Cristina and Alex interview authors of The Improv Mindset: Change Your Brain. Change Your Business, Gail & Bruce Montgomery on their latest book: CHANGE! A Leader's Guide to Fixing SH*T. This episode discusses leadership and change management in a fun way. It's not just inspirational, but addresses how to take action and tangible steps to being a great leader.
Discover how the experts in the latest frameworks of modern leadership thinking, such as comedic improv and Emotional Intelligence, provide a game to being a leader with reflections, perspective, and clarity. You can find Gail, Bruce and their book at www.experienceyes.com
Credits: Raechel Sherwood for Original Score Composition.
YouTube Channel: Uncover The Human
Alex Cullimore: Welcome to Uncover the Human where every conversation revolves around enhancing all the connections in our lives.
Cristina Amigoni: Whether that's with our families, co-workers or even ourselves.
Alex Cullimore: When we can be our authentic selves, magic happens.
Cristina Amigoni: This is Cristina Amigoni.
Alex Cullimore: And this is Alex Cullimore. Let’s dive in.
Cristina Amigoni: Let’s dive in.
Alex Cullimore: Let’s dive in.
“Authenticity means freedom.”
“Authenticity means going with your gut.”
“Authenticity is bringing 100% of yourself not just the parts you think people want to see, but all of you.”
“Being authentic means that you have integrity to yourself.”
“It's the way our intuition is whispering something deep-rooted and true.”
“Authenticity is when you truly know yourself. You remember and connect to who you were before others told you who you should be.”
“It's transparency, relatability. No frills. No makeup. Just being.”
Alex Cullimore: Alright, welcome back to this episode of Uncover the Human. We are joined this week by husband-wife duo, Bruce and Gail Montgomery. Hello, Bruce and Gail. And we also have the dog Henry, Harry?
Hey, Terry, Terry
Gail Montgomery: Terry.
Alex Cullimore: Terry? Oh, my bad. Oh no.
Alex Cullimore: And we wanted to bring Bruce and Gail on because they have just published and released their new book, CHANGE! A Leader’s Guide to Fixing Sh*t. It's a great book. It's super interesting and super fun. And we actually are going to do a couple pieces from it today. But I cannot describe this nearly as well as you guys. You guys lived it in bunches. Let us know about the book. Let us know a little about the process.
Gail Montgomery: Thanks. Bruce actually just gestured to me, which is kind of unusual. So he's going to let me speak first, which is awesome.
Bruce Montgomery: I'll think about letting you speak.
Gail Montgomery: [inaudible 00:01:39] start for you.
Cristina Amigoni: Embracing the change already.
Gail Montgomery: I know. Seriously. I will say this kind of came about, Bruce and I happened to be in San Francisco a couple years ago and visiting a client. And we're walking around the streets of San Francisco. And I said to Bruce, “This social media thing is kind of new for me.” And I think I've done about a year of daily posts on LinkedIn, Monday through Friday, about leadership, about teams about whatever. Kind of my own content. And I said, “I can't believe I've done that.”
And he said, “Yeah, that's kind of neat. Maybe we should make that kind of a coffee table book, or a leadership book, or something like that.” I was, “That'd be great. Except pictures,” and potentially, if I was using a quote or anything like that, we didn't want to get into the messy trademarking of things. And so Bruce said, “Oh, you know, there is this book called the I Ching.” And I was like, “What is that? I've never heard of that.” And do you want to describe what it is?
Bruce Montgomery: Sure. Yeah. So the I Ching, it’s something that I did in the 1990s when I was in college.
Gail Montgomery: Old man. Old man.
Bruce Montgomery: Yes. An old man. The concept is, it's called the Book of Changes. It is arguably 6000 to 8000 years of ancient Chinese leadership training packed into a book. This idea that, with ancient Chinese philosophy, built around elemental forces, built around ideas and concepts, and kind of getting and divining information with that in mind.
So what we decided to do was to take that framework and turn it into a modern leadership book. So let's take modern leadership, thinking things like improv, and followership, and emotional intelligence. And then let's make it really active. Let's give the same concept of gamification that the I Ching. Let's build a game, build a code. And then from that, let's give very, very tangible next steps that you can do within minutes of reading what your current situation might be and how you can fix it.
Gail Montogmery: Yes. So I mean, kind of to try to put it as succinctly as possible, since we're already going on and on. It's a guide, right? Not a book meant to be read cover to cover. And it has 64 different sections, where basically you flip three coins six times, you build a code based on the table that's inside the book, and you go to that page after you've asked your open-ended leadership question. And you get kind of a metaphor for what you might be experiencing right now. And then you get five actionable steps that you can take as a leader right now to address what's happening. And it can be anything, like your question could be, “How, as a leader, can I help my team through this merger?” Or, “I noticed my team has a lot of creative energy right now. How can I best bring them together and innovate?” Right? Things like that. So that's basically it. And it's just different. We didn't want to write the same old same old.
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah. I mean, in our experience, there are a lot of great leadership books out there. And some of them are tones. And you have to spend a lot of time reading and getting into the content. And then many of them don't have any, other than the allegory, other than the comparison, they don't have any real tangible steps for you to do. It drives us crazy. So this was definitely on the model of, “Okay, well, let's do it fast. Let's get it there. And let's get people working on things almost immediately.” And we did this as a married couple. So we still are married after –
Gail Montgomery: Yes. Second book. Second book.
Bruce Montgomery: Second book as a married couple.
Gail Montgomery: If you want to know how to do that, just ask Bruce.
Cristina Amigoni: So the next book can be on marriage and how to keep it going.
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah, how to write a book and still remain married. Whenever you go to edit your spouse's work, that's a tricky situation.
Gail Montgomery: Oh, yeah. That's an interesting thing. So yeah, the first 32 sections I tackled. So basically, we're taking the original I Ching book, right? And we're completely reimagining it with a business pen and current language. And then Bruce tackled from 33 to 64. And thanks for doing the math for me. And he did that. And then we gave each other our work and started picking at it. And let's just be honest. That's hard. That's really hard. And we don't have the same writing style. So it's super interesting. Of course, I just gave it away. And it would be so fun, I think, for people to try to guess who wrote what. Although I think it's kind of obvious now that I look at the book, I can see that, at the same time, there's both of us in each section, because we kind of both have to put our hands on it.
Bruce Montgomery: That was a lot of talking on our part.
Gail Montgomery: Oh, my gosh.
Alex Cullimore: I love the format. It’s such a cool idea of how to do a book. And it's literally like each were like – Yeah, even two to four pages of just some very quick hit actions. It’s just super fun. It definitely is like a nice coffee table book as well. It's just really excellent. Let's just try something different. Shake it up a little bit. And like you said, within minutes, you can go try a completely different strategy on something that can feel abstract. It's super cool. I love the concept.
Gail Montgomery: Oh, thanks. We do too.
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, completely agree.
Bruce Montgomery: It's been interesting. We've done a lot of testimonials. So we've gotten on with leaders. We've kind of explored what opportunities they might have in leadership. And then we asked them to ask a leadership question, and then played the game with them. And it is amazing what has come out just the response of “Oh, wow! One, I didn't see that this was coming. And two, these are just the right tasks that I was thinking of. I need to get with my team to do these things.” It's been really fun to see how people have interpreted it.
Gail Montgomery: Well. And I think, originally, we thought this particular type of book, the fact that it's gamified, might only appeal to a certain kind of leader, right? That is more kind of energy-focused, or more future-thinking, as opposed to a real type A, kind of old management style, that type of thing. And the folks that we play the game with have run the gamut between the old kind of fashioned management style to the real ethereal leader that like wants to know what spirit animal they are, right? And so –
Cristina Amigoni: I want to know what spirit animal I am.
Gail Montgomery: Right? I don't even know. I got to figure that out. Do you know?
Cristina Amigoni: Next book? Can you write a book on how we figure out what spirit animal we are?
Alex Cullimore: [inaudible 00:08:22].
Bruce Montgomery: You're both muskrats. You're not going to like it. And it just is what it is. Sorry guys.
Gail Montgomery: Wait. Wait. Wait. You have a song though, muskrat Susie and muskrat Sam for the older folks who are listening. Yeah, Muskrat Love. Yeah.
Bruce Montgomery: Muskrat Love from the 1970s. Classic. Really disturbing. Why would we want to write a song about muskrat? Like what was the brainstorming? Like, “I’ve got this idea. Here’s the riff.” And the lyricist is like, “Ooh! Muskrat Love. This is going to –
Gail Montgomery: I just saw some muskrats the other day. And they were in love.
Bruce Montgomery: [inaudible 00:08:59]. I mean, were they watching Marlin Perkins in the National Geographic?
Gail Montgomery: Holy age yourself. Holy age yourself.
Cristina Amigoni: I don't even know who that is. Seriously.
Gail Montgomery: See?
Bruce Montgomery: Oh, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, who was hosted by Marlin Perkins. Marlin Perkins never ever went into like – They always had like Dave, or Ben, or whoever it was. He would go in and do like, “And here’s Ben fighting the alligators.” And then they would cut to Ben, and Marlin would be back in the studio in the studio just hanging out and smoking a cigarette. Very funny stuff.
Cristina Amigoni: That must have been my pre-migration times.
Gail Montgomery: I’m at least certain that. I’m pretty certain of that. Yeah.
Cristina Amigoni: Well, it’s super fascinating. Yes. Super fascinating. I love the concept. And we talked about a little before our recording officially how, especially as leaders, yeah, there's great books out there. And I totally recommend reading them or listening to them. And when something pops up, no none of us can really say like, “Oh, hold on. That's on chapter 12. So I'll get back to you in about six months when I get there, because right now I'm still in chapter two.”
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think that's you hit the nail on the head. And there are wonderful books out there, inspiring stories. Things that kind of our mantras that we need to be thinking about, I think as leaders, and those are all amazing, and really, really special. And we just – I think we got attached to this idea of something that was a workbook, or action-oriented right away, that here are five things that you can do to address what you're asking right now. And take a stab at it. Something different coming in sideways, right?
Cristina Amigoni: So can we play?
Gail Montgomery: Yes.
Cristina Amigoni: Go ahead, Alex.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, I say we start with Alex. Let’s start with Alex.
Cristina Amigoni: Oh, let’s go with Alex.
Bruce Montgomery: Alright. Alex, if you have a piece of paper and pen [inaudible 00:10:55] All right, excellent. The very first thing you're going to do is write a question. And the question is going to start with the concept of as a leader. So you want to start the phrase with as a leader, comma, and then whatever your question might be. And the question, again, it could be, “I'm just coming to the end of this project. What should I be looking for in my next project?” It can be as tactical as, “I know that we're trying to build XYZ. What's the best way to approach my team and building it?” Things like that. It really is up to you. And don't tell us what it is yet. We're going have you just write it down on a piece of paper, and then we're going to throw the coins.
Gail Montgomery: And it’s not the little magic eight ball kind of question. It's not the –
Cristina Amigoni: What’s the meaning of life?
Bruce Montgomery: Should I ask Gail out? Yes or no.
Gail Montgomery: Odds are not in your favor, or whatever. Yeah, exactly. It’s not one of those. So not a yes or no question. It needs to be kind of open-ended, if you will. Broader, yeah. So we’re going to give you a hot sec to do that. In the world of podcasting, I'm sure that means that there'll be an edit here.
Cristina Amigoni: Most likely. Unless I keep talking. So [inaudible 00:12:07] then say out loud what the question was after we go through this.
Gail Montgomery: No. Later.
Bruce Montgomery: After we've built the code.
Gail Montgomery: So once we build the code, and yeah – And then –
Bruce Montgomery: Once we build the code.
Gail Montgomery: Does he ask it then?
Bruce Montgomery: We can have it or we can read it and then have him ask [inaudible 00:12:20].
Gail Montgomery: Yeah. We’ll let you decide, Alex, if you want us to read the results first, and then you tell us what the question is. Or the reverse. I like either.
Bruce Montgomery: So, Alex, it looks like you're done. Do you have a question?
Alex Cullimore: Yes. I’ve got a question.
Bruce Montgomery: Alright, great. So the concept is you're going to take your three coins, and you're going to shake them in your hand, and then you're just going to throw them like you throw dice, right? So just onto your desk, or wherever. And then we'll build the code together with you. So go ahead and throw them. And you'll have either all tails, all heads, two heads and a tail, or two tails and a heads based on the math that those things can be.
Gail Montgomery: Oh, my goodness, thank you so much, Bruce, for clarifying our odds for the various things.
Bruce Montgomery: Hey, Alex as a data guy. He gets it. He gets it.
Gail Montgomery: I get it. I get it. So I’m going to build the code with you. So as you think about this, Alex, the way you want to do it is think about it as ground floor, and then going up from there. So that's how we build the code. Alright? So toss and tell us what you get.
Cristina Amigoni: Okay. Can you explain this ground floor to up? Because I have no idea what you just said.
Bruce Montgomery: [inaudible 00:13:23] So the concept is the way the code is built. It's just built from bottom to top as opposed to top to bottom. Mostly, we think of things like, “Oh, I start at the top and then I put my next line, and next line.” In this approach, you start from the bottom line and work your way up, like you're building a building, from the ground floor, to the first floor, to the second floor.
Gail Montgomery: And each toss, each coin toss or combination thereof translates to a solid line, or a dashed line, or a line that is solid or dashed with a star. So one of those things will be –
Bruce Montgomery: And we’ll explain what that star means a little bit. So Alex, you said you throw. What was it again?
Alex Cullimore: Three heads.
Bruce Montgomery: Three heads. So you're going to draw a dashed line, and Gail is going to do it too. Then she’ll show it to you. It's a dashed line with a star next to it. She'll show you. Alright, so that's the first one. So now think of your question again. And now you're going to roll or you’re going to throw the coins again. So keep thinking that question, and then for the coins.
Cristina Amigoni: And for our podcast listeners, we highly recommend watching the YouTube for this one.
Bruce Montgomery: Thank you. Yes, it’s on our website. That’s right.
Gail Montgomery: Experienceyes.com.
Alex Cullimore: I had two tails and a head.
Bruce Montgomery: Two tails and a head is a dashed line. With no star. It’s just a dash
Alex Cullimore: I had two tails and a head.
Bruce Montgomery: Two tails and a head is a dashed line with no star. That's just a dashed line. And think of your question. And now we're going to do this four more times. So let's throw it again. Thinking of that question in hand. Again, we're gamifying this whole process.
Alex Cullimore: Two heads and a tail is a solid line.
Brue Montgomery: A solid line looks like that. Looks like a solid line. Cool. Alright, three more to go, Alex. You're doing great job. Uh-oh, that's all right. Just tell us what it is.
Alex Cullimore: Two heads and a tail.
Bruce Montgomery: Two heads and a tail is a solid line again. Boom!
Cristina Amigoni: We’re at four.
Alex Cullimore: Two tails and a head.
Bruce Montgomery: Two tails and a head is a dashed line.
Cristina Amigoni: Do you just know all of these because you've memorized them so well?
Bruce Montgomery: No. I'm actually referring to the book because I still transpose them, which is hilarious. But it does happen.
Cristina Amigoni: And where in the book do you find these?
Bruce Montgomery: This is on page 22 in the book. So you can see here –
Alex Cullimore: Okay, excellent.
Bruce Montgomery: I'm saying see to your podcast listeners. But I am showing it to Alex and Christina.
Gail Montgomery: Your last toss, Alex.
Bruce Montgomery: What do you got?
Alex Cullimore: Three tails.
Bruce Montgomery: Three tails. Three tails is a solid line with a star next to it.
Alex Cullimore: Got all the varieties in there. Alright.
Bruce Montgomery: You see the same, Alex?
Alex Cullimore: Yes.
Cristina Amigoni: It’s a popery.
Bruce Montgomery: Alright. So now a page later on, page, or two pages later on, page 24, is the code grid. And basically, what this is going to do, Alex, is help us generate the actual code. So you build the code. Now we need to align the nexus of those combos to a specific location or a specific page. So this up here represents the top three rows, and the column represents the bottom three rows, okay? So solid, dash, solid, which is this column here. Alex, if you get the same, solid, dash, solid, okay? And then we have –
Alex Cullimore: Solid, dash, dash.
Bruce Montgomery: Solid, dash, dash, which is – So if I draw the line between them, I get to 56. So, here, solid, dash, dash here, 56. That one's mine. So I’ll read it.
Cristina Amigoni: And we've got stars that you said you would explain later, correct?
Gail Montgomery: Yes. We'll explain that after we read the first result.
Bruce Montgomery: So hold on to your question. But I'm going to read this, and then we'll talk about your question. So I've navigated now to code 56, which is this one right here.
Alex Cullimore: Leaving on a jet plane?
Bruce Montgomery: Yes, that's right.
Gail Montgomery: So each page has kind of a quote, an overarching quote, right? And on the left side is that – And a metaphor or kind of – Gosh! Summary, if you will, distilled idea of where you are, what's happening potentially. And then on the right hand side are your five actions. So Bruce has written this. So he's putting on his old man glasses right now, ladies and gentleman. And here comes the reading.
Cristina Amigoni: Well, the three of us already have glasses on. So thanks for joining the club.
Gail Montgomery: It’s making us feel better.
Bruce Montgomery: That’s right. The quote is, “The world is a book. And those who do not travel read only one page.” And that is St. Augustine. So this is traveling or leaving on a jet plane. “You are in a traveling mood. You're willing and ready to explore new locations, experiences, or jobs. At the heart of it all, you're on a quest for knowledge. Why wouldn't you want to immerse yourself in a whole different culture, or stretch your wings on a new adventure? There are whole civilizations and traditions that you've never even seen. The newness is fun and exciting. And you are exhilarated just at the thought of packing your bags and racing to the next amazing thing. You're like a passenger sitting on a Boeing 787 as it touches down on the tarmac of Sydney, Hong Kong, or Dubai. This wanderlust can serve you well. You get to know a lot of people all of whom serve connections to the experiences for your next international trip. Stay in contact with them as they may open the door to exciting opportunities. Your travels also provide you a broad amount of experience, something that many people will never get. That said, you aren't necessarily an expert in something, loaded with deep skills and understanding. Rather you find yourself able to apply your past experiences to a variety of situations. If you move into a new role or gain new responsibilities, don't assume that everyone wants to hear about all the things you've done. Settle in and listen.”
Gail Montgomery: Do you hear that, Alex? Do you hear that?
Cristina Amigoni: Keep it to yourself.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Bruce Montgomery: Spend the time learning the subtle language of the people around you. They are communicating in numerous ways. And it's your responsibility to approach them with humility and generosity as you make every effort to meld into their community. You are a newcomer. Avoid getting sucked into any drama. They will let you in, and then eventually you'll hop onto another plane.
Cristina Amigoni: The drama will come. Just let it come.
Bruce Montgomery: That's right. So Gail is going to read the actions. And then we're going to have you do your questions, or your question.
Gail Montgomery: Okay. So ask first any situation or experience. Spend time listening. Don't tell everyone about everything you've ever done. Rather make your conversations about the other people. Say things like, “Tell me about that.” Or, “How does that work?” And then absorb and document all the information you get. Be inquisitive and childlike as you learn.
Second, as you settle in, avoid making huge changes to culture, existing processes or people. Focus on working to understand why things are done in the way they are. If you already know how to do something, there are still things you can learn. And remember, no one likes to be told what they're doing is wrong, or should be done differently. Be patient and wait for the right time to give input. I think I should tell a lot of leaders to do that. I’m just saying.
Cristina Amigoni: Change management 101.
Gail Montgomery: 100%. Third, don't assume that all the information you'll need as you travel to this new place is going to be handed to you. Do your own research and find out as much detail as you can prior to landing. Search the Internet. Watch videos. Seek input from others. Stay open and curious. Ask questions, and use multiple resources.
Fourth, leverage your network. The more you move from experience to experience, the more people you'll know. Aim to be the great connector, able to link people, processes and situations. You may not know how to do something, but you certainly know someone who does. A word of caution though, when you see a connection, don't just throw names out there and say it. Instead, make suggestions when it will have the greatest impact and people are ready to hear them. That’s smart. I like that one. Of course, I'm judging my own thing.
Bruce Montgomery: I wrote this one.
Gail Montgomery: Oh, that's right. And I contributed. I contributed. Finally, avoid getting drawn into emotionally-charged situations, such as the one that will happen soon between Bruce and myself.
Bruce Montgomery: This is awkward.
Alex Cullimore: It’s the last podcast for both of them.
Gail Montgomery: How to be married and work together. Whenever you walk into a new environment, there's a chance that emotions could be running high. This might be because you are seen as a threat. Or there may be some underlying tension among the team. Step back and take it all in. Avoid taking sides. Instead, stay neutral and behave with dignity. And then usually there's some kind of like nugget of wisdom at the very end in the form of like a statement. So keep your bags packed. You never know when you'll get the chance for your next adventure. So having read that now, I'd love to hear your question.
Alex Cullimore: So my question was, “As a leader, how do we best prioritize and delegate our two main efforts [inaudible 00:22:23] content creation and our projects. We have consulting projects. We have content creation. So trying to figure out how to best prioritize these and best use all of the resources we have.
Gail Montgomery: Ah, all right. What resonated with you, if anything, in kind of what you heard?
Alex Cullimore: So it's really fun to like hear these things while thinking about like your question, because then you have all these extra weird connections that are there. Because I think, at all times, like you're always close to thinking about all the big questions we constantly have, either in business or life. And it's really fun to like hear these anecdotes and like the actions while thinking about it. Because it really comes down to one thing that we definitely just kind of need to do is reach out more to people who do a lot of content creation and figure out what the marketing strategies are. We need to do a little bit more about like what we know a lot of people in our network, you guys include, like this book, who has done this kind of creation, this kind of – And you found a bunch of consulting projects. How do you find the unbalances? It's a really good reminder to go find those. And I already have like three names I wrote down for people to reach out to [inaudible 00:23:24] reach out to to get to this.
Bruce Montgomery: I think it speaks really well, Alex, and this is just personally knowing you about that comment of you're not necessarily an expert on something. You know a lot about a lot of things, which if I think about it, from the perspective of what you just described, it also makes it difficult to be proficient at something when somebody else is an expert at doing X, Y or Z. So looking at the actions through that lens, there is some talk about not just leveraging your network and connecting people, but also leveraging your network to do things, to help you do things and get things done and execute.
Gail Montgomery: That's actually interesting, because today on LinkedIn, I made a comment kind of similar to this. Someone posted something about – Oh, it was tips to have a larger presence on social media. And I responded by saying these tips that you've included, this idea that I think the first line was you don't take a lesson, or two or three lessons and then expect to be proficient at something, right. Christina, you and I've talked about this. Why would you have those expectations of something new that you're taking on, right?
And I said that really applies to everything in business. And I think sometimes we just get so tunnel visioned into thinking we need to be the ones that are experts at everything that we forget, “Oh, there's a reason why there are people, our marketing firms, our consulting firms, our training and development firms, our tech firms. Because these are the experts. And we hopefully can get to a place where we can afford to bring them in, right? And in larger companies need to be thinking it doesn't always have to be in house, right. So that's the other piece.
Bruce Montgomery: There's lots of comments there about avoiding emotionally-charged situations. So that was the last thing. And it talks specifically about, as you're looking at new processes, as you're bringing on new things, I think that speaks to, as you guys are prioritizing what you're doing, and working together to go, “Alright, what's going to be the important thing and what's not?” It might be really easy to get spun up about what one of you or both of you think might be the important thing, and just really working to step back and be honest with yourself and honest with each other as business partners on, “Hey, I can get that done. And I can get it done within this time frame.” And these other things will need to be handled by somebody else in order to make that happen.
Gail Montgomery: We experience that too.
Bruce Montgomery: All the time.
Cristina Amigoni: Well, it's hard when it's just the two of you, and there's 15,000 things that need to be done.
Bruce Montgomery: Yes. Well, and if you're anything like the two of us, I mean, we love new ideas. We love new concepts. So I'll get through – Like, yeah, do I want to go learn how to use Adobe Premiere Pro? No. But as soon as I'm in it, I'm like, “Oh, this is so cool. Look at all the things that I can do,” which have nothing to do with my business, right? I'm just learning it because it's cool to learn. So it's also balancing, balancing that piece.
So there's one other component, Alex, and we'll ask you to reflect again, is this actually – Because you've got the asterisks, because you have the stars next to it, the concept is this might represent the direction that you're going as you're embracing and doing these new things. The first part represents where you are right now. And the second piece represents where you might be headed. And so what we do is we take those lines that have asterisks. So in your case, you had –
Alex Cullimore: [inaudible 00:26:57] bottom.
Gail Montgomery: [inaudible 00:27:00]. So it was solid topped with a star. And it was dashed at the bottom with a star. You just change it. So I erase this. You make that dashed. And you make your dash at the bottom solid, which then if you go back to the table right at the beginning, the code generator at the beginning of the book, you get, strangely enough, the page before, which is page 55. So I find this interesting.
And typically, the way the I Ching, the document, the original book is structured is that this is either potentially where you're headed, or you might already be experiencing some of this. And you only read kind of the metaphor side, the left side, not the actions. That gets muddy with the things that you're supposed to be concentrating on with your original question. So Bruce will read just the metaphor side of where this is heading.
Bruce Montgomery: So this is called the summer solstice. The summer solstice is an expression of love. It shows us the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives. It’s by Gary Zukav, Zenith. June 20th, the day that ushers in the summer months filled with steamy nights, fireflies, s'mores and wedges of watermelon. Universally, the summer solstice represents both an end and a beginning. The sun can climb the heights of the sky no farther. And on June 21st, it will rise again only to begin the slow march back from its zenith. In the span of one instant, the longest day is no longer.
You are in your summer solstice. You've made it to the top of the sky and breathed the rarefied air. Enjoy yourself while you can. At the very least, the view is stunning. Your excitement and pride are undeniable. We get it. You're awesome. Evaluate your behavior and make every effort to keep yourself humble and modest. You might have already alienated some folks. So be wary.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, yeah.
Bruce Montgomery: Made it to the pinnacle of the sky. So you must start your own trip back down. As you do, don't fool yourself into thinking that the high points are over. Search for other big opportunities. Look around for new ideas, new approaches and new passions. As you bask in your success continuing your quest for growth. This is the perfect time for self-reflection and self-discovery. Arriving at the apex is only a fleeting moment. So be expedient, and jump onto those new things before the next sunset.
As you reflect, look for another son on the horizon, like Luke Skywalker on tattooing with two sons.
Alex Cullimore: Yes, I was just thinking that.
Bruce Montgomery: Yes. [inaudible 00:29:38]. Nerd alert. I’m aware of that.
Cristina Amigoni: That's the image I had in my mind.
Alex Cullimore: That was part of the original I Ching, right?
Bruce Montgomery: Totally. Totally part of the original I Ching. When there is a high point for one thing, it doesn't mean that there can't be a high point for something else. Identify and share this new vision with your team and trusted partners.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Love that.
Alex Cullimore: Oh, that feels like something that Cristina and I do all the time. [inaudible 00:29:59] reflection piece we maybe do more on.
Cristina Amigoni: Yes. Definitely a reflection piece.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, I love it. I love it. So yeah, so that is the game. That is it.
Alex Cullimore: I really like this, because it really stirs up how to reflect on things. A series of how to just think about the complex things that we're trying to solve for at any given time. As leaders, there's always some complex problem, whether you're saying it's something like getting your team to go get behind some change, or planning what you want to do next. You're talking about what you're going to be doing next experience. Yes, and how you guys are going to be working together. I think all these are such seemingly amorphous questions that are always bubbling, I feel like, under the surface for us. And this is a really cool way of just like cutting right into, “I don't know. Let's think about it this way. Let's try it from this angle.” And there's a whole different set of – It's a very liberating way to kind of shake it up and stop saying the same seven things about whatever question you have.
Gail Montgomery: Yes, yes. Yeah. Hold on. Let's pivot. Yeah. And at the end of the day, let's pivot again. Oh my gosh.
Cristina Amigoni: Indeed. Yeah, the new perspective is key. Yes.
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. The new perspective is key and also looking at things in a completely different light and figuring out new ideas, new ways of interpreting it. And without necessarily having the, “Oh, let me sit down for a month and a half with someone and talk it through.”
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, exactly.
Bruce Montgomery: Exactly. Yeah. It really is that concept of looking for the connections, right? It's the idea that this is, as you put it, a different way to look at things, right? A different way to come at it. Coming at it sideways. And then looking at the ways that that connects to the way that you're currently living your life or living your leadership life in that case.
So for you, Alex, when I think about this, it's, “Okay. Great. We're getting to the point maybe either where I am personally and professionally. I've kind of reached that pinnacle. And now I'm looking at the jumping off point with Siamo as being this huge, dynamic, awesome thing, and being ready for it, right? Being prepared for that next big, very big change.”
Cristina Amigoni: I'm all for that. So, jump.
Gail Montgomery: Yes, jump.
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah, that’s right. You have two feet for a reason.
Cristina Amigoni: Yes. And two arms for a reason.
Alex Cullimore: One to hold on to the cliff, and one to stumble down.
Gail Montgomery: Perspective, Alex.
Bruce Montgomery: That’s why your arms are there. To catch you before you hit your face.
Gail Montgomery: Yes, exactly.
Cristina Amigoni: You’ll get wings at some point.
Bruce Montgomery: The way that we've seen other leaders kind of use this is they find –We’ve been asked the question like, “Hey, should I do this every day? How often should I be looking at this?” If you think about the steps that are providing the actions, the five things that you should maybe be focusing on, those really takes some habits. They take some – Some of them will be reflection on getting in journaling. Some of them will involve meditating, and really looking internally. Those are things that take time and aren't necessarily things that you can do every single day. With that being said, it doesn't mean that you can't ask a series of questions and then read and try to pull out where you should be putting your focus from a macro and micro level.
Alex Cullimore: Well, it feels like an excellent thing to do to when you start to feel like that stagnation, right? When you start to feel like, “I'm not making any more progress on this question. How do I make the next step?”
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, it's so interesting, you should say that. There's a chapter in there called, I think, mosquitoville. Yeah, that I wrote. Because then, stagnant water, there's actually a lot of life that is happening and growing. And we often think that when things are stagnant, that nothing is happening. And so that's a chapter that's in there as well. And it's a really interesting perspective about stillness and about the importance of it. And we get caught up sometimes by thinking that if there's not action all of the time or movement, that somehow we're stuck. And a lot of times that is not the case. So yeah, so thanks for playing that with us.
Alex Cullimore: Thank you guys. This is super fun.
Gail Montgomery: Yay!
Cristina Amigoni: It definitely is.
Gail Montgomery: Cristina, did you want to do it? Do you want to talk about a different subject? What do you want to do?
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, let’s do it. I really want to do it.
Bruce Montgomery: Alright. So you need a totally different question, Cristina. Although it may be similar, but it needs to be in your words. A big burning leadership question that’s on your mind.
Gail Montgomery: I don't know why it's always burning.
Cristina Amigoni: Big and burning? Can it be like point in time and burning?
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah, it can be. I mean, usually fire moves pretty quickly. So you know it depends on how you look at it.
Cristina Amigoni: And just be staring at it and make s'mores and then figure things out?
Bruce Montgomery: That’s right. That’s right.
Cristina Amigoni: Alright. Alright. Okay.
Gail Montgomery: Thanks for making me think of that.
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah, right? S’mores are delicious.
Alex Cullimore: I know. I kind of want s’mores.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah. And right your leadership question down. That's what we always recommend to folks. It's nice to be able to then go back to it and say, “So where was I at that point was I thinking about –”
Bruce Montgomery: We actually have included, in the physical book, a bunch of blank pages. Like five blank pages so that you can track kind of what you're doing or what you might have seen before, and how that evolves over time.
Gail Montgomery: We would totally recommend, though, having a journal as a leader to kind of use whenever you're inspired, whenever those are thoughts are coming up. Just to your point earlier, Alex, when you're building a business, you have all these thoughts that are going on in your mind. You might be focused on something and then, “Oh, no, I forgot to.” Or, “Oh, I meant to do.” Or, “Oh, we should.” And it's nice to even have your journal be that place to capture, the net to capture all that noise sometimes that floats around, which would translate into –
Alex Cullimore: [inaudible 00:35:51] journaling, for sure.
Gail Montgomery: Yes. I love it. Alright.
Cristina Amigoni: Okay, I'm ready.
Bruce Montgomery: You're ready, Cristina. You have the coins?
Gail Montgomery: Each time you to flip those coins, you need to be thinking of this question.
Cristina Amigoni: Okay. So do I flip them one at a time or all together?
Bruce Montgomery: You could do it – It's up to you. It's up to you. We did have one person do it one at a time.
Cristina Amigoni: Okay. I’ve got – Well, it helps if you know how to read the coins, whether they're heads or tails?
Bruce Montgomery: Is there a face on it?
Gail Montgomery: Pause for a sponsor, [inaudible 00:36:22] identification or an advertisement?
Cristina Amigoni: Okay, three tails.
Bruce Montgomery: Three tails. It’s a solid line with a star. Remember, you're starting at the bottom.
Cristina Amigoni: Okay. I should have used euros instead of dollars. That would have helped. Okay, do I write the line too, solid line?
Bruce Montgomery: Aha. Solid line and a star.
Gail Montgomery: I’m writing it as well. If you want to –
Bruce Montgomery: And then what was your second throw?
Cristina Amigoni: Three heads.
Bruce Montgomery: Three heads. So that is a dashed line with a star.
Cristina Amigoni: I feel like I'm writing Morse code.
Bruce Montgomery: It does feel that way
Cristina Amigoni: Two heads and a tail.
Bruce Montgomery: Two heads and one tail is a solid line. So Gail, we just put it up on the screen. It should look like that, Cristina, so far.
Cristina Amigoni: Okay. Yours looks much prettier than mine. So thanks for doing that. Three tails.
Bruce Montgomery: Three tails is a solid line with a star.
Cristina Amigoni: I think these are rigged coins. Two heads and a tail.
Bruce Montgomery: Two heads and a tail, it’s a solid line.
Cristina Amigoni: And my last one will be two tails and a head.
Bruce Montgomery: Two tails and a head is a dashed line. So let's see, Cristina. Gail is going to show it up on the screen for you. And I think you've got the physical book with you, Cristina. So if you flip over to page 24, we'll take a look. So remember, the top row is represented by the top three lines. So that's a dashed line and then two solid lines. So that's the very last column, I think, is what I’m seeing. You see that, Cristina?
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, I do.
Bruce Montgomery: Okay. And then you've got a solid, dashed, solid line. Solid, dashed, solid. So I get to 49.
Cristina Amigoni: Alright.
Bruce Montgomery: I happen to know what this one is, Cristina. Do you remember what I shared earlier that I did this myself? I'm pretty sure I know what this is. Yep!
Cristina Amigoni: And we keep getting your written ones for some reason.
Bruce Montgomery: Oh, yes. That's all right. That's okay. We'll see what the next one is. So this is number 49. The quote is, “Eventually I saw that the path of the heart requires a full gesture, a degree of abandon that can be terrifying. Only then is it possible to achieve a sparkling metamorphosis.” So that's by Carlos Castaneda. It's also known as Changing. It is called I’m a little butterfly. So for those of didn’t know, A Bug’s Life.
Cristina Amigoni: I love that character [inaudible 00:38:52].
Cristina Amigoni: Did not age yourself at all.
Bruce Montgomery: The journey that the caterpillar makes to transform into a butterfly is quite remarkable. After stuffing itself with leaves until it plumps up to a specific size, the caterpillar stops everything, hangs upside down and spins a silky cocoon, also known as a chrysalis. In that warm, inverted bed, the caterpillar basically dissolves itself down to its butterfly foundation. Seriously, it's a gooey mess inside the chrysalis as the transforming butterfly uses the larva liquid as fuel for rapidly dividing cells that are building the butterfly itself. We know. Eew! When the time is right, voila, the butterfly emerges out of the cocoon ready to fly.
Regardless of whether you like it, change is coming. Just like the butterfly, it's not sudden or rapid fire. Rather it is the deliberate and methodical transformation born of observation, research, tenacity and action. To make sure that the change goes as planned, you need to pay careful attention to preparation and detail.
Look around. It is critical that your team or organization not only supports the change, but is also laying the groundwork for the appropriate timing. Timing is key. You need to balance all factors with regards to people, process and/or technology.
A butterfly will come out of its cocoon only when it's ready, not a second before. Manage the timing for your change with the same precision. Address any discord quickly and efficiently. People fear change. Be prepared to communicate and then communicate again and again. People are weird. Put plans together that best address uncertainty, then turn your attention to leading the change by wholeheartedly embracing the transformation. Ooh, it’s deep.
Gail Montgomery: Ooh, I like it. Okay. And your actions. First, make sure you have a single well-defined goal. Describe the goal with clarity of purpose so that others can easily unite behind it. Make sure the goal is finite and measurable, then socialize it with your team or organization. Second, develop an action plan that allows you to meet your goal. Approach the action plan systematically and use incoming data and reporting to inform benchmarks along the way. They will be very important, because there may be those that are looking for proof that the change has value. Advertise and share your data. And then of course, correct based on the information you receive.
Third, develop communication and training plans and then execute tasks against them. This is classic change management here. Fear of change is a natural human response. Let's be honest, no one likes change. Therefore, be ready for resistance. Probably even from yourself, Cristina, huh? While you lay down the groundwork that demonstrates the value of the transformation. The proof will be in the pudding of your execution, so to speak. And everyone loves pudding. Unless it's dissolved caterpillar pudding. Again, eew!
Fourth, don't be afraid to fail. Celebrate it for what it is, a way of learning. We don't rant over a toddler when they fall as they're attempting to walk. We brush them off, get them smiling and send them back out there. You and your team should behave the same way. Entering into this time of transformation will be more fruitful if failing is understood as part of the deal. And you could consider taking an improv class as a team where you can laugh and fail together in controlled situations.
Finally, embrace your naysayers. There will always be people who believe that a change couldn't and shouldn't be done. Don't deny this. Approach them directly by engaging them to be a part of the team. Let them help you own the change. They will likely be able to influence other detractors as well. And your nugget of wisdom, trust in the process. Your wings will be there when you need them.
OMG! Did you not say right before this that Alex had needs to have wings? Or he will get his wings? Or something?
Alex Cullimore: He will get his wings.
Gail Montgomery: Am I right? I feel like you said that.
Cristina Amigoni: Crazy. I did say that.
Bruce Montgomery: What was your question, Cristina? What was your question?
Cristina Amigoni: So my question, interestingly enough, it's actually a little bit scary here. Not the question, but like the code and what the game actually came back with, because I actually have the words change in my question. Yes. And my question was, “ As a leader, how do I keep motivation going when there's this scope change in the project?”
Bruce Montgomery: Ooh, yes.
Cristina Amigoni: So with all of that, everything you were reading about, I could feel me and my multiple personalities going through, and my own resistance to change, and my own naysaying. As well as – Okay, and it's not just about me. So how do I bring this out? And it's that kind of, okay, just because we were caterpillars and we thought we were going to slime our way through the ground, for a while, we don't get to do that anymore. So we can still succeed. How do we look at it that way?
Gail Montgomery: Interesting.
Bruce Montgomery: Plus that concept of embracing your naysayers, and that naysayer may be you, right? Of how do we get this done even though it seems impossible? And when those people are the outside going, “It's impossible. It's impossible. Impossible.” How do you bring those people in to say, “No. It's still possible. And let’s just figure it out.”
Gail Montgomery: I even consider it to be – Like it could be yourself.
Cristina Amigoni: Yes. Exactly. Yes. Which, as a as a change management, whatever I am, I recognize my own resistance to change and all the stages of that.
Bruce Montgomery: We are so the cobblers of shoes, right? Like we believe in practice in these concepts of change and change transformation. And then when we turn to look at it and do it for ourselves, we just go “Oh, no, no, I'm fine. I'm okay. We're good.”
Gail Montgomery: I'm good. I’m good.
Bruce Montgomery: I don’t need help. You're going to laugh at what that turns into. So Cristina, what I've done while Gail was reading, is I've just turned this, where the stars were. I've just changed it to its opposite, right? And so that generated a new code. And that generated code that's right next door. It’s number 48.
Gail Montgomery: Which is strange. The two of you both did that.
Cristina Amigoni: I know. We read like Bruce's side of the book for some reason.
Gail Montgomery: Apparently.
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah. You like what I have to say. It's good. It's good. No, you can read it, but you're going to laugh because the quote is going to be about something we just described.
Gail Montgomery: Alright. So it's 48. Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I'm possible. Audrey Hepburn.
Bruce Montgomery: Hmm. Hold on. Hmm. Okay.
Gail Montgomery: Okay. So the source, right? So true colors. Do you recall the Cyndi Lauper valid from the 1980s True Colors? Believe it or not, the lyricist, Billy Steinberg, actually wrote it about his mother. No comment here. During the songwriting process –
Cristina Amigoni: [inaudible 00:45:58] commen? Macbeth? Hamlet? Which one was it?
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, exactly. [inaudible 00:46:03]. But during the songwriting process, the team quickly identified that the lyrics had universal appeal. Remember the lyrics, “And I see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors. That's why I love you.” That's good stuff.
Cristina Amigoni: That is good stuff?
Gail Montgomery: Right? Your goal right now should be to analyze the true colors of your own goals and decisions. Settle in and focus on identifying what you were meant to do? Do your actions support it? Are you aligning with what makes you most happy? Challenge yourself to follow the path that is illuminated by your own insightful research. Trust your instincts, and then line up your decisions accordingly. By looking deeply inward, you just might find a source support inspiration. Don't just stop there, though. Look at your team and team members. They are in desperate need of their own inspiration. Spend the time and effort to learn about their goals, their wants, their dreams.
As you uncover more about them, make every effort to assign roles and responsibilities that align with each of your team members true colors. You might even consider reorganizing the team. Avoid thinking that you have all the advice just because you've started down your own Cyndi Lauper path. Don't worry, you're well suited to provide guidance and instruction. It's just that you might want to make sure that people actually want your advice and input before you give it. You might be able to see all the colors in the spectrum, while at the same time have team members that are colorblind.
Cristina Amigoni: That's pretty amazing. I know. It’s pretty amazing. It’s uncanny, and excellent advice. Like I love the guiding light that I think it provides. Especially when we're stuck with some of these questions and issues, we tend to then not see the way out and just spin and spin and spin in place. And so we just need kind of like a beacon of like, “Hey, there's another way of looking at it. There is a light. You just got to be open to seeing it.”
Bruce Montgomery: Also, Cristina, just knowing you and knowing some of the things that might be going on, it's balancing the true color of who you are as a direction and a visionary of what you want to build and what you're trying to do compounded with this other work that's going on that is necessary work. And it can or cannot be exciting, depending on how you look at it. It's one of those things that I think that marries those two pieces together as you're going from a butterfly of transformation to also making sure that you're keeping the true color of your intention real and at the forefront. As I'm drawing. I don't know what this is.
Cristina Amigoni: Yes. It’s this slime that I'm bringing over from being a caterpillar into a butterfly.
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah. Just a little butterfly goo. Yeah.
Cristina Amigoni: It’s a little goo. Yes, caterpillar – Yes.
Gail Montgomery: Goo or glue?
Bruce Montgomery: So good. It's like Augustus in [inaudible 00:49:03] Chocolate Factory where he’s eating the chocolate, but it’s just butterflied goo.
Cristina Amigoni: No. No.
Gail Montgomery: No. That’s not what it’s like at all.
Bruce Montgomery: So good. [inaudible 00:49:10] changed.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah. Bruce, no. Did you hear that laugh? That was very like – Like evil conspirator.
Cristina Amigoni: Right back into improv.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, exactly, exactly. I think it's really telling. We did have someone ask us one time like, “Oh, I can see how someone would get something from any one of these chapters.” And we said, “Absolutely, of course you can.” it's just it's a lot more interesting, kind of back to your point, Alex, of thinking about it in a whole different way. Rather than making a supposition about what title of what chapter is somehow where you are, versus kind of the universe guiding you into this space to hear something you may not have considered
Bruce Montgomery: Well, and I guarantee you, if you went to the one that you suspected of where you are, you would hear the things that you wanted to hear.
Cristina Amigoni: Oh, yes.
Bruce Montgomery: Right? There’ll be all sorts of confirmation bias around, “Oh, yeah. No. I already knew that. I should be doing this.” As opposed to this kind of new way of thinking. I mean, if I think back to why we call this book Change, we had a lot of other titles. One of them was the Improv Ching, which didn't quite have the same ring to it. The Book of Changes is what the I Ching is the subtitle. It’s called the Book of Changes, or other title, if you will.
So we'd like that word change. And then we realize that as we were trying to go through our own transformation and then looking at the classic improv game change, which is where two improvisers come out on the stage, and there's a third improviser who sits on stage with a little bell. And the two improvisers start a two-person scene. And then the person sitting offstage rings the bell when they want that last sentence, or that last action done in a totally new or different direction. So you're forced to on the spot. If I said, “I love you,” and they said, “Ding,” I would have to say, “I want to have children with you.” “I hate you.” And then now the scene goes in totally different direction after those dings or those changes. That seems to be the underlying goal of what we were thinking about with this book, of how do we get people to think differently and go in a different direction that they never would have considered before?
Cristina Amigoni: Well, what I find fascinating too, is that, as you said, like I'm sure you can find some alignment and something resonating in whatever comes up from the game. And as you were reading the chapters to me, what I was thinking was like, “Yeah, none of that is to surprising. None of that is something I haven't heard before,” especially on the change management stuff. I've been preaching it for years. So hopefully, I've heard my own preaching. But also it's more about like, “Oh!” It's almost like a confidence booster of like, “I can do that. I can think that way. I can approach things that way. I can take those action steps.” I almost see like as an automatic coach. Like I now have the confidence to go off and be like, “Yep, I know how to approach the situation.”
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, like reinforcing, right? The knowledge that you already have. Reminding yourself that everything you need, all the tools are inside of you, right? And you just might need a confidence booster, or a reminder, a gentle reminder, and something to kind of, I guess, affirm, right? And it's like an affirmation really.
Bruce Montgomery: I would also say that this concept of daily practice, weekly practice, monthly practice, what you guys said in the very beginning, this concept of, “Oh, you do it three times.” And then that's enough practice. And then you're fine, right? Whereas coming from the coaching space, Cristina, which I know you have, this concept of it really takes commitment. It takes consistency. It is amazing. Like you guys have gone through how many podcasts have you done now? It's well over 50, right? Are you in the 60s now?
Cristina Amigoni: 56, 7.
Alex Cullimore: I think almost 56?
Bruce Montgomery: So with that in mind, just these steps forward of I want to put a goal out there. I want to do something. And then I march toward it on some daily or regular cadence. It's amazing how the world can change at that point, right? Certainly, you can change at that point.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, yeah.
Alex Cullimore: And it does change.
Alex Cullimore: [inaudible 00:53:38] metaphor, too, because the metaphor really can help you. Like you're saying, there's a good reinforcement just hearing some of the lessons before hearing it from another one. And the metaphor gives that a whole wrapper of like, “Now, I connect this dimension,” which sometimes can also give you an idea of the next place to step up. But it's a great like way people learn. Good story.
Bruce Montgomery: That's right. That's right. And we try to keep, certainly through the book, many of the comparisons are funny. Not all of them are. Not all of them are. But many of them.
Gail Montgomery: It's okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.
Bruce Montgomery: There are none that are funny in the first 32. That's all I'm saying. And then after that it gets super [inaudible 00:54:11].
Gail Montgomery: Yeah. Honestly, as soon as he tattooing, you knew who wrote that.
Bruce Montgomery: [inaudible 00:54:17] You say caterpillar goo and you know –
Cristina Amigoni: Well, and caterpillar goo. I mean, that was full on Bruce.
Bruce Montgomery: Maybe a little bit. Maybe just a little.
Gail Montgomery: Stay back ladies. He’s mine. And gentleman, and they. All of you. Just stay back.
Bruce Montgomery: Yes. Yes. Yes, indeed. I’m bespoken.
Alex Cullimore: So I 100% agree that this is – I love the mix up in the game to get you into thinking about just different ways. I think that is a great way to do it. I do want to highlight for anybody who just wants to get into this in a different way. You guys have a great appendix listed towards the back of where you have like a situation, here's a good metaphor to start with. So if people are a little leery of just trying. I hope that this has convinced you that like trying is a really fun way to do this, and that is a very helpful way to do it even if you think you have your theme in mind. But in case you didn't want to do the themes, you guys have a great appendix there to link you right to the game.
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah, that's good. Alex, just to give your listeners a couple of examples. We might say something like, “When you need to lead by blending into the background.” If you already know that [inaudible 00:55:19]. But when your goal is in sight, when you have an abundance of collective creativity. So those are just simple ones that you can look at and go, “Oh, that's code x. Let me go read that and see what I'm inspired by from that point forward.”
Alex Cullimore: It’s also a pretty fun way to come up with a question. Go through some of those situations and start to think about the ones that hit with you.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, right, right. Because you may have buried it, right? In your daily kind of just frenzy of working and getting involved in something, you may know something's going on. And yet you haven't kind of given it space on the surface to kind of live. And then you can be inspired by looking at that and saying, “Oh, yeah. No. I do have someone on my team who's not rowing the same way everybody else is. And what do I do about that?” right? So yeah.
Cristina Amigoni: Well, and there's an element of vulnerability that goes into actually asking the questions and writing it down outside of having to do it on a podcast. Even – And then saying it out loud.
Bruce Montgomery: We have a team that we worked with that they actually ordered copies for their 30 senior leaders. And the person who brought us in, their VP of HR, said is, “They're going to work it as a group.” So they're all going to do questions. They're all going to roll our throw coins. They're all going to get their code. And then they're going to share with everybody what the question was, what the code was, and what three things are going to take from the five tasks or five actions that they're going to apply right away. So really, interesting way to kind of take a leadership activity and ingest that right into daily working, your daily working cadence or processing.
Cristina Amigoni: Well, on a team collaboration activity, that's where you bring the vulnerability, your authenticity. Understand what people are going through. What are they worried about? And I'm sure that as they go through that, there'll be all sorts of surprises coming up from the team going like, “Oh, God! I had no idea that you were worried about that, or that was a question, or that wasn't clear from our boilerplate email communication we send out every week.”
Gail Montgomery: Right. Right. Exactly.
Alex Cullimore: I mean, everybody's sharing a little bit of the same caterpillar goo at that time too. So it’d be a really fun experience.
Gail Montgomery: Shared caterpillar goo. How about that?
Bruce Montgomery: You know what? You put it on a water cracker. Delicious.
Cristina Amigoni: It's a good thing I haven't eaten my lunch yet.
Alex Cullimore: My own recommendation for you.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah. Yeah. And it is interesting. You bring up a great point, and that you learn a lot about people when you find out what they're worried about, right. There's just a lot to discover there. And I think, as a team, if you're going through something like this, it's an immediate way to connect people, because regardless of their backgrounds, or personalities, the unifying connectivity really is the fact that they're seeking wisdom, right? And they're out there looking for the advice that's going to help them move forward from someplace that just feels cloudy to them. And so that in of itself is a vulnerable moment that is shared by everyone and yields great trust and an opportunity for that kind of development of a team that you don't always see in the day-to-day stuff.
Bruce Montgomery: Yeah. What is the last group activity that you've done with a group of leaders where the first question is, “Write down what you're most scared of? Now, share that with the group?” I've never –
Gail Montgomery: Yea. Or, yeah, write down what keeps you up at night, right? Yeah.
Cristina Amigoni: And it’s usually, “Do you have any questions? No. Okay. Let's move on.” [inaudible 00:59:03].
Gail Montgomery: Yeah. Yeah. Do you have questions?
Bruce Montgomery: Or it might be just, “Questions? No. Moving on.”
Gail Montgomery: Oh, my gosh, yes. That’s a fun person. [inaudible 00:59:17].
Cristina Amigoni: That’s a great leader right there.
Gail Montgomery: I love that. That should be the title of our next book. Questions? No. Moving on.
Cristina Amigoni: All you need is the cover. The rest is blank.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah. The rest will be blank.
Cristina Amigoni: Well, where can people buy this without caterpillar goo?
Gail Montgomery: Ah, yes. They can go to Amazon and get it through amazon.com. And also download it to their Kindle or to a Kindle app that they put on their phone or computer.
Bruce Montgomery: Or you can go to experienceyes.com We've got a tab there that's called our books. And it's got both the Improv Mindset and CHANGE! A Leader’s Guide to Fixing Sh*t as options. And then in the book, both in the Kindle version and in the paperback, there is a QR code that links you directly to the instructions. So if you were intimidated by the multistep instructions that we described with Alex and Cristina, there's a quick way to get a video of us just walking you through it. And it is us. And it is us in our daughter's bedroom showing you how to do this. So it's intimate. It's sweet. It's adorable. And we do it.
Cristina Amigoni: It's authentic.
Bruce Montgomery: It's authentic. It is true to us. That's for sure.
Alex Cullimore: We definitely are lucky to be able to do this with you guys as the author. So if people are looking to find and get in contact with you under the Experience Yes website as well?
Bruce Montgomery: That's correct. Or Bruce or Gail@experienceyes.com. You can reach out to us that way as well.
Gail Montgomery: Through LinkedIn is also a good way.
Bruce Montgomery: That's right. We have a YouTube channel, Experience Yes. We're on TikTok [inaudible 01:00:58].
Alex Cullimore: Getting that younger demographic.
Cristina Amigoni: I know. Way to [inaudible 01:01:05] yourselves.
Bruce Montgomery: We’re bailing that.
Gail Montgomery: Bailing it. Bailing it. We’re pretending, I’m sure. And boring 50-year-old.
Bruce Montgomery: Hey, there's a market for that. There is a market for that. Hey, and speaking of that market, video that we posted yesterday now has 466 views on TikTok. Suck it. We’re going viral.
Cristina Amigoni: You are going viral.
Alex Cullimore: Living the dream.
Cristina Amigoni: I know. I may actually have to use TikTok to check you guys out.
Gail Montgomery: Well, just like Carpool Karaoke. We do dashboard improv. So we throw on the radio and songs. And we are just us in the car. Whether it's chatting, or singing along, or talking back to the singer. It's our proof that improv is everywhere. And the more you do it, the more comfortable you get with the scariness of all the life that life has thrown at us. So, yeah.
Alex Cullimore: Those videos are great.
Cristina Amigoni: Yes, awesome videos. Definitely recommend them.
Bruce Montgomery: 466 views on TikTok. Boom.
Gail Montgomery: Yeah, yeah. That's all I'm going to say.
Cristina Amigoni: Was from the dashboard?
Bruce Montgomery: Yes. From the TikTok dashboard. Yes. Yeah, it was our last latest short little video on freaking the bed by Usher. That’s right.
Cristina Amigoni: Ooh, wow!
Bruce Montgomery: We're hilarious.
Gail Montgomery: We are hilarious.
Cristina Amigoni: I’m sure you are.
Gail Montgomery: Mostly me. Sometimes Bruce.
Bruce Montgomery: That’s right. I look pretty.
Alex Cullimore: Thank you guys so much for joining. This has been truly a blast. And we're so glad to be able to do this and so glad to be able to do the game too. That was very fun and very illuminating. I hope everybody gets a chance to do it. But check it out on Amazon, on Kindle, and check out Experience Yes with Bruce and Gail.
Bruce Montgomery: Awesome. Thanks, guys.
Gail Montgomery: Thanks, guys.
Cristina Amigoni: Thank you, everyone.
Cristina Amigoni: Thank you for listening to Uncover the Human, a Siamo podcast.
Alex Cullimore: Special thanks to our podcast operations wizard, Jake Lara; and our score creator, Rachel Sherwood.
Cristina Amigoni: If you have enjoyed this episode, please share, review and subscribe. You can find our episodes wherever you listen to podcasts.
Alex Cullimore: We would love to hear from you with feedback, topic ideas or questions. You can reach us at podcast wearesiamo.com, or at our website, wearesiamo.com, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. We Are Siamo is spelled W-E A-R-E S-I-A-M-O.
Cristina Amigoni: Until next time, listen to yourself, listen to others and always uncover the human.
Chief "FUN" Officer and Co-Founder
As Chief "FUN" Officer and Co-Founder of ExperienceYes, Gail teaches folks about the importance of having an Improv Mindset. Widely accepted in many industries, learning the rules, and methodologies of improv helps companies get to solutions faster, develop high-performing teams, and increase emotional intelligence.
Industry agnostic, Gail works with forward-thinking organizations that are seeking to break OUT of the boring training and development of the past and jump IN to fun and experiential sessions designed for leaders and teams to be effective and successful in ambiguity.
Her unique approach to company challenges has increased team performance, communication, and creative problem-solving.
Gail has a BFA in Music Theatre, which is SUPER useful in the corporate world, and has experience in Human Resources, Change Management, and Training and Development.
She is Co-author of the book "The Improv Mindset", available as an audiobook and digital or print in English and Spanish on Amazon.
You can connect with her on LinkedIn
or through her website
Gail's book, The Improv Mindset can be found on Amazon @
Bruce has broad business leadership experience, ranging from leading the IT organization for one of the country’s largest non-profit theatre, to driving value through strong relationships as the leader of Key Accounts for a sports and entertainment analytics company (delighting top-tier clients such as: NHL, NFL, NASCAR, and The Shubert Organization).
Prior experience includes over 15 years in IT and Management consulting, where he focused on driving adoption through structured change management and training & development.
Bruce is passionate about business-driven creativity and innovation, focusing on driving adoption through experiential and immersive engagements. He places great importance on partnering with organizations to help develop healthy cultures that lead to measurable success.
He is involved with world-renowned researchers such as Charles Limb to better understand the inner workings of the brain while performing creative acts, and Ellen Langer to determine the best methods for increasing productivity through creativity. Much of these approaches are documented in the book he co-wrote with Gail – Brain Disruption, Radical Innovation in Business through Improv, which has been updated to The Improv Mindset.