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Guest

152

You need to accumulate power before you need it. And power can be friends, it can be money, knowledge, or relationships.

In this episode

As a leader, a certain level of power is needed to be effective.

In episode #152, Bill shares how he defines and accumulates power as a leader and how he utilizes it to improve the quality of teams. 

Bill Tingle has over 30 years of experience working with technology professionals to advance their leadership skills. Some of his past clients include LinkedIn, Tripadvisor, EY and Stripe. 

Today, Bill is an executive coach, helping leaders get their teams back on track through communication and strategy. 

Tune in to hear all about Bill’s leadership journey and the lessons learned along the way!


Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.


08:20

Developing soft skills

15:10

Accumulating power

18:20

Deep dive into defining power

23:20

Being a clear communicator

27:43

The 5 language constructs

31:20

Ask questions during 1:1s

37:30

AI and change management


Resources mentioned in this episode:


Transcript

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  04:13

Bill. Welcome to the show.

Bill Tingle  04:15

Well, Aydin thanks for having me.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  04:17

Very excited to have you on. You have an extensive leadership career. You’re the founder and CEO of tingle leadership. And you do a lot of coaching for a lot of executives from all walks of life, but including companies like LinkedIn, AWS, and fresh Ratnakar. And long list. Very impressive logos. But before we dive into a lot of the learnings and some of the things that you’re very passionate about, one of our favorite questions to ask is Do you remember when you first started to lead a team? What were some of the very early mistakes that you used to make back then?

Bill Tingle  04:51

Yeah, that’s a long list so I’ll just a couple. You know one of the stories that may not seem relevant but I just love it is is when I was, in my teens, late teens, my dad owned a janitorial company. And since I was the owner, son, he made me lead a team of people that were older than me. And, you know, seemingly wiser than me and having to, you know, sort of lead a group of people that were older than me, was challenging. And even in even in my first management job, I found it difficult to lead people that were smarter than me more experienced than me, older than older and age than me. And I struggled a lot with that, and I, you know, I wanted to be their friend, I wanted them to like me. And, you know, I think that’s an area where I made a bunch of mistakes. And I really needed to learn how to hold my role with people, no matter what their experience, age, expertise was, you know, hold my role and making requests, holding them to their commitments, holding them accountable, helping them removing roadblocks. That’s such and that that was one that comes to mind as we talk about this.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  06:03

So maybe we can go into a bit more detail. So what did you start doing maybe that, like you would consider a mistake, when you were managing the more experienced people?

Bill Tingle  06:14

Yeah, I can think of one where I was leading a group of people on a fairly sizable project with a fairly sizable investment. And not knowing I had no management training, I had no management experience. And I think even today, a lot of people think it’s common sense. Like you just it’s just common sense how to manage and it’s not, it’s a science and an art both. And one of the things I would do is I would listen to people I wanted them to like me, I would trust them blindly. And there were, you know, I think at one project that was really getting off track. And I remember one weekend talking to an older gentleman friend of the family, and I said, Man, I’m just really struggling, he goes, Well, have you had any management training? And like, no, and he said, I’m gonna get you a book. And so he got me this really old management book, it was the kind it was green, and it had this cloth cover, and I opened it up and dust made me sneeze. And it was the first time I’d really seen anything on management, because I was an engineering major. And I just devoured that book. And realized at that point, I wasn’t holding my role as a manager, you know, like letting people do trusting people blindly, letting them do what they’re doing, not holding people accountable, and not being clear with people around the vision and the purpose and where we’re going and not being clear with delegation and requests. I mean, it all just lit up for me, and ultimately got the project back on track. And it was it really was a great learning experience for me as far as just all the the goals into holding a role as a manager.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  07:48

Yeah. And I think, you know, some of that comes from all of us want to be like, right? It’s hardwired into our DNA. If you weren’t liked a long, long time ago, you know, the tribe would maybe not let you hang out with them, and then you’d be on your own. And that wouldn’t be very good. So, but yeah, that doesn’t necessarily work that well, during management. And there’s this book that we’ve talked about on the show, I don’t know if you’ve ever read the courage to be disliked? Yeah, great book, but the title kind of says, what we’re getting out here, too. So yeah, one of the things that I think that we started talking about as we were getting started, was one of the things that I guess you help a lot of leaders with is this idea of soft skills. And, you know, specifically when it comes to a lot of technical talent, or for a lot of technical leaders, you know, we call them, you know, soft skills, but you say that, actually for them, it’s more like hard skill. So, maybe we can start with just like this topic of, you know, soft skills and why you think that it’s generally difficult for some people to develop them, or maybe they don’t have them just with, yeah, well,

Bill Tingle  08:59

especially in you see a lot in the technical realm. If you think about the typical person that’s going into a corporation, you know, they studied engineering, maybe they studied business, and they get hired, based upon their, their technical skills, their functional skills, or business skills, and they get into the workplace. And all of a sudden, as they start moving up, even if it’s like an architect, they need to be collaborating and communicating and coordinating with people. They might get triggered in a meeting by somebody and if they wear their emotions on their sleeve, that can be problematic. And especially in the leadership ranks, a lot of times the people get let go or they get marginalized because they’re lacking the communication skills, the emotional management skills, the relationship skills. At the C suite level, sometimes they get like dope because they’re just not fitting in with other members of the C suite. And these are all skills that can and be learned. But unfortunately, for a lot of people, they didn’t learn them. And you know, one example in the area of communication and college we learn a lot about communication. But it’s real basic. And it’s more about, you know, how do you transfer information? How do you write? How do you listen, but in corporate, it’s way more complex than that. And the relationship skills, the communication skills, the emotional and mood management skills, they’re all integrated. And if somebody doesn’t have that, it can lead to either not getting promotion or, or marginalized or terminated.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  10:35

Yeah, it’s interesting, because you were saying, Before we hit record that in 2008 2009, a lot of managers, a lot of them went back to being ICs. And I think, you know, some of this is starting to happen, again, companies are downsizing, but also at some companies, especially in the tech world, we start to hear more about Fatar organizations and, and more people per manager. And so you think that, you know, part of what makes the people who stick at those manager roles or continue to be able to be successful, there are some of these soft skills. So maybe we can go through an example of something that, you know, something that maybe someone needs to learn, versus it’s not something that you’re just naturally born with?

Bill Tingle  11:21

Yeah, I think, well, let’s just let’s take relationship skills. A lot of times in the corporate environment, you know, somebody is wanting to influence, you know, like, I’ll have clients that say, you know, I just want my message to land, well, I just want to influence so that decisions are made based on what I’m recommending. And they attribute it to like the words they say the words that they’re speaking, aren’t the right words, to get what they want, or to influence or to get a yes, or to get, yeah, we’re gonna go do that. And it’s much more complicated than that, you know, I’ve had clients who brilliant and they go into a meeting, and they make a recommendation, and it gets shot down. And we we work together, and then later on, they maybe have another idea. And in the meantime, they’re building the relationship. So they’re going out, and let’s say it’s a CFO, they go out and they get to know the CFO, they build a relationship, they get to learn about them, they’re in conversations, they get better at talking to them, because they know how to speak to their listing, which we could talk more about that. They understand what they care about what their concerns what they want. And then next time, when they go to make a recommendation, their communication speaks to the person’s background. And so they’re going to trigger and resonate that person, they have a relationship. So they get the benefit of the doubt, like, Oh, I know this person. Now. There’s more trust, which goes into that. And there’s more knowledge about what is really needed. And so the person stands a much better chance of getting their recommendation accepted when they build that and go through that. It doesn’t happen overnight. But that’s how I’m working with people.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  13:00

Yeah, that’s very interesting. So yeah, some of the time, we may think about it as Oh, they’re not just understanding what I’m saying. But it could be that you’re not understanding where they’re coming from. And so you might just perceive it in the wrong way. So some of this stuff just takes time, though, right? Like, are there? Like, does it just take time to build those relationships? And there’s no way to shortcut it? Or are there ways that you can get to that level of trust or that level of relationship faster? Do you think?

Bill Tingle  13:30

Well, I think you can get, I think there’s different rates at which you can get to it. I think anytime people are in sort of a crisis working together, and the stakes are high, and they’re building a relationship in the midst of that, that can definitely accelerate it, because everything’s on the line, and you’re building trust fast, but you have to be successful. You know, one of the things we talk about, in people I work with in my in my leadership program is trust. Trust is a matter of competence. If you’re not competent, you’re not going to get trust. Sincerity, you know, do you mean what you say? Reliability? Are you constantly delivering what you say? And so and that can take time to build trust. And so yeah, you can’t build trust overnight. But relationships can be developed fairly quickly. But it just takes effort. It takes like care and listening and a real sincere desire to get to know somebody, assuming you can get in and talk to them. And I see a lot of technical people, fearful, especially now in the remote work, very fearful to reach out to have conversations. It used to be hopefully they ran into him in the elevator or the you know, getting a cup of coffee. Now, the only way to get your remote the only way to get with an executive or somebody of influence is you got to make a request to for a zoom session or a team session or something.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  14:49

Yeah, so that’s very interesting. So if you’re, you know, you’re advising someone who needs to lead through influence. So you would recommend just reaching out and doing like virtual coffee or something so that you can build those sorts of relations, even if there isn’t like, I need this very specific thing from you right now.

Bill Tingle  15:07

Yep. Oh, one of the popular statements that’s in my, my portfolio is you need to accumulate power before you need it. Oh, interesting. And power can be friends can be money can be knowledge can be relationships, we used to have a certain place I worked, we had our internal counsel attorney used to say, make friends before you need them, you know, you’re not gonna go ask a bunch of new friends to help you move to a new apartment. You know, you want to make sure you know, you build the friendships before you ask for something. And so it’s that same way in the work in the corporate environment. It’s like you start cultivating relationships and friendships as soon as possible. And a lot of people don’t know how to go about it, if they really asked himself. And so what I’ll often do is I’ll say, pull out your org chart. And I want you to circle four to five people that you think would be good advocates for you that you want to influence them. You want them to be advocates, you want their support. If you’re not in the meeting, you want them speaking well about you. and schedule a meet and greets, and make people are busy, make the first meet and greet 15 minutes. And the first five minutes is getting to know you. You know, tell me about yourself. I’m tell you about myself. What are you working on? What are you focused? Like? What are you committed to what are your goals and obligations, here’s what I’m working on, hey, this is really helpful. It’s been nice getting to know you. And I want to be looking for ways I can help you and help this company. And then the more you meet with people, and build these relationships, and understand what they need and what they want, then you can start making offers. And that’s a term that a lot of people don’t think about in the corporate world, because that’s something that salespeople do. But leaders are responsible for fulfilling their obligations, helping the organizational avoid threats, and seizing opportunities. And if managers and leaders are so buried in their obligations, and dealing with threats, they’re never going to be able to exploit new opportunities. So you want to build teams that are autonomous, so that you can go out, talk to people and make new offers that are happening, new values, so you can create eminence and executive presence with the C suite.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  17:21

Yeah, I love the idea of like the 15 meet and greet. But specifically, I really like how you said that your goal during this session, obviously, besides building a relationship is to figure out how you can help them and just coming in from the lens of what can I do for you? And then using that to figure out what offers you can make. So you’re not only just in troubleshooting mode all the time, right? Yeah. And a lot of people think

Bill Tingle  17:47

that, well, I’m gonna go do that. And then there’s no way I can deliver what they want. But actually there is you can be sort of the leader and getting everybody else to rally around this idea. You know, one of the organizations that I worked in, we would have these conversations, and we ended up building, you know, like an industry game changing platform, we got patents, and it was huge. And I didn’t do it alone. We did it as a team. But it started out with a conversation.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  18:15

Yeah. And this idea of accumulating power before you need, it also makes a lot of sense. Can we define it a little bit, but maybe we can dig a little bit deeper into the word power? Because I think this is, you know, from your perspective and the coaching that you do, there’s a lot more to this word than maybe most people just at surface level, think about,

Bill Tingle  18:35

you know, a lot of times we think of power, we think of like greedy, rich executives, you know, like billionaires or we probably all get little images of what comes to mind we think about power. But power in its basic form, is a relative capacity to produce some intended outcome. And so in order to produce some intended outcome, what do I need? Well, I need, sometimes I need friends, I need relationships, I might need money, I might need you know, in the physical world, if I want to go and climb Mount Everest, you know, I’m not going to just go climb on Everest, I’m going to have to do a whole bunch of things way in advance to be ready to climb Mount Everest. And so power is a capacity to produce some outcome. And as you think about that, there are structures and there’s like real world mechanics and physics and structure that’s needed to produce any intended outcome. But it’s helpful to think about what do I need? And I’m going to need that way in advance of often I’ll need that way in advance of producing the outcome that I’m after.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  19:43

Yeah, it’s super interesting. So it’s kind of like when you think about the people who can get things done in an organization. Part of it is they’ve accumulated power in this way. And I know something like this can change through the course of time if you’re dealing with special circumstances that work. But if you were to just say rule of thumb, you know, how much of your time should be spent, you know, building relationships in this manner? Like, is it 5%? Is a 20%? Like, is there sort of any directional guidance? And of course, you know, if you’re in a five person company versus a 5000, person one, you know, you may be different, but just like rules of thumb of how much should people pay attention to this?

Bill Tingle  20:25

Yeah, I think it can vary, it can certainly vary on the level that you’re at. I mean, if you’re in a billion dollar company, and you’re like a vice president, Director, in my opinion, you should be spending about at least 10 to 15% of your time, on relationships and conversations. And depending on where the company is at if the company has a lot of strategic initiatives going on, and a lot of risk, because of the amount of investment and activities strategic activities going on. I think the number is probably more like 20%. I mean, there is, there is no right or wrong number. But that’s how I thought and I can remember, times when I knew I wasn’t spending enough time in those conversations, and it probably was under four hours a week.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  21:09

How did you know you were not spending enough time? Like was your like things symptoms of when, you know?

Bill Tingle  21:16

Yeah, that’s a great question. You’d start hearing about things from other people, you know, for me, I could just kind of feel it in my gut, I would feel like I’m start getting behind, or I wasn’t producing enough. There’s just a sense of, like, it’s similar to a person’s being slowly being marginalized. You know, there’s people in companies that at some point, they’re inside the power circle, they’re in the inner circle, and then all of a sudden, you can see them, like they’re getting pushed out, that’s like, like, very slow, they’re getting pushed out. And then they’re on the fringes. It’s like being aware that I’m not in the conversations, I need to be having these and the more you do it, the more you can kind of feel it. But the worst is when you start hearing from other people, you know, one of the other advantages of these relationships is getting the benefit of doubt. One of the things I used to enjoy the most is I had these all these relationships. And if they had an issue, they didn’t call the CEO or my boss, they called me, Hey, Bill, you know, I want you to know, like, I’m having this issue. And I’m like, Oh, thanks for letting me know. Because you don’t want to hear it from somebody else.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  22:22

Yeah, that makes sense. And the other thing that you I mean, the word you use marginalized, I feel like this is a very loaded term. But it’s not always that you are the victim, like you could be doing this to yourself, right? You are almost marginalizing yourself by not having the relationships. Yeah. And

Bill Tingle  22:37

in fact, I would argue that most of the time being marginalized is the consequence or a side effect of your actions. Yeah. And if you’re being the source of toxic conversation, if you’re not being reliable in delivering on your commitments, if you’re not helping your team with their career, if your team doesn’t like you, and you’re getting this bad identity, bad reputation, that’s going to lead to being marginalized. And so I think most of the time, marginalization comes from a lack of power, because it’s like not is it knowledge? Is it really a lack of knowledge, lack of relationships, lack of trust, lack of reliability?

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  23:16

Yeah, I think that clarifies it. And, you know, one of the other terms that you mentioned, because we started talking about soft skills, clear communication is one of those. And I kind of feel that when it comes to the concept of communication or clear communication, it almost feels like it’s like driving, everybody thinks that they’re a better than average driver. And, you know, of course they’re not. And so the question is, how do you know, if you’re a clear communicator, or you need to get better at it? Are there symptoms there? Or ways that you can a figure out what level you’re at? And then, you know, plan to improve it?

Bill Tingle  23:55

Yeah. The first symptom is usually confusion, or somebody takes an action that is inconsistent with your intention, like, well, and people will often blame the other one. It’s like, well, that’s not what I said. Well, that’s what I heard, you know. And so usually, there’s what we call breakdowns. A breakdown is any interruption in an intended action and intended process intention of how things should go. And usually when communication is not going well, there’s some sort of breakdown, we say communication breakdown, but I’m even saying the communication breakdown or the the issue with communication can cause interruptions and activity, which is a breakdown. And that’s usually the first sign of that. There’s the term misalignment or communication gaps. And one thing that happens a lot that I see in some, like really successful companies is senior management’s. They’re very aware through communication, what’s going on, the next level down is not aware and then a level below that is very aware. And so some Things happening where the communication sort of up and down. And I hate to talk about, like in terms of organizational hierarchy, but it’s a reality in some cases. And the way the words that are being used the context, something’s breaking down in that, and it usually shows up in confusion and waste, quite frankly.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  25:18

Yeah, I really like when you said that, you know, sometimes the action that gets taken is different than what you intended, right like that. I feel like happens enough. And so that could be a sign that you need to do a better job of clearly communicating. So if someone is committed to becoming a better communicator, or more clear communicator, what can they do?

Bill Tingle  25:41

Well, one thing I, I always talk about speaking to the listener, and when I say that I sometimes I don’t know if people really understand what I mean by that, that we all have a listening, and I’ll talk about in terms of speaking, but it can be writing and typing, and that sort of thing. If we think about how we’re wired or as a human being, when I talk, the words aren’t going, you know, into my microphone, across the internet, out of your speaker in your headphones into your ear and stored straight in, as I’m speaking to you, biologically, and I won’t get this perfect, but biologically, what’s happening is the sound of my words, it’s reverberating, it’s like kind of perturbing your nervous system, you’re like picking up on the words, and then you’re processing them and comparing them to what you already know. And you’re kind of Reek, reassembling what I’m saying based on your experience, your memories, how you’re put together biologically. And what you are listening is very different than what I’m saying. And we do the best we can to kind of go back and forth so that we’re communicating. It’s like the telephone game, you know, like, if you ever seen something. And so what I what I really recommend to people is going back to getting to know the other person. Like the more, the more I know, have you ever had a really close friend that could finish your sentences? Yeah, because you’ve spent time together. And you don’t think about it, but you know, each other is listening. And so you’re like, the relationship and the experience is such that your communication is very effective. And in the work environment, the more we get to know the people that we’re talking to, or that we’re communicating with, the better we can be at communicating. Um, so that’s, that’s part of it. There’s another area we can talk about if we want, which is how work gets done in companies. And if you everything gets done through language, I mean, we have you know, mostly like we use the English language, you can do it in any any dialect. But when we work together, there’s only so many constructs that we have. And so if you were to follow people around all day, follow a CEO around all day, they’re going to make declarations. You know, like next year, we’re going to we’re going to do business in China, they make assessments. Oh, you know, we didn’t we didn’t do a very good job of hitting our revenue goals. They make assertions. They make requests, and people make promises. That’s all they do. There’s only five constructs in language that we do. And I think, in what I’ve done with my teams in the past, is I teach them this. And we talk about how, you know, what is an effective declaration? What’s an effective assessment? What’s effective request, promise assertion. And it sounds real kind of mechanical and robotic. But once you get it down, you can be really powerful with your words, and producing action with your words.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  28:37

Yeah. And it’s really cool to see that you’ve broken it up into that five piece framework, and then having a way of being or way of communicating for each of those. And a lot of this clear communication comes down to alignment, right. So this is, and I think that we have this quote from you where you say, people talk about alignment and being alignment, if it’s a thing to create, but you say that it’s not actually a thing that you create. So maybe you can explain what that means.

Bill Tingle  29:08

Yeah, if people say talk about alignment, it’s like, Well, where is it? I’m gonna see it, you know, what does it look like? You know, and in reality alignment is an assessment of whether people have a shared understanding. And so if I could walk into an organization and find out if they’re aligned very quickly, and I would basically talk to different people to say, what are you committed to? What are your goals? What’s your vision? What are your strategic initiatives, and you can work top down and if you gather all that information, the question is, is there a shared understanding of all that? And the way you know if there’s a shared understanding is everybody’s saying generally the same thing. And what happens is, people can be impatient with the communication process. It’s like, Hey, I sent out an email on our purpose and our goals and objectives, y’all Got it, we’re aligned. And then all of a sudden, somebody’s like, well, that’s not what we’re up to. That’s not our goal. That’s not our purpose. It’s like, yeah, the email went out on it. Well, they, they had a different interpretation of it. And this needs to happen in conversations. We don’t know if we’re aligned or not until we have conversations and say we have a shared understanding.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  30:20

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Bill Tingle  31:35

Ask questions. Like, let’s say that a testing team is going to use a new testing technology of some sort. You say, hey, you know, I just want to check in with you on it. I know we’re talking about a new set of testing technology and a new approach you let me know, share with me what your understanding of that is, and let them talk, let them speak, keep asking them questions. And if that’s not the same as what you’ve just your direct report just said, in new, you’re talking to an architect. And it’s like, okay, we’re not, we’re not aligned here, we got to get this, we got to get together, we got to get on the same page around what we’re dealing with.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  32:07

Got it. And so now, if you’re a CEO, and you’re trying to communicate a message like that you’re using this new testing framework across the company, like how do you make sure that you know, the message is well received or actually received across the board? You know, it sounds like you can’t just send an email, maybe that’s part of the solution. But for messages that are important, and like everybody really has to understand it, and it’s about the alignment of the organization, from all the people that you’ve worked with, or the organizations that you’ve worked with, you know, how hard is this to do? And what are the series of things that people can do to get a message to actually be communicated broadly as broadly as possible?

Bill Tingle  32:49

Yeah, I think the people that I’ve seen that do it really well, it’s sort of multi modal. And and I think it depends on how important it is, you know, I don’t know, if the testing software is a good example. But let’s just say at some strategic direction, some news about the organization you want to know, I think about it needs to be multimodal. I’m a big believer, like in town halls, you know, even in very large organization, and share with the organization the direction, why let people ask questions, let people share their concern, let people be heard and seen. And then follow it up with maybe a newsletter or an email and follow it up with maybe some sound bites. And then you know, if it’s really big, build a communication plan, and make sure that you’ve got people in the organization that can represent and that they have a shared understanding, so that they can communicate it. But usually a one and done is not going to be enough, it’s going to have it there really needs to be a communication strategy and plan around the big things. Yeah. And

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  33:49

one time is probably not enough, either. I there’s the rule of three, at a minimum,

Bill Tingle  33:54

it seems I have one client that, you know, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of organizations right now going through major cost cutting and some layoffs. And there’s great uncertainty right now, just across the and that uncertainty creates a lot of anxiety and people are questions. And you know, I’ve seen where there’s just a one and done communication. And then the employees, they raise it again, we’re concerned they ask questions. And the response in one example was, well, I already told you guys or I already told you, and it’s sort of like I already told you and that is not effective way to build respect and alignment and loyalty and commitment, and really Aleve the the anxiety. Sure.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  34:43

So what’s a better way to do it? Because I think this is very topical. And like you said, a lot of organizations thinking about cost cutting efficiency is the word of the year and 2023. So how should people do it?

Bill Tingle  34:56

Yeah, you know, one things and I think this is in the territory of what you’re asking and some dive in thinking about and sharing. So I’ll go ahead and share it, it’s probably a little bit more difficult for startups and very, very young companies. But, you know, let’s say a company has been around for 30 years, and they’ve had their ups, they’ve had their downs, but the trend is, on average, the trend is 10% growth. And so you know, it’s sort of like they go up, and they go down, just like the stock market go up, and then but they’re trending up. And let’s say people are really nervous about like, right here, right now, are we gonna lose our jobs, I’m worried about the company, you can’t promise anybody that you’re not going to have a layoff unless you can really promise them that. And so rather than making any promises, you can say, Look, our culture is one of taking care of our employees. Over time, we’ve had steady growth, we’ve had ups and we’ve had downs. And that’s the dynamics of the world we live in. And we really have to accept that. And acceptance is tied to mood, like the mood of the organization, you need to help people accept, not fear or oppose what’s happening as a deal. But you know, on average, you know, we’re growing over the long haul. And we’re doing everything we can to continue to grow and take care of our employees. And, and we want you to be there with us, like we’re going through this together. And then especially listening to people listening to their current because a lot of people they just want to be heard and understood.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  36:24

Yeah, it’s very true. And I think the the other thing that I’ve heard in this area is it’s really good to give people the the framework to the extent that you can, like the decision making framework. You know, we talk a lot about transparency on the show like this is, as you can imagine a big topic on this podcast. But there’s also transparency in the framework of thinking, right? So it’s not only a transparency, here are numbers, but more. Like, here’s how we make decisions. And so it doesn’t feel like it’s fair, or it’s unfair. And, you know, people just want to know, like, how things happen, how decisions are concluded. And yeah, I think like a lot of that stuff maybe makes it also feel that they’re not blindsided or it’s not. And I told you,

Bill Tingle  37:08

yeah, they’re included, they understand the principles, they know how decisions are made. You know, I’m sure there’s a lot of minutia that can’t be shared, but at least people feel informed. And it’s really important that the messaging that’s given to the people is very consistent with the actions of the future. Because if that’s not the case, then trust is going to be weakened, and the organization’s are gonna have real trouble with their employees.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  37:34

Yeah. And so one of the things that you can talking about things that are very topical these days, the other one is just in the space of AI, everybody’s talking about it, it feels like in terms of like the news cycle that everyone’s LinkedIn and Twitter feed is full of all the things that are happening. You know, some people are having anxiety over it, some people are super excited over it. But you know, one thing is for sure that there is, you know, even more uncertainty as a result. But I think the other part that I think a lot about is just the idea of change management, right? So there is, you know, the one thing that I’m sure of is that the way that we do things, needs to change and will change as a result of some of this new tech. So I guess one of the questions I have for you in working with a lot of companies and a lot of them in the technical space, how do you see people thinking about change management and just getting their organizations to a wake up and pay attention? And be, you know, make sure that they’re not going to fall behind?

Bill Tingle  38:37

Yeah, I think having conversations being in conversations with the organization, you know, as it relates to the technology, you know, and I think a current generative AI, and all that’s going on in that space right now is such a dynamic, fast moving situation. And a lot of employees are sort of taking it in their own hands, I think there needs to be conversations about it. And I think an organization can start with principles, I’m big on principle based decision making and leadership, and what are the principles around this? And, you know, what is our support for it in a lot of organizations that are just shutting it down from at least from the firewall perspective, and not allowing outside access? But I think the question needs to be how, you know, including people on how can this help us? You know, what do you know about it? We know I’m gonna give you 10% of your time to go research this, let’s do some experimentation. How could this help us what, what are our principles about this? You know, a lot of people are concerned that people are going to use, you know, chat GPT to create something and send it to customers without ever looking at it. You know, with all due respect, it’s like having a college intern, create a business strategy and just executing it. I mean, there’s a lot of benefit and getting early drafts and you know, avoiding sort of the blank slate syndrome, but we all have to be responsible. We have to be responsible with the ultimate if content is our content, it’s not what the AI generated, then we’re responsible for that. So I think getting the organization involved having principles, making decisions on how fast we’re gonna go, I think those are all things that are really important.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  40:13

Yeah, one of the things that we started doing and just going back to your concept of like town halls are really important. So, you know, one thing you could do is send an email to the whole company and say, Hey, everybody, AI is really important. Think about how we can apply it everywhere. And, and, you know, that could be part of the strategy. But we’ve now incorporated, for example, a chat GPT, or AI section in every town hall, where someone can volunteer and talk about how they’re using it in their team or in their department or some new use case, but it’s going back to your, it’s got to be top of mind, it’s got to be part of conversations, people have to be talking about them, it’s got to be a priority. And it’s just very nuanced. Just addressing it from every angle, if you want to stick especially if you’ve been doing things a certain way for a very long time.

Bill Tingle  41:03

You know, I think if you think about the power of AI, especially what we’re seeing with the large language models, I think it’s sort of like I kind of liken it to security awareness training. And I’ve seen some really good programs around security and risk awareness. I think it’s kind of like that, I think you want people to feel empowered, and we’re, you know, we’re going to allow it, we’re going to think strategically, we’re not going to let it get in the way of our growth and customer experience and competition. But we all know, understand the data, like the risks of it, right? And so let’s make sure we’re all aware of the responsibility that we have with it. And I think if that’s done really well, you can end up with a really healthy change management process.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  41:45

Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. And this has been an incredible conversation, we have talked about a lot of different things. We started with defining power, which I really enjoyed your definition of. And we talked about soft skills in a lot of detail. Also the concept of just speaking to the way that someone actually listens, and really speaking in the right frequency for them to hear, and also how alignment is an assessment. And it’s not a particular thing that gets created or just randomly exists. So lots of really awesome topics that we’ve gotten to one of the questions that we always like to end with is for all the managers and leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any final tips, tricks or words of wisdom that you would leave them with?

Bill Tingle  42:33

Well, the soft skills are the hard skills. And I would say the one thing probably the biggest things that’s helped me as a manager and a leader over the years is to approach and work with all colleagues from a position of care, balanced with directness, and I want to care about the people I’m working with, but I can’t sugarcoat or cut short of directness, because there’s too much at stake with business. And just remember that the skills that make the difference are communication, relationship and emotional management.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  43:04

That’s great advice and a great place to end it. Bill. Thanks so much for doing this. 

Bill Tingle  43:08

Thanks. I really enjoyed our time together.

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