Christian Hunt on putting ourselves in the shoes of those people we are trying to influence

This is a story that starts with a rogue trader.

And then moves to what happens when you truly empathise with the other side of an equation.

Today I speak with Christian Hunt, the founder of Human Risk, a Behavioural Science led Consulting and Training Firm, specialising in the fields of Ethics and Compliance. And Author of Humanizing Rules.

After Christian started to “eat his regulatory cooking” after implementing it at the financial services firm UBS, his life took an interesting turn.

He started to focus entirely on people’s behaviour, on what makes them tick, and what gets them doing the things they shouldn’t, and neglect to do the things they should.

In this episode we talk about Danny Boyle and the Olympics, and how his opening show was a powerful example of how to get people to do things you want them to do.

Christian talks about how to get the best out of people.

We hear how the airline industry can teach us a lot about compliance.

And then Christian brings to life how the move from authoritarian leadership to a more empowering style of leadership, although the way forward, poses more organisational risk.

There is talk of the importance of experimenting, we hear where AI fits into all of this and the importance of thinking about the overall employee experience.

He then leaves us with not only his most important philosophy, but also two great songs that bring to life his thinking.

I promise you – this podcast about compliance is anything but boring. Even though it is rooted in one of the most boring subjects of all time! 😊

So throw on those running shoes, or grab your favourite beverage, and here is the very entertaining Christian.

00:00:03:15 – 00:00:32:07
Philippa White
Welcome to the show, where we expose new perspectives on our ever evolving world through the lenses of various industries, cultures and backgrounds. Our guests are disruptors united by a common goal to bring their purpose to life, whether they’re from the commercial world or third sector, from the Global North or the Global South. Expect an inspirational journey that will transform your perspective on just what is possible.

00:00:32:18 – 00:00:38:13
Philippa White
My name is Philippa White and welcome TIE Unearthed.

00:00:40:23 – 00:01:12:23
Philippa White
Today’s episode is going to get you thinking about something we all come into contact with daily, both in our personal and professional lives. But I’m sure a few of you have thought about how to do things differently. I’m talking about rules and compliance. Sounds like a really fun podcast, doesn’t it? Well, this is exactly why this conversation is so interesting, because Christian manages to put a real human spin on something that isn’t usually considered very well.

00:01:12:24 – 00:01:52:07
Philippa White
Human. Welcome to episode 84 of TIE Unearthed, where I speak with Kristian Hunt about his work with human risk and his book, Human Rules. Christian is the founder of Human Risk, a behavioral science led consulting and training firm specializing in the fields of ethics and compliance. He was formerly M.D at UBS, where he was head of behavioral science, and prior to joining UBS, he was CEO of the UK Prudential Regulation Authority, a subsidiary of the Bank of England, responsible for regulating financial services.

00:01:52:22 – 00:02:30:18
Philippa White
Now, his book, Human Rules, was published last year. Today, Christian is going to talk about the potential for people to do things they shouldn’t or why they neglect to do the things they should. He brings the thinking to life with a fantastic example involving the Olympics and Danny Boyle. We talk about the connection with Christian’s work and the importance of understanding and addressing human decision making in the workplace, especially as leadership has shifted from top down to more inclusive and empowering leadership styles.

00:02:31:05 – 00:02:59:23
Philippa White
We discuss the importance of considering the employees perspective in every process and how it can dramatically impact company cultures. As Christian points out, there’s a real difference between how people see themselves and how others perceive them. He then leaves us with some clear takeaways that can be implemented immediately. There is so much here, so throw on those running shoes or grab that favorite beverage.

00:03:00:06 – 00:03:00:21
Philippa White
And here is.

00:03:00:21 – 00:03:09:23
Philippa White
Christian. Christian, thank you so much for joining us on Tie on Earth. Thank you for being here. How are you?

00:03:10:02 – 00:03:13:17
Christian Hunt
I’m really well. Absolutely thrilled to be with you. Thank you for having me.

00:03:14:02 – 00:03:32:13
Philippa White
Yes, a huge thanks to Jeremy for putting us in touch because he made that introduction. I don’t know, six months ago, I think he said, I think you’ll really enjoy talking to Christian. And I have to say, every single time I talk to you, I come out just like I’m bursting with energy. So I’m so excited. We can actually record this now.

00:03:32:13 – 00:03:35:04
Christian Hunt
Likewise. I love the conversations and looking forward to this one.

00:03:35:13 – 00:03:47:00
Philippa White
I always ask everyone this question because I do talk to people literally dotted all over the place and you are one of those people that is literally all over the place regularly. Where are you right now?

00:03:47:09 – 00:04:01:24
Christian Hunt
Right this very second. I’m in London. But the reason that you ask the question, quite rightly, is not only do I travel for fun and for business, but also I spend half of my time in Munich, in Germany, traveling between the two by train. So you’ve got me on a London day, but I’ve literally just come from Munich.

00:04:01:24 – 00:04:04:01
Christian Hunt
So I sort of the German vibe in London.

00:04:04:03 – 00:04:07:21
Philippa White
Oh, me too. That’s great. And you’re off to Indonesia. You were saying when? Tomorrow?

00:04:08:11 – 00:04:13:18
Christian Hunt
Yes, tomorrow. So. So you sort of I’m never quite sure where I am, so hopefully we can hold this together.

00:04:15:11 – 00:04:27:06
Philippa White
Yeah, right. So before we start talking about human risk and human rules, which is obviously humanizing rules, I’m sorry, which is your book that came out just a little while ago. Tell us your story.

00:04:27:06 – 00:04:43:16
Christian Hunt
I guess let’s go right back to childhood, because I think this is relevant to what I do now. And I was always one of those kids that was incredibly curious about the world. And I would do the embarrassing thing of pointing at stuff and asking my parents what was going on and inevitably stuff involved people. And so I was always going, why?

00:04:43:16 – 00:04:57:06
Christian Hunt
Why are they wearing that? Why are they doing that? And my parents indulged that. And I think that’s really spurred me on and got me to where I am now. But in between times I did a degree in French and German, which was a literature based degree, and I realized with hindsight that also was to do with people.

00:04:57:06 – 00:05:19:24
Christian Hunt
We tend not to write plays or novels about things. We write them about people, human emotions and those sorts of things. So I went off and qualified to be an accountant. Let’s not talk about that. Moving into banking. Yeah, I thought it was a sensible thing to do to counterbalance my degree, kind of interesting. And then I moved into banking, did various roles, and through a series of accidents, I guess I became a regulator in 2011.

00:05:19:24 – 00:05:36:06
Christian Hunt
I was I have to stress this post, the financial crisis in the UK, they were looking for people that weren’t standard regulators that could sort of shake things up a little bit. And so I joined the regulator in supervision, which is the bet the regulator faces off against firms really with a mandate to kind of just try and change the approach and to be much more engaged in the subject.

00:05:36:07 – 00:05:53:01
Christian Hunt
Think about how we could stop the things like the 2008 crisis happening again and I spent most of my time in that role heading up this team of banking supervisors who are the people that literally face off with the industry. I looking at a firm called UBS and as you’ll know if regulators looking at a firm, it is not because they’re doing a stellar job.

00:05:53:01 – 00:06:08:16
Christian Hunt
It’s because there’s problems. And I seven days after taking my role, there was a rogue trader that almost took the firm down who was based in London. So I had to lead the international response to that. And I was kind of really enjoying this. This particular thing as I was the regulator was was being broken up into two separate parts.

00:06:08:16 – 00:06:22:06
Christian Hunt
And I went with part of it to the Bank of England, continued in this supervision role looking at banks and then became, quote, the regulator. And so really how the inside of the regulator inside a central bank works but I wasn’t cut out to be central banker and then moved to UBS, the firm I spent all this time looking at.

00:06:22:06 – 00:06:40:24
Christian Hunt
And in many jurisdictions you can’t make that move. In the UK you are allowed to go between the regulator and the regulator. The idea being that you want people with regulatory experience in the industry and people with industry experience in the regulation. So there’s a logic to it. And I ended up with this very unique position at UBS where I was heading up risk and compliance for one of their businesses or ends up eating my own regulatory cooking.

00:06:40:24 – 00:07:06:01
Christian Hunt
In other words, the stuff that I had imposed on the firm to solve some of the problems suddenly became my responsibility. And as I was doing that, I realized the it wasn’t landing in the way that had been intended. And this wasn’t a criticism of UBS. This is that this was an industry wide challenge. So, for example, I would get emails from myself sending me on training courses that I didn’t really understand, you know, not literally from myself, but the machine would generate it from me and then I’d go, What the hell is this?

00:07:06:11 – 00:07:22:22
Christian Hunt
Or I get details of policies that I owned that I kind of went, Want to understand this? And I thought, Well, hold on a minute with my background. If I don’t get this, then there’s no chance that people in the business will understand or be interested in this. So if I didn’t like this, then we have a bigger problem than just me.

00:07:23:04 – 00:07:38:22
Christian Hunt
This isn’t landing. And it was that realization of I’d been responsible for imposing a lot of stuff that then didn’t make sense what it was delivered. I just thought, I’ve got to do something about this. And I was old enough in my career to go. I could have just ignored it, pretended that’s the way the world was, but that in a child jumped out.

00:07:38:24 – 00:07:57:00
Christian Hunt
I was like, I need to do something about this. And so began this journey of human risk. And basically the idea behind the thing was to say, look, when we look at compliance, when we look at risks, the responsibilities I have within the firm, it’s all about people. Because whenever something goes wrong, there’s always a human component involved, either causing the problem in the first place or making it worse.

00:07:57:00 – 00:08:18:00
Christian Hunt
By the way, they react or don’t react to it and into a compliance is the business of influencing humans because, well, you can say to an organization, be compliant, but it’s unlikely to respond. It’s the people within it that will needs to action that or not. And so with this realization of it was all about people, I suddenly went, Huh, well, if we’re in that business, we should really start to think about what makes people tick and how can we do that.

00:08:18:00 – 00:08:34:05
Christian Hunt
And so the trick I thought to managing these challenges was was actually recognizing that there were human beings at the end of this. And if we could get through to those human beings that we could understand that human beings better, we could be more effective. And so the small child finally got into a position where it had a a job that was relevant to it.

00:08:34:05 – 00:08:55:11
Christian Hunt
And so I started to do that. UBS set up a business function there. And then 2019, just before the world went horribly crazy, I stepped out. And now what I do is work with a range of different organizations to manage this challenge of what I call human risk. So how do we get the best out of our people recognizing that we’ve hired them for a reason, but also recognize they are the biggest single cause of risk within our organizations?

00:08:55:11 – 00:09:12:01
Christian Hunt
And so you’ve got this this balancing act of we want to give people the freedom to do amazing things that humans are really, really good at. But equally, we want to constrain the potential bigger risk elements of their decision making. And so how do we manage that balancing act? How can we understand that? And the way we do that is to understand how people tick.

00:09:12:06 – 00:09:30:20
Philippa White
I’m very curious as to that bridge of ox. We need to care about humans and how they behave, and that’s the only way that we can decrease risk with companies. So that’s when you obviously unearth the behavioral science element, which you weren’t working in before.

00:09:31:04 – 00:09:31:13
Christian Hunt
Correct.

00:09:31:14 – 00:09:44:00
Philippa White
What did you do? How did you how did you make that move? I understand the catalyst to it happening. It was a very clear aha moment. But how did you then make that bridge to then working in that area?

00:09:44:02 – 00:10:02:16
Christian Hunt
So I think it’s looking back and of course hindsight is a really dangerous thing because we create a lovely narrative of how it all neatly happened and fell into place. But I’d always been interested in people. Hence I mentioned the degree and so I had been paying attention to behavioral science and reading the books. And whenever I had the opportunity to reread or explore that space, I was doing it.

00:10:02:16 – 00:10:19:19
Christian Hunt
In many respects. I was aware of this toolkit and I was aware that people were using it in things like advertising. Yeah. And this was a time when governments started to use behavioral science as well. Things like the Behavioral Insights team in the UK were there and so it wasn’t a massive leap as I started to look at the toolkits I thought might be available to go, Hold on a minute.

00:10:19:19 – 00:10:42:03
Christian Hunt
If we’re in the business of influencing people, then shouldn’t we understand it? And I kind of know what that involves because I’ve been interested in this. I’ve been reading this stuff and paying close attention to it. It can’t be that much of a leap for me to see how I can deploy one into the other. And I think what’s lovely about the challenge of compliance and risk and all these sorts of things is if you’re trying to influence people in that context, the same brain that you’re trying to influence if you’re trying to advertise to them.

00:10:42:03 – 00:10:59:07
Christian Hunt
And so the read across, if you think about advertising, advertising is all about how do I get you to buy my product or service? Well, compliance is all about how do I get people to do something or not do something? And therefore it’s the same thing. It’s just in a different context and suddenly the so the leap was on the one hand, it’s massive and it’s tiny because it’s actually it’s that realization.

00:10:59:07 – 00:11:13:03
Christian Hunt
And so this lifetime of sight of desk learning and interest in things and suddenly just loomed large. And so I just thought, well, let’s just try that. This could be something interesting. So I think I’ve been prepping for this moment for decades without realizing it.

00:11:13:03 – 00:11:28:19
Philippa White
You know, I often talk about how our lives are unfinished puzzles and it’s you have all these puzzle pieces that start kind of fitting together and you start to see the pictures, something is just still not quite sure what that image is. Then you get another puzzle piece and another puzzle piece, and then it starts to be clear.

00:11:28:19 – 00:11:47:07
Philippa White
But you realize you’ve got, you know, a thousand piece puzzle and you’re still. But I do feel that. And you’re right. I think what’s so important as well is whatever it is that you do, it needs to be something that interests you. And you’re unearthing a purpose, right? You start to realize what that purpose is and it’s what makes it work, right?

00:11:47:07 – 00:12:00:14
Philippa White
You can tell by reading your book, which we’ll talk about in a second as well, that this is clearly something that you’re very passionate about, which is why it’s a very human book, because you’re not just talking about theories and frameworks. You’ve obviously lived and breathed this for a while.

00:12:00:14 – 00:12:15:01
Christian Hunt
Yeah, I think it just came. It was born of frustration, as many as many sort of businesses and solutions things are. I was just looking the world going, we can do something like, why is this? And it wasn’t just like I didn’t understand. It was irritating the hell out of me and it was being done in my name.

00:12:15:01 – 00:12:28:24
Christian Hunt
And so I kind of went, Well, I’m going to fix this. And so. So you write became a mission rather than a kind of, you know, I didn’t sit there and go, what would be a good business plan? It was more like, I want to fix this damn thing because this is not good enough, right? Yeah. So you actually write.

00:12:28:24 – 00:12:47:02
Christian Hunt
And so in writing the book and in the way that I approach it, I was also very conscious that if I’m going to go out there and tell people that they need to be more human in their approach, to think about the people that are at the on the receiving end, if you like, of the rules and the communications and things, then I better make sure that I live those values in the way I write it without wishing to disparage anybody.

00:12:47:02 – 00:13:03:07
Christian Hunt
But clearly, that’s always the prelude to I’m about to do that. I often find you read things about human behavior that don’t read like they’re written by humans. They kind of people talk about the, you know, the human algorithm is if and you read this thing and you think this is it, there’s no kind of you’re not making this easy for people to engage with.

00:13:03:07 – 00:13:22:23
Christian Hunt
And so if I’m going to talk about how we should better engage with audiences, understand that, then I better make sure that I live those values myself because otherwise, why the hell would you hire me or listen to me in terms of if I can’t demonstrate to you in what I’m doing, it would be a bit like, you know, hiring a comedian to tell you how to be funny and they show no signs of being funny themselves.

00:13:22:24 – 00:13:38:08
Christian Hunt
Yeah. And so I wanted to make absolutely certain and everything I do in stuff I do in social media, what I do, my clients, the writing, the all the stuff I do, that there is a human element to this that what screams out is here is a human being that’s talking about other human beings, and I can hopefully resonate with people in that way.

00:13:38:08 – 00:13:46:02
Philippa White
So talk to us about human risk before we get into the book. Human Risk came first. Perhaps you could just bring it to life a little bit more and explain, you know, what’s working.

00:13:46:02 – 00:13:57:18
Christian Hunt
So so let me let me just quickly define it because I think it’s helpful to find out is the risk of people doing things they shouldn’t or not doing things they should? Because if you can, of course, I mean, human risk, you need a definition of the risk is now if you look at that definition, it’s incredibly broad.

00:13:57:20 – 00:14:11:24
Christian Hunt
That’s intentional and it’s got the word things in it, which fans of definitions will hate because it’s a pretty vague and I use the word things because often we don’t know what it is that we are trying to prevent. So if I knew what the risk of people, whatever it was, I was trying to protect it when I deal with it.

00:14:11:24 – 00:14:28:07
Christian Hunt
But often I don’t know because I’m dealing with people who are creative and come up with interesting ideas. And so when we’re dealing with humans, the word things is actually an appropriate word because it covers the breadth of human behavior. So I’m looking at everything from somebody who’s deliberately setting out to commit fraud to someone who’s a bit tired and has made a mistake.

00:14:28:08 – 00:14:49:20
Christian Hunt
And so how do we mitigate all of those things and recognize the risk those things pose? And so at the heart of what I’m doing is things like compliance and ethics, where obviously you’ve got rules and principles. You want people to follow. But it also looks at things like health and safety h.r. Processes. I’m looking at cybersecurity processes, physical security processes or even just general management where we want people to follow a set of rules or principles to achieve an outcome.

00:14:49:20 – 00:15:06:07
Christian Hunt
And therefore, we need them to be thinking about what might go wrong in that sphere. Who does this stuff? Well, and I should add, by the way, I started my business working just with banks. I now work with everybody ranging from chemical weapons inspectors through to tech companies, everything in between. Any company that employs humans has the challenges that I’m helping people to solve.

00:15:06:07 – 00:15:23:06
Christian Hunt
So, you know, I’d say, who does this well? Well, the answer is sectors and organizations that understand human beings. So if you look at, for example, the airline industry, that’s a good example of an industry that in parts of what they do, gets this really, really well. And the part that they get it is the air safety bit.

00:15:23:06 – 00:15:39:01
Christian Hunt
So if you think about we don’t have planes falling out of the sky on a regular basis, the number of incidents relative to the amount of flying that is going on a very, very tiny amount. And the reason for that is they’ve created cultures within the airlines, but also a regulator that supports it, where, for example, you get into more trouble.

00:15:39:01 – 00:15:54:17
Christian Hunt
If something goes wrong and you don’t talk about it, then you do. If you do, people are used to coming forward and talking about mistakes that they’ve made. They have a very open, transparent culture. If an ANA line has a problem, it’s encouraged by the regulators to share that with other problems. Because guess what? You’re flying the same planes.

00:15:54:17 – 00:16:11:18
Christian Hunt
Therefore, you don’t. The likelihood of failure and I could have four airline BS. Let’s share knowledge and share information and let’s start from the premise of mistakes are going to happen. How do we minimize them as opposed to, well, we have zero tolerance for mistakes. There are times of errors. So there’s a very, very human approach to this stuff that help solve the problem.

00:16:11:18 – 00:16:28:10
Christian Hunt
So that part of the airline industry has done really, really well. And you, of course, are going to point out to me go, oh, hold on a minute. They have i.t. Issues, they lose luggage. There’s also lots of bad things happen on the ground. It tends not to happen in the in the air. So I’m not going to put them up as an industry that gets everything right, but at least the safety critical components.

00:16:28:10 – 00:16:45:02
Christian Hunt
So they seem to work well. And I think you can replicate this across any time, whether it’s a matter of life and death, where people obviously get killed or injured when things go wrong, there’s a greater likelihood, not always guarantee, but there’s a greater likelihood of them getting it right. The further away you are from that banking would be a really good example.

00:16:45:02 – 00:17:02:04
Christian Hunt
The consequences of screw ups in the banking sector are enormous, but they’re just not as visible. And so you’ve probably not got the processes in place to have the similar sorts of disciplines that did that. And so what I’m trying to do is to identify, see which pockets do this well that we can learn from and which pockets perhaps we should absolutely not be copying from.

00:17:02:05 – 00:17:11:09
Philippa White
In your book, you bring to life a subject matter. As we talked about just earlier. You know, compliance just sounds very horrible. Compliance, awful.

00:17:11:09 – 00:17:11:18
Christian Hunt
Word.

00:17:12:04 – 00:17:36:23
Philippa White
It’s the worst word, but it’s so amazing how you bring to life this area, which it actually falls into everything. It falls into literally so many parts of life. And actually, I love the story about Danny Boyle. Oh, yeah, that’s such a great example of actually you need humans to be able to buy into things. They need to be able to understand and why the heck we’re needing to do this.

00:17:36:24 – 00:17:37:10
Philippa White
The story of.

00:17:37:14 – 00:17:56:10
Christian Hunt
The 2012 Olympics is Danny Boyle, the famous film director, is asked to basically direct the opening ceremony to the big kick off thing. And so what he’s decided to do is to do this this big sort of celebration of of all things British. And part of that he’s going to get the audience going to that degree of audience participation in this.

00:17:56:10 – 00:18:15:06
Christian Hunt
And he recognized that he had lost lots of volunteers at the ceremony. So you’re going to want to do a dress rehearsal for this opening ceremony with an audience there to make sure that all the audience participation bits, people are holding lights and all sorts of funny little things that there’s going to everything’s going to go smoothly. And you want the people who are on stage performing to have be used to doing in front of an audience.

00:18:15:06 – 00:18:41:12
Christian Hunt
So you need you want a dress rehearsal. What he wanted to do was his aim in the opening ceremony was to really produce something unexpected that was going to really set the tone for the Olympics. Now, the problem is when you’re running a dress rehearsal for something where you’ve got the best part of 100,000 people, I can’t write the exact number of 80,000 people turning up to this thing, all of whom have the capability to own vast thanks to social media and mobile devices to to basically ruin the surprise for everybody else.

00:18:41:12 – 00:18:56:24
Christian Hunt
And so Boyle thought long and hard, well, how do I make sure that we keep the secret of what’s happening for the show so that it’s not revealed beforehand on social media? And I could probably influence traditional newspapers. I can probably say not to tell the secrets, but how do I deal with with social media? This is a nightmare.

00:18:56:24 – 00:19:14:08
Christian Hunt
And what he decided to do was, rather than trying to confiscate people’s phones or ban them from talking about it, he just thought, well, I’ve got to engage them on a human level. It’d be great if we could keep this secret until the day he realized, in the simple psychology of how you communicate with people, you can set them off on a path where they might work with you.

00:19:14:10 – 00:19:29:01
Christian Hunt
You can set them on a path that might not work. And so what he thought about was, how do I communicate to a bunch of people that it’d be great if they could not tell anybody what they’ve seen? But of course they’re going to want to talk about the fact they’ve been to a dress rehearsal. So he was like, ban them from talking about on social media, that’s not enforceable.

00:19:29:01 – 00:19:42:20
Christian Hunt
And in fact, if I try and ban them, it’s going to make them more likely to want to talk about it. He thought about, well, it’s a secret that we won’t cap, and he just thought, people are terrible at keeping secrets. If I use the word secret, right? Keep the secret, something like that. People are people. Nobody’s good at keeping secrets from.

00:19:42:20 – 00:20:01:20
Christian Hunt
People blab. And so if you talk about it to keep the secret that big problem. So what he did was basically thought well people are good at keeping surprises. Everybody likes surprises. Nobody understands that. So he came up with this idea of, let’s ask the audience before we start the things just to say to them, you’re getting a special preview, but we want everybody else to have a surprise when this comes out.

00:20:01:20 – 00:20:21:11
Christian Hunt
So can you help us to save the surprise? Talk about that you’ve been to the event, talk about how great it was, but please, please, please save the surprise for what happens in the event and genius leaps up on the screens in the stadium. Hashtag Save the surprise. The small bit there wasn’t just using the term surprise, but he gave them a hashtag that they could use while they were talking about the event.

00:20:21:18 – 00:20:37:17
Christian Hunt
And of course, if you’re using the hashtag Save the surprise in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, I don’t want to give this. Do I need to save it? So he recognized that people were going to want to talk about the saying and gave them a vehicle through which they could talk about it. They also met his objectives and he trusted them and took them on board.

00:20:37:19 – 00:20:56:22
Christian Hunt
Just this brilliant shift from we need people to keep it secret too. We need people to save the surprise and giving them a vehicle to be able to do that was successful at work. The stories didn’t leak beforehand, and I’m pretty sure if he’d done anything other than what he did, it could have been a lot worse. And so that’s a good example of a compliance exercise that he didn’t use the word compliance.

00:20:56:22 – 00:21:10:23
Christian Hunt
Nobody would think of that as compliance, but it’s the same thing you want a bunch of people, in this case tens of thousands of people who have every motivation in the world to show off that this thing you want them to to keep a secret. Well, let’s not talk about secrets. Let’s talk about surprises.

00:21:11:06 – 00:21:33:12
Philippa White
Yeah, it’s genius. It’s genius. And so what that beautifully articulates is this area, as you talk about in your book of behavioral science, you know, what is behavioral science then? So what is this thing that the advertising world has obviously understood and now you’re bringing this into this world of compliance? It would be really great to bring that to life.

00:21:33:12 – 00:21:36:24
Philippa White
And then just explain, why would you write your book and what is your book about?

00:21:37:04 – 00:22:01:11
Christian Hunt
Sure. So you got lots of definitions of behavioral science and pretty much you can find any discipline. You want to stick the word behavior in front of people. People have done that with behavioral law. Behavioral is that everything? What I mean by behavioral science is the understanding of human decision making. Right? So if we can understand how people make decisions, we can then use that knowledge to be better at influencing them.

00:22:01:11 – 00:22:21:08
Christian Hunt
Now, I always add for good because of course you could use that knowledge for bad. You could use it to manipulate people and we see cases of that happening. But for me it’s about understanding what makes people tick now, not the theory of what makes people take, but what actually makes sense. What are real people in the real world making real decisions?

00:22:21:08 – 00:22:43:21
Christian Hunt
What do they do and why do they do it? And if we can understand that, we can start to design processes and systems and communications and training and all those sorts of things that deliver better outcomes. So advertising will be one example. You want somebody to buy your product or service. Well, if I can understand the drivers of what will make them want to do that, then I can start to design advertising that makes that more likely.

00:22:44:02 – 00:23:02:21
Christian Hunt
Compliance is the business, as I’ve said before, of influencing humans to get people to follow rules or principles, do certain things, not do certain things. Also to follow rules to a certain standard. There may be a qualitative component as such with compliance. And so it’s again, it’s the same thing. And so the behavioral bit is really understanding the behavior.

00:23:02:23 – 00:23:17:20
Christian Hunt
It’s the science bit. I think the reason I prefer behavioral science to behavioral economics, even though it’s pretty much the same thing, I’ve got people telling me it’s not but is pretty much the same thing. The result of the science part is it points to the fact that we need to experiment. We need to have an experimental approach to this stuff.

00:23:17:20 – 00:23:27:24
Christian Hunt
And so what we have to recognize is that sometimes what we think works, things that we logically ought to solve the problem often don’t in reality. And so we need to experiment and try things out.

00:23:28:02 – 00:23:29:13
Philippa White
So why did you write your book?

00:23:29:16 – 00:23:53:12
Christian Hunt
I sometimes get into my head that I want to do something. So, you know, a podcast I started a few years ago now as I will have a podcast and then I’ll work it days I’m the book. And so the book was just like, Well, how hard can it be on listeners, as you know? Answer Very. So I decided I thought I wanted to write this book and the original intent for the book was, Yeah, of course you want to write a book because it’s helpful to get your name out that’s got ideas out there.

00:23:53:12 – 00:24:07:06
Christian Hunt
But it was also I was on a mission. One of the ways to distribute ideas is mission. And in the 21st century, books are, of course, on demand products. So we can think about, you know, I can I can talk lots, but if I can get a book out there, I can start to share my ideas and get people responding to it.

00:24:07:06 – 00:24:25:07
Christian Hunt
So it’s a way of engaging, yes. Potential clients, but also just a general audience that can help me to be smarter about what I’m doing. And so I started to just think I want to write this stuff down because that will help one. It’ll help me. So there’s this, there’s this. I do think while you write, you wait to find out whether you understand something is to try and write writes about it.

00:24:25:07 – 00:24:42:21
Christian Hunt
And writing a book is a big challenge. But it also means, do I know what I’m talking about? And you realized in writing, but there’s some things you know better than you thought. And there’s other things where I thought I understood this, but I’m not sure I do, and I better close that gap. It was a slightly selfish project in the sense that I wanted to do it, but I also thought there would be a market for this.

00:24:42:21 – 00:25:02:02
Christian Hunt
And clearly having got a publisher to publish it, that demonstrates they were behind that. And it’s been doing pretty well in terms of the interest in it. But really it was just to float some ideas. And for me, you know, having written that stuff down, I thought at the time it was going to be that was focusing. I can then build a wife to realize now is that that’s helped me writing that I’m putting it out there that’s how it has a life of its own now.

00:25:02:02 – 00:25:15:17
Christian Hunt
And I can then start thinking about some of the other things and some sort of other bits that I haven’t written in the book that I’ve thought about since writing it. Because, you know, one of the other challenges as you finish writing the book and then it’s like, Oh, well, I should have written this, I should have written that I missed this off.

00:25:15:17 – 00:25:30:12
Christian Hunt
I couldn’t remember a ton of other stuff you could have put in there. So it’s an ongoing thing, you know, putting this stuff out there because I want people to respond to I want people to try this stuff. You tell me where way does what I’m saying make sense? Where does it not make sense? Because I’m not claiming any great wisdom here.

00:25:30:21 – 00:25:43:23
Christian Hunt
I’ve just probably spent more time looking at this subject and exploring it than the majority of people, understandably, because it’s not everybody’s bag. But for those people that are interested in this stuff, what I want to do is just unleash some people and have conversations, know about it.

00:25:43:23 – 00:26:12:02
Philippa White
You know, I run my own company, but it’s a company, a very, very small one. Even in the day to day of running a company and having anybody work for you, you understand the need to have people understand why they need to do certain things. You know, I can’t even imagine what these companies who have hundreds of people, hundreds of thousands of people working and having to ensure that all of these humans don’t cause massive, massive problems.

00:26:12:02 – 00:26:39:21
Philippa White
And yeah, how you know, and we’re moving away from this age of top down if you don’t do it kind of dictatorship style leadership. So if we’re moving away from that, we’re sort of empowerment leadership and conscious leadership and trying to empower people. And that’s great. But at the same time, it’s, it’s finding that balance, isn’t it? And so it’s just fascinating reading your book because I think it’s it’s relevant for everybody.

00:26:39:21 – 00:26:52:14
Philippa White
I mean, it’s definitely relevant to people who are running companies and having to lead companies because actually so much of what you’re talking about, it’s what’s needed now, probably more than ever. But even for me, it’s suddenly reframed just thinking of.

00:26:52:14 – 00:27:19:22
Christian Hunt
Yeah, it’s. And the word compliance is a double edged sword because it clearly is. This is a book that if you’re in compliance, is useful to you. The downside is nobody who’s if you’re not in compliance, they want to go, Oh, that sounds awful. And I hate the word compliance. And I you it in the book. And to say the worst piece of branding ever, because if you wanted to make something sound pompous and bureaucratic and authoritarian, you choose the word compliance, and then you would add the suffix officer just to make it sound even more.

00:27:19:22 – 00:27:36:04
Christian Hunt
Yes, you know, they’re awful than it was before. I think it’s the only time I can think of where the word officer actually makes things worse, as opposed to better, even less respect for it than we know. So you’ve got this awful man. And so I was torn between putting this on the cover of the book and then probably losing people, but also recognizing that’s what it’s about.

00:27:36:04 – 00:27:53:07
Christian Hunt
And you’re you’re absolutely spot on this challenge of how do we get people to do the things we want them to do, not do the things that we don’t often to a certain standard? You know, being ethical is a really good example of where you can just say to people, do the right thing or be ethical. But that comes with a huge qualitative component that we then need to recognize.

00:27:53:07 – 00:28:19:03
Christian Hunt
And so when we look at what we are trying to get people to do in different contexts, it might be compliance, it might be ethics, it might just be generally managing people in a particular way. Salespeople. How do we get them to sell in the right way? Yeah, that’s a compliance challenge. You may not be badged as such, and I think your point about it being prevalent in the moment, you know, what fascinates me with technology is if you’ve got something that is predictable, repeatable, then nowadays you start to give that to machines.

00:28:19:03 – 00:28:40:13
Christian Hunt
They will always make that same. So if you can codify stuff, chances are you’ll be giving it to a machine. What we need people to do the 21st century, the things that machines can’t brackets yet do. So that’s things involving emotional intelligence, judgment, nuance, all those human attributes, those human attributes. So when we are at our absolute best, but it’s also when we pose the largest amount of risk, you know, judgment, great example.

00:28:40:13 – 00:28:51:13
Christian Hunt
I can have good judgment or terrible judgment. And so when we look at those sorts of things, what we’re all having to do if we employ people or even if even in our families, right. If you’ve got kids, for example, I.

00:28:51:13 – 00:28:52:01
Philippa White
Was going to say.

00:28:52:01 – 00:29:23:20
Christian Hunt
You are trying to influence those kids. Right. That’s a compliance regime. And you can’t just you know, to your point about telling you, just detach the job. I talk in the book about the employment contract fallacy and employment contract versus we employees that we can tell you what to do. It’s legally correct, but it’s a fallacy because we can’t just rely on that, because if we if we’ve got a sort of North Korean style where we’re telling people, what’s the moment we can’t if they don’t respect us and they don’t like they haven’t got one good bye in the moment, we can’t see what they’re up to or they have an opportunity to game the

00:29:23:20 – 00:29:44:06
Christian Hunt
rules of the processes that we’ve put in place. We are screwed. And so what we’ve got with this dynamic of technology doing the repeat predictable stuff is people are spending more and more time doing the things where we’re going to have to have a much more flexible approach to how we manage an influence. So, you know, for me, this challenge people always go with said, well, machines will make it easier because that they’ll do what they want.

00:29:44:06 – 00:29:57:03
Christian Hunt
Yeah, they’ll do exactly what they’re told. Correct. Let’s ignore A.I. for a second, because that complicates the issue. But what that means is we’re going to be doing different things as humans. And so this issue is not going to get easier. It’s actually a damn sight harder.

00:29:57:04 – 00:30:31:00
Philippa White
And it’s just interesting, isn’t it? Because what I talk a lot about with my work and what I talk about with my book and just the programs that we create with this war on talent at the moment and where the workforce is going. You know, people want to work for more human companies, but what does that mean? Well, it means that companies like what we’ve just talked about, it’s the companies they have leaders who have the human competencies of empathy, flexibility, cultural intelligence, who empower their people, who give them the space to be able to grow.

00:30:31:07 – 00:30:50:13
Philippa White
But from a compliance point of view, that definitely does create that risk. And it’s so interesting listening to you talk because the AI part of your book, I know that that didn’t go into your book because you you weren’t able to get it in in time. You talk and I’m like, I think this is the chapter that didn’t make it.

00:30:51:01 – 00:31:09:22
Christian Hunt
So yeah, it was just annoying because I had to go, as you all know, right? You have to submit these things well before they get published. Yes. And so I think it was it was a matter of of weeks when GPT burst onto the scene. So that would have been a perfect thing to cover. So so yeah. When, when the paperback edition eventually appears, that will absolutely be in there.

00:31:09:22 – 00:31:32:10
Christian Hunt
But what was interesting as well, when you when you were talking, I was thinking, well, one of the myths that people go is our the reason that we can run this sort of authoritarian system of telling people because we pay them lots of money or they have no choice but to work elsewhere. And I think all of those narratives are being undermined because if you are having to pay somebody lots of money to do that, then presuming you’re paying them lots of money because they bring a specific skill set that’s very, very human.

00:31:32:15 – 00:31:46:11
Christian Hunt
You, because if you could get a machine to do it, you would you would get the machine and not pay the human loads of money. So you’re hiring them for those human attributes. And if you’re paying them lots of money, then that demonstrates that you’re going to need them to do some interesting things. So you can’t necessarily influence those people.

00:31:46:18 – 00:32:08:01
Christian Hunt
And this idea that we’re all now trapped to one employer is also fake. We’ve seen one of the pandemic revealed is that the challenge is if you are a remote worker, your competition is people in the same office as you. You’ve got global competition for that job. And so, you know, that works one way from an employer’s perspective, but it also means that employees have a lot more options than they’ve ever had before.

00:32:08:01 – 00:32:20:19
Christian Hunt
And so I think all of these things point us in the direction of saying this is going to get more complex. And I think, you know, one of the things that people often say to me is, oh, this is all a bit difficult. You know, you’ve raised all these issues very, very difficult. What can we do about ignoring it doesn’t make the problem go away.

00:32:20:19 – 00:32:39:24
Christian Hunt
We are sitting on this problem in all sorts of different ways. So we my view is we better address it because I think if you don’t, the potential for people to screw stuff up and cause damage to companies, to reputations, to what we’ve seen in leaders of countries, causes problems. But human decision making is actually critical and we’ve got to get that right.

00:32:39:24 – 00:32:53:19
Christian Hunt
And then we think about back to the point, what is driving AI? The answer is data from human decision making. That’s what we putting into AI. So, you know, that risk is going to be amplified in a different way with technology. Say, write that chapter will come up.

00:32:53:24 – 00:32:54:22
Philippa White
Yeah, I’m looking at.

00:32:54:22 – 00:32:56:03
Christian Hunt
The book itself. Who knows?

00:32:56:04 – 00:33:04:05
Philippa White
Yeah, right, right. What are some of the projects or stories that stand out from your work that can just further bring this to light?

00:33:04:08 – 00:33:28:24
Christian Hunt
There’s no such thing as as a standard engagement for me. I have people coming to me at different stages. I’ve got people going back home. This is all new stuff. And they just want to kind of start to think about the world differently. I’ve also got people that come to me very specific problems. This isn’t working, and typically what you end up with is that there’s a difference between the system or the process that we have designed to get a particular outcome and what the humans that are going through that system or process are ending up doing.

00:33:28:24 – 00:33:51:07
Christian Hunt
And so, you know, it’s a bit like an advertising campaign that is not landing, the product is not increasing sales. And so a lot of the projects that I work on are things like, Wow, we trained people to do X and they’re not doing it, and they constantly messing things up. And so one of the funny things is often the solution that people develop before they come in is to do more of the thing that got them into trouble in the first place, right?

00:33:51:07 – 00:34:08:16
Christian Hunt
So, so good example would be we trained everybody on this subject. They obviously weren’t listening to the training, so they need more training. There is a logic to that right? We should says, but implicit in the logic is the training is perfect, right? The training is brilliant. The people are idiots. If only we could give them we give them more.

00:34:08:16 – 00:34:23:18
Christian Hunt
We’ll make them do more training and that might be the right answer. But what what if the training is the problem? What if the training is so boring they’re not interested in it? Or you gave it to them eight years ago and is expecting to remember or the world has changed or whatever. And so there’s lots of examples of things like that.

00:34:23:18 – 00:34:40:21
Christian Hunt
We’re actually what I’ve come in and go through and it’s really awkward because I have to think carefully. If I come in and go, You’re doing this all wrong, you’re a bunch of idiots, right? I’m doing the same thing that in many respects the people that are trying to influence the humans in the organization thing. So, you know, one of things to look at is to say, let’s question what presumptions we have used.

00:34:40:21 – 00:34:55:12
Christian Hunt
Get into this and people often enough to think about it. I’ve written some rules. The rules are perfect. The people are not. We know that people are not perfect, but maybe the rules are useless. Maybe they don’t apply in this situation. Maybe you’ve written rules for an analog world and suddenly a digital world has appeared and there’s a clash in this thing.

00:34:55:20 – 00:35:15:08
Christian Hunt
You know, the other the other classic that I guess is, is often people put in place systems and and we can talk about sort of physical processes, but let’s think about computer systems, right? Brand new system, put in a new system and the people are not using the system in the way it was intended. The solution to that is to force the people to use the system the way it was intended.

00:35:15:08 – 00:35:35:08
Christian Hunt
What’s interesting is we know from other contexts that things that are badly designed, you know, people, people we seem lovely. There’s not lovely videos where people misuse things but not used in the way the designer intended. But it solves a different kind of problem. And so a lot of the talking in a lot of things, I teach people to sort of just go, well, let’s have a look at have you actually got this right in the first place?

00:35:35:08 – 00:35:52:16
Christian Hunt
You remember earlier when I was talking about the science bit, behavioral science is really important is we often start out from the premise that we’ve got this nailed, we’ve sorted this out job done when actually we haven’t we have attempted to influence their decision making and what we’ve unleashed on the world is an experiment. And then we need to track whether that experiment is working.

00:35:52:16 – 00:36:08:13
Christian Hunt
Now, if your language has always been we have solved this problem and you told the board of your company that you’ve solved this problem, you’ve announced proudly at your regulator that you’ve solved this problem, and then it goes wrong. That’s embarrassing. Whereas if you’ve approached it and said, Look what we want, we think this is going to work, we’re going to monitor the hell out of it.

00:36:08:13 – 00:36:28:02
Christian Hunt
And if it’s we will stop doing it and we will try and course correct. And so lots of the projects they work with involves not you know, my favorite example is anybody that’s worked in a largish or even even relatively small organization now do this where you have this annual attestation process. And so the organization says we need to make sure that everybody understands this, comply with all the rules that we have.

00:36:28:08 – 00:36:43:04
Christian Hunt
And once year, we will get them to attest that that is the case. And so you have a piece of paper which is designed in many cases to show to regulators. But also, if you ever wanted to fire someone, you can say to them, you signed here to say that you had read all this stuff and you clearly had you’ve lied.

00:36:43:04 – 00:37:01:16
Christian Hunt
We’re going to find my lawyers love this makes their job easier. But actually, if we think about the construct of this this idea of an attestation, any other time where we’re asked to sort of like can confirm things, terms and conditions or car rentals. My favorite example yeah. You know, sign I don’t know why we have to sign about 800 times when we rent a car.

00:37:01:16 – 00:37:16:11
Christian Hunt
I sign hey, sign signs, sign, sign signs. None of us have any clue whatsoever what we’re signing. And in part isn’t even if we did, there’s no point in reading this crap because if we want to rent the car, it’s a take it or leave it situation. I’m just going to sign through to get the damn cards on my vacation.

00:37:16:20 – 00:37:32:13
Christian Hunt
We know that from that context and software terms and conditions, not a good example. We just click, click, click, click, click. Well, because I can’t be that bad in any way. I can’t negotiate with Apple or Microsoft or whatever. So I just have to accept those terms and conditions. So we’re preprogramed to click, click, click, click, sign here, sign here, sign him, move on.

00:37:32:22 – 00:37:49:14
Christian Hunt
Whatever we want to have happen, happens. If you then put that in another context where you’d say right to keep your job, you need to just sign here and then everything will be fine. You can keep your job. Of course you’re going to go, yes, fine, click, click, click. That and the exercise has some value in the sense of you’re reminding people that proves that.

00:37:49:14 – 00:38:04:00
Christian Hunt
But what it doesn’t do is what this says on the paper. It doesn’t confirm the people have actually understood, respect or know those rules. So if you are going to do that exercise and say you because I’m not saying scrap the exercise because you may have to do it for regulatory reasons. You may do it because you want to do it.

00:38:04:09 – 00:38:20:21
Christian Hunt
Your CEO may love this thing and think he’s the best thing or whatever reason why you want to do it, that’s fine. But recognize what it is, which is a replica of a situation in the real world where we don’t bother doing that. And so the question is then, is it worth keeping or are you trying to send a message to your employees that you actually don’t care about the rules?

00:38:21:02 – 00:38:39:21
Christian Hunt
You want them to treat it like a car rental agreement. But if you really want them to care about this, then, for example, somebody who actually can’t remember half the rules isn’t sure what they what do they go and what do they do right? And the answer is, if you don’t give them an out, let the redemptive sinner have a moment where they can actually admit they don’t know what they’re doing.

00:38:40:07 – 00:38:57:12
Christian Hunt
Then you’re forcing them into a situation where you’re basically saying some you need to lie in order to keep your job. And so if we start to unpick those behavior dynamics, we can recognize what the tasks and processes that we’ve put in place are actually likely to be doing. I say likely because we’re not necessarily hundred percent guaranteed, but we have a good idea.

00:38:57:12 – 00:39:15:07
Christian Hunt
What they’re saying is that what we want and the key bit that people, when they want people to take away from this whole thing, the key is remember that human beings are sentient and for some reason in lots and lots of processes, we treat them like they’re idiots. We go, Yeah, you need to sign this as if they’re going to think I’m signed.

00:39:15:07 – 00:39:34:18
Christian Hunt
This will all be in my interest. Any time your employer is asking you to sign something, you know that this will have been lawyered up to the hill and this is in the employer’s interest and not in your interest. Just by default. It’ll be skewed in that way because they’re running the exercise. So you’re picking a self against the employee and you’re saying, sign here so that we have rights.

00:39:34:18 – 00:39:49:11
Christian Hunt
You is not a good idea or not. I don’t know. But let’s at least be honest about what we’re trying to do and recognize that when we put people through processes, they will have views on how acceptable or whatever they find. Those processes. And the key bit is often people don’t think like that. It’s like they sort of pesky cartoon criminals, right?

00:39:49:16 – 00:40:07:19
Christian Hunt
So I have a cunning plan. I know that it’s only they’re not admitting that, they’re just thinking it without actually saying it. And so my view is if you’re hiring people who you claim are smart, intelligent people that you want to use, don’t be surprised when they turn the cynicism or the human attributes that you’ve asked them to deploy in their job onto you.

00:40:07:22 – 00:40:10:09
Christian Hunt
And so we need to recognize that’s happening and then be smarter about it.

00:40:10:13 – 00:40:37:00
Philippa White
I was working with a financial services client a little while ago. We were creating and offering something within the company and they were wanting to make it as human as possible. And I was that person to just have that view. And it’s so interesting how at all stages the emails, just the wording, how you work through the experience every step of the way.

00:40:37:02 – 00:41:03:09
Philippa White
We all need to just think about what is that experience that people are going through and how does then impact the culture at the place that people are working at. And I think it’s really important at every step of the way that people really reflect on what does this look like from an employer’s point of view and what do we want people to feel?

00:41:03:09 – 00:41:11:15
Philippa White
Because it isn’t just kind of the values on the wall or the town hall meeting or the Christmas party.

00:41:12:12 – 00:41:16:01
Christian Hunt
It’s interesting that because when you look at recruitment processes, hiring.

00:41:16:01 – 00:41:20:20
Philippa White
Process like the whole thing is like what are the questions that people are asking and what is that?

00:41:21:09 – 00:41:35:13
Christian Hunt
But even so, so even there where they spend effort on this, right, we need to put on a good show for these people. Right. We recognize that if we don’t come back to candidate within, you know, if it takes a month to get back to them, they may well go elsewhere and see some companies. Even bad of that.

00:41:35:15 – 00:41:52:17
Christian Hunt
Let’s look at companies that are good at onboarding. Staff are good at the recruitment process. They put their best face forward. They’ve got a great website. The process is slick, blah, blah. You make a quick decision, the effort and thinking that goes into that to get them in through the door. For some reason, nothing seems to evaporate the moment you’ve crossed the threshold company or logged onto the system.

00:41:52:17 – 00:42:09:13
Christian Hunt
And so you get things like even in the induction training and the induction training is your first real point. If you have made a decision to join this organization, you walk in through the door. What’s the first thing that happens right now? Any other experience type thing you would say the first impressions count? This is the first time they’re coming in.

00:42:09:24 – 00:42:27:00
Christian Hunt
So five star hotels. Let’s make sure we’re welcoming. We open the door. We recognize the check in process colors. People’s entire experience of that think terrible checking process equals. I’m pissed off with this hotel even if the rest of us get. So they focus heavily on the employers. We’ve got you in through the door. We’re spending time and money.

00:42:27:06 – 00:42:47:19
Christian Hunt
What are we then doing? Induction training. We start with corporate propaganda. So you get this kind of welcome to big, big corp and you get we’re really big. And you think, well, I know that you would. Yes, I’ve applied to join the job, help answer process research. Right. Yeah. I’ve got a sense of what you are and then you get this kind of disembodied voice going, We’re very big.

00:42:47:19 – 00:43:18:04
Christian Hunt
We have offices, total load of irrelevant crap that you don’t need to know at that point in time. And then you get things like compliance is very important to us. We are an ethical organization. Maybe there’s a video of a CEO saying the right things and you kind think, why are you telling me this now? Is it because actually you’ve got major problem by or you doth protest too much type logic and they then feed you with a whole load of crap like yeah the risk framework that we have all the compliance rules of all people in that room, carabao is have I made a big mistake joining this outfit?

00:43:18:06 – 00:43:33:07
Christian Hunt
Why is the coffee machine? Well, what’s the culture? What’s the world actually like in this? Organized it, give them practical stuff. That’s right. I’m sure you’re going to have to pile on some things that are probably not the things they’re looking to hear. But legally, you’ve got to do it right. But minimize that. And you think about what do you learn from that?

00:43:33:12 – 00:43:54:18
Christian Hunt
You know, what am I going to get my ID back that they’ve taken off me to verify my right? Those are the concerns that people have. So Jim Open, is that so? We need to be dealing with those things because that’s the mode they’re in because the bits around culture they will work out for themselves. Doesn’t matter what you say in the induction training about what an ethical organization is, they will discuss that out and their first contact with reality.

00:43:55:02 – 00:44:17:07
Christian Hunt
And of course, the more you’ve Wang Don in the induction training about what an ethical place, if the reality is the opposite, then they will go with the reality. What you’ve done is you’ve starkly outlined that this organization is actually hypocritical. It says one thing and clearly the reality is it does something else. So my point is, is that you, even at the point of walking into the induction training, is they stopped that experience logic at that point.

00:44:17:10 – 00:44:37:24
Christian Hunt
Let alone when I go out there and I have a whole load of other things going on. And so if you really want to get the stuff right, we need to be looking to your point around the employee experience and that doesn’t stop the moment you’ve signed on the dotted line. And it’s an ongoing thing. If we brought something like customer experience logic to the employee experience, recognizing that of course they’re not the same thing as customers.

00:44:38:09 – 00:44:56:18
Christian Hunt
There’s a ton of stuff that we currently do that we would stop doing as a load of things that we do slightly differently. That’s why I think the read across from what I’m talking about with advertising, for example, where you know, the customer is always right, we need to work with you and blah blah blah, meet their needs, talk to them in a language they understand all that kind of stuff that gets thrown out the window often when it’s employees, but because they’re just employees.

00:44:56:18 – 00:45:10:10
Christian Hunt
And so that’s the bit that I’m trying to break down and say, if we could bring some of that to this, we might approach the world different. Or even if we can’t or don’t want to approach the world, then let’s recognize the dynamics that we’re unleashing. And then we can think about, you know, what does that set within our risk tolerances?

00:45:10:11 – 00:45:13:07
Philippa White
What are some takeaways that you can leave our listeners with?

00:45:13:12 – 00:45:31:05
Christian Hunt
If you asked me to summarize the book, which I think summarizes my entire philosophy, is the most important thing we can do is what we’ve just been talking about. So putting ourselves in the shoes of the people that we’re trying to influence and the key bit in doing that is often we approach that with a delusional mentality, which is we think about how we would like the world to be.

00:45:31:05 – 00:45:50:10
Christian Hunt
So what I say is we need to think not how we would like people to behave, but how they are likely to behave. In other words, we can design systems and processes for fantasy land where employees are never going to leave us. They’re 100% motivated all the time. They don’t have other things on their mind. They’re not tired and they will behave in a particular way.

00:45:50:18 – 00:46:07:02
Christian Hunt
That’s a fantasy drama. What we need to think about is the realities that are that. And so people should be doing X world. That is isn’t what we need to focus on. What we focus on is what are they actually doing, what’s the reality of the world? And that’s something that advertisers do, right? We think this advertisement is going to be successful because it ought to work on this basis.

00:46:07:02 – 00:46:29:07
Christian Hunt
We’ve done some research. Is it actually delivering that? So the logic of think not how we would like people to behave, but how they’re likely to behave is unpleasant because it means recognizing some realities. But that’s the key trait to all of this stuff. And so the key lesson I would say is think about it from that perspective, but you’ve got to do it not through your rose tinted spectacles, but through the harsh light of day that those employees are experiencing.

00:46:29:09 – 00:46:38:07
Philippa White
I often end these with a quote I love quotes. Is there a quote that you can share with our listeners that sort of sums up what we’ve been talking about today?

00:46:38:07 – 00:46:55:05
Christian Hunt
There’s the two song lyrics that I’m going to pick for Love It rather than the quote. Now, the first one is a bit of an embarrassing choice by a band called the SATs, which is basically a girl band from about ten years ago in the UK. There’s one lyric in the song which is I’m doing nothing because then at least I’m doing nothing wrong.

00:46:55:10 – 00:47:15:16
Christian Hunt
It’s always struck me as a weird lyric because it basically suggests the inaction is, you know, that’s the safe thing to do. And as we know, the human risk, I sit that and just sort of say, look, not doing something important is as big a risk as doing something that you shouldn’t. Let me pull a song title from a slightly more credible band, I think, which is in excess.

00:47:15:20 – 00:47:33:24
Christian Hunt
There’s a song called Elegantly Wasted. Yeah, and I love that. So the idea obviously is that somebody had a few too many drinks and is kind of still managing to carry themselves off councils around the world in an elegant manner. But they’re wasted, but they’re doing it elegantly. So I like this song because I think Elegantly Wasted is generally from the perspective of the person who’s wasted.

00:47:34:05 – 00:47:54:06
Christian Hunt
They think they’re being elegant. So like everybody else can see the wasted side as opposed to elegantly side. And so I love this idea of combining two things, which gives us this idea that how other people see us and how we see and how we see ourselves is not the same thing, right? We think we’re being ethical and they think we’re wasted and vice versa.

00:47:54:06 – 00:48:03:00
Christian Hunt
That’s a great way of framing the human existence. We would love to think that we’re all charming, smart, intelligent, ethical people. In reality, often we’re not.

00:48:03:00 – 00:48:09:09
Philippa White
Thank you so much for this conversation. I just really appreciate you bringing this all to life for us. So thank you.

00:48:09:16 – 00:48:17:04
Christian Hunt
Well, thank you so much for having me as ever. A pleasure. And as you say, we could keep talking and no doubt we will continue the conversation. But thank you so much for having me on the show.

00:48:17:13 – 00:48:20:06
Philippa White
Until the next time.

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