Sheep Dip with Raising the Baa

Workplace Wellness - with Carolyn Hobdey AKA The Midlife Mistress

March 01, 2023 Season 7 Episode 3
Sheep Dip with Raising the Baa
Workplace Wellness - with Carolyn Hobdey AKA The Midlife Mistress
Show Notes Transcript

Having left her corporate HRD career in 2020, Carolyn Hobdey is passionate about improving workplace culture - or community as she prefers to call it - through human-centred leadership.

Carolyn is achieving this through her Midlife Mistress platform, making your (mid)life matter and more recently as co-founder of BEing HUMAN at the Farm Club, a rural leadership wellbeing space.

In our conversation with Carolyn, learn about:
- our personal micro-climate
- how to save time and money by asking your team members the right questions
- thinking holistically - become a corporate athlete
- the 6 SIMPLE strategies for No More People Problems [*free* download in Resources section below]

Carolyn's words of wisdom will be interspersed with analogies to the world of shepherding brought alive by Chris, Head Shepherd and co-founder of Raising the Baa. 

Questions?  We love 'em!  Simply message us through any of our social channels or email and we'll ensure it is answered in a future episode or privately by one of our guest experts whichever is most suitable.

Enjoy - and thank ewe for listening 😊🎧

Free resources:
Carolyn's whitepaper: 6 SIMPLE strategies for No More People Problems

FREE resource:
Sheep, Shepherd or Dog - which one are ewe? Take our personality quiz and find out.

Connect with the speakers via LinkedIn:
Carolyn Hobdey - Consultant, Educator, Speaker and Author / The Midlife Mistress
Caroline Palmer - Top Dog and co-founder, Raising the Baa
Chris Farnsworth - Head Shepherd and co-founder, Raising the Baa & author of 'Sheep Shepherd Dog - Building a Magnificent Team Around You'

What are your main team challenges and desires? Maybe we can help?
Book in a 15-minute Exploratory Call now and let's see.

Carolyn (00:00):

It actually can save you time and it can save you money if you make those people feel good. Because the discretionary effort that people will give when they feel like their contribution is important and it's valued, will way outweigh anything that you pay them.

Caroline (00:19):

Hello and welcome to Sheep Dip, the podcast from Raising the Baa global leaders in team building with sheep. This season is themed workplace wellness. It's an extremely broad topic, and with our expert guests we will be embracing as many aspects as possible, which will help to build a healthy and sustainable culture for teams to thrive at work. Expect to hear shepherding analogies from Chris Farnsworth, our Head Shepherd, who co-founded the business with myself, Caroline Palmer. Enjoy the show.

Caroline (00:57):

So today we are delighted to be speaking with Carolyn Hobdey, who I'm going to let her tell us about herself in a minute, but I just love the first line of her LinkedIn profile, which is and I quote: a passionate, energised, and fearless change catalyst who inspires joyful revolution. I love it. I really love it. Welcome Carolyn. Really nice to see you today.

Carolyn (01:22):

Thank you for having me.

Caroline (01:24):

Now you can underpin that, can't you? Tell us about Carolyn Hobdey, what you've been up to, what you're up to now.

Carolyn (01:30):

Yes, so my background is in HR and I did that in the corporate world for over 20 years. And I left the corporate world back in 2020, March 2020, which happened to coincide with the pandemic and the nightmare that that was for HR people. But I promise you it wasn't planned, but I stepped away because, I was burnt out and I wanted to do something different. And it's taken a while for me to really work out what that was. So in the meantime, I wrote some books and I have now developed my business. I'm known as the midlife mistress and the joyful revolutions that I aim to get in organisations is all around improving workplace culture and doing that through more human-centred leadership.

Caroline (02:17):

Excellent. So it's all about creating a, as you say, a positive workplace culture, out of which should fall all this stuff about wellbeing and wellness at the end of the day; that should happen shouldn't it? should fall out as far as I'm concerned, if the culture is created in the first place. Yes?

Carolyn (02:33):

Absolutely right. And I think it's all about, I talk quite a lot about having our personal microclimate. So I think that each one of us pays attention to our own microclimate. So that's our own mind and body and our wellness. And then we look at how that shows up in the workplace and we become our best in that way. Then those micro climates all build, don't they, into a much better overall climate. Because we're healthier in mind and body, we're more positive as individuals and that creates a different workplace culture.

Caroline (03:05):

Chris, you don't have this issue with building a workplace culture when you're out there with your dog and the sheep, do you? Well, I guess you do?

Chris (03:12):

You do, yes. I mean you have to build that relationship and you have to have that understanding and it's about being consistent, especially with the dog. And also the sheep really get to know you. So they expect to see you and they expect you to do certain things. You know, they will very much see the routine of what you do, even though you don't think you have a much of a routine. You know, sometimes I'll walk left-handed round the field or right-handed round the field, wander through the middle or whatever, but they will sort of know when you turn up, not when somebody else turns up, when you turn up they will react a certain way. Certainly you do get that feedback, which is surprising in an animal where......

Caroline (03:55):

You don't feed your sheep like a lot of people do.

Chris (03:57):

I feed them grass.

Caroline (03:58):

Yes. You don't put food out because sometimes that you think, oh well they know you're going to get some food but you don't. So it's not that is it?

Chris (04:06):

It's a social bonding, which they are used to. They're comfortable with you and therefore will come up and sort of say hello to you.

Carolyn (04:15):

And do you find as well with, in terms of like your dog, if you turn up, I don't know say in a bad mood, I don't know if you ever have bad moods, but if you turn up in a lower mood for example, do you think that your dog understands where you are at and your emotions?

Chris (04:31):

The dog will notice definitely tension. So if you are anxious about something, it will then be anxious. You know, why is it that always when you're under time pressure, you know, I've got to get to market, I've got to get to a particular place at a particular time, the dog will be on edge and you try your hardest not to give out. And that's why we tend to use a shepherd's whistle.

Carolyn (04:57):


Chris (04:58):

So, a whistle doesn't convey the emotion. You just do what you're told. You know, it's another day in the office, just go out, round up the sheep, get them in. Whereas you are deep down thinking, yes, I got to get 'em in first time, you know, I'm in a hurry. You try and avoid those. So to, to mitigate those anxieties coming through your voice, use a whistle. I'm not suggesting for one minute that you whistle at your colleagues, you know.

Carolyn (05:26):

Do you know what, sometimes it would've been way easier. But why I find it interesting is I used to say that when I led a team, you know, some of your leadership responsibilities. I know that I could set the tone for that team by saying nothing. And that, in one particular team, in order to get to my office, I had to walk through the open office with all of my team. And I knew I could absolutely, and I was responsible for this, convey a vibe and set the tone by how I walked from one end of that room to the other. And sometimes for me that was purposeful. You know, if I needed them to know that, for example, I'd been into a leadership meeting and I'd been dragged over the coals, probably for something that the team hadn't done in terms of its performance.


I would never come out of that meeting and, I wasn't the shouty or you know, for me it's all about right how do we fix this? How do we improve it? But I knew that I could set that tone just by the air that I had when I walked through that office. And I think that we forget that often as leaders that we are, we're all, we're sophisticated machines, aren't we, in many senses, you know, and, and as humans and therefore we pick all of that stuff up and it's why I'm really keen to work with leaders on sort of mind, body and business because I think otherwise, we can send off vibes that can be very difficult for the people that work around us.

Chris (06:49):

I find it quite interesting because you know, people ask you how you are but often don't listen to the answer. They're just going on to the next thing and just, how are you? Fine. Right? Let's get on, you know, it's not really, you could say really bad and they go great, let's get on. You know?

Carolyn (07:04):

Absolutely. And it is that thing, isn't it now of the double ask, if you actually really want to know, ask how you are and then like, no, but how are you really? Or the other one's like, how are you today? because that's another really, you know, getting much more specific about, how are you right now? But you are right. People just expect you to go, oh, I'm fine, it's all right and therefore that's all they hear. Even if that isn't the answer you give.

Caroline (07:29):

And actually so many times I might ask, I think it's particularly when it's somebody you know well, you say how are you? Oh fine. And you think, well you're not fine because I know how fine is for you. And it's a particular bug bear word of mine. But that's neither here nor there. I just think sometimes it's, as you say, we ourselves will give the flippant answer because perhaps we don't necessarily want to delve into the detail of how we're really feeling and we know we've got to get on. But actually it's important isn't it, to take that time and actually know, hang on a second, because this will affect how you are and how you're doing your work or whatever it is you're doing in that day. So it is, it's important. It takes more time, but at the end of the day it probably saves time, doesn't it?

Carolyn (08:07):

Oh, massively so, because if you take that moment, I think particularly again when you're leading people, like all of us just want to feel like we matter. We all want to feel like we have a place in the world and that we're contributing and that we matter. That's really, that's more important than anything else, you know? And I think, again, I've worked with lots of leaders that are like, oh, just throw some money at it. They're a bit unhappy, let's pay them a bonus or let's increase their pay or buy them off to stop them leaving or whatever. And it's none of that stuff. It's actually people feel like they make a contribution to something, to their tribe, whatever that tribe is, they want to feel like they've made a contribution and you just need to make them feel like they matter. So you're right, it actually can save you time and it can save you money if you make those people feel good because the discretionary effort that people will give when they feel like their contribution is important and it's valued will way outweigh anything that you pay them.

Chris (09:04):

I find that with training a dog. I often see people walking round with bags of treats, you know, and then they go, oh, come here; they give the dog a treat and oh sit, they give the dog a treat. The issue I have with that is I don't want the dog a) to get fat and b) I want it to do it because it wants to do it and it, you know, when I want it to go round the sheep, I go, can you go faster? And he goes, well let me just try, you know, I want that attitude. Whereas if you are constantly treating the dog with treats, then it's going to go, well I don't need, you know, the treat doesn't get bigger.

Carolyn (09:43):


Chris (09:44):

It's still the same. And that's the thing about money, it's still the same. It's only an object to trade in. It's not actually the size of the money. It doesn't really make any difference as long as you've got something to trade with. You can do from that onwards. But the point is, is actually if your treat isn't exciting enough, the dog then goes and chases a rabbit.

Carolyn (10:07):

<laugh>. Yes.

Chris (10:08):

Because that's a lot more exciting than you.

Carolyn (10:11):

Way more exciting, yes!. Whereas what you want is for it to go, you are really important to me because I'm really important to you and therefore we're a team that's, you know, you and the dog.

Chris (10:21):

And the rabbit doesn't come into the question, does it?

Carolyn (10:23):

Yes. Rabbit. What rabbit? They don't even notice the rabbit.

Caroline (10:25):

It's very interesting with our dog because she is a working dog clearly, and it, but the way she acts is very different with me to Chris. And even when I walk her through a field of sheep, not Chris's sheep, but I'm just out walking with her. She has no real interest in them. She doesn't, I don't really have to put on a lead. I mean I do because that's what you should do as a responsible dog walker. But I wouldn't need to, she could walk along and she wouldn't really pay any attention to them because she hasn't got that sort of, you know, the master is not there. Her team, her colleague, her boss, whatever you want to call Chris, is not there. And it's really interesting how that bond is to know that she acts one way with me and one way with you.

Carolyn (11:09):

Really interesting, isn't it in terms of the dog. Because, it's great because actually what you're role modelling there is that actually the dog also needs downtime. The dog also needs time off. When the dog's with Chris it's like this is work mode, and then with you this is relaxing time like you say and doesn't feel the need to chase the sheep because it's like, that's not what I'm doing right now. So, and I think that's really key, it's really key in terms of who we are as individuals and making sure that we have those boundaries and those separations and that quiet time. But you are right. I mean, again, a lot of what I'm working on with leaders is actually about bringing their whole selves to work in as much as, but you are right because we do have a tendency, don't we, particularly when it comes to hierarchy or whatever else is that we feel that we have to put on different masks and we have to behave in different ways.


And that works back the other way. And I think often leaders end up very stressed and anxious because they sort of put on what they perceive to be a leadership mask. That isn't actually about them. And given that there's so much conversation at the moment about toxic workplaces, I've been talking for years about how we've got a leadership crisis. I think a lot of leaders are out of alignment with who they really are. And I think that if you can get them back into alignment with who they are and then use that to be a leader, you can be an even more effective leader because you're showing up as authentically yourself and then getting results. And so you are less stressed and less anxious, that then doesn't translate to your team. So they're less stressed and less anxious. And also you are encouraging them to turn up as themselves. Because I think we need to just stop. I mean, of course we need to, you know, be more professional. You know, you're not going to behave at work like if you're down the pub and have got a few pints on board. But, you know, we need to be able to turn up as who we actually are. And I think that goes for anybody in the workplace.

Caroline (13:03):

If you're enjoying listening to this show, we'd really appreciate your following and rating Sheep Dip wherever you tune into podcasts. And if you've got a burning question arising from this show or there's a topic that you'd like us to cover, simply email me, or send a message through any of our social channels.

Caroline (13:25):

One of the series we did before was on the whole topic of compassionate leadership. In fact Manley Hopkinson, who's written a book on it a long time ago actually, and it was such a relevant series for the time. And you know, he's slightly frustrated because of course he's been banging on about compassionate leadership for the best part of 10 years probably. And now everybody's going, yes, you need to be authentic. It just adds to the stress of being a leader. I mean, you know, I had a team in my corporate days as well and it, yes, it just adds to it, doesn't it? You just want to be yourself as much as you possibly can. I think it's quite difficult because you don't necessarily want everybody to be your friend. And I've got that kind of nature where I sort of almost want people to like me. Not in an egotistical way, it's just my personality trait I think. And so I get offended if people don't like me. And that is not great if you're a leader and you just have to deal with that, don't you?

Carolyn (14:18):

You can't work in HR and expect to be liked.

Caroline (14:21):


Carolyn (14:22):

As a profession, you need to go into it and expect to be disliked because you are often, well even if you are not, I mean this is again, one of my frustrations is that you are held up as you are the person who is making people redundant when it's like, it's absolutely not your decision to make somebody redundant. But quite often you end up being the face of those difficult conversations. But you know, you can't be liked by everybody. But I think you can be respected.

Chris (14:47):

But there's also another way of looking at it, isn't there? Even though you're the person being made redundant or on the receiving end of that news, is actually you are allowing everybody else to continue to have a job.

Carolyn (15:00):

I would say in so many cases, and honestly so many cases, because sadly I have made a lot of people redundant and removed them from organisations. You know, it's the toughest part of the job. And I would say in most cases, absolutely, like 99% of cases, those people go on to better things. And it's really hard to convey that because obviously when their world has been ripped out from underneath them, often they've got rent or a mortgage or a family or, you know, financial responsibilities. It's really, really difficult. But so often people will come back to you and go, actually that was the kick up the backside I needed because I've now gone on and pursued this, or I've written the book I've been putting off, or I've changed career path or I've now gone and worked in this organisation and realised it's so much better suited to me.


But it is so hard to convey that. And you are right Chris, you know, it is for the greater good. But I think it's so hard when it feels very personal. It feels like when that happens to an individual, they take it very personally and you understand why. It's happened to me, I've been made redundant. And it does, it feels like you have singled me out because you don't want me and our basic primal need is to belong. So back to what we were saying earlier about, you know, we want to feel valued, we want to feel like we matter, we want to feel like we're contributing. When you make somebody redundant, you are saying, , we don't want your contribution any longer. And that taps into the really, really primal bit of our brain, which then just goes into mad panic because it's that bit of our brain that protects us from starving to death or being killed because we're on the outside of the group and the sabertooth tiger is going to get us first. It's that bit of our brain that goes into panic.

Chris (16:46):

I want to pick up that point on change because actually in the farming world, change is so difficult and you know, suddenly you get this directive that you've got to be doing this or you've got to be doing that. And there's tremendous resistance in that purely because it's changed. I've done it like this for years. Does that really happen at work as well?

Carolyn (17:08):

Massively.  But also because I think we are all, well, we're hardwired anyway in our brains to resist change. We are hardwired to not like change. Then we get all these messages about change is bad, you know, change is difficult, you know, change is frightening. So we get all of these messages in the world in general that makes it difficult and hard. So absolutely. In any environment, we then all go, oh, change, because we're going from a state of what we know, even if we don't like what we know and what we are changing to is better. But the fact that what we're changing to is unknown and we know this, we want to stay in our comfort zone of I know this rather than make the change. And quite often, I mean I often talk about this in relationships actually, it has to almost reach that point when it's so untenable that actually not changing becomes worse then that's when people get on board with change. But yes, absolutely in the corporate world. I understand why you would find it in the farming industry because I think you just find it everywhere that we just think that change is bad and our brain goes, no, no, no, no, no, no, because I understand this. I get this and you're asking me to go to something that is unknown and that frightens me. And again, it sort of goes into those more ancient bits of our brain.

Chris (18:27):

I also notice that some farmers always go, you know, like they planted a load of crops and they're going, right, but how are you going to store them all? And you go, well that's the July problem. That isn't the problem for now. This is the problem for now. Don't worry about what happens in July because it might, we might not have that issue. And actually it's just working on the now problem rather than the future problem. And the future problem can seem quite daunting.

Carolyn (18:58):

Oh yes, yes. So much so. And I think, but we all have that, don't we? We have like future fear,  is what I would call it where we just, and and we do it all the time, we roll backwards and go, oh, this was all sort of terrible and difficult or whatever. And then we fear and worry because we hypothesise about what that future's going to be or how difficult it's going to be. And we don't just stand in the present. And I think that it's something for me that I've personally had to really work on is about how do I stay in the present and not only just tackle, like you say, the issues that I've got right now, but actually enjoy just right now and not be worrying about the stuff that's coming around the corner. Even if that's just as far as tomorrow.

Caroline (19:42):

You mentioned about having these six simple steps, to help leaders to create the positive workplace culture. Give an idea of what that's about in principle and maybe just pick up on one of them, let's say with some practical tips for people?

Carolyn (19:55):

My simple model, I'll just run through what they all are. So we've got Self for success, we've got Improvement for impact, we've got Measurement not micromanaging, Performance through people, Listening through leadership and Environments that engage. So those are the six and that's what SIMPLE stands for. So really just trying to make it as self-explanatory as possible. But maybe just focusing in on the first one, which is the Self for success is absolutely all about looking at yourself and spending time on yourself. Understanding how do you show up in the workplace, what stories and trauma and things are you bringing with you and all about that self-reflection because actually you can't be a great leader if you don't know sort of who you are, what you stand for, if you don't understand what baggage and history, because we all have it, you know, we have stuff from right the way across our lives that we bring with us, which is our perspective of the world and how we then interact with other people.


So spending that time on just looking at yourself, understanding who you are, seeing that you are worthy of investment too, but to make yourself the best possible leader. So that's why we have this holistic approach of looking at mind, body, and business. Because in order to be, and my business partner and I, we use the term and are getting out there more and more using the term about creating corporate athletes. Because actually if you think about what an athlete does, they look at their performance, they look at how it's all about incremental improvement and change. It's about trying things and seeing what works and sticking with the things that do. It's about having a plan being focused. It's about obviously what you do as an athlete, but massively also about rest. And they see themselves hugely, holistically. You know, they look at their nutrition, their sleep and all of those things. So what we are wanting to do is create corporate athletes that say if you attend to this stuff, then your performance will go up exponentially. And then you can also apply these principles with your own team and watch their performance really take off as well.

Caroline (22:11):

Well I'm bound to like that aren't I? because I'm a bit of a runner.

Carolyn (22:14):

Oh, fabulous. Yes.

Caroline (22:15):

Not in a competitive sense I hasten to add, I absolutely relate to that. And then in my sort of coaching days, if you like, my training days. Yes, it's exactly the analogy I'd use. Even if that person isn't a runner. I think it, you can just use those steps very easily. People can understand it because they've all seen the Mo Farahs or whatever on the television, haven't they? So they kind of get that. So as you and our listeners know, obviously we're all about teams, and we're all about helping teams thrive in the workplace, creating a sustainable workplace. What's your view on, particularly in the current sort of work environment where so many teams are working hybrid or even completely remote, what's your view on the whole area of getting the team together in whatever place that might be and to do whatever it is that they do? What's your view on that and how can it help?

Carolyn (23:02):

I think it's absolutely fundamental because, well our connectivity is the thing that actually makes us positive. Like none of us are meant to go through the journey of life on our own, you know achieving stuff is, we were built to be in communities. So kind of my word of 2023 actually is community, because I think that culture has sort of slightly had its day and it's sort of got negative connotations, whereas when you actually describe a workplace as a community, instantly that's more positive and we get what a community is. And also we get the idea that a community is something that exists and thrives when we all contribute to it. Whereas a culture has more and more got the, you know, the guys at the top stick some words on a wall and tell us what the culture is. Whereas community has got much more of a sense of responsibility that we're all in it.


And I think that that connection is absolutely vital. And in all honesty, it was reading a book by a guy called Hari is a book called Lost Connections, and it was actually reading Lost Connections that really crystallised my thoughts around the fact that we need that connection for positive workplaces. And he actually wrote the book about the role of antidepressants and how the fact that everybody now is sort of classed as being depressed and they're all on antidepressants and actually all the science behind that is massively flawed. And he went all around the world to prove how massively flawed the science is behind antidepressant medication itself. And actually said that it's so much more about having these connections with people. And it was the connections that he listed that I thought, I think there was like six or seven out of the nine of them that I'm like, hang on a minute, all of these are things that workplaces could provide.


So I think that connection is vital however you do it. Whether it is like, you know, slightly through hybrid or getting people together. I mean, there is nothing that can replace human to human contact. However, that's not always possible where you've got diversely spread teams or across different countries and the technology is really helping with that. I mean, it's made such a difference that you can see people on camera and connect and things like the metaverse where you can do some of that through AI, I think is fabulous and it's really, really helping. But I think where you can get people together, I think it makes such a difference because we are built that way. We're built to want to work in communities, we're built to want to be around other people. And I think it's fundamental to our mental health and I think that workplaces have a huge responsibility to make sure that those connections are possible through work.

Chris (25:37):

I feel, I mean obviously now I've connected with Zoom modern technology, for me, I find it quite empowering actually because now people show me video of their sheep and then I can go, well that's urgent, that isn't urgent. Gives me far more ability to make an accurate judgement on what they're saying. And so the visual contact is really important. But what I'm thinking is actually we're getting better at looking at somebody on a one-dimensional view to picking up those subtle signs to, you know, for me it's obviously looking at sheep, but for other people, your team, colleague, members, what they're doing, how they're reacting to your words, that clue is getting better. Whereas normally with face-to-face and we take all those gestures and we interpret them, but now we're getting better at interpreting what we see on a screen to what they really mean. Would would that be fair?

Carolyn (26:37):

I think so. I mean, I think we're just getting more used to that technology. I think we're getting savvier with it. I think we're realising that it isn't just a, I'm just going to turn up for this meeting and like sit here and we have a conversation. It's all like really stilted. I think we've just got more relaxed with it and I think people are turning up more as themselves. I mean, I think it's one of the great things. I think lockdown was a massive leveller from a workplace point of view because I think when you've got the CEO and his kids are running around in the background or the cat's walking across in front of the camera, hat was happening to CEOs as much as it was happening to the clerks. I think it levelled us out from that point of view and I think it was the real rocket fuel behind going, we all are just normal people.


We all have our whole selves and we all have lives that sit around this thing that we do called work together. So I think that did really help. I think it moved it forward massively. I think the balance now though is, not letting that just then become, well that's kind of comfortable and we're just going to sit remotely in our workplaces and talk on a screen. I think there's kind of, for me there still has to be a bit of both where those opportunities do exist to get together in person, that we take those chances to do that because I think that's still vitally important to just us as human beings.

Chris (27:57):

So do you feel it's a once a week job, once a month job, once a year job? Or what do you think the interaction should be?

Carolyn (28:04):

I think it really depends on the work you're doing and the type of team that you are. When I led a team of people, I had different disciplines that sat underneath me in terms of my direct reports and the frequency with which I would see them was different depending on the discipline because in some areas of my team, they were right on the frontline and therefore the work that they did was very dynamic. So things were changing all the time. So I would tend to meet with them once a week because the churn and the work and whatever was that. Other members of my team had a longer time period because they were more project based. So if I met with them every week, not an awful lot would've changed. So, you know, sort of every fortnight or once a month was right for them because otherwise it kind of felt a bit like, well, we're just meeting for meeting's sake.


So I think there always needs to be a purpose if you are getting together, I think a lot of meetings lack that purpose. I'm massively passionate about improving meetings, so I think having a purpose around that meeting, but making it relevant to the cadence of what it is that you do. I think that's what's really important, but I do think that there's huge value if you've got a team that you work with. I think if you can actually physically get together once a month at the very least, I think that's what's healthy really to keep that connection going and make people feel like they belong.

Caroline (29:32):

One of the first things that we have always asked people when they are potentially interested in what we do is, so before we get into the nitty gritty, what's the reason for you doing it? It's fantastic you're thinking of investing in your people in this way. Why are you doing it? Floors them sometimes, can't always answer it there and then, sometimes needs a bit of thinking about, might not actually be their job to think about that to be fair. But it is something that we like to find out and we just feel it's so important to have that as you say, that purpose over, you know, rather than going straight into the sort of the agenda, if you like the itinerary, it's no, no, why are you doing it? Because that's going to be actually from our point of view, that's going to be what helps to sort of sell it in as it were.

Carolyn (30:12):

Absolutely. Because otherwise your team members turn up and they're going, I don't know what we're here for and what's this about? Why are we doing this? Like, if you haven't clarified that in the first instance, you're instantly coming from a negative place and trying to win them round.

Caroline (30:26):

Good. Okay. Well that's been fascinating. I've liked that conversation. We've sort of weaved our way around a few areas that all underpin the positive workplace community. I like that rather than culture. So just to say, I know that Carolyn, you've kindly mentioned your six simple steps and that's available as a white paper and we can put that in the show notes if that's okay with you?

Carolyn (30:48):

Absolutely, yes. It's a downloadable white paper called No More People Problems.

Chris (30:53):

I love the title. Can you write a paper No More Sheep Problems?!

Caroline (30:56):

Well that's brilliant. Thank you so much for that Carolyn. We like to end these interviews with just a quick fun three questions, not too taxing I promise you, you just don't know what I'm going to be asking. What's your favourite food?

Carolyn (31:09):

Oh, peanut butter.

Caroline (31:11):

Crunchy or smooth?

Carolyn (31:12):


Caroline (31:13):

And when Carolyn was a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Carolyn (31:18):

It depends when you ask me, but probably kind of some kind of actress or singer.

Caroline (31:22):

Have you redeemed any of those ambitions? Do you tread the boards anytime?

Carolyn (31:26):

I have. I sing in a choir currently and my first degree was in English and Creative Studies, so yes, I did drama and and stuff at university. So yes, I have done a fair amount of that.

Caroline (31:36):

Oh well you haven't gone too far away from it then, have you. And how do you unwind? What's your favourite hobby?

Carolyn (31:43):

 I box, I go to the gym a lot, but out of all of that, yes, boxing is my thing. I've been doing it for a few years and it has changed my life.

Caroline (31:52):

I have just started it literally about three weeks ago.

Carolyn (31:56):

I love it. Stick with it, honestly. Fabulous.

Caroline (31:59):


Chris (32:00):

I'm not sure I agree with that.

Carolyn (32:03):

Yes, but at least if she'll go there and do it, that's the thing for us to do it, Chris, then all that anger intention is relieved by the time she gets home.

Caroline (32:11):

Exactly. Exactly. Aw, well thank you so much Carolyn for your time today. We've really enjoyed our conversation as I said earlier, and have a brilliant day.

Carolyn (32:21):

Thank you very much. You too. It's been wonderful. Thank you.

Caroline (32:25):

Thank you for listening today. What was your biggest takeaway or insight? Let us know on any of our social channels, we'd really love to know. Till next time, have a baa-rilliant week.

Chris (32:37):

Bye for now.