What does it really take to understand people, build relationships beyond allies, and welcome diversity through the lens of emotional intelligence? In this episode, Josh Hotsenpiller joins Whitney Lauritsen to share how he got enlightened with the power of grace when he became uncomfortable in his role as CEO. He talks about getting a deeper understanding of gender disparity, privilege, and marginalized communities in the workplace. Josh explains how grace unites our differences to unleash the power of inclusivity. With gold nuggets from Elon Musk’s leadership style to the power of EQ and more, this episode will teach you how to navigate professional tension. Time to leave tough conversations feeling better and gain a whole new perspective on understanding people!
Listen to the podcast here
The Ways Grace Unites Our Differences With Josh Hotsenpiller
In this episode, I am sitting down with a lovely man named Josh. I assumed he is lovely. We just met but so far, he’s lovely. We have a number of things in common like the Enneagram work, which referenced a previous episode with a guest whose name has escaped me at this moment. We started talking about that, which I enjoyed. You said you’re in Enneagram 8 which means that you like to get uncomfortable. Tell me more about that.
The 8 is funny because, on one hand, it’s a challenger. You challenge everything which makes people uncomfortable, but one of the reasons that you challenge everything is because you don’t feel like things are safe unless you’ve challenged them, and they are still there. It’s a safety mechanism. What I found, which I get such a kick out of this show’s name is it says, This Might Get Uncomfortable, and I thought to myself, “It’s the story of my interpersonal relationship life where I’m always having uncomfortable conversations because I need them to feel comfortable.” The irony of that is something.
I can relate to that. What strikes me there is that desire. For me, it’s a control to feel safe. I need a lot of information or I crave it. I try to not use the word need. I desire a lot of information. I’m a big why person. That makes me feel safe.
I have kids, two boys, 10 and 12. Cruz and Crosby are their names. You always remember growing up like, “Why?” Part of that is as a child, it’s that human desire to understand, frame, and contextualize. As an adult, a lot of times we have those same feelings of like, “Why is this? I need to know this so I can frame, contextualize, feel safe, etc.” My greatest comforts come from uncomfortable conversations or uncomfortable moments, and I’ve found it to be quite a process. If I can have uncomfortable conversations, I can feel comfortable.
That’s so fascinating. Also, the fact that you have so much clarity around that is interesting. By the way, I did find out the guest. Her name is Jackie Coban. That was over two years ago on September 11th, 2020 when that episode came out, where we dug about the Enneagrams. Josh, I’m curious. How does all of this apply to your work? We’re going to talk a lot about business in this episode. Does this show up in the work that you do? Whether it’s the type of work that you’re doing or how you show up as a person doing the work?
There are two ways to navigate that question. One is, how does an 8 show up, and maybe two is how does Enneagram show up? I believe very much in the power of EQ. I wrote the guidebook called Beyond Allies. Advancing Women in the Workplace. It’s a guidebook that is used by NextUp, which is the largest network of executive women. They’ve used it. Coke, Pepsi, Intel, and Ikea used it. A bunch of brands use this thing I wrote, but I built it all around looking at diversity through the lens of emotional intelligence.
There’s the IQ that we understand. It’s very functional. There’s the EQ, which is very relational. In this day’s modern business and relationships, having a high EQ is so important. Part of that is not only self-awareness, which is how I use the Enneagram 8 for me to help me be self-aware. When you feel threatened or unsafe, you’re naturally going to be overly aggressive. Some people shrink down. Some people masquerade. People do all sorts of different things when they feel threatened.
I’m aggressive because I’m going to go attack that. I’m going to go push it. I’m going to go fight that, but that’s not always helpful, especially when you’re the CEO of a company and you have a lot of people that the title alone makes them feel a certain way. You then feel threatened and you’re aggressive. It makes them feel way more uncomfortable to be transparent. Part of the way it shows up for me is self-awareness and going, “Josh, even though that’s your default setting, it’s not always helpful for those that are laddering up and working with you.”
I love the way that you phrase that. That is incredibly valuable. As I said, we’re going to take up a lot of business focus in this episode because of the work that you’re doing. I was drawn to it because of that allyship. That’s a term that I’m working on and prioritizing in my life. The fact that you prioritize inclusivity in the workplace and as a man, part of that is gender equality. It is surprising to me that for so much of my life, I’ve noticed gender inequality.
When I used to work in the film industry, it was a huge issue. When I was in film school, I remember seeing the small percentages of women that had these big roles in the film industry and wondering why that was. I guess I had this innocence like, “That’s got to be a temporary thing,” but it’s still occurring. We see disparity in terms of pay and men making more money than women. We also see racial issues and marginalized communities struggling to feel equality and inclusivity. What is it that made that such a big part of your work and interest of yours, Josh?
In full transparency, it wasn’t anything I was seeking. I’ll say that first off, I have several different businesses I run. One is called Wisdom Capture, and it’s a film agency where we go in and tell stories and brands. One of the contracts that we landed through a friend was the Network of Executive Women or NextUp. We went and filmed all their executive team. We hit it off. They asked us to do more work with them.
The CEO and I became friends. She’s a wonderful woman named Sarah Alter. She asked me one day, “Why do you think more men aren’t involved?” I shared with her, “I don’t think you’re reaching men. I think your network and the way your education is it’s pointed towards women or people that are marginalized. It’s not pointed towards privileged people. The education is going to everybody that is singing in the choir, as they say.”
She’s like, “What do you think we should do?” I was like, “What if we wrote a curriculum and a privileged White male did it like build it that way?” We thought it was an interesting experiment. I ended up writing out the content and it took off. It worked well. Through writing the content, it raised my awareness. It wasn’t something I was paying attention to. I grew up in Colorado, all boys. I’m comfortable around that world. It was super educational and instrumental for me. I say that to say that for me, so often in life, everything is unplanned.
In the current business I’m in right now, Juno, in the very beginning of COVID, a lot of our clients that was my company crowd, I was like, “Can you build virtual technology?” The next thing you know, we’re building virtual technology, raising tens of millions of dollars, and hiring people from all over the country in weeks. Everything in life, you keep going forward. When an opportunity presents itself, you engage it. You learn and grow from it.When opportunity presents itself, be sure to engage, learn, and grow from it. Click To Tweet
For me, it was unplanned but once I got into it, I understood the power of inclusivity. It’s not just gender or race. That’s awesome and it’s important work, but even more expansively, it’s people getting to know people and getting to understand how they view the world differently than you do. The things we can learn from one another are absolutely fascinating.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s incredibly fascinating. You mentioned Juno, which is also quite fascinating to me. I was looking at your LinkedIn and there are a few things I wanted to touch upon. Before I get to that, with the Juno side of it, it starts off in your description saying, “Ten years of building great communities. The teams behind Juno have built digital communities and captured the stories that make brands great.” What does community mean to you in the Juno term?
It’s hard to explain community without using all the buzzwords and everything else, but something that I’ve always been fascinated with is human connection. I find that every single person I’ve ever met, no matter how different we were, there were things we had in common. You’ve probably heard people say this before, but it’s amazing how much we focus on what we don’t have in common versus focusing on what we do have in common. One of the things that I love about community is for a community to happen, it means two or more people have decided we’re going to find something in common.
In this world, from politics to policy to personalities, so many things are different. Even in my own family, every single one of us views policy, politicians, and finances differently. The sheer volume of things we don’t have in common is limitless, but there are things we do have in common. Community happens when we find the things we do have in common and say, “We can spend the next hour focused on what we don’t have in common and fight and disagree, which there’s time and place for a healthy discussion or we can find what we do have in common and enjoy community.”
You do a great job at that, Josh. I noticed that right from the get-go. As I said, you and I sat down. We had a short turnaround time for getting warmed up before we started the interview, and you found points right away that you had in common with me. That makes it so much easier to connect and to lean into people and have rich conversations like this. One thing about me is I can’t stand small talk. For me, this show is the opposite of small talk. I don’t want to sit here and talk for an hour about what the weather’s like. I want to come on here and get deep and get uncomfortable. Your willingness to get uncomfortable also says a lot about your willingness to connect.
When I start talking to somebody, I immediately can connect some dots on what we’re not going to have in common, and the next one is, what’s the tolerance for that? I talk a lot about I’ve lived ten lifetimes, and a word I talk a lot about is grace. That’s a powerful word when we say, “I can give somebody grace to think differently than me. I can give somebody grace to share their point of view. I don’t have to convince everybody to think like me.” It’s the benefit of the doubt, grace or whatever word or phrase you want to use.
When people are like, “I fundamentally view the world differently than you, but I sincerely want to understand the way you view the world,” interesting conversations can happen. When we fundamentally disagree and we are not interested in hearing what somebody else might have to say, that’s when the community breaks down.
That’s such a great point and that’s a lot to digest right there. Even the word grace doesn’t come up that much in conversation. I’m so glad that you brought that up. I want to ask you an uncomfortable question since you mentioned it. Did you notice a difference between us? Since you noticed these things about people right away, I’m curious in full transparency, what comes up?
You always start by assigning, which is always dangerous. Everybody does it because you don’t have anything else to go with it. You’re trying to formulate your own, “What is this person? What is not this person?” I grew up a child in the ’80s in Colorado. I was in a very politically conservative and religious family. This was the world that I grew up in. Through my travels and the things that I’ve done, my worldview expanded, but I’m traditional in things like policy. I’m old school on things like work. I am a driver and these types of things.
I was in Nashville for business and my wife was with me. The waitress came over and she was like, “What allergies do we need to be aware of.” She was just assuming. I said back to her, “I don’t have any. I was born in the ’80s.” We all started laughing saying, “I’m not an emerging person.” The joke is everybody has allergies. Everybody has these things. I’m a little old school in that. First off, the film production industry in LA is probably more Millennial mindset than maybe this guy who’s now in his 40s.” Whether those things are true or not, you were like, “I’m giving myself permission to not assign a purpose for this.”
It feels like a little bit of that emerging person. I was telling a story the other day. One of our employees that works for me came in. He was telling me about a company they were starting. I was sitting there thinking, “What a crazy world we live in. I’m your boss of a company I own and you’re coming in telling me about this new company you’re starting. I’m supposed to be happy for you because if I’m not happy for you, then I don’t support you. If I don’t support you, then who’s this boss that doesn’t support me starting another company while you are on my dime?”
Maybe the first thought when you said some of those things is maybe we have different points of view in terms of work, balance and outcomes. Even things like inclusion. I look at inclusion through a lens, but then I also have boundaries around that. As a father of two boys, I’m guarded about when we get to have certain conversations about certain things. Sexuality is one of them. I don’t want commercials to educate my kids on sexuality before we have the time to talk about those types of things.
A lot of people don’t feel that way. They’re like, “The school should be educating kids on sexuality at their own choice.” There are some things right there that you could bundle all this up and go, “There’s a lot right there that we could see the world differently on.” As a 42-year-old White male from Colorado who runs multiple companies with two boys, he grew up socially conservative, but then his world expanded into some of the most non-conservative liberal forward-facing places.
I was joking during the elections. If you scroll through my Instagram, you’d be like, “This guy is schizophrenic,” because so much of my community is on either side of policy and religion. What’s made me able to have friends across all the different sectors is a sincere desire to understand what people say. How’s that for trying to be as transparent and as honest as I can be?
You nailed it. Behind the scenes, I was laughing hysterically at some of the things that you were saying. Mostly, not laughing at them, but just laughing because I was enjoying hearing you. The way that you speak, I find incredibly pleasant. What I found interesting is that there were a number of things that we have in common and how we will have perceptions of people. As you were saying earlier like the things that we have in common versus the things that are different about us.
First of all, I love Colorado, but as you’re speaking, I started to think, “Your experience of Colorado sounds different from mine.” I then started to feel curious about what that was like. I’ve only visited it, but it’s one of my favorite states to visit. I have this viewpoint that has come from my lens as someone who grew up in Massachusetts which is very liberal, and then moved to Los Angeles which is very liberal. I lived a little in San Francisco.
That’s another thing. The political side of stuff and the liberal versus conservative. All those viewpoints and the bubbles that we can get ourselves into from that standpoint. I was laughing at the allergy thing because you don’t know me very well yet, Josh, but I have so many food sensitivities. I’m like, “Wow.” It’s funny the age thing. I’m a Millennial. Is it a Millennial generational thing of being aware of what you eat and how it impacts your body and being sensitive to food?
I watch people all the time that are derogatory towards generations or they’re derogatory towards differences. I look at it and go, “Who cares? It’s none of my deal.” “People don’t have food sensitivities.” Maybe they do, who cares? “People don’t.” Maybe they don’t. That’s the thing in this society, especially the individuality that we get to carry, whether it’s sexual orientation or religious beliefs. The hard part is it’s hard to ever find that line.
Maybe here’s a question. I always find this interesting. I was talking to somebody about this. Here’s a great example. I’m with a buddy. I grew up Christian. This guy is Palestinian Muslim. He’s a partner at KPMG. Our kids play on a club soccer team together. We are watching the US soccer tournament. He was like, “Do you know why all the Arab countries are upset at this year’s World Cup?” I was like, “No.” He goes, “FIFA is making a big deal about wearing the LGBTQ arm patch. They didn’t make a big deal about it in China. They didn’t make a big deal about it in Russia. Now that it’s in a Muslim country, they’re making a big deal about it because Muslims have a ban on gay rights and the ability to be gay.”
We’re talking about all this. First of all, I found that fascinating. I’m like, “This is such a mind bend where here is a Muslim man upset not about the gay rights issue, but about the fact that FIFA’s making it a big deal and they didn’t in other countries.” I’m curious about your thought on this. For me, if you want to believe in gender fluidity or you want to believe in whatever you want to believe in, I am like, “Cool, whatever.” What if somebody is like, “I believe that there is no homosexuality. I believe that’s a choice. I don’t believe in gender fluidity because that’s a whole thing generationally.”
Is it okay for them to think that or believe that? Why is it not okay for somebody to think this, but it is okay for somebody to think that? Where does that break down? How does that process actually function? If I say to you, “I’m super cool with however you view sexuality or whatever it might be,” and somebody else says, “I view it this way,” where does it break down?
We talk about being uncomfortable as a CEO when you sitting there with all these different people. On my team, there are people that are like, “I believe this about politics or sexuality or policy.” Other people go, “I believe this.” At some point in time, both of them will say, “It’s not okay for you to think that.” Who decides? How do we figure that part out?
I love that question because I think about this all the time. I feel so confused by it. This came up on the show. I’m not a hundred percent sure because sometimes there’s a blur between things I talk about with guests on the show and things I do outside of the show, but I feel like it was a recent guest or maybe it was in therapy. I might have talked about this with my therapist expressing how I often struggle with this. There seems to be fluidity in our ideas and our belief systems and the gray areas. I tend to be a very gray-area person. Speaking of safety, I feel safer in the gray because the black and white feel too rigid and confusing to me.
Is there a right and a wrong or is there never a right and a wrong? Is it that we’re all on some spectrum of different beliefs and life experiences? As you mentioned, it’s all the factors. When we’re talking about inclusivity and all the different types of people out there, not only are there different types of people from gender, race, where they grew up, sexuality, religion, and politics. All these things make us unique and all the different combinations of those things, but then each of those individuals has a different family background
There’s trauma that comes into it and the impact trauma has on our childhood development if it happens at a young age and the trauma that we go through as a society with all these global events going on. There are constant shifts happening that basically make it so every single person in this world is looking at life through a different lens. That to me is simultaneously beautiful and wildly confusing. How do you communicate with anybody if we’re all vastly different?
I think that there’s grace that comes back in. There’s that word again. It starts with, “I can’t tell you that the people that I spend time with, we view the world so differently.” There’s grace for that and I think it is important to not live in a world where you have to believe what you believe. Things get very challenging when that happens, but being interested in what somebody else is passionate about. My buddy who is a Muslim, we were hanging out and he was giving me this huge lesson on Palestine versus Israel through the years and the effect of it.It is important not to live in a world where you have to believe what other people believe. Click To Tweet
I heard a lot of this story through the lens of some of my Israeli or Jewish friends but I never heard the Israeli-Palestine conflict through the eyes and lens of a Palestinian man. To hear that I was like, “It is so fascinating to ask questions and to listen.” Part of connections is not to arrive at conclusions, but it’s to ask questions and say, “Over the next 30 to 45 minutes with my friend, his name is Ahmed, when we’re sitting here, I’m not attempting to draw a conclusion as much as I’m trying to ask questions and be a learner.”
That’s good enough. It’s good enough to be educated. It’s good enough to have more information versus, “Now, that you’re done talking, I’m going to arrive at a conclusion. You are right. You are wrong. You’re this. You’re that.” I don’t know that I need to arrive at a conclusion here. I need to engage in questions. That’s a big difference too. Everybody thinks that they’ve got to have a conclusion on everything. Maybe you don’t need a conclusion on everything. Maybe you need more information. You need to be supportive and be a listener.
That is so well said. I imagine that it is a helpful mentality to have as a CEO like what you’re describing, especially if you’re working with creative types, which it sounds like you do. There are a lot of creative people and you’re also very community-focused, which lends itself to diversity in general. All these diverse perspectives and different types of people form a community amongst all the things you have in common. It sounds like understanding this can help you navigate that role as CEO. Do you find that to be true?
At its core, what people want is to be heard. We think they want to be agreed with. I found so often that I’ll finish the conversation with somebody and go, “Let me tell you what I hear you say.” They then go, “That’s what I said,” and I go, “Awesome. I heard it.” You think they’re going to be, “And,” but they don’t do that very often. More often than not, it’s like, “Thank you.” You’re like, “You’re welcome.” I’d say to them, “I’ll keep that in mind, but let me make sure that I heard you.”What people really want is to be heard, not agree with. Click To Tweet
I was at a meeting and one of our teammates brought up 4 or 5 things that they wanted to see changed on our website. Our sales team, marketing team, and product team were there. They all were trying to argue about the way a sentence was said. Ultimately, I was like, “This seems like a big deal for everybody. Let’s get on. I’ll hear it out and I’m going to make the decision.” One thing I did each time was, “Let me make sure I hear what you’re saying.” At its core, people want to be heard, and that’s such a foreign thing anymore. One of the biggest blessings we can give people is to let them be heard.
You sound like a wonderful person to work for. I wish more people were like you. In my background, I was working in a more traditional job. Now, I work in consulting freelance environments. I do have clients and there are communication breakdowns with them too. It is incredibly common. Sometimes, I’m yearning for someone to be a little bit more aware of how to handle this. I found this so much in various roles I’ve had where I’ve had a manager.
Right now, it’s rare for me to be managed by someone. I’m usually managing a team or something in the marketing work that I do. When I was working in retail many years ago, there was such a huge difference between the manager who had the knowledge and training that you’re describing. This ability to work through conflict and tension, to understand someone, to hear them and reflect that back.
A lot of it is parallel to therapy. You see therapists doing this. As a coach in the other work that I do on the well-being side of things, I was trained to do exactly what you’re describing. A lot of times people just want to be heard. Sometimes you’re reflecting back on what they’re saying, which gives you both clarity on that and helps you move forward.
What I’ve seen a lot of managers, bosses, and CEOs do poorly in my work history was taking this stance of, “I’m right and you have to listen to me.” It’s almost parental. Some parents do this too. Mine certainly did. It’s like, “I’m the authority figure. You have to listen to me.” As a kid, that didn’t work for me and my parents. That made things worse.
Many managers and leaders see success as being right or being the boss. Success as a leader is about the evolution of other people. When you don’t have a vision bigger than your current role, then you’re always going to try to keep everybody under you. When you have a vision for something bigger than you’re on, then you’re like, “I need you to get above me because the higher you rise, the higher I rise being that I have a bigger vision.”
In leadership, especially when you own businesses, my number one goal is to have a successful business. It’s not to be the CEO. I am the CEO. The goal is not about wielding power, it’s about success. It’s always like, “What’s my role here?” People also lack the social skills to know how to ask questions and how to disagree. That’s probably a great course out there, how to disagree with people because we’re going to disagree with each other more and more in the coming years for all the reasons you and I talked about.
Look at the thing we already have viewed very differently. I’m making fun of food allergies like they don’t exist. You have lots of food sensitivities. We have this massive thing that could literally create tension and anger among people. When I go, “I believe you,” and you can believe me that I don’t. You could say, “Yeah, but Josh, you don’t know your body well enough. You have a lot of sensitivities, but you don’t know your body.”
I’d go, “Do you have the social EQ? Is that worthwhile or not or could we laugh about the differences and find something that we could share in common?” We can laugh about our differences. We can connect on the things we have in similar.” That’s a great thing too. We always joke that in my kids’ travel soccer team, all the dads are executives at different companies and all big personalities. We always say, “You have to have a great sense of humor and thick skin to be with this group.” That’s a great rule of thumb for relational success in life. Laugh at yourself, have some thick skin, relax a little bit, enjoy the ride, and you’re going to have a lot more joy in life.
That’s great advice. On that note, here’s another loaded question for you that maybe you don’t have an opinion on, but I’m curious to see if you’ve given this much thought because it seems to be coming up a lot. We’re recording this episode at the beginning of December 2022. In the past month or so, there’s been a lot of online discourse around how Elon Musk operates as a leader. Do you have anything that you want to share? Some of the things that you were talking about in terms of leadership have been part of this conversation about how Elon Musk took over Twitter.
I shared a very interesting thing. A big HR blog shared a memo that he sent out to Twitter on how to run meetings and it was awesome. This is my opinion of Elon Musk. There’s no doubt that he’s hyper-successful. In fact, I saw on LinkedIn that there’s a new chatbot out that’s taking the internet by storm. It’s one of the fastest-growing things and Elon Musk owns it. It’s like, “What in the world? This guy is everywhere.”
I think Elon Musk is an old-school leader. He’s passionate and mission-driven, whether you agree with the mission or not. We have to remember that just because we don’t agree with the mission, it doesn’t mean he’s not mission-driven. I’ve often said to people, “Can you imagine you have your vision for success while you had your time on Earth?” You would say, “I was successful with my life on Earth if,” and then everybody fills in the blank. Some people are like, “If I’m a great dad.” Some people are like, “If I make a million dollars.” Some people are like, “If I have a country club membership.” Some people are like, “If I have a second home.”
We all have these aspirations about what success looks like. His is to occupy Mars. Think about the success bar when you’re like, “I failed as a human because we didn’t occupy Mars.” I’m answering that question in a couple of layers. Number one, his vision for success is high. I don’t think he cares about people in the sense of their feelings. He cares about the human race living on because he talks a lot about it.
I think he has a macro view of people of like scientific species. I don’t think he has a micro view of human beings as people’s souls. You see he’s got this wild ambition and you think, “This guy cares about the human race,” and he does. At the macro level, this dude cares about the human race. At the micro level, this guy does not care about individual people. That is what makes this guy interesting. What do I think about Elon Musk? I can’t even fathom an ambition like occupying Mars. His risk tolerance is through the roof and it’s something to be admired, and not necessarily replicated because I don’t think very many people have the stomach to do what the guy has done.
He won a billion-dollar contract with the government. He beat out Boeing because Boeing basically presented an offer to NASA and said, “Here are all the reasons why you should invest a billion dollars with us, why we won’t blow up rockets, and we will do it perfectly.” Elon Musk came in and said, “Here’s why you should give me a billion dollars. This is how many rockets I’ll be able to blow up in the first year.” That’s pretty crazy.
A traditional mind said, “Look how we’ll protect your investment.” He went in and said, “Look how I’ll destroy it so that we can do this?” He was the first one to send a rocket up from Earth and land it right back on. He’s a fascinating human. I don’t think he cares about micro people. I don’t even know that he has the capacity to with the way that he’s such an interesting human.
Do I think he has a good leadership style? No. Do I think he has always been able to attract some of the most brilliant mission people? People were on a mission to lower greenhouse footprints and everything else. Look what he did. People that are on a mission to send rockets. Look at what he did. The guy is fascinating. I just don’t think he cares about people.
That’s such an insightful perspective. I am deeply fascinated by Elon Musk more and more so. It’s been growing and growing. He feels so mysterious and yet I keep finding myself thinking, “Why don’t I see him negatively?” It seems like some people can’t stand him. They think he’s awful. All of these negative things come out. I’m wondering, “Why do I only see him as a complex human being that’s ultimately doing a lot of great things?” I feel open. It’s like I’m trying to convince myself to not like him because I don’t like some of his leadership styles. There are a lot of cultural issues.
I’m not only a Tesla owner but a Tesla stockholder. I’m invested in that company and him managing it well. I’m sad about what’s happening over at Twitter and hoping that Twitter pulls through because I think it’s such a cool platform and has so much nostalgia for people like me. At the same time, part of me is like, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if he completely destroyed Twitter? What would come out of that?”
Even though there are people’s lives and livelihoods that are very attached to that platform, I feel bad for them as an individual, part of me is looking at it like, “What if he’s trying to blow things up in a way because it has a macro perspective?” He is looking at things in the long term and willing to risk it all in a way that other people aren’t and they can’t even relate to that. How can you relate to somebody who’s willing to burn everything to the ground to have it rebuilt in a better way? Maybe that’s why he’s so polarizing.
Whether we like it or not, people have to find common ground. You have to be able to be on a public square, which is what he keeps referring to, and you’ve got to be able to stomach and tolerate indifference. I think we live in a society right now and there are a lot of good things that have come out of our intolerance. There are a lot of good things that have come out of it, and there are a lot of non-sustainable things.
You can’t force people to not have an opinion that’s different from yours. You can’t force people to stop what they believe and what they feel. What you can do is educate people on conversations and grace. I haven’t given this a lot of thought, but in a lot of ways, what he said is Twitter has to be a place for everyone to disagree. If somebody gets booted or gets marginalized or it’s designed in a way to protect one side or the other, you don’t have progress as a human race being sustainable.You can’t force others to stop what they believe and feel. What you can do is educate them on conversations and grace. Click To Tweet
If you got on Truth Social or whatever that thing is called, that Donald Trump thing, I’m sure you’re not going to get a balanced conversation. The theory with Elon Musk is how do we create a balanced environment, which means sometimes you’re going to see stuff that makes you want to throw your phone across the room, but you also have to work that muscle and say, “I’m not letting that statement or that thing wreck my day.” It is part of sustaining some stuff.
I think you’re onto something with that. There’s so much to explore with you, Josh. I value the way that you think these things through and how much you’re willing to lean into that discomfort of disagreement. Since we’re getting close to the end of our time together, there’s one last thing I would love to hear about which is related to your LinkedIn because I found this interesting. This didn’t come from you because as I’m reading it, I’m thinking whether you write this or this comes from the company or both. It starts off in your about section of LinkedIn talking about, “We are people who have signed up to undertake projects.} What I found interesting is you’re talking about your values and behaviors, and all of them start with the letter E. Did you write this or is this a company statement?
I did write those.
I want to hear about this because you expect greatness, energy, effort, engaged, excellence, earn everything, and end well. Why do they all start with E and where did these values and behaviors come from?
I’m a sucker for things rhyming, making sense, and alliterations. Part of it is I found out later in life because of my son that I’m dyslexic. I didn’t know that until we found out he was. My brain learns and retains better when I can frame and when I can put that together. I wanted to write about the values of the people that I wanted to work with. What were those values of people that I was like, “That’s who I want to work with.” It was things like earn everything. There are statements underneath each one of them. One of them is we don’t ask for handouts, but we take hand-ups.
I’m a huge believer in that. I believe in hands ups and a lot of people don’t, but I don’t believe in handouts and a lot of people do. I want you to earn it because when you earn it, you care for it better and you take care of it better. That’s a big one for me. Energy is like I work all day long. When I’m in a meeting with somebody, I want to feel the energy. I want them to inspire me. I want them to push me. I want them to expect great things are going to happen each day. All these different things that we end up putting together are the seven values. We call them the seven Es. It’s our seven E values and culture that we live by and believe in.
To clarify, who are we?
It started with Juno, which is one of my companies, but it started even before then. I put this together for the portfolio of companies that I run. I have several different companies and I instituted this in like, “When you come to work with anything that Josh leads, this is what we’re looking for.” I want people that are like, “I want to work hard. I want to earn this. I want to end well.” Don’t start a project and then fumble at the end because you didn’t want to put the energy in to end well. Those are all the different things we do.
Speaking of ending well, I’m going to read that statement and hopefully, we will end well with this episode. Your statement is, “We don’t believe in excuses. We don’t accept blame-shifting. We mess things up. We never stay silent. We fearlessly and courageously own our shits. We dot Is and cross Ts. We see every single day as a chance to end well. We never put off tomorrow what we can finish today.”
That’s the kinds of boys I want to raise. That’s the kind of company I want to lead. It’s the kind of people I want to be around. I can’t stand when people mess up and they don’t own it and they point fingers. Just own it, whatever. You messed up. Big deal. Have the courage and integrity to own your stuff. I love the seven Es. I love leading out of them. Our team loves being around them. It’s our cultural glue.
The letter E that you show up in the description of your podcast, which is in progress, is how I discovered you. It’s called Building Inclusive Digital Communities. It says that the podcast is to help leading organizations, nonprofit or for-profit brands by emphasizing human connection and engagement with digital communities. The Es are still showing up in that description. I’m curious about where you’re at with the podcast. When does it come out? How are you feeling about it? Where are you in that process?
It’s been a great experience. I’ve not done podcasting. I’ve done a lot of communicating. I’ve done TEDx. I’m a global ambassador for the US State Department of Entrepreneurship. Speaking has always been a huge part of my life. This was new and our marketing team is running it. I don’t even know. I thought it was live. Is it not live yet?
I have to double-check. The last I saw it, it wasn’t. Maybe it has come out since I last checked.
I thought it was, but this is one of the good and bad as you get a little bit further along.
It came out in October 2022. The first episode is Building Inclusive Teams in a Virtual World. You have guests on there. I put you on the spot here, Josh. I didn’t mean to. You have nine episodes out already and you have a co-host on the show. What’s her name?
Megan is our Director of Engagement. She’s awesome. She does a lot of them. I do some of them and it’s just great conversations on how we can be inclusive online and in a community, and the importance of this. As we talked about in this episode, you don’t have to draw a conclusion, ask questions, and give grace. We’re all trying to figure this thing out. Nobody got it figured out so be grace-driven. I think those are important qualities.
I think so too. That’s exactly what drew me to have you on the show. You’re a phenomenal speaker, Josh. It’s no surprise that you’ve been doing this professionally for a long time. With so many projects going on and so many companies you’re running, it’s awesome to have all this team support behind doing the podcast. That’s so great and I wish you nothing but the best with it. I’m a big believer in podcasting. I love seeing different perspectives and voices getting out there. That’s the beauty of the show.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me and the audience. Josh, you had so many great quotes that I’ve highlighted in the show notes for anyone who wants to go back and reread them, copy and paste, or share them perhaps. You’ve got a lot of quotable moments, Josh. Your speaker training has shined its light here. I’m grateful for the time that you took out of everything you got going on to be here.
The pleasure is mine. You are a phenomenal host. You are very easy to talk to. You’ve got a great sense of humor. I think it’s imperative in this world that we walk with that. Thank you for having me. Truly, the pleasure was mine. I can’t wait to see where it all goes.
About Josh Hotsenpiller
Josh Hotsenpiller is a premier thought leader on human connection. As a TEDx alumni and U.S. Department of State speaker ambassador, Josh travels globally equipping and inspiring people across all sectors to re-learn and resurrect the power of human connection and soft skills. From keynotes to executive training, Josh partners with leading companies like HP Global and wrote the Beyond Allies EQ-based curriculum with Network of Executive Women.
Harnessing his desire to scale purpose-centered ideas, Josh co-founded Profits 4 Purpose, a SAAS software company empowering nearly 1 million global employees to volunteer and donate. After an exit from what is now Blackbaud, Josh founded and remains CEO of CrowdHub and Wisdom Capture. In 2020, Josh and his partners launched JUNO to enable deep connections to people, content and experiences for virtual and hybrid events, and to help clients realize 365-day community engagement.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the This Might Get Uncomfortable community today: