Lead by Letting Go: Launching Success in a Time of Change

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Opening Keynote for Women of the Channel West 2014. Looks at how we work, lead, learn, and mentor -- and what constraints we can let go of and what we must hold tight to.

Opening Keynote for Women of the Channel West 2014. Looks at how we work, lead, learn, and mentor -- and what constraints we can let go of and what we must hold tight to.

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  • How many of you enjoy TED talks? …this isn’t one. It’s longer than 18 minutes and it will have questions and hopefully answers. I’ll be asking you for some short answers throughout the talk, and then we’ve left 10 minutes for Discussion at the end.
    Let’s start with the issue of Change. How many of you have changed jobs in the last 2 years?
  • Old styles of leadership are limited in these environments – and this graph is showing that we have problems. Now I show this graph not because I think tech companies in India are Leading by Letting Go, I don’t know, but I suspect they are leading more traditionally, but they are also at a different stage in their organizational evolution.

    http://blog.linkedin.com/2014/03/10/getting-more-women-in-stem-our-partnership-with-mentornet/
    “Methodological details: The results of this analysis represent the world as seen through the lens of LinkedIn data. As such, it is influenced by how members chose to use the site, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis.

    Keen observers will note that there is no field for gender on the LinkedIn profile. We have inferred the gender of members included in this analysis by classifying first names. Members whose gender could not be inferred based on their first names weren’t included in the analysis.

    We analyzed information stored in the education field of the profile and focused on members who held bachelor’s degrees in fields related to computer science, software engineering, electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), computer application, and computer engineering. Members who did not provide a completion date for their degree weren’t included in the analysis.”
  • I’m going to tell you a secret… It’s rare that I get to give this talk this way. The language around “Lead by Letting Go” makes many people nervous.
  • Instead, I’m often asked to give this talk. This is a great talk too, if I do say so myself, but it seems to be predicated on the idea that “letting go” looks like:

    ..in the context of my current research and book project and in light of what I’m seeing in industry. It’s not that we’re letting go, it’s more that we may use a lighter touch
    – as is true in many different fields. Pros rarely take a “death grip” – instead, they lightly control. And the data supports this – especially as we integrate technologies into how we do our work.
  • Letting go of a perfectly good airplane

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/397629064 “At a zero angle of attack, better known as a “No Lift Dive,”
    Sgt. 1st Class Cheryl Stearns, from the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, holds her position to build enough air
    speed to execute the “style set” in a competitive amount of time. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.”
  • Or letting go of control

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/8643220891/
  • Instead, I’m thinking about building and then launching something great
  • Helping someone or something get strong, and then letting it loose

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/deepwaterhorizonresponse/4731238723/
  • Letting go of your fashion sense when there are rainbows out and letting go of the idea that a meeting has to happen in a room. This was a walk and talk meeting in the foothills.
  • Or know when it’s time to actually let go and exit

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nocash/525947230/
  • All of my versions of “letting go” show wisdom rather than reckless abandon or reckless driving.
  • My examples are also about what you should hold on to. Sean D. Tucker is Oracle’s aerobatic pilot. I had the pleasure of meeting him last summer as he talked to a
    group of new hires about respect. He pointed out that in his line of business if you don’t have respect for some of the rules,
    you don’t make it. I think of this as the wisdom to hold tight to:
    Things like your performance standards, your values, your relationships… and the laws of physics.
  • So here’s to the organizers of today’s event and their courage to let us think about Lead by Letting Go, than a perhaps more watered down version.
  • Let’s cover examples of how others lead by letting go.
  • Let’s set the stage. I’m asking you to believe that the world is changing. But it’s not just me: Maynard Webb, past president of technology and coo of Ebay, CEO of LiveOpps gives us a clear view of the future of work.
    Based on how work is becoming more fluid and entrepreneurial
    In general, be the CEO of Your Own Destiny. Basically, be an active participant in the work, lead, learn, and mentor activities we will be talking about – no matter what your formal role.
  • Sarah Rosso – Automattic Global Services Manager. Automattic brings us WordPress. Automattic let go of, well, they never really were holding on to many of the things they do that are unique. They are perhaps best known for being a virtual company – you work from where you’d like, with some meetings throughout the year. They do trial project to hire – why not? And they have 140 internal blogs so the work still all makes sense – they work in public. They’ve let go of their walls, but they hold tight to their performance standards and their communication.
  • Letting go of work location doesn’t always work. You may remember that Yahoo made the news when Marissa Mayer pulled their telecommuting employees back into the office.
    Some had been taking advantage of the system, but the public statement was that to be innovative you have to be face to face.
    Research and other examples don’t support that – but it’s an example of holding on to perhaps the wrong thing – or perhaps the right thing at the right time:
    Yahoo was in the middle of a big set of shifts and make this was the time to hold tight to people’s physical connection to the company. Time will tell. https://www.flickr.com/photos/yodelanecdotal/2732358363/
  • Zappos is one of the best online retailers. Yet, they’ve let go of formal job titles, performance reviews, and now job postings.
    So far so good, but this is an example I’d love to learn more about.
  • Intuit makes TurboTax, Quicken, Quickbooks and many other tools for small companies. In 2007, founder Scott Cook realizes he’s not Steve Jobs
    that he’s not going to have all the great innovations the company needs come from his own head – but that he does have an amazing organization with amazing ideas.
    Meets with Claudia Kotchka of P&G and then Kaaren Hanson as part of a process that leads to innovation catalysts. They let go of heavy handed research and development.
    http://www.careinnovations.org/uploads/the-innovation-catalysts.pdf
  • These ideas are drawn from my last book, The Plugged-In Manager. There I focused on the building blocks of people, technology, and organizational process – the key ideas being that you start with those building blocks,
    then stop and look at what you already have or could easily get, mix your dimensions through a process that looks like negotiation, and then listen to the results and repeat.

    This is the preparation that gives you the ability to let go.

    For example, as we look at work, who is working and where do they need to be? Where can routine be moved from a human to a technology, where can a more creative data-based process be added?

    Zappos doesn’t just let go of traditional HR practices, but builds in others by extreme education and focus on how work gets done. They don’t do annual performance appraisal, but they do provide feedback all the time. Intuit doesn’t just let go of formal R&D, but builds in new roles and resources so that the whole organization can participate in innovation.
  • Let’s make this personal…

    Hold tight to high work standards, but (pick one)

    Let go of
    One meeting
    One Day in the Office
    One job Boundary
    Or? What might you let go of?
  • Put together the people, the process, and the technology, then let go.
  • If you’ve already done this – please apply to the 2014 SuperNova Awards. Disruptive uses of technology around the Future of Work.
  • Let go of artificial structures. Don’t wait. What she says about people can also be extended back to the idea about working in public. The more we do work that
    Has automatic, immediate feedback, the better off we all are.
  • LEAD
    Highlight the goal and make sure it matches the customer’s needs. Provide the resources to get the work done.
    FOLLOW
    Follow as in pay attention and coach.
    Get out of the Way
    “On the day of the event, they’re going to be the ones on the field.” You can’t be an expert in everything, so hire people smarter than yourself and step out of the way.
    http://terrigriffith.com/blog/lead-follow-and-get-out-way-leadership-supports-final-four
  • Look at the people you’re hiring, the tasks that they’re doing and the feedback working on those tasks provides.
  • In this instance my colleagues and I have new research coming out that specifically addresses tradeoffs that can be made in leadership. We can let go of face-to-face leadership if the work itself is providing feedback, if the people doing the work are good a communicating with their leaders using technology and if the technology they use in their work can provide information that helps them learn better how to do their jobs.
  • Hold tight to your responsibilities to find the right people, get them resources, and be a coach along the way.
    Let go of one routine, one piece of artificial feedback, one way you hold position where you don’t need to.
  • Training wheels are great. A helmet and shoes might be even better, but work to build something great, then let go.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dottiemae/5393326849/
  • Learning is certainly a topic near and dear to my heart, and we have much to let go of.
  • I’d like to let go of my campus walls – and today, we are.
  • Daphne Koller and the team at Coursera (or Udacity, Udemy, EdX…) have also let go of campus walls, and in the case of Coursera, tuition.
  • I’m also expecting that we will need to let go of the idea of “terminal degrees.”
  • Instead, we’ll look for lifelong learning and an expectation that it will be both deep and broad.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/google-hiring-non-graduates-2013-6
  • http://www.businessinsider.com/google-hiring-non-graduates-2013-6
  • Who are your people? What do they need to know and what is the best way to learn it? What’s the best way to know that people have specific knowledge, skills, and abilities? Is a classroom experience really our best way? The answer isn’t just online or classroom, but it’s some combination of people, process, and technology that is adapted over time and for your situation.
  • I’m certain we can let go of lectures.
    I’m pretty sure we can let go of many formal degree requirements
    But we must hold tight to supporting knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • Put together the people, the process, and the technology, then let go.
  • My last topic for today: What might we let go of as we mentor?
  • First, let’s talk about the context of mentoring.
    Nilofer Merchant talks about Onlyness. Onlyness is the unique value we each bring to a situation. Born of our experience, perspective, and our vision.
    Onlyness is of value to your work, to your leadership, to your learning, and to your mentoring.

    We all have something to offer.

    http://www.slideshare.net/missrogue/11-rules-for-the-social-era-book-by-nilofer-merchant
  • Recall this data that we started with:

    Mentoring is an area where we can leverage our onlyness using people, technology, and process.
    I suspect many of you will be mentoring here today. We can mentor newcomers, peers, and up the ladder.

    http://blog.linkedin.com/2014/03/10/getting-more-women-in-stem-our-partnership-with-mentornet/
    “Methodological details: The results of this analysis represent the world as seen through the lens of LinkedIn data. As such, it is influenced by how members chose to use the site, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis.

    Keen observers will note that there is no field for gender on the LinkedIn profile. We have inferred the gender of members included in this analysis by classifying first names. Members whose gender could not be inferred based on their first names weren’t included in the analysis.

    We analyzed information stored in the education field of the profile and focused on members who held bachelor’s degrees in fields related to computer science, software engineering, electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), computer application, and computer engineering. Members who did not provide a completion date for their degree weren’t included in the analysis.”
  • Let’s start with the data

    But in 10 years – 50% will have left STEM, but mentoring can change this.
  • Technology and our changing perspectives provide great leverage for the power of mentoring.

    I’m on the advisory board of MentorNet. This is an organization that has been around a long time and will be relaunching in Sept with a new more social platform.
    Key to their perspective is to hold tight to the idea of mentoring, but to let go of the idea (this is my version) that it’s always for life.
    MentorNet engagements are shorter and more structured that many other approaches to mentoring – and they work
  • MentorNet is partnering with these great organizations – and thank you to them all.
  • Not all mentors and not all peers are the same

    http://www.bu.edu/sph/files/2012/01/Kram_Mentoring-Alternatives.pdf
  • Hold tight to the commitment to mentor

    …but let go of the idea that it has to have the high hurdler of a lifelong commitment or organizational sponsorship.

  • Put together the people, the process, and the technology, then let go.
  • We’ve done some good work together – and now I’d like to let go of the agenda. What questions do you have for me, or for others in the audience?
  • To close: Hold tight to your performance standards, your relationships, the value of education, and the laws of physics.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/drainrat/13184214033
  • Today, commit to let go of at least one constraint that is limiting your success and share with me, share with all of us, how it goes.

Transcript

  • 1. Lead by Letting Go Launching Success in a Time of Change Terri Griffith
  • 2. Have You Changed Jobs In the Last 2 Years?
  • 3. //www.millennialinc.com/Millennial_Inc_PRINTPDF.pdf “The average 26-year-old …changed jobs an astounding seven times from age 18, in search of something more.”
  • 4. Did You Work Away From Your Office Last Week?
  • 5. https://www.elance.com/q/global-business-survey
  • 6. Are You in the Minority in Your Department?
  • 7. LinkedIn Data
  • 8. Lead by Letting Go Launching Success in a Time of Change
  • 9. Lead Like a Pro How Great Executives, Team Leads, Equestrians, Golfers, Dancers, and You Do More With a Lighter Touch
  • 10. Photo Credit: Cpl. Sean Capogreco Sgt. 1st Class Cheryl Stearns
  • 11. Photo Credit: Steven Vance
  • 12. Lead by Letting Go Launching Success in a Times of Change Terri Griffith
  • 13. Photo Credit: Deepwater Horizon Response
  • 14. Photo Credit: Beau Dacious
  • 15. Wisdom
  • 16. Photo Credit: Rob Shenk
  • 17. Courage
  • 18. Work Lead Learn Mentor
  • 19. Be the CEO of Your Own Destiny
  • 20. Trial Projects to Hire 140 Internal Blogs – Working in Public Sarah Rosso Global Services Manager
  • 21. Photo credit: Yahoo, Inc.
  • 22. How?
  • 23. Process Tech People Listen Stop Look
  • 24. Meeting Day in the Office Strict Job Boundary Or?
  • 25. TerriGriffith.com/blog
  • 26. Work Lead Learn Mentor
  • 27. Let Go Of Routine “When you are involved in routine, you take away the intelligence of the people.” Rhonda Winter CIO, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • 28. “Remember that day, January 12th, when you peed on the carpet?”
  • 29. “If I had my way I wouldn’t do annual reviews, if I felt that everybody would be more honest about positive and negative feedback along the way.”
  • 30. Lead, Follow, and Get Out of the Way Mark Klein
  • 31. Process Tech People Listen Stop Look
  • 32. Feedback from Work Technology Support Supervisor Communication Location
  • 33. Routine Artificial Feedback Position Leader Location Or?
  • 34. Photo Credit: Jenn Durfey
  • 35. Work Lead Learn Mentor
  • 36. Serve the people who fit in this building Or serve the world?
  • 37. Daphne Koller Online Learning as a Social Experience Photo Credit: American Council on Education
  • 38. Do students “flatline” after their “terminal” degree?
  • 39. Lifelong Learning Let Go of Strict Requirements for Traditional Degrees
  • 40. Process Tech People Listen Stop Look
  • 41. Lecture Classes Degree Requirement Or?
  • 42. Photo Credit: Marianne Bevis
  • 43. Work Lead Learn Mentor
  • 44. Nilofer Merchant -- 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era
  • 45. LinkedIn Data
  • 46. New Platform Launches in September
  • 47. Our Vision MentorNet envisions a diverse 21st Century STEM workforce in which all citizens contribute to innovation and experience prosperity
  • 48. 92% of MentorNet’s Protégés graduate! And 50% explore job opportunities with their Mentor’s company MentorNet.org
  • 49. Peer Roles Across Career Stage Kathy Kram & Lynn Isabella Special Work / Family Competence Reassess Reviewing Past Collegial Defining Roles ID Ops Wisdom Consulting Information Learning Visibility Networking Maint. Of Knowledge Establishment Advancement Middle Late
  • 50. Process Tech People Listen Stop Look
  • 51. High Barrier to Entry Need to Mentor Down Or?
  • 52. Photo Credit: Jurvetson
  • 53. Work Lead Learn Mentor
  • 54. TerriGriffith TerriGriffith.com @TerriGriffith
  • 55. Photo Credit: DarkDay