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Aug 31, 2021

In this episode of The NEXT Normal, we explore the changing nature of the American social contract and the decisions we entrust to our leaders. What does it mean to lead post-pandemic? Whose responsibility is it to build a better normal? And what can we expect from leadership moving forward?


In the last twelve months, today’s host, Ujwal Arkalgud, CEO and Cultural Anthropologist of MotivBase, has been inundated with questions and conversations with C-suite executives about the changing nature of the American social contract and the challenges experienced by members of the workforce.

[04:27]- “I wanted to set the tone by just explaining what the American caste system really means, not from an academic standpoint, but really means to people, to the average American that's. You know, learning about this and talking about this, uh, it's really about the ability for all types of workers to have. The forum to advocate for themselves to have the same privileges that others might have to be able to stand up, raise their hands and say, no, I will not do this, or no, I need better. Or, here's what I need in order to do my job better and there's an increased recognition of the fact that there is a huge divide…”


Challenge Factory President, Lisa Taylor, presents the analogy of putting together a puzzle versus solving a mystery for how we can reframe what needs to happen within the current social contract.

[13:31]- “Instead, we're leaning on what Sarah referenced earlier more of the scientific model, which is to say we're on pursuit of solving a mystery. We have questions of what's going to unfold and we're trying to solve the mystery and we're looking for clues along the way. And not every mystery gets wrapped up really neatly. And we may not actually have all of the answers that we need. So the leadership that we have to have has to trust that we're going to be able to do the right things. and our people need to be able to trust that, together, we're going to continue to solve this mystery without feeling like we have to give what's the picture on the front of the box and here's the six steps of how we're going to get there.”


Leaning into the theme of trust in our leaders in the environments we’re in including the workplace and where we live, Sarah Thorne, President and CEO at Decision Partners, shares the three key questions from her world of risk assessment and decision making and how it could impact the public’s trust in leadership.

[18:10]- “I think if we could get people to think more broadly and, in terms of our leaders, not focus so much on communicating the absolutes, the whats, but get people thinking about the ‘so what’ and the ‘now what’, we'd be a lot further ahead.”


Urban planner Dave Hardy, President of Hardy Steveson and Associates, believes that the trust issue runs very, very deep but it is possible to build trust in corporate and community leadership.

[18:29]- “I'm constantly trying to get people to trust that something's going to happen 25 years from now. And that's a hard communications piece. So I share and tell with my spokespeople, politicians, corporate leaders, I said there are two things you want to get across about trust: First, the public trust your values. They don't know if you're competent, you quite know what you can do, but they do know you're going to make the decision they would. The same way they would had they been you. The second is they may not know who you are, but they trust your competence. So you could be a misanthrope, but they know you're doing, you're competent to do the right thing. And if you, as a member of the public had that information, they would make the same decision based on that information that you would.”


In next week’s episode of The Next Normal, Challenge Factory’s, Lisa Taylor builds on the discussion around the shifting and changing social contract and explores the outdated career thinking that society is experiencing. We’re being challenged to think about our own longevity and about our careers in a way that's relevant for 2021.

Have comments questions or ideas for our hosts? Feel free to drop us an email at hello at StoryStudioNetwork dot com.


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