Leading humans well by understanding their instincts with Andrew O’Keeffe

We had a rare insight on this podcast episode into what it takes to lead well, and to enjoy it.

Imagine having a framework that gives you such a complete understanding of human nature that you can get back to enjoying the job of leadership?

This is what Andrew has spent a number of years outlining to leaders, after he himself noticed the same consistent problems in organisations, regardless of their industry.

Leaders don’t like their performance frameworks, regardless of what they are. Silos tend to form. Change seems to be resisted.

Andrew wondered what was driving these consistent themes, if it wasn’t industry and it wasn’t factors to do with the companies he worked for.

With a mining and manufacturing background, and as an HR leader himself, Andrew was thrilled to discover a framework with huge relevance, which opened up options and enabled leaders to lead effectively. 

He shares the story of how in one organisation he redesigned the performance framework around human instincts and people loved it.

I encouraged you to take a little time to listen to Andrew explain a few of the nine human instincts, so you’ll see how powerful these can be in your leadership practice.

We've been showing leaders how to build sustainable flexible workplaces for over a decade

“How am I going to influence the classifying moment, the very moment when people hear about this change?” Andrew O’Keeffe

Key moments

3:13 – What the framework of Nine Human Instincts involves

6:21 – Why instinct is a valuable thing to tune into

8:40 – How instincts relate to appraisals

12:41 – The impact of redesigning appraisals according to instinct

14:21 – The inaccuracy of people being resistant to change

15:51 – What really happens in circumstance of change

18:22 – Influencing the classifying moment when people hear about change

22:03 – What’s good about gossip

24:44 – Is hybrid work sustainable?

26:01 – COVID misleading around hybrid and remote work

27:57 – How new people learning the ropes and culture affects hybrid sustainability

Connect with Andrew

Hardwired Humans website



Resources mentioned in the show

Nigel Nicholson’s Nine Human Instincts reported in Harvard Business Review

Hardwired Humans website, where the book Great Bosses is available

The Workplace Makers podcast explores workplace making – building modern workplaces that people are drawn to, wherever they work from

Workplace Makers – the podcast about people building workplaces that attract a crowd

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