Aparna Rae – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Requires Deep Structural Change

Aparna Rae – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Requires Deep Structural Change

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the workplace requires data, but also deep structural change and the most powerful lever is transparency, argues my guest, Aparna Rae, in the latest Power of Ten.

Aparna is an educator by training, innovator by chance and disrupter by choice who loves to solve problems, connect people and build power.

She is an award-winning multi-startup founder and founder of Moving Beyond, leveraging data to create workplaces that work for everyone, building products that solve complex DEI and people challenges using real-time Employee Voice & Impact data, grounded in human-centered design.

In 2021, she joined a cadre of female founders - just 2% of all women-owned businesses whose companies reach $1M in revenue.

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Note: This transcript is machine-generated and may contain some errors.

Andy Polaine (00:00): Hi, and welcome to Power of Ten, a show about design operating at many levels, zooming out from thoughtful detail through to organizational transformation and onto changes in society and the world. My name is Andy Polaine. I’m a design leadership coach, service design and innovation consultant, educator and writer.

My guest today is Aparna Rae, an educator by training, innovator by chance and disruptor by choice who loves to solve problems, connect people, and build power. She’s an award-winning multi startup founder and founder of Moving Beyond leveraging data to create workplaces that work for everyone, building product products that solve complex DEI and people challenges using real-time employee voice and impact data grounded in human-centered design. In 2021, she joined a cadre of female founders, just 2% of all women owned businesses whose companies reached 1 million in revenue. Aparna, welcome to Power of Ten.

Aparna Rae (00:55): Thanks for inviting me, Andy.

Andy Polaine (00:57): Well, it’s quite a bio. I’m interested always to know how people got to where they are and what their journey is. So what was your journey to where you are now?

Aparna Rae (01:10): Yeah, it’s been a meandering journey. I spent the first decade of my career in education and I went to college to become a public school teacher and after a year of teaching I realized I wasn’t going to be happy and I wasn’t going to be impactful as a public school teacher. And it just kind of started me on a path of entrepreneurship. I created my very first startup 10 years ago building a workforce development program for immigrant refugee women and then did a stint in India upskilling teachers there, and came back to the US in 2017 at a time when there was a lot of movement following Trump winning the elections. And I think there was a moment where a lot of people were asking themselves how we do better so that we don’t find ourselves in this situation again. And it created an opening for me to have conversations that I was only having in a small group, one of our hush communities, and start to scale it up.

(02:39): And the ideas really were like, how do we surface data that highlight the experiences people are having so that the experiences of folks that are underrepresented at work? And for me, the journey really started with activating women of color in the US and growing from there. But in 2020, I started moving beyond because I noticed that a lot of organizations that were setting out to build tools and resources and programs and strategies for employee engagement and for de and I, we’re not actually considering the state of the state. And you know this, right? You’ve been at work a really long time. We can’t bury the experiences of people in aggregates. We can’t say that 80% of our organization feels a sense of belonging when people of color don’t feel that, when immigrants don’t feel that. And so yeah, that’s how I got to building, Moving Beyond, and now I am in the process of planning a sabbatical year and taking a break from this work and this phase of my life.

Andy Polaine (04:00): So I’m sure it’s well earned, that’s for sure. And given everything you’ve been doing so far, where have you found yourself in terms of do you feel like saturated with everything you’ve been doing and you just want a clear head or, I talk to a lot of leaders obviously, and that’s part of my job as a design leadership coach and there is a point where’re like I need some space to think.

Aparna Rae (04:36): Yeah, I think it’s a couple of things, right? We’ve just lived through a really intense period in our lives and I don’t even know that I can say that we’ve lived through it. You’re living through a global pandemic. And so I think it’s fair to say that a lot of us are burnt out and those of us that have been trying to shift cultures and systems inside of organizations that are so hard and so sticky, there’s an element of burnout. And so there’s definitely one piece of it, which is I’m tired and I’ve been feeling burnt out because of the kind of work that we’ve been doing over the last couple of years. And then there’s an element of wanting some space to think. When I started moving beyond almost four years ago, I felt like I was clear that data was the answer. I just believed in it so so much.

(05:50): And in fact, at the peak of companies coming to us and asking us to help them build out DE&I programs and train their employees and coach their leaders, we were saying, actually no, we don’t do this right? We are not going to walk in and train folks without knowing how people are experiencing the organization, how people are thinking and feeling. And we were really firm at the cost of millions of dollars in potential revenue. We just said no to a lot of people that weren’t going to use data. That’s how firm I felt in the belief that data was going to solve a lot of these challenges. And now at the end of these four years, I’m realizing that it’s just not enough. I’m looking back at the 55 companies that we’ve worked with and noticing where there are successes. And I think yes, for sure, having some good information, some good reliable information to make decisions on is important.

(07:09): I would never say that it’s not important and it’s not enough because ultimately the places and spaces where we have been the most successful are ones where the leaders already believed in the importance of taking care of their people in humanity in stretching budgets so that folks were not having to make the decision between paying their rent and feeding themselves, which is very much a reality for tens of millions of folks in the United States and honestly all over the world, but specifically all over the high income western world. So yeah, I am going to take some time off to really think about what’s next for me, but also try and get my head around if data is not going to solve the problems, if a widget and all of the tools and technologies are not going to solve some of these problems, then is and is it possible to do it at scale

Andy Polaine (08:23): There? There’s obviously a whole group of people who are banking on AI is going to solve it all and everything will be happy.

Aparna Rae (08:32): I don’t know that I am.

Andy Polaine (08:34): Nor am I. I guess I’d like to sort of go back to one thing. We talked a little bit when we talked once before the show about this idea of fear and anxiety in stakeholders. And I guess there’s two bits to it when you say data’s not enough, which is the thing I encountered over and over again with working, either working with coachee or working with clients is the desire and whatever it was, it might have been DN and I initiatives, or it might have been some innovation thing or whatever it was they were trying to change in some way. Let’s put it that way. There was some change that they were trying to achieve and there was either a kind of shrug of helplessness at this aspect of structural change or there was, well, that’s kind of just off limits, or there was fear and anxiety or kind of all three. So I’m kind of interested there. It feels to me like yes, the data is important, but I would guess it also leads to you need some structural change. You can’t keep things like whether it’s incentives or hiring processes or a number of other things the same and expect then to just be able to bolt some extra stuff on the top. How did you find leadership of those organizations in terms of their appetite and fear for structural change and is my hypothesis, do you agree with that? What I’m saying

Aparna Rae (10:13): Wholeheartedly agree with that? Absolutely. Well, okay. We need structural change. We also need to be in compliance with the various laws of the land,

Andy Polaine (10:33): The stuff that already exists,

Aparna Rae (10:35): The stuff that already exists. And so I often talk about pay equity both with my clients but also as an advocate in the community. And the thing is that pay equity is actually the law of the land. You should be doing it. And because it’s not a thing for which there are consequences, if you don’t do it, there’s no consequences because this information is not transparent. This information is not transparent. Companies are getting away with it and have been getting away with it and are going to continue to get away with it. Our governments, whether it’s here in the US or in the UK or honestly anywhere, the government knows when you’re not in compliance, just like the government knows when you haven’t paid your taxes and they can come get you. And for me, I think the question often is why isn’t it important?

(11:38): I think the reason that it’s not important is who’s getting underpaid typically tends to be women, it tends to be immigrants, it tends to be people with disabilities, where in the United States you don’t even have to pay a minimum wage to somebody that has disabilities. There are lots of carve outs and caveats for that. We don’t have to pay young people an equitable salary. And so I would say companies need to start with doing some of those things. And in the absence of regulatory behaviors, you should do the honor system. And the honor system is that you do things like pay equity when it comes to things like hiring, again in the US it is the law to make sure that the way in which you’re advertising jobs and the ways in which you’re hiring people doesn’t discriminate against folks. And you and I both know that the way in which hiring happens is through a system of referrals, which systematically disadvantaged is people that are not currently in the circle.

(12:50): If I don’t know about it, there’s no way for me to ask you to put in a referral for me. And so yes, we need better systems, we need better processes, and I think this is actually where when they’re built, well, L AI can go a long way. A colleague of mine in the Seattle area is building, I think in some ways really simple technology that even just helps hiring managers see how they interview people differently on the basis of gender and race and ethnicity. And one of the things that they found is across the board, it’s sector agnostic, but across the board, hiring managers are allowing female candidates to speak somewhere between six and nine fewer minutes than men in a 30 minute interview. So if somebody in a 30 minute interview is getting to speak, let’s say let’s even be the conservative right end of it, six minutes less, well, that’s six minutes less of information that they’re going to be able to share or answer your questions.

(14:15): And that’s important to know. That is important to know. So I think that there’s that piece we can use technology to address some systems change, but I think ultimately when I think about change from a 30 or maybe a 50,000 foot view, then we’re looking at a world where more women and more people of color are in positions of leadership because they’ve been promoted equitably because they’ve been paid equitably. And I think that a lot of the fear and anxiety, whether it’s articulated or not, comes from the fact that people who have been in positions of power can see and feel that working differently is going to have different outcomes. And who’s in the corner office and who’s in the boardroom is going to have to change. How does it not change? Right?

Andy Polaine (15:25): Yeah, no, absolutely. I think there’s a, it’s a really crass question. I’m less embarrassed to ask you it, but it comes up often enough that I feel like I’d love to hear your answer to it, which is this idea of yes, yes. But either there’s something like what’s the return on investment of doing this or there’s yes, but if we have two people who are, it’s always framed in this way, which is if we have someone who is, doesn’t look like me, not a white middle-class male, middle-aged male, and someone who’s not that but is then less qualified, should we be promoting the one who’s less qualified? And it always seems to be that that’s a straw man, that second one, because it comes up so often, I’d really like to hear your answer to it. I know, I think it’s a bit of a rubbish question actually.

Aparna Rae (16:19): If the people that have been getting promoted were in fact qualified, I think we would have fewer problems.

Andy Polaine (16:32): That’s such a good answer. Yeah, absolutely. Right. Yeah.

Aparna Rae (16:35): So I think this is many, many, many years ago when I was in grad school, I had a professor, I was probably at a conference and somebody said, stereotypes don’t come out of nowhere. There’s an element, there’s a basis of truth in a stereotype. So whether it is women crossing the street when they see a group of men walking towards them, and the stereotype is that you might be violent. And so I’m taking precautions and I’m putting myself out of harm’s way, and hopefully we get to live in a world where that’s not going to be the case where I can cross paths with, let’s say four men when I’m a single woman walking on the street and they’re not going to do anything except maybe smile at me and say hello, or maybe even walk me to my car. But there is a kernel of truth in a lot of stereotypes, and there is one about mediocre white men, mediocre white men running things, and they’re not that good. They’re not actually good at it. You also asked this question, which I think it’s a rubbish question, not because you asked it, but because it’s a question that distracts us from what the work is. And this question of like, well, what’s the return on investment? And I would say for whom?

(18:21): I think the return on investment of having really deep inequity, which shows up as income inequality, which shows up as grossly underfunded or unavailable social safety net systems in many places of the world, is it really works for a small group of people and it works for a homogenous group of people. And so yeah, shifting our systems to be more equitable, to be more fair, to be more just, and honestly at the end of the day, to not take dignity and humanity away from people, which is what I think ultimately is at risk when we’re forcing people to choose between rent and food or heating and food is that world that more humane world actually offers better returns for women. It offers better returns for immigrants, for queer folks, for disabled folks, it doesn’t for the white men that are at the top of the pyramid or class privileged men, if we want to look beyond the white Western world places in India, China, class privileged folks are in these positions of leadership. It doesn’t, the return on investment isn’t there for them.

Andy Polaine (19:52): Yeah, yeah. You’ve reminded me of this book by, there we go, by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, I don’t know if you know of it, you probably may do.

(20:06): He has written quite a lot about this. And there’s a really good podcast, actually. It’s called The Broad Experience, and it’s about women’s experience at work, and he was on there and I never get over. The title is so good, why do so many incompetent men become leaders? And the main premise of it is everything you’ll already know, which is kind what you’ve just said, but some of it was also men tend to put them forward sales forward for stuff that they don’t have any idea about how to do, but they can see advantageous when women are generally socialized not to do that. And so that just gradually creates this kind of shift. The reason why I also, that question though, was there, what you just talked about before, at the beginning in 2017, there was this kind of upswell of, and Black Lives Matter had been going for quite some time, but there was a sudden kind of awareness of it, and obviously all the protests in the states and stuff, in fact around the world, and everyone put in their DNI initiatives. And then as most of us probably know, quite a lot of the big tech companies in particular, but I think it’s happened elsewhere in the name of efficiencies and things are getting tight, which in the states is not actually the case. The economy is in fact doing okay, but with the prospect of perhaps it might not, and all the layoffs, those DEI teams have been some of the first to go,

(21:43): So hence the kind of ROI question. I guess that’s why I think it is a crappy question though. There was a really good cartoon, I think it’s by Tom Fishburne. He has, he’s a cartoonist, his website I think’s called the Marketoonist. I’ll try and find it later. And there was a cartoon and there’s an audience, there’s someone on stage and they’re saying, and they’ve got a slide up that says Sustainable Planet Income equity and all of these other social justice issues. And there’s someone in the audience going, but what happens if this is all a hoax and if we’re just building a better world for nothing? It’s very astute cartoon, which I kind of feel like that’s where you are going with this is like, why wouldn’t you?

Aparna Rae (22:32): I ask myself that. I mean, I ask myself that all. I think I ask myself that all the time, and I have a couple of friends that left the world of big finance and are now on their own path of figuring out what they want to do in life. And one of the things that a friend and colleague of mine, Sam CIO shared with me is the law dictates that a company prioritize shareholders over just about everything else, so mean well, but they can also get sued for prioritizing employee wellbeing at the cost of, let’s say, slower growth for shareholders. And then I think about, well, who owns shares? And a really small handful of people own the bulk of the equity in the Fortune 500, fortune 1000 companies, these large cap publicly traded companies. But I think even in privately held companies or nonprofit organizations, there’s such a gross disparity.

(23:51): And I am starting to think that this is a way for people to keep us locked into systems. And I’m not the only person thinking this keep us locked into systems where we’re so tired, we’re so tired, we don’t actually have time for activism. I mean, what stands out about 2020 in the summer where people were having protests around the world, not just the United States, but George Floyd’s murder sparks something, and it’s because so many of us were not working. It is because so many people were not working, and it created a moment to pause and reflect and engage, and there were masses on the streets. So we need the time and the space to be able to do that. I also a big fan of Octavia Butler’s work, black Sci-Fi author, such an incredible thinker. And there’s an interview with her from I think sometime in the nineties where people are asking her, why are you advocating for taxing homes of people who don’t have kids? Because in the United States it’s the tax on homes, funds, schools.

(25:25): I think it’s after she wrote the parables and she says, look, I don’t want to live in a society where people are illiterate because literacy is a path to civic engagement. Literacy is a path to innovation. Literacy is a path to having a more equitable society. So I’m happy to pay my taxes because it means that I am in a literate world. And that’s what I come back to is when people say, well, why should I care? Or why should I do it? Or what do I have to gain from it? I think what anybody has to gain from it is happier people, nicer, cleaner cities, better public transportation, probably less violence.

Andy Polaine (26:19): Yeah. Just before recording, actually, I was speaking to a student of mine and she’s working on a project about people in the Philippines gaining access to financial aid when they have cancer.

(26:35): And one of the things that she’s identified is it’s just there’s a process thing there. So they have to make an application, they have to go and be assessed, but that means they have to go to the clinic to be assessed. There’s no kind of booking mechanism by which they can kind of book in times. And there’s also a kind of cutoff at the other end. So what happens is people get up at 4:00 AM everyone goes there. And so these are all people who have got some compromised people who are going to have to compile in at the same time.

(27:12): And because of the nature of it, they might have multiple sources of income, sorry, of assessment. And so they have to go through this several times. And it’s one of those things where you are saying, Hey, well, you just need to apply for this thing without the thought going into, what does that actually mean for those people to do that? So this is people who are self-identifying as pretty much being in poverty saying, you need to get on a bus. You need to then spend your whole day, and you probably may need to come with someone to come here and we’re going to put you through this over and over again. And it’s just, for me, from a service design perspective, that’s one of those intensely frustrating things where I kind think that’s not even upstream. Obviously it’d be great if the meds for free and then upstream from that, it’d be great if there’s no cancer.

(28:01): But those are sort of, well, the meds for free thing is a designable thing. That’s a policy choice. But that sort of process area of things where you just make it incredibly difficult for people and there’s a kind of, well, that’s just the way it is. Drives me absolutely nuts. Those feel to me, those are kind of powerful levers. And I’m interested in the work that you’ve done. You’ve mentioned before about the systems effect of things and that kind of systems thinking. Obviously in that methodology or that mindset, there’s this idea of having different levers in a system, and I’m really interested to know what you have found has been the most powerful lever. That’s actually something that you can push upon versus laddering up to capitalism. It’s broken, which, and so you can drift away at that, but at the organizational level, I’m really interested to know what you’ve found that has been one of the most powerful potent levers to push on to create change.

Aparna Rae (29:06): Transparency.

Andy Polaine (29:09): Transparency. That came out like a shot. Okay, tell me more.

Aparna Rae (29:13): So I think 2019, this is my last startup and future for us. We started with doing a program called State of Women of Color, and I would say in part because I love data and I read a lot of reports and I am glued to the news and I also enjoy humor. So it was a little bit of, I’m not going to call it a standup, but it was a little bit of here’s happening in the world. This is how it impacts you. And I remember that after every single one of the state of women of colors, there would be dozens of people who would walk up to me and they would say, I had no idea. I had no idea that 80% of people are hired from referrals. Gosh, if I had known that I would be referring a lot of people or I had no idea the state of income inequality.

(30:28): I had no idea that less than 2% of female founders ever, and we’re talking lifetime revenue of a million dollars ever hit. 2% hit a lifetime revenue of a million dollars and a million dollars is not a lot of money and so many of them, or promotion, promotion, velocity, I had no idea that men in my company were getting promoted faster than women. I’ve always felt it, but I just didn’t know that that was actually what was happening. And so I think that transparency is really powerful. Transparency is really powerful. How we get there is hard and tricky, and data can be manipulated in all the ways, right? Data can be manipulated in a lot of different ways, but I think at the end of the day, transparency,

Andy Polaine (31:31): It also triggers a lot of fear and anxiety. Obviously transparency, I guess that’s the sort of resistance to it as well. You said something there, you said, oh, it’s a bit like a standup, which made me think the thing that’s going on that’s been plaguing climate scientists for ages, it’s kind of not like we don’t know the problems and they tend towards, if people just knew the data more, if people just knew more stats and facts and figures, they would change their behavior. And as we know, none of us do, or we want our cake and eat it, I’m interested in, then it takes a David Attenborough Blue Planet documentary where there’s a seahorse with an earbud round its tail or a polar bear on a piece of ice, and that immediately hooks people and it goes, oh my God, we need to get rid of plastics. That’s a conversation that’s sort of gone away again as well. I’m interested in the storytelling aspect of what you just talked about. It feels to me like that landed in a way. You could have gone up and said, here are the stats and sent that out, and you probably did, but somehow that landed with people than maybe just doing that. And I’m interested to know what you felt about the way you did that was a thing that landed in a way that maybe just facts and figures on their own.

Aparna Rae (32:50): I think that we have to, so before I say what I was going to say, I’m going to say the reason that I am so drawn to Sci-Fi is because there is, and fiction and fiction in general, and I am a voracious reader, is because it transports you into a different reality. You have an opportunity to put yourself somewhere else and try it on and try it on. Do I want to live on Mars? I don’t know. But when I’m reading The Martian, yeah, I mean, my answer is also, no, my answer is also

Andy Polaine (33:34): Because Elon Musk is there. That’s why I don’t want go.

Aparna Rae (33:37): Well, sorry. Even if he wasn’t there, it just feels like I live in the Pacific Northwest, which is lush and green all year round, and we have our mountains and we have so much water and just imagining, and I think for me, it’s like imagining not having that feels really hard. I can’t imagine living on Mars unless we can figure out how to terraform it. And so you have to help people imagine. You have to help them draw the through line of consequences for themselves, for their families, for people that they care about. And I think the climate issue is, it’s actually, well, a lot of folks will say, well, it’s really complex. And I think ultimately it’s not really that complex. We have really intense, powerful companies lobbying, lobbying to keep us from innovating. And I’m also going to say that the way in which they’re forcing us to use our time makes us so reliant on the products that degrade our climate.

(35:10): I think in the United, the US geographically is so huge. It’s not like Europe or I think even Southeast Asia where you can get on a train and you’re going to be in a different country 90 minutes later. That’s not the case here. I can get on a train and 90 minutes later I’m still in the us. I’m still probably just in the state that I started in. So for instance, we flights everywhere if we need to travel because it’s the fastest way to travel. But the reason that we’re prioritizing speed is because we only get 10 days of holidays. And so if I want to spend maximize time with my friends or family or rest or whatever, then I’m taking a flight because that’s the fastest way. Or I’m buying individually wrapped snacks and all kinds of things, and why am I doing it? I’m doing it because I need the convenience because I probably have five minutes to pack school lunches or my own lunch, and then I have to be on the road, so I’m not going to be putting things in a little Tupperware, and then I have the Tupperware that I have to clean.

(36:31): So we’re hooked. We’re beholden to crap that we don’t need packaged in things that are killing the planet because we’re just working all the time, we’re working all the, I mean, I don’t know if you have it where you live, but the grocery at my grocery store, there is not only cut fruit, which I just find actually so disgusting, so disgusting. But there’s also things like pre-chopped onions.

Andy Polaine (37:04): I know not quite that bad here, but…

Aparna Rae (37:06): I’m sorry. Why can you not chop an onion? And by the way, your onion is just going to be, it’s going to live longer, right? It’s going to be edible longer if you didn’t cut it.

Andy Polaine (37:22): Yeah, speed and convenience are a particular,

(37:26): Particularly pernicious, and I think that convenience is things that sold as convenience often. And I guess in that systems effect, obviously one person’s convenience then makes it an inconvenience for someone else. I mean, you’re just kind of pushing the problem around. But the speed out of all things, this idea of the sort culture of productivity and speed, I think some of it has, a lot of it has come from tech and they’re obviously the most successful industries in the world at the moment. So let’s do more of that regardless of the consequences. But the speed thing, I just think I constantly can come back to this things of why there’s a premise there that faster is better and working faster is better. And whether it’s producing apps and products and the rest of it faster, and Amazon now release code once every second, it’s kind of absurd versus the premise of that is never questioned of why is faster, better? And it drives me nuts. Talking of speed and then slowing down. I dunno if it’s too early to ask, do you have any plans for your sabbatical or are you just going to have a bit of time to think about that?

Aparna Rae (38:47): I have a rough draft.

Andy Polaine (38:50): You don’t have to say, don’t have to let the cat out the bag or the energy out of it yet if you don’t want to.

Aparna Rae (38:55): No, I have a rough draft. So I’m one of these people that puts together a spreadsheet. Even if I’m going on a four day vacation, there’s start time, end times the plan, but the plan B, if it’s raining…

Andy Polaine (39:09): You are fun to be on vacation with.

Aparna Rae (39:12): You know what? I’m actually fun to be on vacation with because I’m prepared because I’m prepared enough.

Andy Polaine (39:19): You allow everyone else just to kind of rock up and they know that you’ll take care of it. Is that how that works?

Aparna Rae (39:25): And most of my friends are almost never prepared. So yeah, so I have a rough sketch. There’s quite a bit of travel. There are places that I want to see in the world, and that’s a priority. Learning how to speak Spanish is a priority. My partner is Mexican. And yeah, I think having a little bit more fluency feels important as we consider maybe do we want to live somewhere else in the world? I’m not from the US and I’ve lived in lots of different places and I am itching. I’m itching to spread my wings again. I’ve been back stateside for six years. Is it seven years? Six years.

Andy Polaine (40:17): Seven year itch coming up as they say

Aparna Rae (40:20): It is. Yes. So there’s that. And I think the other thing that I want to do is I want to meet people who are working on workforce issues in other parts of the world. I want to know how are you solving for it? And be with folks face-to-face in real time. Of course, I can reach out to folks and set up a zoom call and wake up at five o’clock in the morning to talk to somebody who’s in Thailand. I could do that. But I think that it is just, there’s something real and really powerful of being in person. And so that’s my other big task is I’m giving myself the goal of meeting people in real life in every city I visit during my sabbatical.

Andy Polaine (41:12): Well, if you come to Germany, I don’t live in a big city. I live in little toy town in Germany, but if you come to Germany, let let me know. Hey, look, we’re up for time. The final question, the show is named Power of 10 is named after the powers of 10 filmed by Ray and Charles Eames. It’s all about the relative size of things in the universe, and I still find it sort endlessly fascinating, both as a film, but also just and what it says about ourselves and our world and universe, but also as a way of thinking about different zoom levels and the difference it makes. So the final question is always what? One small thing, it’s either overlooked or could be redesigned, would have an outsized effect on the world.

Aparna Rae (42:01): One small thing. I feel like we need to bring back lunch breaks.

Andy Polaine (42:08): Nice. Yeah. Do you mean because of people were working at their desks or do you mean that when people were working remotely, they don’t really take a proper lunch break?

Aparna Rae (42:20): Both. I think that there’s something about giving yourself a pause. It lets you see your reality a little bit more clearly, and we need to eat right. We live in a world of work where our blood sugar is spiking and crashing constantly and we’re trying to survive off of coffee. And I actually do think that if people took their lunch break, they probably would be a little more brave. I think they would be a little bit more centered, more grounded, and probably happier.

Andy Polaine (43:10): Very good, very good. Yeah. Sleep is another one. I think I read the other day that America is just behind Japan in being the no, I think actually America is the worst, but the least amount of sleep in the world, Japan’s just slightly behind. I think it’s pretty grim. Where can people find you online? I’ve put your LinkedIn details up there.

Aparna Rae (43:32): Yeah

Andy Polaine (43:33): Anywhere else? Do you hang out on the in interwebs?

Aparna Rae (43:36): I predominantly hang out on LinkedIn and I write a weekly newsletter that has a little bit of a fan following and I’m going to be moving it to Substack and I believe it is just going to be aparnarae.com.

Andy Polaine (43:57): Okay.

Aparna Rae (43:58): So yeah, starting next week, I think you can find me there.

Andy Polaine (44:02): Okay, well, we’ll see you there. A thank you so much for being my guest on Power of 10.

Aparna Rae (44:08): Thank you for inviting me.

Andy Polaine (44:09): It’s been an absolute pleasure.

You’ve been watching and listening to Power of Ten with me, Andy Polaine. You can find more on the podcast feed wherever you found this one and now on YouTube. So if you search for my name, you should find it. I am https://pkm.social/@apolaine on Mastodon. I am still apolaine on Twitter. How long that’s going to last? I don’t know. I don’t really interact on there. Just go to polaine.com. You can check out my Leadership Coaching Practice online courses and sign up for my now pretty irregular newsletter—I’ll see how much I’m in competition with Aparna—called Doctor’s Note, which is https://newsletter.polaine.com. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to give it a rating on iTunes or a thumbs up on YouTube. Good thing about YouTube is if you’ve got any thoughts, any comments, you can put them down in the comments below or you can just get in touch on my website or the links will be in show notes. Thanks for listening and watching and I’ll see you next time.