those sorts of ideas will keep filtering away. So in the creative sector, that is important. And so, you know, Elon Musk said the other week that, you know, to be a great entrepreneur, you know, he works 100 hours a week, and, you know, take that on his mess on it, he's basically on most entrepreneurs working for 40 hours a week. So he's working, you know, 1.5 times, so he's gonna get ahead one point time, 1.5 times faster than the other version, I just don't believe his equation makes sense at all. Because you know, do the 100 hours a week, then you're sacrificing everything else, your well being any of that fitness, you were talking about going for your swim, any of your activities, which recharges your sort of brain and the way you were thinking you're painting, you're playing the guitar that you know, they shift you out of one way of thinking and shift you into another way of thinking. It's probably no surprise that Elon Musk doesn't have a very good family life. And, you know, those are the things you're just being totally driven and focused on. One thing works for a small group of people. And somehow, however, held up there as a hero worship, which I'm not sure is a great thing either because we all look at Silicon Valley and we all look at the Elon Musk's and say aren't they're doing well, but they are unusual people let's put it that way. And they have a driving ambition to do something rather than knowing that the end of their life or also having been a good dad or a good mom or having also been a good parent, a good daughter or son or and also having done other things in their lives and just work work work.


Robert Craven  08:49

Yeah, I mean, I have real problems with the, the stereotypes of the, of the excellent hero, entrepreneur, this kind of hero idea that they sacrifice everything for the love of the purpose of the passion. And then there's a whole load of reminds me I mentioned Simon Sinek nonsense about purpose that people have kind of got wrapped up in thinking their business needs to have a purpose in life needs to have a purpose and everything has to have a purpose. I'm not saying you don't, I'm just saying that. I've met too many people thinking what is my business purpose? To do great work with great people, isn't it? Yeah, there must be more to it than that and have a good time. That's, that's okay. That's fine. So that kind of history is written by the winners, you know, so you look at the graveyard of ambition where people's businesses have gone pop, their businesses are normally their business strategy. Great people, great strategy, great positioning, great brand is nine times out of 10 identity To the winners, but the winners for some reason, because of a stroke of luck, stand up saying, Look at me, I'm a winner, aren't I? Great? This is how you've got to do it, read my book on how I did it, whatever your name is. And then people start believing that unless they're working 100 hours, unless they're driven, unless they got 87 things on their to-do list, unless they're not not whole people. And yet, you know, it's, as he was saying, like, you know, do you know, how many people say, I wish I spent more time on my, in the office, when they're on their deathbed, it kind of feels like a kind of feels like it's odd.


Jane Piper  10:43

Yeah, and time was never a useful metric, really, when you come with creative or knowledge based industries, because as you're saying, the ideas or the solutions to problems don't come with more time staring at a computer screen. So the time metric was only useful in an industrial age. So you know, the reality is, you're not that productive. And I think the challenges as an entrepreneur are really trying to say, what are the most important things I need to do on my to do list? What are the things I can delegate to somebody else? What are some of the rubbish that we just probably do, because we feel like we should do that? You probably have more freedom as an entrepreneur to basically say that I'm not going to bother doing that anymore. And yeah, try and end, I think there's a lot also, as you say, people are sold a solution, you know, become a six figure, you know, entrepreneur overnight, and this, this and this, and I think it's very easy to be. Yeah, it's very easy to say My way is the best way. But I think that often the way is that you need to look for more patterns than looking at one person's success, which might work for Elon Musk, because he's a very special person. But are there 200 of those sorts of people out there in the world? Maybe 200. But there's not 2000? There's not 2 million others. So what are the patterns of success? And if we look for those common patterns of success, rather than looking for the guru that worked for them when they're quite a unique person.


Robert Craven  12:27

Yeah, that's interesting, because it's again, it's this thing about who they are, it's not just that they're in the top 10% or even though top 1% they're the top oh 1%. And it's like a newt is not a baby alligator. In other words, in other words, there isn't there isn't a natural logic. That's independent. Yeah, a one person business and a small business inevitably has to end up looking like Elon Musk. You know, there are. In fact, you know, if you want to know what the joke was, as the joke goes, if you want to know what God thinks about money, look at the people he gives it to. I mean, I think I think there's kind of what you were saying this? Yeah. Everyone says, I want to sell it to you. We were at this conference in Slovenia, and all the agents, the owner, the going, Yeah, three years time, I want to sell for X million blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But, but do you really, do you really want to sell for millions? What will you do? You know, suddenly, all those things that are precious to you are no longer precious? Because for me, you know, it's things which are rationed, things which are scarce, which have value. And one of those is time, you know, so take away that scarcity. Yeah, I'd love a month holiday, perfect six weeks, fantastic. Six months, I think I'd go bonkers. So is that something in? Is that because it's all this thing around work ethic? Is that a kind of a cultural norm thing? Or is it about how our families have been brought up? Or is that a class thing? Where does that kind of obsessive puritanical work ethic come from? So I've not made up words.


Jane Piper  14:40

I think you've I mean, then the psychology will talk about the protestant work ethic working hard, it was close to godliness. And that's definitely a cultural value, which is passed down in many cultures, is well, are we ever you know, is that strong in the Christian culture? Yeah, and that value, you know, so transcends just even if people aren't in that religious module, transcends that and keeping track of time, for example, you know, I live in Zurich, Switzerland, and a bell rings every 15 minutes to remind me that, you know, time is ticking, and moving on. And it's definitely part of our psyche. And a few people have challenged this from time to time and sort of said, you know, you can, you know, work the four hour day or something, Tim Ferriss and talked about some of that, but that sent 10s to it times coming to you. It's a way of making money, so you work less rather than rethinking the logic of what we actually want out of our life. And what we're prepared to prioritise because we always, yeah, there is definitely a striving, bred into many people to keep working and to keep working hard. And that will lead to some success, which is a little different than in some Eastern philosophies, which is, you know, the road to enlightenment is obviously to spend more time less time working, and more time meditating. And so you know, the road to it may there's a strong cultural feeling, and in many cultures that hard work will eventually pay off and you'll get rewarded. Whereas in the world we live in today. Bright thoughts and smart ideas are probably more likely to actually get it than the time you spend working.


Robert Craven  16:43

How does that kind of connect with because everyone, everyone talks about, you know, your, your business culture, your culture eats strategy for breakfast. We are people. People are our most valuable assets. And then that kind of, and then we kind of mistake culture for beanbags and beer on a Friday night. But every agency founder is on the one hand trying to create a great workplace and also do great work. Is that culture a top down or bottom up? Or? I mean, how does that culture emerge?


Jane Piper  17:43

Culture has to be both. I mean, you can't impose a culture on two people, because culture is, in effect, the way we do things around here. So the other people have to be the people, the followers have to also be a part of it. So culture comes both top down and bottom up. So managing culture, it's more like surfing a wave, you know, if you're trying to manage culture. But I think one of the things is because we could talk about culture for hours, one of the things I've really learned, and it's a really practical tip for the listeners to this show, is to think that the leader can definitely demonstrate culture in so many ways. And often that is underestimated. So when I've worked in organisations, and we're trying to encourage wellbeing, a lot of time wellbeing wasn't talked about. So we said, it's time to make sure the managers are actually talking about their own well being. One of the things that was prior to the pandemic was to leave loudly, I'm going home now to take my son to soccer, or whatever the case may be to show that it wasn't. It was acceptable for the managers. And that created a role model so that it also creates the permission for other people, you know, if the manager was to do that, and say, and you stay here and do all the work, I mean, that's different. But you know, basically creating that culture where it is seen that people value their well being and are not just working ridiculous hours. On the other hand, I've heard of culture. I mean, Zurich is a banker's town and it was a bank that when somebody would leave at seven o'clock at night, the boss would say you're doing a half day today and I would tell people off who hadn't answered the phone at 9pm who had their phones switched off because they were at the theatre or something you know, so they were you know, they the expectations that were set in some of those workplaces and considered just what you earned the big bucks for you know, if you wanted the huge bankers bone Notice then you did that sort of work, work those sorts of hours. So it's interesting to go back to you know, what comes from the society's culture is this impression that hard work will get you further, which may not be right in a society where machines are going to take over doing donkeys work on drudgery work. So where we're going to add value is on the thinking work, and thinking actually, people think better when they have had time to rest. So there's that culture, but then there's also the culture which is created within the organisation itself, that if the manager is not role modelling that him or herself, then people will think their way of getting to the top is also to work long hours.


Robert Craven  20:49

So what's your messaging to people in terms of underground productivity, because we all want to have a higher output, we all want to be able to, at 20th, to nail it to add significant value? So how, I mean, what's the what's the is there a model? Is there a shape? Is there a kind of a recommendation, or how?


Jane Piper  21:25

Yeah, so it's about working less and prioritising and thinking more. And so there's a number of suggestions or tips that I can use. But basically, if we start with one side, it's a model, which sort of has four quadrants and, and you've got the motivation. So you've got to be motivated. So you talked about having a purpose for what relates to me, let's call it motivation, you've got to be motivated if you're not motivated towards it. And then once you're motivated, you also have to be able to focus on what you're doing. And that means that you have to be not distracted. And that you actually have time to get that work done that you're motivated to do. So it requires those two things to happen simultaneously. And then when it doesn't happen, like okay, you've got work to do, you're not distracted, but you're not very motivated, well, you can do it, but it just doesn't really flow. Or vice versa, you're very motivated, but you can't find the time block to do it. So one of the ones I locate is basically I call it Don't be daft, which means deal with your distractions, avoid all the multitasking, find what you really need to focus on and you're really motivated to do and block out your time to do it well to do it. And that I believe is the way that you can be productive you've dealt with the distractions you've stopped shifting from one thing to another you know what you want to do that has to be done that's actually going to achieve some value and you want to do that and you've got now the time block to be able to do it.


Robert Craven  23:14

I guess that most people listening and watching will be saying no, there's no there's no it's like you know, people know what to do. They know why. And they know what to do because they can just google it. You know I want to put up prices. I want to recruit more people and I want to do a better campaign. They know what to do. But somehow it seems that in my mind it seems like the reptile brain which is basically going so I'm not the psychologist here so apologies. But in my understanding the reptile brain goes Is it dangerous? Yes or No? No. Is it interesting? It's quite interesting. So they don't actually do a lot of the stuff people don't actually do a lot of stuff they kind of what I should be doing like the dull boring stuff like they tend to do the stuff which they think is a bit sexy and think is a bit interesting and and like but the actual some of the actual donkeys work as you said earlier on some of the stuff the the hard lifting, you know, like what really is our strategy how are we really different from our competitors you know, this is stuff where you've actually got to just gotta dig deep. It's easy to buy out some emails or it's easier to talk about arranging the conference. So again, I guess it goes back to Cal Newport stuff that is deep hard thinking. I think people often avoid doing it.


Jane Piper  24:58

It is easy. And that's where the distractions and the multitasking is easy to avoid and keep yourself busy and then feel that you're busy. And that makes you feel okay, you get to the end of the day, I was very busy. But you haven't actually done any of those things that have added value. So that's if you know, find what are you focusing on and what motivates you, and do that delegate the stuff that you don't, or interested in to somebody else. If you don't really like doing strategy work, we'll find somebody who does, there are people that really get excited about it. But it is definitely very easy to get into a trap of jumping from one thing to another, and to get into a mode where the the brain stops thinking if you know what I mean, in that deep way, because we're so often just doing that quick scrolling through multiple tasks all at one time, rather than concentrating in on one thing.


Robert Craven  25:59

I'm wondering if that's if people are thinking that that's kind of realistic, you know, because like, God, Jane doesn't understand the phone's ringing, emails are coming in, the slack chats going. I've got 15 people in the office over there. I've got three projects, which need to be completed by the end of this week. And she's and she's saying, she so slow down, relax.


Jane Piper  26:27

Lady smoking? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And the question is, how you have organised it, so that you actually do have time to do those things. And, you know, there's been the same which I'm sure you said, work on the business as well as in the business. Because if you are just jumping from one thing to the other, always having to manage a crisis and fight a fire, then there is something fundamentally wrong. So there's the one bit where you can say it is people you know, we feel very important if we leap into solving every crisis on behalf of everybody else. But how will the person that you've hired to actually really do that crisis ever learn? So for a lot of entrepreneurs, it is a challenge, including for myself, you know, to where do you learn to delegate? And how do you learn to delegate? And how do you delegate back to people? Because you probably can do everything. But what it where are you really adding the value and seeing the question there should it be that you come up with the most creative campaigns, because you really were the most creative person and that's how you ended up in your business, or, and leave, hire yourself a great operations manager, who, where he or she can just basically keep all those processes running from, you know, everything from hiring new people to seen, making sure the bills are going out. If you're, you know, you're the best and the creative world, then hire a salesperson, if you were the best with the customers, then go out there and be the salesperson and hire some creative team behind you. So you need to find a way of basically not being the centre linchpin and solving every crisis, and it's easy as an entrepreneur to get like that, because it feels very you right in the centre of it, and it feels like you're doing the right thing.


Robert Craven  28:25

That's so what happens is we, you know, we put on our Batman cape, and we rescue everyone. I wasn't here, you know, and as a result, everyone kind of stepped back away from it. There's no point doing anything, except for the body shop, which was like, you know, when Anita Roddick was around, no one did anything. Because it was bound to be wrong, because she looked over you. So why don't you do that? Why didn't you do this? And as a result, they would literally fold their arms, knowing that they're going to be wrong, knowing that they were gonna get cuffed over the head for being wrong. So just let it let her do her worst. And I think that that we put, I guess, part of the problem and when we run our own business, there's no there's no, that a mind double feedback loop. There's no single feedback loop. You know, it's Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. You know, what we see is how people react to us, if that makes sense. Like, but we don't see. We don't see the kind of why they're reacting that way. So everyone's really nice to me and makes me cut for coffee. Is that because I'm a nice person or is that because I'm frightened of my bad temper? So far, there's a really weird, weird dynamic going on. I think what happened Is that the worst side of us kind of gets fed back to us? You know, like, because everyone else kind of accommodates you being bad tempered or bad at making decisions or impetuousness, or unreliable or whatever, whatever.


Robert Craven  30:23

So there's no there's no one to say, you know, have you ever thought about the way you talk to these people that maybe, maybe that might upset no more? Or have you ever thought about the fact that you're not giving people any clarity about what you want, so they feel they're bound to fail? So, there's something there about needing that, feedback coming back in I guess.


Jane Piper  30:53

Yeah, and it's very true. I mean, corporate environments do have those feedback loops, I don't think they're very effective. But they do have something in there, which basically looks at them and a lot of structures and processes, which give clarity, and in things, what they do tend to miss however, is the human aspect. And that's why people enjoy working for smaller organisations, because it has the human aspect, but then perhaps it doesn't have the clarity. And then you deal with the idiosyncrasies of a boss, where the corners haven't been rubbed off him or her as they would be in a corporate environment where you had some sort of feedback, you know, suggesting improve, I think the answer to that is really to make sure that you create an environment where people can give you honest and open feedback, and to invest in developing yourself. And that doesn't mean technical self, but the human side of the self, you know, and so that, that means that you're investing the time through a coach, or through a business advisor to actually start looking at how you do things and questioning things. Which is why I think, you know, there is such a popular market out there for entrepreneurs of mastermind groups, and all these sorts of things, because they are needed in the space, we're in a corporate environment, there would be already a set of rules, and there would always be some ways of behaving and things I certainly have seen in smaller places. Let's take bad behaviour, for example, in an entrepreneurial environment, you know, people being screamed at and yelled at, that would not be tolerated these days, in most corporate environments, if you know what I mean, it's sort of behaviour. And then on the other side, however, you know, people love to work for a small organisation, because they feel like a part of the family. And that may be a good thing, but maybe it's too much of a good thing. So, you know, where do you create this distance without being in a, in a corporate environment? Where it seems that I mean, that's all anonymous, and you're just a human resource?


Robert Craven  33:09

I mean, it's interesting, you say that, because, you know, we spend most of our time running mastermind groups, and it is literally people comparing notes as you do that you do. Or we did this and that and, and how much to do. And it's and it's like, yeah, this is, this is where I am, and this is where I want to be, and this is what I want them to do in order to get from here to there. But this is like, because there's no guidebook, there's no rulebook, there's no management training.


Jane Piper  33:39

There isn't there isn't anybody saying, you know, by my 10 steps, and you will be able to suddenly make yourself a multimillion dollar agency overnight? If it was that simple, you know, and you could write it all in one book and watch a couple of videos then, you know, so everybody wouldn't be able to do it.


Robert Craven  33:57

So, the phrase you've mentioned several times, I'd like to kind of work through a bit is is humans human? in a digital world, you know, it's like it's like, there's kind of like I, I described many of many of our audiences pointy headed, as in they, they are quite techie they think they think of things in terms of boxes, they use that kind of Larry logic left hand side of the brain stuff quite often. So what do humans do? What does that phrase mean to a human in the digital world? Well, what are the implications of it?


Jane Piper  34:47

Yeah, to me, it means that we actually connect and value the human and humane ways of, of interacting, because so much of the way that we interact often is through the left hand logic side of the brain, as we say, but the people we're dealing with, and the people you're communicating out to, if you are doing marketing and an audience, you're actually in the end communicating with their emotions. And it's the emotional side. And we tend to think decisions are all very rational, but most of the time, we just use rationality to hide that gut reaction that we will naturally want or the emotional reaction. So it's about recognising that most of the time they are humans. And if we manage, you know, we stopped talking about managing and leading, we actually treat people like they are human beings, you know, have you looked puzzled at them? That, you know, they, we actually talk about them having lives outside work, and that they're not just human resources and an organisation to deliver something, and finding out what they can do and deliver. And I think that's the nice thing in a small agency, if you have 10, or 12 people, a person could design the job to work to their strengths. And they can really enjoy their job and be highly motivated. They don't have to fit into a big machine so much, because you've got nine other people who may be able to flex around them. Now, you may struggle to get every old 10 People heavier, but you've got a bigger, better chance of that than the large corporation down the road.


Robert Craven  36:19

Can I just run you back to that, that thing about people having lives outside that so I, so anyone who's worked with me will vouch for the fact that I'm not the best person. But at least I know. So that's one step on the way doesn't justify the behaviour, but at least I'm aware of it. So you know, I start work at seven in the morning, and people come into the office at 8:39 o'clock. It's Monday morning, they want to talk about the weekend. And I know I'm interested, oh, how was your weekend? Amazing. You did this, you did that. But like, it's like I'm in the middle of doing something. I'd like the last thing I want to do is listen to the band, you took your daughter on a pony and the sun shone and some bees chased you or whatever it was. And I meant to be interested now, I've kind of worked really hard. But I know that the experience of those first interested in them. In that case, I'll ask them some questions, but I hope they're quick. I've still got some code I want to write. I mean, how do you do that by being interested in what other people think? 


Jane Piper  37:36

If you don't really give, I really don't give a shit about your life just get drafted.


Robert Craven  37:46

You've got five minutes. How or maybe you don't I don't know.


Jane Piper  37:56

Well, what I would do is I would suggest that you get more explicit about when you have what you call your focus time. If you say you're a morning person, your best thing is to get in there between seven and nine. And get two hours of solid deep thinking coding work done, which you want to be in your deep work zone from Cal Newport, then you need to say I'm in the zone until nine o'clock. And at 10 past nine, I'm coming out and having a cup of tea for her 15 minute break. And you can talk to me all you like about your pony trip and all the rest of it. And I will be interested in that time. But then between 9:15 and 11:15, I'm gonna go back into my office and finish Mcode off and you're explicit that you want that time uninterrupted and understood to be into that deep work zone. But also make time for the non deep work. Because that's deep work all the time.


Robert Craven  39:00

And that's what I learned. What I learned was, Rob's got the headphones on, it wasn't plugged into anything, Rob's got the headphones on, leave them alone. And then the next stage was when people come into the office at like 8:30 just recognise 8:30 to nine o'clock, you know, get out of your get out of your desk, walk around chat. And you'll actually find it's actually quite interesting if you just get out of your own head, but I do think it's maybe it's just back to what you were saying before, which is that, that we think we need to be busy. We think we need to look busy. We think what a boss does is once her eyes stare at the screen and swear and get bad tempered which clearly is not necessarily the way of doing it. What about I guess that leads me on naturally to I mean, do you think there's a difference in leadership styles across the genders? I mean, people say there are and what's what's your what's your view on that?


Jane Piper  40:02

I believe there definitely is in most, most cases, I think we often tend to put it into two buckets, these are masculine, these men and this woman, I think there's a shades of grey in between. And when we come to leadership, this so in gender, these two things, there's such stereotypes about what is good leadership. And, you know, a lot of our models on leadership come from the military and, you know, tend to drive into this high driving high ambitious lever, you know, going back to looping back to some of the people we were talking to talking about earlier in this discussion. And you know, socialisation, which also happens in our society, which is so ingrained some of those values is probably as ingrained as the Protestant work ethic, which is around, you know, women to be more nurturing and caring and persuading and avoiding direct conflict. So I've worked with, it's not necessarily the gender but I've worked with a woman who has had a very masculine style, and that is taken more negatively than a man who has a masculine style of leadership. And obviously, vice versa. A man who has a very soft style of leadership is often criticised as is, is, you know, which, you know, is being more. Yeah, it's being too weak. So, there's a double whammy here between a gender stereotype and a leadership stereotype or, or value that we have, which makes it extremely complicated to manage. 


Robert Craven  41:51

Okay. All right. We're nearly out of time. I've really enjoyed this meandering conversation we've had we've come


Robert Craven  42:04

Well, that's absolutely fine. But I think the fundamentals, I guess, I guess are my two final questions for you. The first one is, it is just around what is next I'll tell you about them both. So you can think about answers. First one is, what's next for you, Jane? What are the sort of things that you're working on and looking to work on? And the final question is that, what are the things you yourself saying time and time again? What are the golden nuggets that you have? And if I were you, if I said that once? I've said it 1000 times already? So what's kind of on the agenda? What's next for Jane?


Jane Piper  42:48

Yeah, so it's next week, I'm trying to get to, personally, the four day week as well. At the moment I've achieved my Fridays, I don't book appointments and, and I use them for more fun things or for doing the deep work. But I haven't quite got to the stage where I'm actually taking a complete holiday on Friday. So that's what I'm working on from my personal goals going forward. And working on a business strategy where I as you've talked about living in Zurich, but most people would have probably picked up that I'm not originally from Sir, with my Kiwi accent. Hopefully, they call me a Kiwi, not an Ozzy. And so I'd like to develop a business model where I'm able to still be doing interesting work, but be able to spend a different, you know, some of my year in New Zealand and some of my year in Switzerland. So that's what I'm working on personally, and from my business goals to try and align my business goals. With my personal goals. What I hear myself telling people again, and again, I probably would be is that we don't I think I said it a million times. I feel like in this way, we don't need to work hard, to have good ideas, to be creative, to be brilliant to do something. But it is so ingrained into us through the values. We've had to really think about what we're doing, and why we're doing it. Are we doing it just to keep ourselves busy and really question ourselves on this cult of busyness and the heroes that we worship, and try and carve out time to actually get value adding work done that sort of work that can't be taken over by a robot.


Robert Craven  44:31

Allah loves that route. I've written it down. We don't need to work hard dot, dot dot, and I just love it sets off so many triggers in the mind about what you could should ought be doing and then and then as you quite rightly say, where, where where did those ideas and notions come from that we think that's how we should be behaving? So if people have not come across the book, the book title is.


Jane Piper  45:02

Focus in the Age of Distraction: 35 tips to focus more and work less


Robert Craven  45:09

Lovely people need to go out and get hold of that at the end, there'll be some links.


Jane Piper  45:14

Amazon is, is, find that as the easiest place to probably find that but also on any of the online book places. They're also most welcome to contact me. You can find me on LinkedIn, I'm sure you're going to have some links and things at the bottom of the show. So contact me on LinkedIn. It will be the easiest way in place to find me and I love meeting new people. Virtually LinkedIn or what is even better in real life is we meet in conferences in Slovenia.


Robert Craven  45:45

Brilliant. Lovely, thank you very much, Jane. It's been an absolute pleasure talking with you and I look forward to speaking to you again. Thank you very much indeed.