Reboot Podcast Episode #84 – Building Resilient, Humane Organizations – with Nathalie McGrath

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.

Episode 84 // May 31, 2018


Nathalie McGrath

Nathalie McGrath

VP of People at Coinbase

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Episode Description

There’s an important question that we like to ask here at Reboot, which is, “What type of company do you want to work for?” You’ll often hear Jerry propose this question in many of our podcasts because we believe it to be one of the most profound questions you can ask a leader, especially a leader who holds a position of influence within their organization, with the ability to affect change.

On this episode of the Reboot Podcast, Jerry is joined by Nathalie McGrath, VP of People at Coinbase. Having seen the company grow from ten employees to over 250 employees in just four years, with the potential to double their numbers by the end of 2018, Nathalie has experienced firsthand the “rollercoasty” bumps and dips that innately arise when trying to sustain a company during extended periods of hyper-growth.

In her time with Jerry, Nathalie opens up about her own battles with imposter syndrome, the challenge she faces in combating the creeping feelings of burnout, and how she as VP of People, can help support and sustain the members of the Coinbase team who might be struggling with similar sensibilities. As their conversation unfolds, Jerry speaks to the importance of remembrance, whether it’s of fear, or the wish for love, safety, or belonging, and how in recalling those instances, Nathalie and her peers are in a unique position to build a more resilient and humane organization driven by profoundly meaningful leadership.

Nathalie McGrath on Twitter#63 – A More Powerful Way of Working – with Patty McCord 

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Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“How do we take care of our employees and how do we teach and develop our employees so that they can be at Coinbase or at a fast-growing pace for a very long period of time.” – Nathalie McGrath

“We want our employees to be happy, we want them to have a full life, both here at the office and outside of it as well.” – Nathalie McGrath

“If you’re asking questions about that, do I have enough energy at the end of the week, there’s a kind of creeping worry that you are all cognizant of, which is the burnout.” – Nathalie McGrath

“I believe that there is a lot of energy that’s lost in the emotional component of work, and those are things, as you think about almost the political aspect of working in an organization or, am I doing enough.” – Nathalie McGrath

“An emotional component of when you really feel like you are trying to protect yourself over and over and over is when true burnout happens at a much faster rate.” – Nathalie McGrath

“Do they [your co-workers] trust you because they know what you’re saying to them is real and honest and authentic and direct?” – Nathalie McGrath

“I think fundamentally, humans really care about belonging and feeling a sense of safety within a group or within a community. And if we can remove that fear, there’s so much more energy that can go towards fun things or productive things.” – Nathalie McGrath

“The words resiliency and equanimity, in my mind, go together. If we can create resiliency within the individuals, we create resiliency within an organization, and that leads to an experience of equanimity.” – Nathalie McGrath

“One of the ways in which we are ironically kept safe as children is to internalize criticism. So it’s better that I criticize myself than I hear someone who loves me criticize me.” – Jerry Colonna

“I think profoundly meaningful leadership that creates life-giving organizations, humane organizations…in addition to being cognizant of the wish for love, safety, and belonging, those leaders do not forget what it’s like to feel scared, challenged, vulnerable, at risk, the imposter, new to the organization. They remember.” – Jerry Colonna

“By recalling those instances, by naming what’s going on, what’s really true, how am I, what state am I in… actually deepens the sense of belonging within the organization. Deepens the sense of loyalty. Deepens the sense of, of trust.” – Jerry Colonna

“What kind of company do you want to work for? Because you have the responsibility and the audacious capacity to create that every single day.” – Jerry Colonna

“I like this concept that you can be human at work and create something really great, and have a really great community as a result of it, no matter what ends up happening.” – Nathalie McGrath