I See What You Mean

"I See What You Mean" is a weekly podcast about how and why we get on the same page with ea ... more

Latest Episodes

April 06, 2022 00:33:20
We've Talked Politics, Religion, Work and Relationships. With Rum. And Lived To Tell About It.

We've Talked Politics, Religion, Work and Relationships. With Rum. And Lived To Tell About It.

Political discussions can be unenlightening and uninspiring. Two or more yammer on sounding vaguely like Charlie Brown's teacher.... loving the sound of their our own voices and ideas.... and not learning because no one is listening. But not discussions with this week's guest.   Dan Morford and I have been friends for 22 years. We've worked together, volunteered in our community, raised families, cooked a lot of food, listened to a lot of blues, and have occasionally fallen into a barrel of rum. Over the years we've spent many hours talking about politics, as we do in this episode.    Dan is smart, thoughtful - and principled. That's one of the things I love most about him. He knows when there's something at stake greater than his individual interests. He knows how to have a respectful and effective dialogue. We're not on the same page about everything, but we listen to see if we might learn and we're respectful when we see things differently. And the older we get the more we're on the same page worrying about the future of our country - for our kids.   We talked for an hour so I split the recording into two episodes. If you notice Dan sounding more focused, he is! He had me thinking and I got tangled in my own thoughts. Words were hard but the ideas were as good as ever. With a few expletives thrown in for emphasis (!), here ...

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March 30, 2022 01:07:59
Leading Others To A Same Page From Her Own, And Theirs. What One Woman Learned.

Leading Others To A Same Page From Her Own, And Theirs. What One Woman Learned.

Karen Levy Newnam is a smart, funny, deep-thinking, artist-turned-business woman, self-described goofball. If you think that covers it, it doesn't. At all.   Woven through experience as a writer, actor, producer, college instructor, retail manager and marketing manager are threads of self-discovery, self-awareness and self-improvement. A conviction that bringing one's best self to others is the starting place for getting on the same page. That becoming one's best self is work. Our life's work. And at work we cross paths with others on their journeys.   This episode gets personal with Karen's characteristic honesty about what it means to be a woman in the workplace. A woman senior director in the workplace. A work-in-progress, woman senior director in the workplace. But with class and humor and authenticity that makes you want to work for Karen. Or with her. Or just talk with her, like I got to do. Here are some of my favorite ahh-ha! moments:   5:50 and on - Karen's plan for getting on the same page with herself - by the decade 10:47 and on - Therapy, habits and who am I personally? Professionally? 17:19 - Mentors who cared enough to tell me I was holding myself back 23:12 and on - Expressing emotions at work and a Viktor Frankl quote about creating space between stimulus and response 30:18 ...

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March 23, 2022 00:47:16
Designing A Better Workplace Roots Out Bias. And It's There For You To Find, If You Look.

Designing A Better Workplace Roots Out Bias. And It's There For You To Find, If You Look.

Mika Cross is passionate about people and missions. Especially about figuring out the best way for people to deliver a mission. From her military and civilian service to her consulting today, Mika's mission is to help organizational leaders get that right. And this year's International Women's Day theme - #BreakTheBias - is the perfect backdrop for our discussion about how to position people to contribute their best work - or not.  Bias is in the news a lot, today, with coverage of it in law enforcement, education, hiring and compensation, hostile workplaces, emotional intelligence, and unconscious bias and training, generally. Much coverage shows a bias about bias (sorry) conflating it with prejudice, moralizing about it, or scorning the moralizing. While that might or might not be deserved, it skews a basic point (again, sorry!): Experience wires our brains in ways which ready us to act in ways which can be biased. Apart from intentional bias, whether or not we're unintentionally biased depends mostly on how aware we are of what we're doing, and why. Awareness is key and Mika describes a solid way to become aware of bias in the workplace - data. She shows how knowing your data will reveal patterns in hiring, firing, promoting, pay, telecommuting and more, which might be the result of bias. You'll only know if you look! Mika also brainstorms ways to change the conversation with data to learn what will give employees the best way to give you their best work. Here are some of my favorite ahh-ha! moments: 4:32 - The pandemic highlighted equity issues organizations can address now, as they plan post-pandemic "back to office" strategies 9:26 - No matter what percent of ...

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March 16, 2022 00:47:23
Why Is It So Hard For Government Programs To Deliver Results?

Why Is It So Hard For Government Programs To Deliver Results?

The US Federal government runs more than 3500 programs, each designed to deliver a benefit to citizens or other customers in the US and around the world. Each is a collaborative effort with state and local governments, NGOs and sometimes other counties. And each relies on actors at the end of many delivery chains, far from where programs are planned and managed. Teachers. Inspectors. Law enforcement. War fighers. Diplomats. VA doctors and nurses. And many more.   So how can the Federal government ensure its programs deliver the right benefit to the right beneficiary, in the right way - plus continuously innovate to stay relevant to citizens and partners?   I know of no one better able to navigate a challenge of this magnitude than Mark Forman. With 30 years' experience inside government and out, in the US and around the world, Mark can conceive of solutions to big problems and see how they work where people implement them where the rubber meets the road. In this episode we discuss objectives and key results - OKRs - as a framework for getting people on the same page to deliver results and continuously improve return on program investments. Here are a few of my ahh-ha! moments:   2:06 - The OKR model as a framework for return on investment, especially of investments in transformations 3:11 - OKRs shift the focus from paying for activities to buying outcomes ...

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March 09, 2022 00:57:42
Is A Statement Of Work The "Same Page" Government Officials and Contractors Need To Get On?   

Is A Statement Of Work The "Same Page" Government Officials and Contractors Need To Get On?  

The government's solicitation is its best attempt to define a problem. A contractor's proposal is its best attempt to define a solution. When faithfully executed, both should combine to meet a mission requirement. But can they? Contracts of even moderate complexity can obligate contractors to meet scores of requirements performed in dozens of activities over a 1 to 5 year period. Issues, priorities, budgets, personnel and conditions will change. So how can executing a statement of work written 12-18 months before work even began, meet a mission requirement?   Greg Giddens says the answer is performance management. Not in the HR sense but as a broad framework for conversation about how contract acquisition, program management and change management work together - or don't - to meet the intent of a statement of work. To meet the business objective or, in government terms, the mission requirement of the contract.   Greg and his business partner at Potomac Ridge Consulting, Dave Grant, should know. After careers in project and program management, change management and procurement in multiple Federal government cabinet departments, they know what works and what doesn't to get government and contracting officials on the same page. Greg joins me for this episode, and here are some of my favorite aah-ha! moments:   7:36 - Federal contracting is conceived as a partnership with the private sector 10:50 - Federal contracts, marriage contracts, and the meaning of ...

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March 02, 2022 00:41:34
Communicating Across Generations - Or What A Boardgame Might Teach The Boardroom

Communicating Across Generations - Or What A Boardgame Might Teach The Boardroom

My friend and colleague, Brenda Blackman, opens this episode with a funny story about how the communication of clues in a card and boardgame was challenged by differences in the players' ages. It's a telling story, too, because with five generations in the workforce, how much work communication is affected by age? In what ways? Is getting on the same page affected? Brenda and I discuss these questions and what she does about them.   With 28 years in the Air Force and another 10 consulting, not only is leadership important to Brenda but so is mentoring. Mentoring is near and dear to her heart, in fact, and in this episode we discuss challenges organizations face preparing young professionals for top leadership positions. Here are a few of my ahh-ha! moments:   1:48 - Clues, games and the ahh-ha! moment. 3:57 - Taking the extra step to make sure people on your team are as vested in the outcomes as you are. 7:42 - The difference between following orders when you understand - and don't understand - a leader's objective or endgame. 12:21 - How understanding a leader's objective or endgame enables better performance - and why good leaders never ask teams to bring them a rock. 20:00 - When a team is very close, can they really "read each other's minds?" And what probabilities and prediction have to do with it. ...

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