Renee Smith completing a half marathon with one hand over her heart and the other lifted in greeting

 

"Love is not just confined to a personal experience. Love can also create the professional conditions that open the door to our greatest contributions and most generative collaborations."

- Renée Smith, Make Work More Human

Renée Smith serves as the Director of Workplace Transformation at Results Washington, Office of the Governor. She champions a more humane and effective workplace through primary research, writing, and speaking on Making Work More Human by increasing love and decreasing fear in the workplace.

Renée leads the development of the Human Workplace community and of resources for leaders, teams, and Lean advisers. Both the community and resources cultivate a human-centered philosophy of work that highly regards both customers and team members. When leaders decrease fear, team members feel safe and know they belong. They sense their contributions matter, and they deliver the exceptional value customers expect. This human-centered philosophy motivates efforts for diversity and inclusion, effective change, continuous improvement, team collaboration, innovation, and more.

Using the word “love” about work is surprising and even shocking to most people. The word “love” creates a disruption, a pause, and the space to stop and reflect on how our workplaces are working, or not, for team members and for customers we serve. After using the “L” word in a talk, Renée guides participants through a thoughtful examination of the human experience of threat that creates fear and of love that creates safety, including our biology, neuro-physiology, and psychology. Her own research and that of others provides compelling evidence that in fact we perform best and achieve better business results when we experience psychological safety created by conditions of love. That love can take many forms like trust, belonging, care, respect, inclusion, empathy, or compassion. Ultimately using the word “love” is not what’s important. What is important is that people come to understand the necessity of decreasing fear and creating a positive, caring workplace where people can thrive. Upon reflection, organizations and teams choose the words that resonate for them. Sometimes that word is “love” and often it is something else, but always it is more human.

Smith has taken this message to numerous conferences, annual meetings, and leadership gatherings in Ottawa, Toronto, New Brunswick, Barcelona, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Los Angeles, and all over the Pacific Northwest, along with appearing on Gemba Academy and A Higher Purpose podcasts.

Before joining Results Washington, Renée spent nearly seven years at the Department of Enterprise Services leading the Organization Development Services division that provided Lean Transformation Services and Change Excellence Services to DES and G2G Lean Consulting to other state and local governments. Renée collaborated with Darrell Damron, Director of G2G, to develop and pioneer the application of the Lean Government Framework used to guide leaders in running the business of government.

Her education through Pepperdine University’s Master of Science in Organization Development prepared her to approach this work as both a social scientist and a practitioner. She was a 2014 recipient of the Governor’s Leadership in Management Award for her original strategy work and Lean culture work at DES. She lives in a 102 year old Craftsman home in Tacoma and enjoys drawing for pleasure, creative cooking for friends and family, exploring foreign cities, and swimming in the Mediterranean.

Do you have ideas or questions about making work more human? You can reach Renée by email at renee.smith@gov.wa.gov or by phone at 253-225-1001.