Unlocking Connection: The Power of Thoughtful Questions in the Workplace

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish Steed

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

Unlocking Connection: The Power of Thoughtful Questions in the Workplace

Hosts: Steve Boese & Trish Steed

Guest: Topaz Adizes, Founder of The Skin Deep

Today, we met with Topaz Adizas from The Skin Deep to discuss the significance of asking thoughtful questions to build better workplace relationships. We emphasize the importance of creating a safe space for HR conversations and encouraged vulnerability to foster deeper connections among team members.

– The power of questions to create meaningful connections

– Using digital and physical spaces to facilitate collaboration and connection in work environments

– Using questions to foster team success in workplace settings

– Hopes and dreams for the future of a small business

– Q&A with Trish and Steve as they play “The {   } And”



Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

This episode of At Work in America is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement, and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. We’ve worked together with Paychex and 9 of our HR insider friends to assemble a comprehensive guide to HR tech in 2024.  With so many new technologies hitting the market and what’s quickly becoming an AI- obsessed work culture, it can be hard to find a starting point. This toolkit is the first step in cutting through all that noise. Grab your free copy today at paychex.com/awia. 

Transcript follows:

Announcer 0:00
Welcome to At Work in America, sponsored by Paychex. At Work in America digs in behind the headlines and trends to the stories of real people making a difference in the world of work. And now here are your hosts, Steve Boese and Trish Steed.

Steve 0:28
Welcome back to the At Work in America podcast. My name is Steve Boese. I’m joined by Trish Steed. Trish, how are you today?

Trish 0:34
I’m great. How are you?

Steve 0:35
I am well. I’m excited for the show today, we have a little bit of a different show coming up. And I think people are just gonna love it. It’s all about asking questions, powerful questions. Well, construction questions. It’s an interesting conversation for sure.

Trish 0:52
I will tell you in 30 years of being in the workforce, I have never, ever experienced questions like what we’re going to talk about today.

Steve 1:01
Yeah, I’m telling you, we’re pitching hard for the podcast interview to come up with Topaz Adizes from The Skin Deep. And I’m telling you, you want to listen all the way through, especially the last time on the show where we really start getting into the questions and why they matter and even sharing a lot ourselves, which is really cool and fun. So yeah, Trish, it was good stuff.

Trish 1:22
And I just hope everyone also clicks on the resources. Because whether you’re thinking about questions that you ask in the workplace, or in your own personal relationship, these are game changers for real game changers.

Steve 1:37
All right, good stuff. So that’s coming up before we welcome Topaz to the show. Let’s thank our friends at Paychex. This episode of At work in America is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. This year, it’s been a great year so far and will continue to be in HR tech. But while AI and automation could save you time, you still need to figure out how they’re really going to transform your organization, and where to even begin where to look where to start. What questions to ask. Well, Trish, we worked with our friends at Paychex and nine of our other friends industry insiders to assemble a comprehensive guide to HR tech in 2024. Featuring insights to help listeners assess shop and onboard new software that could help them save time, resources and money. With so many new technology solutions hitting the market and was quickly becoming an AI obsessed work culture, it can be hard to figure out where to start. The toolkit that we created with our friends at Paychex can help. So if you’re ready to get started this year and be successful, you want to go to paychex.com/awia and start your journey today. So thank you to them. As always Trish and thanks to you. And please enjoy the rest of the broadcast today.

Steve 3:05
We’re excited today to welcome our guest he is Topaz Adizas from The Skin Deep, and we’re going to talk about how to foster authentic human connections in the workplace, and how that can help achieve the organization’s overall goals. This is gonna be really fun shout Topaz is an Emmy Award winning writer, director and experienced design architect. He’s received an Emmy for new approaches to documentary and to World Press Photo awards for immersive storytelling an interactive documentary, and currently serves as the founder and executive director of the Experience Design Studio, the skin deep and he firmly believes that asking the right questions can catalyze challenge and shift the direction of our lives, allowing us to see ourselves and our relationships in new ways. Through well constructed questions. Barriers can dissolve walls can break and deeper connections can be forged Topaz studied philosophy, and then it said philosophy majors wouldn’t amount to anything. Here’s that wrong today. There we go. I would have probably went philosophy my dad hadn’t said what are you going to do with philosophy? Great. All right. I digress.

Trish 4:09
Emmy award winning writer.

Topaz Adizes 4:11
Trust me, my dad’s just as surprised.

Steve 4:13
Yeah, all dads would say that right? Yeah, Topaz studied philosophy at Berkeley and Oxford. He speaks four languages. We’ll stick to English probably on this show, I think currently lives in Uruguay with his wife and two children Topaz. Hey, how are you? Welcome to the show.

Topaz Adizes 4:27
Oh, awesome. Awesome. Thanks.

Steve 4:31
Before we get into The Skin Deep and asking questions and breaking down barriers, who tell me your favorite philosopher of all time, I must know.

Topaz Adizes 4:39
We’ll go with it. Well, it’s a it’s between Wittgenstein and oh my god, how am I blanking on my favorite is the Danish

Steve 4:50
Kierkegaard maybe?

Topaz Adizes 4:52
Yes, Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein. It will be between those two I probably go with Kierkegaard but I really love Wittgenstein because he changed his opinion. All right, and he was not a full time. Like he went and did other things. And he will actually was one of the richest men, or was a very wealthy individual, wealthy individual and gave all his money away to his family, and said, Why have you gave the money back to your family? I mean, they were only wealthy like, exactly, they’ve already been spoiled by money. And I just thought that was an interesting character. But him and Kierkegaard.

Steve 5:24
We will cover some of the rest of this on like on the other podcast like Kierkegaard weekly or something.

Topaz Adizes 5:33
That’s not what this shows about. Focus, focus.

Steve 5:36
That’s right. So welcome, Topaz, tell all right, you’re here. Trish. I know you have like some backstory. I didn’t even know this before the show you you mentioned, you know, like sort of start, right.

Trish 5:49
So I’m a fan girl, obviously. I mean, this was this is one of those things, Topaz, we get a ton of pitches every single day. And I normally don’t pay that close attention to it, our producer kind of culls through them. And then you know, bubbles things up. And I saw yours. I went, Oh my gosh, I’m so excited. So obviously, we’re going to be talking about your new book. But we’re also going to talk about your own tic tac I mean, so you are hitting the masses, basically, everywhere we are right, with the teachings that you have around how we can make these better connections.

Topaz Adizes 6:23
Yeah, well, we kind of my team and I, we see ourselves as the digital dose of humanity, like that corner of the internet where you can reaffirm your sense of humanity and connection. So we’ve been what know in our in our 11th year. And you know, if you go to any of our channels, hopefully that’s what you’ll get.

Trish 6:42
Well, I appreciate all the time and effort you put into all of the ways that you’re connecting with us, because I kind of get off the tip type bandwagon in a second. But for me, it’s being able to learn how to be better at connecting not just with my co workers, like Steve, but also with my family. I think the you know, the videos that you share are really impactful because you’re teaching all of us to ask better questions. And to get deeper answers. Can you talk a little bit about how did you get into this work? Right, you get this wonderful degree, right? And you set off to start your career what the lesson on how you got to where you are right now?

Topaz Adizes 7:27
I think just, I think a turning point for me was one night I went I kind of went to find myself, if you will, as a young man, I knew I was very fortunate. I had, you know, I had a college degree, I could always go work for my father, my parents were healthy. I was healthy, I had an opportunity to go and explore. And I was curious about the world, I was curious about myself. And I realized I took a camera with me. And in my travels, I realized the camera was a door opener. The camera was a bridge, it enabled me to have conversations with people ask questions that I maybe wouldn’t otherwise have, are you able to follow them and started making documentary films? And, you know, you’d wonder what why is this person falling around with the cat, you know, falling around? Well, if they have a camera, also in this kind of justified, so the camera became a powerful tool of seeing other people’s way of being in living. And so after doing that for, you know, 20 years, I really was focused on I really was focused on the question of housing, emotional experience of being human shifting, in lieu of all this technology that’s coming around. Right? I mean, how are we late? How are we relating to each other differently? Now that we have cell phones and direct messages and social media and dating apps? How are they? How is the emotional experience of being alive? Different? And that was a really interesting question for me. And that’s why 11 years ago, I launched a skin deep, which was an experienced design studio to explore that question.

Steve 8:53
And talk about that like, it’s such an interesting kind of concept and idea and also one that would be like, going back to the joke about our dads and a philosophy degree like, huh, like, okay, you know, I imagine there must have been a point yourself or others in your life, loved ones, etc, said, Well, what does that mean? Exactly? I understand what making documentary films means I understand what being an author or journalist means. How to explore humanity and and build better relations. Like that sound. What is? Yeah, going back to your PhD in philosophy?

Topaz Adizes 9:28
I think that’s a great question. So I think there’s a common theme and like, take home value right now for listeners, if there’s anything that I want to share it out is pay more attention to the question than the answer. Because there’s so much power in the question. When I went to study philosophy actually believe it on my dad urged me to go study philosophy. Why did he urged me is because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. And he says, What and he and I kind of had conversations and we realized, you know what, let’s study philosophy. Let’s like grew rising, just study philosophy because that teaches you how to think and how to question of which you can then apply to whatever you’re interested in. So it was a wonderful base. So it’s been a question. That’s why I see in my life, and that is that driven by questions, then offers you different opportunities. And we don’t pay that much attention to the questions, we pay more attention to the answer. But if we paid attention to the question, and we shift it, then other opportunities emerge. And I think there’s a great deal of power in that that’s what I’ve seen from just the practice of this 11, the last 11 years, you know, we’ve been bringing people into a room together, who know each other, whether they’re family members, lovers, best friends, they face each other, we give them questions, and they have a conversation. And I’ve seen in that context, over 1200 different conversations, the power of the question, to create a new connection to create a new moment that can illuminate your threat of connection with another.

Trish 9:30
So you mentioned the face to face component. And I was going to ask you about creating the space to have these conversations. Can you tell us a little bit about because again, what I’ve seen is definitely not just face to face, like need a knee often, right? Very, very close contact when you’re having these questions. But even in a in a work sense. Often we’re over the phone or on a zoom or something like that. How can we create better conversational moments? And thinking about the actual space we’re in while we’re doing so?

Topaz Adizes 11:38
Great question. It’s a great question. Because I think one thing we’ve learned is you a need the space and well constructed questions, if you have that combination, that creates an experience for people to connect on a deeper level. So what I mean by the space, I mean, intention, and intention is different than an agenda. Okay? Intention is where you begin. Agenda is where you end up. Right. And I don’t mean agenda, like, here’s the agenda of the meeting. I mean, you have an agenda in the meeting, my agenda, and the meaning is to get everyone to feel or think this way or say this. But the intention is we want to have a meeting about this, to explore this. And where it ends up is where it’s going to end up. But I don’t have an agenda. So create the space agenda, hey, team, we want to have a conversation about this issue. Where it’s going to end up is one thing, maybe knees end up in a certain place, but then you make the clear intention, this space, we’re transitioning from this kind of conversation, to another kind of conversation. It’s about spaces, right? It’s like, we have spaces in our homes, where we cook in the kitchen, and we sleep in the bedroom. But we’re not going to cook in the bedroom, and we’re not going to sleep in the in the kitchen. How do we have certain kinds of conversation spaces in the workplace? Right? How do we create that? So you create intention and you articulate it? Then the second thing is, well, now when you well constructed questions. And when you have a well constructed questions, and there’s, we’ve learned, there’s five traits, if you will, there’s five parts. So good question. If you have them, they’re really helpful. But then that starts creating new pathways to connect people and ideas. So they explore in their relationship in a new way that they haven’t. So just to land the plan on that an example of that would be sit there with your team and you say, Alright, how much does increasing our sales cost us? Our effort to increase our sales? What does that costing us? And I don’t mean, I mean, emotionally between us and our relationship? Or what is one? What is one value that we do not share with our clients? You don’t often ask yourself that. Yeah, but just asking a question like that goes, Oh, okay. Now, let me try to explore that. And you can have a conversation. So when you have these questions, that that put two things that are not usually connected, that creates a space a pause. Where you in this teaser, oh, let’s look at that.

Trish 14:13
I like how in the sales question example, you inserted the part about how that affects us, or costs us each emotionally? I don’t I have been in a number of sales meetings, and we’ve never explored something that personal.

Topaz Adizes 14:30
I think it’s, I think, like you said, Steve, at the beginning of this conversation, we spent so much time at work on a majority of our times at work. So how do we make the most of that and what is the function of being at work? It’s what it’s a great impact. It’s also financial return and stability for you and your family. What is it and then if we’re working together, how do we make the most of the time we are spending together so that we can all achieve our goals and the biggest component in my opinion, is the human’s ability to work together.

Steve 15:01
Yeah, we’ve seen the importance of collaboration increased dramatically, certainly through the pandemic era, as Trish alluded to, right where now we’re so much virtual, and many organizations, still quasi virtual are still virtual at all. And understanding and figuring out how to both connect with people and work with them more effectively has become so important for organizations. And honestly, and this is a little tangent, not really sort of the agenda, if you will, of our show today. But you think I wonder if that’s why so many of these bigger companies are calling people back into physical offices more frequently, because they just can’t figure out how to get people to connect with each other and to collaborate and they’re, they’re struggling. Now that won’t solve the problems dramatically as topaz, you’re nodding. And I think you’d probably agree with me that just dragging everybody back into the office to solve connection doesn’t solve creating, you know, shared spaces, effectively, etcetera. But I wonder if that’s part of what’s going on?

Topaz Adizes 15:54
Well, the reason I’m running my head is because I think we asked just us about spaces and know the Zoom space, the room we’re in now, or any virtual space has a different power, or ability that physical reality does not have. And so being aware of where you are, and using the space, digital or physical to your advantage, we should do. Yeah, and what I mean by that in the Zoom Room, right, in the Zoom Room, you can have 30 people, everybody and a medium close up. In physical reality, that is an impossibility. If we get 30 people in a room together, maybe the person and we’re sitting in a semicircle, no table or in a circle, you know, and there’s no tables. Imagine that person to my right and left, I see them a medium close up. But the person that’s across the room, I see his full body, I don’t really see his face, his clothes, or her face. But in the Zoom Room, you can see 2530 people’s close up faces at the same time, which is another level of intimacy. Now what’s different, so then you can use that to your advantage. What’s different about the Zoom Room, one difference is in the Zoom Room and physical reality is that in physical reality, when you’re about to have a meeting, there’s a warming up period. And I mean that just physiologically, you’re sitting at a table, someone walks in the room, you see them, they get closer, they’re 10 feet away, than they’re eight feet away, then they’re four feet away, then they sit down and now Okay, so there, there’s like, you have time to kind of acclimatized as they come to you. And when the meeting is over, goodbye. See you later, where you going to maybe walk to the elevator, there’s also deep like, you know, re acclimatized to, we’re separating. So there’s a distance growing distance, right? You see them go away. In the Zoom Room, it’s click on, click off, right? There’s no warm up.

Steve 17:43
It’s like Star Trek, just being beamed into temptation.

Topaz Adizes 17:49
So in your meeting, if you’re aware, okay, that’s the case, let’s warm up the space. Let’s have give people the sense of coming to the meeting. This gives people the sense of leaving the meeting. And just being aware of the physical and digital space you’re in and using it to your advantage, I think is super helpful. And that’s part of what I mean by creating the space. Yeah.

Trish 18:11
I’m so glad we’re going really deep on this question to which, as you’re talking, I’m thinking about, I spent a good chunk of my career working in human resources about 20 years. And, you know, we have all different kinds of conversations. And the only time I can recall an entire career of creating a separate space was if I was going to terminate someone. Because when you’re so I guess my question is going to be around creating space specifically for the listeners that happened to be in human resources in some capacity. So I, I didn’t do it intentionally. But unintentionally, I created the space that my office as HR was a safe space to come talk to me. And that people wouldn’t worry because people worry about talking to their HR people. What advice would you give us if you’re in a role where people have to be on edge that if you talk to them, you might be letting them go? Which again, happens very rarely, when you think about it. Most of the interactions your HR leader or HR manager will have with you are probably positive, right? But there’s always that fear, kind of like going to the principal’s office and school. Do you have any recommendations for how they can think differently about the spaces they occupy or setting the stage, if you will? Indeed, dealing with different types of conversations.

Topaz Adizes 19:35
Different types, I think I have an answer how to avoid the termination conversation and send the space. I don’t really know because, but in my team, we have four kinds of meetings. Actually, we have five and whenever someone sets a meeting, they let everyone know what kind of meeting it is. This is a brainstorming meeting. So then everyone knows Oh, it’s a brain So I’m meeting, which means the kind of attitude is yes and yes and yes, and, and we know we are not what we call CP, which is committed and proceed, which is a clear delineation from ideation to execution. And we say CP that which means, okay, we have moved from brainstorm, we have decided what we’re doing. And now we’re going to execute that. So that we’re not going to discuss execution again, because about that subject, because we just said it. And the next time we discuss whether we’re doing it or not, or what happened was after we did it to debrief and see the results, okay, and what did we learn? So, when I say brainstorming, then people come to me and they go, Okay, this brainstorming meeting, I’m not wondering why we’re talking about talking about talking about but don’t do anything. Because really, this is a brainstorming meeting, you have another kind of meeting, which is systematizing meeting, which is, hey, we’re gonna meet here, like, who’s doing what, by when and checklist. And so sometimes you might show up to a meeting, and you’re like, my manager is talking down to me, my team members, he just wants to know, information. It’s not really my opinions like, well, that’s because you’re not in that kind of meeting. So that’s kind of creating the space. What kind of meeting are we on, maybe you have a mean, that’s purely social. And it’s just shooting, you know, talking about and some people just waste their time. No, this is us just socializing, getting to know each other as human beings. And so therefore, it’s managing expectations, creating the intent learning, particularly the intention for the space is manage people’s expectations. It’s also given them permission for how to be. And if you if you don’t make that clear, then people are have different expectations, they’re not sure what’s being and then there can create some tension. In terms of the termination. Obviously, you can’t let someone know we’re gonna have a meeting, because it’s going to be up for termination. So I don’t really know the best way to handle that.

Trish 21:45
I will you know what, though, I will tell you, I’ve always told people, I will never terminate you in my office. So people did know, it was a little bit of a heads up. I mean, it wasn’t going to change the outcome. Now, this was again, presume, right. But I did, I did give them the expectation if you’re coming to me on a different floor. Maybe in a weird way that is that sort of preparing yourself for the conversation? I don’t know. But I do think there’s a lot of room for improvement on how we both bring people into an organization and how we exit them. And I think, Gosh, even on the types of meetings at Steve and I, we have lots of team meetings, I don’t think we’ve ever broken it down. We try and jam every single thing in.

Steve 22:33
It’s a really good concept. Topaz, you know, and I think one is that would be really, really helpful in many situations where, especially ones where you walk into a meeting, thinking one thing is going to happen, and something else happens completely. Or as you said, maybe you shouldn’t have even been there in the first place where you felt maybe you weren’t respected or heard, or we even had the chance to participate.

Topaz Adizes 22:54
And it’s also a good idea, especially you just say like we’re having a brainstorm meeting, and then you say, we’re gonna have a brainstorm, and then the execution meeting, meaning who’s going to execute. Sorry, it’s brainstorm, and implementation. So you so people know this is going to come out with a result that we’re going to decide what we’re implementing. The first phase is brainstorming, we all arrive, we discussed brainstorm. And we make a clear point. Now we’re moving into the implementation part of the meeting, which is a different energy. So you know, and sometimes maybe you want like a day between the brainstorms you let’s see what kind of percolates and what comes up, and then we come back for the next. But just setting the expectation setting the space is super helpful. I think also, questions are super helpful. And for HR, and I just want to throw this out at you, because I haven’t had this conversation. So I want to see what you think about it, which is what if we should and this speaks to the power of well constructed questions. What if instead of job descriptions, we had a job question. So instead of saying your job as a say, HR development is, you know, these are your KPIs. It says your job, your job question is, we can create whatever it is, but for this one, I’ll just throw out what if your job question is, as HR development head is, how do you make every team member in this company feel as though the company would not be the same without them? More than the question, but that’s your question to solve. You know, CEO, how do you shape the culture of this organization such that it can most offer value to its clients or customers or the market, while at the same time growing your team members so that they are executing at the full capabilities? That’s your question. Yeah. Like, what do you guys think about?

Steve 24:44
I think that that’s a good concept. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like that.

Trish 24:49
I haven’t and I apologize. I’m being quiet because I am someone that needs to percolate a little bit on these things, but I I would think that would be extremely helpful. It’s almost like your own individual. Jul mission statement along with sort of the canned job description, things you’re supposed to be doing right? A lot of people don’t know how to connect what it says in the job description to what they’re actually doing day to day. In the last five or six years, specifically, there’s been more of a focus on the skills within a job description. So I like that idea of having a question, though, to kind of back to even with the meetings, right, you’re setting the intent of your role with that organization, or your expectations, right, you’re setting that intent, I love that.

Topaz Adizes 25:36
I wonder about the questions because I feel like things are changing so fast, you had an episode talking about AI and how that’s affecting the workplace. Right? A few I think two or three episodes ago, we all know that there’s all these new tools out there, the markets are changing, the knees are changing, things can go viral. It’s like, it’s so fast that if you say this is what you’re doing, Jen, as a team member, as an executive, as a manager, you might be missing the opportunities. Because you’re looking at the thing you’re supposed to do or the answer you’re fulfilling versus the question that’s giving that that that that answers answering, that if you give it a can’t question, then now you have a slightly broader viewpoint on your role and what you can do.

Steve 26:20
I think, and that’s something tough as I think I want to just focus on it, you know, sort of has pivoted that right you the power of these questions in particularly in these workplace settings, where we’re trying to understand what it is we’re trying to do what success looks like, how can the team meet our various challenges while supporting each other? Right? Because that’s the CEO question, as you mentioned, right? The potential CEO job question, then elicits lots of other questions, right for individual teams in the organization, individuals. The Skin Deep creates tools, right to help organizations, they, as you said, with these powerful and well constructed questions, I’ve got a bunch of them, I’m holding, they’re very hard to see on my very bright zoom. But as as you guys were talking a second ago, I was looking at them. And this is from the set the D and co workers edition. And we can talk about how you find these and get them and the team was gracious enough to send me this box a few weeks ago, topaz, and I’m reading like the first one I just pulled randomly out of the pile. And it’s the question is what would have to happen for you to feel that we were incredibly successful? Right? I think that’s an amazing question. Because I don’t think I’ve ever in a workplace context ever heard anybody express this idea of what does success look like? White that way? Right? Other than it’s a million dollars in sales, or whatever, right? Those numbers would be for a given organization. And I think I’d love for you maybe to help us help how organizations could use questions like that one and other questions that come in, there’s almost there’s one or 99 questions here. But like, how do we get started with that? Right? Because it’s one thing to say, Okay, give me all these questions. I mean, do organizations just sit down and say, Hey, we’re gonna just start talking about them? Let’s pull one out of the pile and go, like, what’s the I don’t even know how to get? My answer is because they’re so fascinating. I could spend like, three days on them probably.

Topaz Adizes 28:25
I’ve been told by the people who use them in workplaces, that that’s our most powerful product, and that we should have a whole other line with a much higher price, like I’ve been told that that is led to the most powerful meetings in some of the conference.

Steve 28:39
I believe that just from reading the pilot bar, yeah.

Topaz Adizes 28:43
And the reason it works, in my opinion, is you create the space, how do you create the space? Hey, I got a box of games here. Questions is a game. Oh, it’s a game. And the rules are here. It says, basically, we will ask each other questions. But one key rule is you do not have to answer if you don’t want, you have the right to pass. Because you’re not forcing anyone to give it to you earn the right to pass by simply looking the other person in the eye for 10 seconds or being silent for 10 seconds saying pass so you’re not required to answer. Those are the rules. This is the space, we’re gonna ask these questions. Okay. And then we have well constructed questions like that one. And I think I that’s the way I would play it. Okay, just bring it into a room. And then you can either say, you know, you just each person, you pass it around each because the question reads it out loud, and every person in the team answers it at the skin deep. Every Friday, we have a debrief call and our team, and we’ll choose a deck. And that’s what we’ll do. We’ll just I’ll choose a question. And I’ll say, I’m going to ask you Trish, you know, and I pull out a random question. I asked Trish the random question. Let’s pull up and then you will answer Trish. And Trish will then ask, Hey, I want to ask you, Steve, and then you say stop, and then you pull that question. So, you know, there’s different ways to play but I think it’s simply As like we’re playing this card game. And then these questions come up, and the conversations to be had. And even if people don’t articulate the answer, you know, everyone’s thinking about it. They’re thinking about what they would say, or thinking about what you’re going to say. And then, then you’re now the seeds can start to blossom slowly over time, because you’re opening the space for exploration.

Steve 30:21
Trish, we’ve got some of the questions here in the show notes as well. And I’ve got I’ve got all the questions here in this box, do you want to like, like the idea we had for a tour? At the second part of the show, or the end? Part of the show is you and I would do a couple of these. Because we’re co workers. Right? We are the we are geniuses behind bars.

Trish 30:41
I’m so nervous.

Steve 30:43
Want to ask first, you ask first.

Topaz Adizes 30:47
It’s got to be random. But it’s got just you know, it’s just random. I’ll tell you why. Because the person who if you’re going to choose a question, Steve, now you’re have power because you’re selecting I noticed it’s random. I’m gonna do random and you’re like, flicking through needs. She says stop. And you take that. And now it’s fate. Right? It’s fate and that most important part.

Steve 31:11
I did have some I was reading that I’m not I’m just assuming I don’t know what it says. You’re ready. Okay.

Trish 31:16

Steve 31:16
I love this question. Oh, gosh, how do you hope this year will be different than last year? We’re about halfway through the year. So it’s a good barometer right to sort of top down. What it can tell me is my allowed to rephrase the question, what is it you want to do H3 related work related? Maybe you haven’t done before, didn’t do last year that you maybe should do this year?

Trish 31:49
I think the first thing that just popped in my mind was I wish that in the coming year, we were together in person more. Okay. Because as background, we always lived in different cities. But we pre COVID saw each other, probably 40 times a year at different events or work meetings and so forth. And I think it makes it easier to work with Steve, when we’re together. Like we’re both big creative minds. So we brainstorm a lot together. So definitely not seeing each other. We still do it. But it’s harder. So I hope.

Steve 32:36
I think our side and you know, I did not know that was not something we’ve discussed. No, we’ve never talked about that would not have known that about sort of this our business and our partnership. Yeah. So that’s great. I like Yeah, cool.

Trish 32:49
Good. Well, you have the card deck. So do you want to go through or?

Steve 32:53
I can pick a random morning, me pick a random one for you to answer. The next one Topaz is watching. I hope this is okay. I love it.

Topaz Adizes 33:00
I love it. I love it.

Steve 33:02
How do you hope our organization will change in the next five years. That’s a good one. That’s big five years is a big window. And I’m I don’t want to jump in to say maybe I’d be retired by then which is possible. I would say I would love to see us grow a little not not tremendously. We’re a very small company, I would love to see us be able to maybe pick up a little extra help, maybe to do some of the things that are a little, you know, maybe less creative that we have to do as any business must do. Right? Just the grind of being in business, and free up all of us currently here to maybe pursue the creative work that we all we all like to do. I would say that would be the main thing, I think, yeah. Try to get a little bit of grouse. Not massive. But some.

Trish 33:57
I like that. And we’ve never talked about that either. Yeah.

Topaz Adizes 34:00
But if we can, so we can tweak this question. To make it interesting just is one of the qualities about what makes a good question is what if we had the question? acknowledged your connection, your relationship? So if Trisha asked you that question goes, How do you think we see the future this company differently? Hmm, yeah. So that’s, you know, if I asked you that question, and Trisha, she didn’t care. And you would answer that differently, because it’s acknowledges the connection. And so he’s nice and questions to, I mean, the one you read in my debt and my co workers that does not do that, but adding to how to improve questions and make them better constructed, acknowledging the connection, like how do you think we see things differently? Or how do you think we see things the same or what you know,

Steve 34:43
but one of the themes Topaz interest you and I’ve looked through a lot of these questions, even when we got them and then just today as well, but I really think one of the things why we wanted to do this on the podcast as well, Topaz is for folks who haven’t seen these questions or haven’t thought about sort of having a meeting in this fashion is just really What how it makes you think how it challenges you, and how all of a sudden people are sharing things that not they didn’t share before, not because they didn’t want to, or they felt afraid to or they or felt scared, or they just weren’t asked like, and they didn’t think to share it. Right? Nobody asked me that question before and it can’t add as many of these and maybe most are very powerful.

Topaz Adizes 35:22
Well, I think especially for managers, there’s so much pressure to have the answer. Yeah. And it’s quite vulnerable or a different approach to have the question. Wow, yeah, that was really quiet about it, just, you know, the better quality questions and then let the team answer. And there’s a lot to learn from that. Yeah, I really constructed questions.

Steve 35:41
Yeah, I really think by by creating that starting point, right, which you guys have at the skin deep have created the starting points, these jumping off points that can lead to, I think, really powerful discussions in the organization, both managers to employees, teams, the teams and even attrition leaders as well, right. Like, Toby has invented a new process today with the job question, but I think that was new to me, but like, but they could also use them like I can even see like trash can, you could have walked in as the CHRO. Right? Can you have walked into the leadership team at the hospital, you worked out with this deck of cards and facilitated a meeting? I think that would have been incredibly fascinating. Have you been able to do that?

Trish 36:20
I think yes, I again, I think if you think of the people you’re with, you know, day to day, and a lot of people stay at jobs for a long time. And that might be a fun way to not become stagnant. In your meetings. I again, I think I’ve worked to many places where there isn’t that intention set forth before the meeting. So that’s super helpful. But even if it was just, hey, every meeting, we’re going to answer a question. And topaz, I’ve seen it both on on your sites, but also here in our conversation where you say, It’s okay, if someone takes 10 seconds to either answer it right, you sometimes miss when you’re asked something, you blurt it out really quickly what your answer is without any thought. And sometimes I think that’s what hinders us being taken seriously. I love that idea to have also telling people up front, we’re going to ask a question in the meeting today, right? We’re all going to answer but take your time. If you need to sit there for a full minute. And that’s be great. Right? Give people to me, that’s also space, creating space for them to think instead of just firing them right off, right?

Steve 37:33
Yeah. This is the coolest thing ever. Like I’m really jazzed up to how fun this is. But not just fine, right? Really powerful and impactful. Topaz, we’re like taking a ton of your time. I know we wanted to also not just talk about the card games, right? There’s a bunch of gun and there’s, there’s relationships, there’s workplace, family members, right, too.

Topaz Adizes 37:53
We have 12 different editions. So family, friends, couples, long term couples dating.

Steve 37:59
I’m imagining they’re equally interesting and challenging, much like the workplace.

Topaz Adizes 38:06
I would I would hope so.

Steve 38:08
I gotta believe it. Yeah. Topaz, we wanted to also mention your book real quick, before we let you go. Let’s talk about that a little bit.

Topaz Adizes 38:17
With 12 Questions for Love is a guide to intimate conversations and deeper relationships. So it’s basically a distillation of everything my team and I have learned from holding the space of these conversations for the last 11 years and 1200 conversations. And it’s basically putting the skill set in your hands so you understand how this works, why it works, and how you can create it yourself. That’s basically what the book is about. On a prescriptive level. If you want to have an incredible conversation, buy the book as a 12 questions. And there you go. You’re gonna have a conversational change.

Steve 38:49
I’m ordering. That’s it? For sure.

Trish 38:52
Yeah, you know, we’re gonna put everything in the show notes and on social media as well so that people can easily find you and find the cards and find the book. Sort of as we wrap up at first of all, thank you because I think you’ve given us not just some some new guidelines on how we can have better conversations from the start of someone joining the organization, maybe it would help them be on boarded better. If you’re asking better questions of them more meaningful, impactful questions at the front, all the way to We talked briefly on terminations, I can tell you that, that is one of the best opportunities to continue a meaningful relationship with someone even if they’re being let go from your company because they’re not a good fit for that particular role. They might boomerang and come back or they might become your customer one day, you just never know. So I would love to see how this expands over the next few years even in terms of the types of questions that people can dig in on and I really think that what you’ve created is is not just used for our personal relationships, but I think you’re gonna make a lot of work relationships better at these I really believe that.

Topaz Adizes 40:04
I hope so. Thank you.

Steve 40:06
That’s great stuff so we will put all the links you’re everywhere you said you’re on every platform where The Skin Deep is anyway we’ll make sure people can get get in touch with you find you find the book find these cards I’m telling you organization this is not a sponsor show by was not an advertisement. Very genuine, enthusiastic recommendation from me. So Trish as well I think so.

Trish 40:31
Can I offer Topaz that we do LinkedIn live Facebook Live, you know, X live occasionally, and we would love to have you come on in the future, maybe just to come and ask one question live. And we’ll see what happens to it.

Topaz Adizes 40:46
Absolutely. Would love to!

Trish 40:50
A few times a year we’ll have you on. Right.

Steve 40:54
All right. So The Skin Deep, Topaz, thank you so much for spending some time with us today. This was so much thank you for humoring us as well, because we kind of went a little bit around the block a little bit on you. But we came back to having a lot of really good conversations and learning something about each other learning something about our business, which honestly was I think that’s the point, right? If people listen to this and think back, man, we’ve been working together for a decade plus and all of a sudden one two simple, honestly, relatively simple questions. And now we’re talking about stuff we hadn’t talked about before. And that’s power right there.

Topaz Adizes 41:35
Thank you so much for having me.

Steve 41:36
Great, great stuff. All right. Trish, good stuff. I’m worn out from that. That was like mini therapy a little bit. We will tell everybody go get the show notes. Find The Skin Dep, HRHappyHour.net. Subscribe rate review all the things. We’re so happy. Hopefully Topaz will join us again soon. And Trish thank you so much fun, and thanks to our friends at Paychex of course. I wear their hats today because they’re awesome. Thank you. We’ll see you next time on the HR Happy Hour Network.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Leave a Comment

Subscribe today

Pick your favorite way to listen to the HR Happy Hour Media Network

Talk to us

If you want to know more about any aspect of HR Happy Hour Media Network, or if you want to find out more about a show topic, then get in touch.