608 Cole Baker Bagwell:

Business is often seen as a cut throat game and that perception is not entirely wrong. Business IS and will always be competitive, and in a culture of short-termism, it can be tempting for companies to shortchange investment in creating an empowering culture that truly values their team members. It doesn’t have to be this way.

MELINDA

I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who is leading a kindness revolution and asking every entrepreneur to join her by taking a pledge to the highest form of kindness.

Cole Baker Bagwell, known to her friends and colleagues as CB2, is the founder and CEO of Cool Audrey – and she’s on a mission to change corporate culture. Think of her as an unconventional blend of businessperson, trained mindfulness practitioner and yogi who believes attention to the soul of business creates unimaginable possibilities.

I can’t wait to introduce you to Cole! First…

Cole Baker Bagwell knows kindness and human connection radically transform both people and businesses for the better. A former corporate Sales Executive and Strategist at many of the world’s top companies – from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, Cole started to pair smart business strategy with a commitment to do no harm – and her commitment to bring deep levels of connection, trust, understanding and partnership to company operations, delivered transformational results. It propelled teams to tackle complex business issues, create award winning outcomes and have a blast along the way.

So Cole took her success in corporate change management to the entrepreneurial world, launching Cool Audrey two years ago so she could spread her mission of kindness in business. Today we talk about what makes a great team culture, why empowering your employees delivers better results, and how to live your company values beyond all those well-meaning statements on your website.

Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Cole Baker Bagwell.

Melinda Wittstock:         Cole, welcome to Wings.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Thank you. I’m super happy to be here with you.

Melinda Wittstock:         Me too. I’m excited to hear all about Cool Audrey. What are you up to there?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        All right. Well, let’s see. Cool Audrey, she is growing every day. She is an extension of me. She is a consultancy that is helping people in business develop kindness as a core competency, so lots of things are happening with Cool Audrey right now. We have that arm of Cool Audrey, and then we also have a couple of podcasts that have sprung out of Cool Audrey. There’s a lot going on, Melinda. It’s a fun time.

Melinda Wittstock:         I love that though, making kindness a core part of business. So important, and a thing that really wasn’t valued for so many years in business. What was it that led you there?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        It’s a really good question, and thank you for that. I spent a lot of years in the corporate world, and they started when I was in my mid-20s. I worked for great companies. I worked for toxic companies. What I realized was that it wasn’t so much the company, it was the people leading the companies and the way that they of course showed up, and then the people they attracted, and the cultures they created. I was in the back half of my corporate career.

I was working with big companies out on the West Coast. I was working with the banks on Wall Street, and I realized that in every single case, people were really tired, Melinda, and they were disconnected from one another. You saw a lot of faces in phones sometimes because of those things, because the people were exhausted and distracted, they did not respond in a way that was kind, in a way that was helpful, in a way that created connection.

I started realizing several years ago, “Wow. If we could just slow everything down, slow the people down, slow the mind down, and we could begin to make an agreement to do no harm, to leave one another better than we found one another, I wonder what that would do for the conference room.” It completely changed everything. Just that one little bit, giving people space to sort of settle down from where they had been, giving them permission to be exactly where they were together.

Making this one little agreement that we would leave one another better than we found one another. Business started changing because people started changing. They started connecting with one another. They started connecting with excitement. They started building trust, and so that was really the thing that made me understand that this was the biggest thing missing in business.

If we could just bring it in, imagine all of those hours of humanity that we could improve and how wellbeing would improve, outcomes would improve. We could just go on and on with this, but that’s really how it started.

Melinda Wittstock:         Outcomes definitely are affected by that. If you have a really happy workforce and team members, customers are going to be more happy. Customers are going to bring more customers. The team is going to attract better talent.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Totally.

Melinda Wittstock:         Just the productivity is going to go up. I mean, the knock-on effects are huge. It’s not just a nice-to-have, I think it’s a business imperative.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Thank you. Thank you. Can you go with me to tell every single CEO that in the country, and then in the world? Then in the world. Can we go bigger, Melinda? No, no. You’re totally right. Right? It is so intuitive that to me, I thought for sure, years ago, that maybe I just hadn’t heard of these companies. But it absolutely has been missing. This word culture is one of those things that irritates the mess out of me, because it has become this box that people check.

There are many of those in the business world. I don’t think it’s because people are bad. Absolutely, I don’t think that at all. I believe that people are good, that we are born good. I know that is a fact. I know that we get busy. I know that demands get in the way. I think priorities change, and sometimes we begin checking the very human boxes that we should be investing time, energy, attention and intention in. This is one of those. Culture.

I mean, the word, Melinda, you know what it means, right? It means to grow. Culture, it means to grow. Culture is something that you grow with the people inside of the walls, by the way, they’re also the people that come together to create the thing called the company. If you just grow them in the right soil, grow that culture in the right soil, and you tend to it, you give it attention, you give it the right intention, then you can grow something really, really beautiful.

You’re right. Relationships change, outcomes change, and that’s another important point here. I think a lot of folks have forgotten that people create outcomes. They’re not separate, and so you have really terrible outcomes, people, fabulous outcomes, people, everything in between, people. Until we pay attention to the people, until we bring more humanity and kindness and intention into business, we’re never going to realize our full potential together.

Melinda Wittstock:         So true. I’m reminded of just old sayings in business, like nice guys finish last or some of these things that are in our culture that people grew up with. Then they show up at work or they create companies being the people they think they should be to succeed, not even necessarily the people that they are. Then that all gets mirrored all the way through an organization. If we’re talking to founders or founding teams, at whatever stage of the company they’re at, they tend to set the culture.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        You can say it as long as we agree on it.

Melinda Wittstock:         Exactly. Through their behavior, who they’re being, they attract more people like that, or they send the signal that that’s how it’s done. Does this really start, this whole movement towards kindness and being the change we want to see, does that really start with the executive team or the founder?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        I think it’s really different. Small companies, big companies are very different, right? If you’re starting with a baby company, brand new and I’ve been lucky enough to be at one of those as well in my life, which was just extraordinary, then yeah, it’s up to the founders. It’s not just up to the founders to think about how they show up. It’s up to the founders to define what they value, to hold those things dear, to create artifacts and chains of evidence.

That’s what I call them anyway. That demonstrates how committed they are to those values. Then yes, it’s up to them to hire people who have those capacities, those skills, those tendencies, to be able to complement those things that they hold dear. That can happen on either end of the spectrum. Now, when you get into a bigger company, which is a whole different beast, it becomes more of a puzzle to change the culture, especially if it’s been grown in the wrong soil.

If you’ve had somebody there with art of war mentality or with one of those sayings that you just mentioned, good guys finish last, good people finish last, well, you’ve got a mentality and you’ve got a set of structures and processes and policies and everything else, that are so baked into that place, that you almost have to have an entirely new leadership come in. Then not only that, but you have to figure out, how do we take this through the DNA of an organization?

Culture is not something that is pushed top-down. It is not something that rises up. It has to go through, Melinda. It has to be the experience that we have and create together. In the case of these older companies, it really takes a whole lot of intention leadership at every single level, and not to convince people, but to inspire them. If we’re able to get the right tools in their hands, we can then cultivate a language that is kind.

We can make agreements with one another about the way we show up and the way we engage. Then we can start paying attention to the artifacts that we create. We can tie everything back to the same foundation of kindness and we can begin to make a change, but it takes a whole lot more for these more established and static companies.

Melinda Wittstock:         It’s so true, and when you find individuals suddenly changing and being the change they want to see in the world, being kind, it’s infectious, just like toxicity is infectious, right? When you go into a larger company, I mean, what do you do to try and change that culture? Because it is really hard. I mean, people talk about change management. It’s very difficult.

Say you have a Fortune 500 company that just has this toxicity or this way of doing things that’s transactional and leaves the person behind, or where you say that everybody’s just on their computers or their phones, or they’re just exhausted and not happy, how do you begin to change that?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        You have to do it at every single level of the organization, because again, it has to go through. The worst thing that a company can do is say … And I’ve seen this happen over the last few years, “We are going to have a cultural transformation.” The problem with that is it is usually the HR team- well-meaning, lovely group of people who are then tasked with creating cultural transformation. There are two problems with that.

Number one, culture is something that everybody has to grow together. Number two, it’s just never one person’s responsibility, right? It’s all of us together. We come together in a set of beliefs, values, ways of working, ways of being, ways of speaking. That’s what creates our culture. The other problem is this word transformation. Transformation, Melinda, is this word that means profound change, right? Chrysalis to butterfly kind of thing.

Do you really think that in a company of 300,000 people with an HR team, only the HR team, that they’re going to be able to move 300,000 people? It’s really, really tough. We have to begin connecting. There’s a tremendous divide. Those who do, and those who say. We have to begin closing the gap. That is first and foremost. Where I believe it begins, in my work anyway, is, do those who say actually know what the reality is for those who do and vice versa? Right? Are we sharing any common mindsets? Because-

Melinda Wittstock:         Well, often there’s such a lack of empathy.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yeah. Well, exactly. There’s a lack of understanding.

Melinda Wittstock:         Well, those companies too, tend to be very siloed, right? People don’t actually understand what other people are doing in the company. I mean, it can happen even in a startup. I know at my latest company, my fifth company, I mean, we’re so focused on these values that you talk about, but how do we put it into action or in everything we do? How can we work to prevent silos as we scale, to prevent these silos from creeping in?

We work in a multidisciplinary way, so there’s a real premium on everybody at least understanding everybody else on that empathy and what people are doing, and where they fit into the why, if you know what I mean.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yes. Yeah. I totally get that. Very important.

Melinda Wittstock:         Because you want a really diverse culture- diversity not only in skill sets, but also in life experience, in gender, race, all these different things. You have a lot of people coming from completely different backgrounds. Yet, what’s the glue that unites everybody? There’s the mission of the company, but then there’s also these values, like we’re going to be kind to each other. We’re going to be grateful.

Melinda Wittstock:         It’s like baking it in. Like even in our scrums every day we’re like, “What are we grateful for?”

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yeah. Yeah. You have to bake it in. I worked for a company in 2014- the startup that I mentioned. It was so inspirational, Melinda, because it was a tech company, and our CEO hired every single one of us for kindness first. Now, I didn’t know that when I went in to interview with them. I discovered that during a conversation he and I had that just lit me up like a Christmas tree. I was like, “I’m home. This is great.”

Because he did that, because he hired everyone for that core value and he held us to that value, number one, be kind, it came through in every single thing that we did. It wasn’t because it just happened. We talked about it all the time, is this the right thing to do? Is what we’re creating, serving the people who are entrusting us with their business? How are we speaking with one another, not to one another? Are we listening objectively? We were constantly checking ourselves.

That is the kind of real practice, because what we’re talking about, Melinda, and this is the thing that is probably the toughest. It’s been the toughest part over the last few years, is just getting people to understand what the heck kindness is. In my podcast, Kindness Think Tank, that I released about a month ago, I realized why this is such a problem, because everybody has a different idea of what this word means, which is totally cool.

Except for the fact that when you go into business and you’ve had decades of art of war mentality, and you have somebody saying, “Oh, it’s kumbaya. Everybody’s nice. Everybody loves each other. Everybody’s sitting around. It’s weak.” No, absolutely not. We are talking about such strength, such presence of mind that when somebody is yelling in your face, because they’ve had a horrible day and maybe their nervous system is on fire, that you are able to sit there and listen objectively and feel something that is not hateful, that is reactionary toward this person.

Now, you don’t have to agree with them. You could say to them that, “Hey, you know what? It’s not okay the way that you talked with me. I can feel you’re having a rough day. When you’re better, why don’t you let me know and we’ll try this again.” You don’t have to sit there punching bag, but what people don’t understand is that kindness is so tough, Melinda, because we are talking about, again, awareness. We’re talking about intention.

We’re talking about creating neural pathways that align us back to the way that we’re born. We’re born to be kind. We’re wired for this stuff. We get away from ourselves. Anybody that thinks, “Oh, it sounds just really nice to put, be kind at the top of your corporate value tree.” Saying it will never be enough. You have to live it every single day, and man, sometimes that’s hard.

Melinda Wittstock:         Absolutely. You have to really hire your values and then you have to really reinforce it in terms of the actual behavior that you want to see. Say if kindness is your top value of your company, then it gives you the ability as a leader or a manager, even in evaluating other people, to say, “Hey, well, how was what you did, how was it kind or not kind?” What are some ways to keep, say kindness, top of mind in the actual day-to-day doing?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        A really good question. This is where we come back to, you have to define it. I’m not implying that my definition should be everyone’s definition, but for me, it’s a working definition that people can understand and begin to take action. Again, it’s do no harm. It’s leaving somebody better than you found them. If that’s your only agreement, “Hey, we’re going to get together in this room. We know things are going to get a little hot because we’ve all got different points of view about certain things, that’s cool.

We have to make an agreement before we get started to leave one another better than we found each other.” Maybe that’s where you start, because everybody understands what that looks and feels like. You can know pretty quickly if you’ve screamed in someone’s face or said something derogatory or offensive, or belittled them, that you’ve not left them better than you found them. You can walk by, in your personal life, someone on the street who’s hungry, and just walk by and know that you didn’t leave them better than you found them.

This is one of those things that you can begin to self-check, and it has to come from the inside. I would like to say that then we inspire this in one another. It really is contagious, Melinda. I mean, if you and I are showing up in this room with other folks, and we have a few people that they’ve had a bad day, they’ve had a rough day, they’ve had a rough year, we can begin to model and meet them in the spirit of leaving them better than we found them.

It might be the tone of our voice. It may be that we make eye contact and say, “How are you showing up today?” It may be a kind word that we offer, a complimentary word we offer about their work. It may be a moment of candor that they really, really needed. Maybe we just see them differently. If we can begin to model this, we can begin to inspire this, and it becomes something that is not so terribly hard to achieve as a group anymore.

But it does take practice, because again, what we’re doing is we’re building neural pathways that reconnect us with the way that we quite literally were born to be. I’ll tell you what happens, Melinda. The more that we practice this, we can come to an agreement about what does kindness look like for this group of people in this company? Right? That becomes the checkpoint.

Of course I do consulting on this, so there’s a lot of work and tools and things that I bring in to help people so that they can self-sustain their own success on the other side, but we can start right here. I mean, you can start here on Monday when you go back to work with your team. Starting to have everybody do the self-check, and the most beautiful thing happens. What happens is that after people cultivate this habit and they reconnect with that beautiful part of themselves, that kind part of themselves, they know when they slip.

They can feel it. They may stumble a couple of times, but they’re going to catch themselves the next time it happens. It’s this really amazing thing that if we practice enough, if we begin to model, we can begin to inspire. It becomes contagious. It flows like a wave. Then when we have moments where we are very human, we’re not going to get it perfectly right all the time, but when we slip, we know.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        that’s how we know that we’ve achieved this elevated state together.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. It strikes me that our culture is a very selfish one, and this is much more of a collaborative, cooperative way to work, rather than an individualist way to work. It seems like business and society generally is shifting more in this direction. I see so many women-owned businesses in particular and female-founded businesses shifting more in this direction.

I don’t know whether it’s an energetic shift going on in the world, but do you see that more and more businesses are actually understanding this in their bones than before?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        I think it depends on the business. What I will say is that I know that in this last year I have noticed a tremendous shift in consciousness. Here’s what I mean by that. When I first wrote an article about kindness, which was about three and a half or four years ago, and I was talking about this in business and I was in the conference rooms with people, people looked at me like I had lost my mind. That was okay. That was okay. I was fine with it.

Melinda Wittstock:         I remember those times too.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yep. I’m like, “That’s cool.” Because I was wearing high heels and have a peace sign on my ankle, so I’m fine with that. I will tell you that I’ve noticed just a massive shift in consciousness over this last year in particular. I think it was because the global circumstances that we experienced as a collective human group, first time in human history, where we’ve all had the same circumstances, to different degrees, but nobody was spared.

I think that we realized that we need one another more than we ever realized. We’d somehow forgotten, because if you think about this, my God, how many people were talking in airports? How many people were talking in coffee shops? How many people were talking while waiting in line? They weren’t. They had their faces in their phones. They had earbuds in their ears and we were in our little bubbles before.

I think that we have realized that when we were forced to shut down to lock down in our homes, you can’t go outside, you can’t see people, you cannot be with each other, I think it sparked something in us. I think it made us understand, “Wow. We were off the rails before.” I think that’s something very good that’s come of this. Now, as far as the business thing goes, I think that there are people who are realizing that they have to stand for something more than revenue and market share, because Gen Z makes up 24% of the global workforce and they’re demanding it.

They want to work for companies that are doing social good. They want to work in places where they are cared about, where they can care about something bigger. I think in some weird way, they’re calling the rest of the folks up to be better, to think bigger, to think deeper and wider and give back. Man, that’s so beautiful. There is an energetic shift happening. I think there is a shift in consciousness, but you will very much still see … and it’s a sad thing and an interesting thing to me at the same time, people who have not changed a single lick.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        They just think that people are replaceable. That money is the sole reason that they exist, and if their activities and investments are not geared toward that, then they’re not worth investing in. Those folks will be left behind because-

Melinda Wittstock:         They will. Yeah. I agree.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        … the future of business is kind.

Melinda Wittstock:         I agree. Well, it’s interesting, coronavirus, because there’ve been so many lessons from it. Not only has it shone a light on so much that’s broken in our society, but also just how connected we are and just even on an energetic level. It’s an interesting thing, because there’s a divide, like you’re talking about, where on one level in business, there’s this growing consciousness. This new way of doing things and an understanding that just being a good human being is actually good for business.

Then there’s the more, I guess, reactionary kind of thing. We’ve always done it this way, all that is, yeah, hippie stuff or whatever, right? I agree with you that it will be left behind because the consumers, the customers, the people and the talent just won’t tolerate that anymore. I think you’re right. I think it’s a really wonderful opportunity for entrepreneurs to really think about this from the ground up when they’re launching a business.

Not taking shortcuts around this, not putting this off as some nice-to-have, but actually as a foundational aspect of their businesses, whether it is inculcating kindness and values like that as part of their business and the way they do business. But also thinking about having a social impact mission. right?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Oh, for sure. Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:         It makes people feel good when they’re giving forward, when they’re making an impact.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Absolutely, it does. I mean, I’ll ask you. You’ve been in business a very long while. What have you noticed the most over the last year, as far as the shift goes?

Melinda Wittstock:         Well, a couple of things really. It’s like what you were saying, conversations that I used to have with people that were just way woo, like would be considered out there only a year ago, are just common occurrences now, which I think is really interesting. That could just be because you attract people perhaps that are like you, or it could be that more people are seeing this or open to it. I’d like to think the latter, although it’s probably a combination of both.

I have seen much more of a focus on authenticity. That it’s not just enough to say, “Oh, hey, we’re a diverse company. We believe black lives matter.” And a whole other thing to actually be proactive in building your network so you’re actually hiring black and brown people, right?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:         There are these gaps and to me, it still seems like a work in progress and it’s kind of patchy. But I feel pretty optimistic about it, because at the end of the day, entrepreneurs are driving the innovation, right? There’s an opportunity. It’s good for business, as well as just like you think about, what do you want your life to be? Who do you want to hang out with? I don’t know. I think there’s a lot changing actually quite rapidly.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yeah. I mean, I think that this summer, God, it was so rough, 2020. It’s been rough for hundreds of years for a lot of people, but the summer was really rough for, I think the nation, because everybody was home and it was so magnified. Like all of that injustice was so magnified. That, yeah, I do agree, I think that awareness is changing, and thank God for that. I also think that … Somebody asked me a few weeks ago, they said, “What do you think it’s going to take, Cole, for every single company to embrace kindness in a real way?

Not like in this Pollyanna way or in this check-the-box way, or this PR way, an inauthentic way. What do you think it’s going to take?” I started cracking up laughing. I said, “You know what? The minute that they figure out how much this impacts revenue, how it helps them hire the people they want, everybody’s going to be like, ‘We’re the kindest company in the world.'”

Melinda Wittstock:         Absolutely.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yeah. I’ve got a team of people right now. We’re working on an index to make sure that the kindness that’s coming through, the companies that say they want to be kind, and man, we hope there’re so many of them, I hope every single company decides to bring kindness in as a core value, but we have a way to help them check themselves. I’m going to be holding people accountable because it’s so important. The money is the least important thing. It’s about the people. I mean, we spend … What is it?

An average of 90,000 hours of our precious lives working? Why the heck shouldn’t we be well when we’re there? Why the heck shouldn’t we be connected and feel like we matter and understand why the work that we put forth is important for the companies that we serve. Why shouldn’t we have that? Why shouldn’t we demand that experience?

Melinda Wittstock:         Exactly. I think as business leaders become more conscious, I guess, right? This is probably the best, and being aware of these sorts of things in their own lives, in their own personal growth journeys, it takes an awareness to reward your team for being kind or to get the incentives right to praise people when they do something kind, to reward them. Give them a bonus, you know? I mean, if you’re going to be serious about doing this, it can’t just be like a platitude.

It’s got to be in the actual, I think anyway, in the structure of the company. It’s who you’re hiring, but what do you reward? What do you actually value in your team?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. Because you and I have seen people get promoted time and time and time again, who are showing up and they are abusive. They are doing things that could be labeled as unethical and still because they’re making money, they keep getting rewarded and the accolades and promotions and all the rest. Here’s the cool thing, Melinda, I think that it’s not going to be a monetary reward here that turns people on to kindness, that inspires them to be kind. I think it’s the simplest thing in the world.

That once we begin to feel it, even for those of us who have gotten quite far away from ourselves from that nature that we’re born with, once we begin to feel that, once we begin to experience that, it is then inspired in us because the science shows us that kindness is contagious. I mean, there are chemical things that are happening in our body. Oxytocin is released, so you don’t have to pay somebody to be kind. In fact, you shouldn’t. I don’t-

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. Because it feels good. It’s a rewiring of the brain in a way.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yes. No. Well, it actually is. It goes back to the neural pathways, right? The choices that we make, create habits, and we create neural pathways that dictate behavior. If you exercise a lot, you get used to doing it. Neural pathways there, it says, “I need to go run today.” You get used to cussing a lot, neural pathways there, you cuss every other word that you say. It works the same with any action that we take. If we start showing up in ways that we are … We have to cultivate awareness first, which is why mindfulness is a big part of my work.

You have to cultivate awareness to understand where you are before we can get to the place we want to be. Once you cultivate that awareness and you can begin to understand, who’s running my show? Is it ego? Is it cognitive bias? Is it agenda? We can get that in check. Then we can begin to move forward in a way that we are responding instead of reacting, that we are behaving more kindly to one another. I do not believe that monetary reward is the right incentive. I think that will be inauthentic.

I think that we have to acknowledge people in different ways. Maybe we say to them, “Hey, listen, I love the way you’re showing up. I notice how you’re inspiring people. We’d love for you to lead this project. What do you think about that? Here’s the reason we want you to lead it. It’s not just because of how you’re showing up, but you also have these fantastic skills that have surfaced. These are invaluable to this thing we’re trying to achieve and here’s why.”

That has also been proven in data and research to turn people on and motivate them much more than money. Just understanding why they’re valuable, being seen, being recognized for their effort. This is the kind of mindset I think that we have an opportunity to adopt. We do have an opportunity to inspire one another. We just have to be very mindful and say, “Is it going to be a check-the-box thing, or is it going to be a thing that we live, breathe and action?” Right?

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. Exactly. Exactly right. Cool. You went into podcasting recently, and as a podcaster I can’t help but be curious about your experience. You’ve got like two podcasts. You’ve got the Kindness Think Tank, and then you’re also co-hosting a podcast called Little Shots of Kindness.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:         Tell us a little bit about those podcasts.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        I’d love to. Thank you so much for that. Little Shots of Kindness is a podcast that I co-host with a fellow over in London named Magnus Wood. He’s awesome. Magnus and I met through a collaboration, but collaboration that we were asked to work on together. We realized that we were working in a very similar way, so we said, “Hey, why don’t we create a podcast together? From two continents, across the pond, male, female sort of view of kindness in business.”

Every week we offer a specific lesson about a specific act or paradigm of kindness. For instance, last week it was awareness. The week before it was connection, and we’ve covered trust. Every single week we have one of those bricks of the kindness house that we’re offering, with a little lesson to go with it that is actionable for people in business. That’s been a lot of fun. Those come out every Thursday and they are everywhere. Kindness Think Tank is a wholly different podcast.

I am talking with people who are bringing kindness into the forefront of their lives, their communities, and their business, with the purpose of creating collective good.

Melinda Wittstock:         Beautiful.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yeah. It’s been, I’ll tell you Melinda, one of the most inspiring things that I’ve worked on in a really long time, because I have met the most incredible people. The cool thing about it is that they’re not actioning kindness in a way that somebody would say, “Oh, that’s a kind act.” Because we’re used to seeing the random acts of kindness and thinking about kindness in this small way. They’re creating universities around kindness and creating programs to train young people so that they’re not exploited.

There are amazing humans in this world, and so that is what Kindness Think Tank is about. It’s about helping these amazing people share their very human stories with the purpose of elevating the way that we think about kindness.

Melinda Wittstock:         I love that. I could talk to you for a lot longer Cole. This is a wonderful conversation to be having on a Saturday morning.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Thank you.

Melinda Wittstock:         I want to make sure that people can find you and work with you. What’s the best way?

Cole Baker Bagwell:        The best way is … and thank you for that too. They can find me on LinkedIn under Cole Baker Bagwell, my name. They can also find Kindness Think Tank … Well, that’s everywhere. Little Shots and Kindness Think Tank are everywhere. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon, like whatever, they’re out there. They can also come to my website, which is coolaudrey.com. It’s the word cool and then Audrey, like the name.com.

I have my work philosophy. I have my podcast. I have a blog there. I have all sorts of different things. They can email me at cole@coolaudrey.com. Those are the best ways to find me.

Melinda Wittstock:         Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings.

Melinda Wittstock:         … and flying with us today.

Cole Baker Bagwell:        Yeah. Thanks for having me. You are awesome and I appreciate you having me as a guest.

Cole Baker Bagwell
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