The Blend Podcast EP018 – Emotional Intelligence with LAPD Solutions

Brendan Cox  0:08  

We’ve spoken before about the importance of soft skills and emotional intelligence. That people need more than just traditional academic intelligence to live a healthy, balanced life. So we thought we’d take a bit more of a deep dive into the subject with an expert. So I’d like to welcome Mac MacDonald to the podcast. He’s an emotional intelligence consultant for LAPD solutions. Hi Mac.

Mac MacDonald  0:49  

Hi Brendan, thanks very much for inviting me along

Brendan Cox  0:51  

Lovely to have you here. So what are the components of emotional intelligence? And why is it so important, both personally and professionally?

Mac MacDonald  1:01  

Yeah, actually, the last part of your question is very apt, because so many people look at this in a corporate setting and feel it’s being received in a corporate setting, therefore, it’s a work thing. But in actual fact is both work and our home lives or socializes, it’s just everywhere. So one of the benefits of companies taking on EI, and that sort of training is that people can take that back home, use it with families, friends, and so on. 

Mac MacDonald  1:24  

But components wise, I go for sort of four main components, which I think most organisations respect, and it’s the self-awareness, the self-management, social awareness, and then relationship management, which in my view, is the sort of end goal of what you’re trying to achieve with emotional intelligence is improve those relations. And just continue sort of looking after them. 

Mac MacDonald  1:46  

But ingredients-wise, self-awareness is the first and possibly one of the most important in that we need to know about ourselves before we just start chatting about others really, quite often, although people will say, Oh, yeah, I’m definitely self-aware, I know that some of my habits, my bad habits, my weaknesses, my strengths, all those sorts of things. In actual fact, most of us are not fully self-aware. And that’s where we get those invisible problems. 

Mac MacDonald  2:08  

They often refer to people as blockers and unconscious blockers, or even unconscious saboteurs there, I suggest, because what they’re doing is unconsciously impacting the behavior of others through their own behavior. So if you take a typical road rage type incident, person A cuts off Person B, whether it be on purpose, or accidentally, Person B, not very happy about this, and emotions start going, and self-awareness as well. What is it that’s triggering me, in this case, it’s quite obvious, it’s somebody who cut me up. 

Mac MacDonald  2:37  

Whereas in work, we’re not always conscious of what’s triggering us, we’re not even conscious, we’re being triggered. Other people see us change our behavior. And they can stay slightly frustrated, you know, we literally had a quick conversation offline there about the NHS, and sometimes I have the ward can get, it’s almost like organised chaos. But when you’re stressed, you tend to behave slightly differently, you can be a bit sharper, you can be a bit too direct sometimes, although having said that, sometimes that is necessary. 

Mac MacDonald  3:05  

But when it affects other people’s behavior in a way that they then change their behavior, that’s when we start getting problems. And to me, that’s one of the key areas about emotional intelligence is how am I affecting others that I don’t even realise I’m affecting? And how do we make sure they feel they can say something back so that self-management is we’ve got to find out what we’re doing and how we’re affecting other people. And that self-awareness has only grown by other people.

Mac MacDonald  3:29  

For example, if you and I worked together, every time I got a bit stressed, I became pretty nasty and pretty direct, and almost rude. You’d want to say something to me. But you might think, well, he’s a manager, I can’t really say that I’ll get in trouble. I’m risking my job. And what I’m basically saying is the managers, the team, leaders, senior leaders, doesn’t matter shouldn’t be saying to people, look, when I get like that, tell me, tell me how it impacts you. That’s the permission part of saying, coming in helped me become self-aware. Because anyone I know what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, especially why I’m doing it. Can I manage those things? You know, and we can’t get rid of the triggers.

Mac MacDonald  4:04  

We can’t stop ourselves being annoyed by somebody cutting u but we can react differently. You know, that’s one of the key things about that. There’s a thing called an amygdala hijack, which is, I think, more often these days known as an emotional hijack, and it’s where those emotions really just take over our behaviour, as the car incident, just the red mist and go absolutely nuts, and they don’t think logically, the guy got me up yet is now in front of me. So what he’s gained an extra eight feet on me, it’s not the end of the world, really. We just feel offended. 

Mac MacDonald  4:35  

If we can deal with that offence in a different more sort of logical way. A cooler-headed way, it’s better and the same in work. And that social awareness is critical. I often say to organisations, this is probably the most important bit to get the next bit right. Because the social awareness is me finding out about you. What are your triggers? What do you not like me doing? How do I do things better to fit into the way you do things? And it doesn’t mean that we’re bending backward over each other to try and help each other out and, and not do what we really feel we should do, it is again about this balancing. It’s about ensuring that, whilst I’m trying to be socially aware, and help you with your triggers, etc, and you’re doing the same for me, the work objectives have to come first. 

Mac MacDonald  5:16

Yeah. So if it is something I know it’s gonna trigger, you don’t wanna like it, but it’s something has to be done, you’re gonna have to get to do it. If it’s your job, you know, but we would, then I’d be more careful about how I approached because I now know, that social awareness aspect about you, and I can then deal with it and approach it differently.

Brendan Cox  5:32  

It’s that thing of teaching yourself to empathise with someone to see that, that snapshot of them overreacting or getting really angry or annoying you is part of a much, much bigger picture that you don’t necessarily know about. And you need to learn how to empathise with them to understand that probably they’re not doing it on purpose. And actually, if you start that rapport and open the dialogue, then it is easier to manage rather than that straw that breaks the camel’s back thing of suddenly, that person is just a whole another person. And actually, it’s because it’s been building up all this time, and you’ve not been empathising with them along the way.

Mac MacDonald  6:09  

Yeah, absolutely spot on. And the word empathy is so importantly, because Daniel Goleman, who’s credited as bringing in EI to the sort of general public, you know, the sort of the wider sort of spectrum, he talks about, where we’ve got social awareness, he will talk about empathy. And to us, empathy is definitely a hugely important part. But we also think there are other aspects of social awareness that are important. 

Mac MacDonald  6:31  

But the empathy side, he talked to Paul Ekman, I think it was he talked to, and they talked about three different types of empathy, where, you know, if I come into work, and I see you’re upset one day, and I come in and say, so, so what’s going on? Tell me all about it, Brendan. Then you tell me and I go, right. Thank you very much. I understand that. And I walk away, you’ll be thinking, Well, okay, I’m glad you understood it. But that didn’t really help. 

Mac MacDonald  6:52  

Whereas over try it in a second way. And I say, Okay, so I’m gonna give you the first part, I understand you yet. And actually, I feel your pain. So there’s a connection there. And that usually means there’s a connection between us both because you’re thinking sitting there thinking, Oh, good, I’m glad, thank you. You can feel how uncomfortable this isn’t how much sadness, there’s a whatever it might be. But then I get up and walk away again. And you’re still thinking Well, okay, I’m glad you understood. And I’m glad you can feel where I am, but it hasn’t really helped. So of course, the key point is that the last third part of where I feel, I want to help, there’s an inside thing that seemed to me, I need to help Brendan here. 

Mac MacDonald  7:23  

So I understand your pain, I feel your pain, and I feel it so much, you actually want to help that, of course, from your perspective is that’s what I need. You know. So it’s, it’s having that relationship management. And this brings in quite an interesting concept, you know, because if you and I are on a team, and we’re getting that sorted out individually, that’s great. But all the other teams in the organisation, and sometimes in huge organisations, you know, multinational, they’re not doing that, because there isn’t an umbrella approach. What I mean by that is we talk about making sure there’s that safety, and that security. So the organisation has to inform with that we call it emotional safety, sorry, security by saying you’re allowed to say whatever you want and not only allowed to say, we’re actually saying you really should. 

Mac MacDonald  8:04  

So you can say anything you want to anyone, in any way you like, of course, respectfully and politely and all that, because that is what makes things better. People then hear what they really, truly feel. And once I know that exists within the organisation, and the organization’s put that out in big billboard sort of messages. Yes, please say what you want. People do start saying what they want. Yeah, when they see there are no repercussions from other people, then everybody starts doing it because they follow on and think yeah, this is good. And it just makes for better relationships.

Brendan Cox  8:33  

As a consultant, are there any typical scenarios that you used to develop emotional intelligence?

Mac MacDonald  8:39  

I think what we do in our sessions is probably the easiest way of doing it. And probably the easiest way for other people on the sessions as well. Because we’ll say to them, I mean, like, you know, yourself, the zoom sort of world that we’re in at the moment, but it’s great in zoom, because you can literally have 2,3,4,5 as many breakout rooms as you want. And we’ll break out people into two or three. And they go into these groups, and they sit in chat, and they talk ideally about situations they’ve had in work. And we asked them to come back into the room at a  certain point to share what those situations were, what those scenarios were, and how it went. And then we sort of analyse that and we think well, if we do a bit more emotional intelligence on that one how do you think that might look what might have happened instead, how might have been handled differently. 

Mac MacDonald  9:20  

We talked about something called a moccasin approach, which is something we’ve registered and trademarked because it’s really about how do I look at working with you? Well, I’ve got to put your shoes on for a while. I’ve got to sit in your seat. And I’ve got to work out exactly how it feels for Brendan, not just how I think it feels, but how it truly feels for you. We only get that with that social awareness, that understanding. And you know, as we say, stepping into the shoes of the other people. 

Mac MacDonald  9:44  

But once we’ve done that, we ask them to go back into the breakout rooms. And then we say come on, start talking about a situation you might or might not have in work, and how does it feel at the moment and what do you hope is going to happen and using emotional intelligence, how would you think would be best to approach that. And some people, in fact, quite a lot of people have issues with people in either their teams or their team managers. Occasionally, sometimes it’s the leader above that manager, and how the leader is treating their manager, they don’t like it and stuff like this. And of course, they weren’t going to approach that because they feel they can’t. Whereas theoretically with emotional intelligence, that gives you some tools to work out how we can actually address that, how we can start the ball rolling, you might say, and so they come out of those breakout rooms, and they’ll sit and they’ll then chat, and then they’ll get of course, feedback and thoughts. You know, usually, gut instinct sort of reactions from people in the team that we’re doing. It is really quite extraordinary to see the power of it, when people suddenly realise they have got an ability to say something and do something to make things better? You know, so it’s a safety, what a safe way of doing it?

Brendan Cox  10:47  

Do you find that the actual language in the approach that people take to saying stuff starts off as a bit of a trickle? How do you as the consultant regulate draining the floodgates rather than just suddenly opening them?

Mac MacDonald  10:59  

Yeah, we have a few little, little micro scenarios that we stick up first, just to give them an idea. As a group, have you thought about this? And usually, that’s a very quiet moment, because people are thinking, I’ve got an idea, I’m not sure I want to share it. And what we use and we asked them to use is rather than say, oh actually Brendan, I think you’ve got this wrong, we turn on it on its head and we say, look, form a question that you would want to ask to Brendan, that would allow him to then give reasons about why he’s doing certain things or not doing certain things. 

Mac MacDonald  11:27  

And questions are safer because they’re not? Do you realise you do this? It’s more… Have you noticed the impact that things have on people and why people get annoyed or something like that, you know, can be sort of any sort of question, but in the question, you build in a bit of a link. So it gets the person to think along the lines of the impact that they’re having. So it’s that way of approaching that is totally different. It’s a bit like the one-to-one feedback on performance management. We’re very, very hot on that. Because we’re saying people give performance management feedback. And really, they shouldn’t they should facilitate it. So if you’re late for work, for example, and we’re having a chat, and I want to bring that up, I don’t go, You do realise that you’re late for work so much, you’re causing problems. And it’s just such a negative impact on the other person. And it can even cause barriers and dramas. So we say, Well, have you noticed the impact on others? When you’re late for work? So yes, there is still that word. You were late for work in there. But it’s asking the question, have you noticed? And it allows the person to actually go well, no, I’ve just sort of come in and carried on. 

Mac MacDonald  12:26  

I said, right, well, what you need to understand is, essentially, how do you think that might make your colleagues feel that it’s more of a question than a statement and we take things from there, and then encourage them to try and use questions rather than statements as they go through the scenarios and their own particular issues. And like you said, it is it’s that first bit of trickle, and as the team gets back together, start chatting, usually by the second round of true-life scenarios that they’re talking about. It’s Yes, bedlam because so many people have got so many things to say, and thoughts and ideas, and it’s very useful.

Brendan Cox  12:59  

And I supposer by that point, they don’t feel scared about sharing. And also, what’s interesting is what you said about phrasing it as questions. That thing of the lizard brain reacting to, it gets defensive as soon as you make a statement or call someone out on something they’ve done. But by posing it as a question, they themselves are just coming to the conclusion by having to think about the situation and empathise with it. It doesn’t trigger that caveman response, or just like that I’m being accused of something.

Mac MacDonald  13:29  

Yeah absolutely, because the usual reaction is to pick up a stick and hit you with it, you know? Yeah, exactly. So you’re right. And also, we generally call them reasoning questions, because they’re making the other person reason out their behaviour or the impact of their behaviour or how they might be able to change that impact.

Brendan Cox  13:45  

Yeah, I find that phrasing in general for problem-solving and personal growth is fascinating. We do a thing with design thinking where when you’re stuck on a problem, the studio’s too noisy, I can’t concentrate. Having that as a statement actually makes it difficult to think about how to solve that and by rephrasing it is a How might we. Procter and Gamble did it back in the day when they had a massive company. They introduced the idea of rephrasing problems in the business because it made it easier to solve them. So rephrasing a question as to how might we reduce distractions in the office automatically reduces the friction of trying to come up with a solution. So I find it fascinating from just sort of like a design thinking approach, you’re taking the same thing, but with soft skills, and applying the phrasing to the emotional part of it as well. It’s really interesting. So tell us a bit about your background. Have you had any interests or moments looking back, which, at the time seemed somewhat disconnected, but actually, in hindsight, are definitely signposts to where you are now?

Mac MacDonald  14:50  

Yeah, I would definitely say that. It is rather odd for me to say it maybe but I discovered emotional intelligence, not obviously as it was phrased then because it didn’t exist back in my army days. And I discovered that I didn’t like how the army really taught leadership management. And we had to teach some ammunition technicians and bomb disposal people who were going to be promoted very quickly. So they’re going to be managing other troops. And we had to teach them how to lead and manage, well the teaching, and leading and management type part of the course I just really didn’t like. And I decided to mention this one day, and got myself in quite a bit of hot water with it. But luckily, there was a brigadier at the time who sort of questioned it, and asked me about my thoughts and ideas. And then I got put into a potential officers platoon to help them learn how to sort of talk and manage, etc. And I put some ideas and I was allowed to test them out. And because they worked pretty well, we kept that going, and things were changed. 

Mac MacDonald  15:47  

Really, I think, once I started getting promoted, so the more you got promoted, the more people you kind of looked after, and then we’ve become Sergeant major, you’ve got hundreds of people you might be looking after. And one of my reports, and one of the sorts of nicknames I got, which I didn’t discover until many years later, was this the quiet sergeant major. Sergeant major, usually shouting big stick, you know, shiny boots, do this do that. And what people have noticed was that they found it quite fascinating that I didn’t need to do that half as much as others because people just work for me. And they kind of couldn’t work it out. And I didn’t realise it, I didn’t realise I had that ability.

Mac MacDonald  16:24  

So in hindsight, when I look back after discovering emotional intelligence, I thought, That’s interesting because what I was doing was trying to find out about them. Why they were like that, why somebody was always in trouble, not just they’re always in trouble punish them. Why is that? Let’s talk to this person, not as a sergeant major, let’s sit down and chat and say, right, we need to fix this, what’s going on. And for some reason, I just naturally approached it with questions. And you get quite a lot more respect. If you’re a really engaging manager. And you show as you mentioned earlier about the empathy, you show that you have that empathy, you care truly care about that person, and how they’re getting on, they will be far more open and willing to work the extra mile for you every single time. So yeah, I think that was my biggest sort of thing was looking back and looking at how I behaved, both sort of contesting the management theory that was taught at the time, trying to bring in something new managed to do that. And then I discovered emotional intelligence I thought that’s interesting. That’s kind of what I was doing back there.

Brendan Cox  17:18

So what was the main concern that you had with the way that it was done?

Mac MacDonald  17:21  

There was a sort of general belief that these guys are going to be corporal so they’d have the two stripes on their arms. And they had to suddenly learn how to get people to do things. And whilst there were certain, you’re not the whole teaching was wrong, certainly not. But some of the aspects in it, we’re almost thinking, well, you’re a corporal. So you’ve got that ability to tell someone what to do. And you know, the old tell them to jump and they’ll say, how high should I jump and all that sort of thing? It was just that more sort of didactic approach of I’m in charge do as I say, etc, there needs to be much more understanding about what motivated that person to want to follow you, you know, other than just rank. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, just for the fact you’ve got more tapes than me, it means you’ve got to tell you what to do, I’ve got to do. Because if you get a person who is resented by their troops, they will not when it really comes to the crunch, they will not perform to their best for that person. Because they don’t have that respect. They don’t have that empathy, you know, that the feeling from that person back to that person?

Brendan Cox  18:20  

Obviously, there are different personality types. And some people respond well to being shouted out, some people instantly dig their heels in. Do you find that emotional intelligence levels, the playing field a bit, and actually can help all different types of personality types grow?

Mac MacDonald  18:38  

Yeah, yeah, generally speaking. In fact, the interesting thing is what we say to people when we’re going to do a consultation initially. And very often, people haven’t really heard that much about emotional intelligence, or they, first of all, don’t know much about it. I always make sure they understand that the teaching of emotional intelligence is really very straightforward. But you know, I’ve not met anyone who didn’t understand it. It really is that simple. But the challenge and I mean, a big challenge can sometimes be for those some of those personalities to actually start using it. Because what we’re saying is, yeah, just put some of your vulnerabilities out on the table to your people that you’re in charge of. 

Mac MacDonald  19:10  

Some more senior leaders that’s really something that’s not just uncomfortable, it’s like I’m alergic to that, you know, there’s no way I’m gonna say yeah yeah, I’m a bit weak about doing this. I’m the leader, I’m gonna, you know, say I’m strong and, and that’s what they’re missing. They’re going back way back to the old leadership style, you were the dominating type figure in the organisation. Now to us, we always say that, to be a leader, you don’t have to have a title of a leader. To be a manager, you don’t have to we say that people lead and manage every single day. So when it comes down to those different personality types, we say, you can’t teach everybody to lead in the same way. 

Mac MacDonald  19:42  

So what we do is that by the end of a certain program, we’ve got a 10 month program starting in May or June, we’re still waiting on the sort of lockdown things. But once that starts, the whole purpose of that is for each of those people to end up leading and managing using some of those tools. We’ve learned through the program in their own way. And that’s what we believe is so, so important because we have to be authentic as leaders, you and I, for example, are going to be two different types of leaders or managers. 

Mac MacDonald  20:11  

And the way to get it to be the most effective for your people will sometimes need different approaches for different people in your team. So I often refer to as the jigsaw Enigma, because jigsaw pieces as we all know, when you pull them out, they’re just pieces, you can flip them around all over the place. But once that jigsaw is together, you can’t pull them apart. You can tear them apart by lifting those of the sort of connections but as a team, once you’re connected, it’s hugely powerful. That’s where you get your high-performing teams. 

Brendan Cox  20:38  

Yes, the thing of being a cog in the machine is that your behaviour and everyone else’s behaviour creates the culture around you. And sometimes if that culture has been moving like that for a long time, suddenly changing the direction of one of the cogs causes quite a bit of friction, just to milk that analogy as far as possible. You’re obviously saying, part of the mindset of the individuals in it is a big challenge, when it comes to actually presenting it to an organisation, do you approach it from the top down? 

Mac MacDonald  21:12  

Yes, that’s wishful thinking. To give you an example, since when did I leave the army 2000s, I left the army in 2000, in July, and I’ve started really doing emotional intelligence for three or four years after that. And then it grew and grew and we suddenly realise that actually everything that we do in work with organisations has to be emotionally intelligence-based. And in all that time, we have met, and only recently, two organisations that want us to come in top-down. So there’s a new client we’re working with at the moment. And they are saying, come in and take us as a leadership group first. Because we want to understand what you’re doing. And we want what you’re doing to work with us. And the only way we believe that will work is if we understand it, and we’ve been immersed in it first. And then when the other guys, you start, go down to the sort of seniors and then your general managers, etc, and start working with them, then we’ll totally understand what’s going on. And we’ll understand why they’re coming back to us with certain things. And that for me, is just, I won’t be so cutthroat, it’s exciting! But it really is, you know, I’m working with an organisation. And they’ve taken me on board, you know, over the last couple of years now, and it works. But it works to a certain part. And then it doesn’t work above that, because they believe they don’t need anything. You know, all those leaders are fine, and they lead and manage absolutely fine. And yet they don’t know anything about what we’re doing with their guys. And so it causes that the number of times that I hear people say, Yeah, but are you going to go and do this with them? We sort of go Well, we’d love to, but not yet.

Mac MacDonald  22:52  

So your point about the top-down is so important. And it’s nice, now to find, to walk into organisation for them to go, actually love what this is going to do. And for example, the other organisation we’re just about to start with, they wanted to help form their new culture. So they’re very lucky, they’ve got a very, very good culture at the moment. But what they want to do is they want to make sure that everybody is immersed in it, and all the people that are coming up, you know, might say through the ranks to get promoted, they’re already looking for that sort of talent that’s going to take over from the very top positions in the future. 

Mac MacDonald  23:23  

So they said, How can we even try to do that If we haven’t done it first? You know, so they’ve got directors of the people going on to this 10 month program. You could argue not many directors would put the names down for that because they’d feel almost like they’re admitting they need a leadership and management program. It’s not. So many leaders and managers have never been taught leadership or management. They’ve just done what they thought best, or they followed in the footsteps of somebody else.

Brendan Cox  23:45  

Yeah, the Peter Principle of keep promoting someone until they’ve not good at what they do anymore. 

Mac MacDonald  23:52  

Works a treat. 

Brendan Cox  23:53  

Yeah. As children, we’re all notoriously open in speaking our minds, and being candid. And society kind of breeds out that idea and you’re not allowed to make mistakes once you’re an adult. And obviously, yeah, you get to the point where there are some CEOs where they, they just wear a suit of armour, and they won’t even admit they’re wrong, and they don’t apologise for anything. And trying to teach them soft skills is quite an uphill struggle. So when I and Tom started out, we set our mission as we wanted to help everyone acquire the soft skills they needed. Because we feel that as children, that’s when it starts to get squeezed out of us because we didn’t instill the importance of it back in childhood. So people carried it through to being adults. 

Brendan Cox  24:36  

So that’s kind of always been our North Star is when we started blend was can we look at ways of getting that into organisations for kids and things like that. And so we built the studio up to work with clients, but at the same time, it’s always behind our thinking and behind us decisions that we make. So now you’ve got LAPD solutions working successfully in the business sector. Are there any other areas where you’d really like to apply it and feel that it would benefit for emotional intelligence support?

Mac MacDonald  25:07  

Essentially, because we’re, we’re just starting another company at the moment. And whether we actually push it right the way through and make it start working and such, it comes up to almost like permissions, we’ve approached the government and our local MP and written to Secretary state etc and the wheels are in motion. But the main theme of that organisation is that if you’re working in a huge organisation, and you feel you’ve got some serious mental health issues going on, loads of stress, especially where we’ve been in the last year, you know, it’s just increased so much, it’s incredible, and very, very soon, but you feel you can’t say anything to anyone, you’re scared to say anything, you know, am I gonna get managed out, I’m gonna be looked at as too weak or whatever, then you would contact our organisation, this new organisation directly, and say, I’m frazzled. And I don’t know how to get out of this, and I don’t know how to get help, you know, we’re not there to say, we’ve got that help. 

Mac MacDonald  25:58  

 We see our job as being that place where anyone who’s employed in the UK can come over to us and say, here’s where I am. And then we contact your company, obviously, without mentioning who you are. And say, here’s a red flag for you, this has come up, and you’ve got a person, and this is what they’re feeling, etc. And then, of course, we need the NHS. So we’re asking the NHS, would they be our sounding board for advice and continually updating what we should and shouldn’t be doing, as in, you know, the UK workforce, in regards to mental health.

Mac MacDonald  26:27  

And the idea, then, is that with that knowledge, understanding, we go back to that company or your company, you know, and say, just, you know, this is the sort of modern-day thinking, this is what you should be doing, etc, what we’d like you to do is confirm to us in writing that you are going to do that with this person, we will then let them know. And that gives you that safety net, because people need to understand how to start approaching each other, you go back to that openness and weakness type thing, you know, to tell someone about a worry and concern you’ve got is a very brave thing to do. And in an organisation, the more people see that happening, then again, the more people start doing it, they know it’s safe.

Brendan Cox  27:03  

Is the project of stage where we can share things in the show notes about it or is it in development?

Mac MacDonald  27:09  

It’s still definitely in development, because really, to be honest, if we don’t get the government backing, and we don’t get the NHS side of it, then there’s not a lot of point in continuing. So I’d rather not give any sort of false hope or, you know, have people going we’ve got a website up that was purely just a landing page. But yeah, in the future if it comes out, I’ll definitely get back in touch and let you know. 

Brendan Cox  27:28  

Oh, yeah, definitely. We could chat about it in more detail once. If it’s if it goes ahead. That’d be really interesting. So what resources would you recommend to someone looking to improve their emotional intelligence?

Mac MacDonald  27:39  

It is definitely you know, you’re talking about conscious and unconscious bias, I’ve got a definite conscious bias. And that is that if I buy a book to read, I want to get down to the absolute sort of bits and bobs. And I’m autistic so I really like to get something that’s really quite clinical. When I get what I need. I don’t need all sorts of flowers and stuff around it. And I’ll just go with a book. Gosh, what was it called the quick book of emotional intelligence. And it’s by Travis Bradbury and Jean Greaves. And it’s published through an organisation called talent smart in the US. And it’s some years old now. But I still believe that is a very valid book for anyone who’s looking to find out what is EI really grab that is nice and cheap. It is what I call the skinny book. It’s not huge. And the writing is layman’s terms, they tell a story of a guy called Phineas Gauge, the incident that damages him, and how he was before but how he then turns afterward. And then they go through and chat about it. 

Mac MacDonald  28:32  

And there’s a series of three books by Talent Smart,  I swear I’ve not got shares or anything, but they are just very nice, small books, that it’s all packaged up nicely. And the research they’re basing a lot of their writing on includes research with over 500,000 people. And that’s a lot of research. So the way they wrote the clinical side of it, as in, it was just easy to read and understand. You can get what you wanted out of it. And you didn’t have to spend hours and hours. And it might even sound to some of that Im saying, well, Daniel Golemans books are too big and for me they are, I still enjoy his books, it will just take me a long time to read through them, because I’ll just read a bit at a time. And I’ll sometimes skip a bit, you know, so I’m not doing the man justice. So hence, I try and find these very short snippets and things and yeah, that’s probably my go to place.

Brendan Cox  28:32  

Okay, so where can people find you online If they want to get in touch?

Mac MacDonald  28:50  

The easiest thing is gone to their search, search engine, Google or whatever and just search for LAPD solutions. Don’t forget the solutions. Otherwise, you get the Los Angeles Police Department. But yeah, we come up straight away on that term.

Brendan Cox  29:34  

So what key thing would you like the listeners to take away from this chat?

Mac MacDonald  29:37  

There is a key message. I mean, one, why do I do emotional intelligence, I’ve got the absolute belief that organisations really have to get on board with EI. I think the Americans are great in some cases, because what they’ll do is they’ll grab something and try it. They are very much open about that. Whereas I think in the UK, we’re a bit less like that. We’re more traditional in our approaches to leadership and management. 

Mac MacDonald  30:00

If anything good came out with a pandemic, maybe a bit strange to say, but I think it’s the fact that we suddenly thought, you know what, we have to be nicer to each other. We have to actually start practicing empathy a bit more. And if you look at the ingredients of emotional intelligence, it’s painted all over it, that we should be doing this more in organisations. And I know for an absolute fact through what we do people do better. 

Mac MacDonald  30:22  

You know, I base my master’s research on an organisation where I run an eight-month program. And we interviewed those guys before, we interviewed them in the middle, and then we interviewed them three months afterwards. And the difference was startling. And what was so good was we did expect to see good things. But what we got was way over, far better than we thought. But the key point for us was it came down to relationships, everybody said their relationships from both within the organisation and externals as well , grew because of how they then treated others. And it’s just infectious. So your key message would be to, don’t care where you get it from, just get some emotional intelligence, start looking at it and thinking about it, finding out how it’s going to benefit you, and how once you get it, the key here is, it’s like buying a shopping trolley full of food, taking it back to your house and just sticking it there. Nobody would do that. Nobody would do that and just leave it rot and not use it. 

Mac MacDonald  31:15  

If you get emotional intelligence training in get a company that’s going to almost force you to make it work. And that’s what we do. It sounds a bit brutal, but we actually say, look, there’s a bit of a blackmailing thing going on here. If you want us to come in and do this, we want it to work. And we’re going to tell you how you can make that work. And we can tell you how you can give responsibility and accountability to people to make sure it works. That’s the key part about it. Don’t just get the training in and then do nothing with it, because it’s just a waste of money.

Brendan Cox  31:41  

Yeah, thinking and doing are hand in hand to move forward. Like you said the accountability if you don’t have someone nearby that can keep you accountable, and you can’t keep yourself accountable. It’s really tricky to change your behaviour. So thanks very much for chatting. And it’s really interesting, what you’re doing and I look forward to hearing how it all develops as well. And this new new direction you’re also taking alongside the LAPD solution stuff.

Mac MacDonald  32:06  

Yeah, no, it’s been a pleasure, Brendan. So thank you very much for inviting me along.

Intro/Outro  32:15

Thanks for listening to the blend podcast. It’s available on Spotify, Google and Apple. You can find Blend interactive content on LinkedIn or Don’t forget to like and subscribe. See you next time.

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