Creating The Art Of The Possible, In The Simplest Way Possible

January 26, 2022 00:46:41
Creating The Art Of The Possible, In The Simplest Way Possible
I See What You Mean
Creating The Art Of The Possible, In The Simplest Way Possible
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Show Notes

In any situation each of us sees certain things (and not others), sizes up what we see in certain ways (and not others), and decides what to do (and not something else) as a means to some end (and not some other). Being clear on these things yields our rationale - the answer to the question of why we do what we do in some situation. The same explains others' rationales, which is where things get interesting.

My friend and colleague Alex Porfirenko knows this. He figured it out by experience, by trial and error, by study. He learned the questions to ask to understand another's rationale. He learned that asking those questions of a team produced shared knowledge and shared intent which got people on the same page. Even when rationales differed - or because they differed. It sounds like magic but isn't. It's creating the art of the possible, in the simplest way possible.

Here are some of my favorite moments:

3:20 - Three levels of getting on the same page with customers.

7:21 - Data intelligence isn't just about your data. There are other very important things to get on the same page about.

15:36 - Nothing can replace conversation for getting to know problem-solution fit. The only question is whether you'll have the conversation sooner, or later.

26:13 - Alex challenges and broadens my definition of getting on the same page.

35:39 - Opening up the art of the possible.

36:50 - An escalation procedure for understanding and resolution, not blame.

43:22 - The basics are basic, but mastering them takes practice.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:07 Welcome to, I see what you mean the podcast about how people get on the same page or dome or perhaps shouldn't today. My guest is Alex porphyry. Ranko Alex is a friend and a professional services manager focusing today on software delivery in the public sector. Alex, welcome to the show. Speaker 2 00:00:23 Thank you so much, Lou. It's great to be here. Listen to your podcast. Looking forward to chatting with you here. I'm in that conversation, Speaker 1 00:00:30 Looking forward to it. Why don't we start with you giving listeners a short bio on yourself. Speaker 2 00:00:35 I started doing government contracting back in 2009 at the U S patent and trademark office. Learn the foundations of contracting and acquisitions. All of that good stuff was helping the government keep track on their biggest contracts and the burn rate on those contracts. After I learned a little bit more and moved to the census bureau where I was doing cradle to grave acquisitions, helping governments, Gulf solicitations for the Mount, there was an advisor on the technical evaluation panels, flashes selected the award winners, and then once the contract was won, actually helping them to oversee the contract itself. After doing that for a few years, um, moved on to, uh, the U S army where ran a team of acquisition specialists that were basically doing all the purchasing and putting all the contracts together, all the contract vehicles together for the army to buy software. So acquisition for the big a where we're actually putting together contract vehicles. Speaker 2 00:01:35 Then I went off the beaten track of acquisitions and went to the headquarters of the company I was working for at the time great company. They gave me opportunity to run all the professional service contracts. There were value added resellers, so it kind of took a step away from working directly side-by-side with the government. And one on the other side of the house. And more recently I, um, joined, uh Colibra, which is a data intelligence company, and they're trying to do business with uncle Sam and they need to go through all the channels and value added resellers and all of that good stuff to get to uncle Sam. So, um, have, uh, kind of a whole ecosystem for how, how does uncle Sam buy things, how you need to get to them and how people are actually trying to do it. So it's, it's been a very interesting journey, uh, unusual path, but definitely a very interesting one. I had fun with it. Speaker 1 00:02:29 That's good. You've got the acquisition background because it helps with what you're doing today. You understand how the government buys you remember, did you know Tim cook at ASI government? Yes, he and I just did a, an interview and I released it in two parks because we had a great conversation about what ASI government's doing about challenges, acquisition professionals, face today, acquisition innovation, uh, some things that you would have some knowledge, Speaker 2 00:02:55 Uh, Tim is a great guy and, but I'll definitely, we'll have one when we're done here this weekend. Speaker 1 00:03:02 So you're in a big area there, data intelligence and, and accompany that's sounds like it's breaking into the federal market or maybe expanding within the federal market. So there's a lot to get on the same page about what are you focused on today with which parties to get on the same page? Speaker 2 00:03:20 There's a big question. A lot to unpack there for me. When I think about it, it's kind of three big buckets, right? The first set of people that need to get on the same page are actually we ourselves internally Colombians, right? We have a lot of different parties within Collibra. We have salespeople, we have customer success. We have professional services, which is my department and we kind of need to get first on the same page in terms of what exactly the customer requires and how we're going to deliver it. There's different ways to slice that pie. And we just want to get on the same page first, how we're getting, what are we trying to accomplish? What are we trying to sell exactly to the customer? And then once, once we figure out that path, then they need to be on the same page with the government in terms of, Hey, this is what we're doing. Speaker 2 00:04:09 This is how we're going to deliver this installation to you, right? And that's phase one, we actually get in. Then we do it. And then the last phase, which is a lot of the times forgotten when the government space is supposed to leave, what do they do with our software? And it keeps it running. I definitely want to, I've seen a lot of things go wrong with that particular aspect of the engagements. And I want to be on the same page for the government in terms of what happens after you leave. Because a lot of the times the government that's even more important than the installation. Speaker 1 00:04:40 Thank you. Those are great. We can unpack those a lot. I want to be clear on one thing. This is maybe a program that you're more focused on the installation. And after that, you're you're most of the government, the program, people in the government of course run it. Speaker 2 00:04:56 The particular department is focused on installation implementation. And then we also supply SMEEs in case the government would like to keep one in house. Uh, so that, um, the department that provides those needs for them, we also have coaching. Uh, coaches can really go behind the firewall. That's the difference between my department and the coaching. Speaker 1 00:05:18 So it can be a situation where you install, it's running the way it was intended. You've met the terms and conditions of the contract and you quote unquote walk away. And what you're saying is you're still, you still want to know how it's going after that. Speaker 2 00:05:35 We do. We have customer success team, which is a sister division within Collibra for us. And they do a great job and have over. They're not hands-on technical experts. And a lot of the times, what I have seen in the government is that, you know, any software requires upgrades and updates times those can, those are not done a hundred percent accurately, and that can cause problems within the system. But in particular to the solution we're selling, you need to do workflows. You need to do with immigration. And so a lot of times that's when a lot of things go wrong. For example, with workflows, anytime you do an org change or a reward and workflows changes, right, when you add, or when people add and leave people, you know, that causes issues, um, sometimes as well. And if you have, if you leave somebody behind, even for quarter of a time, it resolves a lot of those issues. Speaker 2 00:06:29 They don't inferior Shane to be differentiated between bad software and software that doesn't get any love, care and feeding, right? So that's, that's unfortunately scenario where I've seen one too many times in the government where you go through all the hassles of getting people with security clearance, you bring them on board, which takes a really long time, especially with COVID you get them on board, you get, uh, you get, uh, you get the system installed, you get multiple government departments on the same page. Um, and everything get goes together smoothly. You're done, you do the debrief at the end of the implementation. Then you walk away and then, you know, six months later, the software is not functioning as it should be because maybe government doesn't have the SMEEs in the house. Or the, a lot of times they have contractors right now to do that kind of work. Speaker 2 00:07:21 They're not as well. They're not as much on just up to speed on the software. And so I've seen a lot of solutions fall apart. So for me, professionally, but also personally, I mean, you don't want to see hard work that you've worked so hard to install for it to fall apart. That's one weak point that I definitely want to be on the same page with the government on, is that hanging a little guys? You know, if everything goes successfully, what's the plan then? Right. And a lot of times that's, that's not really thought. Um, I had to find them a lot of the times in the government, you have, um, team fleshly, do the development and implementation, and then you have another team coming in behind them that actually does the ongoing care and maintenance. And I've seen a breakdown in communication on that end, but a lot of, Speaker 1 00:08:07 Well, here's the thing about data intelligence. It's not just a question of the software running properly, which is a question of my knowledge of government data management practices is that within the government, it ranges widely from not very mature to pretty mature. So I, my guess is one of the things that you could find after you've installed is that the actions that government officials take the steps in a process change if they are, if they're trying to truly gain and use intelligence across organizational lines, right? Data intelligence across organizational lines, where maybe that's not something that they've done a lot in the past, they've been siloed. They've been firewalled, you know, so I could see some struggles yes. That somebody, cause somebody could say, now it's the software, but it might not be, Speaker 2 00:08:59 It is very, very true. We come across a wide range of customers, as you said, some are better than others. Some are far more advanced than others. We ran into this where we have to adjust our approach on the fly. And I do have to say, I'm very proud of the team. Yeah. But the Libra, because they, they are able to do that and they are able to adjust to the customer. I mean, that's the crux of the software is that, you know, you adjust workflows in the software to fit the needs of their visitation by this deployed too. So, um, yeah, that has been interesting. And it's actually a really interesting to look at government organizations that actually, um, hire us because typically you can get from, from the get-go you can, I don't want to say almost sense, um, how far developed they are. Speaker 2 00:09:48 Sure they are, but some little telltale signs, for example, if they're willing to open up the RFP and accept recommendations from the vendor, and then we can recommend things like, you know, Hey, we recommend that you leave by resident engineer behind. We can recommend that you take this approach or that approach. If the team's on the government side are open minded about that kind of stuff that shows us that that's usually very good telltale sign because they're open to a negotiation, they're open to learning of what the software can do. So I've seen that that's a good sign. I've seen another sign where they're actually, uh, they don't know what they don't know. And they're afraid to ask right. Initially looking for us to tell them what they need. So I I've seen, I've seen the full gamut and each requires a slightly different approach, but for the most part, I've found, you know, government clients they're eager to learn. Speaker 2 00:10:46 And they, I mean, government has so much data, right? Who has more data than uncle Sam, right? So they could really use a solution that we offer and help them catalog it and help them share data with the right individuals, not all individuals, but the right individuals and put data stewardship in place. And it's a fun thing. It's a fantastic tool for that. But I do see why gamuts of clients were asking for it. And it's great to work with them, especially if they allow, you know, RFI process, if they allow that, that's what I find produces. The best results is when there's, they're open to that dynamic, they're open about learning and this, and sometimes even say, Hey, look, you know, right in the national clin proposal and we'll take a look at it and see if they accept it or not. That's usually a very good sign for us when we're looking at the level of maturity that, Speaker 1 00:11:39 Well, you've touched on something that's important. I want to spend a little bit of time on, I didn't do anything in data intelligence when I was an executive in a STD USB and writing proposals and an overseeing delivery. But I saw many times when, what the, what the government wrote in the solicitation that it wanted wasn't exactly are entirely what it needed. When you post award, you do the kickoff and you, you, sometimes you find out in the kickoff that there was a difference. Sometimes it felt like a stark difference between what they had written that we had bid. And I was sitting in front of them and they're telling us what they need. Sometimes it's not so stark. It might've been more nuance, but still important. It could change the technical solution. We would bring to something. It could change the staffing. It could change the price. Speaker 1 00:12:27 I, my guess is you talk about signals that you see when you're, when you're looking at RFID RFPs, RFQ, and you're reading into them a little bit and you see some things that are maybe a sign of maturity. If you don't see them doesn't mean they were, it doesn't mean the data intelligence, data management, operations, not mature, but you, you know, you would like that flexibility because when you get inside and you learn that they need more than they asked, and it's still in scope right now, I'm not talking about something different. It's just, they didn't ask it the source. They asked that a way you answered and it should have been asked them a different way. They left part of something out that you could help them with. That's related to what you're. So then you have those conversations of what we're here. We can help with this, and you want the flexibility to be able to do that. So what was the, without naming any names, tell us a little, just a little vignette of when you read the solicitation, you dressed it, you won, you get inside and you find, ah, they're thinking something different than what the, he said, Speaker 2 00:13:29 Yes. I have seen that many times. Usually I can think of one instance, uh, great people, but they, uh, they didn't ask for it the right way. And actually they required because they didn't know the software. They didn't realize this was pretty Colibra days when they, uh, they realized that they not, uh, the software was very sophisticated and they needed somebody basically there, at least half-time keeping it up-to-date and current and keep it going within the organization. And I've worked with them on being very flexible. I've worked, you know, this is when I worked for value at a reseller, we worked, we worked with the, actually our partner whom who used us to get to the federal government. We've worked to secure the right individual with the right backgrounds to actually yeah. And who actually was in this area. So they actually had to hire somebody. Speaker 2 00:14:27 And then I worked for the government to actually, it was still within scope, but we had to take years off of the back end of the contract and put it forward to be able to pay for that contractor. You know, that was a very good lesson learned from NASA, especially in that engagement that, Hey, look, you know, when you have pretty sophisticated in a, it's kind of like selling somebody, a jet fighter, right? You give them the keys and you say, here you get here to as good luck. Uh, sometimes it helps to have a coach. So that was a good example of, of one who works together collaboratively with the government and say, Hey, look, you know, perhaps you guys didn't realize this at the beginning, but right now you need somebody let's work together to figure out how to do it. Then that was a solution that we came up with together. But yeah, that flexibility of, Hey, you know, perhaps if that optional clan was there at the beginning of the contract, right. That would have solved a lot of the problems. So that's some of the contractual tracks that I've learned along the way that I tried to talk with my government customers up front about and say, Hey, look, you know, you might not really need this, but if you do just put an optional clin in there and you pull the trigger on it, Speaker 1 00:15:35 It doesn't cost you anything. Speaker 2 00:15:36 Yeah. So the big part of my job is actually negotiating with the government on the front end of the jail and walking through all of these scenarios and being on the same page. And that really struck me what you said earlier about being on the same page and not realizing what's in the solicitation. And I found the best engagements we have now at Collibra is where we took the pain upfront to meet with the customer and have their technical people speak with our technical people and say, Hey, look, what exactly does Collibra do? How does it do it? This is what we need. Um, can your tools do that if they do, how would they do that? And honestly, that's the best solution that I've found to actually get it done because both technical teams are on the same page. They both understand what needs to be done. Speaker 2 00:16:32 And so the government understands what Collibra does. That's the benefit to the government and how it works and what they would need to do to integrate it. But on our end, we actually clearly understand their environment and how much work we would need to do on our end to actually get it done. So both sides ended up walking away with of, of knowledge about that. And actually after a lot of these conversations, we're able to de-scope and come down on the number of hours to fly the beds and save government a lot of money as a result, because you don't know what you don't know. Right. And especially if it's a firm fixed price contract, right. You need to put that cushion in there. And if you know what you're getting into and that cushion can shrink quite a bit. And so that's been the best solution. I've been able to find, you know, get the technical guys on board. And then, um, you know, we figure out the hours and money afterwards, but get, get the two teams synced up together. Those produced the best results Speaker 1 00:17:28 I wanted to ask you about scope and a technical solution, because we had talked about that a little bit and you were so you've addressed it here. My guess is like you said, you don't know what you don't know, and you don't know a lot. And you could be at quite a bit of risk if you're looking at a small station without having had those conversations in advance with that agency, with that client, the best situation would be to have had those in advance, which you know, and I know government officials are permitted to have, there's still some myth out there that they shouldn't, but we know that's not, that's not true. And, and the more conversations any government agency has with any number of any vendor, any number of vendors, I like how you said it, they would understand more about the offers products and what they could do the capabilities. Speaker 1 00:18:13 And then they would also understand perhaps better how to ask what they're looking for. Not to favor anybody, but just if they had five meetings or three meetings with you guys and the technical people were pretty clear. And if they had the same number of meetings with any number of other contracts, they get clearer on the whole landscape. Now, if they're very sophisticated in their data, operations, data management, data intelligence, they might be filling in some, some gaps. If they're not very sophisticated, if they're on the maturity model, they're not, they don't have a great deal of organizational maturity doing it. They're going to learn a lot. They'll learn a lot. Speaker 2 00:18:53 They're gonna, they're gonna learn a lot. And I'm glad, I'm so glad you said that because you know, data intelligence and is, is a journey, right? Our tool alone, our tool alone will not solve their problems. Right. Right. What I have seen organizations who are actually trying to do it, right? One of my, um, colleagues in the neighboring department, he runs coaches and he came up with this great idea about doing a foundation adoption roadmap, which is one of the services we offer at Colibra where we basically take senior executives through a series of bootcamps that basically allow senior leadership to start thinking about data as an asset. How do you use it? What do you have in the organization? How do you want to structure it? And he would talk about data. Stewardship would talk about all of that, you know, all of that stuff, but it's really senior level thinking, um, senior level executives to say, okay, this, this is a data, it's an asset. Speaker 2 00:19:54 How do you want to think about it? And we normally actually recommend that they do this ahead of time before the foundation. So, so that way they understand what the data is. We teach them of course, a little bit about Colibra and the tool, but it's more than that. It's the way of thinking about data. How do you use it? How do you want to structure it? What do you want to get out of it? What kind of reports do you want them to say? And then once they understand that, and once we actually do the implementation and start drilling down on the workflows and, uh, all of that fun stuff and the reports that they're going to get at the end, we do a couple of demos for them that earlier they understand that the better the end results tend to be. We do actually a lot of training. Speaker 2 00:20:39 Uh, Andrew recommends to do it. We train, we'd like to train the engineers and people who are going to be involved with implementation. We actually do, before we do the implementation, because the more they understand about these concepts and what the tool can do, the better they will design the tool as we're going through the foundation. So that's, uh, that's actually, that for me, was an interesting thing at first, seeing that group, a couple of partners that work with in cybersecurity side, would Ashley recommended to do of doing training before you implement it to one. For me that was learned that a new at the time, and it's cool that I would do a Colibra to, Speaker 1 00:21:15 This is a very interesting and important angle on the idea of getting on the same page. So when you talk, you talked about a few different things there, right? You talked about engineers who are going to be involved in implementation, right? But you also talked about executives on the government side and the things you mentioned to me, I, I classify as business questions, business objectives, business matters. And part of what you're saying is this is a tool it's a means to an end of solving. Some business needs, you meeting some business needs, you have solving some business problems, the contract by which you access access us isn't means to an end. So if you, if you have the conversations that are business conversations, or you have the conversations that are implementation conversations, or you have the conversations that are users, maybe there's some users, you need certain reports for certain reasons. Speaker 1 00:22:11 The more you know about that, the better, the more they know what the capabilities are. And as you said, it's a journey. So maybe there's a few things that have to be done first before they're going to get quality reports that they could really use for the site. Decision-making those are conversations that have that, that almost have nothing to do with the tool. That's not, that's an overstatement, but what I mean by that is the framework around it is you have those conversations, independent of the tool. Then you connect the tool to it. They should be having those conversations within their own organization. And that's hard there. They don't. And, and, and then they, if they looked at five tools, they'd have a better idea of how five tools would serve them competitors. Or they might know if they, they might know if they realize they need, um, a tool that does data intelligence like yours, but they've got to, they've got to connect it to some other things they've got to we'll look up, you know, all the things we know about data quality, right? Speaker 1 00:23:11 They've got incomplete data. They've got inaccurate to all the things that would make a report come out of a data intelligence report come out and not be very useful or meaningful, and they don't want to blend it. You don't want to build the tool for that. So these are the kinds of conversations that fascinated me, because we need these to be on the same page that Alex, what you're implying is these are numerous conversations and they are with different parties. Now, you only got one CEO and you probably got 1:00 PM on the government side, who wants, who's looking for your proposal. Yes. But all these other parties, uh, on the government side, their knowledge of what's happening matters very much in addition to what the CEO and the PM know. Speaker 2 00:23:56 Absolutely. And that's why, that's why we're hoping that the evaluation team that actually does evaluation on the contract is comprised of diverse sets of people who represent, you know, individuals of each of those groups, but also one of the reasons many, many lessons learn. That's why we do demos. When we actually come up with a tool, when we start, start implementing the tool, we want to make sure that we show it to the people who are going to be using it. We're going to be showing the end results to the consumer of that information, right? So we want to make sure everybody's on the same page. We want to make sure that we are pulling the right can, uh, that we're pulling from the right databases. We want to make sure that it's displayed the right way. And, uh, the people then consumers actually get the data. Speaker 2 00:24:44 And one of the cool things about the feature of our tools, you can do data lineage and pay the traceability. And you can actually, when you say, Hey, this report says 37, where'd you get that from? And you can actually drill down on that and pull that out. So that stops would be called a lot of the data fights in the boardroom. And it actually tells the government, Hey, this is where the data's coming from. This is their board. This is how old the report is. We and we actually recently bought a data quality tool that actually tells you, you know, the report is 50% of the fields are blind. So we don't have a lot of confidence report. So, so it, it stops a lot of the fights about the data, the quality of the data, and what it does is it gives the information to the right people. And it's, it's important to get the information to the right people. Cause you know, you don't want employees to have access to their own HR file, right? That's why workflows and data stewardship is important. But what we found out is that the organizations that implement Libra, the quality of the discussion in the board moves away from where'd. You get the data to, okay, this is the data. What do we do about it? So it actually transforms the way our organization thinks behaves and how quickly it can react to different situations. That's pretty cool. Speaker 1 00:26:03 That's what you hope to see. Speaker 2 00:26:05 It has ends. And like I said, it's a great, it's a great tool, but their organization around it, how you get there, that's the hardcore Speaker 1 00:26:13 I'd like to ask the question, what's it mean to be on the same page? Right. And I have a definition that I use, it's sort of an operating definition. I like to think of it as agreeing enough to take the next step together. And so this is often in a workplace where people are in a process of some kind of project that has steps, there's procedures, there's phases, there's process to M you're on the same page. Even if you don't agree on everything, you're on the same page. If you agree enough that the next thing we should do is double that data quality. Or the next thing we should do is rewrite that section of the RFP. Uh, because now that we've talked, we know it doesn't say it, wasn't, it isn't really asking what we wanted, what we want to add. So the agreeing enough to take the next step together. But apart from that or use it, if you apply that or tear it apart, if you have a reaction, it sounds like, and what you do getting on the same page has something to do with, I'm going to ask you this. And then you're my words. You told me increasing the level of understanding of multiple parties on the government side of what's, the way the tool will be a solution to a business problem once it's installed and running properly. Speaker 2 00:27:24 I think being on the same page, I think I will take your definition and expand it because it's being on the same page, across different teams, right? It's it's I liked your definition, but, but I think, you know, uh, you know, the engineering team might be on board, but not the financial team. Right, right. It's, it's, it's, it's all of the different pieces coming together. But once again, you know, I started kind of saying this conversation that we first need to get on the same page, think pull you, right. And in terms of what specific tools and the features we're selling, but then it's also being on the same page with the government to implement it. Right. That's and a lot of it is engineering on that end, but on the tail end of it, it's being on the same page, will the people who are running the tool and the consumers who are actually consuming the information and using it every day, making sure that it's up and running and it's accurate. Speaker 2 00:28:19 So it's, it's, it's, it's actually even the, I'll take your definition and kind of next, but explain that it's having those multiple teams aligned and, and understanding what's going on. And not only understanding that, but being on the same page through different phases, because we, once again, we can do the implementation, then walk away. And then as the organization changes and they add or delete data sources, and that's when things begin to go a skew. So it's being on the same page, across multiple teams across the span of the contract. That's the, that's really the hard part. Speaker 1 00:28:54 And I think so there's a phrase that came to mind that I know from some, uh, literature, I'd have to look at the book title to tell you what it was, but shared knowledge and shared intent. Well, you're talking about when you're talking about that kind of on the same page across the multiple teams is if each team is each team's got something as responsible for an it, and it knows that pretty well. And it looks at everything that you do through their lens. And that's fine. That's the way they think it works. But if teams understand a little bit more about what each other sees and what each other is doing, they have more shared knowledge. And, and with that shared knowledge, they can have a, more of a shared intent. So that sometimes what you hear is someone in engineering go, well, this is talk to talk to Alex and the team are going to fix it this way. That's fine for us, but we should check with finance or we should check with customers and make sure that that right. You begin to think a little bit more broadly, not just within your own scope. Speaker 2 00:29:57 Yeah. And, uh, you know, old time P and P practitioner, it sounded like you're talking about the integration board. It sounds like, I think in modern days, it's general coined that this team of teams you are talking about, something like that, you definitely do that. That's exactly what you're waiting to and, and look organization logistics, uh, especially in COVID when you can get on the same, in the same room. So yeah. A team of teams concept is, and it's, it's hard to do organizationally, but yeah, you it's exactly what you're talking about here. Speaker 1 00:30:33 Yeah. So I think about football, American football team, there's 11 guys on the field offense or defense. Each one knows what he does on the snap of the ball. And each one knows what the guy next to him is supposed to do, but it helps for the alignment to know what people aren't around him, what the back running backs are supposed to do, or what the receivers are doing. Because on the snap of the ball, you don't know what the defense is. You don't know what your opponent's gonna do, and your opponent could do something that forced you, what you had planned. And you can make an adjustment better if you know what their running backs running well, were the receivers crossing over, right? You can make an adjustment with more knowledge. You can make a vendor adjustment with the knowledge of what other of your colleagues were doing or about to do. Speaker 1 00:31:18 That's the shared knowledge. So you have a shared intent. It's very powerful. Look at football team just as table. Stay with example. Look how many times look, how many months football teams rehearse practice. Look at me. Thousands of times, they run through something, right? Look how many times they can be coached. Stop in the middle of a play at practice and talk something through. It's hard in big organizations, commercial government non-profit doesn't matter as hard because they don't, they don't practice that way. They don't, they don't right. They don't rehearse that way. They don't go through something that many times they don't stop and talk it through your idea of the, of the demo of the conversations in advance. The demos of the, of the training that you've done of the coaches, I think are all tools or attempts, um, uh, ideas that they're trying to get at how to help the government solve that tough challenge. Have you got a lot of stakeholders on your side and they're not all on the same page, right? It's a Speaker 2 00:32:17 Great way forward to both sides. Speaker 1 00:32:19 Let me, let me ask a question. I'm gonna switch gears a little bit. We've talked a lot about getting on the same page, what it means to be on the same page, to kind of understanding that you're building knowledge, shared knowledge, shared intent. We've talked about ways you do that. Some good ideas about the, how, how do you do that? What, what happens when you can't get on the same page that could happen for different reasons? So you can answer the question, whatever comes to mind, but you don't, we don't always get on the same page. Maybe we can't. What's what happens when you can't get on the same page within your own team, how do you try to lead a conversation that, that gets over the past a wall? If, if that's possible or what happens when you can't go on the same page with a client? Speaker 1 00:33:02 I don't mean you lose the bid. That's uh, that's just the obvious, but let's say you're working for them already. You're under contract and something comes up, you're working out with them and you're, you're just not seeing eye to eye. What are your, what are some of your methods or techniques for when you can't get on the same page, but you might be thinking you want to still try or Alex, if it's, if you see a stock going to go that way, what do you do to try to leave things in good order, the shape respectfully, so that relationships aren't damaged. Right? Speaker 2 00:33:30 So with regards to within my, within my own team, disagreements happen all the time they happen all the time. I think the key thing I'm trying to figure out when we have a disagreement is why we have disagreement. And what's the root cause, right? Is it that, uh, you know, stick with the traditional lines, uh, salespeople want to make the sale and they want to discount it. And sessional services is saying, ah, maybe not, whether it's customer success, people want to do the renewal on the salespeople, want to do the, a new sale. Uh, you tried to get the root cause, okay, what's going on? Right? You need, I think once you understand the root cause and what's driving people, that's a great way to start. And then you have conversations. Okay, well, what if we do this with what if we do with that while you've run through all the scenarios and then, um, internally you can still disagree. And that process usually solves about 98% of problems and whatever remaining 2%, you can just kick it up to the managers. That's what they, Speaker 1 00:34:37 The process of, of the scenarios. What, what, what's the process that solves the vastness. Speaker 2 00:34:43 You start talking to people and say, okay, what are you trying? What are you trying to do? Right. What's, what's your intent? Why, why are you, why are you taking this position? Right. Um, you know, is your, for example, your organization. A lot of times I say, Hey, look, you know, my, uh, professional services, uh, we made, uh, professional services. It's our policy not to do X. Right, right, right. We don't do that. Um, so that's, and I tried to do that on myself. When I have conversations with people, I always try to give them kind of the background. That's why I'm doing this. It's not just a no, it's no, it's, it's a no because of X, Y, Z. Right. And if I don't get that from the people I'm having conversations, I can always say, well, then I ask and you say, Hey, well, why is it the case? Speaker 2 00:35:29 And then once, once you figure out where people are coming from and their constraints from their organization, their incentives, then you get, then you begin to see the whole picture. And then you can see the art of the possible, how you can make it happen. Or sometimes you don't. And that's when you say, okay, you go talk to your leadership. I go talk to my leadership and explain the situation and say, Hey, we talked about this. We cannot agree when you to escalate this to the next level. And that's how, you know, I've found that internally, you get a lot of issues done. Speaker 1 00:36:00 I liked that because I think it does two things. One, like you said, it solves most problems, or it gets people unstuck most of the time. And if they don't, if you can't walk away with an agreement, I think what it does Alex. And tell me if this has been your experience. I think it sharpens or focuses. What's not in agreement. Whereas before the conversation, it could have seemed like there were five things or it wasn't, it wasn't, it wasn't clear. Now it's pretty clear. You've made it clear by attempting to work it out. And so, uh, when you both, if you went up chains of command to present it to your leadership and said, we're not on the same page, we've tried, we can't get there. I think both sides could say, or three or four parties could say, here's what, we're not on the same page about. And it could be pretty specific, pretty concise. And everybody would have a roughly similar understanding of it. That's what I think happens when you do the process that you've described, Speaker 2 00:36:50 Right? It's it has worked well for me. Uh, like I said, can I get a a hundred percent agreement, but it certainly certainly clears people's intentions, their motivations. Yeah. And it exposes, you know, all the possibilities. I think now for the government's, I, once upon a time Rhodes, a standard operating procedure for the escalation of issues, Speaker 2 00:37:14 I still have it, uh, one of my, one of my favorite pieces of the intellectual work, I I've done the, uh, I can share it with you after, after the call. So you can take a look at it. But in a nutshell, what that, what that is is actually the state of desire is not to blame anybody. Right. But to actually find out what happened and arrive at a solution. And I state that up front in the SOP, in the purpose of the standard operating procedure, and then SOP from there, it goes into, okay, if there is a problem, uh, and you find it on the government side, what you do is you alert the project manager and you'll allow him or her time to do their due diligence. Right. And then you come back together and you discuss the problem. You try to resolve it. Speaker 2 00:38:06 Same thing. If you're on the government side, if you find a problem, you know, the project manager alerts the government Corps. And if it's a federal, uh, client and the Corps must be given time to do the due diligence to do his or her and find out what happened. And then you come together and you try to resolve it. And at that point, if you don't resolve it at that point, you kick it up to the contracting officer and you both present your cases to the contracting officer. And that, that doesn't work. Then I say, well, then there's legal ethics. But basically every step along the way, that's the philosophy is that you actually find out if something's wrong, you don't immediately go and start yelling and charging and accusing people, you find out what happened and you say, Hey, there, the problem. But the due diligence gives people time, not only to find out, but if it's, uh, something that they're upset about, it gives them a chance to take a breather and calm down. Speaker 2 00:39:05 It's I found that to be a pro a great approach to take. And actually now I tried to include that. I included as a standards, uh, attachments in all the kickoff meetings that I do. I say, Hey, Hey, if you have an issue with this as a template, uh, that you served me well in the past, nice. Just having something. There is actually a great way for saying I am the way I normally phrase it at the kickoff meeting. Isn't even on the best run contracts, problems do occur. And this is how, this is how I like to solve problems. When they come off, Speaker 1 00:39:39 That's smart and connecting a couple of things you said. So I always think of it this way. Each of us sees certain things in a situation, but not other things that might be because of our role, our training, right? Okay. If each of us sizes those things up in a certain way, we make something of what we see in a certain way. We have a reason why we see certain things and makes in size them up a certain way. Then we know what we think we ought to be done about them to achieve a certain objective, because we can see the means and the end. But what have been saying all along is two people could do that. Two ways. Five people could do that. Five ways, not wholly different, just particular to them. But if share, you said earlier, you mentioned, um, the reason why explaining the reason why the rationale, if you understood, Alex sees it this way. Speaker 1 00:40:33 Things got to do something about like this for this reason as a means to accomplish that. And I see some things differently and have some different things in mind. They might not be mutually exclusive, Alex. We don't know that until we talk about it, but they might just be two different ways that we saw something. And we talk about it. And maybe now we have more elbow, one way to talk about together, a combined way to talk about it together. Right? Maybe I learned something from you like, oh shit, Alex, I'd ever thought of it from the, from the, the, the, the, the point of view of those users that you just described. I was focused on something else. You were focused on something. I hadn't thought of you bring it up and I gotta go. Yeah, you're right. They've got to think about what they need. Speaker 1 00:41:13 So I could learn something from you. We, something could emerge from the two ways that we have approaching something that neither of us would have thought of. It just came out of the conversation. There's a lot of powerful things that can come out of those conversations when you understand someone's intent and motivation. And I don't mean that in a real personal way, like Alex is trying to get promoted. That's why that happens. But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about what you said earlier. Sales teams have objectives and engineers have objectives. Security people have to have objectives on the government side. All the different stakeholders have separate objectives. There were a lot of established interests have interests at stake, and they want those interests protected the way you've described, asking the questions. Tell me more about what, why you see it that way. I'm not challenging you. I want to know. Tell me more about why you see it that way while you make of it. What you make of that. You said that beautifully, it opens up the art of the possible, which before looked like it was maybe not process possible. Speaker 2 00:42:16 No, it's, uh, it's something that has served me. Well, I grew up playing team sports. One of the best books I had on the topic is actually a book called never split the difference. Uh it's by a FBI hostage, negotiator Chris' boss, isn't it? Speaker 1 00:42:32 Yes. I love listening to them because on the basis of his experience, he's he boils things down to the, to the basics. When you apply the basics expertly, you get great results, right? But that comes from working hard to apply the basics. That's true of your golf swing. That's true of playing the piano is true. True. But that's when you were, when you were saying about when you you've used this well to your, to your advantage, and you share it with customers, you use it with your team. There's some fundamentals in there that I think are really cool that you have to know how to use them. They don't just run themselves. But when, you know, when you practice it some and you know how to ask those questions, lead those conversations. I think they're highly productive. Speaker 2 00:43:22 I think they are, but, and you're right to get back to your idea of practice. You do need to practice and you do need to consciously at first think about this is how I'm gonna use it, right? This is, and then after a while, I don't want to say that become automatic because you still need to practice, but it's a lot easier it's to be like, okay, well, let's, let's talk about this. You know, what is your position? You, You make it second nation and it makes it easier. But yeah, you know, your channel is great with that to share some of the tricks with people, especially in this public sector space. And I recommend people to do to study, right? That's, that's why you keep on learning, keep on studying and learning new tricks. Hopefully you have time to study on top of work. Speaker 1 00:44:09 Interesting. True. If that's true, if interesting, because they're there they're fundamentals that if you are in your position, you know, leading a professional services team, if you are on the engineering team, if you're on the customer service team, if you're in the government on, uh, the CEO, a different role, these things work for anybody in any, any role and funny, because we're not always trained in them. We're trained more in our roles. Speaker 2 00:44:35 Yes. I think you're talking about the soft skills, right? You're talking about the soft skills and those are very hard to come by. And, uh, they're very hard to come by. And those skills are very useful. I've stumbled through a lot of stuff. And a lot of it didn't work. This one works more than the other works for me, hopefully. And maybe it will work for some other ones. Speaker 1 00:45:01 I think I, I think so. I mean, I think, and that's what I like to do with the, with the episodes is give listeners ideas for things to try. You've talked a fair amount about what you do and why you do it, and then how, and that's what gives people the chance to try it and see Speaker 2 00:45:14 How it goes. Then it tells a very useful, Speaker 1 00:45:16 Oh yeah, I've got something for you. I'm writing a guide book on a leader in a situation where the team's not on the same page and just the ways to change the conversation. These are things that we've discussed in the last hour for staff for four points to get at the why to get at the rationale, to understand where someone's coming from. And then, and then you open up the art of the possible because you have more knowledge. So the guide book is on that. And I had planned to share it with all my podcast guests. And I just, you're the first one I've told. So I'll get you a copy of it. Speaker 2 00:45:51 I appreciate that. It'd be good. If you could find read. Speaker 1 00:45:56 Well, Alex, we've talked about a lot of things I want to thank you for joining me today. I've had a good time and learned a lot as I always do. When we talk. Speaker 2 00:46:04 I had a great time. You, uh, asked very Speaker 1 00:46:06 Good questions. Thank you. Good luck with what you're doing. Thank you for spending so much time with me. And, and, and, uh, I really enjoyed the conversation. I think we put some good things out there. Thanks Alex. Bye bye. And that's how we see it. My friends, I want to thank Alex for recording today's episode. You can find it at, I see what you mean dot dot com. Subscribe, and give me a five star rating unless you can, in which case, tell me why and join me next week. When we take another look at how to get on the same page and stay there, unless we shouldn't.

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