Human and Organisational Potential

May 1, 2024



In this podcast, Nippin speaks with Ivan Pupulidy and Crista Vesel about their latest book, ‘Human and Organisational Potential.’ The two authors discuss the motivation to write the book and the practical benefits that it brings to the risk and safety world which, in recent years, has become increasingly conscious about understanding and improving the human condition at work.

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Human and Organisational Potential



Ivan Pupulidy, Nippin, Crista Vesel


Nippin  00:00

Hello, and welcome to another episode of embracing differences with me Nippin Anand. Before we get started, I have an announcement to make. And I’m very happy to say, to share that I just released my first book, I’ll be learning from accidents. Hmm. I’m not gonna say too much about the book, you can find out yourself by visiting my website Nippin anand.com. That are all the details there. And there’s even a sample chapter so that you can get a feel for what the book is about. I’ll talk more about the book in the following sessions. But for now, something more important. I have the pleasure to have a podcast with my two friends, availability, and Krista Wessel, about the book, human and organisational potential. It was a wonderful chat. For those of you who don’t know, Ivan is, is the professor at the University of Alabama, where he teaches learning base safety and human potential to professionals. And his better half or other half, whichever way you like, is also a professor at the University of Alabama. And she teaches my favourite subject, which is all about understanding the role of communication, and more specifically the role of language and culture in our contemporary efforts to improve risk and safety in organisations. So here we are with the boat, my friends, Christina, and, Ivan, I hope you enjoy this podcast and it will make you think and reflect on the way you think about human and organisational factors. Right. How Ivan and Christina,


Ivan Pupulidy  02:06

how are you? Congratulations on the new book. I can’t wait to see it.


Nippin  02:09

Yes, thank you. I need a lot of luck. So thank you for that. Yes. It’s been a long time since we have last spoken right. It’s been a


Ivan Pupulidy  02:20

while. Yes. I think we were both a lot younger.


Nippin  02:24

Yes. Yes.


Crista Vesel  02:25

Wasn’t it during COVID?


Ivan Pupulidy  02:27

I think it was during COVID. Yeah,


Nippin  02:29

yes. We did a lecture at the university. Right. That was the last time I was it. No, no, we did. We had a we had a chat afterwards.


Ivan Pupulidy  02:38

Here we did. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So it’s really good to see that you and Robert being are becoming so successful, I see the words getting out there. And you guys are doing some really good work and making some very interesting and powerful points in our safety community. So congratulations to both of you.


Nippin  02:56

Thank you. Thank you. So tell me this is what about you and your your your work? Tell me what what is? What would you like to share? Where would you like to begin? You’ve been doing some great work, I see your book being published. Let’s just talk a little bit about the motivation. Or maybe you just wanted to, for the listeners, I know most people you’re very popular in the Risk and Safety world. Maybe a very light introduction would help. And then we will get into the motivation to write this book from both of you from your deck. Sounds


Ivan Pupulidy  03:29

great. Why don’t we start with Chris? Me? Yeah, light introduction.


Crista Vesel  03:33

Well, I’m Krista vessel, and I’m an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And I teach a lot about language, which is unusual in the safety world, right. So our students are adult safety and engineer practitioners around the world, and amazing jobs and positions. And so much of this message is new to them. It’s rarely brought forth. So I help them explore, you know, what is the language of learning? What do we do? That stops us from learning, because there are a lot of what I call slights of language that do that. And so I help them explore that and I help them explore semiotics, thanks to rob long, sending me on that path. I appreciate that. And I also teach crisis leadership from a very different perspective, things like, you know, culture sense making, what is a complex system? Why do we have to treat it differently? A lot of what’s in our book, actually, is what I teach. So that’s mostly what I do.


Ivan Pupulidy  04:48

Great. Yeah, I wouldn’t. Most people know me. My background is mostly operational as a pilot, you know that. But lately, I’ve been doing this professor thing too. I’m a full professor. The University in an advanced safety engineering management, which is the title of our master’s degree programme at UAB. And the reason we got involved in this particular book is I needed a textbook for a new course that I created on HP, it seemed like something that was very necessary at the, at the university level, a lot of students were asking for it. And the textbook itself, I mean, the book is a textbook, but it doesn’t read like a textbook, it actually makes things accessible in terms of both the history and the application of HLP. And it also is doable. And we finally saw this just last week, as a matter of fact, in our final exam, if you will, not that we really have final exams, but the students had to do a hop implementation presentation. And each and every one of them from different walks of life was able to take this book and turn it into something useful at their organisation. And so that’s why we wrote it. That’s what it’s all about. And it seems like it’s pretty effective, the students are really happy with it. I can’t say, I can’t say it’s perfect. No book is. But it’s, it’s definitely a step in the right direction to make this information accessible to a larger audience.


Nippin  06:13

And both of you come from very different walks of life, very different disciplines, of course, very different motivations. What was the what was the inner motivation for both of you to write this book? I hear Krista, you talk about language. And Ivan, you take more operational perspective. But what was that inner need to get into something as intense as writing a book for both of you?


Crista Vesel  06:43

I’m gonna let you go first.


Ivan Pupulidy  06:46

Okay, I don’t mind let you go first. As I said, you know, for me, it was I needed a textbook for this new course that I was creating in HMP. But it was also an opportunity to get some ideas down that had been brewing long in the brewing is, as James Reason would say, right. So these were ideas that have come from many, many walks of life, from many disciplines, from many, from the works of many famous people. So we brought a lot of it together. And it’s really important to understand that you know, it up doesn’t come from a single perspective, it comes from multiple perspectives. It comes from social psychology, it comes from safety, engineering, management, that comes from defence in depth, none of that stuff is left off the table. But it has to be carefully knitted together so that we don’t follow a natural human tendency toward fixing situations and fist fixing systems and moving more toward understanding. So that’s what motivated me to do it. How about you?


Crista Vesel  07:42

Well, you, but something we noticed over the years teaching with the university is that students that would come in and say, Oh, we do H O P, in my work. almost across the board, whatever they’d been taught, was not really the philosophy of a GOP. In fact, whatever consultant had brought it to them, had manipulated it to a way where it was still a blame placement on people, and not truly caring for people. So first, you must care for people and bring that across help people recognise some of their biases. Move into that space, we’re never not biassed, right? So we need to admit that we need to work together to reveal that and then work, you know, to get past those things. And so we wanted to present something both in the book and in the class. And in our work that that helps people move into a place where you can really apply it. Because it is it has academic theory. And that’s something that has not been brought across in other books. fact there’s rarely references to where this comes from. So we wanted to, to say, hey, we stand on the shoulders that have this foundation of these people. And many of them are we’re at the top of their topic. So you know Edgar Schein with culture, he is the father of organisational culture


Ivan Pupulidy  09:29

meant Ruben McDaniel and Karl Weick in terms of sensemaking.


Crista Vesel  09:34

Yes. ideas about what is a complex system? Why does it affect how we treat our systems? How do we make sense of them? Or, you know, you can’t in a complex system, it’s not fully predictable or controllable. So what else can we do? We wanted to bring in the concept of margin. If you can increase the margin in your system, where if you do have a failure, it’s not as extreme, maybe you can actually move into learning. That’s really critical.


Ivan Pupulidy  10:05

And one of the big questions our students had was, okay, so our leadership is interested in understanding what the message is, what’s the message. So we wanted to help them to be able to articulate that message and bring this to leadership, aside from telling leaders, hey, you got to get down on the on the shop floor and see what people are doing, which I don’t think really works. Because every time they come down to the shop floor, nobody wants to see them there, and everybody changes what they’re doing. So that’s probably not the best way to do it. But how do you move leadership into a position of inquiry? How do you get leaders to start to become the learners that we need them to become, especially in a society that pushes leaders to be becoming the Knowers in our system? So we wanted to explore that territory a little bit. And we wanted to give some tools. And what we found through our history of working with different companies, and certainly working with the Forest Service was that a big part of this was bringing leadership to the table and dialogue, and helping them to understand that it’s okay to ask questions, it’s better, in fact, to ask questions and be in that mode of inquiry, working again, off of Edgar signs, late work. But as we started to started to put the book together, we realised that there were certain key aspects of that discussion that helped leaders to move into a different space, make it okay, right. And part of that is explaining the difference between simple, complicated and complex systems and why we have to do things differently in complex systems, that seems to open up the space for a dialogue with leadership that allows them to come to that table, right, and be in that mode of inquiry. So we, we wanted to give that to our students. And we wanted to see experimentally and experientially if this actually works. So we put the book out there, we’ve had our first run of the class now, first semester was over, of doing the class. And what we found is that the students really did capitalise on these different pieces that we put into these different tools, if you will. And they were able to bring their leadership to the table through these different modalities. That’s a really, that’s success for us. I mean, that that meant to big. And that meant a great deal to me personally, to see that they were able to capitalise on that and make them make them conversant with their leadership in a way that was non confrontational that brought them to the table in a, in a collegial sort of way. So that was our goal. And I think we’re achieving it, we’re gonna find out here, we get our first reviews for the class here in the next couple of weeks. But everything every indication so far is that they were successful. But


Crista Vesel  12:34

honestly, this because it’s not about the class. It’s about helping all kinds of companies, and people at different levels in those companies understand some topics, you don’t have to understand everything. But if you can do one thing that’s move from a place where you think you know, things to a place where you say, I don’t know, I need to learn, I need to be curious, that is so powerful. That opens the space for learning in a different way. And it opens a space for dialogue. We need to have dialogues with all kinds of people. And it’s something we really do in our lives. So if we can just do that. It’s fantastic.


Nippin  13:22

Yes, absolutely. That’s the idea. Sorry. Yes. So if you were to approach an organisation, you talked a lot about getting leaders engaged. How do you get this message across that this is an important that the reason why I’m asking is that there’s a lots of books and lots of podcasts and articles written on hop, human and organisational performance. And how do you distil it down to a philosophy and methodology, a way of communicating to leaders that hey, there is this is what you need to focus on. What what is that message that you are trying to promote to this book? That’s one question. And the other question I had was this a beautiful title. I love the title of the bulk human and organisational potential. And we’ll come to that in a minute. But let’s first talk about this first thing that what is the underlying underpinning philosophy that would engage people, leaders, for example, in your words, what is that one message? I don’t want? I would like to Yeah.


Ivan Pupulidy  14:30

Yeah, I don’t want to take away from a lot of the work that’s already been done in hop, right. So we’ve got lots of really, really good people out there talking about hop and doing some fantastic work. Most of those people are doing it in presentations and in dialogues with with different organisations. So as we start to think about that, we’re not trying to take away from that we’re trying to show the underpinning for that conversation. So for example, Todd goes out and he talks to multitudes of companies, and he’s brilliant in his delivery. He really is. There’s none better in bringing the the hot message out there. We’re not trying to take away from that we’re trying to show that what Todd does is, is standing on the shoulders of many, many people lots and lots of research. So we try and bring that into the book so that we can, we can help with that. It also gives people a direction. So if they see something that they’re interested in, they’ve got a direction that they can go to try and look for more information. Right. So I guess our message is that it’s it’s not a standalone thing, it’s not an easy thing. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it, right. It takes work to do this. And it’s not pushing the easy button to blame somebody. And that fixes your problem, it’s not even looking for fixes to problems. It’s exploring and understanding. And that is really important, kind of like your shirt suggests, right, we’re moving to that place of understanding instead of just correcting and fixing. Alright, so I think that it complements a lot of the work that’s being done out there and supports it in a way that delivers on that academic underpinning, and that research and that experiential knowledge that exists in the HMP community.


Crista Vesel  16:07

And, in addition, something we really want to get across. This is not a recipe. In fact, we don’t like to call it a method. And we try to help companies self design, because it has to come from inside of them, there is not something we can place on top of them, that’s a push, we want to create a pull this desire to learn this desire to move to a new space. And that can be hard to do, we’ll be honest, we do run across companies, agencies, governments that aren’t ready to learn, they’re not actually ready to put themselves in that space. And in that case, we step back. But for the ones that are ready and engaged, we come in, as sometimes teachers, definitely facilitators, and mentors, our goal is not to stay in their business for a long period of time, we want to empower them, empower some, some people that can step forward into the role of helping to teach others. And then we step out, maybe we’ll coach from a distance, but we’re not there to actually take over and give them something that is preset, because that never works. It seemed to work for a short amount of time. But after that, they’re left flat, and they’ll just drift back to where they were before.


Ivan Pupulidy  17:44

I think if we were to look at one thing in this book, that, that that is a target, the book delivers bridges. So we’ve got these ways of thinking these islands, if you will, that people hold on to islands of thought. And we’re giving them bridges to new islands of thought. We’re not telling them that they have to do it, we’re not telling them that their island is ugly. We’re just saying there are other islands out there. And these are the ways these are some of the ways to get to those islands.


Nippin  18:13

That’s a Buddhist


Ivan Pupulidy  18:14



Nippin  18:17

So you both have extensive experience in education. And to the years, how would you describe your ideal student? What kind of people and by that? I mean, what kind of people are ready to embark on a journey like this? Can you help me understand that?


Ivan Pupulidy  18:35

Oh, Nippin? That’s a great question. So if we look at the kind of students that we know, let me let me rephrase. Let me explain what a hero is to me. Okay. A hero is somebody who has a steadfast idea of the way the world works, deep assumptions that tell them the way the world works. And they’re willing to go in and question those assumptions. They’re willing to ask the dekaron question, Is that so? Right? And so when when we start to think about that, we think of people in history that have done that have done that, that have gone from one extreme, in some cases, to a completely different extreme. Aldo Leopold is a great example of that, that guy who wanted the eradication of all predatory species in the western part of the United States, so that more game species could grow. And he realised that that was a mistake. And when he realised that that was a mistake, his entire life change to question the assumptions that he had about his entire existence. When we look at our students, when we when we like rejoice is when we see students doing that same thing, when they enter into the programme, and they’re steadfast that this is the only way safety can be done. It has to be done this way. And here’s the recipe for safety. And they walk out and they go, Wait a minute, maybe there is no recipe maybe I’ve got to be in a mode of inquiry, maybe I’ve got to be learning. And when they start to shift from that, that doing unknowing to the experimenting and learning piece Then we’re we’re the most pleased instructors you could possibly imagine.


Crista Vesel  20:05

We have some students come in and they’re ready from the forefront. And that’s exciting for us. Because then we can lead them through our courses, we teach about half a programme, and, and we see them grow. And that’s stimulating to us. But honestly, our best successes are the ones that fought the most. I mean, they’re, they come in angry, right? And they hit my course, first crisis leadership, and I have this issue. And I help them do what we’re talking about, you know, I help them question every time they write something, I say, Okay, let’s see if we can look at it from a different perspective. And maybe they fight through that maybe they fight through some of our other courses, you know, what happens? They’ll be 10 o’clock at night, we’ll get a text. Can you talk? Okay. And they are having literally, this, this, you know, shift in their psyche. And it’s uncomfortable. Often, when we move into a space of learning, it is very uncomfortable. And we tell that to students from the beginning, you know, when you move into this space, get ready to not like it, sometimes, you know, to fight against it, but just let it happen, see where it takes you. They have this this tremendous shift. And then they do things like join the Ph. D. programme. I mean, they become these mentors to us, as well as others. And it’s so exciting when that happens.


Ivan Pupulidy  21:48

Yeah, it’s kind of funny, because when we, we each entered the programme through the same course crisis leadership. And when we first took it over, it was all about crisis, you know, and how you manage a crisis? Well, I don’t know that you really manage a crisis, I think you negotiate your way through crises, and you try a bunch of different modalities to try and understand what you’re dealing with. But that’s a whole nother story, when we came to understand was, first we wanted to change the title. And now we realise that the crisis leadership might be the crisis that’s internal inside leaders that they have to face. And that question of challenging their assumptions. Sorry, go ahead.


Nippin  22:24

Yes. Let’s talk about that a little bit more the crisis inside? I think that’s a powerful one. What What do you mean by that helped me understand that?


Ivan Pupulidy  22:34

Yeah, sure. Well, so it goes goes to this idea that we have these assumptions about the way the world works, these deep beliefs about how the world is working around us. How is safety created? Is it created through punishment? Is it three created through a carrot and stick modality? Is this the way we want to go forward? Or is that fear based? Where does that work? Where hasn’t it worked? We want leaders if they come in with those kinds of ideas, to be able to challenge those ideas to challenge this concept. But the other thing we recognise is that everybody’s a leader in their organisation. If we look at eh, and S specialists, they’re all leaders. But there’s something else to each and s books are put in a really difficult position, right? They are the translators between the C suite and the frontline worker, they’re the people who have to bring the stories of the frontline worker to the C suite in a way that’s palatable. It’s really a difficult job that they have. So they they actually function in a bunch of bunch of ways, not just translators, but also the people that negotiate this really, really rocky, rocky shore shoreline of information. It how to present it, they also have to kind of act as in improv comics. They can’t sit there and say, No, your your your perspective is wrong. They can’t come from that right wrong place. They’ve got to be in a yes and sort of modality. So part of the programme that all of the courses, I consider a programme, in fact, it’s becoming a track in the university in our programme, our master’s degree programme. And when we think about that, what what the whole idea is, is to move those people to get them to a place where they can start to do that improv comedy that say yes, and you’re not, your thing isn’t wrong. But here’s another way of looking at it. Yes. And, and oh, by the way, all the stuff that you’ve done has gotten us to this point. How do we move from this point to the next point, right? So we’re looking forward, we’re looking ahead. And that’s resulted in them questioning all kinds of things. Questioning KPI is questioning the entire idea around crime and punishment in a safety context, questioning ideas about the way they tell stories and narratives. How do stories manifest Right? And how do we present them in a way that’s not just palatable to the to the front office, but also palatable to the field office. So we start to understand what we came out of the learning review with which was this idea that learning products Have to be designed for the different audiences that we have within our organisation. And everybody’s a learner. Yes. And


Nippin  25:08

sorry, Krista, you wanted to say something? No, no, go for it. Go ahead. No, go. Now, we had something on your mind. No, I wanted to bring you in actually in this at this point, because you started off with the use of language as a very, very powerful tool to understand and enhance learning. Maybe talk to us a little bit more about what what how do you see that happening? In a very practical manner?


Crista Vesel  25:34

Well. So language is something we all share, we use all the time, but we rarely step back and say, Is the language we’re using moving us toward learning or away from learning. So I help people understand some of the things that that happen that take us away from learning that they use all the time. Binary opposition’s. So, you know, it’s this way, or it’s this way, and there’s nothing in between, right success or failure. We look at things like counterfactuals. In accident investigation, it happens all the time, we say they should have done this, they could have done this right, it becomes a blame and it becomes very directed language is not neutral. So if we can change that language and start to learn about those things, particularly agentive language, agentive language is an agent is the cause of an action, the doer of an action, right. So when we use agentive language, especially an accident investigation, what we’re doing is blaming people, whether we know it or not. Now, that’s an easy thing to do. And it’s something inherent in us, especially in the English language, because English is a very agentive language. We don’t usually say, the pen fell off the table will say, I haven’t dropped the pin. Right? I mean, that’s just the nature of our language, but it becomes the nature of our culture and how we communicate. And then that creates this this line of blame that just feeds right through, and it’s very comfortable for us. So learning what those slights of language I call them slates of language, like a sleight of hand that a magician uses? What are those slights of language that can block us from learning? And then step into that space and reimagine it. So, you know, instead of using the word, cause, and an accident, what else could we do? You know, H O P is it’s kind of a foundation for the things we do. But really our main goal is to bring across our learning review, which is a different way to look at accidents and incidents. And in the learning review. We don’t use the word cause at all. Because once you use that word, you just start moving toward that and once you find the cause or causes, I don’t care how many there are, honestly. And you have a complex system with people. If you have mechanics and mechanical systems, simpler, complicated system, yes, we can find things. We can take it apart, we can fix it, put it back together. That’s great. With people we can’t do that. No people are. Yeah, we’re compartmentalise. So I know what we do.


Nippin  28:45

No, go for it. I know I interrupted you. Sorry, my bad. But my my point really was that how interesting it is that it is sometimes seen as a semantic play by people who don’t understand the power of language, right? They simply ignore it as Oh, this is just a play on words. And maybe talk a little bit about why it is so important to pay attention to language. Crysta from your perspective?


Crista Vesel  29:17

Well, one of the first exercises I do, whether it’s in classes or in talks or workshops, is I like to ask people a quick question. When I say the word investigation, what comes to mind? Give me a word or two that comes to mind. And we collect those sometimes we’ll turn it into a word cloud. We’ll see what that is. That is full of agentive language and and scared language. People are scared. They don’t want to share they have no psychological safety. Investigation is something that they feel they have no control. over, and yet they need control. So all these things come out. And then I do the opposite. I say, Okay, now, I’m gonna give you another word. What do you associate with this learning? And it’s interesting how that opens up the language in a completely different way. But it’s not just the language. If you watch the people in the audience, they change their semiotics, this, the nonverbal signs and symbols, they’re sending us through their senses that they change, they become engaged. So if we can engage around learning, and get rid of things like investigation, it becomes powerful. I’ll show you something here. Yes, please. So one of my semiotics class was actually it was my language class. Initially, when I had semiotic Senate, they created a challenge coin, a semiotic challenge coin. And so, the first side looks like this. So what do you see there? Nippin.


Nippin  31:08

I see is alphabet and I see a tree? I see. While I see a coin with with shadow underneath. What else do I see? It’s very hazy, actually. So it’s hard to make art. But oh, I’m sorry. Mostly. That’s fine. That’s fine. Okay. So I see a tree with some roots. I see alphabet. And I can’t make out what it reads. But there’s a coin with grey circumference underneath and white above. So maybe it’s a contrast between day and night, something like that. Yeah.


Crista Vesel  31:47

So how does that make you feel?


Nippin  31:50

Oh, does it make me feel depressed?


Ivan Pupulidy  31:55

Sad, pretty good.


Crista Vesel  31:58

Okay, so we need to move into that feeling space too. So here we have a dead tree, you know, think of root cause analysis. We have a black and white image. So we have a binary opposition. And yet, we feel terrible about it, right? We have a barrier here on the ends of the barrier, or A’s for agentive language, in the middle is a B, for blame. So this is what we’re moving away from.


Nippin  32:31

What I also see is another this side, if you turn it back again, what I what I see Krista maybe both sides is, is a circle, which represents nature, which represents everything which is unpredictable. And now that I can see the tree in between which we call the root cause it’s basically putting order to nature. So I see a classic dialogue or dialectic between nature and culture. So you have root cause you want to find certainty in an uncertain world. That’s what I see. Now. Now I can see it more clearly. Yes.


Crista Vesel  33:08

That’s awesome. That’s very expensive. Right there. So we want to move away from that and move toward.


Nippin  33:18

Yes. So now I see nature in harmony with nature. I see. Two hands with, I don’t know what’s written underneath. Maybe you can help me and it’s understanding at the top. Okay, so understanding. Yeah, so you’re aligning nature. So you’re working with nature, as opposed to working against nature. So if you flip it back, it was nature against culture, when you flip it back. Now, what I see is you are not working against nature, you’re working with nature, which is care. And that’s a symbol of care right in the middle. So it’s a very different way of looking at the world. Yeah.


Crista Vesel  34:02

Very nice. Very nice. And some of the things we see here might be, you know, growth. Now we have people we have hands, so we’re talking we’re engaging the people in care, there’s also


Nippin  34:17

yeah, there’s a mountain which is about Yes.


Crista Vesel  34:22

Nice, and the path goes off into the distance, and it never ends. Our learning journey never ends.


Nippin  34:29

Yes. And that’s potential. The


Ivan Pupulidy  34:30

beauty of this snippet is that we didn’t create this. Students in our class got together. And after taking several of our classes, this is what came to their mind. This is what emerged from their thinking and their discussions. And so the students actually created this challenge coin.


Nippin  34:48

And that’s, that’s you have an I was coming to that question of human put an organisation potential maybe this is the right time to do that. Talk to me about this book title, which is all about Human and organisational potential. What do you mean by that?


Ivan Pupulidy  35:04

Well, we explain it inside the book, of course, because we kind of have to because we’re departing a little bit from the traditional human organisation performance. But the idea of demanding performance is, is not really consistent with the message of HLP. When we start thinking about H O P, we’re really talking about potentials. Todd talks about Kopete capacities, a lot like what are capacities, will capacities and potential, those two things really work together? Well, capacities and performance. Well, one is the outcome of the other, if we have capacities, we can have increased performance. So we didn’t want to do that we wanted to tie this title in particular, back to the idea the original construct around H O P, which is bringing people together in this way, much like the challenge coin, of challenging assumptions moving forward, getting into that space of understanding and learning, right, opening ourselves up. And, sure, that could be described as, as a performance. With performance. Again, as an outcome, we wanted to talk about it more on that idea, from the capacity perspective, more as potential, how can we develop that potential.


Crista Vesel  36:19

In addition, performance can become that push, right? Leaders can take that idea. And now use it to try to make their people perform. That’s no better than where we were before. So by opening it up to potential, that’s, that’s limitless. It’s like the coin, right. We’re moving into our potential, personally, as a company, as a leader, let’s all move into that space together and explore it. And


Ivan Pupulidy  36:52

we see what Chris is talking about in some of the people who are out there. I’m not gonna say sharing H O. P, but but peddling HLP, peddling a product for their for their purposes. Most of those folks that are out there peddling that H O P product, they’re in that performance space, they want to be in that performance space, because they’re delivering something that is not necessarily consistent with the principles of H O P. So we wanted to kind of wrestle it back and say, hey, when we did this originally, in fact, we came up with this title, human organisation potential in the Forest Service, when we started bringing H O P to the Forest Service, we were looking for a name. And we came up with HLP, as potential not as performance and this is before Todd named it before it had that energy behind it. Up until that point, it was called HPI. Human. Was it human? Thank goodness, we forget, right.


Nippin  37:55

I think it’s human performance index, something human performance


Ivan Pupulidy  37:57

improvement. That’s human performance improvement, what’s even worse. And so we didn’t like that title at all. We really steered away from that it didn’t resonate. Well. When we tried to bring it to our people in the Forest Service. Two of us literally brought H O P from Todd modified it for the Forest Service and brought it to the Forest Service to almost 30,000 people. And in those dialogues with people, they the HPI title didn’t resonate, it didn’t resonate at all with our population. So that made us start to question and made us start to think about a different title. And I think actually, Ben Iverson came up with the human organisation potential title to begin with.


Nippin  38:35

So here’s one final question to both of you, which is that what view do you take of a human being considering that this is a book on human and organisational potential?


Crista Vesel  38:51

Oh, well, honestly, I don’t really like the word human in our workplaces. And I’ll tell you why. Human becomes a label that helps us set other humans apart from us. See, they would do that. That’s their problem, I would never do that becomes an attribution error. And anytime we create a label like that, it has the potential to be manipulated. I prefer even though we used it on the book, because it’s a common theme. We thought about this. We did use the common theme, but we talked about it in the book, we prefer the word people, we’re all people. That means we should care about each other, we should move into that space, I should care about you, you should care about me. And then we should care about the work together.


Ivan Pupulidy  39:44

And we start to look at this in a in a global and social sense, right? So society has a tendency to push us toward things like spreadsheets and, and modalities that are mathematical in their origin. We start to think about it in a very different way, like you said, with the circle, what is the circle mean? What is what is society mean? And I think about tribal titles like the names of different tribes in the western part of the United States especially. And when tribal members are asked what that means, what is being, what is your name mean? They often come back and say it means the people. And so we started thinking, how does that reflect on what we’re trying to create? Because I think what we’re trying to create, societally, both you and Rob and everybody else who’s engaged with in the safety community, is there trying to create a tribe of people that are working together to recognise the importance of everyone within that tribe, and to value the contributions of everyone in that tribe. So for us the idea of potential, the idea of the people, that becomes very, very important to us. And that’s what we wanted to try and capture, which is why we’ve got a crew walking off to try and catch a spot fire on a fire line, very hazardous job and these guys are marching.


Nippin  41:07

Is this, I was going to come to that, but you already explained that so. So what has been for both of you coming to write this book, and now getting to engage with people who are reading this book, and maybe, presumably, feeding backs things to you? What has been your learning so far? And if you were to do it again, would you do anything different?


Ivan Pupulidy  41:32

We had changes to the book, the very day we publish. Yeah, so we’re, we’re definitely into continuous improvement. There’s no question about that. But what we’re what we’re getting from this, that’s really interesting is we’ve had a couple of different book clubs across the world. Ask us to come and talk with them. What we’re getting from them is really positive feedback in terms of applicability, right, which is what we really wanted. Did we make this? Did we make this accessible this information? Did we make it doable? Did we give them some bridges or tools to get to different places? And the indications that we’re getting right now is that yes, that is the case. Now, it has been fairly new. I mean, the book hasn’t been out for five months, five months now. So it’s still pretty new in the community. But the feedback that we’re getting so far is that we’ve hit that mark, now are the things that we would do differently? Absolutely. Is there a second edition in our minds already? Absolutely. Yeah. So no question about that.


Crista Vesel  42:27

One big part of it. In this book, you’ll see a lot of examples from people we work with, or our students. Those are the powerful pieces. If there was a second book like this, it would be about the application, and about how people we know are applying it, because that’s the hardest part, right? You can read it all you want. You can read a book, you can take a class, but until you actually go apply it and and have those challenges. And maybe you need some input from others on how to overcome those, or reframe it. That’s the important part.


Ivan Pupulidy  43:07

Yeah. And I think that that’s a, that’s a really good point, that this book is born of application. So we didn’t just jump into this book and compile theory. We struggled with application, how to make Wilson in different environments, how to get started off, where does it fit in a larger scheme of cultural change? Right, all of these things are really important aspects. So when we present on the book, or we talk about the book, generally, that’s where we go is we talk about how he fits in a grander scheme of things. And this book helps with that, I don’t say answers it because as Krista said, there’s no recipe, there’s no simple way to do this. Every organisation has to engage in elements of self design. So that’s, that’s really where we are. And like I said, the feedback so far has been pretty good.


Nippin  43:58

So any, you’ve been travelling the world, ever since you published this book, you have been interacting with a lot of people, any particular story that resonates with you anything that people really respond very well to story. So anything in particular that resonates with you would be awesome to share?


Crista Vesel  44:19

Yes, actually, we have the opportunity to go work with the New Zealand Health Quality and Safety Commission, who is using our learning review across the nation now for all health related accidents, accidents, incidents. And you know, something that is amazing. This is a pen from there. Yes, is that the Maori native influence is so strong, and we learned so much from that perspective of being invited into that space. And, like, for example, one word that they use Oracle which means to be both a teacher and a learner. They have a story of a teacher and students going into a building. And when they come out, you cannot tell the student from the teacher. That is powerful.


Ivan Pupulidy  45:17

And they’re getting their application of this mirror scanning of this, when we start to bring, I don’t care who who is developing the idea of HLP. That’s not the important part. When we bring the construct of HRP to people, the thing that resonates with them the most is this idea that we are doing this in unison. We’re doing this together, that this is a journey that we’re engaging on. It’s not a simple do this, do this, do this, and we’re going to get to the end. There is no end. It’s a continuous process of learning. And we’re opening ourselves up to that.


Nippin  45:50

That’s right is, is there anything else you would like to share before we close? It’s been a wonderful discussion. I’m very happy with it. Anything else that comes to mind that you’d like to share?


Ivan Pupulidy  46:05

Well, we’re, we’re very happy to be on the journey with people like you. I mean, we enjoy the inquiry that you engage in and the way you’re approaching everything is really, it’s really consistent with what the rest of us are doing. So I think that probably the big message that I’ve got is, let’s understand that that’s what we’re here to do is to work together, we all offer something to the community. We’re not trying to take away from anything that anybody else is doing. We just want to make things more accessible and more doable. And that’s what we’re all working toward.


Crista Vesel  46:34

You can consider it like a mosaic, right. We have many parts, but it needs to be in balance in unison and we need to be connected. So that’s what we like to do is connect with others.


Nippin  46:49

Excellent. And that is a beautiful place to to bring this to a close if you enjoyed listening to this podcast, many more podcasts are available on our website. novellas dot solutions, forward stroke knowledge space. The podcast embracing differences is available on Spotify, pod bean, Apple podcasts, and anchor. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel, Team developers. That way, every time we publish a new podcast, you will get to know you want to find out more about our work, visit us at novellus.solutions or simply write to us at support@novellus.solutions. Thank you for wanting to learn more than you knew yesterday. And until we meet again. Goodbye and have fun


You can order Ivan and Crista’s book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Human-Organization-Potential-Ivan-Pupulidy/dp/B0CQ477B5F/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?crid=2UIL4MMCBZZ55&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.3ua2ZUpC5HER7YpS6A1Y5gv6dwF1lfxjI50SWN9KHKQ4ZP5UnMz5-WNwU2MHiBjN.Gn63gIh8L78EMaqukBdKpziseYctWQySILIOqxqvSmw&dib_tag=se&keywords=ivan+pupulidy&qid=1714564069&sprefix=%2Caps%2C102&sr=8-1-fkmr0