The cavnessHR podcast – A talk with Dr. Tim Baker
Below is the link to the PDF version of the show notes
Dr Tim Baker is a thought leader, international consultant and successful author (www.winnersatwork.com.au). Tim was recently voted as one of The 50 Most Talented Global Training & Development Leaders by the World HRD Congress, which is awarded by a distinguished international panel for professionals “who are doing extraordinary work” in the field of HRD.
Tim is the author of The 8 Values of Highly Productive Companies: Creating Wealth from a New Employment Relationship, and the following books with Palgrave Macmillan: The End of the Performance Review: A New Approach to Appraising Employee Performance, Attracting and Retaining Talent: Becoming an Employer of Choice, The New Influencing Toolkit: Capabilities for Communicating with Influence, Conversations at Work: Promoting a Culture of Conversation in the Changing Workplace (co-authored with Aub Warren); https://www.linkedin.com/in/aubrey-warren-61222411/ The End of the Job Description: Shifting From a Job-Focus To a Performance-Focus; Performance Management for Agile Organizations: Overthrowing the Eight Management Myths Holding Businesses Back. He is managing director of WINNERS-at-WORK Pty Ltd, which specialises in leadership development and performance management. Tim has conducted over 2,430 seminars, workshops and keynote addresses to over 45,000 people in 11 countries across 21 industry groups and regularly writes for HR industry press. Tim can be contacted at email@example.com.
The cavnessHR Podcast can be found at the following places or you can just type in cavnessHR on the respective app.
Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/m/D7pkafdatkgflcal4ue6p42qljy?t=The_cavnessHR_Podcast-The_cavnessHR_podcast
Pocket Casts: http://pca.st/VHWe
Social Media links for Dr. Baker below!!
You Tube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVkrLzgIP0rV5TUQitTT6sQ/videos
Below are Dr. Baker’s book recommendations:
“The New Influencing Toolkit: Capabilities for Communicating with Influence” by T. Baker
Click on the links below to purchase the books from Amazon.
Jason: 0:00 Hello, and welcome to the cavnessHR Podcast. I'm your host, Jason Cavness. Our guest today is Dr. Tim Baker. Dr. Baker, are you ready to be great today?
Tim: 0:12 Absolutely, Jason.
Jason: 0:15 Dr. Tim Baker is a thought leader, international consultant and successful author. Dr. Baker was recently voted as one the 50 most Talented Global Training & Development Leaders by the World Human Resource Development Congress which is awarded by a distinguished international panel for professionals for doing extraordinary work in the field of HRD. Dr. Baker is the author of The 8 Values of Highly Productive Companies: Creating Wealth from a New Employment Relationship, and the following books: The End of the Performance Review: A New Approach to Appraising Employee Performance, Attracting and Retaining Talent: Becoming an Employer of Choice, The New Influencing Toolkit: Capabilities for Communicating with Influence, Conversations at Work: Promoting a Culture of Conversation in the Changing Workplace co-authored with Aubrey Warren, The End of the Job Description: Shifting From a Job-Focus To a Performance-Focus, Performance Management for Agile Organizations: Overthrowing The Eight Management Myths That Hold Businesses Back. He’s the Managing Director of Winners at Work, which specializes in leadership development, performance management. Dr. Baker has conducted over 2400 seminars, workshops and keynote addresses to over 45,000 people in 11 countries across 21 industry groups and regularly writes for HR Industry Press. Dr. Baker, you're doing a lot. A lot of people say they’re an HR leader, but you can truly say you’re an HR leader. So, Dr. Baker, what are you working on right now?
Tim: 1:57 I'm working on my eigth book, Jason. And the book is The 10 Powerful Conversations Leaders Must Have and I guess it says it all. I'm really interested in getting leaders to have performance conversations a regular basis with the people that they lead. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. What happens is we normally store that up. The performance review happens, and as you know, once or twice a year. That's problematic. So, yeah, that's the work at the moment, Jason.
Jason: 2:55 Dr. Baker, how did you get so interested in helping leaders out? What started that process for you?
Tim: 3:02 Yeah, that's a good question. I’m just very, very interested in people, and always have been. I'm sitting in my office at the moment with a lot of books around – successful people, biographies, autobiographies – I'm very just passionate about what makes people tick. I guess, when you have an organization, if you're looking at leverage, probably the place to start is with the leadership. If the leadership isn't working, the organization's going to be having its problems and challenges. The opposite is true; if the leadership is wrong then it could be a huge burn for the organization. That’s essentially, I put energy into leadership development.
Jason: 3:48 Dr. Baker, you're actually located in Australia, correct?
Tim: 3:56 Yes, I’m located in Australia.
Jason: 3:59 Now, do you do most of your work in Australia or are you worldwide? Or where do you go to for your businesses?
Tim: 4:06 I’m worldwide, Jason. I've actually conducted consulting assignments in 12 countries and so I spend a fair bit of time traveling as well.
Jason: 4:19 So, do you get most of your business from word-of-mouth? I'm guessing you have an actual marketing plan for your business.
Tim: 4:24 Word-of-mouth in an earlier stage in my career, obviously, I’ve done a lot of knocking on doors and so forth. But, this day, now I get a lot of leads coming through who’ve read my books or happened onto my website as a result of the books. It’s always as a pleasant experience to turn on your email every morning and find these interesting opportunities all over the world who will engage you.
Jason: 4:55 So, Dr. Baker, when you’re working with a company, how long does it take for you to figure out if they're going to get it or not? How do you know they're going to actually retain the knowledge you give them or they’re giving you lip-service?
Tim: 5:09 Yeah, that's a good question. Because I've been doing this for a long time, I'm very attuned to the sort of mindset of the management, they’re the ones, of course, who engage you. You can tell pretty quickly and, obviously, they engage you when the organization's really in dire state. That's quite different from when they engage you early on in the process where they're going through a change process and they want to engage you and your knowledge. So, I think that’s part of it. Another aspect is why the engaged consultants, in the first place, contribute interesting ideas about what consultants can and can't do. Some of them think that you come along and they’re actually one with you and you just automatically change the organization. Of course, that's not true and that doesn't happen. So, I think a realistic understanding of what my role is to resolve the people-dimension of the business and to follow through. I often set little tasks and exercises for managers and tests early on in their professional working relationship. The reason for that is for people to take it and try a few things. So, there's a couple of ways that I know.
Jason: 6:46 Dr. Baker, is there a certain organization type that you specialize in? Like a certain industry, a certain size, or you take all comers?
Tim: 6:54 All comers. I work across various industries and I was thinking about the major clients that I work with and they range from orchestras. So, I do a lot of work with orchestras in the world, right here in Australia and New Zealand, right through to military and paramilitary. So everything in between. It's interesting in all of that is that people would often say that they’re unique and very different people.
Jason: 7:35 Dr. Baker, since you work with different countries, do you find you had to change your approach depending on what country you’re working in? Or do you use the same approach for all countries?
Tim: 7:46 Oh, absolutely. I mean it’s very interesting. When I ran workshops in parts of Asia, when I would ask questions of the participants in the room. I wasn't getting any answers at all. It was part of that saving face concept with people as models, make mistakes to say the wrong things. So, I actually had to have a far more structured approach. For example, to get each group to participate I’ll get one of those people to nominate to actually answer the question. So, I found in certain parts of Asia, for example, I had to be much more structured in terms of getting those questions answered. In Australia and the United States, it's a little bit more open and engaged. So, yes that’s what I have found very interesting.
Jason: 8:48 Dr. Baker, have you ever had to disqualify potential clients because you just felt it wouldn't be a good fit for you?
Tim: 8:55 I have. Certainly, in the early part of my career, I just took anything that I can get my hands on, of course, as you do when you're starting out. Now, I have the luxury now to do that. I guess it comes down to a case of how people seem, how genuine they are in their process. For example, I turned down a client who used a 360-degree feedback technology to sack an employee. So, I learned how these persons worked. So, what they wanted was to call me to produce some 360-degree feedback to illustrate, clearly, that this person wasn’t up to the mark. I rejected that assignment because that’s not my role. That 360-degree tool isn’t all that – it’s a developmental tool, not evaluation-based. So, yeah, I have had cases where that has happened.
Jason: 10:05 Dr. Baker, next, talk about a time you were successful in the past, what you learned from this success, and what we can learn from this success.
Tim: 10:14 I reflected on this early and I thought on how I’m on book number eight and I’m very proud of that achievement, and people often say to me, “how did you actually know how to write your books; obviously, you’re in consulting, or lecturing at the university…” First of all, I love writing and I think that’s important. Secondly, I am very disciplined and so I would put aside a number of hours in a day and that’s my time of writing or reading. That means I can knock out two books a year. So this achievement not only entails books necessarily but the key achievement is that there are things that you need to be doing that you love doing, you really have a passion for it, those are the most important things. The second thing is to have a process of discipline because you only have 24 hours a day and the trick is to say how do I use that time. If you’re very ruthless with your priorities, it’s amazing how quickly success can come about.
Jason: 11:57 Yes, that’s very good. Dr. Baker, next, tell us about a time that you failed, what you learned from this failure, and what our listeners can learn from this experience you had.
Tim: 12:07 I can recall that I set myself some goals, and each year I set goals and what I do is I bite off more than I can chew and someone said to me that you’re going to be in this longer than you think. In other words, when we make annual goals, we’re expecting to achieve a lot of things. At the end of that year I looked back and I think I only achieved about 25% of what I put down. Of course, you can argue that achieving 25% was a success, but I realized that the key to success and wanting to achieve what you want to achieve is about priorities. That’s the lesson that I got from that – that it’s all about focusing on a few important things and putting your energy into those. Now I’m far more modest in terms of the number of goals that I’m trying to achieve in a year.
Jason: 13:46 Yes, Dr. Baker. Next, talk about someone who’s helped you in the past and how they helped you.
Tim: 13:59 So, I remember very early on in the start of my career, I joined an organization in Brisbane, here in Australia. So, basically, I’ve been in the consulting industry and what I found very interesting is that there was an individual in that organization – and he was a bit of a legend – his name was John Clements. He’d take me under his wing, he was my mentor and I was happy to be his mentee because he was a success built up in a professional, international business. He had high technical skills, he had a real way of conversing with his clients, in a way that wasn’t really a selling way. It was more that he was able to connect. They were sitting there and he was giving feedback, and my job was just to sit there and watch him and see how he did it. He went through his routine and it took about an hour and I was certainly impressed with it. He said to me, something along the lines of, “you really need to be paying attention in these meetings.” And I said, “what do you mean, John?” Because I would just be sitting there and my mind would wander. It was very impressive on two levels: the fact that he actually caught me not paying attention, because I was certainly trying to pretend that I was paying attention and after he would put all this energy into one person and give magnificent feedback and yet still be aware that I wasn’t paying that much attention. That’s what I found interesting. So, a lot of the awareness, a lot of what’s going on around him. The other thing, of course, that was very useful was that he’s usually paying me a fair hourly wage. As a result of that, there was absolutely 100% commitment to that one. That’s what I learned – that you need to be and pay attention. It sounds like a personal lesson but it stuck with me and I have ever since realized that the clients’ paying the bills and, frankly, you’re there to serve the client and you need to give 100% of your attention.
Jason: 17:27 Dr. Baker, tell us something about yourself that most people don't. Your close family, close friends know this, but most people don't know this about Dr. Tim Baker.
Tim: 17:37 Well, one interesting thing about me is that I’m allergic to blood. I had a blood transfusion and my skin was very scaly and I had a lot of skin irritations and I asked what it was about and somebody said it was about blood plasma and my allergy to it. I’m not allergic to my own blood plasma but I’m allergic to perhaps other people’s blood plasma.
Jason: 18:39 That’s very interesting.
Tim: 18:41 Yeah, well, people don’t believe it but that’s true.
Jason: 18:49 Dr. Baker, this next question I know is going to be hard for you, but can you recommend one of your books for our listeners?
Tim: 18:55 Yeah. It depends on what people are looking for. But one of the books that people, in a very general sense, might get something out of is The New Influencing Toolkit. Now, you can get this on my website. The book basically is assisting new leaders, or anybody for that matter, to improve their capabilities to persuade and provide influence to other people. I guess we’re all in that business of persuading people – that’s the most important point. But most of us will tend to persuade and influence other people based on how we like to be influenced and persuaded. And so it’s problematic because we’re only going to be effective for a certain number of people. What the book does is give you a diagnostic so you can have a look at what your own influencing skill is or what your influencing style is. And different practical strategies or tools that you can use to improve your influence. So, that is the book I recommend, Jason.
Jason: 20:20 Dr. Baker, can you provide some of your social media platforms for yourself or your company so people could reach out to you?
Tim: 20:26 I’m hugely invested in LinkedIn, that’s the one that’s the most useful for me. If you just go in and you type in Dr. Tim Baker, I’m sure it’ll come up there. And I’ll be more than happy to hear from your audience if they choose to do that. And Twitter, as well, which I’m not quite up with that as much as those ones. So, I’m happy to talk to people and engage with people through social media. As I said before, my website is winnersatwork.com.au.
Jason: 21:28 Dr. Baker, what advice do you have for someone who’s just beginning out in the HR field? Like, they just graduated from college, it’s their first day on their new HR job. What advice would you have for this person?
Tim: 21:41 It’s great that you ask that question because as soon as we finish here, it’s Sunday morning here in Australia and I’m actually off to do an exam. So it is a very interesting question. I think I would suggest to people that they try and sample as many different types of HR as possible, get involved in the smallest area. Most people would be cross with me because it’s their first job; try a little bit of recruitment selection, have a look at performance management, look at rewards and recognition, even health and safety. Try all of those things and then, once you have something that you feel very comfortable with and enjoy or perhaps even passionate about, then you can start to specialize. Because I think what's happening in the HR profession the specialties. Because of that, people will have the opportunity to develop performance management, or whatever. So, at some stage, you should specialize and to be able to do that, you need to decide what you’re specializing in.
Jason: 23:07 Dr. Baker, we’ve come to the end of our talk. Can you provide any last words or advice to our listeners?
Tim: 23:14 I think the key advice, and this is my philosophy as well, is that an organization is a bunch of people working towards one mission. So, once we lose sight of this, we’ve lost sight of the whole question of what HR is. I think what’s happening with HR is that we’ve become complicated. We’re trying to bring in all sorts of interesting processes and procedures that, at the end of the day. We’re really just talking about people and I think we complicate things too much and I’d just like us to keep reminding ourselves that this is really about people and how we treat people and we need to treat people with dignity, which I think is critically important.
Jason: 24:13 That is so true, Dr. Baker. For our listeners, we’re going to have the links to all Dr. Baker’s material in our show notes. Dr. Baker, thanks again for being our guest on our podcast, we really appreciate it for you taking this time, I know you’re a busy person, you’re doing a lot of great stuff. And to our listeners, thank you for your time, and remember to be great every day.