Hear how anthropology helps you see your business through a fresh lens
It was truly a privilege and a pleasure to interview Dr. John Curran on our podcast. We met by way of LinkedIn, and I knew I had to share his story. Dr. Curran is one of the pioneers of organizational anthropology. Now remember, I branded myself when I launched my business as a corporate anthropologist who helps companies change. At the time, I didn’t realize there weren’t any corporate anthropologists. I also quickly learned that people engaged me because they really needed to change, but they didn’t know what I did, or why anthropology could be of value to their organization’s strategy or business model or culture. Along the way, they learned, and then they began to see their business through fresh eyes. You will too. There is so much to learn from this brilliant anthropologist and thought leader. Enjoy, and please share.
Watch and listen to our conversation here
What is organizational anthropology?
And how does it apply to organizations? Well, today you will learn. My guest Dr. John Curran combines his expertise in the social sciences and group dynamics with process consulting and executive and team coaching. We both share the same deep belief that anthropology can open doors for people to “see, feel and think” in new ways, in his case—as this relates to products and customer experiences.
You will enjoy listening to us compare notes on our experiences, and how hard it is for people to actually see the same thing, even when they are standing next to each other. Anthropology’s theory, method and tools are designed to help us step back and realize that there is no reality, only an illusion that we call our reality. It is through the stories we share, like the ones Dr. Curran discusses, that we can capture the minds and lives of others and help them change, hopefully for the better.
To learn more about the power of anthropology in business
- Blog: Will You Adapt Or Die? How Cultural Anthropology Can Transform Your Business Strategy
- Podcast: Gillian Tett—Why Can A Little Anthropology Help You And Your Business Grow?
- Podcast: Rita Denny—Maybe You Need Anthropology To See Yourself In New Ways
Additional resources for you
- My two award-winning books: Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business and On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights
- Our website: Simon Associates Management Consultants
Read the transcript of our podcast here
Andi Simon: Welcome to On the Brink With Andi Simon. Hi, I’m Andi Simon. And as you know, when you come to listen to us, I’m your host and your guide. My job is to get you off the brink. What I want you to do is see things through a fresh lens. I want you to see, feel and think about it in new ways so that you can soar again. Often people come to us, our clients, or the clients in my book, On the Brink, come to us stuck or stalled. They couldn’t see what was all around them. Individuals do the same as we coach them.
The challenge is how can a little anthropology help you see yourself and your business through a fresh lens. I’m so honored today to have with us for an interview that I just think is so remarkable is Dr. John Curran. Let me tell you a little bit about why I’m so excited and then you will be as well. Listen carefully. Dr. Curran is one of the pioneers of organizational anthropology. Now remember, I named myself when I launched my business as a corporate anthropologist who helps companies change. At the time, I didn’t realize that there weren’t any corporate anthropologists, much less that people bought me because they really needed to change.
What I did, they had no idea. So what I want you to listen to us talk about today is, what is anthropology and how does it apply to organizations. Dr. Curran combines his expertise in the social sciences and group dynamics, with process consulting, systemic executive and team coaching. See, we both sort of share the same kind of thing, and we research and work with senior leaders and their teams to develop dynamic collaboration for organizational cultures that connect their values with those of their employees and wider stakeholders. In short, John and I share a common world where we want to bring them the methods and tools of anthropology and that theory into organizations to help you do things better.
And humans are complicated critters. They hire me to help them change and then put me in the closet, lock the door, please don’t come out, “I hate change.” So it’s really interesting. So a little bit more.
Dr. Curran holds a PhD in social anthropology, formal training in organizational process consulting, executive coaching, systemic team coaching, a whole lot of stuff. He’s an associate consultant at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, which I hope you will talk a little bit about. He’s the owner of JC and Associates and a visiting scholar at the Royal College of Art in design anthropology. Now that we have so much good stuff to talk about today, it’s going to be such fun. His clients have included Coca Cola, Hallmark, Novo Nordisk, now J&J. Oh, a lot of the top companies and everybody else who wants to come and hear him talk. John, thank you for joining me. It’s been a pleasure to meet you.
John Curran: Oh, it’s absolutely wonderful to be on your podcast. And it’s one of my go-to podcasts. I learn from it all the time as well.
Andi Simon: Wonderful, then I will make sure that as I’m recording and bringing my guests that I’m your audience, it is interesting. John had a great article on how meetings are held. And I’ll get to that toward the end. We all are frustrated within ineffectual, dysfunctional meetings. And he said, just look at the roles people are playing and how they’re doing it. But let’s talk about you. What has your journey been? Share with us?
John Curran: Okay, it’s actually a privilege to share because you don’t really think about your journey much. And I knew you were going to ask me that question. So I did a little bit of thinking. And I guess I came into anthropology from a kind of indirect way. I think I became interested in culture, unknowingly. And my first ever real job was when I was playing, when I was 17, or 18. But my real job was probably when I was 20 years old. I failed all my exams at school, I was an undiagnosed dyslexic. So this idea of failing, it was, in that sense, you learned actually that you have to look in between the lines to survive. You have to hustle in a way, right?
So what I did was, I got a job as a keynote or domestic staff at a data center for the homeless in central London in Victoria. And it was run by Catholic Irish nuns. I was actually working with a homeless guy. And it was kind of fun. Then I started really taking on board the dynamics of what’s actually going on in France. It was a great kind of experience and journey. And in my early 20s, I started going to night school again and kind of got a diagnosis of dyslexia and got confidence back in me.
And it was then that I kind of realized, well, I’m not going to be able to do statistics, I need something that I can use my brain and my creativity, and this thing called anthropology emerged. And I remember reading quickly an introduction, you know, first few pages and shutting it, going, Right, that’s me, I’ve got it going. So I was very lucky. I went from Glasgow to the London School of Economics, which was the kind of founder of traditional British anthropology. And learned about Malinovski and all those great names.
And it was while doing my undergrad that I started working to make a little bit of money as a care assistant on psychiatric wards in hospitals and psychiatric hospitals. And it was then I realized that there’s my PhD, I’m going to do a PhD, I’m going to do it on the culture of psychiatric hospitals. And that’s it. So I spent two years being a member of staff and actually working the shifts as the ultimate participant observation for two years, and understanding power dynamics between the different sections, all the way from the domestic staff, all the way up to the consultant psychiatrists and the policymakers, and how that was played out and fluid and unpredictable on a daily basis.
So it was very much looking at the microcosms or the micro aspects of everyday culture, but making bigger theories around how policy and ideology and values and mission statements and actually how they actually do work out. So that was my kind of journey. I got my PhD and, and then it kind of developed from there. While I was writing my PhD, I got approached by Microsoft. This was completely outside my area. If I wanted to understand how people use mobile phones. That kind of led me for a few years into the world of innovation and the world of design and market research and advertising and branding. But I was always more interested in the aspects of organizational culture and group dynamics. And that’s where I sit now.
Andi Simon: Don’t you love it? I’m going to share just a smidgen of my own background. And you’ll know why, John, and I feel like we’re part of the same tribe, because I discovered anthropology as an undergraduate. And I went, Oh that’s me, just like you did. It was like an epiphany. And then I went to Columbia to get my last 18 credits in anthropology. I didn’t have to transfer. I went to Penn State, and it was just the depths of Conrad Arensberg and Mervyn Meggitt. And I mean, Ernestine Friedl became my mentor.
And it was like, how could you be the best in the world in a field that I just sort of became a religious believer in? I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do with it. But it sort of was who I was, as opposed to what I was going to do. When I met my husband 56 years ago, he said, What do you want to be now that you’ve grown up? I said, Well, I can either be an attorney or an anthropologist. He said, be an anthropologist. He also said, I’ll be here for you, which he is, but it was one of those supports. And I had no idea what it was going to be. But it’s served us well, hasn’t it? Wow.
John Curran: Yeah. I really like what you said there about how it kind of becomes part of you. So you don’t do anthropology for a specific career, right? You know, that’s a no-no. And it made me think about when I was doing my PhD at Goldsmiths University, which is part of London University. I had to do some seminar teaching for young undergrads. And what I would do, I’d get them to spend a week, and they would have to go and travel on London buses, you know, the red double decker bus, but they would have to spend half the week only going on the top deck. And then the second half will be going on the bottom deck. Look at the cultural differences of the two, so you could go into symbolism of gender or masculinity upstairs. And looking at binary oppositions and I remember the feedback that they gave me was, We can’t go anywhere now without looking at something logically. That’s right.
Andi Simon: And it only took that moment that you couldn’t bring them to Samoa, but you could put them on a bus, normal, comfortable, and give them a job to look at it through a fresh lens to see what was actually going on. And that’s when you say to people: humans are meaning makers, nothing exists out of context. And so the upstairs and the downstairs are two different contexts, same thing going on in a whole different fashion. You have had so many great experiences. Talk a little bit about how you got your PhD.
John Curran: Both fed each other. When I was working mainly in innovation, I would be wanting to add agencies to help the planners design and think in a certain way, anthropologically. The planners in advertising were very much anthropologists to a certain extent. But also when you think about innovation around medicine, or, you know, diabetes, the anthropologist can go and read it, understand how people live, are living out their experiences, how they might take, for example, a medical device that they use in their everyday lives, but how in their everyday lives, it has a different symbolic meaning. It isn’t just, it doesn’t just have the use value of say, administering insulin, it isn’t functional, it’s also part of the body. And when you bring in these anthropological theories and observations, you were able to work that back into the organization, like a medical device company, or pharmaceutical company, and challenge how they perceive the products that they they use as a means of being able to design for the person, designing for culture, designing for emotions, and not designing just for function.
Andi Simon: You know, it’s interesting, I was at an EPA conference a number of years ago, and one of the panelists said: “Why can’t we get our clients, the CEOs or the C-suite, to believe the research that we have done for them? They immediately deleted me. And I spent 10 years as an academic and then 20 years as an executive, helping banks and health care.” And what went through my mind, and I said it gently, was: They don’t trust what you brought back because you haven’t ever run the business. You’re helping them see something from the outside. You saw it, but they don’t trust that you really know what you’re saying. And if they had taken them with you, maybe they would understand what your experiences are to people? Do they really understand what you brought back to them? Do they apply it? How do we communicate? Because this is all about transformation.
John Curran: Exactly. Well, I think actually, Novo Nordisk, are a unique example, because they’re the ones who have got fantastic anthropologists internally. They’ve done some great work around ethnography, it’s very much part of their DNA. So probably a lot of their leaders will be going into the field as well or do go into the field. But if you think that by and large around companies, yes, this idea of when you do take execs into the field, it’s life changing. They all of a sudden realize that their products or the services that they’re offering customers, there’s a whole different world.
People appropriate brands, products, to fit into their lives, not the other way around. So then you’ve got another level, and then you start working well. If you’re looking at the values of your company, how do they align with the values of your employees, but also your customers, and then all of a sudden, you’ve got these kinds of concentric circles moving out and out, and then all of a sudden, you’ve got the holistic picture, and you can start thinking holistically with execs.
There’s also another problem, which has been around for many years, but this idea of risk. And when you’re coming back with just stories and insights based on theory, it’s not an Excel spreadsheet, it hasn’t got statistics, especially in a digitalized age with the world coming together. I think that’s probably less of a stigma nowadays. But, it definitely was a massive barrier. How do we quantify this? You know, we could do a survey of 10,000 people globally, but you’re going to only visit 20 people. I mean, that doesn’t weigh up, right? So you have to, there has to be a lot of education, a lot of even training for execs.
And the final area, which now does very much still exist, where this is what really put me back into the world of food dynamics and organizational culture, was silence. So if you’re thinking that you’re doing the best, most amazing piece of anthropological research around consumers, and you run the best workshop, and you’ve got whatever it is, everything’s on, it’s perfect. You’re not taking into account that the people who you are serving are coming potentially from cultures, organizational cultures, that are siloed.
So if you have engineers in the room, and you have marketeers in the room, and you have sales in the room, they are three different tribes. Different ways of thinking about what they need. They also need to protect their expertise, their identity, their subcultures, right? So if you enter this anthropology and we’re going to revolutionize it, we’re going to shock you, they will look at you and they will say, Oh, we can project back on to you, we’re not playing ball. So then you have to work in a different way with them. And you have to respect the silo, to a certain extent.
Andi Simon: The silo is there, and it’s not going away. And if you’ve hired people because they’re good engineers and good marketers and finance. You know, I was a bank executive. As you step back and you look, having conversations, even lunches with people, it was like, one was speaking Roman Latin, and the other was talking Greek and the words didn’t have any meaning for the other, and you needed a dialectician who could move from one to the other and make it real.
And as you try and make them now include the customer, who is a customer? And is it the buyer, or is it the user? And it’s a complicated world. And having said that, though, corporate anthropologists, anthropologists in general, have had a far better time of it recently, over the last I’ll say, five years or so, then earlier because we were academic misfits. I tried to hire someone from a university for a client and they said, no, we’re just training them to be academicians. I said, wouldn’t it be nice if they could help a business do better with their academic expertise? It was most interesting.
But I do think that business, the fact that Intel had anthropologist Genevieve Bell there, Microsoft has them, the government uses them. I think there’s a growing awareness that we don’t know what we don’t know. And design thinking has made ethnographic work extremely important, but it goes out and starts by observing. And you’re doing design work as well. What kind of work are you doing with the design anthropology?
John Curran: But the sort of design anthropology came about, again, out of the innovation, where I would be looking, and I’d be always very interested in. We could look at products and how people actually use products, as I’ve mentioned previously, but what I was, and I’m still very interested in, is the workplace. Some people say, anthropologists are designers by default. To some extent maybe. I think there was a lovely crossover there.
Traditional anthropologists aren’t really coming to a conclusion. They’re leaving things hanging, where the designer needs to finish something. But what I will be doing is talking to the world of design and architecture as well, around what does a workplace actually mean and now the unknown, that we’ve got differences with hybrid work and post COVID. But you know, what’s the symbolic goodness of space?
And a wonderful example, actually, was when I wasn’t a part of this. But when Lego started up their new headquarters in London, they used to have signs, which were little cardboard cutouts of VW camper vans, saying, Don’t park here. Meaning, you must be on the move, don’t make a place permanent in the workplace. Don’t eat your food there. And people started rebelling against that. That kind of thinking. Well, actually, if I want to eat my granola at my desk, I should be allowed. I should be allowed to do it. And that’s a really brilliant sign that you can think that you can design, affection that’s going to enhance collaboration and well being and all these things.
But if you’ve got a management system that is dysfunctional, it doesn’t matter what type of sofa, how many table tennis tables you’ve got, or how much free beer is on Fridays, it doesn’t work. So you have to actually think about what you’re designing for the unconscious as much as the actual function as well. So that’s what I try and put in the times. That’s what I do.
I think that’s a key thing of anthropology: to take what is given as a norm…I use kind of a brutal thing…you get a sledgehammer and you dismantle that normality. And that’s what the anthropologist does. You don’t take anything for granted. And you’re looking in between the lines. It’s a classic thing if you read Shakespeare, or Hemingway, or you read, you know, Alice Walker, you’re not reading the words, you’re not reading the sentences, you are feeling an emotion and you’re interpreting what’s going on. So that’s why the two of us could read the same novel and have a different interpretation. And that’s anthropology as a kind of ethnographic text, ethnographic writing. It’s interpretive. It’s extremely powerful.
Andi Simon: It is and it’s also the secret of our success, isn’t it. And so this is so interesting. So I made a note as I was thinking about this because Lego had an idea that really, maybe never they asked their folks about it, I’ll make it up. And it didn’t work the way they had anticipated. It always is interesting to me how a group of people, call it the senior folks, have an idea. And they forget that the folks who they are giving it to have no idea what they’re telling them, what the story is, what the expectations are. They’re not engaged in the design, and somehow they think it is going to percolate down. It doesn’t work that way.
And humans have stories in their minds. And we’ve learned from the neurosciences and cognitive sciences that you live your story. And you’re usually the hero in it. So I noticed that you also have a background in the brain stuff. How do you weave together the neurosciences with the anthropology, because I tell people, you live your life with the heart, and the eyes, and then your brain gets in it. And you have a story here. It’s trying to figure out what this is all seeing. What are your thoughts?
John Curran: Well, that’s a good point. And I think probably, I’m probably more with the brain around the kind of psychoanalysis, so that the neuroscience, of course, comes into that also, comes into culture. But I’ve always had an interest in the unconscious. You know, this is leaning on the likes of Freud, Klein, Jung, but then much more into groups, as well.
So Winnicott and Dion as well, who I’m very, very influenced by and what I find really powerful. And this is especially around group dynamics as well, but not just with dynamics in organizations, but in life, is that coming together of the anthropology, with the psychoanalysis or what’s been called systems psychodynamics, which is how the individual becomes part of a group, and how these kind of games and interactions that are largely based on the unconscious.
Okay, so this is a really powerful thing. And mentally, Klein was very influenced, or influenced a lot by that way of thinking. So we’ve heard these terms: projection, transference, countertransference. And if you bring that into also the world of anthropology and vice versa, you can be looking at team dynamics in an organization. And I’m looking at the unconscious structuring of rituals of events, rituals of change, which was of power and authority. Those are the three ones I claim or the big metal ones, the other ones going on.
Now, within those rituals can be things around gender, around misogyny, all these everyday issues are being played out as well. What we wear, the clothes where people sit around the table, all these types of things are unconscious, often unconscious, but they are forming cultural stories. The anthropologist Michael Jackson always talked about stories being the blood vessels of culture. We can’t have culture unless we have stories. Those stories are communicated often unconsciously. And that’s why I mean, I’ve trained, I’ve done the training, not the seven years training, but in group psychoanalysis. So that’s also rarely the group itself becoming part of the culture.
Andi Simon: Don’t lose that thought. Let’s emphasize it a little bit. Because this functional group is at war with itself because each of the people in the group haven’t come to terms with a shared story. Each is carrying their own agendas. We hear those words, but there’s something deeper than tactical practical stuff going on here. They really see themselves in a different fashion and that is very powerful. Now, how do we build there for better groups? Thoughts?
John Curran: Yeah, well, I think that’s a really good question. I like, in a way, starting with this idea that a group or let’s say, a team, and we’re talking about organizations, can always have an element of this functionality to it. Because that’s kind of what I’m entering into, and that’s what I expect. And that’s kind of okay to a certain extent, but a group needs to focus on what we call the primary task. That’s actually what we are trying to deliver.
And then, if you’ve got silos within the group or between teams, that becomes harder, and then there might be defense mechanisms being played out or anxiety then creeps up beyond the psychoanalyst who kind of invented this spoke about the basic assumptions in groups. And that’s often when things run on dependency, in other words, we’ll do whatever the leader says, or we all admire that. Or, we’re not gonna really have collaboration, or you have the things of fight or flight. We’ve heard this, but you know, I don’t want that change to happen, it’s going to threaten me and affect my professional identity.
So, along the journey, you can have all these kinds of stakes in the ground of this functionality. And the way that I work with them and I’m passionate about this is, I’m kind of trying to sell it. It sounds like I’m selling myself here as the external consultant. But it’s trying to empower teams to have this element of being reflective of themselves. And when I talk about empathy, I don’t talk about empathy as a nice kind of word, how it’s being played out. I don’t even talk about empathy, walking in the shoes of other people. I think the first real thing about empathy is being empathetic to yourself, which means having the ability to challenge yourself and be honest about yourself.
So if we were in a meeting, and I felt that you were being defensive or trying to derail my idea, I might not tell you that, but I walk away feeling something in my stomach. And the next meeting, I’m sure I’ll bring that back into the meeting. So how are we about coaching? It’s about the term psychological safety. How do you create psychological safety where challenges can happen?
And there’s one of my colleagues at the Tavistock Institute. Camilla, she talks about creating an environment that is psychologically safe enough, so not psychological safety, but psychological safe enough. What’s beautiful about that concept is it’s allowing for this functionality. It’s allowing the people in a team to have different levels of what safety is. If you’re a woman, if you’re from a different race, if you’re white, male, heterosexual, these different personas, or cultural toolkits you’re bringing into that space. So psychologically safe enough. Think about creating a culture of reflection.
Andi Simon: And the challenge is really important. Not easy. Do you have a case study where this has worked? Or you’re working on one that you can share?
John Curran: Yeah, I think that’s great. I’m doing a lot of work with executive teams and they are highly pressured. They are highly pressured, they’re all coming out of post COVID up there, and not just the exec teams, but the middle management and below are all feeling exhausted. Yet they need to think about the primary tasks. They all need to be facing the same way.
A lot of the exec teams and senior management are having to create what this idea of hybrid working means. No one knows what it means, no one knows what the future will be right now, either. So what I will be experiencing is that there are tensions, but those tensions will not be exposed through team coaching or facilitation.
There’s a process that I use: we do qualitative, kind of semi structured ethnographic interviews with all the key people individually, and I’ll bring that into the space. And then I reflect back what people have told me in confidential, but what people have told me, and then everyone feels uncomfortable, because they’re experiencing uncomfortableness, or what they’re experiencing is what they realize deep down is the truth. And then I’ve kind of got them, I’ve got them contained, and I could say, if this is you what you told me, now how are we going to work with it?
And I can be the object of projection, so they can go, You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong. And this is great, carry on, you know, it’s no problem here. But I’m also in that space, I’m being the anthropologist. I’m seeing the workshop setting as an ethnographic space. So I’m also decoding what rituals are happening, the fences and all that, even the uses of cultural artifacts, the flip chart, the who’s gonna get up and do these…it’s all data.
Andi Simon: But it’s also very challenging, isn’t it?
John Curran: It’s not easy to do and you are dealing with human beings. And this is where it’s very different from being an anthropologist in the world of say, innovation, where you go in and you’re experiencing sensitive stuff, but you go out. I’m containing a group. And it can fly off the handle at any moment. And you could say something wrong that could spark. So it’s challenging. And it’s also draining. And you need the supervision structure below you. And that’s how I use a lot of supervision, as though it’s the therapeutic space.
Andi Simon: I can keep going because I’m fascinated. Before we do wrap up, though, share a little bit about that newsletter with the article about meetings. I think it’s practical, but very insightful about that. I’ll give you the context. When I got into health care, 1520 people would come together routinely for a meeting. I was an ex-banker and an anthropologist, and I was sitting there trying to figure out, what we are doing here? There was no agenda, there was no takeaway. I didn’t have any idea of my purpose, and nobody bothered to tell me either. But we met and when I dug into it, they said, Oh, that’s what we do. Okay, we come together, it doesn’t really tell me about meetings.
John Curran: But I gave a talk and it’s online. Actually, I’ll send you the link as well, at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, and the Tavistock invented, what we know is organizational development. In 1947, I think so. And it creates this idea at the time that was being born out of the Second World War, about having to understand how teams work in the military. But coming out of the war, it was looking at issues around the coming together of the social sciences with psychoanalysis to understand how organizations work.
So anthropology was there pretty much from day one. This is something that we need to really write about in the history of anthropology. But it’s looking at the meetings. I gave the talk, and I hear so much about having too many meetings. And this was the name of the title in lots of the business journals, and the newspapers, the financials, lots of things about meetings as destroying everything, especially online and zoom.
And I came, I flipped it as all anthropologists should do, is flip something and say, maybe this term “we have too many meetings here” is a defense mechanism. And what I started to do is look at the ethnography of meetings, and meetings that I sat in to realize, actually, they are communicating lots of other things beyond the primary tasks. So meetings should be there to make a decision or sharing information or resolving conflict. These are meetings traditionally before, but actually, I saw that actually, people would use meetings as a means of checking each other out. What are you wearing?
But meetings are also there as a means of trying to drive change, but there is conflict that isn’t being dealt with that exists within the meeting. So therefore, it’s too fearful, we won’t come to a decision. Okay, so we’ll have another meeting. And we’ll have another meeting. So meeting becomes an avoidance of conflict.
So I was trying to show actually that meetings have so many different dynamics to them. And what I introduced was a model that I’ve created or tool called the Culture Empathy Map. And it’s a step process that people, either consultants or anthropologists, can use, or it’s something I train leaders to use. And that’s how you decode the rituals by being the anthropologist in the meeting. What’s actually going on? And how do I know to prepare for that? But also, how do I know to reflect afterwards, based on that? So it’s called the Culture Empathy Map. And it’s a tool not just for meetings, but also for workshops and group dynamics within organizations.
Andi Simon: You’re almost trying to make them see the world of this as an anthropologist might. And you need to step out and look in as if you weren’t part of the meeting if you’re going to really understand what’s going on there. If not, you’re going to be a participant in that game, as opposed to an observer of that game. As I said, good leaders sit and listen and watch for a while before they participate. Because you really don’t know what’s coming at you until you watch. But if you’re ready to respond to everything, and get involved in it, then you really are going to be part of the problem, not necessarily a leader to take you out of it. It’s an interesting thing.
John Curran: That’s so good about the idea of listening as well. Leaders need to listen to learn, not listen to respond. Once you’ve done the learning and you’ve done the reflection, then he will respond. That’s a really good point.
Andi Simon: Well, even as I’m listening to you and myself, the tendency on my part is to try and take what we’re talking about and put it in the context of things that I’ve experienced. I’m trying to make it relevant in some fashion, reflecting, perhaps, but I’m going to urge our listeners to listen carefully to John telling you whether it’s in a meeting or in your business or in your family life. Before you jump in and answer, wait, listen, because what you think you heard isn’t really what they said nor what they meant. And so consequently, you have a lot of interesting things going on here in terms of the dynamics.
So on that note, I do have to wrap us up, because as much as I love talking to you, it’s such a pleasure. It’s truly an honor, I’m having such fun. Thank you for joining me today.
John Curran: Thank you so much. It’s wonderful. It’s an honor to be on your podcast.
Andi Simon: John, if they want to reach you, where will they do that?
John Curran: I’m on Twitter, at Dr. J. Curran, LinkedIn, I’m quite active on LinkedIn as well. My website is JC and Associates. And I’ve got a podcast called The Decoding Culture podcast. And there’s also a newsletter called Decoding Culture. So those are the places you can find me, I’m out there somewhere.
Andi Simon: I’ll make sure that’s all on the blogs, and people can find you even on the video at the back of it. Thank you for joining me today. For our listeners. I know you enjoy our conversations. Keep sending us great people to talk to. I found John on LinkedIn or a post of some kind. I went, Ah, let’s do it. And he was so kind to come and join us.
So now remember, my books are available at Amazon. Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business. And it’s about 11 women who did just that talk about change. And On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights with a little anthropology to help you see, feel and think in new ways is why On the Brink with Andi Simon emerged as a podcast. And I love doing this. So send me your thoughts at info@Andisimon.com and we’ll get back to you right away.
My new book comes out on September 26 and is called Women Mean Business. And it’s the wisdom of 101 trailblazing women who are sharing with you their insights. They very much want to help elevate other women. And I must tell you as you read their wisdom, you go, “This is like a bible of all my best stuff.” None of them were profit driven. They want to help others. They build networks. Very interesting, culturally, listening to women from different industries talk about the lessons learned and how to share it. So I’ll send you a copy as soon as it comes out. Take care now. Thank you all. Thanks for coming. Stay well, stay safe. Remember, turn your observations into innovations.