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VRCA CLF 2024 | Pre-event Interview Series | Unlocking the Potential of Shared Human Values in the Construction Industry with David Allison

May 01, 2024 Andrew Hansen, James Faulkner, Christian Hamm
VRCA CLF 2024 | Pre-event Interview Series | Unlocking the Potential of Shared Human Values in the Construction Industry with David Allison
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the Site Visit
VRCA CLF 2024 | Pre-event Interview Series | Unlocking the Potential of Shared Human Values in the Construction Industry with David Allison
May 01, 2024
Andrew Hansen, James Faulkner, Christian Hamm

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Unlock the secrets to shaping behavior and decision-making as we sit down with David Allison, who introduces us to the groundbreaking concept of value graphics. Departing from the outdated methods of demographics and psychographics, we delve into how understanding core values can revolutionize our approach to marketing, workplace engagement, and societal issues. David offers a unique perspective on why values are the fundamental drivers that can predict and influence future behavior.

Our thought-provoking conversation with David traverses the landscape of human values as the bedrock of our choices, addressing how these values, often imprinted in our early years, steadfastly guide us through life's myriad decisions. He provides fascinating insights into the enduring nature of these values, their consistency over time, and the role they play in everything from purchasing decisions to voting behavior. Together, we uncover the profound impact that a deep understanding of shared values within groups can have on collective actions and why authentic alignment with these values is essential for genuine connection.

As we wrap up, David and James reflect on how rejecting demographic stereotypes in favor of a value-driven approach presents a promising path forward for addressing social issues and enhancing industry collaboration. This episode is not just a conversation; it's a call to action for anyone looking to harness the power of values to forge stronger, more meaningful connections in both their professional and personal lives.

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Send us a Text Message.

Unlock the secrets to shaping behavior and decision-making as we sit down with David Allison, who introduces us to the groundbreaking concept of value graphics. Departing from the outdated methods of demographics and psychographics, we delve into how understanding core values can revolutionize our approach to marketing, workplace engagement, and societal issues. David offers a unique perspective on why values are the fundamental drivers that can predict and influence future behavior.

Our thought-provoking conversation with David traverses the landscape of human values as the bedrock of our choices, addressing how these values, often imprinted in our early years, steadfastly guide us through life's myriad decisions. He provides fascinating insights into the enduring nature of these values, their consistency over time, and the role they play in everything from purchasing decisions to voting behavior. Together, we uncover the profound impact that a deep understanding of shared values within groups can have on collective actions and why authentic alignment with these values is essential for genuine connection.

As we wrap up, David and James reflect on how rejecting demographic stereotypes in favor of a value-driven approach presents a promising path forward for addressing social issues and enhancing industry collaboration. This episode is not just a conversation; it's a call to action for anyone looking to harness the power of values to forge stronger, more meaningful connections in both their professional and personal lives.

PODCAST INFO:
the Site Visit Website: https://www.sitemaxsystems.com/podcast
the Site Visit on Buzzsprout: https://thesitevisit.buzzsprout.com/269424
the Site Visit on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-site-visit/id1456494446
the Site Visit on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5cp4qJE5ExZmO3EwldN1HH

FOLLOW ALONG:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thesitevisit
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesitevisit

Speaker 2:

David nice to see you again. It's nice to be here. Thanks for having me over Nice place you got here, Thanks.

Speaker 1:

It's pretty cool, though, because we come from the advertising brand world back in the day. Yeah, and you walked in and I'm like I know you yeah it's funny.

Speaker 2:

I love that we couldn't figure out exactly why or where the connection, where the intersectionality was to use a buzz phrase.

Speaker 1:

but we got there, we've been in a room together in a meeting. We know this, yeah for sure. I just don't know which one it is. Yeah, okay. So David, just take us through. Like this is really, really cool, this value graphics thing, because you know, to me, you know we talk about demographics and we also there's another term that I've often used when we figure out who the people are but we're trying to understand their mindset and their psychographics. A psychographic profile of somebody is like how does that even I'm trying to find information of theirs that doesn't exist. So you've cracked the code and you have coined that as value graphics. What makes people tick? What are the things that are the motivations between it? Like, what makes us do what we do? Thank you, welcome to the Site. Visit Podcast leadership and perspective from construction with your host, james Falkner.

Speaker 2:

Business as usual as it has been for so long now that it goes back to what we were talking about before and hitting the reset button, you know you read all the books, you read the email, you read Scaling Up, you read Good to Great you know I could go on.

Speaker 1:

We've got to a place where we found the secret serum.

Speaker 2:

We found the secret potion. We can get the workers in. We know where to get them. One time I was on a job site for a while and actually we had a semester concrete and I ordered like a Korean-Finnish patio out front of the site show these days.

Speaker 1:

I was down at Dallas and a guy just hit me up on LinkedIn out of the blue and said he was driving from Oklahoma to Dallas to meet with me because he heard the Favour Connect platform on your guys' podcast.

Speaker 2:

Own it, crush it and love it, and we celebrate these values every single day.

Speaker 1:

Let's get down to it. Let's do it. Take us through like why did you do this, how did you start this and what was the where did the light bulb go on? And you're like, hey, I got to talk about this.

Speaker 2:

Wow, there's about a dozen questions in there. Let me see if I can do this. First off, let's address this difference in terminology. So demographics, psychographics, value graphics think about it as a three-legged stool and if you really want to try and understand a group of people and what makes them tick and who they are and how you can get them to do stuff you want them to do, you need all three. They all have a role to play.

Speaker 2:

Demographics have been something we've been using for millennia and it's the stuff we're all familiar with those traditional labels age, gender, income, marital status, number of kids, education, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And that's all good, because you got to put a fence around a group of people. I go back to my days running a marketing company in the real estate development industry. You're not going to sell a penthouse that's going for $10 million to an 18-year-old who works at the grocery store down the street. It's just a demographic fact. But what we've been doing wrong with demographics all these years is saying that because we know what these folks are their age, gender, income, marital status, all that stuff that we also know who they are. That's the problem. It's a great way to put a fence around a group of people and describe them, but not who they are on the inside. It just tells us who they are on the outside. So it's one-legged the three-legged stool still necessary.

Speaker 2:

Psychographics is a term that you know. If you Google it, there's a billion different definitions, but the one I like best is just what's happened so far. What else do we know about these people that isn't a demographic? What are their likes? Their past purchase behavior, their I don't know their preferences, their needs, their belief systems, their you know emotional preferences, their needs, their belief systems, their emotional? Companies come up with emotional indexes all the time. And what's more popular, nike or Reebok and what's an emotional index? So it's cool, all this stuff we know about them.

Speaker 2:

But the problem with psychographics is it all comes from exactly the same place, no matter how we collect that information and how recent it is, because we wrote it down and we know it. It's historical, it's already happened. We already stuff that's already happened in the past and what we're all trying to do is get somebody to do something different in the future. We're talking about employee engagement or workplace culture or sales or marketing or whatever it's like. How do we get somebody to change what they're going to do next. So if you rely on information from the past, it's like driving a car by only looking in the rearview mirror. You might get there eventually, but you're going to probably end up in the ditch a few times before you finally get your way there right.

Speaker 2:

So what we needed was a third leg of the three-legged stool, which is how do people decide stuff? How do they make decisions? What's the why behind everything that they do? And if you do a brief look at behavioral science and psychology, neurology, psychiatry, all the sociology, all the different fields that fall under that umbrella term, it becomes very apparent very quickly that the human brain and the human psyche only makes decisions about anything in pursuit of values alignment. So we all have a set of values and every decision we make thousands of times a day is which of these choices is more aligned with my values?

Speaker 2:

Let's take it into a real world scenario. If you're in the grocery store and you're looking at two cans of soup and one can of soup is a little fancier, it's got a silver label and they're trying to Wolfgang Puck, it's the Wolfgang Puck soup. And if one of your values is social standing, you're going to pay an extra buck for that one and that's the one you're going to pick, and you don't even know you're doing it. It's like it takes a split second. You're just like oh, soup, and it goes into the grocery cart.

Speaker 2:

But if social standing is not a value and the other can of soup you're looking at is environmentally friendly and it comes from, you know, sustainably harvested ingredients and fair trade practices and all that kind of stuff, you'll pay an extra buck for that one and throw it in your grocery cart. But those values have to be present in your values makeup in order for you to make that decision. And then it's happening in a split second in the back of your brain. You don't even know what's happening. So what you're wearing today, what car you drive, what job you have, who you married, who you hang out with, what you do in your spare time, it's all because it has something to do with aligning with your values. So it's the secret to understanding people.

Speaker 1:

It's very good To understand their values. I love it, yeah, yeah, I mean, it is the soup example you just gave. I love that because we're reacting on that purchase, whether or not we're going to feel, whether or not we want to uptick ourselves for that moment and it was well today. You know, it's like this, putting ourselves in this exclusive box, like I get to choose and I'm going to pick the best because I'm me, I'm worth it, I'm worth it, or whatever this story we have going on in our minds of our own ego. Right, yeah, cool, okay, keep going.

Speaker 2:

Yeah Well, and it turns out it's not even that much of a conscious decision If you look at it from a neurologist perspective. Inside your prefrontal cortex there's a little tiny piece called the insula, and the insula's job is to help you make decisions and boss you around and tell you what you're going to do. And what it does is. It looks at all the incoming data the sights and sounds and smells and memories and hunches and my gut feel and all that stuff and goes okay, if this is what I got to work with, this is the data I got, then I think we're going to choose door A, not door B.

Speaker 2:

And when you do, when you choose the thing that is aligned with your values because that's the filtering mechanism that your insula uses which one's aligned with my values, your insula says this one's aligned with our values, that's the one we're going to choose, and when you do that you feel good, you get a little dopamine hit. So if you really drill down to it, all of us wake up every morning running around all day making thousands of decisions based on which one's going to give me my dopamine. So you can't even not do this. It's just being human is running around chasing dopamine, and dopamine comes when you're in alignment with your values.

Speaker 1:

So that dopamine hit? Do we know we're doing this to ourselves, or is it somewhat underneath?

Speaker 2:

Oh no, I mean, sometimes we're conscious of it. We'll sit back and go. Gee, I'm really tired. It's been a long day I've been on a podcast and done all these other things and I should go to the gym, but I don't really feel like it. But I know if I go I'm going to feel better and I'll get my dopamine hit. So it can be that. But it could also just be split second decision-making about am I going to take this route to work or that route to work? You're not analyzing it and going which one's going to make me feel better.

Speaker 2:

But somehow the only way human brains know how to make decisions, put it this way, the only way human brains make decision is based on which option is most aligned with my values. That's it. And the reason we keep doing it over and over is because we get dopamine. The dopamine is the reward system. If you don't make the right decision, you don't get. Your dopamine doesn't feel as good. Next time comes along, you're going to do it in a way that feels a little bit better. It's how we've evolved as a species. In fact, what stopped us from making dumb decisions and jumping off the edge of the cliff or whatever, is that it's not aligned with our values. I want to live. I'm not going to jump off the cliff, that would be the dumb decision. And by not jumping off the cliff I get to live. I feel better. Oh, here comes the dopamine. So it's actually what's propelled evolution in the human animal over the course of evolution.

Speaker 1:

This is very deep, david. I like it. I like it. Okay, so these values like what are values? Like the definition in context of how you're referencing them?

Speaker 2:

Sure, We'll start by talking about the difference between corporate values and human values, because a lot of people get confused by this. We all spend a lot of time locked up in boards.

Speaker 1:

But is the value of a feeling or is it an idea? Is my point? I'm going to get there.

Speaker 2:

I start by just going to set the stage here. All right, some people get confused about this and they think about their corporate values. We've all sat with the vice presidents and we've seen the list and we got the list right. Depending on who's asking, I don't really call those values. Those are more like instructions for how we want you to behave when you come to work here. Yeah, framework, moral framework. Yeah, moral framework Very good. So human values, however, is what we're talking about.

Speaker 2:

Human values are these deep-rooted behavioral triggers that we inherit when we're young. We get them from our surroundings. The sociologists refer to this period in your late childhood, early adolescence, as socialization, and during the period of socialization and human development, whoever is most influential in your life at that time could be a parent, a religious figure, a teacher, a friend's parent, a whole combination of the above. You absorb their values and those are your values for the rest of your life. They'd never change. How you react to the world around you will change all day long, but it's always based on those values. So once you get them, they're locked and loaded. They're yours for life.

Speaker 2:

With apologies to De Beers, like diamonds, values are forever, and so what we've come up with is a way to measure them for groups of people. So, instead of having to look at a group of people and say what are their demographics and what are their psychographics, we can also now say what are their shared values? Which values do they have in common? Which ones will they all react to? If we show them how, whatever it is we want them to do, come and work at our company, buy our product, vote for our candidate, whatever it is. If we show them how that's going to align with those values, this whole group, like a school of fish, will go beep, beep, beep.

Speaker 1:

Fish don't beep, that's magnetic.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it becomes magnetic and we'll all run towards it because it gives us our dopamine.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So that answers my question like where do they originate from? So are some of them like? I see traits in me that are like my mom and I see some that are like my dad. So did I learn those, or some of them, hardwired DNA?

Speaker 2:

Depending on what field of science you subscribe to.

Speaker 2:

You either start with a tabula rasa, that you're a blank slate when you're born and everything comes from who you encounter and how it depends on you. Okay, you don't just pop out of the womb and suddenly you're an environmentalist. You don't just pop out of the womb and suddenly you're an environmentalist. You learn that that's important because the people who are important to you, you're modeling them and they're like this is how we make decisions about things. This decision is good for the planet, this one's bad for the planet. You're like oh, that's use to make every decision about everything we do, all day long, 24-7, 365, without any exclusions.

Speaker 2:

If it's that important that it's a decision-making tool for you of that import, that's a value. And when we see it in a population like our database we've built now is accurate in 180 countries around the world If we see in a population that there's a significant portion of the people in that population who are using the same value to make decisions about everything we do, then it's on the list. It's like this is a value. I see If there's only a couple people doing it, it doesn't make the list, it doesn't make the cut. So by doing this around the world. Big team of translators, 152 different languages we've been working in for the last 10 years. A million long-form surveys people have filled out for us.

Speaker 2:

We've been able to identify that there's 56 values. There's only 56 things that drive all of us to do everything we do all day long, which is pretty freaking cool when you think about it. There's 9 billion people on the planet. 56 values there's 56 values that drive us all to make every decision we make 24, 7, 365. Now, each of those values has a lot of different definitions for people. Yeah, okay, I'm sure.

Speaker 2:

But they're like the main 56 themes basically 56 things. Yeah, like belonging. Belonging is a very important value in many parts of the world. It's number one in the States, number two in Canada and belonging has 912 definitions that we have codes for in the database. So when we are able to talk to a group of people and say, hey, your audience, the people you're trying to engage and inspire and motivate, they're over-indexing like crazy on belonging. We can also say here's exactly what we mean by that. Here's what they mean, here's the conditions that need to be present in order for them to feel like they got values alignment. So it's super powerful to be able to hone in not just on a generalized trigger, but a specific definition of that value for that group of people. So here's what you got to do If you want them to feel like they belong. This is what has to happen.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. So is there? When you get this, let's say you do an analysis on. Let's say you're trying to I saw a bunch of brands that you'd worked for, I'd done some work and you've deployed this strategy. So when you do work for those companies, let's say you're trying to sell a product or a brand and you ascertain what those you cherry pick from those 56, which ones are going to resonate. This is a. Is this used on a, on a way to genuinely connect with that audience? Because it's obviously it's not something that's tricking them, it's basically something that is genuinely connecting to their value set. Do you know what I mean? Whereas other advertising can be seen as a screen, you know, it can be like something that's trying to exploit somebody, trying to trick them. Yeah, you know, like my feeling is.

Speaker 2:

If you know what people, what's inside people's hearts, and you say to them I can help you with that, yeah, that that's about as genuine as it gets. Um, you can't be you, you, you you're not trying to trick anybody into doing anything. You're saying listen, my friend, I've read your diary and I know what. I know who you really are, not the fake stuff that you're putting on for everybody else. I know who you really are in the inside, yeah, and I got a thing here that I think is going to help you feel better and help you live your best life, because it's totally aligned with who you really are. How can you be more genuine and authentic than that?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's pretty cool. So how did the? Let's just talk about construction a little bit, and I'm not expecting you to have a full. You know a full, you know understanding of construction in general. This is a construction podcast, but maybe I'll just throw some stuff out there and see how you? We're seeing the labor force change quite a lot. We're seeing a lot of the older generation retiring, all that sort of stuff, so you're seeing an attrition there. So there's this intergenerational mix on the job site these days of different age groups and we got values. It was like in the old days, values what it's like today. And how do you see, how does this going to affect the future in terms of how these different generations can interact based on having different value sets?

Speaker 2:

Well, here's the thing. I'm going to go back to the big giant database we've collected. There's hundreds of millions of data points about who people are and what makes them tick. And if you slice and dice it demographically, say how similar are people inside any one of those cohorts, like the boomers versus Gen Z? How alike are they? Because we talk about workforce and talk about employee engagement and talk about these issues in the workplace as if there's some sort of generational sense to it. Well, people within any given generation or any demographic cohort, they only are aligned on anything about 10% of the time. So anybody who comes along and says this is what Gen Z wants, they're 90% wrong. You can't be a Gen Z expert. It's impossible, because you can only be about 10% right, no matter what you're saying, because Gen Z, with statistical accuracy more than you need for a PhD from Harvard Gen Z only agrees on anything ever about 10.5% of the time. That's the average across all demographic cohorts.

Speaker 1:

So they only agree on their own values 10% of the time? Yeah oh, from like internally in that cohort? Yeah Okay.

Speaker 2:

And so do men only agree with each other about 10.5% of the time.

Speaker 2:

Okay, Women and people who earn $100,000 a year and people who have an MBA and people any demographic label. The people in those buckets are only about 10% similar, which means the inverse they're 90% not like each other. So, to go back to your scenario, we've got people in the workforce and the construction industry and the old folks have got some ideas about things and the younger guys have got another bunch of ideas about things. What you're talking about is behaviors. Their values that are giving birth to those behaviors are going to be the same. Okay, I'll give you an example. This is from the keynote I'm doing for the Vancouver Regional Construction Association in a couple of days here.

Speaker 1:

We're going to reach out. By the way, do a shout out to Janine.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, please.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so Janine, she set all this up for us oh fantastic, with Craig as well, and Amelia, so they've done a great job in this event. So, I look forward to your speech. I can't wait.

Speaker 2:

Whistler is one of my favorite places to speak and it's going to be a good crowd. Okay, so one of the values that we've gone out and studied the construction workforce in British Columbia not all of British Columbia, a certain region of British Columbia that applies to the VRCA and we've identified three values that they all have in common with statistical accuracy, and one of them is a value that we call one of the 56 values is a value called service to others.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Now, service to others is a really, really unique value. In fact, across the United States, for example, service to others is the 56th value. It's the least important value to the population of the United States. In Canada it's a little bit higher, but it's way down at the bottom of the list. And here we are with a workforce where it's way up in their top 10. That's a margin of difference that's notable, like we've only ever seen this, maybe once before.

Speaker 2:

So everybody in the construction industry again, this is not going to play. It's going to be somebody out there listening, go, it's not me. It was like this is what statistical accuracy that you can play across the entire group. Service to others is one of their driving values, one of the ways they make decisions about things. So if we are looking for places where we have commonality across the workforce, everybody's in this, at least in part, because they know they're making a difference in people's lives. They want to do things that are helping people.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so there's a unifying fact we can use. We can look at a, let's say, there's some fictitious company where the workforce is divided and everybody is having fights and it's like gang wars at lunchtime and like whatever is going on. Sit down and say listen, we're all here in part because we want to make a difference in people's lives. We're helping people have safe, warm, comfortable places to live and work and play and bring up their families and grow and learn stuff, and we're providing an amazing service. So let's talk about how we can, together, figure out how to do more of that. How can we even give you more alignment around that here in this organization? How can we? I'll give you a great story from a keynote I did down in the States on this very, very value. The organization was called I remember the name of the conference, though was called Service World, and it was guys who own blue-collar firms that employ you know.

Speaker 1:

Like service teams.

Speaker 2:

Electricians and drywall guys and plumbers and HVAC and all that stuff, and so service to others is the only other time we've seen it. It showed up there. They asked me to profile people who are considering getting a career in the trades but hadn't done it yet, who have not yet signed up for an apprenticeship program, because they're trying to get more people to come into the industry.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

So we got up on stage and I said you know, service to others. You guys are all running around saying to these folks this is an amazing career decision for you. You're going to make more money, you don't have to work in the bar or the grocery store anymore, you're going to have a portable place and build a family that you've always wanted to do all these kinds of great things. They all want to hear that, but they also want to hear that this is a chance for them to do something good for other people. This is a chance for them to be of service to others. And I don't think you guys are saying that loud enough, and that's one of the reasons why they aren't jumping into these apprenticeship programs. If you just start pointing out that this is their chance to make a difference in the world, they'll start to do this. And you know this, my friends here at this conference that I'm speaking to, because your conference is called Service World. So just start amplifying that message. So carry on with the rest of my keynote. That's great.

Speaker 2:

And I get down off stage and there's always people who want to come and talk to you afterwards and this guy comes up to me and he says listen, that really resonated for me. I want to tell you a story. I have seven offices across the Southern United States and in each one there's a fleet of vehicles, fleet of vans, and in each fleet of vans there's one that's pink, because all the money from that van every day goes to breast cancer research. I said that's amazing. You found service to others, you're giving it. He said no, no, that's not the story. That's not the story I want you to know. Here's the story Every day, my guys still largely guys they fight over who gets to be in the pink van. Mic drop Like, wow, there it is, there's a way to show how powerful this stuff is. His construction workforce is fighting over who gets to be of service to others and be in that pink van and know that their work that day is going to help with breast cancer.

Speaker 1:

I see, I see, okay, interesting. So, with that example then, is this it's almost, there's an altruism there. Is that something that is common these days? Or, I think because through social media and you've probably heard this a million times, but I'll just say it anyway through instant gratification selfies, this sort of myopic view a lot of people have, this altruism, seems to be less of these days. Is that what you find, or is this something that may be just a misconception?

Speaker 2:

Well, if we look at values of the 56 values that you could say are more altruistic, like service to others, they're steady. I mean values don't change. We have them when we're born and or when we go through socialization. We keep them till we're dead. But mean values don't change. We have them when we're born or when we go through socialization. We keep them until we're dead.

Speaker 2:

But what we're seeing and what we're noticing and what you're talking about is a behavior change based on values. So more people, less people doing things one way or another, based on what's going on environmentally You've just mentioned. By environmentally I mean socially, environmentally, an environmental social environment. There's no question that social media has changed the way we interact with each other and changed the way we interact with the world, but it's always going to be based on our values. So if family is one of the most important values in my life, chances are I'm using social media to stay in touch with family and to make sure family's okay, and I'm going to be following people who are talking about how to do things for my family and how I can you know, I don't know plan vacations that are family-oriented vacations or whatever. So social media has sped up and shortened our attention spans, but they're still focused on values. You know, the best advice I can give to somebody who's in the social media world and who's trying to figure out for my clients or for my own company, how do I create content that's going to resonate and get me. What I'm trying to achieve here on social media is find a way to align it with the values of your audience and just stick to those themes, those pillars. If it isn't, let's go back to the example about family. If it isn't about family, don't post it. They don't care about that. They only care about the stuff that's about family. So why would you waste your time doing anything but that? And then you take it back into a workplace environment, which is what we're going to be talking about at VRCA.

Speaker 2:

Once you know what the values of your workforce are, you don't have to run around and do stuff that doesn't align with those values. You don't have to sit around and go. Well, what else do we need to do? Do we need free food in the lunchroom? Do we need to, you know, more days off? Do we need compensation systems and education systems? And what are we? You're just like throwing stuff at the wall, hoping something sticks to reduce the churn. Attract the best talent. Make sure everybody's engaged while they're at work. Give them what they want. What they want is what they value, so find out what their values are. Lean into those. Don't waste your money on the other stuff, because it's not going to move the needles in the right direction.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So of the list of 56 values, are all of them positive or are some of them kind of negative?

Speaker 2:

They're neither positive or negative. How we behave as a result of those values can be incredibly positive or negative.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so let's just give me an example maybe of like, let's say, three values that combined or create some kind of a dysfunction.

Speaker 2:

Right. So let's look at one like personal growth, the sort of overall. There's hundreds of definitions, but the overall kind of overarching definition for personal growth is I want to be a better version of myself tomorrow than I am today. So you can do that in really positive ways. You can go to the gym, you can take your vitamins, you can turn off your social media and not have any screen time before you go to bed, and all these other kinds of things. You could also take all of your, take all the money from the company that you work for and go and use it to buy yourself a second home, because that's going to make you feel good, because a second home is going to give me some pride, and I the next three weeks, because I want to go run a marathon and I want to improve myself physically, and so my employer will never know. So, whatever, I'm just going to call in sick, so is deception a value.

Speaker 2:

No, deception is not a value. But every value, it's up to us as individuals how we interpret that value. It's up to us as individuals how we interpret that value. And whether we're good people or bad people is going to be about our values manifesting themselves in one way or the other. All actions, all behaviors, all decisions, all emotions begin with a value and then, as humans, we look at them and go how can I make things better for my family? I'm going to go rob a bank because my family needs some money. Or I'm going to go to work and work really hard and get that promotion because my family needs more money. You can do bad things. You can do good things, but it's because of an internal motivator, a driver a value.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So on a construction site, okay. So if you we talk about the different teams that show up there, so let's say that you were to do work with one subtrade that was, let's say it's an electrical contractor, fairly big one, and you were to do value graphics work with them. They know who they are, all that kind of stuff. Value Graphics worked with them. They know who they are, all that kind of stuff. And then they are one of the like 30 different sub-trades that show up at a general contractor's site and the general contractor has not done the Value Graphics workshop and he knows who they are, hasn't done all the work that you would do with a company. So you have all of these different teams showing up to do business together in one place that have different value sets. How do they reconcile that? I mean, what kind of organizational procedures could be in place that could help that?

Speaker 2:

Well, that's a pretty, that's a tall order.

Speaker 1:

Huge. Yeah, you don't have to answer it in entirety.

Speaker 2:

The basic principle is that the more you know about yourself and how you're going to react to things and what's driving you, the better you're going to be able to maneuver the stuff that's outside of your control. Okay, so bad things happen, things that don't align with your values. You've got a horrible general contractor, those other sub-trades over there are being nasty or whatever is going on. If you realize that the reason you're reacting in this particular way is because this is putting me out of alignment with the value I place here, or the value I have here, at least you can understand where this anxiety and this anger, these emotions are coming from, and that perhaps sets you up to cope in a better way, because some stuff's just outside of our control.

Speaker 2:

You can also go into those situations having done you know, not everybody has as much agency as everybody else but can you find a way to make sure that some of those values are preserved in your contractual arrangement before you even show up and say, listen, these are the things that are important to my guys, and so we need to know that this is going to be something that's going to work out the way it needs to work out when we get to the site. In an ideal situation, the general contractor would have a sense of the values of everybody that they're bringing onto the site and be able to put together policies, procedures, ways of working, modes of operating Like the code of conduct stuff.

Speaker 2:

Everybody the code of conduct stuff.

Speaker 1:

Okay interesting. Or even things like. So just a question on that. So the code of conduct is that informed by values? It should be, it should be right.

Speaker 2:

Is it Generally? No? Okay, See, we're getting some really gray areas there. So code of conduct in some organizations is what they call their values. Right, or their instructions, as you said earlier, or their instructions for how we want you to behave when you come to work here.

Speaker 2:

Right, right. So should they be informed by values In the best case scenario? Yes, there's an old management philosophy, that born in the 1960s and 1970s. It keeps coming back into fashion and then going away again, usually because people can't figure out how to execute it. The idea is good, but the execution seems to stymie people. It's called stakeholder capitalism, which sounds like something Dracula invented. Right, it's like not the best branded management philosophy in the world.

Speaker 2:

Stakeholder capitalism two nasty words, but what it basically means is that the purpose of an organization is not just to make money for the shareholders, which is what we all grew up in business school learning, right? What's the purpose of an organization? To return or maximize shareholder value. That's the ultimate purpose of a stakeholder. Capitalism says no, that's one group that needs to be considered, but so are the employees, and so are the communities that we're operating in, and so are the customers, and so are the vendors that we work with.

Speaker 2:

And if you know what all of their values are and you see where they overlap in the middle, that overlapping set of values that works for everyone. As far as I'm concerned, that's what should be the corporate values I see. Does that happen? No, should it 100%, and so you can take that example I just gave and lay it back on the thing you were talking about and saying you know all these disparate groups coming together. Ideally, we'd know something about their values and see where they all overlap and go. Okay, we're going to run this job site in a way that honors and respects these three values, because we know it's going to work for everybody who's showing up.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. Okay, no-transcript. So that seems to be the most important flashpoint or lightning rod for how things are going to move forward over time.

Speaker 2:

And this is what I'm coming to speak to the VRCA about is for the construction workforce in Vancouver and the greater Vancouver area. We've identified three, what we call power values, and these three power values form the basis for my keynote. These values will work across the board for everyone. So if you're a general contractor or whoever else is in a role where they're responsible for assembling people and trying to create a workplace environment that people feel empowered and they're putting in their best selves, lean into these three values. Deliver on these three values, and with statistical accuracy, more than you need for a PhD, people will recognize themselves in how you've set up this workplace. So service to others.

Speaker 2:

Ask a general contractor what can you do as a general contractor to help everybody who's coming to work for you, all the sub-trades, everybody else who you're going to pull together in this big giant team that you're essentially project managing? How can you make it very aware to them that they're helping people and it might not be about their functionality while they're there, but could every week, a certain like an hour of time be donated to the thing that something is something? Somehow there's some sense that coming to work at this job site is helping me with my value of wanting to help other people. So begin the brainstorming there and say what are all the different things we could do with that? Now that we know that that's going to be a unifying force that will engage people, motivate and inspire them and influence them, how do we put that in place? What does that look like within the constraints of a large-scale construction project?

Speaker 2:

I don't know anything about what it means to work in a large-scale construction environment, so I can't answer that question. I can throw in a bunch of dumb ideas that make sense to me, but I mean people who are in that industry, which is what I'm going to challenge people in the audience when I'm speaking. What do you do with that? How can you make that come to life? You're the experts, you know what it's like. And no, you can't do that, david. That's a silly idea, but we could do something like this.

Speaker 2:

What I want people to walk away from after that keynote is being able to go huh. Everything that guy said on stage makes a ton of sense. His examples maybe weren't really practical, but now that I see where he's going, we could do this instead and it should accomplish the same thing. That's the win for me. If I can get everybody in that room to walk out of there unified around those three values and trying to find ways to implement those values in whatever it is the work they're doing, then we'll have created a values-driven way to come to work for everybody in the industry.

Speaker 1:

So it would seem that, ultimately, what would be the best is if those three values were table stakes for all companies to show up at a job site.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Because if that, if you're able to broadcast that and people were to take that on, and so at the conference, if everyone can walk away with, look, we showed up at the job site, you're coordinating, we get that, we're showing up to do the work, but we have some alignment there, there's a congruency that enables efficiency, because what will happen, the result will be a more profitable job with less conflict, because conflict creates problems, problems create inefficiencies and the dollar does not like inefficiencies.

Speaker 2:

Nobody likes inefficiencies.

Speaker 1:

When it comes back to, I mean, the reality is. Is that on any job? Yes, there's all these other factors that are important People's lives, how they worked all day long, how they felt. These are all of the resulting benefits or feelings or actions. These are the things that all resulted from us all working all day together. However, there is a common goal, which is to have the building built, and that developer's goal is to have that on budget and on time, and that has a whole bunch of other responsibilities around it in terms of people paying interest rates for not too long. Of course, there's just so many tethers there where it make it very complex.

Speaker 2:

Let me give you three stats.

Speaker 2:

Okay let's have it. So. If people find values alignment in their work in fact, if people find values alignment in anything they do we track what we call ROV return on values. Okay, and it comes around three different axes One is price, one is trust and one is engagement. So in a case where we're talking about human resources and workplace engagement, it's probably more interesting to talk about trust and engagement. But if they come to work at a values-aligned place where they feel like their values are being honored and respected, they will trust you. On average varies from industry to industry, but on average, 20% more. So a 20% boost in trust between management and the folks who are working there just for honoring their values and saying we know you, we see who you are, you're like my friends, I know what my friends want. I want to create a place here for you that feels like your values are being honored and respected. And the best number is the engagement number. The return on values around engagement is, on average, 40%. People will be 40% more engaged in a workplace where they feel like their values are honored and respected. So those two numbers have direct impact on the bottom line and on the ROV and the pro forma of any project If you can get a workforce that trusts you and is more engaged.

Speaker 2:

The price piece in a case like this probably isn't as applicable, but just in case anybody's interested out there who sells stuff people will pay 12% more on average for something that's aligned with their values. Back to the supermarket story about the two cans of soup. You're going to pay 12% more for the premium-looking Wolfgang Puck soup. You'll pay as much as 12% more for that one because it's aligned with your values versus the other one. Or the inverse of that story the environmentalism, sustainability-focused can of soup. That's the price premium you'll be willing to pay. Subconsciously. You don't even know you're doing it. You'll pay that extra buck because it feels worth it to have something that's aligned with your values. So price, trust and engagement all blow through the roof if we just give people what they care about, if we just treat them like humans, understand what's in their hearts, stop trying to treat them like a demographic stereotype and respect them for what they value.

Speaker 1:

Okay, here's the big question. Okay, all right. So, because I have the word the value honesty here. Okay, so is the value labeled honesty or defined as honesty and objective reality? This is a table. This is a microphone. Boom, here's a table. This is a microphone. Boom, here's a microphone. These are real things. Is that under attack or outshined by the myopic paradigm of subjective reality or my truth?

Speaker 2:

Wow, the myopic subjective reality of my truth. You're asking about divisiveness and the way we're-.

Speaker 1:

Well, I'm just asking if, because when we talk about values to some some is my truth, my this, my that it's basically all wrapped around them. When you come to a job site, it's about teams, it's about working with a group of people, and you can't be like that, Because if you only care about yourself, you've got safety problems, you've got all this other stuff that can be terrible. So but a construction site is objective reality it is. It has no place for somebody redefining what reality is.

Speaker 2:

I understand.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so maybe just talk about that a little bit, because it is a challenge.

Speaker 2:

Nothing good has ever gone down in history in any scale on a workforce, politically, geopolitically. Nothing good has ever happened by us continuing to drill down into silos, and those silos, to relate back to what you're talking about is an individual's idea about what's right and what's wrong. The only way for us to proceed and to progress as humans on this planet together, at a job site or geopolitically or anything in between is if we see each other in each other. If I can look at you and say I freaking disagree with you on a whole bunch of stuff, but we're both united around health and wellbeing. We both agree on this. If I can at least hold your hand around that one, it starts us with a yes, now we can go out and solve problems together. One of my mentors has a great story about the riots in Washington.

Speaker 1:

Like January 6th.

Speaker 2:

The January 6th, there was a police officer who was on the verge of being killed by the mob. He was being beaten, he was being pushed up against a wall, they had flags, they were beating him over the head, people were yelling kill him, kill him. It's about the most dangerous position you can possibly find yourself in a rabid mob trying to kill you. Yeah, and he said, guys, stop, I've got kids. And they stopped and they picked him up and brushed him off and sent him on his way.

Speaker 2:

There's a group of people, no matter what side of that political argument you're on who are angry, who are ready to kill, and the value of family stopped them in their tracks. Interesting. So the squabbles we have on a construction site, the squabbles we have in our office towers, the squabbles we have geopolitically yeah, they're not like that, they're not that bad, no, but we send. Sometimes we feel like they are. Sometimes we just feel like we're spending all day banging our heads against the wall and trying to get these other people to do the things we want them to do. It's not going to stop unless we first stand back and go. What do we have in common? That's the first thing. That's the very first step in any agreement is finding commonality, and values can be that place where we find common ground, no matter how bad things are.

Speaker 1:

Excellent, you've answered all of my queries.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I have a wrap-up thing I want to talk about, so, if we're coming close to time, I want to make sure we save some time to get this in Okay, let's do your wrap-up theme, let's have it.

Speaker 2:

All right. Spent a lot of time today talking about how demographics don't make a hill of beans of difference and they're not really very useful as a way to understand people. It's only 10% accurate, right, and you look at people based on they take you into the field. They take you into the field. But if you find out that the people you're trying to engage and influence and motivate is like 73% female, what are you going to do with that? You're going to make everything pink. You know it's, it's.

Speaker 2:

It's laughable when we think about some of the leaps of logic we make Once we look at a group of people with demographic lenses on baby boomers. They're terrible with technology. They hate technology. You're going to have big, giant buttons on everything, cause they can't figure out what's going to. Maybe just one button If we could do that. Gen Z or shiftless they don't know what they're doing. They're just all in it for themselves.

Speaker 2:

All these massive generalizations that we make about demographic groups are just stereotypes. Those are harmful and they don't work and they're not true. But, more importantly than that, they fuel ageism and sexism and racism and homophobia and ableism and classism and all of these terrible social problems that we're all trying to cope with in the world today. And it's so simple to start turning this ship and going in a better direction. All we got to do is change the way we look at each other.

Speaker 2:

That's it. Just stop it with the demographic stereotypes. Use demographics for what they're good at. Just stop using those terrible, terrible ways of thinking about other people. Change them. Start with yourself. Think about who you are as a values-driven human walking through the world. If you do that, you'll start to think about other people based on what their values are, and if enough of us do that, we're going to start to turn the corner and we'll become a more values-driven world. And that's the world I want to live in, and it's the world I want my nephew to live in, and it's the world I want my friends and my neighbors and everybody to live in. It's a world where we just stop fighting so much and agree with each other on those basic core values that bring us all together.

Speaker 1:

I agree wholeheartedly on that.

Speaker 2:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Tough to do it is but we'll get there. We'll get there. All right, I've got the big question for you. Okay, what are we not talking about relative to your topic in construction?

Speaker 2:

I'm not sure entirely how I'm going to answer that. I don't think this is unique to construction. I think any industry out there is entirely focused on the bottom line. We all tend to be very, very focused on money, and rightly so. That's how we pay our mortgages and make sure our shareholders are rewarded and all those kinds of things. But I got a newsflash for everybody. It's not all about money anymore.

Speaker 2:

If you're entirely making every decision with an economic lens, you're not going to have the workforce that you want. You're not going to attract the best talent. You're going to have enormous churn. You're not going to have the best customers. You're not going to have the best customers. You're not going to have the best anything. You're not going to survive in the long term. If your only focus today is revenue and retained earnings If that's all you're thinking about, you're not going to be around for much longer.

Speaker 2:

The world has changed. We're in a very different time period. Today. We're in a I call it the values economy. You look at everything that's going on in the world around us right now. You just turn on the TV and just any story that comes up it's about one group of people standing up and saying these are my values and I am going to die on this hill, and another group of people saying, yeah, but these are my values and I'm going to die on this hill. I mean particularly pointed in the United States right now, the political divides going on. But it's not just them, it's here, it's everywhere around the world and every issue.

Speaker 2:

Look at what's going on in the world of commerce right now. You look at companies like Patagonia who, over decades, figured out what the values of their consumers, their customers, are, leaned into those values and created this brand, right up to the point where the founder of Patagonia was about a year and a half ago, stood up and said you know what? I'm rich, I'm old, I don't need any more money. I'm going to, from this point forward, every dollar we make here at Patagonia is going to go to help the planet. Here's the foundation that it's going to go to. That's the biggest values-driven mic drop in history. Imagine being the vice president of marketing at north face the next day and waking up and finding out that that had happened. Like how are you possibly going to compete with that? And if you look back in the timeline, you see all of those outdoor equipment companies the next week stood up and made a big, giant donation to something, but they didn't give their whole freaking company away, right?

Speaker 2:

And then you look at another organization like Twitter, I mean another big, big example. You know, under new management not that long ago, a guy comes in and starts disrespecting everybody's values the people who work there, the customers, the advertisers, the clients and look what's happened to that organization. It's a dumpster fire. So values are driving every decision that happens in the world today around commerce, around going to are we going to work at home or are we going to work back in the office? That's two groups of people who find values alignment in two different ways, and they're standing up for themselves and saying I'm not going to budge on this. This is how I want to work in the future, and if you're not going to allow me to do it my way, I'm going to quit and I'll go find somebody who does Everything, everything, everything is about our values and organizations are continually focused on the revenue piece, which is still vital.

Speaker 2:

But it's not just back to my newsflash. It's not all about money anymore. It's about money. And how do we behave as an organization in the values economy in a way that's going to take advantage of the power of shared human values. That'll add to your bottom line. But you've got to open your lens up a little bit and start to think about things outside the normal buttons and levers and knobs that you're used to pushing, and start to imagine what it's like to be more human-centric and to bring humanity back into the boardroom and the decisions that we make and the organizations that we work at.

Speaker 1:

That's a good end.

Speaker 2:

It is a good end.

Speaker 1:

All right, david, so I look forward to your speech, uh presentation at the CLF and Whistler and uh yeah, thanks to all of the uh BRCA team for making this happen, and it's nice to see you again.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, nice to see you too. Thanks for having me over. This was great information.

Speaker 1:

I enjoyed it, thank you. Thank you All right. Well, that does it for another episode.

Cracking the Code of Value Graphics
Human Values and Decision-Making
Measuring and Understanding Shared Values
Values and Altruism in Social Environments
Values and Collaboration for Construction Success
Rejecting Demographic Stereotypes for Values
Presentation at the CLF and Whistler