Success Podcast Post

Get Better Every Day with Darja Gutnick

George Grombacher August 11, 2022

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Get Better Every Day with Darja Gutnick

LifeBlood: We talked about how to get better every day, making personal development a habit, using technology to develop leadership skills, and finding the best time of the day for learning, with Darja Gutnick, Founder of Bunch, an organization helping people become better leaders in two minutes a day. 

Listen to learn the importance of having the right language for important situations!

You can learn more about Darja at Bunch.AI, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Download the Bunch app HERE

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Darja Gutnick

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on live with us Georgie and the time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Daria, good nick. Daria. Are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:18
Yes, I’m so ready. Thank you for having me.

george grombacher 0:21
excited to have you on. Daria is a sight. Daria is a psychologist gone rogue she quit a Ph. D program to found a bunch which helps people become better leaders. In just two minutes a day, Daria excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:40
Yes, so um, I’m actually a bit of a strange person I like wander between worlds. We just talked about it. I’m home in Berlin, but also in New York. And I’m also kind of home between like the psychology world and the business world. So I have been a founder myself in the past. And now again, but I also did study psychology. And I actually, as you just mentioned, spent three and a half years researching, as well, full time in teaching. So I kind of like combining worlds, I think and translating things from one world to another. So to answer your question, what, why, why do I do what I do what I do, my co founder, and I found a bunch, which is a startup that builds an AI leadership coach, and also community for the new managers of today to help them do a better job when building their teams. As we all know, there’s many challenges starting with like, the whole hybrid thing, but also going into burnout and boundary protection, and many, many other challenges that we have at work nowadays. So basically, bunch allows you as a new manager to tap into a bit of a wealth of knowledge from other leaders that have been there before that share actionable insights and advice with you. And yeah, we’re we’re building that community. And we’re building best recommender systems, so to say,

george grombacher 1:59
awesome, I think that’s, that’s super cool. And I love the I love the fact I guess, love the idea. And then the fact that you did it, go into the world of academia, and teach and research for three and a half years. And so you know what, I think this is great. And I think that transition and actually putting this into a business application, I think I also want to do that. So I think that that’s great.

Unknown Speaker 2:26
I do think there was like a lot of opportunities wasted currently, when we look at like this is I think I skipped that bit of it a little bit. But it’s actually important because I think a lot of researchers and academics nowadays could probably relate. I generally was super interested in the academic like in the research side of things, I’m I like research, I still like it. There’s a lot of research to be done in startups, thankfully. Otherwise, I would be bored. But I think the research park was always super exciting. And it’s awesome to provide new insights for the world and kind of push the envelope and like what we understand about human behavior, how can we actually create environments that are more aligned with what humans need at work, and so on. However, what I also discovered when I started working full time in research, which I think is not so visible when you study is that the world of academic research is a very, very close one, like very, very close. So if you think about organizational psychology, it should be an applied subject, right? Like if we studied, like what would help managers to do a better job and would would help HR people to do a better job. And I was super surprised to find out that majority of that insight never actually reaches any of these target groups. So it’s only published in a very specific selective number of journals, which are only bought and read, not even bought, actually bought by the university and read by people like me, who, at that time, never actually had any teams or build any businesses. We just studied the field. So this like disconnect between, we create all this like knowledge, and then we bucket it away into journals and read by like 0.001% of population. And the real managers when you actually go out and you like start interviewing them, and getting to know how people actually build teams are not at all using any of that knowledge or like, to a very, very, very small degree. I think this is what actually really kind of blew my mind and made me understand that I think my role in the world is to translate all that’s there and all that’s going to come in terms of insights into saying that people actually can use because I felt that’s like the kind of broken link in our system. And we can actually enable so much good change if we help people to create better teams and help managers to do a better job by just giving them access to that information.

george grombacher 4:49
Yeah, it’s fascinating how a lot of that just would never see the light of day so need to need to free it from feel free to go out into the world. old ideas knowledge. Yeah. So I’d love to just go through maybe a use case, let’s assume that that maybe I’m a manager, and I’ve got this team of people. And is it just is it when when issues are coming up? It’s given me resources to do that? Is it giving me just different ideas on hey, if everything’s going great, here’s some ideas to proactively help. I don’t know if that’s that’s a clear question.

Unknown Speaker 5:29
Yeah. Yeah, no, no, it makes perfect sense. It’s also a bit funky and tricky that way, because I think when you think about leadership development, there is multiple entry points, like some people just like, like knowledge and learning, and they’re like, all about Oh, my God, I want to learn and as a leader, I need to stay on top of things. And like, I’m being paid to learn, like, I can just sit on my, like what I have achieved already, I need to constantly be on top of things. So we hear these posts around blog posts, or whatever, around how many books like Elon Musk reads, and Bill Gates and whoever else. So there is this idea of like I learned because I need to stay up or like keep up and stay on top of my industry and the developments there. But then there’s, of course, also the painful moments, as you just rightfully said, most of the time, it’s actually not the first like situations that bring someone to the app. So when you just get a little bit more responsibility. Many of our users are engineering managers, or product development type of managers were all in the tech space. And it’s interesting, because when they start out on that journey, they don’t necessarily immediately feel they need support. They may just like, you know, go for it first and be like, Oh, I’m doing great. Like there’s no issues I lead this meeting and that meeting, I go home now, what sort of challenge about this? And then there is the sense of low points, right? Like people leaving the tea and people and being happy some people bragging one on ones or whatever other stuff out. And you are left wondering, oh, something is not going right, what what is happening here. So I think there is different kinds of points of entry. When you have a lot of our users actually learn about the app from friends and like work friends, so former colleagues, current colleagues you trust, and you have conversations about similar topics with. And so it can very well be that you’re just recommended, the app is like a good resource to stay on top of things, so many of our users come that way. But some of our users, I think, also discover it when actually googling for a particular problem and then landing on either our community page or our blog, or generally content we put out there and then download it that way. So I think both are possible to the use case. question though. So how do users actually use the app, the most successful users actually build it into their daily routine, which is why we typically recommend like kind of designing learning into your day. So be it with bunch robots, something else like having a slot in your day for most people in the morning, while your brain is still able to soak it in, and you can focus on it, and you can just get through it quickly. Even small slots, like five minutes, two minutes, 10 minutes will make a difference. Because you can capture an idea that time, and you take it with you into your day. So whether you can apply it right away, whether it’s something you can take care of later, you got one impulse done, and you actually learned a new idea, and your brain kind of got challenged around it. So the best usage, so to say, of tools like ours is to bake them into your daily routine. And try to keep up like that routine as much as possible. Because it also helps you kind of trick your brain into you know, like making your bed in a cognitive sense. So like making a bed is nice, that’s cool, but it doesn’t teach you anything about your job. So you could consider completing your daily tip with punches, something like oh, I’ve accomplished something small already, I learned a new concept that can actually help me to have a better one on one to resolve conflicts faster to push back on an issue that my manager brings to me in a more in a better and smarter way. So there’s a lot of different topics that our users are learning about. It’s a personalized journey. So you kind of get to pick your topics as well. But what they all have in common is that they actually do it in the morning in slotted in between like yoga meditation, going for a walk out to coffee, and then before you actually jump into the kind of day to day madness with Slack and zoom and things like that.

george grombacher 9:40
Yeah, I think that that’s great. I love the idea of getting 1% better every day. And that’s going to be different for everybody for Elon Musk to get 1% Better is different than for me to get 1% better. But I think that it’s it’s maybe it’s not an obvious thing, but why wouldn’t I be able to get 1% and better every day. And if I can just make that part of my daily routine, to your point what you’ve been talking about, that’s how it’s actually going to stick versus if I need to, you know, change things and really make it if it’s difficult, there’s a 0% chance that I’m going to consistently do it. So if I can just slot it in around my exercise or my coffee, whatever it might be, then that’s that’s a huge thing. You talk about how it’s a personalized journey. How does that work? Do I type in I am, I’m in technology, I manage a large team,

Unknown Speaker 10:37
kind of like that. So when you onboard the app, the first touch point you have is we, of course, ask you a few questions. It’s a complex topic. So otherwise, it would be very generic. So we actually work with a framework or a model that we developed together with a Stanford based Professor Charles Riley, who originally came from like this company culture space, but we actually use some of his work to translate it into the leadership space. And so you have 10 questions that you answer, kind of a bit of a psychometric assessment in some way, but goes very quickly. And based on that, we give you one of 14 leadership archetypes, which common kind of like strengths and weaknesses, what comes easy to you the type of teams that you’d like to lead and things like that, which goes to show that we understand your preferences in a given moment in time, this can change over time. But at that moment, in time, you may be more focused on details and quality and going a bit slower versus in some other, another user or you in another circumstance or context or role, can actually prioritize things like speed, and being very experimental, and so on. We also do ask which type of teams you lead, or whether you lead a team at all. So definitely, that also plays a role. And we collaborate with you on the selection of topics. So knowing the leadership archetype, and also the role you have in your current team helps us to suggest topics to you. So for someone who is an individual contributor right now, and it’s actually not managing a team, managing apps, so building a relationship with their manager may be very much more important than actually establishing great learning processes for their team or giving great feedback. So it’s important topic, but less important. And so we basically prioritize topics on who what we understand about who you are, and offer that to you. And then you can add your own, so to say, so we have like this collaborative content selection or topic selection, and from there on, you get one personalized pick session or tip as we call it every day. So you return to your coach every day, you have a weekly view, you kind of see which days, you actually succeeded completing it, which days are still open. So it also gives helps you to keep track on the learning habit, and then really, really kind of hold you accountable to do it on a daily basis. And we have weekly round ups at the end of the week that helps you to review what you’ve already learned. And now we’re actually introducing something really interesting on the one hand, additional format. So you’ll also be able to be quizzed and like answer scenarios on particular work situations based on what you learned. So it’s becoming much more interactive. And on the other hand, we also learn that a very, very important pillar of learning for our users is to exchange for that users. So we have the Slack community that we run on the side of the app. And we have lots of interactive elements in there. And people have repeatedly told us like, This is so great, actually, if you Google leadership in Slack, I think ours is like number one or number two. So it’s a very popular kind of like, additional pillar to the learning to have the social element. And we’ve been designing and testing features right now that actually bring that social element into the app where I can ask a question about a particular tip, or I can read someone’s hot take, or I can read someone’s additional, like practical advice. So we are bringing in like leadership coaches and executive coaches to give additional context, all of these concepts that we are actually feeding to our users on a daily basis. So lots of exciting, new things happening in the app soon.

george grombacher 14:11
Yeah, it sounds super cool. So as I’m going through the setup process and entering the archetype, and then everything you’ve just laid out, am I saying I want to do this every day, and I’m setting that expectation.

Unknown Speaker 14:27
Um, yeah, so we give you the option to adjust learning days and give also at a time when you want to be reminded. So it’s under your control, you can have five learning days, like most of people, most of our users on the platform, kind of see this as a work component. So they don’t necessarily want to keep learning on the weekends where they’re trying to recharge and rest. And at the same time, we let you choose a time when you actually can fit it in so 7am 8am 9am 10am Some people tried to do it in the evenings as well, but from like our product analytics, we see that those that actually said that in the morning succeed much, much better with the habit building element.

george grombacher 15:04
Yeah, that certainly does make sense. All right. And so my coach shows up, do I get to name the coach? Or how does that work? Daria?

Unknown Speaker 15:11
Oh, this is such a great question. We like go back and forth on this. So I think in the beginning, when we started out on this, like development journey, we were considering doing this, like really, you know, chatbot style and whatever, we tested it with users and users were like, This is so stupid, like, I don’t believe one single cent that this thing, whatever the Chatbot thing is, can actually be like, like a human coach and spawn. So we kind of moved away from it just because this whole AI chat bot space had such a bad brightening, I think it’s getting better now because the bots are actually smarter. But also, because in our case, value gets created in combination between our team, our community and the AI. So it’s not just AI that actually does the work. And so we also noticed that it’s actually much, much more pleasant for our users to interact with, like a selection of our team members. So now when we, for instance, I don’t know like send campaigns like we record podcasts, etc. And like, we market them to our users, of course, like, we send that communication from different team members, and they actually share their own learnings and takeaways. And that lands much better than just like, you know, pushing it all onto like the AI. But the coach, of course, is a very important pillar in the overall bunch experience. Like it’s the thing you land on every day. But we kind of steered away from I think we have too smart users to you know, like, tell them like, hey, this pig boy and x y Zed, I don’t know Maria, like who ever however, would have called the thing is kind of like, all smart and all intelligent, and there’s no human intervention, I think it makes perfect sense that in this case, it’s technology needs humans, in terms of curation, value, creation, and so on. So it’s the coach plus a bunch team plus a bunch of community and you get to interact with all them. Love, it

george grombacher 16:55
makes sense. Majority of the people are ready for that different speaking tip. What do you have for them?

Unknown Speaker 16:59
Oh, so I actually did go to our app, of course, because why would I not? So many hundreds of useful tips of which I tried plenty, not all of them. And I was thinking about which one to recommend, because of you know, seasonality as well. People are hopefully taking some breaks here and there. And also, I think, yeah, establishing boundaries and managing those, it’s generally hard, but particularly hard times when you are to try to take a break. So I picked one tip, which is basically how to say no, in a productive way. Yeah, many people struggle with this, I think, especially when it comes to customers, how can you say no to customers. But we have this one tip in the app, actually, it’s called an engineering an engineers guy to say no, but it applies to many, many other roles as well, there’s five different ways. And my favorite one is actually called the twist. So imagine you’re already swamped, but you actually need to, like free up some time to go on that break with your family for the for a week, or whatever. And there’s more and more ideas being thrown at you. And you’re like, Oh, my God, how will this happen? And I really wanted to take this week off, and so on. So in situations like this sexually, Steve, then Robbins, so as serial entrepreneur, and co founder FTP software, share this tip. And he says, you can actually instead of saying no, just ask a question and try to suggest an alternative and said, seems pretty straightforward. And what he actually recommends in particular is like, next time somebody brings you an idea, and you don’t know where to put it, because it’s really super overboard. You can say, I think it’s a good idea. But it doesn’t fit in the current roadmap as is or doesn’t fit into the current scope of project as is or whatever it may be. What if it looked like this, and then you basically tried to suggest either a later slide later time point to tackle it, smaller scope, maybe delegating to someone else. So basically, think through an alternative. Don’t sacrifice immediately, whatever you were planning to do. That’s a very important part that many of us struggle with, but basically propose a different way to the same goal. And suggest that and it really works wonders. Try this all the time with our investors and users as well. So it’s a really, really good and actionable tip.

george grombacher 19:20
Well, I think that is great stuff that definitely gets come up. I think that that’s so I think, just being able to tap into community and wisdom and experience for language like that is such a powerful thing. I know that I’ve benefited myself from that over the years for sure. So I think that’s great. Well, Daria, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? Where can they find a bunch?

Unknown Speaker 19:45
Yes, so you can get in touch with me on Twitter or LinkedIn are probably my two places to be both just start Aquidneck Daria with a J, get you to where you need to be. I think there is not that many. With that name yet as easy to find and The app is free on the App Store. Currently, we’re working on the Android version very soon. So on the app store and you can find us when you put in punch leadership or punch AI coach, it’s the first hint. And we can also share I think the link in the description on the show notes, just to give you a feel for what it’s like when you have as a secret weapon in your pocket.

george grombacher 20:22
Love it. If you enjoyed as much as I did show Daria your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. You can find Daria on Twitter and LinkedIn Her name is spelled dar ja gut NIC k and then find a bunch on the iTunes App Store. And just search bunch leadership bunch AI coach and then just find it right in the link in the notes of the show. Thanks Gandaria Perfect, thank you so much. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

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