A Better Approach to DEI

Hands-on Management 3.0 leadership workshops focus on tangible practices to help managers, team leaders, middle management, and C-level executives increase employee engagement and foster transformational change within their organizations. Start Your Leadership Journey Today!

Kyle Samuels

What do we really mean, when we talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion? Are they just corporate buzzwords? Are they opportunities for investment? Are they philosophies for recruitment or human resources? Or are they strategies for building happier, more welcoming, and more productive workplaces?

Today we sit down with Kyle Samuels, a sought-after consultant, founder, and CEO who believes that DEI can be all of those things. But, above all, he believes that they’re just good business.

Learn more about Kyle and his company, Creative Talent Endeavors, here: https://creativetalentendeavors.com/

Key Points

  1. Diversity as Performance Booster: Emphasize the proven business case for diversity, drawing from studies and real-world examples that show diverse teams outperform homogenous ones, highlighting the tangible benefits of varied perspectives.
  2. Inclusion Through Understanding: Encourage leaders to genuinely get to know their teams beyond work, understanding individual preferences and working styles, which can lead to a more inclusive environment that respects personal needs and contributions.
  3. Beyond Surface-Level Efforts: Move DEI initiatives beyond mere statistics and celebrations to integrate them into the fabric of business strategy, demonstrating their impact on company performance and fostering a more authentic commitment.
  4. Expanding Recruitment Horizons: Diversify recruitment by exploring talent from a wider range of institutions and backgrounds, not just the typical feeder schools or companies, and tie this expanded approach back to the company’s strategic growth and innovation goals.

Happiness means different things to each of us. After doing extensive research, Management 3.0 founder Jurgen Appelo discovered a common thread: Happiness is something we create. It is not something to achieve. It is a path you choose, not a destination to arrive at.

So many of us spend our lives in pursuit of happiness. Instead of searching for it, we need to find ways to live, embrace, and implement it into our daily lives. That’s why we created the 12 Steps to Happiness at Management 3.0.

You can find more information and even download a free poster of the 12 steps at: https://management30.com/practice/


*Please note that the transcript has been automatically generated and proofread for mistakes. But remains in spoken English, and some syntax and grammar mistakes might remain.

Elisa Tuijnder: [00:00:00] What do we really mean when we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion? Are they just corporate buzzwords? Are they opportunities for investment? Are they philosophies for recruitment or human resources? Or are they strategies for building happier, more welcoming and more productive workplaces? Today, we sit down with a [00:00:30] sought after consultant, founder and CEO.

Who believes that D. E. I. can beat all of those things, but above all, he believes that they’re just good for business.

Before we dive in, you are listening to the Happiness at Work podcast by Management 3point0, where we are getting serious about happiness.[00:01:00]

I’m your host, Elisa Tuijnder, Happiness Enthusiast and Management 3point0 team member. In this podcast, we share insights from industry experts, influencers and thought leaders about what it takes to be happy, motivated and productive at work. So that loving your job becomes the norm and not the exception.

We will be publishing every fortnight on Friday, so be sure to tune in and subscribe. wherever you get your podcasts.[00:01:30]

Our guest today is Kyle Samuels, founder and CEO of Creative Talent Endeavors, an executive search and HR consulting firm that has worked with world renowned clients including Lowe’s, Chipotle, and Strava. So thank you so much for joining us, Kyle.

Kyle Samuels: Oh, thank you so much for having me on. I appreciate you

Elisa Tuijnder: Eliza.

Amazing. Yes. I’m super excited to talk to you about your career and your views on diversity and belonging in the workplace. But here on the podcast, [00:02:00] we always start with the same question and that is, what does happiness mean to you?

Kyle Samuels: Happiness to me is. Autonomy and doing the things that I enjoy doing with people I care about.

Elisa Tuijnder: That’s a nice little short to the point definition. I like that you thought about it. Hey, so I always like to know kind of who I’m talking to. Uh, so you started out in HR, worked nearly 20 years in corporate America. Can you kind of give us the synopsis? How [00:02:30] did you get there? How did you get to HR, et cetera?

Um, and then,

Kyle Samuels: yeah.

Elisa Tuijnder: How are we going from there?

Kyle Samuels: Quite a journey actually started out. I, um, my undergrad was political science, um, graduated in the late nineties, but I was a big fan of technology. And so, um, quickly pivoted. I was supposed to go to law school, decided not to, and I said, I want to work. And so, um, started working at a company doing, uh, network engineering and the network operations center and loved it.

Uh, it was a situation where, hey, you do great work, [00:03:00] you get promoted, you’re not, listen, I’m an only child, I’m an introvert, so like, you don’t have to be social to be successful. That was great. Um, company got acquired by WorldCom, moved to Los Angeles and worked for, uh, another tech startup. Um, yeah. And that was fun.

That was for about a year. The whole thing from raising, raising, raising the bubble burst and you know, company laid everyone off. We’re one of the last people to go. And so, um, at that time, my mom, um, a little bit after she’d passed away. So I went back home from Cleveland, Ohio [00:03:30] to take care of the state and all that good stuff.

And yeah, I’ve always been interested in entertainment, not being in front of the camera, but the business of it. Read all the books, was super passionate about it. And so this was early 2000s where, you know, if you want to work at a top line Hollywood, uh, talent agency, like you need to know someone, right?

It’s harder to get in there in Harvard. I just happened to have a plug at the time, um, who was a story editor. So I figured I might as well take advantage of this. Started in the mailroom, [00:04:00] making minimum wage. Um, but the idea is you’re going to get all the extra training and the exposure that they give you, exposure to the executives and the managers, uh, and the talent, right?

So that you kind of know the business and grow your career. Um, did stay in entertainment for a couple of years. It was great for me in terms of learning how to build relationships and just getting comfortable with that idea that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, because in entertainment, it really is right.

Like it’s all about the connections. And I would say that you’re. Level of talent is, uh, maybe one step below. Right. [00:04:30] And so that helped me kind of break out of my introverted little shell and did that for a couple of years, but I realized I can’t have my whole career determined on how much people like me.

Right. So, um, got a pitch from someone to try executive search, came in as a research analyst, loved it. Um, it’s like solving puzzles, right? Recruiters say, Hey, we need to fill the CFO role for a Fortune 100 retailer, find us someone. And so, yeah, I started as a research analyst, graduated to being a recruiter.

Um, worked at a couple firms, worked for a [00:05:00] partner, uh, who I supported for the, uh, board of director and CEO practice, and she was fantastic. Not just at the obvious thing, which is recruiters say, Hey, um, Nike’s our client and they need a new CFO. The obvious thing is, all right, let’s look at Reebok. Let’s look at Adidas, da, da, da, da.

Yes, but also, I never had a, had a, uh, a recruiter that I supported say, Well, let’s not just look at the names. How are they performing? Like, I don’t care if they’re Reebok. If Reebok has had eight down orders, why don’t I want that CFO? And I was like,

Elisa Tuijnder: oh, so

Kyle Samuels: she kind of, um, was part of the motivation for [00:05:30] me to go back to school.

So I went to business school and went to Purdue to get an MBA with a, um, emphasis on HR just because I knew I wanted to do other aspects of HR outside of recruiting. And I knew that, um, I wanted to become a true business person, right? Like I studied poli sci in school, Bay of Pigs, politics, all that good stuff.

TNLs and AKs. And so, um, Purdue is a very analytical, I mean, like we put people in the space. So it was a very analytical environment. And so, yeah, it was a bruiser. That first part where you have kids [00:06:00] who are already mechanical engineers and statistics is all And I’m just like, so tell me more about this coefficient of determination and what it means.

Right. But it was grueling, but it was all worth it. And so let me stop there and let you get a word in otherwise.

Elisa Tuijnder: No, that, no, that sounds amazing. Like, uh, you have a very rich background and I love that you can probably pull from all of those different experiences with what you do right now, especially with recruitment, I guess.

So yeah, then you, when came out of your master’s or your, your MBA, I [00:06:30] was sorry. And then you went into executive recruiting and, or did you

Kyle Samuels: start? No. So first, like, again, I wanted to, I didn’t go to, you know, two years, uh, the opportunity cost of school. I was lucky enough that I was, I was, um, you know, granted a scholarship.

I didn’t do that just to come out and be a recruiter again. Right. Like I could have immediately, I could have done it before. I wanted to do other aspects of HR. Yeah. And so I, um, I accepted an offer from GE’s HR leadership program. And so as I was interviewing, this is when they still owned NBC. Right. And [00:07:00] so they were trying to put me over there.

Cause it made sense, right? Hey, entertainment and HR, it makes sense. But I was like, I don’t. I’ve never worked for a company that actually made something physical. Like I want something different. And so I kind of fought a little bit to go to aviation, which is super, you know, union based, like we are building things, totally different environment.

And I loved it. So I did the HR leadership program for a couple of years. What’s great about GE and other programs at the same milk, you get to bounce around different roles, different cities, see different parts of the business. It was phenomenal. [00:07:30] Um, then Yum Brands, uh, reached out to me when I was the HR leader at a, um, GE, a GE plant in Charleston, South Carolina.

And this is where I will say, it’s always good to try to have a growth mindset, right? Yeah. I remember the recruiter called me. And, Oh, Kyle, what do you know about, you know, the job was going to be based in Louisville, Kentucky. I said, so what do you know about Louisville? I said, um, I think about Louisville, I think about horse racing and hillbillies and I have zero interest in either.

Do you know what a hillbilly is? That might be an American. I do. I do. Yeah. And so I was [00:08:00] just like, please, I’m never going to, anyway, they flew me out, saw the city, loved it. The job was awesome. So ended up leaving to go to Yum! Brands in Louisville. So I ran TA for corporate. Um, had a stint with Pizza Hut Global, uh, doing talent management.

And then my final role was on the HR leadership team at Taco Bell. Um, and, uh, that kind of leads us into CTE.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. But you’re back in the South now, right? Like you’re, you’re back. Charlotte,

Kyle Samuels: North Carolina. Charlotte, North Carolina.

Elisa Tuijnder: My sister lives in Charleston, South [00:08:30] Carolina. So I’ve come in that, um, neck of the woods quite often.

Yeah. A lot. Yeah. Oh my goodness. It is the food.

Kyle Samuels: Magnifique. I miss it. I miss it.

Elisa Tuijnder: Charleston is pretty, pretty cool. Especially for the food. Yeah.

Kyle Samuels: Oh yeah.

Elisa Tuijnder: Um, okay. So you’re at Taco Bell and then at that point you’re like, okay, let me do something for myself. Right?

Kyle Samuels: Yeah, so I would put it like this and for anyone who’s seen the movie, um, there’s a movie called Goodfellas Spoiler Alert.

It came out like 30 years ago. So if you haven’t seen it, I don’t feel that bad. Um, but there is someone who thinks that they’re about to become [00:09:00] a made man, like basically an executive. We use the word. They’re about to become an executive, part of the LT of the Mafia. And they open the door where they think they’re gonna go through the ceremony and they see plastic on the floor and they just You could see them go, Oh crap, they don’t say crap, but Oh crap.

And, uh, it’s like,

Elisa Tuijnder: and

Kyle Samuels: I’ve been the person, you know, in HR where, you know, Hey, Bob, come on in, come to the meeting. And you think you’re going to your Wednesday one alone with your boss at two o’clock and Kyle’s there, but Oh, Kyle had a one 30 and it’s overlap [00:09:30] and stuff, which four times we’re all in the office.

It happens, right? And then they sit down and you pull up, or I pull up the folder that has whatever company we’re asking, let’s say, So Bob, unfortunately, or whatever, you know, whether it’s a mass layoff, it’s that group, it’s specifically Bob, but, and you see that look of the person saying, I thought I was going to talk about my goals and oh my God, I don’t have a job.

Right. And also when you’re in HR, I’ve been lucky to be a great companies like Yum and GE that really appreciate the function. And you get to know about things far above. [00:10:00] So there are times there have been executives I knew who were dead men walking and they didn’t know anything and I couldn’t say anything, right?

And so seeing all of that, it made me just feel like I need to have more agency and control over my life and what I do. Um, and so listen, I’d always, recruitment was probably the, my favorite part of HR just because it’s pretty much a positive experience. The worst thing you’re going to have to say. It’s the start of the journey, not the end, right?

That’s the worst thing you have to do. So I, so I loved it. [00:10:30] And so I had a great relationship with, um, the then chief people officer at Taco Bell, Frank Tucker. He’s a mentor of mine. We’re, we’re in our one on ones and, you know, people ask you a question, Hey, what do you want to do next? They assume it’s going to be under the umbrella of the organization.

And I was like, Hey, honestly, like I’d rather, I’d like to open up my own agency, but I’m having so much fun here. You know, I’m being paid well, it’s really interesting work. It’s not worth it to take that risk when I’m, you know, still enjoying myself here. And so we [00:11:00] talked about it for a couple of months and.

Ultimately, he saw how sincere I was. He let me know that I was on the slate to get promoted again. And I was just like, nah, I want to do this. And so when he said, Hey, Kyle, um, seems like you’re really sure about this. And we’d be happy. We’d love to be your first client. Right. And so like the hardest part of recruiting is brand recognition.

I don’t care if VC backed and you’re, Oh, the next unicorn, or if you’re a super profitable 10 billion B2B company that no one knows, cause you like supply chain [00:11:30] logistics, right. That’s hard if you’re going after a passive candidate. So they have to decide, do I want to look in to see what BlixiBlox. ai does and who are their backers and who is the CEO and what has he or she done in the past versus like, Hey, do you want to work at Taco Bell?

Do you want to be a director of HR? Do you want to be a VP of marketing? It’s like, no one has ever asked me to say, tell me more about this Taco Bell, what do they do, right? All jokes aside. So my thesis was I’ve gotten the biggest sweetheart deal in the world. If I cannot be successful, Recruiting [00:12:00] for a brand, I’m never gonna have to explain what they do.

I knew everyone from the CEO on down, right? I was with the organization for several years. So if this doesn’t work, then this is probably not the right business move for me, you know what I mean? But luckily it worked and yeah, we started with Taco Bell. We reached out and expanded and started working with the rest of the young brands and, um, then other companies as well, pulling my first, uh, our earliest clients from just relationships I had either in like, you know, your manufacturing stuff, like your GEs and your Honeywells.

Or, you know, obviously the food, the food, food, [00:12:30] I was gonna say food stuff, so it’s a different word, but the food, food

Elisa Tuijnder: aspect. The food we all like. Mm

Kyle Samuels: hmm.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. Hey, so you and also, you know, your company is Creative Southern Delivers, really liked or really work a lot also on promoting diversity equity. And inclusion and belonging as well.

Like, and so we do the same thing, but yeah, it’s lots of things going on. I feel like it’s penduluming. It’s going one way and then it’s going the other way again. Hey, but let’s kind of dive into that a little bit. Why do you [00:13:00] think it’s so important to continue to, to promote and to put it out there and maybe also some tangible benefits for businesses who are actually focusing on that?

Kyle Samuels: And if I remember, I’m gonna drop in something that someone told me on Friday that really opened up my mind. So the reason why I think it’s better, McKinsey has done a study to show it. Like it’s funny, people pay millions and billions of dollars each year for McKinsey and they’re excited, right? Yeah.

They drop off a study that says, Hey, diverse teams perform better. They’re like, nah, we don’t know about that one, McKinsey. Like, eh, it’s fine. Right. So [00:13:30] honestly, companies perform better in the, it’s the, it’s the same reason. Our company has all types, right? And so I think that when people think about diversity, inclusion, belonging, et cetera, they get on the, Oh my God, it’s woke, or it’s just goody two shoes.

In my philosophy, it’s not like, I love having women on our team, our team is 61 percent women, because I believe that to get to a certain point in corporate America, I don’t care what you [00:14:00] look like, you have to understand the desires, likes, hates. You have to be able to influence and guide, you know, people who are still calling shots and corporate America these days So most of them are just like middle aged white men.

That’s okay Yeah, my point is, you know how to do that. Plus if you’re say a person of color, you also have an extra Lens, right? Because you know what they want. We grew up in America. We know what you guys like, right? Like I said, we watch Friends, but we also watch Martin. Um, No, seriously, like we know that but also We have other [00:14:30] lenses.

So for example, if you have all dudes, there might be a woman to say, Hey guys, well, if you made these two alterations, we could go crazy and sell this to women. Right. Might have someone who is of another culture who says, Oh man, you know, um, Asian people, uh, 80, I’m making numbers of 87 percent of their diet is rice.

And we need to, we always market Cajun. Maybe we should, things like that. Right. But I, there are business reasons. I am not the guy to say, let’s, black people were slaves and we have to pay them back. Like, no, I mean, we were. Right. And yeah, but [00:15:00] that’s not the reason diversity inclusion is important. And I would also say the inclusion part is very important.

And when I’m talking to people, there’s, uh, anyone who works in my company is going to roll their eyes cause they know who Bubba is, but Bubba is the guy who was top in his class at, um, university of Nebraska in computer science. Bubba grew up on a farm. Uh, I’m sorry if you haven’t guessed, cause Bubba’s a white guy.

And so he, he, he went to university of Nebraska. He crushed it. But, [00:15:30] cool startups don’t come to University of Nebraska, right? McKinsey doesn’t come to University of Nebraska. So, he took a job in the IT department at say, Cargill. Or Monsanto. Or John Deere or something. Right, John Deere. And so, do you know the different, the opportunities, the lens that he would bring to say a tech startup that only gets, take away the color, they’re getting black, brown, yellow, white.

We’re getting from these 10 schools that we know and these companies, right? Microsoft Mechanics They have no idea what someone growing up [00:16:00] in a farm thinks about, could need, could use. Imagine again, that is inclusion and that is true diversity. It can make your, your company better, right? Like, have you ever thought about what people do in Forbes and how they could use this product or whatever?

Well, now you have some, right? So for me, it’s all about making the company better. But what I think, um, One of the reasons, and I will be open why there’s some pushback, is that when it comes to DEI belonging, there’s so many different things we can say. Organizations, we’ll say public organizations because they have to [00:16:30] put out annual reports.

Yeah, they will. Perfect example. I’m just using McDonald’s because we all know McDonald’s is. I’m not saying this is them with the diversity side, picking them. So, an annual report McDonald’s will be like, hey, globally we opened 10, 000 restaurants this year and In the U. S. we launched six limited time only items, including the Grimace Shake, right?

Do you think they just put period and go on to the next thing, or do you think they say And here’s how these, these new stores have performed. And here’s how these LTOs have performed. And we’re actually bringing the grimace [00:17:00] shake back, right? That’s normal. Of course, normal business with diversity or ESG.

It’s made a donation to the clean air fund. And we went to 20 more, you know, historically black universities and colleges, and we hired 17 percent more Hispanic females and blah, blah, blah, blah. But it’s period. So they just want the credit for doing it. But they don’t show what the effect is. And so my thing is, if you don’t measure something, it kind of shows that it doesn’t really matter.

Right. And [00:17:30] so if I am someone at one of these companies and I’m, you know, like, listen, I’m a white guy, I’m not racist, but I had a job on my team. Bob used to work with me at my old company. He’s impeccable. Like no one would say he wasn’t a fit for the job, but you told me I had to wait until we found a win and or people of color to go through the final slate and Bob took another job.

So now I’m upset. So I go to the annual report. There is nothing there that shows me the efficacy for our company for doing all these diversity based things. Now, if a company, instead of saying, Oh, we went [00:18:00] to 20 extra HBCUs or whatever, they said, we altered our early career, uh, talent pipelining and went to some other schools.

And what we found year over year is that we retained 52 percent more, right? Now, some of that could be HPC users, because again, it’s like, Bubba, they don’t get the cool companies and they’re like, Oh, wow. And they don’t have a sense of entitlement that if you go to a certain school where you think where everyone comes, it’s just like, you know, kids are like, Hey, what are you going to do for me?

Right. So if you do something like that, the accountant I told you about might say, [00:18:30] okay, now I kind of understand why we set these things. It’s making our company bigger or better. There’s a value to it. But if you just want credit for doing stuff.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. The the greenwashing, the whitewashing though , it’s all, it’s all going in the laundry at that point.

That right. . Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I really liked your example of, of Bubba there because like what we try and do as well at Management 3.0 is kind of really change the narrative around the fact that it’s not just about men to women ratio. It’s not just about, um, your background or, or, or skin [00:19:00] color, et cetera.

It’s also. It’s a lot of small things. It’s just where you grew up, where you like, you just kind of have to find what your, that, what your things are that you should be looking for within the team, where that, and you never, sometimes you can come from anywhere. I kind of look into like, we have this practice called the diversity index and like that you can kind of just play with your team and see, Hey, do we need another perspective on this?

And to kind of find those blind spots. And like you said, also kind of measuring it, what is the impact of this? Um, and it’s a difficult one, but [00:19:30] it’s still, sometimes it’s the only thing that corporate America can see is all right, your CEOs and your CFOs and whatever. They only like the numbers, um, and yeah, measuring is the only way of kind of doing that.

Kyle Samuels: But it’s, so someone dropped this on me Friday and I was just like, wow, I have to, I see the point of view. So I’ll, I’ll give you an example of a company that I think appreciates diversity, but again, not just for the field because it’s made them billions of dollars. Louis Vuitton, Moet, Hennessy, right? So they put, um, Virgil Abloh as their creative director.

[00:20:00] He had limited, you know, strict, uh, atelier training. He wasn’t your typical, like I went through the schools or whatever. Right. But what he was able to do is bring a certain flavor, freshness, flyness to Louis Vuitton and make it appeal to a much younger demographic. Right. And so. What happens there is you get people saving up to buy the, you know, keychain or whatever they can get them.

Maybe they save up more for the sneakers, but you don’t lose The true wealthy [00:20:30] people who, there are people who wear designer brands, you know, Louis Vuitton, Laura Piano, uh, Salvato, Ferre, gamma, whatever. They don’t know who the current creative director is. I’ve been wearing this for 20 years. ’cause it’s what it is.

Yeah. It’s legacy. Exactly. Yeah. My mom

Elisa Tuijnder: was, my mom was already wearing it, or these kind of things. They, they don’t, clients, they don’t say, oh my

Kyle Samuels: God, Virgil Ablo, they don’t know who Virgil Ablo is. Right. And so, um, LumiBatana has made, they’ve done well. Um, Bernard Arnault has talked about how well this has done for them.

And, you know, now Pharrell is, is, is the head, right? So that makes sense. [00:21:00] But here’s the thing that, that someone told me that I had to say, okay, I understand where they’re coming from. So someone I know who’s a, uh, uh, Include Chief Conclusion Officer, a public traded company was saying that I’m in conversation.

And again, this is a tech company. This is important for this. And it was like this when it comes to diversity. A lot of reasons that, you know, companies really appreciate that and, you know, want to see the same, um, inside their building as their customers, because that literally helps, right? So like, for example, if you are at [00:21:30] a Sally’s Beauty, right, which is a client of ours, right?

Lots of people of all different cultures go there. So you want to have that to understand, Oh, We want to know how Asian women’s hair, black women’s hair, Hispanic, white, like everyone, like we want to know. Cause that makes us more sensible, right? Yeah. Those are the people who also shop. So we want them to be in our stores, but when you get to big corporate B2B software, the buyers are CIOs and CTOs.

They’re most likely going to be white, maybe Asian. And they’re [00:22:00] selling to corporations, right? So it’s not like if you’re Salesforce and there’s, you’re buying from some software solution, everyone at Salesforce is going to say, wait a minute, who worked with that company? They’re not, the person selling this doesn’t shop at Salesforce.

Well, no one really shops at Salesforce. It’s not that. And so they were just like, it doesn’t really matter to us. And I thought about that and I was like, I kind of, I’m not a hundred percent sold in, but I see where they’re, I see where they’re coming from. Right. In those cases, [00:22:30] maybe. But the world is changing, the US is changing.

I think those that don’t get with it are going to get left behind.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. And I think that argument doesn’t fully sell me either because I just don’t think like, you know, exactly. I mean, it’s like that, that super famous example from the Tesla factory whereby they change, uh, like parts on the floor continuously.

Um, I mean, they, Their teams are what, like two hours or something like that. And then they have to change over to a new team. But that’s how you get to see so many different people and so many different ideas [00:23:00] and you kind of spark things as well. Again, I think they’re, it’s also super important. But how do you think we can get out of this whole, I mean, there’s been some talk around DI is dead and it’s getting pulled into this kind of, you said the word woke earlier, it’s kind of getting pulled into this culture war, right?

Is there anything we can do about, or stopping that? Is it just about talking to numbers or?

Kyle Samuels: Yes, subterfuge, right? So, so, so check it out there. And I’ve talked to people. There are literally companies, I mean you’ve read the paper, that are like going [00:23:30] to corporate sites, obviously public companies, you can’t really, they can’t really do much private.

Yeah. And oh, anti woke, this is racist, you have this, you, you had a Latina celebration, that’s unfair, blah, blah, blah, right? So eliminate all of the words, right? So like if someone’s got a chief DEI officer, inclusion officer, they’re now the chief Culture Optimism. I don’t care what you call it, right? Yeah.

But you do the work, and you call it something different. And so, and you show the results. So for example, like I said, with the schools. Still do the [00:24:00] thing and go to different schools, but track it and do it intentionally, right? Don’t make a big deal about, oh, we’re standing in, you know, you remember 2020, all those pledges, right?

Just do it. Like not to be a Nike person. So what I mean by that is you don’t have to make a big deal about it. Just hire the best people, make sure you have a diverse funnel, right? And then let the best person win. I think that’s the other misconception is that you want to [00:24:30] hire someone who is not as qualified because they’re a woman or a veteran or something else.

And anyone who is in that would say no, because that ruins it for everyone else. That’s literally not what we want. What we’re saying is they deserve the same chance and they’re just as capable, if not more. And so, again, going back to what we’re talking about, don’t do a DEI report that’s all about like, Oh, and we sponsored this, put some rigor into it.

Right. So. Be intentional about saying, we’re here to solve business problems. True. Which is first, right? So let’s say a company is moving in there. They’re trying to [00:25:00] figure out how to get more market share on Central America or South America, I don’t know. Maybe have someone who’s worked from there, speaks the language, understand the culture better than you do, right?

And so there’s a business reason to do that. Yeah, yeah. So I think honestly, it’s changing the narrative around it. It’s changing the narrative in subdiffusion. Our whole thing is, you know, we do executive search, but we also do consulting and I always tell people, we’re not the goody two shoes guys. We’re going to always tie the work that we do into how it makes your business stronger, more profitable, better.[00:25:30]

It’s not just for the feels because no one, especially now, they don’t care.

Elisa Tuijnder: It’s the same with happiness. Happiness is good for the bottom line, and I kind of have to scream that every time. It’s not necessarily this empathetic thing. It’s like you said, it’s good for business.

What leads to a happy life? What are the various ways to be happy? Happiness means different [00:26:00] things to each of us. Yet, after doing extensive research, Management 3point0 founder Juergen Apolo discovered the common thread. Happiness is something we create. It is not something to achieve. It is a path you choose, not a destination to arrive at.

So many of us spend our times in pursuit of happiness, yet instead of searching for it, we need to find ways to live it, embrace it, and implement it into our daily lives. [00:26:30] We created the 12 Steps to Happiness at Management 3point0. You can find more information and even download a free poster of the 12 Steps at management3o.

com slash practice.

Are you seeing any companies, cause you just mentioned Nike and then, I mean, the other thing that just popped into my head was the Bud Light controversy just now, like, are you seeing companies that are actually doing it [00:27:00] well or, and not just using it as marketing stunts basically, uh, half of the time.

Kyle Samuels: Yes, there are some for sure. There are some for sure. But I would say that sometimes even the well meaning organizations, they still get sucked into the flags and fun, right? So like, it’s like, and then we started ERG, and we had this thing, and it’s like, That can be cool, but if I’m the CFO and I’m going through stuff and I’m like, [00:27:30] so let me get this straight.

In 2022, we spent 400, 000, 30, 000, 430, 000 for black people to hang out and party, you know, 400, 000 for our Hispanic people. What have we gotten out of that? Right. And so instead it should be things like, um, That I’ve advocated and done in the past in my career. What’s like, Hey, let’s do something for the ERG.

But the, you know, I got it from school. Remember when you’re a little kid and sometimes you would go something like you have to bring a can of food to get in or like, that’s your ticket, right? Bring a [00:28:00] person that you believe could be a good fitness organization. Doesn’t matter if you worked with them necessarily in the past, but just like.

Someone in a, in a function that we have that you think, you know, maybe it can be a fit, right? And so when you do that Be more

Elisa Tuijnder: intentional. Again, be more intentional. Exactly. Link it back to your values or your, like, business goals, etc. When we did

Kyle Samuels: that, we ended up getting two hires from people who were brought.

And to me, that’s the ROI. That is, those are two people who either, we didn’t [00:28:30] have to hire an external search firm for, or we didn’t have to take the bandwidth of an internal recruiter. Right? So that is when you could go to someone and say, well, yes, we did spend this much money, but here’s what we did and et cetera, right?

We’re putting value behind it.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. Amazing. Um, smart. And again, that word intentional, I feel like it’s been the, for me, at least the word of 2023 already. I don’t think I’ve ever said intentional as much as this year. It’s like, right. Come on. What happened? Leadership. Leadership buzzword again. Um, another thing that has been popping up and that you work with as well, like, I [00:29:00] mean, for me, I think it is the first time that I heard.

About it in a conference, not that I hadn’t heard about it before, but I mean, talking in a business contest is neurodiversity, right? And I feel like also all of a sudden there’s much more interest in that. So, I mean, you talk a lot about that as well. Do you want to give us like a little, why do, why is it important to you?

And how do you feel like, can that work?

Kyle Samuels: I’ve never, I’ve never heard the term before, probably with the, maybe the last five years, right? Yeah, exactly. I have always been, like I said, I’m an [00:29:30] only child, I’m an introvert, but I’ve always been just like, Someone who can dance to the beat of his own drum. When you’re a kid, you know, there’s a lot of peer pressure and stuff.

Right. So I remember in high school, you know, like, Hey, do you want to go see a movie? And I’d be like, no. So my friend was like, damn, like, let me know where you want to go. I go. And I never understood like. Why would I not go by myself to see a movie? Like, I’m not going to talk to anyone. I’m going to sit in the dark and watch the screen.

It’s not a team sport, but the reason why it’s like, Oh, you’re a loser. You’re not cool. You went by yourself. It’s like, I don’t care about that. Well, I’m [00:30:00] going, I’m doing what I can’t, I can’t have someone else determine what I do in my life. Right. So like things like that, I have, I’m leading to something, but like, you know, throughout life.

I don’t understand sometimes why people aren’t just like, I’m honest or truthful, right? Like they don’t want to say no, you know what I mean? And so as you get older and you start to talk to other people, you kind of just realize, oh, I kind of think about these things differently than others, right? It doesn’t mean right or wrong, but [00:30:30] I might say something that someone else is just like, oh my goodness, but I’m just like, what’s the big deal?

Right? And so the more I learned about that, and even, um, you know, when I was at, at Yum, I taught a course. There’s a great book called, um, Secret. And I always forget what the subtitle is. I think it’s like the hidden power of introverts in a world that won’t shut up or something like that, but it’s by Susan Cain.

It’s great. And so I led a course on it. And the reason why is because at the time, uh, one of my client groups was IT, you know, technology people, sometimes stereotypes are true and they’re not the most, [00:31:00] you know, en masse outgoing, outgoing, right. They want to do their work and stuff. Right. And again, That’s not a bad thing.

It’s just different, but that can absolutely hurt your career. Right? Like going back to what I said before about relationships and work, I’ve seen mediocre people who are really social ascend and someone who’s really great at their job, but just not, you know, that’s not their thing, right? They kind of wait.

Cause we don’t know, Bob, we don’t, we don’t know if we like him enough. Right. And so, um, [00:31:30] especially once we really flipped to like this kind of like work environment, which has changed the world, right. In terms of people being able to work from home and stuff and reading stories and seeing how so many people I’ve talked to, I’m talking about big executives who have huge jobs appreciated.

Just like, I don’t have just this constant instead of my job, like people coming in and I got to interact and I got to do this and I got to do that. I got to act the right way. I can just. Have some space zoom me and do work . Right, right. And I think that that has been one of the few good sides, [00:32:00] uh, very few of Covid is that’s, it’s, it’s forced people, employers to appreciate and see their employees as full humans.

Right. Because like five years ago it would be like if you were somehow working from home, which is super rare, and say the plumber comes. Or you’d be like, I guess I’ll get it tomorrow. Cause it’s like so professional now. So you can be like, Oh, hold on a second. I gotta go to the door. Right. You know what I mean?

Depending on what, how important the meeting is. And so I think that has allowed people who [00:32:30] think differently, act differently about things, the space to kind of work the way that is most successful for them. For certain people that can be hours, right? A certain person works better from, 8am or in the evening.

I’m very much an evening person.

Elisa Tuijnder: Which is seen sometimes as like on being lazy, right? Like I work, I work best from five to like nine and being as a freelancer, I can do that. And in a team that is asynchronistic as well. But it took me years to kind of get over that guilt of like, [00:33:00] why am I not very well in the morning?

I just, I don’t function very well in the morning. My brain isn’t still in a fog. And then by between five and nine, I have the most energy and have the most creative juices. But it took me years to kind of get over that. And I think the pandemic also helped with that because kind of, yeah, again, like one of those.

Acceptances of that. Not everybody gets up at five to go for a run and then it’s super good. Uh, and that those are the more productive people or the more creative or the best people out there. Right.

Kyle Samuels: Exactly. Exactly. But you know, [00:33:30] people like homogeneous, like, you know, we all like, Oh, you’re, there’s something that you went to the same school, you grew up in my city, like we like commonalities.

And so. That’s why, um, I think non neurodivergent people can do better. Cause it’s like, they don’t have some of the buffers or the stops or the, you know, they’re, they might be the person who loves, Oh my gosh, a party is an exciting opportunity to meet tons of new friends while someone else might be like.

A lot of people, they’re going to be judging me, [00:34:00] what do I say? What do I do? Right? Things like that. Yeah. And so providing space for people to, um, be who they are, but also be successful in work, I think is super important.

Elisa Tuijnder: Absolutely. Are there any strategies or things that you can think of at the moment to share with our listeners?

Like, how do we measure for this? How do we include this? Maybe already in the recruitment process, but maybe later as well. How do we. Account for all of these different styles and, and find them.

Kyle Samuels: So [00:34:30] I do think that it depends on the organization because certain things just might not work in an organization, right?

So like, say, say what you said is you work best, um, five to nine, right? But you might be in an organization where the shifts are different. So it’s just like, we don’t have that time. Like, you know what I mean? Like that’s part of a whole other shift. So you got to do that, right? But I think that the ways in general that people can do that is be open and get to know, and I know it’s harder because we’re in this hybrid world where people have had people working with them for three years and never met [00:35:00] them, but get to know your people and what they care about.

Act. That will give you a lot of information, right? Like I know a lot of times it could be just work, work, work, work, work, but find out about their lives. And I think in the interview process, Ask them, Hey, how do you like to, how do you like to work? Right? Like, are you excited about doing your own thing and then coming, coming to share with the team?

Do you like being totally collaborative? 100 percent of the time, just understanding what that is. And also knowing what the culture is at your [00:35:30] organization and standing on it. So what I mean by that is I listen, let me ask you, it’s my company now. So one of the things I love is that we have a, like a off prior event.

I don’t have to, I frigging go, uh, out after that. Right. Like, I don’t, I. It was enough. Like, you know, sometimes you do these things, you’re from 8 a. m. to 8 p. m. And then people like, who wants to go next? Do you not me, but I want to be promoted. So I’ll go, I don’t do that anymore. What I love is that it’s CTE.

When we do stuff like that, there’s a, a small group [00:36:00] that’s like me. This is like, Hey guys, see you tomorrow. It’s been a blast. And there’s people who want to go out and either one is okay. But I think that if you are more of a, a hard player, or we go out, then you need to own that and tell people and let them make an educated decision.

Right? Because you don’t want someone, Oh no, it’s we care, you know, we customize things and. But then you get here and it’s just like, why aren’t you playing darts? Why aren’t you with this? Why aren’t you at that? Why don’t you come get up from Sally’s birthday party in the marketing department? It’s like, I don’t know, Sally.

That’s why, why would I go to her birthday party? And that’s [00:36:30] like,

Elisa Tuijnder: I don’t care about her cake.

Kyle Samuels: The kind of thing I think that would aversion, I think they might say literally. If it was my birthday and someone that I didn’t know was coming up to wish me happy birthday, they’re not doing it for me because they don’t know me.

So like, I don’t, it’s not mean, it’s just like, it adds no value. So I’d be like, I go up and I’m like, Hey, happy birthday. It’s like, Hey, thanks bro. Right. Like you had, you had nothing. Right. And so I think that’s what’s it. Now it’s someone who is, you know, In a different space, you’re like, [00:37:00] no, it’s not just about that.

It’s to, you know, you know, to celebrate, but also just to, you know, talk to other people and maybe you can get to know her and stuff like that. Or, but like, yeah, it’s like, yeah, I’ve got a deadline. Why am I going to waste 10 minutes doing that? Right. So I think not penalizing people for things like that. I think that is what sometimes happens in the culture.

I say penalize, it’s not like you get docked for pay. But, you know, so and so’s not a team player, you know, or you’re not going to

Elisa Tuijnder: get promoted because you weren’t there for the canoe trip that we did in September or [00:37:30] something. Yeah. Yeah. Do you also feel like, I feel this a little bit, but I’m not sure, obviously you do a lot more in recruitment, like that people are also kind of more looking at the companies that they’re applying at, or maybe even later on at that stage, like, are you also kind of doing your own recruitment?

Vice versa, I mean the candidates kind of seeing whether they’re aligned with their values more, whether they’re Oh, 100%, 100%, 100%.

Kyle Samuels: So I always say this, I [00:38:00] came from, you know, GE Aviation, which was highly regulated, like you mess up a jet engine, people die, right? Yeah, safety is an

Elisa Tuijnder: important one there, I guess.

Kyle Samuels: Fried chicken, etc. And barring, of course, foodborne illness, which is super rare, the worst thing that happens is like Hey, Pizza Hut, I said, no pepperoni. I’m so sorry. Right. And so I say that to say this, there are people who were amazing at G Aviation who would not have done well at Yum because of the culture and the pace and [00:38:30] the way it moves.

And vice versa. There are people who are rockstar legends at young who would have went to GE Aviation and crashed in front of them. And they would have been forced to,

Elisa Tuijnder: yeah.

Kyle Samuels: Because it’s a cultural thing. And I think that is super duper important. And that is honestly, a resume is a resume. If we assume that it’s, you know, legit and, Hey, I’ve got 10 years of this.

Okay, cool. How do you lead? How do you motivate? Is it congruent with how we do things here? That’s the important part. And I think, um, giving candidates as much of a real life preview as [00:39:00] possible is important. So, for example, if you know they’re coming into a company that’s, you know, a growing startup and things are going to be rocky, test them to make sure they’re okay with it.

Because they just need, like, The stability of a corporate company, of a, you know, Forge 500 or a public company, they should go there, right? You need to test that. So that’s super important.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, they definitely have different paces. Oh yeah. And you have to also look there. Hey Kyle, last question. Um, here on the podcast, we’re super big fans of tangible practices.

Like things are, uh, listeners can [00:39:30] start implementing tomorrow. They don’t have to do some major creative overhaul or whatever, something that they can get to work with basically. Uh, and I know we’ve talked about a bunch of things, but can you leave us with a small step that leaders can take to make their businesses kind of more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive, like something that they can potentially start trialing with.

Kyle Samuels: That’s a good one. Let me think about that. So obviously we’re going to assume someone wants to do this, right?

Elisa Tuijnder: I

Kyle Samuels: would say, um, look [00:40:00] at your current organization and how homogeneous it is. And ask why, right? So if it’s, well, we’re just a bunch of, you know, white people with Stanford degrees because we all know each other from school and stuff like that.

And that’s who we know. Like, that’s not bad. I mean, that’s a circle, right? But you already know that you’re going to need some, other pockets if you want to be diverse, right? So look in different schools, don’t just go to the same [00:40:30] schools, right? Instead of just, Oh, you went to MIT or cool, get the, get Bubba, don’t get the 81st person in their class at MIT, get the first person in his class or her class at University of Nebraska or Howard University or something like that, right?

I would say, I would say that because any company that, that it’s funny to me when I see, um, HR consulting companies who do, uh, diversity work and advisory work. And if you look at their companies, you’re like, none of your leaders are that diverse or whatever, what’s going on. [00:41:00] Right. So I think, um, it’s about being open.

Like we’ve talked about being open to things and trying different schools, trying different things and understanding why you’re doing it. I guess that’s the other thing. Intentionality

Elisa Tuijnder: again.

Kyle Samuels: Don’t want it to be like, well, it’s, it’s good. And I want to do this because of blah, blah, blah. Like ultimately needs to be tied to something that you feel is going to make your company better.

Actually, that’s what I would say. I would say that’s the number one rule, because if you don’t, number one,

Elisa Tuijnder: You don’t believe in it and you’re just doing it to perform.

Kyle Samuels: Right, right. And if it doesn’t work out like that, [00:41:30] Then you’re gonna be like, oh, well last year, you know, we did this, this year we got more diverse people.

We didn’t do as well. Why is that? It could be because you didn’t hire the best marketing manager. You just decided to hire someone who was different and that was not the time to do it. Right. So again, it should never be about cutting corners. It should be about finding the best. And the only way I think you can really do that is by expanding your network, right?

Yeah. And talking to people who don’t look like you. Going to places where. Um, you never bet. 100%.

Elisa Tuijnder: Awesome. Thanks so [00:42:00] much, Kyle. That was a really interesting conversation. Hey, if our listeners want to get in contact with you or your company, where can they do that? Oh, I love it.

Kyle Samuels: So, um, website www. ctesearch.

com. Um, or you can go to www. createtalentedevers. com. It’s much longer, hence the www. ctesearch. com. Uh, tag, or hit me up on LinkedIn. Uh, I’m on LinkedIn under Kyle Samuels, probably linkedin. com slash Kyle Samuels. Um, I’ve been posting [00:42:30] more, um, happy to talk and mix it up there. I do some interesting things.

LinkedIn has gotten kind of boring. So let’s see if we can shake it up.

Elisa Tuijnder: Shake it up a bit. Yeah. Thank you so much for this conversation, Kyle. Uh, I really enjoyed it. Um, so yeah, we’ll link all of that in the show notes as well. So people can find you. Thanks again.

Kyle Samuels: Awesome. I appreciate you.

Elisa Tuijnder: Bye.

You’ve been listening to the [00:43:00] Happiness at Work podcast by Management 3. 0, where we are getting serious about happiness. Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And if you enjoy our shows, don’t be shy. Write us a review, share the happiness with your colleagues, family, or friends. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn under Management 3.

[00:43:30] 0.

Have a listen to more of our insightful podcasts