“We’ve been ranging over a lot of current topics lately, and for so many of them we feel we’ve visited them before – everything old is new again. Here is what we’ve been finding out about influence and how we’ve been making it new again.”
How do you observe yourself or your colleagues influencing each other? What kinds of influence do you see as critical for lasting positive changes?
“At one point during the ‘Women in Agile’ presentation, a man sat down to join the mostly female audience. One of the presenters thanked him for participating. He replied, ‘Don’t thank me – I have a daughter!’”
What are you seeing in your organization relating to women’s experience in the workplace? How are you involved in the growing conversation?
“There are people who fundamentally believe that competition is the way to get the best out of people, and there are people who fundamentally believe that the spirit of collaboration is the way you that you get the best out of people.”
What are your experiences with staff ranking or other policies and processes in your organization that you feel have helped you perform better or have gotten in the way of performing better? Have you seen or experienced real significant differences in policies and processes between private industries or government, schools and other such organizations?
“Retrospectives help us define and examine a body of work, what we can learn from it, and what that tells us about going forward and then choosing those next steps to move forward.”
What would be useful for you to learn to incorporate retrospectives in your organization? Who would benefit from exploring this idea and how to do this kind of work in an effective way? How open do you think people in your organization would be to including retrospectives as a process for continuous improvement?
“The mission and the culture need to be embedded in every single process that touches a prospective employee.”
Have you observed a company or do you know about a company that you think does a fabulous job of finding good people and making them feel special? What are some of the things that you have seen this company do? What contributes to the whole recruiting, hiring and onboarding experience?
“A mentor helps you understand how to navigate your organization, a sponsor helps advocate for you, and a coach is there to help you develop both the skills and the thinking acumen to be able to perform well.”
Have you been a mentor, sponsor or coach in your organization? Or maybe you have been on the receiving end? What differences or similarities have you experienced? Which relationship have you found to be most helpful in your career?
As a leader can you acknowledge what is going on with the people that you’re dealing with, do you see them? Do they feel seen when they are with you? Seeing each other in a real way, and making that acknowledgement, is so powerful.
“Some of the highest performing companies in the country have the culture thing figured out, they nurture their internal brand as a strategic asset that stimulates a strong external brand.” – Ted Sickinger
If you work in a place that you really think could be a top workplace, what is it about that place that makes it so? If you have some opinions about what would keep a workplace from showing up on such a list, we’d be interested in your thoughts on what those conditions are.
“There’s a lot in the zeitgeist right now that’s looking at the differences between how men and women lead, how those differences in leadership style, whether done by a man or a woman, impact people’s ability to get things done in the workplaces and move around in their organizations.”
What type of culture does your organization promote? Does it encourage collaboration? Conflict avoidance? Constructive confrontation?
HR typically has been set up in the past and has been staffed by people who saw it as their role to protect the organization… but there is another whole set of function that support the strategic role of HR… That’s where organizational development work comes in, that’s where leadership development comes in. Those are the kinds of things that need to support the business unit of an organization to do what the business units need to get done.
Do you have stories about corporate structures and functions working well together?
I think that we have a culture, right now, a business culture, a larger social culture that has so much rigidity around scarcity and fearfulness and a lot of the negative parts of being human and we’re not very much focusing on the positive parts of being human … All of us, men, women, everybody can get better at how we interact with each other at work that opens up possibilities and potential for everyone.
If you have read Lean In, what did you think about it? Did it resonate with you? We look forward to continuing this conversation.
“It’s really about stepping into your power, and believing that you have more power than many women typically do.”
Have you read Lean In? Or have you experienced some of the issues discussed in today’s podcast? Maybe someone you know, a mother, sister, friend, wife, grandmother? How have you or they worked through some of these challenges?
“ More often the same person who is convening the meeting is expected to lead and facilitate it. Leading it is making sure the right content is being covered, and introducing the content, facilitating it is making sure the discussions go well, that there is a process in a group that gets you those outcomes that you are looking for, and those are really two separate jobs.”
Have you led a meeting where you were both the leader and the facilitator? Or attended a meeting where the leader and the facilitator were the same person? What was your experience?
“It is not only new information coming in all the time that needs to be learned. But old assumptions are being challenged, so everything we thought we knew and could be put on the shelf and rely on, those are coming up for grabs too.”
Have you come up with other ideas and application for some of the core principles of lean and notions of agility and complexity?
“In a team situation, having a star performer becomes a threat and an opportunity. If a person is a star performer, their job is to spread their skills around to other members, to mentor and pair with people so other people’s skills are lifted up to where theirs are.”
Have you encountered a star performer in your organization? Was it a positive experience? How did your organization respond to the star performer?
“Using self-awareness and self-knowledge for self-management seems to be key in becoming an effective leader.”
What instruments have you experienced that have been helpful to you? When has really good self-awareness and self-knowledge helped you self-manage as a leader? If you’ve experienced the Hogan, tell us about it. We’d love to hear your stories.
“Leadership really comes from the nature of the questions you ask rather than the statements that you make.”
What questions have been particularly powerful for you? What questions have you asked or have been asked that have made a difference in your life or which have stimulated learning in others (and in yourself)?
“Membership in the secret club carries with it the need to behave in certain ways that may not be your personal inclination. My advice would be to get some experience to get a clear-eyed understanding of what it looks like because it’s not a one size fits all.”
Have you made it in the secret club? What has your experience been like? If you opted out of the secret club, what prompted you to turn away and go in a different direction?
“One of the guiding thoughts about simple rules is that not only are they pretty short and action oriented by starting with a verb, but they are also generalizable and scalable so that they can help you in many different kinds of context in any situation, whether it’s a big or small decision to be made.”
Are you using simple rules in your work? Have you found ones that work particularly well for you and your team? Do you have questions about how simple rules can be applied in your organization?
“To really accept that the world and change are emergent is to accept a kind of stance that says ‘I really can’t know the future and I really can’t do a whole lot to prepare for it’ and that makes people, including me, sometimes uncomfortable.”
What kind of changes are you encountering in your organization? How is your view of change changing and what are you learning from that?
“You can’t really be a good negotiator if you can’t hold boundaries …And to hold the boundary you have to be able to see it, you have to be able to perceive where the boundary lies.”
What kind of negotiations are you involved with every day? Have they been successful or unsuccessful? Where are you using power and love? If you’re a woman, what strengths are you using in negotiations and where are your boundaries?
“We become somehow acculturated to making do with what we’re given rather than asking for what would make things better.”
What are some of your negotiation experiences? What tips did you garner from those interactions? What has helped you or hindered you in the midst of a negotiation? Share your stories with us and help us learn from you.
“If we admit that we can continually improve, we somehow think we’re admitting we’re not enough right now. And I don’t think of it that way, I think we are doing the best we can right now, and we can identify a new level of best and strive for that.”
What are you seeing in your organization? Where are your disappointments and what progress is being made? Where you are seeing real progress being made, how it is made and how is it sustained?
“Vulnerability is really about allowing ourselves to be seen… there are ways of being seen a little more clearly in places that actually helps and helps other people and helps the situation.”
What kind of strategies do you use to help you get through the stressful time when you hit the wall? And what are the healthy ways that you’ve found to deal with that? We look forward to hearing some of your tips on how to manage stress and change.
“The need to have more women involved in software development, since women are at least half of the consumers of software development … does give us some differences in perspectives, although there are some conversations about how we might characterize those differences.”
If you are a woman, what has your experience been as part of a team in a male-dominated industry? If you are a man, what are your concerns or thoughts about including more women on work teams primarily made up of men? And if you’re leading and you’ve come up with some good ways of making your work environment friendlier to technical women, please share with us what you’ve been doing.
“Stories can be very powerful, [but] it’s not enough to just have a story to tell, it has to have relevance, it has to have meaning, to you personally, you have to tell the story sincerely, [and] with authenticity”
What is your experience of storytelling in your organization? Where has it been successful? Where has it not been successful? Where has it fallen flat? Where has it taken things in a direction opposite from what the storyteller intended? How do you as a leader use storytelling in your own leadership practice?
“If you use the credibility that comes with your job title, once, and then people discover that it really wasn’t authentic then you’ve broken trust and trust is difficult to restore once broken.”
How do you use your credibility and what are the sources of your credibility when you are trying to persuade other people? How do you use the relationships in your life to help you make the world better for you and others?
“Our influence is a source of power; the way we influence is unique to each of us.”
What is your unique source of influence and how are you using it in your organization? When have you needed to reach out and tap someone else’s style of influencing to really get things done that benefit the whole?
“Once you define a problem differently, it opens up different solutions and the possibility then of influencing the patterns becomes much greater because there are different places you can touch the problem that you might not have thought of otherwise.”
What leadership experience has made an impact in your professional life? Share your story.