Merging Consulting Firms With Her Husband: Moe Carrick

Merging Consulting Firms With Her Husband: Moe Carrick


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My guest for Episode #77 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Moe Carrick, the CEO of her company, Momentum, Inc. She is a best-selling author, consultant, relentless optimist, and bee keeper. Yes, I'll ask her about that last part. Moe has a new podcast coming soon called Work: Beyond HR.

Moe is the author of two books, and you can enter a contest to win both of them:

In today's episode, Moe shares her favorite mistake — a story about merging her consulting firm with the consulting company of her second (and current) husband. Why was this a mistake? How did she learn it was a mistake and what did she do about that? We'll talk about her lessons learned and more.

Other topics and questions:

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  • Full transcript

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban (1s):
Episode 77 Moe Carrick, author of the books Fit Matters and Bravespace Workplace.

Moe Carrick (9s):
I do feel like as I look in the rear view mirror, some of my pivotal moments have been those mistakes, you know, in hindsight, like those moments where you go, wow…

Mark Graban (22s):
I'm Mark Graban, this is My Favorite Mistake. In This podcast, you'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes because we all make mistakes, but what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at As always for links, show notes and more, you can go to my website, go to You'll also be able to enter to win one of two copies of Moe's books.

Mark Graban (1m 4s):
So please go there to enter the contest again, 77. Our guest today is Moe Carrick. She is the CEO of her company Momentum, Inc. So I'll, I'll say first off, welcome to the show. And I guess I see where the name came from, right? Moe

Moe Carrick (1m 24s):
Yes. Ha thank you, mark. Wonderful to be here.

Mark Graban (1m 27s):
No, it's it's, it's a great, it's a, it's a great name and it's good. That there's that connection, but Moe is I, you know, it would be a mistake to not research beyond the LinkedIn headline, but the LinkedIn headline for Moe says she's a bestselling author, a consultant or relentless optimist. So maybe we can touch on that a little bit and beekeeper. Do, do you mean that literally

Moe Carrick (1m 51s):
I do mean that literally, although it's sort of funny to talk about it today because our hive died in the fall, which happens, you know, anyone who knows that there knows about beekeeping. They sometimes don't make it. And we had some swarms last summer and they were too thin. So we, our beekeepers were getting our bees coming up this spring, but right now we don't have any bees. So we're looking towards starting again. All right.

Mark Graban (2m 20s):
Gosh. Well, cause I didn't know if that was a metaphor, but I'm glad. Okay. That's interesting to know, literally, and, and here here's a bit of a tease we'll hear soon enough. I don't know if the mistake involves the bees, maybe not, but, but Moe asks another provocative question and I think we can touch on later here in the episode is your organization fit for human life. And so if you look at the books that Moe has written, you'll see a connection around maybe what you might call humane workplaces. First book is called Fit Matters: How to Love Your Job. And the second book is called Bravespace Workplace: Making Your Company Fit for Human Life.

Mark Graban (3m 7s):
And also has a recently launched podcast called Work Beyond HR. So a lot of interesting projects. So I'm again, Moe thank you for being a guest today. So whether it's beekeeping or not, we'll we'll, I won't drag this out any longer, the mystery and the suspense. What is your favorite mistake looking at your career and your work mode?

Moe Carrick (3m 34s):
Well, like many of your guests, Mark, I had trouble picking because I, I do feel like as I look in the rear view mirror, some of my pivotal moments have been those mistakes, you know, in hindsight, like those moments where you go, wow, that took me to door number two, instead of door number three. But I think one of my favorites in terms of my own growth and also the magnitude of it, the difficulty of it is that I went into business with my husband. That's my favorite. That is the mistake.

Mark Graban (4m 9s):
So tell us more about that and why, you know, why do you consider that a mistake? How to, when did it start seeming like a mistake because there are general warnings around like, gosh, you know, that doesn't, that that can be problematic going into business with a family member yet alone, a spouse. What, what happened?

Moe Carrick (4m 28s):
Well, what happened with us was I am in a second marriage. So, you know, there's no easy way to say second marriage personnel, but the father of my children and I divorced, and a few years later, I remarried my, my husband and we had two different consulting firms. So I had momentum. He had his own firm. And when we married, we decided that that was wonderful. We loved working together in the room. We didn't envision merging our firms. He had a business partner and a few years into the marriage. We started thinking, gosh, you know, we're kind of competing with each other, you know, in our markets. And wouldn't it be interesting if we did merge? So we hired a coach, you know, as people like me do, we wanted to walk our talk.

Moe Carrick (5m 11s):
So we hired a dear friend and colleague who interviewed us both and, and came back with some recommendations. And he said, don't do it.

Mark Graban (5m 22s):
Why, why, why, why, why, what was the recommendation? Why not?

Moe Carrick (5m 26s):
The recommendation for him was that he heard apparently in the interviews, he heard us both speak to how important it was for us to succeed in our marriage. Right. It was the second marriage for both of us. We had come through divorce for children in between the two of us, tough, tough times, you know, divorces is not easy for anyone. And we were very happy to be in a loving relationship and very committed to working that out. And he sort of said, I feel like, because of the way you both roll that if you put all your eggs in the basket of the business and combine it, that you're going to end up putting unnecessary strain on the business, you know, and on the marriage really. Yeah. On both. And we just kind of, we were arrogant enough to be like, oh no, you know, we've got this, you know, we can do this anyway.

Moe Carrick (6m 11s):
You know, we paid him for his input.

Mark Graban (6m 14s):
Well, I was going to say, there's a grand tradition. I'm sure you'll recognize of somebody hiring a coach and then not following if the coach is the type who gives advice.

Moe Carrick (6m 25s):
Yes, exactly. Which was what we had asked him to do, you know, and I'll, I'll, I'll help with the suspense. We did not make it a business together. We merged the practice and then we actually unmerge the practice about four years later. So he's not in business anymore. He works for one of my partner firms, which has been wonderful. And that process, you know, getting, getting into the business partnership, discovering it, wasn't working and then finding a way to get out of it. Gracefully was, was hard, but so informative for me.

Mark Graban (6m 59s):
So you unmerge the companies, but the relationship, the marriage is still merged?. Marriage

Moe Carrick (7m 4s):
Is still strong. Probably we, we talk often actually that we feel so grateful for the, for the, what happened in the marriage as a result of that brain decision, because he is much more fulfilled in his career. And I feel very fulfilled in mind and I feel competent and grateful to have a primary love relationship that's really working. And so, yeah, it was a brave and hard decision, but a good one.

Mark Graban (7m 33s):
So, and within those four years, was there a point where it was fine and then some problems started popping up or what was there? Was it, you know, the case there some mistakes where we would kind of have an inkling from the beginning of like, oh no. What, but, but, but we're stubborn. Are we, so we'll, we'll figure it out. We'll keep like what, what, what was the dynamic over those four years before deciding them to unmerge the company?

Moe Carrick (7m 56s):
I love that question because I actually, in hindsight, you know, like the rear view mirror tells us this, I felt the mistake pretty quickly early on when we decided to merge the firms we had, I was coming up on it and emerging the firms is probably too strongly stated because what happened was he joined my firm. He kind of exited his firm and joined my firm and my firm right around the time we made the decision, my firm was coming up and it's ten-year anniversary. We're now coming up this year is our 20th anniversary. And I, we want to have a big party. So we had a big celebration and a wonderful, you know, evening of awards and things. And that event was painful and hard.

Moe Carrick (8m 37s):
He was, I think, noticing like this was, this had been my firm and he was now a partner in that firm, but what did that look like? So, you know, we ignored it, but that was one of the first feelings of like, oh, this feels, you know, hard. The name of the firm has my name in it, you know, and even though he was very, you know, he tries to work hard as we all do on his humility. And he was like, no, that doesn't bug me. You know, there still were some real challenges around gender dynamics. What does it mean about identity? And as we got into actual work with clients, some of that began to really rear its ugly head. And we had a few sales meetings. I remember it was about two years in when I started to feel like, okay, this is really not working because we were in the same room making a pitch.

Moe Carrick (9m 24s):
And it was almost like we were competing, you know? And when your partner is in the same firm and you're in the same room and you're convenient, you're like, this is not, you know, this is not going to work. So that's when I started sort of saying what was true for me, which was like, I'm not sure this is working, but it took us another two years to kind of figure out, okay, what were work. And I should add the backdrop. My husband has survived two very bad cancers. And it was in the middle of our business partnership that he, that he was diagnosed the second time around. And so there were multiple levels of strain around, you know, his difficulty actually working and the primacy of my income. And so it wasn't just the fact that we were in business together, but it was definitely, definitely something where we said, you know what?

Moe Carrick (10m 11s):
I think this decision stems, you know, some of the challenges we were facing.

Mark Graban (10m 14s):
So yeah. And do you remember, did, did you bring this up first or did he, or was it some sort of simultaneous recognition?

Moe Carrick (10m 22s):
Oh, it wasn't simultaneous. I'm the one who named it first. And that was hard. I'll never forget when I did it though, mark, because we had, we had retreated ourselves to do some business planning and we were having fun visioning what was possible, but our stories, you know, have you ever done a vision board?

Mark Graban (10m 43s):
I have not done one. I have a colleague and friend of mine who has a vision board and I've seen hers and she coaches other people through it. I'm thinking I'm going to ask her to go through that. So short answer. No, I haven't done one, but I know what you mean.

Moe Carrick (10m 55s):
Yeah. I hadn't done one either, but we, a friend of mine who is also a consultant had recommended and I thought this would be fun. So we had each created vision boards and then we looked at the two together. I noticed that like our personal life visions were very consistent, but our business visions were very different and we decided to take a break. So we took a walk and on the walk I just realized, I was like, I have to tell the truth. Like, I don't think this is working. And I did. And he was very angry at first and very scared I think. And, but it was a long walk. We probably walked, I don't know, we probably walked eight or nine miles. And by the end of that walk, he was like, okay, I think I hear what you're saying.

Moe Carrick (11m 35s):
I think you might be right.

Mark Graban (11m 36s):
He, he, he, he didn't miss misunderstand. I mean, to hear us hear a spouse, say this, isn't working out, what do you mean by this? You know, it was clear.

Moe Carrick (11m 46s):
I think, I think I was clear. I was like, I want to talk about okay. All right. To make sure that he wasn't too freaked out. Yeah.

Mark Graban (11m 58s):
Yeah. But still, and I mean, I, the dynamics of how much of it was being married couple versus any time two firms merge and you have two previous CEOs were now like are sometimes, you know, you have these awkward mergers of equals and like, is that really true? And then even sometimes there are co CEOs and you wonder, well, okay, well, is that really true? Like, I wonder what is this type of thing that would just be difficult if it was a merger with a company where it wasn't your husband?

Moe Carrick (12m 33s):
Yeah, I think, I think it would have been a hard anyway. I mean, I think either way, I'm going to close my door with just got open, but I, I, I think it was definitely harder because of my husband and I, and you know, what he had to give up and what I had to change about how we each thought about the business prior, which always happens in a merger or an acquisition. You know, what's the culture of this company. What's the culture of that company. But I think it was exacerbated by our, our fear. You know, one of the things we, we really ended up agreeing strongly arm on was that, you know, when you work for yourself and we're a small business, you know, my firm now has five employees.

Moe Carrick (13m 18s):
I think back then we had three, maybe plus us so five again, but all of our identity and our financial resources were in that firm. And that felt a bit scary, like all our eggs in one basket, you know, and if something goes wrong. And so we each had this, this desire and drive to make the firm work, but, but at the same time, we were married and sharing all of our life experiences with all of our combined children. And it felt like just, you know, too much. And we ended up also, I would say, we talked about work all the time, all the time. And I started to feel like, where did the marriage go? We had promised each other, we will not lose sight of the marriage because of the business, but we actually did.

Moe Carrick (13m 60s):
And we had to recalibrate around that, which was probably one of the biggest gifts.

Mark Graban (14m 3s):
So, I mean, in a, in a way it's a, a different mistake or a different lesson learned of thinking about boundaries and proverbial hat. So my wearing my colleague hat or my spouse hat.

Moe Carrick (14m 20s):
Yeah, yeah. That's right. And it's hard to switch, you know, especially, I think as entrepreneurs, when your identity is so strongly connected to your work. I mean, I guess for most people, their identities connected to their work, but I think for us, yeah.

Mark Graban (14m 36s):
Well, thank you for sharing, you know, the story there and you know, your, your company momentum is, is here and it's going. And so if you could talk a little bit about the types of work that you do, and I'm sure this, this ties in also with the book, what types of work do you do with organizations and how do you connect that to this question of, is your organization fit for human life? That seems like a meaningful question.

Moe Carrick (14m 60s):
Thank you. Yeah, it is. You know, I've been intrigued by this question of why do we work? And also what makes us thrive at work for really my whole career. I've seen so many examples of workplace misery, you know, and I've been there myself. So the work we do is consultative. We do where we provide coaching. We provide leadership development, team development and cohesion building. I do keynote speak and lead workshops. Often. We also do quite a bit of work in that equity and inclusion realm, building cultures of belonging. We have a signature program that's launching this year, which will be a cohort based program called solving people problems. I would say the bulk of my work and of our work as a firm is how do we help leaders understand the very key role they have in determining that their workplace brings out the best in their people every day?

Moe Carrick (15m 51s):
Because we know, I mean, you know, this mark from all the people you talk with, people are what make companies great. And so if people are coming to work with 10% of their great stuff, they are suffering and the company isn't getting the full benefit of, of their, their awesomeness. Yeah.

Mark Graban (16m 14s):
And so when you talk about fit, how often would something that's seen as a people problem, or it's a person problem, somebody who might seem like a quote unquote, bad employee, do you help people figure out when that's just a matter of fit? Is it a bad fit for the role, bad fit with the company? How do you help sort that out?

Moe Carrick (16m 39s):
Well, yeah, it's hard and it's hard. And yet what I feel is that the, a people problem does not mean there's something wrong with the people involved, you know, because very often the people problem is related to a lack of clear structure, a lack of capacity for courage. I noticed you had a few interviews ago, you had another dare to lead facilitator on your show. I'm also a certified dare to lead Rena. Yeah. And, and, you know, a failure of having courageous conversations really can contribute to people problems. And so I do think you're right. I think rightness for role and even rightness for company, you know, in, in fit matters how to love your job.

Moe Carrick (17m 21s):
My coauthor and I, Cammie Dunaway really tried to look at how could we determine fit from the outside because it's not really about fitting in, is it it's kind of more about is this right for being at my right, for this company? And then on the leadership side, when we say fit for human life, for me, that's about how does the company activate the conditions in which the human being can thrive? The unique human beings that's showing up to work every day. So I think you're right. I think it's not about fixing the people and making sure they fit or force fitting them. It's about saying what's happening here and how can we elevate, lift and powerfully celebrate the gifts of the people?

Moe Carrick (18m 3s):
And if they're in the wrong job or they're in the wrong company, how can we help them gracefully transition to the place that's just right for them. Because I do believe there's a place for everyone. There's a place for everyone to work. Yeah. And

Mark Graban (18m 19s):
I I'm, I'm one who tends to look then at, as you put it structure, or what are some of the systems issues? You know, sometimes companies don't look beneath the surface of they'll say, well, you know, somebody is a bad fit. Let's give them a graceful, generous exit. And then six months or a year later, oh, we've got someone else who's a bad fit. Like at what point do you scale it? So at some point you've got to step back and ask, well, what's wrong with our hiring process? Or how are we not communicating effectively about the company in a way that would help people know if it's a good fit, because nobody wants that situation as the employee or the employer of having the time and investment, and then saying like, oh, this isn't a good fit.

Mark Graban (19m 2s):
Like you, you, you, you maybe can't prevent that all the time. But if there's a repeated pattern, that's, that's something to figure out and work on and enhance. Maybe they need to hire a coach.

Moe Carrick (19m 14s):
Right, right. Or a consultant who can help them look at their structure and their accountability structure in particular, you know, because as you have seen the hierarchy, how we're organized makes a huge difference in terms of people's capacity to be elevated. And oftentimes what I see happen is that there's a lot of clarity, you know, who do I report to? What does good look like and, and how we organize people. And I'm not just talking about the boxes on the page, but I'm also talking about the lines of accountability, which in COVID 19 times, it becomes even harder because we're working remotely, you know, so work has less transparency if we are not on on-site location.

Moe Carrick (19m 58s):
So how do we actually bring a tighter lens to saying, you know, who does, what, who reports to whom and how do we have transparency if that works? So the contract between the employee and the organization is, is visible to everyone, you know, and we, we know how to, how to succeed in that space. And that is often about, about the structure. Yeah.

Mark Graban (20m 20s):
And when you're talking about succeeding and I love that phrase that you use of elevating people. And I, one of my influences, you know, kind of considered, you know, W. Edwards Deming who was considered either a quality guru or management guru or whatever label you might put on him, he passed away, you know, 30 years ago, but, you know, in his work, you know, I think it's still really influential. One thing that stands out, he would say the role of the leader is not to judge their employees. And so, like this runs into some of the problems with like, with annual reviews and employee gets blindsided because they get this once a year judgment that you're underperforming, like that's unfair, or why would you wait so long to have that conversation?

Mark Graban (21m 3s):
You know, Deming would say the role of a leader is not to judge, but to help their employees perform well on a, on a more ongoing basis. And, you know, to me, that that seems like one way of framing, elevating people, you should be coaching them and bringing them up instead of just waiting to give them a number on a performance review scale.

Moe Carrick (21m 25s):
Oh, so true. And Debbie had so much, right. You know, one of which was that some of the real greatness comes from the people who have the closest visibility what's happening, you know, in an organization and, and being able to really believe that that's true. And that everybody in the organization from the bottom to the top has a unique view of the business itself and what's best. And that, you know, leaders who I think are highly effective or deeply listening to those voices and understanding how does, how does this person see it? And is there a value in their point of view for the way that we're solving the problems, as opposed to being what I think our historical models of leadership have become, which is that leaders are the answer giver or the hero, right.

Moe Carrick (22m 10s):
That on a white horse. And it's like, those models don't work. You know, so what is the new leader look like? That's why we call our new program, the new hero's journey. It's like the new leader is capable of really leveraging the talents of their other people.

Mark Graban (22m 25s):
So when you're talking about heroes, you, you would really like this book. One of my future guests, Kim Barnas, she used to be a healthcare executive. And now she works in some healthcare quality improvement, collaboration efforts. But Kim wrote a book, the title is Beyond Heroes. And the idea is w I think what you're saying, instead of the leader, being the hero who sweeps in with all the answers, that leadership is a much more continuous process of developing your people and facilitating, and sometimes getting out of the way and let those frontline employees help prevent a problem instead of sweeping in to be the hero.

Moe Carrick (23m 2s):
Well, yes. And I love your show because you're focusing on what I think is one of the biggest ways leaders inspire followership is that they own and name their own mistakes. They're willing to say, oops, you know, I didn't, I didn't know the answer to that, or I made an error. And as soon as they do that, our loyalty to them, our willingness to pull them anywhere increases it doesn't decrease. It increases. So, so absolutely. I can't wait to hear more about her book. Sounds great. Yeah. So, and then one

Mark Graban (23m 35s):
Other thing I wanted to talk to you about, cause, you know, there's a chance for me to learn here, you know, continuously, I think another aspect of elevating people is looking within organizations. How can we elevate, you know, people who don't have the privilege that you and I have. And so, you know, on Moe's bio, it says, I'm going to just read this because I, you know, I thought this was meaningful. She says, as a white us born heterosexual woman, most strives to use her privilege with grace to surface assumptions that interfere with teams into explore systemic patterns. And so from that background, you know, when you think of elevating others who may be, have been, you know, discriminated against in different ways, we try to elevate others.

Mark Graban (24m 25s):
What, what are your thoughts? What have you learned about being an effective ally or I think to use your word, grace, how can we be a more effective and graceful ally?

Moe Carrick (24m 34s):
Yeah. I think it's a work in progress. I mean, I do believe that it is for me and work in progress. I'm sure I'll be at this work until I leave this great earth, but I think allyship like many dimensions of leadership, it starts with some self-awareness understanding, you know, individual identity. One of the reasons I wrote that sentence in my bio mark is because I think that people like me often fail to, to even notice her name, our own identity dimensions that may give us access to systemic advantage or privilege. So, you know, for me, some of my identity cards that do that are that I'm white, that I'm able bodied that I was born in the U S that English is my first language.

Moe Carrick (25m 25s):
And so that gives me advantages that I didn't earn. They just came to me, you know, and those are different than adventures. I earned my master's degree and my years of hard knocks, running a business, you know, those things have come from my effort, but those other things came just because I got the luck of the draw. And so it's important. I think when we start being willing to look at ourselves to say, okay, so then what does that mean about how I show up for others who are different than me? So for example, I was just talking with a colleague about this today. He's a person of color. I'm white. My being willing to notice that and to consider the possibility that our lived experiences are different because of that honors and validates what we eat, you're bringing to the table.

Moe Carrick (26m 7s):
And many of us are taught, for example, in the dimension of race, not to talk about race, we're taught to notice sameness more than we are different. And I think that that needs to change. I think we need to be willing to say, oh, okay, this is the card I hold. This is the card you hold. What about that? Shapes how we show up the other? Well, yeah, I'll pause there. Cause that's that's I love your question. Yeah, no,

Mark Graban (26m 30s):
But that's okay. No, if you, if you please go on, you have. Yeah. Well, I was thinking

Moe Carrick (26m 35s):
About the paradox of that dynamic of sameness, a difference that I was thinking about one of my other favorite paradoxes, which is it's not my fault and I'm responsible, you know, being able to, and that this is a particularly strong one for me, for white women who are kind of my people, right? Cause I think white women often become when they become aware, let's say of their own inherited racism or heteronormativity or sexism. They often become what I would call shame triggered or fragile around their reaction to it. And they sort of become empty vessels sometimes. Like all of a sudden they turn to black and brown people and say, teach me everything, you know about racism, which is not a bad thing.

Moe Carrick (27m 15s):
But on the other hand, that's exhausting for the black and brown people. So how do we as white women stay? And one of the ways we stay centered is to say, is remind us of, you know, it's not my fault. I didn't contribute for example, here in this country to slavery or to police brutality, I'm not perpetrating those crimes, but I'm responsible for finding a way to know and notice the way the systems that I navigate in are set up. They might disproportionately had vantage, white people over brown people. And, and when I do that, I become a good ally, but I think that that paradox helps us stay grounded in that.

Moe Carrick (27m 55s):

Mark Graban (27m 55s):
And you're involved in an organization called white men as full diversity partners. So I was wondering if you could share a little bit about the organization and as a white man who shares, shares the same privilege, I have male privilege. What, you know, w what are your thoughts around, or what have you learned about, or what would your advice be, you know, for, for a white man who wants to be a better ally for people of color, for the LGBT plus community, you know, to, to, to be allies to people who are not like ourselves in, in a lot of cases.

Moe Carrick (28m 37s):
I think my suggestion, my advice, which you're asking for, which is so powerful is to do exactly what you're doing, which is to look at your own identity, understand it, know it, think about what it means because many of us with privilege haven't done that. And then I think the next opportunity is to become almost relentlessly curious about the experience of others and to really learn how to practice empathy, you know, with that, I think when we do that, the world shifts on it access a little bit, because access a little bit, because we, we are seeing w FTP, the organization, you mentioned has been a partner of mine from the beginning.

Moe Carrick (29m 17s):
I actually began as a senior consultant for that firm, the senior, I started my firm. They invited me to be a partner and I declined because I was just launching my own firm. And that is also coincidentally. So it's back to my, my, my, my most favorite mistake. That's the, for my husband joined, separated our businesses. He joined them as their VP of client experience. And that firm is founded by it's currently the two principals or two white men. And they were very impassioned based on what they notice. And this was back 25 years ago, which was that most diversity and inclusion efforts in business. And in particular, they're working in the Fortune 100, Fortune 500 space.

Moe Carrick (29m 57s):
We're targeting those efforts. We're targeting women and minorities and, and the white men were often left out of that process. And they felt way that then, like, if we leave the majority of the status and rank holders in corporate America, out of the conversation, how are they going to be compelled to make systemic change? And, and I just love that question. And I think that their work, which I'm privileged to be a part of really helps all of us see ourselves, sees our own, see our own self-interest in that work. Michael Kimmel, who wrote angry white men talks about until white men can see some stake in equity, they won't change.

Moe Carrick (30m 37s):
So what is it that benefits people like you Mark? You know, why would your work be better based on you being an outlier? And I'm sure you have awesome answers for that.

Mark Graban (30m 50s):
I would point actually to my wife is somebody who I've learned a lot from, she recently wrote a blog post. That was part of a series that a colleague friend of mine organized writing about issues, workplace issues, related to diversity, along race lines and LGB LGBTQ. Plus, I apologize for stumbling over that. That's just me being clumsy. That's just my clumsy mouth. I mean, no disrespect by saying that poorly, but, you know, my wife wrote, I thought a very insightful blog post and she often listened to these episodes too.

Mark Graban (31m 30s):
So she may very well hear this. And I would say it anyway, even if she didn't listen, you know, she was talking about how, and I think as you framed it Moe and on, in your profile, similar language to what my wife used, that every employee must feel included. It must be seen and heard at work. And I would say, well, with my work in continuous improvement, yes, I w I would understand that everybody, the frontline people doing the work and everybody should have a voice, but then there's this element. And as you put it, everything that we do considers the lens of equity to level the playing field. And it's my wife wrote in her blog post, and I'll, I'll link to this in the show notes, I'm going to kind of just paraphrase her lessons that diversity equity and inclusion can not just be an annual event for an employee resource group.

Mark Graban (32m 19s):
It can't be a sporadic effort. It really comes down to what leaders are doing every single day. And as an executive, she tries to model behaviors and reinforce behaviors that are helpful. So she made connections, I think, to summarize her point it's, it's not just the right thing to do in terms of treating people with respect. It ends up driving better business results, because when are able to bring their full selves to work and they can contribute, and they are heard, that means more ideas come up, more improvement happens better business results, follow. Yes,

Moe Carrick (32m 55s):
Yes. She's so right. She's so right. And the other piece that comes up for me of course, is in the customer arena as well, because, you know, companies need to match their customers. And when I, if I see myself in a product in their portfolio and in how they brand themselves, I'm much more likely going to, you know, engage in that. I I'm remind that years ago, early in my career, as a wilderness guide, I worked for outward bound and NOLs. And back then, this I'll date myself here, Mark, but that was back in the 1970s and eighties. And there were very few women mountaineers and guides, and I had to buy my clothes that they were always for men. I had to retrofit them to fit my body, you know, my size.

Moe Carrick (33m 36s):
And I'll never forget when Patagonia, they were the first brand that came out with clothes that were custom designed for real wilderness use for women. And in colors that women liked, I was doing the happy dance and I, and I am such a loyal Patagonia supporter even today to today. And I don't guide anymore, but because I felt seen, I thought, gosh, they get it. Like women go to the outdoors too. And they were the first company in that space that really moved in that direction. So I think that, that, there's, there's, I agree with your wife, there's a strong business case to creating a culture of belonging and people come to work fully activated, which means they have better ideas.

Moe Carrick (34m 16s):
They feel safe, they have social capital and they can fully show up. So maybe

Mark Graban (34m 26s):
A final question for, from the perspective of, you know, white male executives. When, when earlier Moe you talked about having a steak, is, is that steak making the case that like some of this maybe new and uncomfortable and awkward for them. And we should maybe lean into that there's risk we say at the wrong thing, or we're well-intended, or we're clumsy, but is the steak trying to help make the case of, like, if you care about your business, this is good business. Is that the steak that might be, have you found that compelling?

Moe Carrick (34m 60s):
Yes, I think so. I mean, if you care about your business, yes. I also would say, if you care about your group, this work makes sense for you. And, and I'll just elaborate on that a tiny bit. I gave I've given a couple of Ted talks and the most recent one was one that you might've seen when you were researching me, but it was titled loving men women's role in healthy masculinity. And in that talk, I was trying to speak about a concern I have around the culture of men, especially the culture of white men today, which is that we had some issues, you know, highest gun violence, depression, and anxiety, highest opioid use the disenfranchisement.

Moe Carrick (35m 39s):
We're seeing with political polarity in the, in and here. And so I feel as though there's also in addition to, it's better for business, which we know is true, better ideas, more creativity. It's also better for, for human beings. And white men are included in that in terms of being able to bring full self to the dialogue and understand who am I, and who am I with you? And how does that impact how we show up so that we can all thrive, which is not the case right now in a variety of sectors.

Mark Graban (36m 12s):
And, and maybe it's one of those other questions I think about it. It's not, you know, I'm not just who am I, but who do I want to be? And how can I be a better version of myself is to me, there's a continuous improvement dimension where we can say continuous improvement starts looking in the mirror.

Moe Carrick (36m 27s):
Yes, absolutely. And you said it when you said, you know, we're going to make mistakes and we got to recover and move on. Absolutely. When we make a mistake, we say, I'm sorry, I can do better. Next time. We don't allow that to cause us to shut down just a few weeks ago. I used the term with someone that was racist. I did not know I was in innocent ignorance. They educated me. I felt badly. I owned it. I got a great amount of information about what the word actually meant. And I won't use that again. Right. And I am okay. I'm okay. That doesn't make me a bad person because I said something racist. It makes me human.

Moe Carrick (37m 8s):
And because I like you were raised in a society that was built on some constructs that were racist, sexist, and all the other isms. So I think it's powerful. What you're saying in the way we continuously improve is by sort of stepping into the danger a bit, being willing to do it in perfectly and then circling back and say, okay, how would we do it differently tomorrow?

Mark Graban (37m 33s):
Yeah. Well, thank you Moe for sharing your story about your favorite mistake and for even there at the end sharing and being open about other mistakes, because, you know, the point, as you said, in, in, in those different cases is learning from them and moving forward and, and being better. So thank you for setting that example and for sharing that with us, our guest today has been Moe Carrick. She is CEO of Momentum, Inc. Her books again are Fit Matters and Bravespace Workplace.Check out her podcast, Work Beyond HR and her website. And I'll link to all of this in the show notes is

Mark Graban (38m 14s):
So Moe, thank you so much. This has been a really nice conversation. I am glad you were here with us today.

Moe Carrick (38m 19s):
Thank you so much, mark. Really appreciate the invite. I can't wait to tune in to your next interview. Good job.

Mark Graban (38m 26s):
Well, thanks. So, and we'll give thanks for our mutual friend, Jamie Parker, who was an early guest on the episode for making the connection. So if you're listening, thank you, Jamie. I appreciate it. Well again to Moe for being our guests today for show notes, links, and a chance to enter, to win copies of two of her books, go to And I hope this inspires you to reflect on your own mistakes, how you can learn from them or turn them into a positive I've had listeners tell me they've started being more open and honest about mistakes and their work. And they're trying to create a workplace culture where it's safe to speak up about problems because that leads to more improvement and better business results.

Mark Graban (39m 12s):
If you have feedback or a story to share, you can email me And again, our website is

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.