Key Takeaways

  • Organizations are increasingly moving towards decentralized workforce models inspired by technologies like blockchain. These models allow for greater flexibility and autonomy for employees across various global locations.
  • Effective communication strategies enable real-time, direct sharing of ideas among large groups of employees, fostering a dynamic and adaptable company culture.
  • Innovative educational programs within companies function like decentralized networks, promoting continuous skill development and knowledge exchange, which is crucial for maintaining competitive advantages.
  • Transparency in financial and operational strategies is emphasized to foster a culture of trust and openness, helping demystify business processes and align them with company values.
  • Strong diversity and inclusion initiatives are tailored to enhance innovation and effectively serve a diverse client base, supporting business growth and social responsibility goals.
  • Encouraging allyship, particularly in supporting gender diversity and inclusion, is essential for nurturing a supportive and inclusive workplace environment.


In this episode of The Leader Show, Lou interviews James Nicholas Kinney, the Global Chief People Officer at Media. Monks. James shares his strategies for nurturing an inclusive and diverse workplace. Additionally, he highlights empathy, transparency, and diversity as key to a positive work environment. 

James also discusses initiatives like the Accelerate. Monks and Elevate Her programs, which aim to develop employees and promote allyship. Lastly, he underscores the importance of listening and understanding to build strong relationships and manage conflicts effectively.

Executive Summary

Hey everyone! Thanks for joining us on The Leader Show with Lou Carter. Joining us today is James Nicholas Kinney, the Chief People Officer at Media.Monks, who has significantly influenced the organization’s HR and operational strategies. 

A $2 billion company with a workforce of 30,000 across 40 countries, Media.Monks specializes in digital marketing, advertising, and technology services. Additionally, it provides robust data analysis and measurement solutions to enhance digital strategies across various platforms.

Media.Monks is ranked 28th on the 2023 Global Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces and 25th on the 2023 UK’s Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces. So, without further ado, let’s delve into James’ strategies, which helped Media.Monks become a Most Loved Workplace®.   

How Media.Monks’ Decentralized Workforce Drives Global Creativity And Autonomy

Firstly, James elaborates on how the concept of decentralization, inspired by technologies like blockchain, applies to Media.Monks’ workforce management. He draws a parallel between decentralized digital currencies and his company’s global, decentralized workforce structure. James describes this as a shift from traditional business models with central hubs in major cities to a more distributed model where information and creativity flow continuously across different time zones. This decentralization enables flexibility and autonomy, allowing employees across the globe to have significant influence and decision-making power within the company. 

Furthermore, James points out that this structure enhances a sense of ownership among employees and leads to a vibrant company culture. He mentions effective communication channels enabling direct and immediate ideas sharing among up to 8,000 employees. Thus, it highlights how Media.Monks fosters a dynamic and responsive environment that adapts to the needs of a global and diverse team.

Accelerate.Monks: Cultivating A High-Performance Learning Ecosystem Through Decentralized Education

Moving on, James discusses the innovative educational program called Accelerate.Monks at the company, which epitomizes its decentralized and global workforce approach. He describes Accelerate.Monks as a crucial “node” in the network facilitating constant knowledge exchange and skill development, akin to blockchain nodes that enable transactions across the organization.

Furthermore, James details how Accelerate.Monks harnesses the talent within the company to foster a learning environment where employees across different regions become instructors, enhancing peer-to-peer learning. This program aims to equip every employee with diverse skills typically associated with CEOs, such as understanding Artificial Intelligence, effective communication, and financial literacy, thereby raising the organizational standard.

The curriculum is designed based on feedback from employees about the skills they deem essential, making it highly relevant and engaging. James emphasizes that the program, which uses a gaming system for certification, does not incur significant costs but leverages the existing capabilities and aspirations of the workforce. Thus, it not only facilitates continuous professional development but also fosters a sense of community and responsibility among employees.

Lou responds positively, appreciating the program’s role in promoting diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment. He highlights the importance of employees understanding business fundamentals like profit and loss statements, underscoring the dual benefits of personal growth and organizational awareness. 

James reinforces this by stating the goal is to have all employees informed and engaged rather than keeping the majority “in the dark,” thus creating a high-performance community within the company.

Media.Monks’ Commitment To Transparency And Diversity In Corporate Culture

Next, Lou and James discuss the importance of transparency and honesty in corporate communication, especially regarding financial performance. Lou emphasizes that discussing earnings openly can demystify the concept of making money and frame it as something positive, tying it to values like love, appreciation, and community responsibility.

James responds by reflecting on the shift in corporate culture using Boeing as an example, where the focus transitioned from a safety culture to one predominantly driven by shareholder profits. He highlights the importance of a company’s culture being understood and embraced by its employees, stressing the need for transparency.

Further, James talks about the inception and development of the “Diversity in Action” program at Media.Monks, initiated because the company lacked a formal diversity program when he joined. He differentiates this initiative from standard DEI programs by grounding it in social, judicial, and economic sciences, focusing on fostering diversity of thought, background, and perspective, beyond just hiring practices.

James argues that this approach enhances the company’s ability to innovate and serve a diverse client base effectively. He underscores the program’s role in driving business growth and supporting the company’s commitment to CSR and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards, aiming to make a positive impact on local communities.

Media.Monks’ “Elevate Her” Program And The Role Of Allyship In Fostering Inclusion

On a similar note, James highlights Media.Monks’ commitment to diversity and innovation through leadership programs like “Elevate Her,” targeting women’s leadership development. This program is designed to empower women by flying them in from all over the world, all expenses paid, to engage in real-world projects that bring value back to the organization.

James highlights the importance of building community and developing future leaders, noting that these programs are integral to nurturing the CEOs of tomorrow. He contrasts substantial efforts with superficial corporate gestures during events like International Women’s Day, criticizing “rainbow washing” and “greenwashing” for lacking real action.

The discussion also touches on the importance of allyship, particularly the role of men in supporting women’s advancement within the company. James points out that men are not just bystanders but crucial participants in fostering an inclusive environment. 

Media.Monks’ Allyship Practices And Their Impact On Workplace Culture And Leadership

James and Lou delve deeper into the concept of allyship within the context of Media.Monks’ workplace and its alignment with broader business strategies. He defines allyship primarily as an act of empathy – putting oneself in another’s shoes and listening without trying to correct or fix. He highlights personal efforts to connect with colleagues internationally, like attempting to communicate in their native languages, as small acts of allyship demonstrating care and respect.

James then shares how Media.Monks supports its employees during global crises, emphasizing the importance of allies showing up and learning about the experiences of those affected by conflicts worldwide. He ties this back to the workplace, particularly within the “Elevate Her” initiative, where men are encouraged to participate not as primary actors but as supporters who listen, learn, and provide empathy.

The conversation then shifts to a broader discussion of how essential these practices are for effective management and leadership. James mentions the company’s coaching program, which certifies employees as coaches to propagate a coaching culture rather than a punitive HR environment. It helps address issues like poor performance or negative behavior through support and development rather than discipline, illustrating a commitment to an empathetic and supportive workplace culture.

Finally, James reflects on the significance of Media.Monks being recognized as a Most Loved Workplace®, attributing this accolade to the positive environment fostered by the entire company. 

According to him, this recognition from the employees themselves underscores the effectiveness of their community and leadership initiatives in creating a workplace where people feel valued and supported.

Thank you for your time!


Lou Carter : James Nicholas Kinney, the Visionary Global Chief People Officer at Media.Monks. Steering, HR and operational strategies Across $2 billion organizations, James leads a vibrant workforce of 30,000 across 40 countries. His expertise in fostering inclusive and dynamic workplace cultures has placed Media.Monks as a certified Most Loved Workplace and on the 2023 Global and UK's Most Loved Workplaces lists.

James champions, empathy, transparency, and diversity, embedding these values through a unique democratic process and cultivating culture coalitions for peer-driven community building. With a certification in AI business strategy from MIT and recognized by the Forbes Human Resources Council, James's innovative approach and dedicating to valuing every employee, make him a true leader in transforming workplace culture.

Join us now as we delve into James's strategies for creating an environment where everyone feels included, valued, and loved.

Hey everyone, thanks for joining us here on The Leader Show. It's great to have James Nicholas Kenny with us here today from Media.Monks. He's the CPO. We're going to learn so much from him about how he got certified as a Most Loved Workplace, and really importantly how he's leading this awesome culture of inclusivity and diversity in these really cool new democratic processes he's enabling too, which is very cool.

So lots to learn from James today and learn with him. James, welcome to The Leader Show.

James Nicholas Kinney : Thank you, Lou. It's amazing to be here. I wish I was with you live in Florida, but don't worry, we're going to get to boating in another podcast.

LC : Right on. I heard you joined a yacht in Palm Beach, which is cool. It is always good to take a yacht trip, which is awesome. Good. And I did want to say, I know we said you've led companies over 30,000 in the past and now it's 7,700, right? A multidisciplinary digital team organized across 57 talent hubs in 31 countries, so really amazing.

JNK : Yeah, thank you. So I've led more than 30,000 employees in my career, and then currently headcount is right around 8,000 currently at Media.Monks. The global nature of it is always incredible because we talk about cultural intelligence and translating culture and scaling culture.

It's something that every business really has difficulty in doing, but that's why diversity, and we mean diversity in thought, appreciation of difference is the simplest definition of diversity. And being empathetic is one of the key ways to do that, and it's obviously about training folks leading people and really giving them a stage to shine. So I have a lot of fun doing it.

LC : That's cool. You said giving them a place and a stage to shine, and obviously that's a great way of encapsulating it, especially for a company where multidisciplinary digital talent comes into play. So tell us where and how you've seen that manifest inside of your company, how that's become part of really your culture, right? Where's a good example, yep?

How A Decentralized, Global Workforce Is Reshaping Business Dynamics [03:48]

JNK : So I'm going to use a little bit of a tech friendly and forward analogy. So in the crypto space, people talk about a decentralized currency. And when you look at blockchain as a technology, people talk a lot about, Hey, this isn't owned by anyone. It is decentralized, and the way that I describe our workforce is that we are global and decentralized, meaning the company of the old, let's say 90s, 2000s, early 2010s, you have this flagship London, flagship New York, you have the city where you have all these people in one place.

Well, we all know that the pandemic was transformative in lots of ways, but one of the ways that I think Sir Martin creating the new era as he calls it, is this always on 24/7 decentralized workforce. And West Tohar, one of our co-founders talks about that a lot too. So when, I mean always on 24/7, I don't mean people working 24/7, I mean information is being spread and is being shared on a 24-hour basis because literally we're in most time zones across the world.

I'll give you me as an example. Sometimes I have a phone call at six or 7:00 PM because I'm talking to Australia, and then sometimes I have a call at 5:00 AM because I'm speaking to Europe and I do have breaks in that. But information and creativity, almost like a neural network and or a decentralized structure is being spread and shared 24/7. So the nature of a decentralized workforce means that information sharing is key and that you have to distribute the power across the organization.

The advantage of that is that the individual person has autonomy, influence, and power to make decisions. And when we do that, it really creates a remarkable culture where people have a sense of ownership. And between myself and a lot of different teams, we've stood up remarkable communication channels that allow people to communicate directly to 8,000 people at once.

LC : In any great decentralized currency, we have nodes, and these nodes help us to make transactions right between and among our larger currency. So I'm interested in hearing either how Accelerate.Monks perhaps is one of those nodes perhaps that's a little bit Motif.Monks, all these master nodes and nodes that enable communication to happen among a decentralized workforce that's running almost 24/7, right?

So it's like constantly cashing in and staking this coin, the media coin. And so what enables that consistency? I know you have programs and you have technologies, and how do you keep it 24/7 and still feel like a small, vibrant, awesome entrepreneurial culture?

Innovating Corporate Education And Empowerment Across Global Boundaries [06:48]

JNK : Yeah. Well, so the business model, and the most simple way to say it is that we focus on clients and after focusing on clients, we serve them through our capabilities. And the capabilities are across three different practices, a technology practice, data and digital media practice, and a content practice. We then incubate that in a local market, meaning Sao Paulo, London, Sydney, et cetera. So to use Accelerate as an example. I'm glad that you brought that up. I do think it's really innovative in the way that we've approached this. It doesn't really cost us anything, and it's not always about money. I think a lot of people, leaders might approach something and say, well, do I have $400,000 or whatever it is to bring in expert trainers or to do a program with Lululemon or Peloton? Just kind of the basics of what is a wellness program at an organization.

Well, what we did, and I think I was in Sydney when I came up with this idea, yeah, I was in Sydney when I came up with this idea for Accelerate, and it's this, the instructor or the teacher for an audience has to resonate with that audience, right? Meaning that if I have someone in Australia or that's in China who is either a native speaker, has the native accent and or is a respected peer, they're going to come across fantastic as a teacher.

But then I also want to address something where I need somebody different, meaning a diverse voice to speak to that audience as well so that they're leveling up and growing at the same time. So using that approach, I said, well, I want to train as many people as I can worldwide. So the way to do that is to come up with a universal curriculum and a skillset that I want everyone to be able to learn, which would be Artificial Intelligence.

How do you digitize an organization, effective communication, presentation skills, how to read a balance sheet. Really, if you think about the best companies in the world, you want everyone to have the skills of A CEO. If everyone's a CEO in training, you're leveling up the organization at the same time. So after I developed that curriculum, we then went out to the organization and said, what do you want to learn? What are the most important skills that you need? Once we get that data back, it allows us to understand where are the skills gaps that are within the organization or just something that people are excited about or something that they want to learn more of. Step three of that process was then to say, well, who are these professors? Who are these instructors? Going back to what I said, and we divided accelerate into four regions, Latin America, Asia, Pacific, EMEA, and North America, and we were able to get professors from those regions.

So then when we turn around and we built the programs, we're featuring people in the organization. Now, I can't say that enough because the trick there, if you will, is that it's peer to peer learning. So the person who's teaching gets this spotlight in this stage, like I said earlier, where they're like, well, shoot, I'm presenting to 2,500 people today. That's a pretty big deal. Not everyone gets an opportunity in their career to present to 2,500 people or 8,000. I had the privilege of doing it on a regular basis, but most people don't get that opportunity.

So you get this kind of halo effect of the individual that becomes a professor for the Accelerate program, and it's someone that's within their region again that has their accent, has kind of the local swag. Then we have guest professors that are showing up to different regions so that you get to learn, well, the average person who might've been born in Kansas or California or Florida where you're sitting, maybe they've never done business in China or Australia.

So getting that opportunity to learn what it's like to do business on the ground in China or Australia is again a remarkable opportunity. So there was a lot of thinking that went into something that appeared very simple, and the end result of that is very simply Accelerate. Monks and I created a badge in gaming system so that people could get basically Silver, Gold, and Platinum, and it's a true certification that we have inside.

Sir Martin, our executive chairman and myself, signed the letter so that when people completed their Accelerate course load, they would get a certified graduation letter from us, and then they were able to add a badge to their LinkedIn to say, Hey, I'm Accelerate Gold. So I'm just really proud of that program because like I said, it's well thought out. It's super intentional, absolutely all about the people. It's diverse in nature by countries, by skill sets and by thought. And again, it didn't cost a thing.

So it just takes thinking differently on how to leverage the talent that you all already have. So yeah, that's one of many things, Lou, but that's a super exciting program and we're about to do it again this year.

LC : It's the perfect example of a place for people to shine on a global stage, especially how you describe your definition of diversity, inclusivity, and hearing and respecting voices, and allowing your people really to, as you said, shine, show their greatest strengths. I like what you said about your certification program. Also, how you mentioned about how it's so important to develop everybody's CEO skills. And the way I look at that is often employees I've found, staff found, and perhaps some clients find that, geez, well maybe they're doing this for free. We don't make money here, which is important for employees to understand. P and L's, really important, cost accounting, cost of good sold, I mean just a balance sheet, P and L balance sheet.

And to realize that it's a monthly thing. We shore up accounts, our costs, we shore up what we're actually bringing in for cashflow, what our payables are, what our receivables are. These things aren't on our minds, typically aren't on staff, employees minds, and we're walking into what is normally called a family. Is it really a family? We're in a business, a business that supports diversity, inclusivity, respect for the individual and respect for the business, two-way street.

JNK : Yeah. I want to shout out Bruno Lambertini, who's the co-CEO of our content business. Bruno and I say that we are a high performance global community, and I think the reason why community is very important, I don't say that like an Instagram influencer, you know, join my community and take my course, but I say community because the definition of a community means that there's privileges of being a part of a community, but there's also responsibilities, and I think not enough people these days, and I'm probably aging myself with a statement like that, but these days, I don't think people really talk about it enough. What is the responsibility of being part of a community? And I think it's really important that people are clear.

So to your point, Lou, if the average copywriter, creative director, data analyst, et cetera, knows how we make money, they know how to understand the balance sheet. We're a publicly traded company. So understanding a little bit about stock and how stock is viewed, that's important because then they're in the driver's seat. So when we talk about high performance community, what I'd rather utilize all 8,000 people or what I'd rather only have 500 people know what's going on in 7,500 in the dark, I'd rather have all 8,000 people engaged.

LC : And I've always found that transparency is always on our side, being honest, just be honest. We're even saying to people, we are right now in a growth accounting mode. We can say it to people and guess what? We have a stock and earnings estimates is what will enable your stock most likely 60-80% to grow, right? There's other factors that these days that are a little different ever since Elon took seat. But the truth is that earnings, there is so much to be said about earnings.

Earnings says so much. What we earn as an individual, what we earn as a company, as well as what's on our balance sheets. And learning that, knowing that and making that word, making money not be a bad word. It's not bad to make money. It's a form of love, number one, appreciation, number two, community responsibility, number three. And to have that privilege to be in community means there's responsibility to earn, right?

Redefining Corporate Culture And Social Responsibility [15:31]

JNK : Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting you bring that up. Companies that are going through change right now like a Boeing on the weekends and at night, I'm sure you, Lou. I study companies all the time. I mean, I eat, sleep and breathe it. And I saw this story about how Boeing was a safety culture for years and years and years and years, and then they became to be known as a shareholder profit culture. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with shareholder profits, but I think it's important for people to understand, well, what kind of culture is this and what do we really stand for?

Now, it's not an easy thing to do when you have a lot of employees, but to your point that transparency is really important that people understand what's truly going on.

LC : That's such a good example of Boeing there because I mean there's companies that say they're a safety culture for the very reason of insurance and potentially for earnings and share price, right? And then there's companies who truly believe it, live it, see it, breathe it, and show the dichotomy and balance and polarity between the two and connection between the two. Because one of the beauties of your company is that you invest in inclusivity, diversity, enabling people to have that kind of psychological safety for the very reason that you are selling a globally dispersed workforce to enable new business owners, new businesses to grow and thrive, right? And that's a business strategy that you have that's quite actually brilliant when you think about it.

JNK : Oh, well, thank you. So when I was first hired by Wes, Chris, Sir Martin and the board, they said, Hey James, we actually don't have a diversity program. Can you build us one? And I said, sure. And it took, I think I was here for maybe 90 days, meeting people understanding the business before we built what's called Diversity in Action. And I do want to differentiate what we do versus maybe some others. And it's because of the obvious, Lou. The University of Texas just laid off some of their DEI staff, University of Florida, eliminated its DEI staff.

It's become a political term. And here's the truth, I created the ad industries first, DEI certification that was purchased by the one club. And I say that not to sound like, I’m cool, but I created my diversity certification because I wanted people to understand the truth about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion or what it could be.

So my definition of diversity, as it says in my course across the entire ad industry worldwide, is that diversity is a social judicial and economic science. It doesn't say anything about hiring a certain type of person. It doesn't say anything about preferring a certain type of person. It says that it's a social, judicial and economic science. So what that means in terms of how we built diversity in an action, we absolutely want people with a degree without a degree from Latin America, from Canada, from Australia, from France, because when we have that kind of diversity of thought and backgrounds, ad world, non-ad world, industrial, academic, non-academic, that's really important because those points of view allow you to make the best products and services, right?

That's really what it's about. Now, of course, we have specific goals at S4 that we've set as a publicly traded company because from a Corporate Social Responsibility and an ESG perspective, absolutely we will be and are stewards of positive change and we will and are making an impact in the local communities that we work in, and that's the absolute responsibility of an organization. But I wanted just to take a moment to differentiate between “DEI program” versus “diversity in action” where we're impacting business growth through diversity of people, diversity of thought, diversity of culture, diversity of language.

LC : The whole concept of co-creation and product development was built on this very principle, bringing in as many stakeholders that not just represent those who will purchase all of your goods, all of the brand, but also to give this richness of dialogue and richness of thinking of innovation, of spirit, in the room without diversity as you're describing and defining it, it's very hard to get that chemical reaction and to catalyze it, it just becomes entropic, crazy, chaotic, not specific.

So really wonderful way you're saying that James, and great to hear that you created that diversity certification and have a construct around it that wins. That's very cool stuff. So this is great. A lot more stuff you did is also around women's leadership, like Elevate Her, right?

Celebrating Real Impact And Building Community Through S4's Innovative Programs [20:24]

JNK : Our S4 women's leadership program and Elevate Her are really incredible programs. I really have to shout out Sir Martin and S4 continuing to put our money where our mouths are year over year over year. And our partnership with the University of California Berkeley is really amazing. This past year, just to share one quick story and then we can get into Elevate Her. This year, I had the privilege to be on campus during the week long leadership program and each woman who participates leaves with a certificate as well from the Haas School of Business, which is amazing.

And we fly 30 to 40 women in from all over the world, all expenses paid, and to be a part of this program. And when I look at our peer set of companies across the world, I don't really see anyone showing up the way that we do.

And they're working on real projects that we can bring back into the organization in order to solve challenges and make change within the business. And most importantly, going back to that community word. Community is being built and skills are being acquired again, building the CEOs of tomorrow. So it's really important.

So moving on to elevate her International Women's day, again in kind of the culture of rainbow washing as people would say are greenwashing, as people would say, pretty easy for any organization to put up a post and put up a banner and say, we're celebrating International Women's Day like this or like that. But with Elevate Her, we had an opportunity to open up offices, get into offices again, build community and have women across the organization of all job levels. Have that opportunity to have intimate discussions about skills development, business development.

And the most thing that I'm really powered about that is the Allyship Quotient. Men have to be a part of that conversation because men are also responsible. So yes, we create a space for women in the organization to be elevated, but then the allyship and the responsibility of allyship of men is also very, very important. So Claire Elouard, who's our global VP of DEI, who is on my team and reports to me, she's one of the key leaders of that program. So super, super proud of her.

LC : That's awesome. So that's also another important initiative, live connection, networking in office women and allies mentioned allyship. Tell me more about allyship and how that works in, as you mentioned, you have other employee resource groups, community hub portal, so how does that all work into play? So it connects into your overall business strategy and objectives?

Enhancing Corporate Culture Through S4’s Allyship And Leadership Initiatives [23:07]

JNK : Yeah, so I'm going to explain allyship the simplest way I can. Allyship, it is empathy, meaning that you put yourself in the shoes of other people and you aim to listen, you aim to understand, you don't try to correct, you don't try to fix, but empathy is holding space so that you can understand how others feel. And I'll bring up Bruno again, our co-CEO of the content business. Oftentimes when he and I are texting back and forth or WhatsApping back and forth, I'll write him in Spanish, and I'm not a native Spanish speaker, but Bruno is from Spain, so obviously English is his second language and he's fluent of course in English.

But Bruno has always said, James, the fact that you take the time to try to write something to a colleague in Dutch or in Spanish or in French, it's really appreciated because you don't come across as an American that it just expects, even though of course everyone speaks English, it's the world's business language.

The fact that you just take a second to put something in Spanish shows that you care, right? So that's a very small version of what allyship is. So then take that into the larger conversation. What is allyship? Well, allyship is when you look at the two major wars that we have across the world right now, allyship, what we did as a community and as a company is we held space for our employees that are being impacted by those wars.

And we invite in allies, meaning maybe someone like me who may not be impacted by two of the major wars that are going in the world right now, and it's about showing up in those rooms and saying, thank you for first of all, allowing me to be here as an ally. And secondly, can I learn more about the experience that you're going through? And then what is the best appropriate way to support you through what you're going through now, right?

So, allyship is about the ally, meaning the person who doesn't identify as the group, learning, listening, being patient, and really holding space for another group of people that is being impacted either by a global matter, a regional matter, a local matter, and it can be economic, psychological. It happens a lot of different ways. So going back to elevate her to kind of tie this all together, it's important that men show up. It's important that men are there to listen, and it's important that the women have the stage. I know we keep hitting on that and that the men are there to again, learn, support and provide empathy, which is simply meeting people where they are.

LC : Love that. And I can see how important this is for customers and for relationships. John Gray, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, obviously was a very important book and I don't know how it'd be received today. However, the truth is that women in this case, does it sound like an elevate her? They created this. Did they actually create this structure for allyship? They did. Wow. Okay.

JNK : You know, for pretty much everything we do, we have what's called a safe space room or a closed group for people from time to time. But we always encourage allies to be part of the process.

LC : That's outstanding, and what a better way to have a relationship or be in relationship. I've always found that listening, not coming to solutions immediately gets you out of a lot of a hot water in my own relationships, because I mean, it can implode negotiations between countries, between CEOs. It's enormously helpful to develop that muscle.

JNK : Deescalating is key, and again, you can bring up any of the major conflicts that are going on in the world right now, and to your point, having the ability to have empathy and listen and then provide allyship, typically escalation ends in disaster. We've seen it time and time and time again. But I mean obviously Lou, it is one of the key skills of a Chief People Officer being able to deescalate tough things.

But we have a coaching program that we've rolled out worldwide where we certified 150 people internally to become coaches so that then those coaches can create more coaches. So having this coaching culture is also incredible because you have less HR issues and ER issues eventually, and you have more coaching issues where James is not doing well on his presentations.

James is showing up late to calls. James is seen as negative in meetings. Well, maybe James doesn't need to get reported to HR. Maybe James is going through a tough time and needs some coaching. Maybe he needs some mental health support. And that's the kind of place that people want to work.

LC : It's the truth because at the same time, if we don't listen, we're not going to hear those awful things that are around the corner. Stakeholder feedback is the same way. How do we discover what people are thinking, feeling, knowing, being, doing, so that we can create a clear leadership strategy for ourselves and rather than being sort of caught by it later on.

James Nicholas Kenny, awesome to have you with us here today in the Leader Show as a Most Loved Workplace. And how is that for you being a Most Loved Workplace certification, you became certified, which is in and of itself phenomenal.


So I got to be honest with you, so I've been leading people fortunately for my entire career, which I think at this point, 25-27 years or something like that. This is the first workplace award that I've ever been a part of. So all the credit goes to our 8,000 people and our leadership teams. But I felt really, really excited that I was like, ah, this is the first one that I ever won. I mean, I felt like the Susan Lucci of the HR world, I kept getting nominated but never won anything.

So it's amazing for us to win as the unique thing that you've created, Lou, is that it truly comes from our people. So that means a lot when you see that your people have certified you really, because that's how it works, right? It's not that I said that we're most loved or Sir Martin did, or Wes did, or Bruno did, our people did. That is the biggest award that you could ever win, is when you get certified by the people that you serve. It's pretty cool.

LC : Good to hear James, and we look forward to having you in our community, and you are now in our community of Most Loved Workplaces, and it's great to have you with us, James, and everyone, thanks for joining us, The Leader Show. James, thanks for being out here today.

JNK : Appreciate it, Lou. Thank you so much.