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A collection of thoughts through
personal stories, experiences and shared content.

Ideas Will Come From Anywhere

By: Tracy Lee

In 1968 a scientist named Spencer Silver was trying to solve a problem that required a super-strong adhesive. His experiments at that time didn’t produce what he was looking for, but instead, he came out with a low-tack adhesive. For the next five years, Silver talked about his “solution without a problem” in his seminars and within his company but no one was interested. In 1974, a colleague tried to use his low-tack adhesive to anchor a bookmark – which worked incredibly well, and a new product was born. 

Can you guess what the product was?

Right. Post-It notes.

Ideas surface from the most unexpected places. Whether it’s an experiment gone sideways, or an intentional plan to envision a new solution, ideas need space to breathe. In Safi Bahcall’s book Loonshots, he talks about the artists and the soldiers. In his view, someone acts as an artist when they come up with an innovative solution or idea, and...

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Interrupt Your Stride

by: Nevin Danielson

The dust has hardly settled from LEADS week, and certainly, a lot of thoughts and ideas stimulated from LEADS week are still stirring around in my head! As we're all trying to figure out which one thing we attempt to work on first, I wanted to share a theme that I noticed. 

The theme I observed is the importance of interrupting your stride. OK. That phrase probably is far from perfect, but remember, I'm still sorting through a lot of thoughts and ideas from LEADS week.

I observed how critical it is for us to question what we (think we) know, what conclusions we've drawn and what the implications of our actions have been, are and will be.

I feel like nearly every session said "check your biases" and "every perspective is different" and "your interpretation is about you, not the facts."

Consider,

  • TASQ tells us it is essential to Ask for feedback.
  • When we look at Defensiveness we observe how easy it is to shift our own meaning and understanding....
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The CX Team and the iQos Survey

 

An interview with Rhonda about the process the CX Team is using to review, analyze and take action on the results from the iQos Survey.

 

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Saying No

by Nevin Danielson

Saying "no" is often counter-intuitive. Can you imagine being interviewed for a role and saying, "I'm quite skilled at denying requests from my colleagues. Even if they are specific and have a good reason for why they're asking me, I'm able to decline when it's not the right thing to do."

Even for those of us that are already within iQmetrix and making a contribution, declining a colleague's request seems against the culture.

  • "We don't say No!"
  • "We are enthusiastic."
  • "We want our peers to succeed."
  • "We step in when someone else is in need."

And, uh, there are power dynamics.

Saying "no" is often counter-intuitive. However, having an up-front, deliberate discussion with your colleagues is a necessary, healthy component of making a contribution. Why is saying "no" important?

Because the truth is inescapable. We can't avoid the math. Some activities are more valuable than others and we can't do it all. In fact, even if we can do it all, we still have to choose...

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Software Development Will Never Become Less Complex

by Andrew Kuipers

I was reading the article In the Search of Code Quality by Jacek Sokulski today, and it had an interesting overview of the impact of our efforts to improve code quality by technical changes such as different languages or paradigms (eg: functional languages, concurrency via message passing, etc.) as well as development practice changes such as pair programming and code reviews. The results he looks at are surprising: for the most part these efforts have not resulted in improved code quality, although they have generally contributed to developer productivity. According to Sokulski, "The explanation of this phenomenon is based on the concept of target risk from psychology - people behave so that overall risk - called target risk - is on a constant level. When circumstances change people adapt their behavior so that the level of risk is constant." So instead of these technical and practice changes improving the quality of code developers write, it has instead allowed...

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Michelle B on Product Management: What We're Learning

It started wanting to know more about status.iqmetrix.com. It turned into yet another very informative conversation about the role, challenges and amazing value being created by the Product Manager role and the thoughtful & humble Michelle Bautista!

Michelle B. on Product Management (13:36)

-ND

* Find more What We're Learning posts HERE

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Are you Supporting Your People?

Team Leads have additional responsibility in stewarding the environment that team members are operating in. This includes supporting each team member in being able to show up as their best selves in their roles. The time spent on this will pay back in dividends with better communication, more trust, higher engagement and thus higher outputs. Each time you catch yourself saying “I don’t have time for this” consider the cost of disengaged team members.

One-on-ones don’t have to be long or arduous… but a check-in with everyone on your team is critical to your team’s health.  During times like these, it’s especially important that you are having a quick one-on-one with each team member at least weekly. This quick check-in supports the connection your team feels, lets them know that they are important and provides an opportunity to ask questions.  If you are worried about the time commitment, it can take only 15 minutes. 

The goal...

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Distributed Decision-Making: Building Capacity in your Team

For people in a position of high-impact, where the decisions being made affect a larger scope of the organization, it can be hard to let go of decision-making and delegate.  A simple analogy can help any leader grow capacity in their team by giving more responsibility to others on your team. This increase in responsibility has a ripple effect on the overall team and its members. Increasing responsibility demonstrates trust and increased trust positively impacts engagement. Engagement, as we know, is directly correlated to performance. So the short path is – let people know you trust them and their abilities and they’ll rise to the challenge.

It can be hard to do this of course. What if they make a mistake?

Of course they will. Just like you have. And yet, things can turn out okay even if there is a mistake made. The real question is how do I know which decisions and responsibilities are safe to delegate?

Consider this metaphor “Above the Water Line or Below...

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Bite-Sized Advice

I was in a meeting where a Lead expressed enthusiasm for the suggestion of asking "How do you like to be recognized?" in one-on-ones. That's awesome. It's a great tool to add to the toolkit.

It got me thinking. What other pieces of advice fit into a single blurb that might be useful? Here's my list. I hope you'll add your own to #iQU with the hashtag #bitesized.

  • Information is rarely communicated to a Lead so they know that information. Information is communicated to a Lead to make sure that information is distributed to others. When you hear something, share it.

  • If something is really important, it might mean everyone needs to participate. However, to make sure it gets attention, it's best to assign its progress to one person. It's not that one person needs to do all the work, but they should make sure it isn't neglected.

  • If you consistently start and end meetings late, some people adapt to it, others don't. It has a multiplying effect on everyone's time and morale.

  • ...

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Seeing into Our Unconscious Blind Spots

How Judgements on the Strategic Capability of Women May Actually Expose Our Own Strategic Short Comings. 

by Beth Wanner

There are no shortages of books, articles, and opinions on the challenges women face in their careers – to the wage gap, to family planning, to the additional challenges women face if they are also a woman of color – it’s rare that you come across a fresh angle.

In Jess Iandiorio’s article The Real Reason Women Aren’t Getting Ahead in Tech: “She’s Not Strategic”, not only did she present a new angle that I hadn’t considered before, it resonated with me on several different levels: as a woman who has experienced what Jess describes, and as a leader and peer who is guilty of what Jess describes.

Jess details an unconscious bias that many of us have, both men and women, that tends to pass judgement on the strategic capabilities of women. I readily admit that these judgements also apply to men but we have far...

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