Work Happy Podcast: Episode 9

With a left brain and right brain, each to focus on more analytical information or on emotions, the way to truly capture someone’s attention is to combine vital info with engaging storytelling.

Having distilled down the secret sauce that separates information from true communication, Dana Poole is now leading comms change on a global scale with Shell. 

Dana joins Alex Graves as the final guest of this first series of Work Happy to discuss the rewarding nature of helping people with the tools and platforms rather than just implementing them, and how self-care, empathetic leadership and seamless communication technology coalesce to build a happier workplace.

This episode covers

  • The crucial combination of data and storytelling in communications
  • How Dana has seen a sharp uptake in Teams over Skype
  • Emphasising a focus on helping people use new tech rather than just introducing it
  • Shell’s approach to supporting employees
  • Maintaining a collaborative culture over virtual platforms
  • A recent desire for soft skills over technical skills in employment candidates

Skype to Teams


“It’s a global audience and to connect and collaborate we use a blend of tools, like Teams and Skype for chats and calls, and SharePoint to store documents. MS Teams is quickly becoming the tool of choice and I noticed many colleagues are no longer active on Skype. More and more we store and share documents on Teams.”

Facts vs storytelling


“Information is sending stuff out, communication is making sure it lands. We have the left hand side of the brain and the right hand side of the brain – our logical brain and our empathy. So a story has to have both elements: facts and proof points, but also some personal aspect, otherwise it’s not going to come across.”

Connecting the Dots


“In big companies, there are so many parties at the table: you have delivery, portfolio, architects, policy and security, and you just have to bring everyone together. So my role is more connecting the dots, making sure everyone is aligned.”

Rewards of helping


“When I have a global rollout in SAP, and I’ve got a piece of communication that has landed and it’s successful, it’s great. But helping someone follow their dreams, get the job that they were after, and really helping them in their career, that is so much more rewarding to me. Honestly, on those days, I work with a massive grin on my face.”

New dimension


“I think the pandemic has added a new dimension to culture, and that is self care and care for each other. We didn’t have this before, or at least not to this extent. ”

New normal


“The new normal at Shell is being in a video meeting with 10-15 people and not being surprised when the doorbell rings, or a child starts crying, laughing, or the boss is in the garden. We didn’t have this 2 years ago, it was frowned upon. Now it’s just accepted. I love that we welcomed each other into our homes and families by using Teams and video calling.”

Embedding coaching


“What I’ve learned from doing this role is that coaching should be the norm. It shouldn’t be something that you do now and then. It should be embedded in your job. ”