Equity is the moral challenge of our time, Sustainability is the existential challenge, and I can set the table through education. In particularly I am interested in
TL;DR, Summary, Breakdown
- I get energy from my thoughts and writing
- I get energy from listening to others
- I get energy from teaching — leadership is teaching
- I think most of our resources, including many of our greatest minds are working on meaningless problems… though most are no longer at Twitter!
- I have been getting the compliment: “I get positive energy from our conversations,” regularly
Life is so rich. I’m looking for opportunities that allow me to write and teach. I still love leadership, but it’s hard to find B Corps to work for.
Personally, I lean into negative emotions. I take the time to sit with them. I take the time to understand them. I have learned, they are not negative. For example, when I feel fear, I know fear is keeping me from pain. This makes sense if there’s a tiger in the room. Yet, if avoidance will cause more pain–lean in and face it.
I left my job at the end of 2020. I was a “director” and the next step was “VP.” I was in healthcare, which felt good. However, I felt bad. I had felt bad for so long, I couldn’t even realize it. I am proud of the work I did. I also see some problems.
I worked in radiology, with radiologists. Radiologists make half a million dollars a year or more. Yet, they are suffering. I estimate radiologist productivity is double what it was twenty years ago. That’s twice as many life and death decisions in the same amount of time. All for what? Does buying a third Mercedes make a difference? I saw fantastic people burning out, and instead of slowing down, they got back on the wheel. The stress of individuals led to stress in relationships which led to stress in the department. The work of caring for people had changed into something that was not about caring.
I realized, I was looking in a mirror.
Our tagline was, “making time to care.” I cared. Yet, I didn’t have the time to care. In the last summer of my 14 year career arc at 3M/M*Modal/Poiesis, I had 5 new “New Product Introductions,” land in my lap to expand 2 products to 3 different locations. I had meetings with the UK expanding my day in the morning. I had meetings with Australia, expanding my day in the evening. It wasn’t one meeting. It was standing meetings.
I had taken disability for 12 weeks in 2015, but I stayed at the job. Something held me there. When I spoke with a friend in 2022, they said they experienced a similar thing, “It was some sort of Stockholm syndrome.” And so we marched on. It is a virtue to be able to suffer for your team, to be able to give until you bleed. –Emotional violence, though, makes no cuts, not bruises, no wounds of any kind. The signs are all in behavior, body language, mood.
I was “ok,” or “fine,” for as long as I can remember. “Ok,” probably meant, “surviving.”
In 2022, though, when someone asked how I was doing, I would almost always give a, “fantastic.” “Great,” was a bad day. I might have just been, “good,” once or twice. Otherwise, “fantastic,” and I meant it. It felt right.
I credit the difference to a long-term reduction in stress levels. I think I lived in a haze of cortisol for years. I credit the difference to a new sense of self-regard. I am a good person, and have quieted the inner critic who always told me I had to do better. I still want to do always improve, but I am compassionate to myself when I don’t.
- Allowing the team to operate, giving them room to fail and learn
- Asking essential questions to ensure people, process, culture and strategy, plans, and actions align to core values and mission. This requires the curiosity to gain core understanding of customer, business, and technology
- Asking essential questions to identify root problems
- Getting dirty and intervening in critical situations
- Teaching leaders to do the same
- Regular 1:1 meetings with team members, to understand and support team members’ goals and motivations
- Strong communication and engagement up to C-suite, while communicating and integrating with managers, individual contributors, and cross-functional team members
- Finding process and encouraging attitudes that contribute to different ways of thinking to build a deep, rich, shared understanding. I believe this is the true value and meaning of diversity.
- Values driven leadership, starting with a deep commitment to people and meaningful problems; acted out by humble service to employees and customers
- A core understanding of running a business or product, from strategy to product to P&L based on 4 years as a founder and 10 years as a product leader
- A deep interest in understanding problems integrated with the abilities to understand technological solutions and communicate between subject matter experts and technical staff
- Deep experience in product and software development lifecycles and processes