WorkHuman 2019 – Nashville, TN


I had the great pleasure of attending this year’s WorkHuman in Nashville  – George Clooney, Geena Davis, Viola Davis, and the queen, Brene Brown – who could ever miss an opportunity to see Brene? Not to mention the BBQ (shout out to Martin’s), live music, and the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new. I was all in – every new person who was announced leading up to the conference, had me more excited. As you might imagine, the highlight of the conference took me by total surprise – enter Cy Wakeman.

Cy > George

I do not say this lightly, despite being married to a woman, I’ve been dreaming of George since The Facts of Life…I’m sure you are wondering why George and not Nancy McKeon, but life isn’t a straight line – and that is one beautiful, articulate, and charming man. So, let’s all move on…

Fast-forward to day 3

I found the break-outs to be a bit hit or miss, that tends to be a theme of multi-day conferences, in my experience. I was intrigued by the description of Cy’s session – and it was being held in the ballroom – a good indicator that the content would be stellar.

Within the first few minutes – the aha moments started and they didn’t stop coming – they became countless…


Cy took us to Church

I was grasping to retain all of it…we all were! I heard several “can I get an Amen(s)!”

  • on average, employees spend 2.5 hours of a work day on drama

  • suffering is optional

  • you are not your circumstances

  • ditch the drama

  • business potential > personal preference

  • ego

  • engagement

  • time thieves, energy thieves

  • gossip

There was no way to absorb it all, so I bought the book and I’ve been searching videos ever since. She’s not stingy with her content – I’ve been watching and reading, reading and watching. You should too – thank me later!


A few of my favorite quotes:

“Resistance to change is the work of the ego leading one to value preference over potential.”

“Accountability is an employee’s belief as to whether or not they can have impact over their own outcomes and results.”

“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”

“A great deal of the conflict we encounter is manufactured in our own minds.”


Why is it so easy to get scooped up in negativity and gossip (guilty!)? Who are we spending more time with – under-performers or high potentials? Why do we allow problems to be discussed over and over again – but we do not demand solutions? How do we allow toxicity to penetrate our organizations? Perpetual victims? Employees who have no buy-in? “Buy-in is not optional” – as Cy says.

Identify the problems and eradicate them – it’s too important to ignore. We must be able to have tough conversations at work – for the work. Think hard about your environment – what if the drama was gone, trust was built, and all conversations were productive, positive, and meaningful? How much productivity would be re-gained in your day? How does that translate to the bottom line?

Brave conversations. Self-aware employees and leaders. Personal responsibility. Adaptability to change. Accountability. Leadership, honesty, integrity – it starts with you (and me, who is committed to doing much better).

This is last year’s Cy talk – watch it when you have an hour to kill – actually don’t wait – it’ll save you countless hours in the long run, anyway:


No Ego: Ditch the Drama & Drive Big Results. Cy’s Keynote from WorkHuman 2018.

Mikal Harden