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Jonathan McCready: Building Trust in High Stakes Environments

Learn about the 4D model with Jonathan McCready, professional coach and certified 4D systems consultant, and how you can apply these NASA principals in your high stakes environments, like Seniors’ Care to establish and re-establish trust. 

In this episode:

The 4D model was created by Dr. Charles Pellerin, former astrophysicist at NASA who launched, then eventually lead the project to repair the Hubble. Although we aren’t launching rocketships here, Seniors’ Care is a high stakes environment.

We discuss how the 4D model can help you in your workplace to build trust, strengthen relationships and create better outcomes.

We unpack two of the four quadrants in the 4D model that involve creating the right kind of inclusion as well as the value of keeping agreements.

Jonathan explains certain qualities good leaders need to possess, and how competitiveness can sometimes be detrimental. He also shares some practical tools & concepts to establish and re-establish trust within your relationships with your staff and residents’ families, including 5 steps you can take if you’ve not kept an agreement, so you can reset the relationship.

We also discuss social context – what it means, why it matters, and how it can make or break your culture.

You can learn more about Jonathan and the 4D model at www.4Dcoach.ca He can be reached at jonathan@4dcoach.ca

Listen to the Podcast Now

Guest bio:

Jonathan McCready is a certified leadership development and systems relationship coach and a certified 4D systems consultant, and has been a successful entrepreneur and business owner, team builder and manager for the last 30 years.
Jonathan’s coaching and consulting practice focuses on people and teams in high stakes environments.


The 4D Model


Express Authentic Appreciation

Address Shared Interest



Be 100% Committed

Address Unfortunate Realities



Appropriate Inclusion

Keep all Agreements



Avoid Drama

Be Accountable



Intro (00:00):

Welcome to Seniors’ Care Matters, part of the Qod Pod network. Each week, Seniors' Care Matters provides inspiring interviews and insights to help you lead, connect and engage with your teams and your residents' families. We focus on ways to enhance your leadership approach and presence with practical tips to build a relational culture and create breakthrough results. And now here's your host for Seniors’ Care Matters - Deborah Bakti

Deb (00:29):

Welcome to episode two, where we're going to be talking about trust, why it's important and how to be intentional with establishing and re-establishing trust, even in high stakes environments like healthcare, and in particular seniors' care. I was having a conversation with a friend this morning, and we were talking about commitment to our goals, and I loved this distinction that she provided. And that distinction is whether we are committed or we're just interested in achieving our goals. You see, when we're committed, we're willing to invest our attention and our energy and do whatever it takes to make it happen. When we're interested, we'll put the effort in when it's convenient or when we feel like it. And it got me to thinking about this and how it relates to trust. Trust is a necessary ingredient for a successful relationship and working in seniors care and providing the care and support to your residents and their families is all about relationships.

Deb (01:38):

And with the last few months with this COVID crisis and negative media about how this crisis has been "handled" and experienced in seniors' care homes, the trust factor has taken a hit, and I believe it will take commitment versus interest to establish that trust with new families and re-establish trust with existing families, as well as establishing and re-establishing trust amongst your team and your leadership. In my conversation today with Jonathan McCready, you're going to hear more about a framework he is committed to, which is called the 4D model. You can learn more about this model on his website and the details I'll be putting into the show notes. In this conversation, we explore two out of the four quadrants of this model that relate to trust. And I really hope you enjoy listening to this conversation and can take away some practical tips and approaches so that you can be committed to building trust in your relationships. I hope you enjoy.

Intro (02:50):

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Deb (03:05):

Jonathan, it's so great to have you joining me on Seniors Care Matters podcast today. And before we get into the interview, I just want to give a brief overview of Jonathan and his background. Jonathan McCready is a certified leadership development and systems relationship coach, and a certified 4D systems consultant, and has been a successful entrepreneur and business owner, team builder and manager for the last 30 years. Jonathan's coaching and consulting practice focuses on people and teams in high stakes environments. Something that I think the listeners of this podcast can relate to. So I'm really looking forward to chatting with you today about the 4D model and in particular, how it can be used to establish and re-establish trust. But before we get there, I have to ask you, what is it about high stakes environments that interests you enough to focus your coaching and consulting work in that area Jonathan?

Jonathan (04:09):

Good question, Deb. Thanks. And thanks for having me. I really appreciate being here today. So what is it about high stakes environments? I think probably because I have a personal high level of anxiety to begin with, and I think that the idea of safety has always been something that's really important to me, whether it's personal safety, like physical safety or psychological safety. And I think that goes right back to childhood, thinking about what is it like to feel safe and what happens when we're not safe? I spent years and years, even before I got into the travel industry as a professional and working with airlines. I did a lot of travel with my mom and dad. And so we were always on planes. We were always in airports and there's always a bit of that fear of flying and what happens, things go wrong and whatnot.

Jonathan (05:01):

And I just remember as a child sort of being transfixed by air disasters and when things like that, what happened, I would always wonder, how did that plane crash? Why did that crash? Or why are, and as I grew older, I began to ask questions like, why are really smart able people making terrible mistakes or allowing things to happen. They don't, they're not doing it on purpose, but things go wrong and why is that the case? And when these things go wrong, lots of people get hurt, lots of money is spent and it's something that I wanted to be a part of preventing.

Deb (05:41):

So it sounds with that initial interest that you had in that sense of curiosity, you found the 4D model, is that correct? Yeah. So I would love for you just to do a high level overview of what the 4D model is. And as I understand, there's a bit of a linkage with NASA.

Jonathan (05:58):

Sure, absolutely. So I just go back to the beginning. So the 4D model is a framework for creating the most effective leadership experience possible. It was created by and developed by, Dr. Charles Pellerin who was the former astrophysicist at NASA who launched Hubble and subsequently led the project to repair Hubble after things went really wrong. So what made the failure of Hubble even worse than it was, was that it was to have been NASA's crown jewel redemption project on the heels of the challenger disaster in 1986. So when it was a problem it was really bad for NASA. I mean, aside from the money and aside from the lives lost, this was really problematic for them. So it was noted by Dr. Pellerin, by Charlie, that the culture at NASA was very toxic. It was created by a broken social context, and that this created the conditions for critical technical information to be ignored by managers. So when information was ignored, the challenger was launched and it exploded and people died. Likewise, when critical technical information was not shared during the Hubble project, the telescope was launched and with a flawed mirror, and it failed. And that was to the tune of two and a half billion dollars.

Deb (07:20):

We may have listeners thinking, and I'm sure a lot of them will remember that awful disaster and wondering how would the 4D model, if we're not launching rocket ships, how would the 4D model help us in this context? And I'd also like you to really expand and define when you say social context, what that means so that we can overlay it within the seniors' care environment.

Jonathan (07:43):

Okay. Well, let's take it there. So just to link those two ideas during the failure review of the Hubble project, it was determined that the failure wasn't a technical failure. It wasn't an equipment failure. It

was a failure of leadership. And so a similar question was asked by, Diane Vaughan during the challenger explosion review of why did they launch when the data suggested otherwise? So I think what they, what they're really getting at by that is why are things happening when there's this technical information that says don't do that? So it's been determined that a team or organizational social context is a more powerful determinant to a team or organizational success than an individual’s intelligence abilities or skills. So that's where the connection is between the social context and the outcomes that a team will make, whether it's successes or failures.

Deb (08:44):

When I'm thinking social context, then in that situation, could it be, for example, if you've got a leader who does not want to hear bad news, you could have a team who are competitive with each other, and they're trying to get the recognition. Would those be examples of social context?

Jonathan (09:02):

Absolutely. And so those are two definite points that come directly from the 4D model. So if a leader doesn't want to hear bad news, then they're not really willing to address unfortunate realities, which is one of our 4D behaviors, which we're not talking about today, but it's one of those 4D behaviors that leadership needs to have. We need to be able to address unfortunate reality and those who can't don't want to hear it and there's problems with that. So what happens with that when we're not expressing these behaviors is that people who need to report up information are not being heard, and that's where problems begin to occur. And then the idea about people being competitive with each other, that's actually what we are going to be talking about today. We're going to be talking about trust and talking about inclusion. And when we start to be competitive and say, start with-holding information and not sharing it with those other guys, because we don't want them to get the glory or whatever that might be. Again, you can, well, imagine what happens when we do not appropriately share information.

Deb (10:12):

So Jonathan, I think it'd be really helpful for us to dig a little bit deeper into this topic of trust, as you know, because you work with people who work in seniors' care, there's been a perceived or real erosion of trust within the teams, as well as with the family relationships because of the COVID crisis - restricted visitation and we're by no means out of the woods. So that's where I really think to look at the social context and the two areas within the 4D model that we're going to talk about today, so that we can provide some practical tools and tips and concepts for the listeners - in ways to be able to re-establish trust with their stakeholders.

Deb (11:08):

You continue to adapt and adjust with all the pandemic policies and protocols with admitting and moving in new residents, you're dealing with limitations in building a connection and relationships with your new residents' families. If you're looking for powerful ways to connect and build trust with your new families during COVID-19, please head over to my website at www.deborahbakti.com or click the link in the show notes, and I'll send you 10 great ideas that you can implement immediately to create trust and connection with your families.

Speaker 4 (11:34):

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Deb (12:04):

So I just want to loop back with the social context.

Jonathan (12:08):

So social context is kind of a force it's kind of a manmade force - a human-made force that influences the culture of our organizations, sort of the how we do things around here. So if we have a healthy social context in terms of, let's just break it down into the 4D dimension that we're working on today, which is going to be thinking about how we cultivate trust - if we're doing the two behaviors, if we're expressing the two behaviors which is appropriate inclusion and keeping all of our agreements then what we're going to be cultivating, the type of culture that we're going to be cultivating through our social context is that of trust. So we're going to be able to build our trust, re-establish trust if we have to, by paying attention to these two behaviors.

Deb (13:03):

Okay. So let's start with the first one.

Jonathan (13:05):

Okay. So the first behavior that we want to pay attention to is appropriate inclusion. So let's just say one more thing about trust is that the reason that it's so important is that without it, we have no base for positive relationships and we also need it to have difficult conversations that we might need to have too. So again, just back to that conversation about reporting information, if there's no trust in that relationship, then people aren't going to report.

Deb (13:38):

And just to add onto that, Jonathan, with Amy Cuddy's work and her book Presence, she talks about how within the first few seconds of us meeting somebody, we're asking ourselves two questions and the first one is, can I trust this person? And the second is, can I respect this person? And the respect has to do with the level of competency. You could have someone who displays all of the competence in the world, but if the person is not trusting them, that's going to get in the way of building a positive relationship with them. Absolutely. So let's talk a bit more about how you create this sense of inclusiveness.

Jonathan (14:16):

Okay. So let's, let's think about when we say the words appropriate inclusion, what does that even mean? So the idea about appropriately including we're talking about things like information, power, and rewards, we want to make sure that we're being conscious and intentional about the people that we're sharing with. And so every time we receive some information as a leader or a manager or as an employee, we have to think who should I be sharing this information with? Why is it important to share this information? And also who should I not be sharing this information with? So there's a notion. So a lot of the times people say, Oh, you want me to tell everybody everything? It's like, no, not at all the idea isn't to share everything that you know, and have with everybody around you, but the idea is about appropriate inclusion. So being conscientious and intentional about the people who need to know this information. So sometimes it means we don't include others and not in a sneaky way or something like that, but these people don't need to know at the moment or here's why or what that might be.

Deb (15:23):

What's important. What's relevant. I mean any engagement survey that's done typically where companies are scored lower is around communication. I think I'm hearing you say it's that appropriate level of inclusiveness. And when I think about the relationship that homes have with their residents, families, again, one of the areas of complaint or concern occurs when families feel that they've not been updated in a timely basis with the right kind of information, they feel like they're having to chase people down, leaving voicemails, not hearing back, which then amps up their anxiety and worry. And then that's what ends up triggering some of the reactive, passionate, assertive behaviors.

Jonathan (16:10):

Absolutely. So if we're not so right there, so if we're not sharing things and what happens to the people we're not sharing with who we are in an important relationship with, that anxiety begins to build. I mean, especially right now, I mean with COVID right now, everything that we do, and all of our challenging behaviors are so amplified, it's incredible. And I think this is sort of almost a caveat to this whole thing is that, is that we have to remember that Covid's making everything worse right now. And we have to be almost more intentional and more paying attention to all of these things. And this is actually a great idea around the 4D model is that it's really grounding when we start to feel like we're falling apart and I don't know what's going on. Why am I feeling this way? Sometimes, and I do this myself. I'll look at the 4D model, and I'll say, what's going on here? When you get to know 4D, when you get to understand their behaviors and how they interconnect and how they're interdependent and they don't stand alone and why it's important to be 4D able, it actually is a great de-escalator when we're feeling panicked and freaked out by whatever it is that's doing that to us.

Deb (17:22):

And just so the listeners are aware, we'll be putting a link to your website in the show notes, and you've got a great diagram there for people who want to be able to see more about that information, because we're just covering very high level overview of the model itself, because I really want to be able to dive into some of the specifics. Okay. So when we look at this appropriate inclusiveness, thinking about someone who's an administrator or a frontline worker, working in seniors' care, what kind of advice could you give them that they could apply in their work environment around appropriate inclusiveness?

Jonathan (17:59):

Well, maybe thinking about - what's our end goal here? So if we're thinking about maybe it is, we're trying to re-establish trust, and if we're re-establishing trust, who are we trying to re-establish trust with? First of all, think about all the people that need to be on that list. Is it employees? Is it families? Is it residents? Is it people in government? Is that people who deliver stuff? All of these relationship systems exist all around us all the time. And sometimes we forget about that and this is nobody's fault that they forget it. So if you're not naturally in that spot, then you kind of forget about relationships under pressure.

Deb (18:40):

And what you're saying Is that it, you have a natural tendency with these quadrants. So if I'm naturally one to think inclusiveness, it's going to come easier to me. But if I'm in one of the other quadrants and I'm aware of that, I know that that's an area that either I can rely on people on my team who may be more naturally inclined, but I have to be more thoughtful and, and being a bit more strategic with it.

Jonathan (19:03):

Absolutely. And that's, again, that's where having the model and noticing, and having a specific behavior and being intentional about practicing that behavior. So you might want to put the 4D model in front of your desk. And if that's one of your goals as a leader, to be more inclusive and to develop trust, then how do I spend my day reminding myself to be intentional about where do I need to be including on this communication? What do I need to be saying, what information do I need to be sharing? What information do I not need to be sharing? So again, it's just practicing the behavior and believe me, when you start practicing this behavior, it's awkward and uncomfortable at the beginning, but it does become more native to us over time. And it becomes a learned behavior. And it's as valid as any of our other strengths and behaviors that we have.

Deb (19:57):

Well, on that note, let's jump to the second one, which is keeping all of our agreements.

Jonathan (20:02):

Keeping our agreements, keep all your agreements. So, I mean, it's easy to say, well, of course I keep my agreements. We always keep our agreements, but do we really.

Deb (20:12):

I was going to say, sometimes my mother used to say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We've got the best ideas, and we absolutely want to do it. We just don't follow through with it.

Jonathan (20:23):

Absolutely. And so, and that's a great point because sometimes we'll say yes to everything. If we're not somebody who, again, this is going back to the yellow dimension. If we're not, if we're not naturally living in the including dimension all the time, sometimes we'll say yes to things that we know we can't do. We know we don't have time for, but we kind of say yes anyway, because we want to be,, we don't want to let people down and disappoint them. But this is kind of where it can trip us up because we all know that when we say yes to things that we can't do, sometimes we'll get distracted and we'll forget about it. And again, by no malice of our own, we're not intentionally not coming through with our commitments, but we kind of forget it or we go, Hey, sorry, I forgot that I forgot to meet you on Friday, or I forgot to call you.

Jonathan (21:13):

I forgot to submit that report or whatever it was. And to us, it's kind of like no big deal, but other people look at that and they go, wow. You know, how reliable is this person? Can I trust this person? Can I trust this leader? So again, it just makes us intentional about noticing when we get into agreement with others. And what does that even mean? So if I make a statement about something did I just make an agreement or did I just commit to something, and when we break an agreement, that's when the trouble begins. And sometimes it may start as missing coffee with somebody or whatever. But a lot of the time we ended up missing deadlines and, that's problematic as well. And again, that begins immediately to erode trust from other people.

Deb (22:02):

We probably know, and listeners probably know someone in their life that they know that they could label as unreliable or undependable. And depending on if it's a personal or professional relationship, sometimes we lower our expectations and not expect them to do what they say they're going to do. And there can be an, as you say, that ends up eroding trust. And we're looking at in a work environment or developing re-establishing that level of trust with family members. It's those little things like I promise that I'll give you a call with an update before 5:00 PM, but that actually happens because that's the most important phone call that that family member's waiting for. And it may be one of a number of calls for that staff who has the best of intentions. And then they don't possibly realize that that has just taken out of the relational bank account that they're trying to build.

Jonathan (23:02):

Absolutely. You go into debt and then that debt gains interest and it's harder to re-establish. And so it's interesting that you mention that there is one of the things that we talk about, uh, when it comes to keeping all of our agreements, is that when we can't, we make sure that we renegotiate before the deadline comes. So again, if I say to you, I'm going to call you on Friday at noon, or I'm going to deliver something to you Friday at noon or whatever that might be. If Friday morning things are piling up and things are going wrong, hopefully I'll know before Friday morning. But if something happens, I need to be intentional about picking up the phone or sending you an email or whatever it might be and saying, Hey, Deb, you know what I know I promised you this thing by noon, something came up this morning and it's going to prevent me from having it, can I renegotiate with you for a new time versus just letting the time go? And then it goes back to that old thing about, do I ask permission or beg forgiveness. We really do want to make sure that we're upfront with people when it comes to changing an agreement that we've made.

Deb (24:13):

Particularly when we think about someone in our life or that we work with, that we know is as solid as their word. And, and to think about how does that make me feel? When I think about that person knowing I can always rely and depend on them and to what degree would I want to be like that kind of person. So I think that's really wise advice that you've been able to provide. So we're looking at combining the two between appropriate inclusion, knowing what to communicate, how, when and understanding why you're communicating. And it does sound simple, but it's not always easy to be a person of your word. And I think sometimes too, when I do training with my clients, I say, make promises on things that you absolutely know that you can deliver on, right? You don't have to be promising world peace. But if you're able to say, I will get back in touch with you by the certain timeframe or things that you know that you can do, you're being able to build up that relational bank account.

Jonathan (25:18):

So can I give you something else just in terms of, because we talked about what to do ahead of time when it comes to our agreements. But if, what happens when we break an agreement, like what happens if I forget to call Friday afternoon goes by you haven't heard from me the weekend rolls by it's Monday. And I go, Oh my gosh, something happened. So there's actually a five step process to fix broken agreements. So the first one is to tell the difficult truth, sorry, I broke my agreement with you. The second step is to tell what happened. The third step is to commit to future prevention of that. The fourth step is to express regret and, and be authentic about it. And the fifth step is to check in on the relationship. Are we okay now? So I think it's really important to have a process to repair a broken agreement.

Deb (26:20):

That's really helpful because those things do happen in the busy, fast paced seniors' care environment, where there's competing priorities every minute of every day. So that's terrific. So with just a few minutes left. Jonathan, I just wanted to ask what words of encouragement would you share to our listeners who work in seniors' care when you think about the 4D model?

Jonathan (26:44):

Just once again, you know, we talked a little bit about extraordinary circumstances at the top of our conversation today and just remembering that we are in very, very difficult times and everybody is going to be a little more on edge than they typically are. And especially in a high stakes environment, it must be very, very difficult in that space. I would invite people to notice what has been going on and if they're challenged or if they're having difficulty with the way they might have managed something yesterday or something that's happened before, to just try to think from the perspective of, okay, that happened. Now, what am I going to do about it? And from there, begin to rebuild or move forward or make different choices, think about the different choices that we can make. And again, I don't want to trivialize high stakes environments. I know that sometimes it would say, okay, that happened now, what it sounds like it's an offhand statement, but the truth of the matter is that we do need to take the information that we've got from things that have happened, process that, integrate the learning and, move forward and try to offer ourselves kindness and compassion that we would to others around us.

Deb (28:12):

Nice, thank you. That sums it up really well. So I know that my listeners will want to learn more about you, Jonathan, and the services that you provide. What's the best way for them to contact you?

Jonathan (28:25):

Well, Deb, I think the best way at the moment is to visit my website, which is www.4D coach.ca. You can reach out to me there and we can do a very quick 4D assessment of you, which gives you an idea about where you land on the 4D model and what your leadership style, and your relationship style might be. So having that insight, gives you sort of a starting place to be grounded, and then you can look to the rest of the model and kind of see how will these other behaviors help me.

Deb (29:06):

Excellent. And there's a great picture of the 4D model right on your website that people can see. So thank you, Jonathan. It's been a pleasure having you on the podcast.

Jonathan (29:17):

Thanks so much, Deb I really appreciate it.

Deb (29:26):

Thanks so much for listening to Seniors' Care Matters. Part of the qod pod network. For more information on today's episode, please check out our show notes and visit www.deborahbakti.com

Intro (29:42):

Join us next week for another great episode of Seniors Care Matters.

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