Organizations Might Benefit By Zero Trust For IT Security, But They Need A Trusted Environment For IT Projects. Part 1 Of My Conversation With Richard Spires.

June 01, 2022 00:40:20
Organizations Might Benefit By Zero Trust For IT Security, But They Need A Trusted Environment For IT Projects. Part 1 Of My Conversation With Richard Spires.
I See What You Mean
Organizations Might Benefit By Zero Trust For IT Security, But They Need A Trusted Environment For IT Projects. Part 1 Of My Conversation With Richard Spires.

Jun 01 2022 | 00:40:20


Show Notes

If you're not a technologist (I'm not), you might think success in a technology field hinges on technical knowledge. Technologists know exactly which technical knowledge and skill is required for success, and they know there's more.

Working with people? Check. Understanding business needs? Check. Listening, negotiating, problem solving? Checks all around. And my guest this week will tell you that's not all. 

Richard Spires is an accomplished technologist who will tell you that in every leadership position he's held, getting people on the same page was key to success. It wasn't the only key. But team and stakeholder misalignment will sink a small technology project or a major modernization, just the same.

As happens in great conversations, Richard and I lost track of time and ran long, so I'm publishing it as two episodes. Part 1 examines the people skills organizations need in their technologists. Part 2 will focus on what it takes for government to operate effectively and efficiently. Please forgive the occasional audio "scratch" I couldn't edit out. 

Listen in and be sure to visit to check out his first book, "Success in the Technology Field - A Guide For Advancing Your Career." Here are a few of my favorite ahh-ah! moments from Part 1:

2:45 and on - Technology is delivered through projects, and one's ability to manage projects effectively is critical to technology's success. And that requires the leadership of people.

5:55 - A definition of "technologist" that might surprise you - but makes perfect sense.

10:03 - When very senior people see very large technology projects… very differently.

12:15 - Constant communication is critical in part because project plans change the moment a project is kicked-off

19:34 - Why creating a trusted environment - not just trust - is critical to project success.

28:20 - Important advice for young leaders - learn the leadership style that fits you. And find a mentor.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:07 Welcome to, I see what you mean to podcast about how people get on the same page or don't, or perhaps shouldn't today. My guess is Richards Byers. Richards worked in the technology industry for more than 35 years in government and private sector, executive positions, and also volunteered in it associations where he and I met Richard. Welcome to the show. Speaker 2 00:00:26 Lou, thank you so much for having me on Speaker 1 00:00:28 My pleasure. I look forward to our conversation. Why don't you start with a short bio about yourself? Speaker 2 00:00:33 Sure. Yeah. I am a technologist at heart. A couple engineering degrees came outta school and uh, went into the private sector first in an it consulting organization. We did work, uh, mainly for the us federal government, but also for some private sector firms. And, you know, I ended up spending 16 years there, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and rose. Those ranks became a senior vice president, uh, but then had an opportunity to, to join a firm as the, um, as the chief operating officer of a software product company of all things. Mm-hmm <affirmative> data analytics software in the financial services sector. But what my real I claim to fame, so to speak is when I was asked to go into the us federal government mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, first at the IRS, I, I went in to run what was called their business systems modernization program, a multi-billion dollar it modernization program. Speaker 2 00:01:26 And then I became their chief information officer, uh, for a few years there at the IRS mm-hmm <affirmative> I stepped out of stepped out government. And then I was asked to come back in, uh, become the CIO at the us department of Homeland security, uh, where I served for about four years. Then I stepped outta government again in 2013. And since then I've done a number of things. I was the CEO of a, of a learning company mm-hmm <affirmative> called, uh, learning trait mm-hmm <affirmative> and, uh, and do some consulting now and, and sit on a, on a few boards and, and write books, write books. That's Speaker 1 00:02:01 Right. Speaker 2 00:02:01 I do write the books Lou, Speaker 1 00:02:03 So which, which I wanna start with, and I wanna start with the book you wrote last year, success in the technology field, a guide for advancing your career. So I actually read it. I, I reviewed it. I liked it a lot and I'm gonna give it to one of my daughters. One's in the technology field, one's in a science and science field, but one's in the technology field and I'm gonna give it to her. So you cover a lot in that book from, in a, from early in a young professional's career to later in a career mm-hmm <affirmative> and you cover a lot of aspects of career it's quite comprehensive. What role would you say? What would be the place of be the ability to get people on the same page these days in a technology career? Speaker 2 00:02:45 Yeah. Yeah. Lou, let me just start out by saying that point about getting people on the same page is so critically important in any field mm-hmm <affirmative> and I know we'll, we'll dive into some particulars here, but, but back to the book and, and thank you for having read it, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I talk about 12 traits mm-hmm <affirmative> um, in the book, uh, and as you say, it it's really covers your whole career from start to, to finish, but there are two in particular where I really feel this idea of getting on the same page comes to the four. So one of the traits I talk about in the technology field, if you wanna be successful in technology, things are delivered in the technology field, through projects and your ability to, to be a good project team member. And then your ability to manage projects effectively, whether they're small or, or very, very large, is really critical to many people. Speaker 2 00:03:42 Mm-hmm, <affirmative> being successful in technology mm-hmm <affirmative>. And your, your point is well taken this, this idea of being on the same page, most projects I have seen that fail due, they don't have, it's not like they're trying to do things that are technology impossible or something mm-hmm <affirmative> right. I mean, they're a real stretch. The technology is there, but the ability to garner a team and get them all pointed in the right direction, if you will, on the same page, right. Another term I like to talk about is, are we aligned, right? Are we aligned on where we're headed? Right. Um, is so critical to project and program management and it's, especially then the larger and more complex, the more critical it becomes. So if you've got technologists working on a project and you've got business analysts, let's say working on a project yeah. Speaker 2 00:04:34 That represent the business side. Yeah. And you can't get all on the same page. Uh, you're gonna have failure. I've just seen it time and time and time again. So I'd say the one, the one trait around project management, um, is, is very, very critical. And then I would say the second one, I talk, uh, another trade I talk about is leadership. Right now, leadership comes in many forms, right? You can, you can be a leader of, of not even managing people. Uh, you can lead that's right through thought leadership and examples you set and the mentorship you give to others. But if you're a leader of people, a lot of it is, is making sure you're generally headed in the same direction, which is back to the, the very point you made when you started this about getting on the same page. And, and so I think your point about it being so critical and you even having a podcast around this topic mm-hmm <affirmative> is, is very, very insightful of you one and, and two, it, it does cross, as I say, many disciplines, mm-hmm, <affirmative> in particular in the technology field, delivering projects well, and leading people are the two areas that I would think that this most pertains. Speaker 1 00:05:43 There's some important points in there. Let's unpack a little bit, but first tell me what you mean when you say technologist and you've defined you, you identified yourself that way. You said I am a technologist <laugh> I did. Speaker 2 00:05:55 Yeah. Yeah. Well, and I, and in, in the book, I kind of describe a few different types of technologists and, you know, a technologist isn't somebody that's got a PhD necessarily in physics or, or something like that. Um, it can be right. I mean, you can have the technologists that are very, very deep academically and, and theoretically, but I talk about technologists that are like myself, that tended to apply technology to business problems. Okay. That's been kind of my, my career path. Ah, and by the way, I even talk about being, you know, success in the technology field. You know, I, I even talk about sales people who are the best technology related sales people. I know that that really know how Speaker 1 00:06:35 To, I remember that Speaker 2 00:06:37 They, they, they get to understand their customers and their customers issues well. Right, right. And how it is that my product or my service can best align and address your challenge or your as a customer. Right. That, that, that is another, if you will, that sales role is, is another technology role in my Speaker 1 00:06:57 View. Speaker 2 00:06:57 Okay. Speaker 1 00:06:58 Okay. Well, and then, and that, the reason I asked is because you talked about aligning being aligned on where we're headed. So I think that, that, that I took that as a definition of getting on the same page of operating definition. And what I see is, uh, different parties involved in that effort. They come from different worlds, they've got different, perhaps roles and responsibilities, different objectives, maybe even different masters they're serving. Right. Speaker 2 00:07:27 Correct. Speaker 1 00:07:28 And the leader, like you said, could be the C I O CEO doesn't have to be a chief, could be the project. Um, mm-hmm, <affirmative> the PM the project manager. The challenge is that somehow, and I wanna wanna talk about how, but somehow they help people bring those worlds together. Right. The different worlds that people live in and the different things that they see and bring and bring 'em together in a way that something shared or mutual has to come from that otherwise people would remain on their own pages. Speaker 2 00:07:59 Well, you, you brought up an excellent point, which is in many instances, um, particularly in technology related endeavors projects, programs, whatever it may be, you call it, you you've got a diversity of backgrounds of people. And as you say, so how do you get them on the same page? Right. Uh, and so this is, multi-layer, let's take a large program and I've run a number of them at, at working level. So much of it is about the right kinds of communications and, and meeting people where they're at. Right. So to speak, um, you know, educating people effectively, I think, yeah. I kind of view that as a big part of a project manager's role is to make sure that everybody understands what is, what are our objectives are. Right. And, and the role that everybody's playing, right. To meet those objectives and how, how are we gonna do that? Right. I mean, at a, at a, at a pretty good level of detail, actually. Yeah. So that everybody feels part of the team and that they can understand that. And, and that's a con that isn't a well and done thing. It's not like you two hour kickoff Speaker 1 00:09:08 And you're good. You Speaker 2 00:09:09 Educate everybody and here's a plan. And, and then you leave it alone. No, as, you know, projects constantly are changing, uh, they're morphing, you're learning things. And so it's a constant education and communications endeavor. And so I think that's how on a project team basis, uh, that I've seen that being successful, but let's look at the other aspect of, this is so important, which is the sta what I call the stakeholder, um, basis. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so are the stakeholders of a project or a program. Let's talk about that. If you've got a, a project to improve a business process for, let's say an, an organization could be a project, could be a private sector company, it could be government agency. It really doesn't matter what the organization is. The stakeholder, I mean, who owns that business process right. Who who's responsible for that, or who's, who's the benefactor, if we can improve that business process, right. Speaker 2 00:10:03 Those are stakeholders, uh, likewise in government, it even gets more complex. Cause you've got different audits, auditors, you've got different parts of the agency you might deal with that are also stakeholders. And so how do you get them? Yeah. All aligned. They're on the same page, as you say. And, and that gets into what I talk about a lot program governance, which is a model that I, I really, really worked on, particularly the IRS and, and DHS to, to more effectively, as you say, get everybody on the same page so that we could make better decisions because <laugh> too often, Lou I'd be, I, you know, it'd be funny. I mean, if it'd be sad in a way, but 20 Speaker 1 00:10:46 It's funny now Speaker 2 00:10:47 Actually you'd actually know you'd actually have, uh, very senior executives, both of whom were stakeholders in the program and who saw it very differently. Yeah. You know, they had different views. Sure. What the outcome should be. They had different views about what would be the best path to get the success. I mean, that's a, that's a recipe for disaster, right. On a large program. Right. Um, you know, and some of these programs were, you know, as I said, I, I ran a multi billion dollar program, so this is, this was big money we're Speaker 1 00:11:16 Talking about and multiyear, they go on. Speaker 2 00:11:18 Oh, oh, absolutely. So, Speaker 1 00:11:21 So if you're off by a few degrees at the beginning. Yeah, Speaker 2 00:11:24 Absolutely. Yeah. It really gets back. And, and so how do you get everybody on the same page in that model? And I, I'm just a huge believer in a, in a governance model that as I say, brings the right people together at the right time, uh, with the right information. I mean, if you can, if you can do that on a, on a regular basis, it's, it's a way to drive success. Speaker 1 00:11:50 What kinds of things? Sure. That makes sense. Especially of level of, for levels of management, maybe above the project team. Speaker 2 00:11:58 That's what I'm talking about, right. With governance, right? Speaker 1 00:12:00 Yes. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> what kinds of things would you have on your agendas for those conversations? What could you forecast or predict could go right. Or go wrong and things you knew you needed to keep in front of people. How did you manage the government is sort of a, some of the mechanics of it. Speaker 2 00:12:15 Sure. We would leverage the project team members themselves, or the program team to, to provide that right information. So is, let's start with basics. You have to understand where you're at in, in a good level of detail, exactly where we're at on the delivery of a program. So you need a good plan to start with. That's a schedule, that's all of the requirements you're gonna be delivering when you're gonna be delivering. And this doesn't matter, whether you're, you're working in a traditional waterfall with your agile, these are just basic good management concepts that you, you need to have these things, right. And so once you have that plan, then first, I mean, having this governance quote body, you know, all these stakeholders, uh, understand that plan, buy into that plan, approve that plan before you get started is really key. So once you've got that, but let's talk about now you're in flight, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> the program's underway. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and you know, as things will happen. Okay. There'll be new requirements that come in mm-hmm <affirmative> that you know, that you couldn't afford foresee before. Mm-hmm <affirmative> okay. That's what, that's what change, you know, you always talk about change and dealing with change. You're gonna have that happen. That's a, that's a, that's a given nothing's going to be perfect in your plan. So, right. You know, you might, you might think it's perfect when you start <laugh>, but very, very soon, something's not going to reality. Speaker 2 00:13:36 <laugh> reality hits and you gotta start dealing with that reality. And, and this is where the governance becomes so critical. Cause so yeah, let's just take a real world kind of situation. We've got a, um, a new important requirement from the business that's come in. Let's, let's say it's a private sector company and you know, there's a new market that's emerging that we need to address these, these generated new requirements in our program. The, at the same time, uh, we're struggling with, with, um, some of our testing or whatever it may be on, on, I'm an it guy, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> so talking about delivering systems, but it applies to any kind of program we're talking about. So we've got, we wanna try to deliver more yet. We're running into issues on, on, on delivery itself. So this is a perfect kind of example, to bring in front of this board to hear all views. Speaker 2 00:14:26 So let let's take, you know, yeah. From the business side, you know, just how important is it? We get to this market. I mean, is this the most critical thing, right? That you be willing to forgo are the requirements right now that we're in our plan, right? As an example, in order to deliver this, right? Those are business kinds of questions right now. That's gotta be tempered by, you know, the technology side or the, or the program side saying, Hey, we're struggling a bit with delivery. You know, here's what we can do or believe we can do where we're at. And so you gotta have the reality. I mean, this is, this is very important so that everybody understands the challenges so that when you make these kinds of decisions, everybody gets up from the table and they all have the same understanding of the facts and where what's, what are we gonna do about it? Whatever, whatever the challenges Speaker 1 00:15:18 Are. Yeah, yeah. Speaker 2 00:15:19 That, that is so meaningful though, to a program. I mean, I, I, I just can't overstate how important it is to have that at a senior level. And as I said, the more complex, the larger the program, the more important it becomes. Yeah. So you don't have somebody walking outta that room saying, well, those technology guys don't know what they're doing, or they're not headedness, you know, they're not taking us in the right direction. No, I was at the table. So I mean, I'm part of this and I I'm part of the team. And that's back to your point being on the same page, you, if for, you know, we, we may not like what the decision we had to make, but it was the best decision given the facts in front of us at that Speaker 1 00:16:01 Time. There's and it's a continuous conversation or it, it, it, it works best. If it's a continuous conversation with those stakeholders, you know, I'm, we've talked about this, I've been reimagining and rebranding of my own consulting practice, where I'm gonna take something is about conversation and it's relevant to what you just said. I've become very interested in understanding four things. Richard, what people see in a situation, what they make of it, mm-hmm, <affirmative> what they would do about it and why they would do that thing. And if I'm talking to you, I'm talking to personal relationship. Doesn't matter what I like to see if I can do is can I understand what you understand? The way you understand it? Even if I, I might or might not agree, we can. That's separate mm-hmm <affirmative> but do I have a picture clear in my mind that looks like the one you have in your mind as much as we can do that. Do I understand what you understand? The way you understand it? If I do it gets me outta my head, we, we can have conversations about different things that I might have thought of. You might see something. I didn't see Speaker 2 00:17:02 Mm-hmm Speaker 1 00:17:02 <affirmative> you might have sized it up in a way. I didn't, I didn't size, especially when we have different backgrounds. Yes. If you come from finance, if you come from HR, if you come from technology, you come from the customer side, you've got, we want people to have different things. They bring to the conversation. So it seems to me that in the go, in, in the governance process, starting with the having data facts about where we are, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, what's emerged. What are we, what are we finding as we work, the kind of trade off conversation, you mentioned new requirements come up or difficulty in some area or key personnel leaves. All these things happen. All right? All these things happen. All these things happen. And then you have to have a conversation about what we do now. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it's really important to know. Speaker 1 00:17:50 And in your position, you would, would've wanted to know all these folks I'm talking to have that kind of shared understanding. We, we can come at something from different perspectives and backgrounds and responsibilities, but we are sharing something in this, that substantially that we see the same way we size up the same way we would act on towards certain ends. And if not, you could talk about it and get aligned. There's that? That's what, there's that word back that, that comes back in my mind get aligned. But if you're not on the same page about those kinds of things, you're not aligned, how do you make those trade off decisions? Or how do you stop a part of a project and re reasses, right? How do you then, then governance becomes challenging. Maybe not even possible, Speaker 2 00:18:34 Maybe impossible. Well, let me pick up on a, on your theme there. Cause I think you brought up some excellent points. So you're right. People come from very different backgrounds and many times it's difficult, right? If they're very different than you to understand their process for thinking through a pro an issue, how they arrive decisions, but what I have found, and it's not perfect. But if you can do a couple things, one, you gotta make the time both parties do. If we're talking about just two, trying to understand each other, right. To get to know each other and to get it into one. And that's one of the reasons I like a governance model where you're regularly meeting. Okay. It's it's like when I set up a program governance model on a major program, I want them meeting at least every month. And sometimes more often than that, because they've got to know the program real well, and they've got to know each other, Speaker 1 00:19:33 Each other. Right. Speaker 2 00:19:34 Right. And, and, and that takes some time and part of that process, and we haven't said the word yet, but I'll introduce it is you wanna build a, a trusted environment. And I say it that way for a reason environment. Right? You obviously wanna have individual trust between everybody, but you, you want an environment where people really are free or feel free to open up and speak what they really feel. Right. <laugh> right. You know, and if they like and have the trust that says, Hey, if I don't understand, I can admit that and let's talk through it. So I can, or I'm not, I mean, politics, like little people, politics always comes into play, but trying to come up with an environment where if we're all motivated to make this program successful, then let's, let's put a lot of that aside and let's get to the, what we all consider to be ground truth. Speaker 2 00:20:34 So we can deal with the issues and deal with them collectively. And as you say, you listen, so we can let the best ideas come out. Yeah. From this diverse group. And, and I, it's amazing sometimes what people will come up with mm-hmm <affirmative> and that kinda model, and I, and you can see it. You can see it both ways. I mean, I've been, it's amazing to me that sometimes when you get in this right kind of trusted environment, you feel it mm-hmm <affirmative> I just, just feel it in your gut. Yeah. You know, everybody's open, we're having a great dialogue, you know, we feel like we're really moving the ball forward. Yeah. And you know what one person can kill that, you know, that's the, that's the downside is if you get one person who wants to sabotage that kind of thing, they can do it pretty effectively. That's the, that's what makes this difficult. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so you gotta, you gotta really work on this building, this trusted environment, but if you can get it going well, it's hard to keep because change always happens. And as you say, new people come on and people leave. And the like, but you know, if you can build this trusted environment, I have seen more good come out of those kinds of relationships as a, as a governance model, then just about anything else I've seen in Speaker 1 00:21:47 Business. I think everybody, every, I think we all have an experience and can tell a story, whether it came from sports we played or the work environment, a apart from an individual, apart from a two person relationship. Apart from that, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, what's a group involved. Speaker 2 00:22:04 Mm-hmm Speaker 1 00:22:05 <affirmative> where you feel that juice that you talked about, you feel that vibe mm-hmm <affirmative> and it's very palpable. It's very memorable. Speaker 2 00:22:14 Yes it is. Speaker 1 00:22:15 And we would wish to have that again, you know, mm-hmm um, to work that way, that, that PRI decor amongst that team and what something came to mind when you were saying about the trust and opening up in that case, there's an approach. Motivation people are motivated to lean in, to be in mm-hmm <affirmative> to approach, to be to each other connect, as opposed to the avoidance motivation. When people back up, they guard the safe guard, they hedge and maybe not game playing that's that's possible, but maybe legitimately protecting something they think could be at stake if they opened up mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. That trusted environment without a, um, you're probably lucky if a project goes off completes as, as everybody had hoped, because there's too many things in that, whether that's the project team with that trusted environment or a more senior executive level, Speaker 2 00:23:12 Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, Speaker 1 00:23:13 There's too much counting on that. That O openness. Speaker 2 00:23:18 Yes. Agreed. Um, yeah. And as a project manager, you know, when I, when I teach, teach some program and project management, I talk about these things. And to your point, I, I kind of look at building a trusted, uh, team at the project team level, those that are actually on the project team. And then to what we've been talking about, the governance above that, you know, who are the stakeholders that, you know, have to be, should be part of key decisions that affect that project going forward. So the project, the project manager or the program manager becomes a, in my mind, a critical person on both of those fronts. And it, it's not easy Speaker 1 00:24:02 And no, it's not. Speaker 2 00:24:03 And it's a constant, I say, constantly has to be worked. Speaker 1 00:24:07 It, it does. I wanna come back to the, the book on that with, especially someone younger in their career, but I'm ask you this question first, cuz it came in my mind with what you just said, this is a tough one. There could be 10 people on your governance team. There could be many on a project team. They've got business objectives. They're responsible for, they've got something personal at stake too. I don't mean that any bad way. We just, we have careers. We've got, you know, things we care about. How do you, how have you seen people align the personal in the business to keep them synced up for people so that they stay engaged and they don't sabotage cuz that's one way that people can sabotage is pull out because they run a personal agenda. But how have you, how, how have you seen that dynamic work out in groups that worked well? Speaker 2 00:24:54 Yeah. It's well, let me almost take the opposite case. One thing I've learned is if you've got a saboteur, someone that really, and you, you try, I mean you try and try to either at a project team level or at a governance level as we've been discussing and they just will not, you know, that they're never gonna get there. And so, and as I said, one person can ruin to me ruin the trust across the team. You know, I've, I, I'm now a real believer that person needs to get out of the way so to speak. I mean, you have to work through the program manager, for instance, project manager. Somehow we gotta get that person out because otherwise your chances for success really go Speaker 1 00:25:43 Down ni plummet. Speaker 2 00:25:44 So I mean, I, I almost like this, maybe a negative way of looking at this, but because most, you know what I have found, um, and you said it so well with like the SP decor, most people when you get in that trusted environment and you've gotta trust the team, it's like, this is really good. I mean, this is like, Speaker 1 00:26:03 Yeah, I like Speaker 2 00:26:04 It really good stuff. I really want more of this. I wanna be part of this team. I wanna, you know, I wanna do my share and, and look at the greater good and all these things. And, and, and so once you can get that going, it can really propel you as a group, but you've got to make sure that you can get there. And, and that's why I say there's so there can be obstacles, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative> and there are always people that you're getting there. And, and so this is where, and I, I don't know, maybe I've just learned through failure of, of trying to do this. I, I will work with someone one for a while, but if, if they show me that they are just not willing to, to help build that trusted environment, then I'm looking to figure out how it's they, they, they can be replaced or right. Speaker 2 00:26:54 You know, moved elsewhere because it is just not people just don't change. I mean, you know, that's the, they're just not for whatever reason, you know, it's could be ego. It could be that they, they have a real, um, misgiving for another person on the team. Right. You know, it's, there's so many different factors here. Right. But if they can't get over that, um, and pretty quickly, then it's time to, to recast this. And if you're not in a position to do that, then you, and then as you said, you can't always fix these things. Right. Um, but, but it, I come back to it, it, it comes all the way back to your, the beginning of this alignment, getting people on the same page. If you have someone that's gonna fight you in doing that, then you've got to figure out a way to get them off the team completely. So you can get everybody on the Speaker 1 00:27:45 Same page. So let's step back from guys at our age, in our career to younger mm-hmm <affirmative>, my daughters are like 28 and 31. And I think about them a lot. Supervisory positions, first level team lead supervisor positions. Speaker 2 00:28:00 Yes. And those are some of the toughest when you just starting. Speaker 1 00:28:06 So you see the path they're on to get to the kinds of things that we're talking about. What kinds of things should they be thinking about a learning at that stage of a career Speaker 2 00:28:16 Mm-hmm Speaker 1 00:28:17 <affirmative> to acquire this capability over time that we're talking about? So Speaker 2 00:28:20 I, I, you know, I talk about it in the book on the leadership side and there you, you really should. And, and I didn't do it early enough and I regret it and I learned, but you know, there, there are courses on leadership and, and not just like, you know, learn how to lead, like you're the five different leadership styles or something, although that's important. And I talk about that a bit in the book, but, you know, leadership courses where you really get some introspection mm-hmm <affirmative> about who you are, right. And the type of leader you should be, and what's most effective with the leadership style that fits you because it's all about human relationships. And, and so, and I, I wish I knew that earlier in my career. So when people ask me about moving into managerial positions and, and I discuss in the book, it's so hard when you have your first managerial position, cuz you're young, typically not all, but most are relatively young. And so you, you don't have the maturity necessarily. Some don't have the experience leading others. And then a lot of times you're leading people that are young <laugh> and of course they've got their own immaturity. So, you know, it's the kind of a double whammy Speaker 1 00:29:32 And the worst situation is if you were one of them and came out of the team. Yes, Speaker 2 00:29:37 Yes. Speaker 1 00:29:37 That's hard. Speaker 2 00:29:38 That's hard too. And so I, I just believe the more you can take some courses that help you understand yourself and that UN and that help you understand leadership styles and what best suits you will, will will do you well, will do you very well, both in the near term and certainly as you grow in leadership, I Speaker 1 00:30:05 Think that's a great answer. So Speaker 2 00:30:05 That that's, that's my, that's my Speaker 1 00:30:07 Advice. I think that's a great answer because when you're young, you might think learning about leadership is like learning about technology or models and methods for being a business analyst or some role. Right. Some functional knowledge. And it is there's things to learn about what it means to be a leader, but so much of what it means has to do with oneself. Speaker 2 00:30:29 That's Speaker 1 00:30:29 Correct. For a good leader. Yeah. You can have a title if you're, like you said, the very beginning, if you're a leader of people mm-hmm Speaker 2 00:30:36 <affirmative> yes. Speaker 1 00:30:38 You will not be a great leader of people if you're not really, if you can't face up with yourself, if you're not squared up with yourself and that kinda, that kinda introspection probably goes all throughout your career, Speaker 2 00:30:48 It does. Yeah. And you know, and it's not like I always get it right now. Nope. But I'm, I'm much, I'm, I'm much better leader than I was, you know, certainly 30 years ago and, and even 20 or 10 years ago, because I've, you know, continue to see things, understand myself better. And, and I think that can, as you say, translate into better leadership of others. Speaker 1 00:31:12 Well, let's, let's, let's shift gears here a bit. What happens when you can't get on the same page at some moment in time? Maybe you do. But what happens at that moment when we're not on the same page? And then I wanna ask you about the book you're writing now. So you can sort of pick up where you want and we'll, we'll follow your lead. Speaker 2 00:31:30 So you wanna talk about when you can't get on the same page with someone, what do Speaker 1 00:31:35 You, what have you done? And Speaker 2 00:31:37 Then you can't Speaker 1 00:31:37 Or not, or not even someone, maybe Speaker 2 00:31:39 Just them, like I might request once, right? Speaker 1 00:31:41 <laugh> well, let's, let's say this, let's say you're looking at the governance team and you believe it's possible to get those folks on the same page about something that's come up, but they're not, what do you, what are the techniques you've used? What do you tr ask? What do you say? How do you work? Those, that Speaker 2 00:31:57 Conversation. Yeah. I I've definitely been in that position both as a program manager and then as a CIO and dealing with let's say peers, or, or can even be superiors. Yeah, true. Speaker 2 00:32:09 It can be up the line even true. Um, I, I guess a couple of points here. I mean, one, it's a tough situation. So you're in cuz you're, you're not able, you don't seem to be able to get on the same page for whatever reason, certainly in a non-group setting. I mean, I, one piece of advice is particularly when you're trying to build a team is I always say, you know, praise in public criticizing private and it, it it's so true. You wanna be very, very, uh, careful of coming across critical of others in some kind of public forum. I mean, and even in private, you gotta be, you gotta be measured delicate, Speaker 1 00:32:49 But, Speaker 2 00:32:50 But delicate right. As well stated. But sometimes you have to take it on. I mean, you've gotta say, Hey, I, I just, well first, why is it you feel this way? Try to understand. Right, right. Try to understand the viewpoints from their perspective, what am I missing? Right. A lot of times agendas are being played and those can become pretty difficult to deal with because irrespective of logic, they're not gonna change. <laugh> Speaker 1 00:33:15 Um, I like that. So Speaker 2 00:33:17 Yeah. I mean, it's just, that's just the word well said. Um, but, but, um, but try to understand their position first. Sure. And, and, and then if you can state your position and, and see if you can come to any kind of mutual understanding, but, but you have to be realistic too. And as I said, kind of, as I've gotten older, I maybe I've realized I spent too much time at times trying to do that because at some point you realize this person's never, for, for whatever reason, as I said, there's usually an agenda for whatever reason, we're never going to see eye eye on this. We're never gonna get on the same thing. Speaker 1 00:33:54 They have some different aim and it's just not gonna Speaker 2 00:33:56 Yeah, yeah. Right. Their, their objective function is different than mine. And uh, now I might say mine's better or whatever, but that's obviously a, that's a, perhaps a, <laugh> a selfish view in some ways, but, but not, not always. I mean, I, well, Speaker 1 00:34:11 If you're responsible for something too, you, Speaker 2 00:34:13 Well, I mean, part of it is, you know, it's, I, and like when I was in government, I was always like, look, I'm all about what's best for trying the agency what's best for, you know, trying to make this place run better. Like, and right. And the problem is is that you had some people there that that was not their agenda. Right. <laugh> clearly was not their primary purpose. So you gotta, you gotta deal with that. Yeah. Um, and you gotta, once you understand it, you can at least try to work around it if you, if you can't quote, get rid of them. Yeah. So to speak, you can at least, um, you know, I'm not trying to say play games, but perhaps do something that will help aid them in what their objective function is while not hurting the overall team. Yeah. Um, yeah, they can be difficult though, depending on the situation. Um, that's not always easy because a lot of times their objective function, um, maybe even I hate to say it, but maybe that there's another part of the team they'd like to see not successful. And so that, that, that's where it gets very, very awkward. Yep. So I, I don't know if I have more general advice right now, but you, you get into specific situations where I've mentored people where sometimes I've tried to help them navigate through some, some of these kinds of difficult situations. Speaker 1 00:35:35 Well, so maybe there's negotiation that would be effective. Yes. Maybe not, maybe not, but maybe, and it should be tried. Speaker 2 00:35:43 Yes, absolutely. Should be tried. Speaker 1 00:35:45 And if it doesn't look like you can reach any agreement that way, which is basically by talking about our, our, our, our, our separate and maybe mutual interests, if that doesn't work, the option's narrow, you know, in the conflict resolution work that I was taught in graduate school, you can go from a, an interest based approach like that to more of a, a rights based approach where you might call an authority, your authority. Yeah. And if that doesn't work, you're going to more of a power based approach, which is, which is in organizations is highly risky Speaker 2 00:36:20 <laugh> Speaker 1 00:36:20 Yes. And consequential costly. So the interest based approaches are considered more lower, lower cost and have, have a higher chance of a, a good rate to return, but they don't always work. And that's, Speaker 2 00:36:34 You don't, and, and even the right space approach, I have found many times does not work. Right. You might have the authority, but behind the scenes, that doesn't mean that authority is gonna be honored. That's right. And, um, and I think you're naive if you think it will be at times when you're dealing with someone that truly is very much opposed to what you're trying to Speaker 1 00:36:55 Do. And sometimes Speaker 2 00:36:56 Cognize, by the way, recognizing that is kind of important. It is growing for your own good. It is. Speaker 1 00:37:02 <laugh> actually, you anticipated what I was thinking, which I, cuz what I was about to say was once you realize that you have the chance to rethink things in your mind. Now hold aside for a second, what you do with your governance team or your project team. But in your mind, you can say, okay, if, if we're gonna take some body blows, what do I do as a project lead or as an executive, what do I do to salvage as much of, uh, if a project is a means to an end, right? It's a it's to support something, somebody. Yes. What do I do to preserve as much of that means to as accomplish as much of the end, as PO as is possible. And maybe they settle for that victory because you might not get everything you'd hoped for at the outset when you had the, when you had the charter and then in the launch. Right. Speaker 2 00:37:50 Well now you've brought them a really good point about sometimes. I mean, you, you want back to the program example, you, you want this trusted environment. You wanna, you have these lofty goals that if you had the right team and you're all marching in lockstep, you could, you could achieve. But then if you've got one or even sometimes multiple challenges with some of the stakeholders regarding their motivations and what they're looking for out of this, that's when you gotta, as you say, reset some expectations, I mean, what, what's the very given the situation and I can't just wish them away. Right. I just can't get rid of these people Speaker 1 00:38:31 Be wished Speaker 2 00:38:32 What's the best, what's the best we can expect. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, and now as you say, there's a power play side where you can go off the line and you can have these kinds of discussions, but that's, that can be very dangerous. Speaker 1 00:38:47 Yes it can Speaker 2 00:38:48 Because you, you, once you start going up a line, I mean, where, where are the, who, who are your bosses quote up the line aligned with what, what are their motivations exactly at this topic? So it's it's, Speaker 1 00:39:01 And there's too many unknowns and you're probably just gonna where she hadn't. Right. <laugh> Speaker 2 00:39:05 I will say this is a good place where having a inside mentor someone that's more senior in the organization that you have a very trusted relationship with can be very valuable to you because you know, that person can help give you perspective, perhaps help you give, you know, really understands the situation. And some of the people involved can, can really help good point. Speaker 1 00:39:31 You, Speaker 2 00:39:31 Especially earlier in your career, when you tend to let's have less experience with these kinds of topics. Speaker 1 00:39:38 Sure. And let me tell you, well, you're in one of these situations, it's stressful. Speaker 2 00:39:43 Oh, it can be very stressful. Speaker 1 00:39:44 And if you've never, if it's one of your, one of your first couple encounters, you don't have perspective, it's easy to lose perspective. You don't have a lot of experience to give you perspective and the mentor can help bring some of that. Speaker 2 00:39:56 Yes. Speaker 1 00:39:58 That concludes the first of two episodes. Richard and I recorded join us next week when we discuss his second book, which he hopes to publish this year on how to make government more effective and efficient we'll compare and contrast skills needed for program management with it management plus touch on the loss of citizen trust in government and how to restore it.

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