Guest: Dr. Amy Silver
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
In this segment, Dr. Amy Silver, an expert in behavioral change for business excellence joins Talkers.FM to promote her practice and the various programs that she offers. Her work focuses on helping organizations and teams who are trying to embrace a more connected and agile workforce. She works predominantly with people who want to increase their collaboration, their psychological safety and really, achieve remarkable things by tapping into their collective intelligence. She has wrote a book entitled “Conversations Create Growth”. It was written for managers who want to make a difference to the lives of those who report to them.
Bio: Dr. Amy Silver is a speaker, author and mentor on building collaboration to drive elevated achievements. She is the founder of The Safe Space program that enables leadership teams to achieve through the discomfort of VUCA. She also works with passionate senior change agents and leadership coaches to supervise their work and drive greater achievement for their stakeholders.She has spent three decades as a psychologist developing IP on how fear and habit restrict our influence and conversations and therefore our growth and achievement. She has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Masters in Forensic Psychiatry, Masters in Performance and a BSc Hons in Psychology. She worked as a practicing Clinical Psychologist and an Academic Tutor and researcher at Oxford University in the UK. Amy also had a few years working as a professional actress.
Amy moved out of clinical work 15 years ago and has since contributed and authored her own books on the value of conversations, behavioural experiments and behavioural choices. She now works mainly in large Professional Services and Public Services, working best with those who are embracing the move towards a more connected, agile workforce.
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Business Radio Talkers.FM. My name is Wayne Bucklar and joining me in conversation today is Dr. Amy Silver. Amy, welcome to the show.
Dr. Amy Silver: Thanks Wayne, lovely to be here.
Wayne: Now Amy, fill me in what it is that you do and who do you do it for?
Amy: Well my work is predominantly around helping teams and organizations who are trying to embrace a more connected and agile workforce. So I specifically work with people who want to increase their collaboration, their psychological safety and really achieve remarkable things by tapping into their collective intelligence.
Wayne: Now, that’s a big ask I guess. Who is it who is attracted to your services? Who sits there and says, “Oh, I need to talk to Amy.”
Amy: I think it takes a brave leader of a team to really acknowledge that there may be some really smart people in the room but they’re just not able to get the best out of each other. So I think it requires somebody who’s capable of recognizing that we need each other in this very fast volatile ever-changing world. We need to be able to maximize on each other’s skills even if they’re really diverse each other’s backgrounds, each other’s influencing capability. And so an organization or a team is able to recognize that they’re not making use of each other as best as they can. Perhaps, they’ve recognized that their offline conversations that are happening because they’ve sort of wasted time and emotion that has not picked up on in meetings but those offline chats that are just taking up the needed time. And maybe, that the team itself aren’t able to move quickly enough on being able to serve the stakeholders that they sort of blocks that are being created within the team. So I think anybody that are tuned into the value of collaboration rather than the older style of command control leadership, those are the people that want to work with me.
Wayne: Now it’s not that long ago when anyone who was working in a corporate environment or a commercial environment as a psychologist was seen as kind of a researcher in group dynamics and experiential training in the whole raft of stuff that was around in the 70s and 80s. But now, some of the TV shows are showing psychologists working with corporates in high-performing teams and being portrayed in a very positive light. I guess what you’re doing requires a bit of education of the marketplace.
Amy: It’s so fascinating that I think people are recognizing the value that psychology has in the workplace. It’s part of this forced industrial revolution I guess of us needing to not just master the technology and the processes that are available to us but to tap into what it is that makes us human and how we perform in groups is a really key part of that process and understanding what we can do to bring our best selves out when we are in a group setting, when there are group goals that require our focus. And I think, I’ve really noticed it too. I think a number of key research papers have come out and the number of key studies that have shown the hardcore numbers behind the value of tuning into the how people work and the how of people and how people collaborate that have really been instrumental in changing organization perspective on the value of psychology. I think in the past, it was probably a bit of a nice to have. We want everybody to get on well and we want people to be happy. But there are some real core business metrics that rest on the capability of people to amplify each other’s decisions, and amplify each other’s conversation, to amplify each other’s innovations. That’s where all the good stuff seems to happen, it is when we work well in group.
Wayne: Now I see on your website, you’re obsessed with the ripples that our behaviors have. I’m passionate about people connecting to themselves. Expand on that for us.
Amy: So I think it won’t be unfamiliar to you or your listeners that we need to increase the space in between what we are experiencing are the triggers that find us and our choice of reaction. We often feel that our behavior is a consequence to the environment or a consequence to whatever coming at us but actually it’s a behavioral choice that we make. Sometimes a very quick shortcut and it feels so automatic that there’s no alternative way to behave. But actually, if we can tune into those spaces and those choice points, then we have a whole range of options in front of us that we can then use to influence our environment to our advantage. So I believe that what happens is we choose a behavioral reaction to something and that ripples out to other people and it creates a whole range and a whole kind of ongoing ripple reaction. If we can find the choice point in that, then we have the opportunity to ripple in a different direction and perhaps one that will be more useful for us and the others that we’re touching.
Wayne: That’s interesting, isn’t it? That for the longest time, I always thought that the way I reacted was intrinsic, and right and automatic really. And it was only when I got involved in some mindfulness stuff that I actually came to realize that there’s a choice here, we can choose not to do that. I don’t have to bite the head off right now, I can just do something different.
Amy: I think we hand over our behavior to fate, that’s just what it is. And in fact, we have so much power to tune into ourselves that we’ve sort of handed it over at some point and we’ve made shortcuts because we’ve pushed for time, or we pushed for ego, or we pushed on other people’s goals or whatever it is that we sort of have lost some of that skill sets and what we call in psychology, “Meta Awareness” where you come up above yourself and look down to find “Where could I have done something different?” And you become a constant scholar of yourself, your thoughts, your behaviors, your habits and through that, you increase the influence that you can have.
Wayne: Now Amy, do you find that lots of the people you’re dealing with just don’t have any recognition of that kind of meta state?
Amy: I think that we need to help some people prime themselves and so in one of the programs that I run, it’s called the “Safe Space” and it’s really to enable teams to deal with the difficult things that need to be dealt with in achieving their goals whether that difficult conversations, or innovations or changing of practice. They need to be able to deal with that but the team needs to be able to provide a safe space where they can do that where failure is okay, where they’re kind to each other, where they’re respectful of each other and so we’re building up the team’s capability to deal with the things that are difficult. But the pre-work for that is a whole lot of individual work that needs to be done and in my program, they do that online. And that online program is really to prime people to start to invest in that meta awareness of themselves so that they can see this as a relevant conversation for them but for some people as you say, it just doesn’t even appear on their radar. And so for them, they really need some again, to go back to the science behind it, the value of it, what’s the purpose of this because ultimately, we’re all pretty selfish. So there needs to be a “what’s in it for me” factor and that has to happen for the individual on their own. So my programs, I completely agree, the individual needs to be primed in order to see the value of that, of looking at themselves and seeing it themselves as a tool and not as something that’s just set and forget.
Wayne: Now recently, Google did a piece of research they published about how to improve the workplace and they tested all sorts of things. The end of the day, they came down to a simple sentence which was just “be nice to one another.” Is it as simple as that?
Amy: I think they did a big project called “Aristotle” which showed a number of key elements that were very important in teams, in creating highly effective teams. And psychological safety was one of the things that they identified. And I think there is something very fundamental about we are our best self when we have a sense of being seen and valued. We can access the best of ourselves. So I think there is something very fundamental about positive regard for each other’s feeling that we can respect and be kind. I think there’s more to it. I think we’ve got to have clear boundaries, we’ve got to have a shared hope about what it is that we’re trying to achieve and there’s got to be a level of tolerance to deal with uncomfortable things. We don’t want everybody sitting around just being kind but achievement to build and so we actually need to foster that but we’re fostering it for purpose, for us to really bring our best game and to enable the people around us to give their best game so that we can collectively lead whatever it is that we’re trying to achieve. So I think that there is an element of “humaneness” that needs to be present for us to give our best. We’re doing that because we want to get on with the difficult stuff.
Wayne: Now Amy, I’m looking at your website and I see you’ve got a book there called “Conversations Create Growth.” Can you expand on the title first? What do we get in your book?
Amy: So the book is really a channel towards the managers. I meet a lot of people who manage people and maybe great technically but haven’t had much education in terms of understanding the leavers that you need to pull if you want to help somebody grow. And as a people manager, that really should be your primary aim is to help people be their best. And so the book talks around some of the core psychology principles that we understand need to be present if you want to help somebody grow. And in a very simple way, what that requires is that they understand where they are and where they want to go that they have a certain level of inspiration about where they might go that they could go and that they’re supported throughout that journey. So the book talks through the ways that you might want to do that, the conversations that you might go for and I guess it talks around the values of coaching, telling, or priming people or motivational interviewing to help people reach their goals. So it’s a book specifically for managers.
Wayne: Amy, there will be people listening today who have heard you speak and have said to themselves, “I really need some more of that Dr. Amy Silver.” How can they go about reaching out to you?
Amy: If people have a team or they work in an organization that’s trying to move to a more agile space, then please do reach out to me. My website is dramysilver.com and my personal email is [email protected] and my team are on [email protected] If people are interested in a one-on-one mentoring around their own team or around themselves either getting out the best that they can of themselves or their team, then again that might be another reason to call me through the same channels. Obviously, there’s LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram and all of those, or just call dramysilver.com.
Wayne: Amy, thank you for giving you some time today so that we could talk to you. It’s been a pleasure having a chat with you.
Amy: Thank you very much for having me Wayne.
Wayne: If you just joined us, then you would have just heard me thanking Dr. Amy Silver for her time and signing off and you’d be thinking, “What did I miss?” Well, it’s all not bad news. We have a transcript of my conversation with Dr. Amy Silver on our website. We also have an audio archive on YouTube, SoundCloud, and iTunes where you can listen to the whole interview all over again at your leisure. You can find the links to all of that on our station website at talkers.fm. This is Business Radio Talkers.FM and my name is Wayne Bucklar.