20 #KnowYourself : Emotional Intelligence in Corporate America

We sit down with facilitator, instructional designer, meeting host and leadership consultant David Foster of Capgemini to talk about the importance of social and emotional intelligence.

David’s LinkedIn

Length: 45:15

Host:  Zach | Ade


Ade: “EQ is our ability to manage ourselves and our emotions. In the workplace, this means acting and reacting to events appropriately, such as maintaining your composer and ability to perform under pressure. However, as important as EQ is, it is also necessary but not sufficient for success. Confidence in navigating the workplace culture, high SQ, is the major obstacle for women and minorities. Culture is largely shaped by the dominant group, which for most workplaces is straight white men. This is not a conspiracy or a plot. We all tend to befriend people who are similar to us or with whom we have the most common. We take work breaks with our buddy. We grab a quick lunch with our friend. Women do this. Minorities do this. Straight white men do this. For the latter group however, this often results in power begetting power. Women and minorities in particular need to have high SQs. They need to be perceptive, vigilant, and deliberate in how they navigate the workplace culture. Not being automatically part of the workplace power club is a given for women and minorities. We can bemoan that fact, or we can take action. Taking offense or feeling hurt keeps us stuck. Successfully navigating the workplace culture–demonstrating high SQ–is the key to career growth and success.” The excerpt I just read from Smart Is Not Enough: Why Social Intelligence (SQ) may be the key to career success for women and minorities by Phyllis Levinson challenges what being good enough looks like in the working world, and social and emotional intelligences are the secret sauces to climbing the corporate ladder. How do people groups with lesser social capital and access thrive in these highly competitive spaces? This is Ade, and you’re listening to Living Corporate. So today we’re talking about social and emotional intelligence.

Zach: Yeah. So I know you gave the definitions in your intro, but when I think of definitions for these terms, I think of it as emotional intelligence being your ability to understand and manage yourself where as social intelligence is your ability to understand and manage the relationships around you.

Ade: That’s about right. And I think it’s interesting because I would argue that by the nature of black and brown folks being the minority, minorities in the workplace have some of the highest emotional intelligence, right? I mean, I know I’m always thinking about how I’m going to come across, how to speak, how to phrase my questions both in email and in person, and, you know, not live up or down to some stereotypes and come across as angry. And I’d say that’s pretty common. I think that code-switching speaks to this phenomenon the most. The fact that we change our voices with the hopes of being accepted and making others feel more comfortable with us speaks to a certain level of emotional intelligence, no?

Zach: No, I absolutely agree. And look, I don’t think we’re saying that minorities don’t need help in better developing and honing their emotional intelligence, but it is me saying that you don’t often see minorities in the corporate workplace with emotional, like, outbursts. In your experience, how many times have you seen someone that was not white just completely lose control at work, Ade?

Ade: Never, and I definitely get your point. Your point is well-taken, but to me the social intelligence part is a huge hurdle. So the article you referenced earlier is interesting because I posit that if power resides with the majority group and people of color don’t heavily engage with the majority–like you were saying, people tend to associate with people who are most like them–how do we learn how to navigate those spaces?

Zach: It kind of–it actually kind of throws the whole idea or the term of social intelligence into question, right? Because it’s not particularly an issue of mental capacity or capability as it is access. Like, I don’t know how to manage this particular relationship in the workplace, not because I’m inept but because I don’t have access to these relationships in the same ways as folks who don’t look like me are. I mean, am I–am I tripping? Am I onto something?

Ade: I do think you’re onto something. It reminds me of our very first episode with Fenorris when he was talking about the white executive giving him the real talk in that plane, which by the way, side note, I know y’all have been rocking with us for a while, but if you haven’t listened to our very first episode with Fenorris Pearson you definitely should go give it a listen. Back to reality. Fenorris was saying that it is essentially obvious when his black colleagues were trying to mimic behavior and mimic a culture that isn’t necessarily theirs, and it built more distrust than not ironically. You might also remember this conversation about authenticity in our episode with Janet Pope essentially saying that people who find themselves in the minority, particularly folks of color, often put on personas that we believe mirrors that of the majority when in actuality the people around us who we’re trying to mirror don’t recognize themselves and they recognize that lack of authenticity.

Zach: Right, and that’s not really our fault. Like I said before, we don’t have access because historically we haven’t been allowed access. We’re just now really engaging in these spaces [inaudible]. It’s only been what, like, 50 years since the last civil rights bill was passed? So it’s been, like, a pretty short line. The point is because of the way that Corporate America is set up, we have to have skills that extend beyond the X’s and O’s. It’s not just critical for our growth, it’s really needed for our corporate survival.

Ade: Right. And you know, it would be great if we could at some point, I mean, over the course of this season, be able to speak to someone who is a bit of a subject matter expert on social and emotional intelligence. Maybe someone with outstanding communication, conflict resolution and interpersonal skills, and I would feel really comfortable, even more comfortable, maybe if they had maybe 20 years of experience as an instructional designer, a corporate facilitator and [inaudible]. And just to put some nice little icing on top, if they were actually responsible for the coaching and professional development of executives for an international consulting firm, I might just faint.

Zach: Oh, you mean like our guest David Foster?

Zach and Ade: Whaaaaaat?

Zach: *imitating air horns* Sound Man, you know what it is. Put ’em right there. Let’s go.

Ade: That’s never gonna fail to make me laugh. All right, so next up we’re gonna get into our interview with our guest, Mr. David Foster. Hope y’all enjoy.

Zach: And we’re back. And as we said, we have David Foster on the show. David, welcome to the show, man. How are you doing?

David: Hey. I’m doing great, Zach. Thanks for inviting me. A real pleasure.

Zach: Absolutely, man. So look, as you know, today we’re talking about the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Can you talk to us about what emotional intelligence is and how it comes into play with how you do your job?

David: Yeah. So a couple things, you know? I work as a facilitator in Capgemini’s Accelerated Solutions Environment. You know, despite the fact that we’re a technology company we’re really in the people business, and, you know, what we specialize in in the ASE is helping people getting aligned really quickly, helping them making decisions, and helping them come up with really innovative solutions to really wicked, challenging problems, and that’s not something that you can do without having a high degree of emotional intelligence. You know, as a facilitator I’m typically at the front of the room, and for me it’s not really about presenting myself as an expert as much as it is shepherding people through our process. So emotional intelligence for me is something that I have to pay real close attention to. You know, when I think about it, there are a couple of pieces to emotional intelligence. You’ve got the idea of just perceiving emotions, and so for me, you know, when I’m in front of an audience or a client group, it’s about trying to understand where they are emotionally. And a lot of times we’re dealing with really charged topics, so understanding what position they are on that rollercoaster is really important, you know? And that’s the other part of it is, like, understanding emotions. So you can perceive them and you can feel them, but you have to be able to interpret them a little bit, a lot of bit, you know? That helps you decide what questions you need to ask or helps you decide how you might shift the focus of a session or how you might even capitalize on the emotions that you’re perceiving. You know, for me and my position, it’s about managing that emotion sometimes, and I’m speaking not only about the client and about the audience, but I’m speaking about myself as a facilitator. Look, we’re all human. You know that, Zach. Right? Like, we’re all human beings, and when you’re standing up in front of a group or even if it’s one-on-one, the emotion that comes off of someone or someones, you feel that, right? And so sometimes it’s about not only managing the emotion that’s coming from folks–maybe it’s questioning, you know, the origin of it or where it’s coming from, but it’s also understanding what it’s doing to you, you know? Because it can certainly either trigger your emotions–it might put you in a position where you end up feeling some emotions, you know, based on empathy with a group, but managing those emotions is key. And then it’s really about using emotions. So if I think about those four things, like perceiving, understanding, managing and then using–and when I say using, it’s not–you’re not trying to take advantage of folks in terms of using emotion, but you’re looking at and perceiving those emotions, understanding them and trying to figure out, “Okay, how best can we tap into this to help us achieve our goals?” So if there’s energy and intent to do something, you know, how do we make sure that we put people in the position so that they can do that? Emotional intelligence is essential, you know? And it’s not just in my role. I think it’s in every role in our corporate environment, you know? Because like I said, we’re a people business, and people have emotions, you know? We are emotional, sentient beings, and so if you think that just your IQ is enough, I think you’re sadly mistaken. So that’s–in a nutshell, I think, you know, the synopsis of how I think about EQ and how I think about emotional intelligence and it impacts me when it comes to how I do my job as a facilitator. Now, I can extend that even further, you know? There are lots of touch points where I’m not only interacting with colleagues or I’m interacting with clients in different ways, you know? And emotional intelligence extends beyond just when you’re in front of the room. It has to do with your interpersonal relationships in terms of how you work with others, you know, how you contribute to a team and how you ultimately can add value to an organization, so.

Zach: See, that’s so intriguing. So have you had any situations–rather, have you had any situations where you’ve seen business relationships completely be broken by a lack of emotional intelligence? And if so, would you mind sharing a story?

David: Yeah. You know what? Broken is, like, the end, but I think there’s a continuum. If you’re not keen on or at least focused on emotional intelligence, you can fracture relationships, you can damage relationships. So there’s a whole lot that you can do outside of just breaking them. I just did a session this weekend that’s really interesting. The guy that was one of the main sponsors of our session, the CIO, you know, he’s taken the DiSC profile, and I have my own opinions about assessments. I think they’re all information, you know? I don’t know if that truly defines who you are and how you are as much as it just gives you information to help you decide how you might proceed in terms of your relationships or in terms of your preferences. And this guy, you know, he had taken the DiSC profile, and so he characterizes himself as a driver, you know? “I’m just a high D. I’m a high D.” And it’s almost like he uses that as his lead into any sort of conversation, you know? Not to mention that he’s also a lawyer by trade, you know? And he’s got a penchant for, you know, winning arguments no matter the cost, and he has a penchant for arguing and driving people very, very hard no matter the cost. So here we are in this ASE session, and, you know, the way we work is we have large-group stuff and then we get into breakouts, and I always talk to my sponsors about, you know, when you get into these breakouts you want your people to do the work, and you want to almost sit back, and you want to ask more questions than give more answers, and you don’t want to stand up and pontificate. Well, he took this opportunity–they were sharing some information about a particular work stream, and he took this opportunity in front of, you know, a small group of folks to run up one side of this person and down the other, basically asking a lot of pointed questions, creating an argument, trying to win an argument about why certain work hadn’t been done, right? And what I saw happen was not only did that change the tone and the tenor of the breakout, but it also changed the tone and tenor of their relationship for the rest of the session, where this person who had been on the receiving end of these very pointed and very argumentative sort of interjections, you know, almost shut down, right? And you don’t want to do that, and I think about that, specifically in the session seeing that, but I was wondering, “Man, what is it like every day to work with this person if that’s what you have to deal with?” And I actually pulled her aside to check on her and said, you know, “Are you doing okay?” And she said, “That’s my everyday.” And so when you think about that–you know, here you have this leader who is, you know, putting out front the idea that because “I’m a D, because I’m a high driver, I almost don’t have to pay attention to how or what I do and how or what I say impacts the folks that I’m saying it to,” because he can hold that shield up in front. And like I said, those assessments and those types of things are really only information, and the fact that he took that opportunity to basically confront this person, you know, not really understanding–well, it’s not even not that–he understood what we were doing, but not being sensitive enough or being aware enough to know, you know, what those actions could possibly do to that person within our session. You know, that indicated a pretty severe lack of emotional intelligence. Now, whether or not he’s able to repair that relationship I think is up to him. You know, Zach, I’ve got–and we’ve talked before about leadership, and we’ve talked before about, you know, how to lead and different styles of leadership, and I think EQ is, like, a really important arrow in the quiver. It’s just one thing, you know? And having a high degree of emotional intelligence allows you to not only be self-aware, but it also allows you to be flexible, right? If you’re–if you’re focused not only on the things that are triggers for you, your own emotions, you know, that’s part of it. You have to pay attention to the other emotions, and you almost have to–you have to be flexible, and you have to be able to adapt your approach, and you have to be able to adapt how you communicate based on the emotions of the other folk in the room, you know? Not just yours, but others, and it was obviously–it was a pretty charged conversation. He had some things he wanted to get out, but there’s a way of communicating that so that you don’t, like you said, break or damage your relationship. And just to extend the story further, you know, I had a confrontation with him. He wanted to–we have this thing in the ASE called proposals where, you know, people put proposals in front of a group of judges to–you know, what does the way forward look like? Take your best shot, right? So we have–we have the judges, and, you know, he wanted to be a judge, and I told him–I said, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.” I said, “Based on your closeness to the problem, based on your position in the organization, and based on what I observed,” you know, based on how his interactions could change the tone and tenor of conversations, I advised him against it. And he didn’t push too hard on that, and he said, “Well, how do the judges work?” I said, “Well, they develop criteria,” and he said, “I want to be part of that conversation.” And I stopped him and I said, you know, “What’s your interest?” Right? And he said, “I want to make sure that my opinions are represented,” and I proceeded to lay it out for him. I said, “Look, you know, ASE sessions are a chance for you to let the people in the room own the work, and it’s a great chance for leaders to watch their people work. You know, you’ve got some smart folks here, you know? And you almost have to trust that they’re gonna come up with the right criteria,” et cetera, et cetera, and Zach, we went back and forth.

Zach: Really?

David: And talk about emotional intelligence. You know, at that point I have to know what my triggers are, right? So I could’ve gotten into this back-and-forth argument, but I have to remember my role. My role is a facilitator, right? I can’t really hold a position. And I told him that. I said, “I’m not gonna hold a position. As a matter of fact, I’m not gonna argue with you.” I said, “I’ve laid out the risks. I’ve told you what could happen if you involve yourself in this conversation. Ultimately it’s up to you to make the choice, and I’m not gonna stand in your way, but you can’t come back to me and look at me and say, “That didn’t go the way I thought it would,” because I cautioned you and I warned you,” and I said, “I’m basically done arguing with you because it’s obvious that you want to win this argument. So, you know, if you want to be part of this criteria development, have at it.” And so we walked away from each other. Relationship wasn’t broken. You know, still respected me as a facilitator, and as we’re getting back into the main space–’cause we were pulling people together to get them ready to do this assignment–he stops me and he says, “You know, I’ve changed my mind. I’m not gonna be part of it.” I said, “Okay,” and so I proceeded to set up the assignment, send people out, and then I found him and I said, “Would you mind telling me what changed your mind?” And he said it was ego. He said, “That conversation between you and I was all about ego,” and he said, “I have to be better about managing my emotions, and I have to be better about managing my ego, and sometimes I need to exercise a bit more humility.” And he actually went back to the other conversation. He said, “You know, I had a situation where I went at somebody on my team pretty hard, and that wasn’t a good thing. And I did the same thing to you, and that wasn’t a good thing.” So in that small little microcosm you had somebody who was on the one end, you know, really not aware. Like, self–maybe self-aware, you know, using the DiSC assessment as his form of awareness, but not aware of how he was behaving would impact others, right? Really not understanding the emotions that he was generating based on how he was interacting, and he actually–the pendulum actually swung for him, you know? So I don’t know when it happened, how it happened. I don’t know if I had anything to do with it. You know, maybe it was just the switch flipped, and he was–you know, all of a sudden he had the ability to say, “You know what? I really need to take a step back and look at how my behavior and how I’m managing my emotions and how I’m using my emotions is actually impacting others,” you know? And I think that’s an important point, and I’m sorry to just prattle on, but, you know, emotional intelligence is a skill. It’s something that you can develop. It’s something that you can learn, and a lot of times one of the ways we learn is by reflecting, self-reflection, on the situations that we’ve been presented with, how we’ve responded, how we’ve behaved, and how we might change or how we might do things differently.

Zach: As you know, our show focuses on people of color in the workplace, like their experiences and perspectives and really having authentic discussions around that idea and around that identity. So I would posit minorities have more pressure to be self-aware by the nature of them just being minorities, by the nature of them being–

David: [inaudible].

Zach: Right? The smallest group in the space. There’s pressure, or there’s an expectation that we just need to be more self-aware. So what advice would you give to a people group who’s already aware that they are the minority when it comes to growing and developing emotional intelligence?

David: Yeah. You know what? We could–how much time do we have? Man, [laughs] because–so I think about that a lot, and maybe some historic context here. This idea that we, because we have been so excluded as people of color from institutions of–I mean, call it whatever. Learning. Institutions of earning. You know, social institutions. We’ve always been in positions where we’ve had to extend the olive branch, or if I think about the middle ground, we’re always crossing that middle ground, do you know what I mean? Like, we’re always expected to reach further and reach farther because these institutions have been established before us, and they weren’t designed with us in mind, right? And it’s–you know, if we want entry into them, you know, we’re the ones that have to make the choices and decisions about how to interact with people. It’s almost like we have to present ourselves in ways that make it okay for people to accept us, right? Which is an emotionally charged conversation, and again, we could spend, you know, four, five, eight podcasts. It’s an ongoing conversation, right? So I don’t disagree with you. I think we have to be, as people of color and as a minority group within, you have to be extremely self-aware, number one about your emotions, because there’s a lot that could trigger you, you know? And understanding what your triggers are and understanding intent behind what people say or how they interact with you, being able to manage your emotions. It’s a skill you have to have, you know? I would almost say forget about excelling, right? Forget about the idea of being promoted or moving up in an organization. I mean, talk just surviving, right? So think about being on projects. Think about being part of teams. How do you, as someone coming to this already in a position where, you know, people have perceptions of you whether or not we’re welcome, whether or not we’re able to perform at the same level. How do you manage that and then still do your job? I think emotional intelligence is something that you absolutely have to have. Without that, you know, this business will chew you up and basically spit you out. And it’s not just EQ, Zach. You know, it’s not just emotional intelligence. It’s almost like you have to have some social awareness, you know what I mean? Like, you have to–you have to have a bit of empathy, a lot of empathy. You’ve got to really understand, you know, the organization, you know what I mean? You really have to know where you’re working and who you’re working for, and in that self-management, you know, how to be–how to control yourself in what can be emotionally charged situations. It’s critical, you know? The only way that you’re gonna succeed, you know, is if you have a strong sense of, you know, social EQ or social IQ and emotional intelligence. I read something–you know, this guy Daniel Goleman, which–I mean, his model of emotional intelligence is one that’s been around for a really long time, you know? He said, “IQ is only 20% of it.” Right? EQ is 80%, and I would–I’d offer that social IQ is key. So I don’t know if I answered the question completely. You know, I’ll get back to the advice. The advice I would–I would give to folks is, you know, you want to position yourself with mentors who have been successful navigating this organization, you know? They haven’t moved up into leadership positions by accident. There’s something that they’re doing right, and whether it’s, you know, that they have a highly evolved sense of self or they have a really highly evolved ability to perceive social and emotional situations, you know, you want to find mentors who can actually coach you on how to navigate some of these situations ’cause they’re gonna repeat themselves, you know? And if you get good at handling them, you know, I think that is what positions you to do well in this organization. Now, that doesn’t change the fact that there’s some messed up stuff that goes on out there, right? I mean, let’s just be real. You know, we have to deal, as people as color, as the minority group in an organization, there are some folks who, you know, quite frankly may not care whether we succeed or not, right? And that’s just the reality, and part of what we deal with I think is, you know, our ability to understand who’s in the room. You know, maybe the position that they’re holding in terms of, you know, does this person care about me as person or not? Does it matter, right? And then what do I do with that, right? So that’s my emotional intelligence, right? My ability to be reflective, you know? My ability to notice my emotional self within a work situation, you know? My ability to evaluate those situations and really begin to notice patterns, right? And then if you notice the patterns, you might start to see some opportunities for you to do something different.

Zach: So you’ve given advice around what people of color and underrepresented groups in Corporate America can do to really develop or continue to sharpen their emotional intelligence and their social IQ. I’m curious, what advice would you give to the C-Suite regarding emotional intelligence and those who seek to be more ethnically inclusive and more welcoming so that they can actually acquire or procure the talent that they’re looking for from these ethnically diverse spaces?

David: Yeah. That’s a multifaceted conversation, right? I think, you know, leaders that are looking to be more inclusive, first of all you have to have a high degree of EQ, right? Your sense of self needs to be very, very strong. You also have to–and within that sense of self, I think it’s understanding your intent. Like, what’s my intention? You know, is it checking a box? Do I really believe that involving and having a diverse workforce is gonna be advantageous, not only to the things that I touch but to the broader organization? You know, that sense of self is critical, and I would offer something else. It’s not just emotional intelligence, it’s not just social intelligence, but there’s this thing. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but the empathy quotient too. Like, your ability to put yourself in the shoes of others, right? Your ability to really walk a mile in the shoes of somebody else, you know? That whole idea of active listening and understanding the intent with which someone is communicating to you, you know? What’s the message behind the words? I think–you know, I’m not part of the C-Suite, you know? And I think anything that I’m offering is really just what I’ve observed in terms of what’s really been successful for people looking to be more inclusive. You know, you’ve got to be awesome at problem solving, and I think the combination of those three things–you know, the social intelligence, the emotional intelligence, your empathy quotient–helps you solve problems, you know? You’ve got to provide and be a supportive communicator. I think you have to be able to be flexible and be able to communicate with different types of folk. That’s just the bottom line. You’ve got to be confident, you know, truly in empowering people, you know? A to B is always gonna be A to B, but the road may look completely different than you thought, and when you’re involving diverse populations in a workforce, you know, you have to believe that the road to get from A to B may be something different just based on the types of people that you get involved, you know? And, I mean, I think in terms of attracting folks to work in a situation, you know, where we work, in this corporate environment, you know, you have to do your best to provide an opportunity and to provide and create an environment where people can contribute and add value, and the only way that you can do that I think is if you have a high degree of not only how you lead, right, but the environment that you want to create, and you have to model that behavior, right? You’ve got to make sure that no matter what it is, whether it’s problem solving, whether it’s managing conflict, whether it’s how you empower others, whether it’s how you communicate, whether it’s how you motivate people, you know, I think as a leader, modeling that kind of behavior, that inclusive behavior, and modeling the fact that you need to have a high degree of emotional intelligence, a high degree of social intelligence, a high empathy quotient, you know, that’s what makes people want to work with you, right? You know this, Zach. People don’t leave jobs. They leave people, right? So the work that you can do on yourself, you know, to become more self-aware, it’s gonna be reflected in your leadership style, right? The work that you do to become and increase your emotional intelligence, your empathy quotient, your social IQ, it’s gonna be reflected in your leadership style, and people are gonna want to work with you, you know? They’re gonna want to be part of an organization, you know, especially if you’re modeling that behavior.

Zach: Man. David, this has been a great conversation, man. Before we wrap up, do you have any parting words and/or any shout outs?

David: Wow, shout outs? You know what? Here’s the thing. I want to give a big shout out to the A3 posse at Capgemini. Doing incredible work, and a shout out and an apology, right, that I am not more involved. It’s one of my goals this year to make myself, as part of the senior leadership of the organization, a bit more present, but I notice and I pay attention, and it’s a potent group. Anybody out there who’s listening who’s not part of A3, you definitely want to get involved because they are doing great things to not only represent within this broader organization but it’s a great resource, and it’s just nice to be able to have conversations at times with people who speak the same language, who are going through the same things, you know, as we are as people of color trying to navigate, you know, this corporate environment. And I also want to thank you, Zach. I think Living Corporate is a step in the right direction, you know? The more that we can start talking about these things, the more that we can start to talk about the stuff that matters to us as people of color, especially in this day and age, without getting too political. You know, we recognize the times that we live in, and so it’s extremely important that we hunker down and that we empower ourselves, right? With the tools that we need, with the kind of support that we need. You know, surround ourselves with the mentors that we need so that we can succeed, you know? And so that we can thrive, and ultimately so that we can definitely survive. So thank you, Zach. I can’t–you’re doing great work, brother. I want you to keep it up.

Zach: Man, I appreciate it, David. And absolutely, man. Shout out for those who are listening. A Cubed is an African-American employee resource group at Capgemini, a great resource for black folks to come together and really, to David’s point, really a strong point of relation and community within the community. So definitely shout out to A3, shout out to A Cubed. Shout out to Janet Pope, who was on the show before. I know that she leads that group. And David, man, thank you again for the love, man. We want to make sure to have you back, and we appreciate it, dude. We’ll talk to you soon.

David: All right. Zach, thank you very much.

Zach: All right, man. Peace.

David: Peace.

Ade: And we’re back. Zach, that was a great interview. I really appreciated his candid tone and vulnerability. I also really appreciated his stories around facilitating and managing personalities as well. I’m just out here trying to manage myself [inaudible].

Zach: Right. In my experience in working with David, it’s amazing to even just see it in action. I appreciated his points around being reflective and being able to interpret emotions and move accordingly.

Ade: Well, he talked about emotional and social intelligence being what helps you solve problems. That really resonated with me because in my own head I get really, really nervous about dealing with people or being at work and having the right answer, and I’ve been noticing that when I take a breath and think through how I feel as well as those around me, beyond the X’s and O’s, the zeroes and ones, I’m able to arrive at a solution that actually works. To me, that’s the simplest hook for the why behind why emotional and social intelligence might be a focus. They help you solve problems, and who doesn’t want to be good at solving problems? With that being said, unless you have any further thoughts, let’s get into our Favorite Things. How do you feel?

Zach: No, that’s awesome. Let’s do it. So my favorite thing right now has to be DeRay Mckesson’s book The Other Side of Freedom. I was really excited when he announced the fact that he was–he was almost finished with it, and so I preordered it, and I’ve been waiting, and it dropped on my birthday, September 4th. So I’m, like–I’m just excited to read it. I haven’t really gotten fully into it yet, but I finished the intro, and I’m loving what I’m reading so far, and I can tell already that it’s a favorite.

Ade: So I’m confused. You said September 4th. Do you mean Beyonce’s birthday?

[Sound Man throws in car slamming on its brakes effect]

Ade: Beyonce? Her birthday?

Zach: I mean my birthday, and listen, I’ve been on this earth long enough now to realize that, yes, it’s B Day. I get it, but, you know, it’s my birthday too, okay? Beyonce does not own the day.

[car slams on its brakes again]

Ade: She does, because as you said, it’s B Day, not Z Day. Which, you know, cool. You can have, like, September 5th or something, but September 4th is B Day. So, like, I guess you can rent September 4th. It’s fine. It’s fine. We’ll be nice.

Zach: [laughs] Okay. We might have to subtitle this show (B?) Happy Z Day. That would be kind of funny. We might do that.


Ade: Why not B Day?

Zach: [sighs] Why don’t we go ahead and go to your favorite things? How about that?

Ade: All right. All right, okay. I’m gonna stop frustrating you. All right, so my current favorite thing is this book called The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. Now, it is purely a work of fiction. It is comedy and it is drama and it is a tragedy, and if you’re the sort of person who likes an emotional rollercoaster with your literary works I certainly recommend that book. My second favorite thing, because I can never choose just one, is this, like, nifty invention called a water bottle. I’ve been training for a marathon again, and I don’t know how much you know about training for marathons, but they suck. The training sucks, the marathon sucks. I don’t know why I’m doing this. Somebody help me. But water bottles have been saving my life so far, so there’s that upside. Yay.

Zach: [laughs] Okay. Well, yeah, definitely shout out to the book, and shout out to water bottles, you know? My wife, she just recently toured Route 66.

Ade: Aye!

Zach: Yeah, and one thing I remember I told her–I was like, “Listen, make sure you have water,” and she said, “I will in my water bottle.” So yes, shout out to water and shout out to Favorite Things, and as a reminder, to see all of our favorite things, go to our website, living-corporate.com, and click Faves. You’ll see all of our favorite things for the season right there. Make sure you go check it out.

Ade: Yep. And that’s our show. Thank you for joining us on the Living Corporate podcast. Please make sure to follow us on Instagram at LivingCorporate, Twitter at LivingCorp_Pod, and subscribe to our newsletter through www.living-corporate.com. If you have a question you’d like us to answer and read on the show, please make sure you email us at livingcorporatepodcast@gmail.com. Also, don’t forget to check out our Patreon at LivingCorporate as well. We’re Living Corporate everywhere! That does it for us on this show. My name is Ade.

Zach: And this has been Zach.

Ade and Zach: Peace.

Kiara: Living Corporate is a podcast by Living Corporate, LLC. Our logo was designed by David Dawkins. Our theme music was produced by Ken Brown. Additional music production by Antoine Franklin from Musical Elevation. Post-production is handled by Jeremy Jackson. Got a topic suggestion? Email us at livingcorporatepodcast@gmail.com. You can find us online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and living-corporate.com. Thanks for listening. Stay tuned.

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