Title: People Science Team Lead, EMEA

Residence: Dublin, Ireland

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A

Shubhang Dave is a rare person who finds discomfort comfortable. The people science leader loves leading teams and individuals on journeys of self-discovery that are often awkward and challenging. That’s when insights and growth start to flow.

“I don’t know that I have a specialty, so much as I have a couple of favorite things to do,” he says. “One is getting in front of a group of executives and spurring a vulnerable and necessary dialogue about who they are as a company and what they’re going to do to make their people happier and more successful. 

“The other is helping team members to see their potential, and coaching them through the ups and downs of accomplishing things they might not have expected they could.”

Learn more about Shubhang’s work and life.

Work

What’s your motivation for doing what you do? Have you ever noticed which books are front and center in airport bookstores? They’re not about accounting, operations, or the law, as important as those topics are in running organizations. The books are almost always about leadership, culture, motivation, decision-making, and all the other things that, at a deeper level, fuel success. 

Those topics are front and center because they’re hard! And because even highly paid executives jetting around the world (pre-pandemic, of course) recognize how much they matter and how much help they need in getting them right. When these topics genuinely interest you and you can help people who are looking for it, there’s nothing more motivating.

Any career goals you’re working toward? Always be learning. I forget who coined that phrase, but I find it to be a healthier and more constructive response to this question than setting a goal that I later decide is less on the mark than I thought it once was.

What has been a big learning moment in your career? A few years ago, I attended a talk by a woman who wrote a popular blog post about the crossroads of what you “should do” (which is a trap I’ve always fallen into) and what you “must do.” The concept isn’t all that different from doing away with extrinsic motivation in favor of intrinsic, but something about its simplicity spoke to me. While I’m too practical to live my life entirely by the “musts,” it’s a mentality I told myself that day I’d try to adopt. So far, so good. 

What’s your top tip? Fight the instinct to want to be the smartest person in the room. Instead look for opportunities to be surrounded by people much smarter than you.

Life

What was your first job? I was a docent at the Science Museum of Minnesota. In hindsight, I’m not sure why people trusted a 14-year-old to give them the inside story on the exhibits, but I had fun doing it through high school.

How many cups of coffee do you drink per day? One. Two if I’m feeling wild. I may be in the minority, but I find myself actually drinking less coffee when working from home. There’s something about getting amped up to just stare at a videoconference app all day that feels strange.

What do you like to do outside of work? Until recently, I lived in Colorado, which meant much of what you’d expect—lots of time spent being active, skiing, and trying to convince friends and family to move there. Now, as a new European, I have lots of exploring to do (as much as current safety measures will allow). I also have a serious weakness for all things Bollywood.