Our Go2Thrive podcast guest speaker of today is Amber Rahim. Amber is an unconventional leadership coach with a focus on wellness. She helps leaders, and that means all of you, to realize how extraordinary you already are. She’s motivated by seeing you thrive.

The main question of this interview:

What Do Employees Need To Thrive?

Please click the audio player to hear our entire conversation.

We asked Amber the following questions:

  • In one of your blogs, you highlighted Maggie McDonnell a Canadian who has won the global best teacher award. How can we take her quote “give them what they need to grow?

If a flower doesn’t bloom, you don’t blame the seed, you change the environment it is growing in and apply this into organizations to ensure employees thrive as well!

  • In your opinion, what do we need to focus on to help leaders learn what to stop?
  • When companies focus only on the KPI side that has to do with the finances, it seems that they are removing the human factor isn’t it? What is your take on that?
  • Is that also may be the reason why agile working is the new thing of the workplace?
  • What is your vision for thriving workplaces for the future? What do you hope to see?
  • You recently shared with me about a program by Rick Tamlyn, called ‘The Bigger Game‘. Can you share here with the audience, what this is,  what kind of impact this is having for you?

Interview highlights

  • This (Maggie McDonnell) quote gives people in organizations a place to look, other than where we currently only look at, which is the individual, to look at the whole environment.

What’s happening in the whole environment?

What are we putting into it and what impact is that having on the people that work?

  • Plants, to be able to grow and to thrive, need sunlight. They need nutrients through fertilizer, and they need water, and they need a safe place to put their roots, where they’re going to be able to have a strong foundation. And when we transfer that to people, people need the same.
  • Quite often in organizations, we look at the individual, we look at the ‘plant’ and say it’s not growing, it’s not performing. There must be something wrong with the plant.
  • If we want to have an entire garden full of plants, like people, we need to have different environments.
  • The financial KPI is almost always among all of the KPI’s. It is king of the KPI’s. I would love to see companies stop that KPI and replace it with a ‘what are we learning’ KPI.

Studies have shown that when a group of people focus on what they’re learning, they perform better over time in the long term.

  • When people focus on a specific objective target like financials, they perform well in the short term but over the long term, they get rigid and structured and much more predictable about what they’re going to do, to stay in a smaller set of parameters of things they are willing to risk.
  • When you’re in a learning environment you’re willing to take risks and try new things which means that you’ve got an increased ability to do more.
  • You’ll be more creative and when people are more creative they get the job done better and in more fun and more quickly.
  • Yes, you also need to have an eye on the financials but it should be way down on the list, as in, make sure you’re still making money when you do this. But when you do the other things first then the financial results will happen.

I believe that everyone is a leader and that there are many ways to lead. In all of the positions that are available, there are different ways to lead. It’s not a fight for the first position.

  • If you access your leadership and the leadership method from that position, you can have great harmony and a lot of collaboration that moves you forward.
  • If your mission is to create, you get to choose, what do I want to create in this environment? What can I contribute?
  • How do I support the leader, my manager, to create the thing that we want to create? Then it’s not about hierarchy. It’s not about job title. It’s really about what can I do as an individual. It’s putting the power back in the individual, to be able to contribute.
  • I use it (The Bigger Game board) with coaching clients and I’m using it for myself. It helps me at any point in time when I don’t know what to do or if I’m thinking OK what’s next. I can just look at a Square on this board and ask myself the questions associated with it.
  • When I think about thriving workplace wellness, there are two squares that really stand out for me on here. One of them is allies – who are your allies?

Thanks to Amber Rahim for joining us in this episode!

Please click the audio player to hear our entire conversation.


Amber Rahim  on LinkedIn
Amber Rahim’s website
Amber mentions research regarding learning versus performance goals. This Ben Tiggelaar video (in Dutch) refers to this research at about the 2 minutes and 30 seconds. This Ivey Business Journal article (in English) explains some of the research on this topic.

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