July 11, 2022

Cristina Amigoni and Alex Cullimore

Cristina Amigoni:

There’s no failing when you care about humans.

Announcer:

Welcome to Agency for Change, a podcast from KidGlov that brings you the stories of changemakers who are actively working to improve our communities. In every episode, we’ll meet with people who are making a lasting impact in the places we call home.

Lyn Wineman:

All businesses have assets in one form or another, this could be something like the computers your employees use, the desks they sit at, the office you work from. At KidGlov, we like to say that our people are our greatest asset. And today I’m going to speak with two individuals who I would bet are inclined to agree with me. They’re experts in human-centric solutions, helping companies foster collaboration and community by encouraging people to bring their most authentic self to work. Welcome to the Agency for Change Podcast. I’m Lyn Wineman, president and chief strategist at KidGlov.

Lyn Wineman:

My guests are the founders of Siamo, Cristina Amigoni and Alex Cullimore. Siamo is a company focused on the human experience in the workplace by providing development programs, coaching, organizational change, management, consulting, and people experience solutions, Cristina and Alex, welcome to the podcast.

Cristina Amigoni:

Thank you, Lyn. So excited to be here.

Alex Cullimore:

Thanks so much for having us.

Lyn Wineman:

Oh yeah. I’m looking forward to talking to the two of you. We had a conversation once before and it was a lot of fun. And I’d love to start with you, Alex. For someone who isn’t familiar with the work Siamo does, can you give us your best high-level overview of the company?

Alex Cullimore:

How much time do you have? Let’s start there.

Lyn Wineman:

Generally, less than an hour. How about that?

Alex Cullimore:

We started Siamo with a few different ideas in mind, but what really bonded Cristina and I was the people experience at work and trying to get work to be a little bit of a more authentic space so people can bring themselves to work and then work a little more comfortably, and then be able to introduce work functions and processes and leadership mostly because this tends to be where it all starts, leadership that will allow for people to express themselves and actually work in more natural ways and work with life rather than working against it.

Alex Cullimore:

We do anything really from, at this point, a lot of organizational coaching and consulting to try and manage a lot of the people side of things, just some workshop developments with mostly leadership development programs and emotional intelligence, anything that helps people engage as people.

Lyn Wineman:

I love that so much. It’s amazing how the world has changed. I hate to say it, but when I started working in the ’80s, I was a mere child, we didn’t talk about that kind of thing at all. We would go to work, get there early, stay late, keep your head down, but this makes work a lot more enjoyable when you focus on all of those things. And we’re going to talk more about Siamo in a moment, but first, I really love hearing about people’s journeys. And Cristina, I know you have a long history as a consultant and a leader at a number of organizations. And I also read that you were a sommelier. I’d love to hear the common thread for you in each of those roles and how you got to where you are in Siamo today.

Cristina Amigoni:

That’s a very good question, and I actually never thought about that before. I think the common thread has been to help people be the best they can. I started my career actually in a summer camp in Switzerland, helping people, helping students of all ages from seven to 19 at different stages of their lives and at different stages of their summer, really their summer camp experience. And what really drew me to that was the connection with each other and also understanding different cultures. The camp had about 200 kids every couple of weeks from 80 different nations. So there was a lot of opening up and looking at the world from somebody else’s perspective.

Cristina Amigoni:

So I would say that the common thread is connections with people and also the empathy piece. So how do I understand somebody else’s perspective and not see it as zero-sum game, so not see it as the you’re wrong and I’m right and my way is the only way, but as learning together and finding the beauty in all of that?

Lyn Wineman:

I love that. That’s really beautiful. How does the sommelier role tie into all of this?

Cristina Amigoni:

Well, I would say wines have all their own personalities too, and they’re all very different.

Lyn Wineman:

I like that.

Cristina Amigoni:

The sommelier thing was actually fairly random in the sense that I grew up in Italy so wine was all around me. I was one of those most common Italian children which were told to drink wine or being offered wine, and even with water, just to start building the taste at a young age and I never really liked it. I started liking wine after college, actually, when I went to a wine tasting in New York when I lived there. And that’s when I realized I’m like, “Wait, there’s actually a lot of different, even the same variety.” Because that was the wine tasting, was one variety by a hundred different producers has a lot of different personality as so much goes into making the wine. And it can be enjoyed in so many different ways that then I just wanted to learn more. It was that diversity. I’m like, “Wait, I want to learn all about the diversity that’s out there.”

Lyn Wineman:

I love it. You even had empathy for wine. I like that very much. Alex, let’s hear about your journey. My understanding, your career spans acting, stand-up comedy, software development, those are very diverse things. What were you able to take from each of those experiences? And do you find yourself using acting or comedic skills in your role today?

Alex Cullimore:

Yeah, it’s been a winding journey, that’s for sure. In college, I made a goal of trying to take a class from every discipline I could. I tried to at least one from as many different schools as I could. And so I did most of the 101s and really just the through line for all of these was that it was a curiosity to figure out how things work. And I love just learning more about how everything fits together, how people fit together. And of course, humans are the, I think, the most complex challenge. On top of that, when you get to do things like understand a little bit more about how languages are put together, how organizations are put together, how people start to work with each other, it’s always fascinating because there’s always more to learn and there’s always something you didn’t anticipate coming out of it.

Alex Cullimore:

And I think that excitement and that variety has really kept it always moving forward. And I would say that yes, absolutely, it was acting in comedy most of the time, comedy is a great way of lowering people’s defenses and keeping people engaged. And it keeps a lot more excited conversation. You can get to really the heart of what makes people tick and let them express themselves and work in much more comfortable ways, which has come out a lot in what we get to do, especially when we get to do coaching and workshops. And then it’s just a fun thing to add to the podcast. It’s just starting to look at the world a little bit ironically.

Lyn Wineman:

I love that. I love that very much. So you both came from very different backgrounds. How did the two of you connect to form the company you have today? And Cristina, let’s start with you.

Cristina Amigoni:

We actually worked together at HR technology company where I was working on the people side of the change for our customers and internally, but mainly helping our customers learn about the new technology and adopt it and going through all the change management pieces of getting up and running, and Alex was working on the data side. As part of the change management, I really needed to understand what was behind the curtains of getting this technology up and running for our clients and understanding like what do our clients need to know and how they get the information they need at the right time.

Cristina Amigoni:

And so Alex being a big part of the data conversion piece, converting old HR data from legacy systems to the new system was a big deal and one of those crucial pieces of the implementation. And so I started kind of asking him like, “What’s going on? Can you explain it to me so that I can see it from our client’s perspective?” The funny part was that I live south of Denver and in the office twice a week, I wanted to avoid commuting home during rush hour, which could take anything in between an hour and two hours. So I was constantly recruiting somebody to go to happy hour with me so that I could go to happy hour and then commute home for 30 minutes instead of an hour and a half after rush hour.

Cristina Amigoni:

Well, Alex lived in walking distance and so he was the one that every Tuesday and Thursday came to happy hour with me. So that’s how we started talking about what’s going on. We’re seeing some trends in the culture, in the leadership. We’re seeing a lot of people that are doing a lot of really hard work and are very passionate and then really great people and yet they’re in tears and they’re frustrated and they’re burnt out. And so, how do we solve this? So that’s how we started talking at happy hour on ideally, what’s our vision of how to fix this?

Lyn Wineman:

I love the happy hour thing. I imagine some of those notes were written up on bar napkins.

Cristina Amigoni:

Definitely.

Lyn Wineman:

A lot of great ideas on bar napkins. Alex, how did you know that, “Hey, this is a person that I want to take that leap and start a business with?”

Alex Cullimore:

That’s an interesting question. I don’t know when we really converted over, I think we had so many ideas at happy hour. We tried a few different angles. We started to realize that we just enjoyed the fact that we could acknowledge each other’s struggle in our own domains. We were trying to figure out what we could do, and then we kept getting other people asking us what help we could give them. And so when we started coming up with more ideas. I think we got into just a groove of idea generation. I think we both enjoy creating things and it became pretty natural just to start bouncing ideas off each other.

Alex Cullimore:

And so I think Cristina left the company a little bit before I did, and we just kept in touch and kept coming up with ideas. And we knew at that point like, “All right, we’re going to have to start something with this.” And we thought originally this was going to be more of some software products because we had worked in software for so long. And we ended up seeing the more common threads in the leadership side and it grew organically over the years, but it was pretty clear, I think, even before we left that company that we wanted to do something and wanted to work together.

Lyn Wineman:

It seems like a really smart decision too because I feel like now as we’ve all been through the craziness of the last couple of years with the pandemic, it’s revealed I think a lot of workplace issues and it’s maybe made it more normalized for us to talk about things or many of us to talk about things that maybe we wouldn’t have before. But I know in talking with you, you focus a lot on authenticity and human-first approaches, which honestly seems like common sense, but yet we all know it’s not. So could you tell me, Alex, how does this mindset tie to an organization’s culture and why does it matter for someone to bring their true self to work?

Alex Cullimore:

It’s funny you mentioned that it’s common sense because we’ve had that conversation many times, like, “Are we just saying what seems obvious?” And then sometimes you say it and it’s a total new idea to people though. They’ll be like, Wait, you can operate that way?”

Lyn Wineman:

Focus on-

Alex Cullimore:

You probably should.

Cristina Amigoni:

You mean you don’t operate that way?

Lyn Wineman:

It’s amazing. It’s amazing. Are there limits to encouraging people to be their true self at work? Really, how far do you take it?

Alex Cullimore:

I think to think of it as there’s that old quote, I think it’s maybe Benjamin Franklin or something, “your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” And I think really it works.

Lyn Wineman:

That makes me want to cover my nose.

Alex Cullimore:

I think that applies for expression at work as well, you should be able to have some personal comfort. And when that starts to infringe on somebody else’s space, not if, and there’s always a delicate balance of what is fair to and what becomes infringement. But when you start to become a negative influence based on some need to be authentic or something that you’re trying to express something that is now no longer helping everybody, it’s worth the conversation to be like, “Okay, well, we are still working as a group. We have a group goal, we have group values. How are we playing into this and not, and is this still helping? There is a limit and it usually comes where it starts to sacrifice the group.

Lyn Wineman:

The group. That makes a lot of sense. So how, and Cristina, this one’s for you, how do you actually then help clients navigate these boundaries? For something that maybe seems like common sense, things that your mother maybe should have taught you, but it doesn’t happen. We all know it doesn’t happen. How do you help? How do you help?

Cristina Amigoni:

That’s a very good question. And yes, the internal dialogue is, why don’t you know this? The external dialogue is really more about providing that space. And so maybe it’s just that the space hasn’t been provided or if it’s been provided, it’s not consistent. And so what if we create that experience to provide the space? Some of the techniques that we bring is asking open-ended questions. And so instead of asking yes or no questions where people can shut down very quickly and not really think through the answer, we ask open-ended questions, which start with what or how most of the times, so that they get to pause and think through that.

Cristina Amigoni:

We bring a lot of curiosity in what we do, which may seem like a longer way, and drawn out way to get to the point. And we truly believe because we’ve seen it in action that it allows for truly buy-in on what the solution is or whatever the concept that they want to bring on. It allows for people to think through their answers as opposed to automatically say or think, “Oh, am I supposed to say yes or no to that? Which one is going to actually allow me to continue this and where’s that space?” So it takes away from this is not a wrong or right question, this is not a wrong or right approach. This is more about, we actually do want your opinion because your opinion is what counts here.

Cristina Amigoni:

It’s not about our opinion it’s about your opinion because you’re the one that’s going to have to live with it and do something with it.

Lyn Wineman:

That makes a lot of sense. That makes a lot of sense. For either one of you, as you think about once again coming out of the last two years, how did the pandemic change how organizations and their employees think about authentic work? Or did it? I’m assuming it did because it seems like the pandemic changed everything.

Cristina Amigoni:

I think it did. It definitely, I think, changed the people side, so the employee side of things. I don’t think that the great resignation and the constant outflow of people leaving company is a surprise. I think it got accelerated with the pandemic. I think it was always in the making. And a lot of that is people having the time because of lockdowns, because of safety, because of whatever reason to look around and realize, “Hey, time is limited. And my life actually has meaning, what meaning do I want work to have in that life? And I want to be able to express myself. I want to be able to have a voice when I go to work.”

Cristina Amigoni:

And once you go back or you are in a situation where you’re constantly having to shut down your voice, you’re constantly having to wake up in the morning, put the armor on and figure out like, “Okay, who am I being today because I can’t be myself or I will be excluded, shut down, yelled at, fired,” whichever version of that happens on a daily basis gas lighted. That’s when I think people just realize, I’m like, “I don’t want that anymore. That disturbs me. And it impacts my family life now that they are in the same walls with me 24/7.”

Lyn Wineman:

That might be a reason that I have my own business too, because I just have this belief that life is too short to not really enjoy what you do every day. And not that every day is perfect because we all know, not every day is perfect. There are always days with challenges and disruptions, but overall, you have to feel like you really can be, for me, you have to be passionate about what you do and feel you’re making a difference or else it just makes life sad, right?

Cristina Amigoni:

It does.

Lyn Wineman:

And sad people are unhappy, which I guess that’s the meaning of sad.

Alex Cullimore:

I think those disruptions helped though too. Those disruptions helped everybody see that everybody has their life. I’m honestly surprised I haven’t been interrupted by a cat yet, but everybody now knows that I have some cats around my house. I foster them, so people know that about me. I know that people have kids, I know they have dogs everybody had to, like Cristina was saying, put on the armor and be who they are at work. We all saw whoever they are. We all saw more pieces of that and we couldn’t really just pretend there was just this two dimensional thing person that we see at work. We had to see some more of the 3D. And I think that helped push this too.

Lyn Wineman:

Alex, I’m so glad you said that. Because early on in the pandemic, I felt like I worried because we were doing so many Zoom calls with clients, from our homes. I worried that, “Oh, maybe this is unprofessional. People’s pets are jumping into the frames and their kids are coming in and their dogs are barking.” And honestly, I got over that really fast because I realized not only was it not negative, it was a positive because we were forming better relationships with our clients and our coworkers because we got a glimpse into each other’s lives.

Lyn Wineman:

And it wasn’t just one or two people that had pets and kids and spouses and UPS drivers and all the things, everyone was dealing with that together. So it created more empathy across the board. So as I think about what you all are doing and you’re coming in and you’re consulting, a lot of times, consultants are under pressure to demonstrate results. But what you do is really tricky to measure. Alex, how do you measure something like culture and authenticity? How do you know if you’re moving the needle?

Alex Cullimore:

I love all kinds of publications and anybody who has ideas on how to measure this because it’s always something interesting and there’s a lot of weird ways to do some of this. And one of the things we like to teach is deep listening. You do a lot of listening for the tone behind what people are saying as well as what they’re saying. And once you start to train in that and start to practice that, you could start to feel the different culture. When we do this with leaders and we start to teach them about deep listening, you start to listen for how people are talking about work. And there are basic things like the pronoun test, do people refer to their company as, “Oh, well they chose to do this.” Or do they say, “We’re doing this.”

Alex Cullimore:

If you say that we, you’re already subconsciously connected more to this. When you start to have one-on-ones that are a little bit more casual, when you have that connection where you can talk about things and it’s not just a litany of, here’s what I did and here’s what needs to be done next. And so it becomes determining when the content starts to change and when there gets to be that deeper level of comfort. And when you go from having to pull issues out of people and say like, “Is this project working out or not?” And then you don’t find out until later that it’s not. And when they start coming to you and saying, “Here’s an issue, I think we should address this.” Then you’re creating that comfort, you’re creating that change.

Alex Cullimore:

And it becomes a lot of that listening for those little cues, on top of very helpful things like surveys, as long as you can ask this in an anonymous enough way that you’re getting genuine feedback. But the funny thing is when it starts to work out, nobody even thinks of needing surveys because it’s working fine.

Lyn Wineman:

Because they’re just talking, they’re just talking to each other. Wow, I love that. The pronoun test, that is really, really, I think a good test. One test I’ve always had, and at KidGlov, we’re a small company, but I’ve always thought one of my aspirations is, and it’s not a workforce development thing, but is that I want my employees’ kids to want to work for us someday. Because I think that if their kids are going, “I’m going to be an art director at KidGlov someday,” it means that mom or dad have come home and spoken really positively about work.

Lyn Wineman:

So there have been a few times in our history where I get notes or pictures from kids and I’m always like, “Yes, we’re doing this, we’re doing this right.” Anyway.

Alex Cullimore:

That’s another test I’m going to steal. That’s great.

Lyn Wineman:

There you go. The kid test.

Cristina Amigoni:

Yes. We’re stealing that test.

Lyn Wineman:

You have to survey the kids, which becomes problematic. When you can survey the cats, you’ll really be doing something good. The two of you recently gave a presentation at KAMCon in Boulder, Colorado, which is a conference for account management professionals for those listeners that I haven’t heard of it. I understand you put your acting and comedic skills to work and yet opened with some skits. Cristina, can you talk to me about the experience and how the presentation was received?

Cristina Amigoni:

Oh, definitely. It was a wonderful experience. It was nerve wracking. And I think we were both very nauseous for the vast majority of the pre-conference time or the pre-presentation time. We were the second to last presenters on the second day. So part of it was the worry of everybody’s going to leave after lunch. We were right after lunch or I think a speaker after lunch, but in two-day conference or a multi-day conference, a lot of people just chop off the end of the second day to catch their flight, to take a break, to go shopping in the new city, to catch up on work that they’ve missed. And so part of, I think, me expected most of the room of a 100 and I think 30 people were at the conference, I expected 10 maybe to be left. I really expected all of them to be gone.

Lyn Wineman:

It’s hard to play to a room with only 10 people in it, isn’t it?

Cristina Amigoni:

Yeah. And so that was comforting on one end, because it’s like, “Well, that’s only 20 sets of eyes instead of 250 sets of eyes and people’s opinions.” And also I wanted the message to convey to everybody. However, we did have a set expectation and intention to make it experiential. So we wanted for people to not just read slides and listen to us, but we wanted them to experience some of these skills and some of these things that we talk about like deep listening, open-ended questions. And so that was a big chunk of it was everybody partner up, stand up, because you’re all falling asleep after lunch.

Cristina Amigoni:

So first stand up, then find someone to partner with and start a conversation using these guidelines and parameters. The listeners, you have to acknowledge and validate and listen, you’re not allowed to ask questions. You’re not allowed to provide your opinion, you’re not allowed to change it around and tell about your story in a similar situation. We’re talking deep listening and it’s hard. It’s uncomfortable, it’s unusual, and you’ll see what happens. Then come back with observations. And some of the comments we received and the feedback we received during the exercise and afterwards were how humanizing that was, which as a company that’s focused on creating human experience and humanizing communities and organizations, I would say that was a success. Even if one person thought it was humanizing out of 130, we succeeded.

Lyn Wineman:

Fantastic. You’ve mentioned deep listening a couple of times. Can you give us some pointers on becoming better listeners so we can all create a more human experience?

Cristina Amigoni:

Definitely. Alex, you want to kick off?

Alex Cullimore:

Sure. There’s a few things. First, one thing we said before, and this is definitely the key to deep listening is really listening, as I say, with the hairs on the back of your neck, listening to not just what is being said, but the tone. So you’re watching for body language, you’re trying to see what’s changing, you’re trying to see what they’re really saying even if they’re not saying it. So deep listening comes down a lot to that. And it’s easier when you can give them the space and you’re not interjecting, you’re not trying to assume what the answer’s going to be. And that takes a lot of practice to stop all the thoughts in your head that are quickly trying to come up with a response more than understand what is being delivered.

Lyn Wineman:

Listening with the hairs on the back of your neck, that is something I’ve never, ever heard of before, but people can’t see me, but you two saw me. When you said that it made me want to sit up taller and feel the hairs on the back of my neck a little bit. So that is great advice. You two also are familiar with the world of podcasting, you get to do some deep listening there as well, I’m sure. The name of your show is Uncover the Human, and I’m going to highly, highly, highly recommend it to others. It’s a great listen. Alex, tell me about the goal of the podcast and what you hope listeners get out of the show.

Listen to Uncover the Human podcast here – https://uncoverthehuman.wearesiamo.com/ 

Alex Cullimore:

I think the goal of the podcast has evolved over time. It started as a COVID project, which was our like, “Let’s grab onto some ounces of sanity here as we are all sinking into lockdowns.” That was one of the original goals was, let’s start to collect some of our thoughts and get a chance to connect when we are all unable to do anything other than sit at home and hope that the Amazon package arrives today.

Lyn Wineman:

Hello, Amazon driver, please don’t leave. Say something to me before you go, but from six feet away.

Alex Cullimore:

Let’s have a conversation.

Lyn Wineman:

Be behind the glass door with a mask. That’s right.

Alex Cullimore:

You have six feet worth of Amazon boxes to trace that already.

Lyn Wineman:

And that was just one day’s deliveries.

Alex Cullimore:

We grew it into a lot of connecting. We really got to explore what other people thought about authenticity. And we got to connect people who just had fascinating, just passions for people and how people engage and how they engage and how they’ve gotten others to engage. We kind of joke about this, we had a couple of guests and I don’t think we’ve had a hard time finding guests since then, it’s been like a year and a half now we’ve been doing this and we just get other recommendations. And I don’t think we’ve had a single conversation even close to regret, it’s been an absolute blast to get this and to start to share with other people. Here’s how people think about engaging with each other, engaging as people and there’s 10,000 different ways to do it. And they’re all super interesting and you can glean something that you can go take.

Alex Cullimore:

The number of times I’ve used quotes from people we’ve talked to in our workshops is incredible. It’s like, “Oh, right. Here’s one way one person did this. And here’s a way to think about this.” And it’s just packed with all kinds of interesting ways to live life. And I love exploring those.

Lyn Wineman:

That’s great. You just said something that’s terrified me because I’m going to be a guest on your podcast and I’m really excited about it. And you just said you haven’t had a bad conversation yet, so in my head I’m like, “Oh no, will I be the one?” I hope not.

Cristina Amigoni:

No way.

Alex Cullimore:

No way.

Lyn Wineman:

I’m crossing my fingers, I’m crossing my fingers. You also mentioned that you use quotes from your workshops on the podcast and I’m going to ask you next my favorite question, I ask it on every podcast because I have the privilege of talking to such interesting people like the two of you. But I would like an original motivational quote from each of you to inspire our listeners. And Cristina, let’s start with you and then we’ll go to Alex.

Cristina Amigoni:

All right. Sounds good. No, I don’t know about motivational.

Lyn Wineman:

I’m sure it will be motivational.

Cristina Amigoni:

But it is something that has been in my head quite a bit and especially today of all days. And I would guess my quote is that successful transformations and successful leaderships are all about empathy.

Lyn Wineman:

Such a good one. Such a good one. Tell us why, why are they all about empathy if you don’t mind me asking?

Cristina Amigoni:

Oh, definitely. Well, I think it’s because both are very human first, meaning there is no transformation that doesn’t involve humans. And if there is one, I would like to find out what it is. And there is no leading if there’s no people there to lead. And the only way to really have both been successful is to put ourselves in the shoes of the people going through them, the other side, and always having in mind that there’s a human on the other side, there’s a human on the other side of our comments, our decisions, our bad day, whatever it is. And it’s always there. And so how do we understand that how we show up impacts how they are going to show up and impacts their ability to either understand the transformation and the change and adopt it into their own individuality or understand what the vision is?

Cristina Amigoni:

If we’re leaders and we’re leading them, what is the vision? What is my leader asking me to do? We can’t really reach that until we understand what the other person is about, what they value, what their strengths are, how they like to be communicated. I had a team when I was working in HR Technology, I had a team of four or five people, and I had a very different style of communicating and leading and talking to each one of them. And that takes time, but it also saves a lot of time. It takes time at first and it saves a lot of time at the end.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah, it definitely does. It’s amazing how many times you can be in a conversation and different people walk away. And we were all here in the same conversation and different people walk away with different impressions or meanings or to-do lists even. All right, Alex, you’re up. I’d love an Alex Cullimore original quote.

Alex Cullimore:

I think I would say, always work with human nature instead of against it.

Lyn Wineman:

Oh, nice. Can you talk to me a bit more about that one.

Alex Cullimore:

This definitely relates to everything that Cristina was saying, which makes sense at this point, we have largely one brain around this topic at this point.

Lyn Wineman:

I love that concept of one brain, two people, one brain. I love it.

Alex Cullimore:

Working with human nature means you have to acknowledge things like the fact that we are emotional beings more than we are logical beings. We can apply logic, but emotions will start to drive the show and you can’t ignore them, you have to work with them. And that means we’re working with your own. When you start to feel like you’re falling off the cliff, acknowledging this and understanding, “Oh, I’m getting angry about this, I’m going to have to choose my reaction to this.” Not stopping it, not saying I shouldn’t feel angry, not trying to squish that until later, but understanding and working with what’s happening.

Alex Cullimore:

And that applies on the other side too, making sure when people are coming out and they might have change resistance, they might be upset about something, they might come out and have whatever reaction they’re having, you can either try and throw up a wall and stop them or ignore them, or you create basically an aggravated situation, or you can say, “Okay, I see how this is happening. Let’s try and work with this and move back towards a homeostasis.” And not invalidate that it’s okay that’s happening and here’s what we’d like to do together and be in this in an empathetic way.

Alex Cullimore:

Then do anything that allows you to listen to yourself, that’s why I think way mindfulness comes up a lot, you become more empathetic for other people and you also become empathetic for yourself and listening for when you are in flaw and you will do better work and then being able to guide your own life that way. I think it works a lot better when you start to listen for those little things happening inside.

Lyn Wineman:

Mm that’s great. I love the idea of being empathetic to oneself also. You can have empathy towards yourself, and that if you can give yourself some space, it’s then easier to give other people space, I imagine. So there’s a great feeling to that. Alex and Cristina, for our listeners who would like to learn more about your work, maybe book you for a conference, book your services, how can they find out more about Siamo?

Cristina Amigoni:

Well, they can find us at our website, which is wearesiamo.com. It is a little bit redundant because Siamo means we are an Italian.

Lyn Wineman:

I was going to ask you that, that was going to be my next question.

Cristina Amigoni:

And it’s just a URL shortcut that we went with. So wearesiamo.com. S-I-A-M-O. You can find us on LinkedIn, you can find us on Facebook and Instagram as well. And you can look for us on any platform that plays podcasts, you can find our podcast as well, Uncover the Human.

Lyn Wineman:

That’s great. We’ll put links to all of those in the show notes for anybody who may not have gotten that. And I love the URL, wearesiamo, it sounds like a rallying cry to me. What a fun conversation today. And as we wrap up our time together, I’d like to hear from each of you, what is the most important thing you would like our listeners to remember about the work that you’re doing? And Alex, let’s start with you and then end with Cristina.

Alex Cullimore:

That’s a heavy one. The most important thing to walk away from.

Lyn Wineman:

The most important thing. Here’s the headline at the very end.

Alex Cullimore:

I would say that there’s always more you can learn about yourself and that it will inevitably pay dividends the more you know and the more you can apply that. And we get to do this in so many different angles that this is why I love doing what we get to do. And so there’s always something to learn and there’s always the way to help yourself.

Lyn Wineman:

I love that. That’s great. That’s great. Cristina, what would you like us to remember?

Cristina Amigoni:

I think it’s similar to Alex’s in the sense that the work we do, we are hoping to bring concepts and awareness that cannot be unlearned. And so while we are most likely not going to be around to see the ROI, to see the measurements change and to see the metrics change, whether it’s retention of employees, higher engagement, higher productivity, better leadership, whatever the metrics, more successful projects, we’re not going to be around to see that because it takes a long time to get there and it takes a lot of changed behavior and changed mindset. However, we’re really hoping that by going through some of these experiences, people will learn something that will always be the bug in their ear.

Cristina Amigoni:

So something they will not unlearn. And so in the right moment, they’ll think, “Oh wait, what if I try an open-end question here? What if I tried thinking of what my team experience is going to be before I walk into this meeting or before I communicate this change?”

Lyn Wineman:

I love that. I love everything you guys are about, making the workplace more human, making humans feel more comfortable and happy. And ultimately, the end result of that for business is it’ll be a better place to work, easier to retain, easier to recruit and ultimately that leads to good outcomes as well. So thank you both for taking time today to talk with me on the podcast. Cristina and Alex, I fully believe the world needs more people like you, more organizations like Siamo. Just thank you so much.

Cristina Amigoni:

Thank you so much, Lyn.

Alex Cullimore:

Thank you.

Announcer:

We hope you enjoyed today’s Agency for Change Podcast. To hear all our interviews with those who are making a positive change in our communities or to nominate a change maker you’d love to hear from, visit kidglov.com, at K-I-D-G-L-O-V.com to get in touch. As always, if you like what you’ve heard today, be sure to rate, review, subscribe, and share. Thanks for listening. And we’ll see you next time.

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