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Coaching Influence Judgement Leadership Personal development

Three key takeaways from Interview with Jennifer Palmieri

Three key takeaways from podcast interview of Jennifer Palmieri who was Communications Director on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign by Julia Gillard

This podcast was more than a review of the recent US election it was all about why women don’t make it to the top.

https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/a-podcast-of-ones-own-with-julia-gillard/id1466658814?i=1000494895703

There were three great takeaways from Jennifer in her interview related to commentary about women in leadership:

1. There is just something about her.

2. She’s too ambitious

3. Great Number 2

Do these words sound so familiar? The language of bias.

In the last decade the language of bias is being exposed and shamed in social media. Awareness and education is key as we all have bias.

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Personal development

Don’t trash the past

This is a key learning in leadership. Many leaders come in and to make themselves look good, they need to talk about the past in a disingenuous way. This is demoralising for staff who have been part of the journey.

Many years ago I managed a turnaround for an under performing sales team, I made the mistake of trashing the past, three years later I was reminded of how demoralising it was by my peer. I had no idea the impact I had.

With this approach you treating everyone the same, when it may be due to poor leadership, poor culture and any number of factors that the individuals have been subjected to.

Recently tasked with turning around a team, I recalled those important lessons, ensuring the team where recognised and that the transition was no reflection on the team. A critical lesson for taking people on the journey.

With a different perspective I could see the commitment and effort of each member of the team and appreciate their individual contribution. I felt for each and everyone of them, as the situation was not of their making.

Don’t ever trash the past.

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Personal development

Strong ideas loosely held is the path to success.

Often our opinions are not heard by leaders, whether bias, credibility or other reasons. In that moment when there is no acknowledgement or you are shot down or the conversation moves on to someone who is listened to far more than you, you know that you flogging a dead horse. One of my colleagues has a saying “put it in the drawer and dust it down in two years”. When she told me this, I was puzzled. The reason: when I don’t get heard I keep going in the hope the message will land. Repetition irritates others and hope is never a strategy, its better to take my colleagues advice and move on and put the suggestion in the drawer for another day.

Strong opinions are often based on bias, so we need to consider our first position as an initial hypothesis, until we uncover further information to develop an opinion. Source https://medium.com/@ameet/strong-opinions-weakly-held-a-framework-for-thinking-6530d417e364. We need to actively seek out contradictory information instead of clinging to an opinion.

In the words of John Gruber: Strong ideas loosely held is the path to success. The inference is not to cling to your original idea, decision, or forecast even in the face of contradictory information. In fact, actively seek the contradictory information — this provides you with data to iteratively improve the situation or forecast, until you get to the right answer.

If you have not disproved your original opinion, when the opportunity comes knocking, you dust down your opinion and off you go for round 2! However by now you may also have a greater groundswell of support and evidence, but what was implemented is not working.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink: the power of thinking without thinking , makes the argument that people frequently make some of their best decisions in mere seconds. We think without thinking, sizing up situations and determining how we feel about someone or something based not on voluminous new information, but rather on our accumulated experience.

The alternative is that other facts or information have emerged, which demonstrates your opinion or idea was ill informed and its time to well and truly move on. This is also a great personal learning to reflect on what bias created the strong opinion in the first place?