#247: Professional Development, Analytically Speaking with Helen Crossley

Professional development is a big topic—way more than just thinking about what job you want in five years and setting milestones along the way. Thankfully we had Helen Crossley, Senior Director of Marketing Science at Meta, join Michael, Moe, and Val to dive deep into this topic! We explored how to set really good, meaningful goals, the challenges across each stage from junior analyst to leader, and how to give great feedback. We also spent quite a bit of time discussing the new challenges that becoming a first-time manager presents and, hopefully, some helpful tips and thought exercises to help out our listeners who are or are about to be faced with this challenge.

Links to Resources Mentioned in the Show

Photo by Sam Barber on Unsplash

Episode Transcript

0:00:00.0 Tim Wilson: All right. Before we start the show, we have an announcement and a request. Val, would you want to explain what that is to me and to our listeners?

0:00:08.9 Val Kroll: I would love to, Tim. So we wanna hear from you, dear listeners. So we’re conducting a survey and logistically we’ve made things as easy as possible for you.

0:00:20.4 TW: Survey. I mean, I kind of like just pretending I knew what listeners were thinking, but sure, fine. We can do it your way. And I’m assuming that because it’s you, that there’s probably a short URL and there’s probably a nice little Google Form, that’s mobile friendly that listeners can go to, to actually give us this information.

0:00:38.6 VK: Ah, Tim, you know me so well. You bet. And so starting today, the survey will be live at bitly/aph-survey.

0:00:45.9 TW: So putting my listener cap on. So, we want something from them. We’re not going to actually give them anything in return. Are we?

0:00:54.2 VK: We sure are. At the end of the survey, there’ll be an opportunity for you to give us your address, so we can get a laptop sticker off in the mail to you. And also you can choose to enter a raffle for some sweet sweet power hour swag.

0:01:08.0 TW: I don’t know who approved this expense, but fine. So this means, I mean, I’ll take it ’cause we can now kind of get rid of those old, branded mouse pads and BlackBerry covers.

0:01:19.5 VK: No, Tim, we’ll leave those to you to still use as your stocking stuffers. This is actually gonna be way better, think comfy, cozy hoodies just in time for summer.

0:01:29.0 TW: Hoodies for summer. Good planning. I’ll take mine and just rip the sleeves off and rock those Analytics guns through the summer.

0:01:36.3 VK: Your finance bro look?

0:01:39.2 TW: Yeah. That’s right. I’ve been, I think I’m ready. So how long, I mean they’ve gotta do this sometime before summer, so how long do listeners actually have to participate?

0:01:47.9 VK: Yeah. So the survey opens today, May 28th and this is 2024, just in case you’re living in our future and listening back to some old episodes. And we’re gonna keep it open through the month of June.

0:01:57.8 TW: Okay. So if I was paying attention, listeners should visit bitly/aph-survey, before June 30th in the year 2024, to share their opinions and maybe actually get some pretty cool swag?

0:02:11.8 VK: You got it.

0:02:12.8 TW: Sounds good. Now onto the show.

[vocalization]

0:02:21.0 Intro: Welcome to the Analytics Power Hour. Analytics topics covered conversationally and sometimes with explicit language.

0:02:29.9 Michael Helbling: Hi everyone. Welcome. It’s the analytics Power Hour. This is episode 247. You know, as you progress in your analytics career, you’ll soon find yourself probably as a manager of someone or a team of someone’s. And what you learn pretty quickly is that all the skills required to be a good manager or leader are honestly nothing like the skills you’ve built, being a good analyst. And sure, I mean, there’s some crossover but it’s really a whole different job, and yet it’s super important to get it right and be a great manager. And maybe you’re not a manager today and don’t wanna be, but this episode will still be useful, because this might help you know what to look for as you develop in your career and find good managers. Luckily, I am joined by my co-hosts who are also both amazing leaders and managers. And let me introduce them right now. So Moe Kiss, who is joining us. Welcome.

0:03:24.9 Moe Kiss: Welcome. Thank you.

0:03:25.4 MH: You Are actually a really good manager. I’ve heard people on your team say so. So, like.

0:03:32.0 MK: Oh, well that’s very nice to hear.

0:03:32.1 MH: There’s third party verification. Yeah.

0:03:33.3 MK: I was only paying them a little bit.

0:03:35.4 MH: And Val Kroll. Also welcome.

0:03:40.8 VK: Thank you. Thank you. Excited to be here.

0:03:40.9 MH: And I’ve realized Val, technically when we were both serving on the DEA, you were kind of my manage. So I feel like I’ve been managed by you and I can say you’re a great manager, so that’s pretty awesome.

0:03:51.8 VK: Well, and I have been managed by you Michael, and I can speak very highly of that experience as well. Look at this, good management all around.

0:03:57.6 MH: Okay. This is now starting like a paid advertisement. Okay, that’s great. And I’m Michael Helbling. We also are excited because we do have a guest. Helen Crossley, is a senior director of marketing science at Meta and she’s also held data leadership positions at Procter & Gamble. She’s also an international speaker and mentor. And today she is our guest. Welcome to the show, Helen.

0:04:19.1 Helen Crossley: Thank you so much for having me. Excited to be here.

0:04:21.0 MH: Oh, we’re so excited to have you as well. And I think it’s really cool ’cause I know, you were introduced to us through Moe, and Moe do you wanna kick off kind of like how this all came about and then we can jump into some conversations about professional development and leadership?

0:04:38.2 MK: Yeah. So, I was lucky enough to get introduced to Helen and she’s part of my sort of my professional network now. And if you are a people manager and you don’t have a good network of people outside of your company, that’s probably tip number one, because you do often need to talk about some pretty gnarly situations or get some advice, external to your own company. And Helen has been able to provide that for me. And so I wanted our lovely listeners to all get to benefit from some of the amazing conversations I’ve had with Helen over the last weeks and months, about all sorts of great things like development goals and team members and, how we kind of grow that analytical skillset and do that simultaneously with communication skills. So that’s kind of the background. I wouldn’t mind just like diving right in. I think what I love about Helen’s approach is she’s pretty direct, I would say, as an Australian. So we might kick off and talk a little bit about what good development goals look like. Helen, we had a sort of an experience where I shared mine with you and you gave me some, pretty good feedback.

0:05:53.0 HC: I think I said that they were a bit crap to begin with, Moe but we went from there. I’m sorry if I said the sharing.

[laughter]

0:06:02.3 MK: Yeah, they were a bit crap to begin with. But there was a few points in particular that I thought were really useful in terms of the feedback. So can you tell me like when you are working with someone, what do good goals look like to you?

0:06:18.8 HC: I think for me good goals are things that are obviously linked into the business objectives and what the business overall is trying to achieve. But beyond that, they have to be something that you actually want to do. All too often I see goals, which are just a to-do list of projects. I have to launch this, ship that, analyze this. And those are not goals. Those are your to-do list. They might be milestones under a goal, but for me a great goal is something where you can look at it and say, Hey, if in six and 12 months I’ve achieved this I will be in a better place, the business will be in a better place and that is something that I really do want to achieve. And I think that motivation is a really critical part of it.

0:07:04.1 MK: So a lot of times what I see in organizations is goal setting that starts from above and then there’s that cascading and waterfall down to the different departments and down to individuals. Do you think what you’re talking about here, about setting goals for yourself as an individual, is kind of separate from this task or activity? Or do you recommend trying to find a way to weave the two together?

0:07:25.0 HC: Personally, I really recommend weaving the two together. I think it’s absolutely fine if you have goals which are more personal and not linked to the business at all. You want to achieve something for yourself in your life. And sometimes that can be linked into your analytics career. If you wanna learn a new skill that’s maybe gonna take your career in a different direction, but it’s not linked to your day-to-day job. But for business goals or goals related to your work every single day, I think they absolutely have to be intertwined. If you are not thinking about, what does my manager care about? What does their manager care about? What does the company care about? Then there is a very good chance that you get to the end of the year, you achieve all your goals. And people are sitting around saying, Well what did you actually do? Why should I care?

0:08:14.8 HC: And so absolutely, I really do recommend that they be intertwined and that you can really draw a very bright line between what your goal is and the company or business that you’re supporting’s ultimate mission. And if you can’t do that, then really go back and ask yourself, Why am I launching this project? Why am I doing that piece of analysis? If no one cares, if it doesn’t connect into the business, if it’s not part of a bigger piece of work, then is that even a priority for me, let alone a goal?

0:08:46.6 MK: That’s actually where I thought you were gonna go with it. And I’ll say that with some of my past experiences in consulting, one of the things that made it a little bit tricky, and this was a kind of a complaint that we heard a lot of times from some, especially some of the junior analysts was, I’m not sure what clients I’m gonna be staffed on over the next three months or six months. How can I pin something down? Whether it’s learning, diving into you are, maybe the next couple of clients that you’re on really don’t have any needs in that direction. So balancing some of that uncertainty, obviously, you still need to think about the needs of the business of where you work, but if the majority of your work is really tied in with the success of other organizations, do you have any advice on how to like square that, square those two things together?

0:09:33.5 MK: Yeah, absolutely. And I think this is quite common. A lot of analysts also have a lot of ad hoc work, even if it’s not, you know, client based things pop up all through the year. How do you think about those? How do you quantify those and turn that into a goal? And my experience here, obviously I don’t have all the answers, but, my experience is a lot of times with those more junior folks, their goals aren’t aggressive enough, they’re not thinking big enough, they don’t want to put a line in the sand and say, my goal is to get my client, whoever that might be, or to get the team that I’m working with to think more about, you know, this big topic growth, how do I transform the way this organization thinks about growth? And that’s my goal. And within that I’m gonna have a bunch of sub goals, which maybe will change and maybe I don’t hit all of them or those milestones within it. But oftentimes when I see what you’re talking about, it’s ’cause the goal is too small, frankly.

0:10:26.7 VK: Too narrow? That makes sense.

0:10:29.1 HC: Too narrow. Too small. And it also is not a disservice to you as the individual, if your goals are so narrow. Because if you make them a little bit bigger, a little bit more expansive in your thinking, A, you are gonna unlock more growth for you and for your business. But B, it also gives you more flexibility and how are you gonna hit that goal? So rather than launch project X, if my goal is to drive growth, project X turned out to be a big fat flop. Doesn’t matter, because my goal is something that I’m working to achieve. And there are five other ways I can work towards that goal, even if that one project doesn’t work out. And that’s something I see particularly, particularly with more junior team members, who don’t want to put themselves out there and really claim a big bold goal, because they think it’s not their position or they shouldn’t be doing that. And I always say do it. That is absolutely the goal. And if you smash that, then congratulations.

0:11:30.9 Intro: It’s time to step away from the show for a quick word about Piwik PRO. Tim, tell us about it.

0:11:33.9 TW: Well, Piwik PRO has really exploded in popularity and keeps adding new functionality.

0:11:37.7 Intro: They sure have. They’ve got an easy-to-use interface, a full set of features with capabilities like custom reports, enhanced e-commerce tracking, and a customer data platform.

0:11:49.2 TW: We love running Piwik PRO’s free plan on the podcast website, but they also have a paid plan that adds scale and some additional features.

0:11:57.0 Intro: Yeah. Head over to Piwik.pro and check them out for yourself. You can get started with their free plan. That’s Piwik.pro. And now let’s get back to the show.

0:12:09.9 MK: I am loving this. I feel like I’m gonna… I actually do have to go back and revisit my goals, but I’m probably going to do it again. I was thinking in the lead up to this episode a lot about the tension with analysts and data scientists around, we have the technical skills and we have the communication or like stakeholder stuff. And I was actually, I guess my perspective was that we are a little bit unique because if you’re a backend engineer, you have a PM who’s going to interface with the business. So improving the software skills is not, I don’t think as big of a priority for lots of other areas of the business as it often is for data folks ’cause we’re doing that interfacing ourselves. And then I’m thinking of goals often, especially with juniors, it’s like improve communication skills, full stop. And.

0:13:00.2 VK: For the audience, Helen is vehemently shaking her head now.

0:13:03.7 MK: Okay. I’m just gonna, I’m gonna pose that and hand over to you about, like you have a junior person who comes to you, improve communication skills. How would you tackle that?

0:13:16.7 HC: Why do you wanna do that? Why do you wanna improve your communication skills, Moe? What’s that going to drive?

0:13:20.0 MK: To have more influence, to be a better presenter. I’m trying to think of like stuff people have said to me.

0:13:27.2 HC: Fantastic. I love that you wanna be more influential. What do you wanna influence?

0:13:33.5 MK: Whoa, oh. See? See, everyone? This is… I wanna help them make better decisions.

0:13:39.7 HC: Fantastic. It sounds like your goal is to make this organization a more data-driven decision making organization. And The way that you’re going to do that, is by having phenomenal technical skills as you do. And you can’t influence them in that way if the data is not robust, but you also will need to improve your communication and influence skills to drive that goal of changing the organization to be more data-driven. That should be your goal, not improve communication skills.

0:14:07.9 MK: Should we just end the episode here?

0:14:09.0 MH: Yeah. I think we’re good. This is good.

0:14:10.2 MK: I think we’re all set.

0:14:14.2 TW: I love it.

0:14:16.0 MK: Damn, that was good.

0:14:16.1 TW: But let me say, as you’re describing this and playing through it, this is the observationally, I’m seeing you kind of abstract out a couple of layers to say, Hey, think bigger thoughts or end it to your point before. Try to be a little more big picture or aggressive with your thinking, which I think is just such a really good set of advice for anybody at any level. And maybe talk a little bit about that perspective or how you, you obviously demonstrated that how you help people set goals, but as a leader, how are you inculcating that and how are you bracing that yourself or where does that come from? I don’t know if I’m asking a very coherent question at this point, but.

0:14:57.9 HC: So the question is really, how do we encourage folks to think bigger and take bigger risks? Is that?

0:15:04.8 TW: Yeah. I think that’s maybe where I’m headed with that. Yeah.

0:15:08.8 HC: I think it’s about allowing it, empowering it, saying it’s okay. It’s okay to be your best self and to go hit some big goals. And oftentimes people just need to know that. And you would be amazed, amazed at how much potential people have when they have permission. And it’s sad that they think that they need to ask for permission, but it’s reality for a lot of people. They don’t wanna step on toes. Maybe they’re new to the organization. It’s not necessarily about being junior. It’s just, Hey, I’m still finding my way and I don’t know what I don’t know. And to say to someone, it’s okay to think big and be bold is sometimes enough, but often also as a manager back it up with, and by the way, if you do do that, I’ve got your back and I support you and I believe in you and I can do, you know, I know that you can do these things if we get these goals right and we know what you need to get there. So, I think that’s how I approach it. I know there are lots of different other approaches, but for me, it’s about saying, how do I empower that thinking and not think small.

0:16:17.5 TW: And what happens when people come from lots of different organizations and have had other managers and things like that. And sometimes I’ve certainly experienced where people have had really negative experiences, where maybe they’ve set those goals and then didn’t hit them. And then what happens in the org? Like how do you communicate set that aggressive goal? ’cause my mentality is, Hey, if you shoot for the stars and you only make it to the moon, you still made it to the moon. That’s awesome.

0:16:45.5 VK: Oh wow. That is the corniest shit ever.

0:16:47.2 TW: Yeah. But I figured, I am corny as get out, all get out. That’s, I own that.

0:16:52.6 MH: But, look, some organizations and frankly some not great managers will look at you at the end of the year and be like, Well you set this goal and you didn’t hit it so you failed. And it’s like, Okay, well I learned my lesson. Don’t set aggressive goals anymore. And so that mentality is both culturally driven as well. I’m just wondering have you experienced where, having you had to kind of help people reset those as they’ve entered your team or, you’ve worked with them as a mentor maybe?

0:17:19.4 HC: Yeah, and I recognise I’m in a very unique position at Meta where, we have a CEO who says things like, Hey, if you’re hitting all your goals, they’re not aggressive enough. That means you’re not taking big enough risks and vets and…

0:17:33.3 MH: That’s helpful.

0:17:34.1 HC: We shouldn’t be hitting all our goals. And so definitely I’m in a unique environment and I recognise that not all workplaces are like that. But I think what you’re touching on Michael, is the need to quantify, measure, set some measurable impact. So when we talk about, you know, the example we gave earlier, I want the organization I support to be more data-driven in their decision making. How do I quantify that or put a metric around that? How do I know if I’ve hit that? And if I don’t quantify it, then the scenario you are talking about, where failure is much more likely because we don’t know if I hit it or if I didn’t hit it or we have to rely on qualitative feedback. And sometimes our teams around us, as data scientists and analytics professionals, we all know that we sometimes have to be the bad cop. So they might not love giving that feedback. And so, that is definitely something that you need to think about.

0:18:31.0 HC: How do I measure this goal? How do I know if I’m making progress toward it? And how do I check in on it regularly? So that at the end of the year, I’m not getting a surprise, my manager is not getting a surprise, if I don’t hit it.

0:18:44.3 MK: Yeah, even outside of the psychological safety that you’re talking about, Helen, with giving people permission to swing big, I also think that the quantification piece is huge, because it’s so much easier to say, “Project was released on time within budget. This many users were impacted as planned or whatever.” So it’s so much easier to go to an output to be able to say, “Yep, that was achieved.” Versus something that’s like a little squishier, a little bigger, involves other people. It’s like outside your own sphere of influence, which is that a factor of why you see people tend to lean on some of those more project or task list-related things?

0:19:21.2 HC: I think that’s right. But I would say all of those things that you’re talking about, those quantified projects, those are all great examples of the impact or the evidence that shows, “Hey, yeah, I’m making progress toward those goals.” And so really having the sub-milestones is important to ensure that you are progressing on them, and that you have the evidence that you are actually driving it. That’s my kind of mental model, Moe, is those things are important, yes, I ship the thing. And knowing how does that ladder up to the final goal. That’s the part that’s often missing. I shipped a ton of things and so what?

0:19:56.2 MK: So what?

0:19:56.2 MH: I feel like there’s a tendency, as data people, we do generally wanna have measures, and you did touch on it. I have noticed a bit of a theme lately where everyone feels like the only way to get measures of success, is to ask their stakeholders for qualitative feedback. And I have had a bit of a visceral reaction because I’m like, you are then putting the burden on your stakeholders to basically to tell you whether or not you did a good job, but you’re also asking more of them, which you can’t do that for every piece of work, right? What are some of the ways that you can… And I’ve realized this is a hard thing to do, but like, what are some of the ways that we can measure success without necessarily needing to go back to stakeholders?

0:20:40.8 HC: I’d say two things on that. And I think one that I’m a big fan of is joint goals. So you and your stakeholder have the exact same goal or a same version of a goal that you both are working on together, and you agree is a good goal. Hey, we both want to drive growth in this way. I’m going to do it and here’s my sub-milestones, and this… By owning these elements, you are gonna do it by owning those elements. And then we’re gonna agree on how do we know if that actually happened or not. That’s definitely one area. I think in terms of the other point I would make though on how can you quantify it? Honestly, I think this is where data people have to get creative and often do not spend enough time, effort, thought on measuring themselves. Very good at measuring other people. Very, very good.

0:21:29.7 MH: Yeah. I’m very good.

0:21:31.5 HC: Not very good at measuring ourselves. And that doesn’t mean we don’t have the capability to do it, but I think it’s just a time and effort thing personally, although happy to be… That to be a debate.

0:21:47.9 VK: So let’s go back to that discussion about old mate who wants to improve their communication skills. And we’ve kind of evolved their goal now to make the business more data-driven. I think, was that the exact words?

0:22:00.7 HC: Yeah.

0:22:00.9 VK: I think there was a slight tweak on words.

0:22:01.0 HC: Something, exactly.

0:22:01.6 VK: And we have a series of milestones, to put you completely on the spot. What are some of the ways we could measure that? I feel like that one maybe you’re looking for evidence of a change in behavior in stakeholders. Like that’s kind of what my intuition says. What are your thoughts?

0:22:21.1 HC: Yeah. So in that sort of a scenario, I would say some of the sub-milestones should be, Hey, I’m producing the data and is it actually being used? How do I… If it’s a dashboard, how many people are using it on a regular basis? How sticky is it? Are they coming back and using it time and time again? Same thing, if it’s a report, is this something that people actually care about? And sometimes you do need to get qualitative feedback. There’s no kind of bones about it. If you don’t have the right tracking mechanisms in place, you do have to just ask, “Hey, was this helpful? Was it not?” But do that the first time you send it out, not the 12th time you send it out, and get the feedback. And if it wasn’t helpful, wasn’t useful, then what would it take for it to become more useful?

0:23:07.2 VK: Sorry, why did you say the first time and not the 12th?

0:23:09.5 HC: Well, you don’t wanna send a report 12 times that no one cares about.

0:23:13.7 VK: Oh, got it.

0:23:14.5 TW: Yeah.

0:23:15.3 VK: Yeah. Okay. I’m with you. I’m with you. ‘Cause ideally if it wasn’t helpful, then you’ve gotten feedback and iterated and made it better by the time you send it the next time. Yep. Okay. I’m with you.

0:23:24.6 MH: Tracking. [laughter]

0:23:27.5 VK: And a lot of times if your business partners are making this request of the data team, it’s to help inform a question or decision. And so hopefully you’re a part of, so did you do that? Did you kind of follow through on some of the recommendations? Like hopefully you’re somewhat in tune with some of the decisions or next actions that were taken. And that in every case, especially if it’s like a dashboard or it’s a little bit more independent, but supporting some of those decisions. Like I think that that might be one of the easy ways to tell a story about impact. Like you were kind of nudging us towards earlier about the, “What does it do for the business?” And so taking that story all the way up, that could be a good way to do it too.

0:24:06.6 HC: Yeah. And I think you’re making a great point, Val, around when these ad hoc requests come, we all guide our teams, I’m sure to do the due diligence of, “What are you gonna use that for?” But then not always the follow up of, “And did you?” So I really think that’s a great point.

0:24:22.0 VK: Okay. I wanna turn a little bit. It’s funny because Helen’s exact example then before is an exact professional development goal conversation I had with someone recently. And I was like, Oh wow. Those are the exact points that we hit, which is very entertaining. But, I do wanna talk a little bit about junior team members and their professional development more broadly. I think goals is obviously an important component, but I guess my expectations are, when you’re a senior team member, you are very much driving your own development goals. You have a clear idea of where you want to go and sometimes they need to bounce off you, but you are leading your development. And with junior team members, that’s a lot harder. I find sometimes they’re, I don’t wanna say lost, but they don’t even… They don’t know what they don’t know. So they don’t know what’s possible. And yes, they need more guidance, but it’s also, they’re still in that heavy learning stage. So they’re not necessarily thinking about two years or three years down the track.

0:25:18.2 VK: Do you feel Helen, like there is a different approach that needs to happen there. Or sometimes they’re like, “What should I do? Should I focus on my technical skills? Should I focus on my communication skills? And they really need a lot more guidance.

0:25:33.4 HC: So I think there’s a couple of things to unpack there. I think, again, personally my approach that nothing gives me more joy than having a new person come onto a team. Not really giving them that much direction, not that much guide rails, but giving them a lot of permission and being surprised and delighted by what they come back with. And I think too often we handhold a little bit too much or put a barrier around people, which actually is not that helpful and they can do a lot more if they’re empowered to do that. So my approach is typically to kind of get out of the way a little bit, particularly for the first few months. Obviously they need a lot of support in learning the business, the methods, whatever else they need to onboard to. And tons of support there. But a little bit less in terms of the professional goals. ‘Cause I honestly wouldn’t know either. I don’t know what your next big leap is gonna be. We’re gonna have to work on that together. I don’t know enough about that person to make a judgment call on that within the first three, six, sometimes even 12 months. We’ll have discussions around it along the way, but I think being a little bit less prescriptive in ‘the how’ of the work that they’re doing.

0:26:47.3 HC: Obviously they need prescriptive guidance when it comes to what has to happen or what the job scope is, but a little bit less on the how is typically how I approach it. But I think that doesn’t work for all people. And I don’t know if Val or Michael, you have other ideas or examples of where it has or hasn’t worked for folks on your teams?

0:27:07.1 MH: Yeah. I mean, I definitely agree with what you’re saying. It’s hard to do what you just said a lot of times, ’cause you feel like, “Oh, I’ve gotta give them everything they need to start and be successful and tell them what everything is and all the expectations”. But a little bit of area to roam is actually good for both of you. And I don’t know if you’ve found this, Helen, I feel like sometimes that’s also personality-driven. Where I’ll have people come back to me and be like, “Okay, I need more structure around this, or I don’t know what to do”. And then other folks are more like, “Oh, cool, I’ll just jump in there and figure it out and I’ll see you in three months when we do a check-in or something”. And, it’s just totally different by the person sometimes.

0:27:52.7 HC: Yeah.

0:27:53.0 MH: I’m not sure what you’re…

0:27:54.6 HC: Yeah.

0:27:54.7 MH: You’ve experienced.

0:27:55.4 HC: I totally agree with that and that’s great. And I wouldn’t wanna get in the way of the person who is like, I got it, let me run with it and grow my wings and soar. And for the person who does need more structure, that’s fantastic and happy to give it. And thank you for giving me the feedback.

0:28:11.2 MH: Yeah.

0:28:13.2 HC: And by the way, in 12 months time, your development goal might be around for a bit more autonomy, a little bit more self-directed leadership, but we’ll get there, for now…

0:28:22.9 MH: Yeah.

0:28:23.6 HC: Yeah. Let’s work on what structure is helpful for you? How do you operate, how to empower that person.

0:28:28.1 MH: Yeah. A lot of times I find myself telling junior people, your primary job is to make sure you have clarity. If you don’t understand something that, you need to make sure you’re getting what you need to be clear on the direction, the approach, the task, whatever it is. And sometimes that’s helpful. But, yeah.

0:28:46.1 VK: I think that’s such a hard thing too, though. It’s something that I have noticed a little bit lately. I don’t know, like you said, Helen, it’s not the permission, but them knowing that they can ask more questions if they don’t understand something, and it’s a really hard cultural thing to influence of like, No, I want you to keep asking until you understand when you’re a junior person who inevitably in the data space is sitting in front of a very senior stakeholder.

0:29:12.9 HC: When we think about new team members, and, I say new team members ’cause it can be in any level, junior or senior, how do we ensure that they are set up for success and getting the support that they need? And I think there’s actually less work to be done in that regard with the individual team member coming in. The work is done over days, months, and years with the whole rest of the team. So personally, I incentivize the rest of my team to help. You are incentivised, I encourage you, I recognise those who are putting their hand up to help new folks on the team. That’s something that I would reward. And so we have a collaboration by default, it’s about the team, not the individuals. And that is the team culture that I wanna foster. And yes, it has something to do with new folks coming in, obviously, but, you can sense that around you as a new team member, whether people are, “Me, me, me” Or “We, we, we”. And the team culture I wanna encourage and develop is always that I will notice people who are helping out new folks. I will recognise it, I will make sure that we are supporting those people and encourage them.

0:30:27.5 HC: And that new folks should feel extremely welcome and then have a large network. Because if the whole team does that, you’ve got now 10, 15 people who you can go to. And it’s not all, “Well by one mentor who’s the only person who is being incentivised to help me. I feel like I can’t go to them 50 times a day. Well now I’ve got a whole team of people, who are being rewarded for helping me and I feel like I can go to whoever I need to, whenever I need to”. So that’s how I like to approach it. Obviously a buddy is still helpful for a lot of things, but, it should be on everyone. It should not be the responsibility of the new team member to ask the question. It should be the responsibility of the team to reach out and support them.

0:31:09.4 VK: Oh, I love that.

0:31:11.1 MH: That’s great.

0:31:11.8 VK: I actually just have a new team member, so I’m like, can’t wait to put this into practice. [laughter]

0:31:15.9 MK: It’s nice. One thing I’m curious about, your opinions on, Helen is when it is a newer team member or sometimes, I guess I’m also kind of thinking the more junior team member with this question is, how do you balance getting them excited about taking those aggressive big swings versus just being like, collect some experiences. Like enjoy the process, explore it. Like, “I’m your safety net. You’re never gonna fly without that”. But just kind of explore. So do you put goals around something like that or, I’m just interested your take.

0:31:52.2 HC: Typically, and this is going a little against what I said earlier, but typically in the interview process, I have a good sense of what strengths someone might have or what they bring to the table that’s unique. And I like to not tell them that I’m setting them up with a quick win, but set them up with a quick win. Based on everything I know about you and what you’re bringing to the table. I have a problem here that I’m 90% confident you can smash out the park and I’m gonna give you that. I’m not gonna tell you that I think you can smash it out of the park.

0:32:26.3 MK: That’s. I love this.

0:32:27.0 HC: But I’m gonna give you this problem knowing that it’ll give you the experience and get the wheels in motion and get you riding that bike to say, “Okay, well once I’ve got one win under my belt and I know how that works now let me go find some more”. So that’s how I like to do it. But it’s not always that neat and possible, but finding a quick win for everyone on a team is something that I’m very supportive of. What is their thing gonna be where in six weeks, 12 weeks, they can come back and give a presentation to the rest of the team or feel like they’ve got some runs on the board and they know what they’re doing.

0:33:02.7 MK: See how fucking good is this?

0:33:04.3 VK: Amazing.

0:33:05.1 TW: Yeah.

0:33:06.6 MK: I’m like… Okay guys, I’ve really got to change tact because I have been dying to talk about this for weeks and weeks and weeks, because it’s something that’s so top of mind. I wanna talk about middle management. We’ve spent a lot of time talking kind of about juniors and that sort of thing, but I think the middle management step is one that is quite bumpy for most people when you go from being an individual contributor to leading a team, a small team or that sort of thing. And really making that transition when you start to find out how the sausage is made and getting exposure to some of the, I guess, the problems or difficulties that happen more at the leadership level. And then balancing like the need to shield your team with also listening to them. And Helen, what I’m really curious to hear, do you think that is just like a growing pain that people go through and you have to accept it’s gonna be bumpy? Or do you think there are ways that you can make that transition easier for people that are going into to management?

0:34:10.6 HC: So I mean, firstly I’ll say I don’t love the terminology of middle management, because I think everyone is a middle management unless you’re in the C-suite. And so every manager needs to think of themself as a leader of the team and a manager of the team, no matter what the level or the size of company or anything of that nature is. But in terms of someone, I think what you’re getting at Moe is like, Hey, first time managers that transition from being an individual team member into being a manager. How do we make that easier for folks? Is that really kind of the crux of what you’re getting at?

0:34:42.8 MK: Yes, but it’s also, I suppose it probably a little bit more narrow in terms of you are then balancing sometimes the downward pressure in reality. So like hypothetically there’s a decision you don’t agree with, but you’re gonna have to communicate that to your team. Whereas before you would’ve been on the receiving end, you could have been like, “This is bullshit, I don’t agree with it”. Now it’s like, “I don’t agree with it, but I’m still going to have to get other people to support it”. So, it’s the tension that starts to come up from moving into that role.

0:35:14.9 HC: Got it. So I’m a big believer in authenticity and not sugarcoating things, but for me personally, it’s extremely… I can’t think of a single situation where that has really happened to me, where I really said like, I fully disagree with this. I do not understand it. You can disagree with a decision, but you can understand it. And so that is what I’ve be communicating to my team. Why are we doing this? Because I understand why we’re doing this, it’s something that’s important to me. Now, my personal opinion may or may not be aligned to that fully, but if I can understand why as a company we are doing it, and that is why I’m communicating that, I would tend to leave my personal opinions out of it in that scenario if I really did disagree. But I think it’s extremely rare and I would encourage folks seek to understand because oftentimes, so many times we have seen situations like that, what’s actually happening is that new managers doesn’t have all of the context. They don’t have all of the context on the business, the realities, maybe it’s the cost structure that they’re not fully across. Maybe there’s a competitor coming in.

0:36:19.0 HC: There’s something that they are not seeing, it’s pretty rare that senior management, and it just makes terrible decisions, obviously it does happen. But normally that’s reality is, “Hey, I don’t have all of the context that my manager has. How do I get that context so I can do a better job of relaying these decisions and the importance of them to my team?”

0:36:41.3 MH: I loved hearing what you just said, Helen. I have literally on my desk right now a little post-it note that is the two triangles. As your responsibilities grow, your rights get smaller. So that’s something that is kind of true where you’re not allowed to complain to your team, you’re not allowed to express your opinions necessarily. I think I agree wholeheartedly with the concept of being authentic, but you have to have these checks and balances within yourself to not sort of… Does an individual contributor, like if you’re upset about something, you just can say it, as a manager you have to think, What is the impact to my team, if I say these things or if I open my mouth about this stuff or if I badmouth this department or whatever the case may be. And so that’s sort of the way I think about it is you own not just yourself, but you kind of own a perception that you wanna build in your team so that your team continues to have the culture you want from it, of the all the things we’ve talked about before. Right? So I don’t know.

0:37:48.0 HC: Yeah. I’ve never really thought of it as having less rights is moral responsibility. I think it’s.

0:37:56.1 MH: It is not having them, it’s more like not choosing not to exercise them. Maybe in certain scenarios.

0:38:03.0 HC: I’ll have to sit with that one.

0:38:04.8 MH: Yeah. Maybe I’m, I don’t know. Somebody told that to me and I thought it was good in the moment, so I wrote it down and [laughter], it’s sitting on my desk right there, so.

0:38:12.1 HC: I can definitely say that was one of the first mistakes I made when I became a first time manager is I was like, let’s start every day at the top of the rollercoaster and as I go to meetings and come across new information, I’m gonna drag everyone up and down with me. [laughter]

0:38:25.7 MH: Yeah.

0:38:26.0 HC: And it was like, I’m not being a good shit umbrella, to not take, to unload my stress of this situation or scenario, the decisions I have to make onto my team. So I definitely had to get that in check. That was that was a lesson learned the hard way, I have to say. So apologies [laughter] to those teammates. I think about you to this day. [laughter]

0:38:48.0 MH: I definitely approached management early on as sort of us against the org kind of mentality. Like this gorilla warfare. Like, we’re over here doing our thing, I’ll take care of you, but all of these other people are really bad and dangerous. [laughter] And that was a process I had to go through to start to like look at the rest of the org as not an enemy and bring my team into that as well. So it was growth I had to do.

0:39:12.9 HC: I think what you’re touching on Michael is an interesting one. I think sometimes I’ve seen new managers want to kind of showcase that they are still one of the team.

0:39:22.6 MH: Yeah, yeah.

0:39:22.7 HC: I’m still one of you.

0:39:22.8 MH: Yeah. I’m still one of you. Yeah.

0:39:26.1 HC: And I think that is quite dangerous, for all of the reasons that you just said. There’s a tendency to kind of maybe bad-mouth other departments or decisions and I think that is a dangerous place to be. And I see that as well in terms of, for someone who’s maybe gone from being a peer to being a manager, and they want to continue to be buddy buddy and that makes it really difficult to then turn around and have to give that person some feedback that’s maybe constructive, or some direction or guidance, that maybe that person doesn’t love. So I think there is a a point when you go from being an individual to being a manager within a team, that you really do have to see that as a new job. I am not still… I’m leading this team. What does it mean to be a leader? And you can lead in every single different way. Lead from behind, lead from the trenches, be in the work with them, but you cannot be the leader and be the team member at the same time. That doesn’t work.

0:40:22.7 MK: How do you think that we coach people through that? ‘Cause I don’t think people are always ready for that transition… And it’s funny, I actually, I think about the military a lot because I had a friend once that I said to him, I was like, why did you go in as a soldier? Like, I don’t know, he had a university degree. He was really smart. I’m why wouldn’t you have gone through the officer ranks? I was just very genuinely interested. And he was like, Because I wanna be buddies with everyone, that’s my job. Like if I’m the officer, I can’t be buddies with everyone. I’m the person that’s in charge. And I feel like the military has that ingrained in them. They so get that. But I think especially when you’re in the workplace and you go from one to the other, it is a transition and you have to find other ways to have your buddies. And they might be the lead from another team or like, you have to find those relationships in another way. But as the coach of, or the manager of the person who’s just the manager, like, how else do we support them with that do you think?

0:41:22.0 HC: Yeah. I mean, they say leadership is lonely for a reason. And I know it’s kind of trite and corny, but I think there’s a grain of truth there for sure. I think the set of questions I like to ask people, tell me about the best manager you’ve ever had, and tell me about the worst manager you’ve ever had. So for every new manager and write it down, what did that person, who was the best manager for you do? What did they not do? And really then using that as the basis to have a conversation with that person around what does good management mean to them? How do they start to apply a management philosophy and grow as a their own kind of thoughts and principles in this? Because there’s always the same kind of common themes. The best manager I ever had empowered me, listened to me, was not my best friend, was someone who I looked, like just using that self-reflection tool for folks.

0:42:15.2 HC: And always, I mean the worst manager, and I’m curious for all of three of you, if you, without naming any names, think about the worst manager you ever had. I almost guarantee they were a micromanager. They were in your hair on things. It’s the same themes over and over that tend to come up, because that’s another really big track that a lot of new managers fall into is, I know I can do this job ’cause I was doing it last week, so let me tell you how you should now do this job in very minute detail. That’s another, I know that’s my safe space. I know how to do this technical work, so I’m gonna tell you how to. And that is, I mean, people hate it, right? Starting off as a new manager of that is just a recipe, the disaster.

0:42:55.7 MH: Well, and that’s really great. And it’s such a hard thing to let go sometimes as that new manager, because you aren’t good at necessarily shaping how like the quality of that thing will come out from this person does it versus when I do it. And so you have this letting go that has to happen in that moment as well, which I, that’s really awesome.

0:43:16.3 HC: It’s really hard. And you’re not yet good at your new job, but you are good at the job that you can’t do anymore, because it will just piss everyone off and it’s a really tricky, tricky place to be. Yeah. Completely.

0:43:35.5 MH: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve had a boss pull me aside as a manager one time because I was still trying to do too much of the old work.

0:43:36.3 HC: Yeah.

0:43:36.6 MH: And they’re like, that’s not what you’re here for anymore. You’ve gotta step out of that, but it feels comfortable. Right? You know how to do that. And all the stuff you’re learning and doing in this new role you’re not comfortable in. And so it’s like, well, maybe I could just spend part of my day doing this [laughter] so I could do something. But.

0:43:56.4 MK: And it’s also like, I can do it faster. Or like better or whatever.

0:43:56.5 MH: Yeah, sure.

0:43:56.7 MK: So, I’m just gonna do that ’cause it’ll be quicker than teaching someone and you’re like, Oh, no.

0:44:02.3 VK: Yeah. I’ve coached some really strong performers at my last company who had this tendency, but not out of the urges that we’re talking about here, where they, it’s more comfortable or they wanna do it faster and better, but it was, I don’t wanna get outta touch with the skill. Like maybe I’ve only done this one type of analysis once before, but it doesn’t come up very often and a second opportunity has arisen and I wanna jump in it so that I don’t get too far removed from it. And it feels like what would happen if I’m not as proficient as I used to be in this skill. And so like the concept of making space on your coattails and coaching other people and doing it. And so again, like some of those newer skills, Michael, that you were talking about, but it can be uncomfortable for that reason too, for an analyst, especially when it comes to something more technical.

0:44:49.2 HC: Yeah. And I think that’s a great opportunity to set up a review or one of those processes I can set up as a team manager that ensure that the work is really robust, but I’m not in everyone’s hair. I can stay in touch with what are they doing and set people up for success by doing really great review process, really great, whether that’s peer review, manager review. But yeah, I think that’s a little bit of a trickier one. And I will put both hands up to be a little rusty on some of my technical capabilities as [laughter] yes.

0:45:22.6 MK: Do you think it’s just you, do you just get to a point where you start being like, I accept that I am, my technical skills are going to atrophy because I feel like it’s constantly a discussion and I often get asked like, how do you stay in touch? And I’m like, I don’t. I haven’t written a line of code now in, I genuinely can’t tell you the last time I wrote a line of code. Is it just that you start to accept it and you, yeah. Like you do learn about the concepts through your team, but you are not the one applying them and you just have to accept that that’s reality?

0:45:57.3 HC: [laughter]? I think maybe, I mean, it’s sad to say I do still love it sometimes when someone goes on parental leave and I get a chance to do a little bit of work every now and then, even though it’s not my day job. But yeah, I think there is a little bit of accepting that I also learn a lot from my team members really. And some of I, there’s a a saying around Meta Facebook ways, like, You should only ever hire people who you would be happy to work for yourself. And I can tell you that it’s true of my team. They are brilliant, absolutely, technically brilliant, much, much better than I am. And I learn a lot from them. And I think that leaning into that is good for everyone. So, having the team now teach me is good for them and for me.

0:46:44.3 TW: Yeah. I think I turned a corner mode too when I started looking at learning how to be a leader as something to pursue as opposed to like more the loss of other things. So sort of like, Hey, why don’t I just focus on trying to get as good as I can at this thing that I’m now into? And not necessarily always sort of looking over my shoulder like, oh, I’m losing these skills, or I don’t know if I’m still as in touch with this thing I used to do. I don’t know if that’s good for everybody, but that helped me a little bit in that journey.

0:47:13.9 VK: Not mourning the loss as much?

0:47:14.3 TW: Well, trying to pursue this…

0:47:16.6 MK: Yeah. Actively going after it. Yeah.

0:47:19.0 TW: And being like, how do I be really good at it as best as I can? And I think everyone’s got a different style. My style is to make every mistake possible and then slowly arrange and then arrange around it down experiential learning of like, Okay, so I screwed that up. Now how do I not screw it up next time? And so I’m a little slower than most, but [laughter] you know? I want to change gears a little bit. We alluded to this before, but feedback is such an important part of helping people develop and being a leader. Helen, how do you approach that process with your teams and even with people you mentor as well?

0:47:58.2 HC: I mean, I think most of it at the top, I’m very direct and I think a lot of frequent feedback, lighter weight is what typically works for me. Obviously doesn’t matter. We have a standard kind of feedback process and timeline. But I, particularly for newer managers, one of the big mistakes I see people often make is, not giving feedback fast enough or thinking about not being sure of themselves. I wanna see more evidence, or maybe they’re just having a bad day, or maybe I just need to step up myself as a manager and not trusting their gut early enough. And so it doesn’t need to be this big heavy thing. Oftentimes feedback can just be a question, how do you think you’re doing on X or Y or Z and let’s have a conversation about this. This is what I’m seeing, but maybe I’m not seeing everything. Help me understand, how do you think you’re doing? So that more frequent lighter weight is I think what I tend towards, but it’s a muscle that you built, I think.

0:49:00.8 MK: One of the things actually that Helen has helped me kind of have a bit of an epiphany about on feedback, like reality is we all think we’re doing great and it’s like regular and yada, yada yada. And everyone says they love feedback, which also sometimes is a crock of shit. But I’ll give you guys kind of a scenario of, let’s say someone did a presentation or something and you kind of get into the weeds a little bit and you’re like, Oh, you could have done this to make this better or you could have adjusted this. And I think the bit that has kind of clicked to me is also letting them know what the standard is it should be. So it’s not just about like the tactical feedback on the work. It’s like for the level that you are at, my expectation is that this presentation has these qualities or is done in this particular way.

0:49:46.5 MK: And so like you’re showing that this is where the work is and this is where it should be. And I feel like through some of the conversations I’ve had with Helen, I’ve actually gotten better at being a little bit more direct about that because otherwise they’re just like, Oh, these are some improvements I can make. Not I need to, like, there’s not a big jump here, but like, they don’t know where the bar is that they’re trying to get to. And it’s something about fit. Like it has really been churning in my mind of late. And yeah, Helen is very, very good at direct feedback, I will say.

0:50:20.8 MH: Sorry. No [laughter]

0:50:20.9 MK: No, it’s a positive. Yeah, it’s great.

0:50:24.0 HC: And not always, I will say I think sometimes I fall into the same patterns with my own team, particularly if we’ve been managing folks for a long time or it’s easy to get sucked up into the day-to-day and the week to week work. And so I think that it is easier when you’re in a kind of more of a coaching, mentoring relationship to have that discipline around feedback. That’s why we’re there to talk about it. So yeah, I think yes, expectation… Like letting people know what type of feedback they’re getting is a helpful thing. Let’s do some big signposts. I am giving you feedback that this is missing the mark. My expectation was X what I saw as you delivered Y. Do you agree with that? Do you not? Am I missing something here? As opposed to just like, Oh, you did a great job, next time you could do something else, but you know. That’s really not that helpful if you are actually trying to give feedback. I want you to grow. I believe in you, I really want you to be successful and next time you will be more successful if this is the feedback which will help you get there.

0:51:27.3 VK: I’m curious, and this is a personal [laughter] question. Very much so I find… And you might say like, well, all of those milestones that you had in your head were shit milestones and goals [laughter] So that’s fair. But I’m very extrinsically motivated, and so I oftentimes find value in my work through the eyes of other people giving it praise or accolades, or saying that this was valuable or helpful. And so, I always thought that a way to measure that success was to say, well, I should have director in my title before I’m 30, because that means someone in a position of power thinks that I should be able to operate at that level and make those types of decisions for the business. Or even when I came to Search Discovery Michael, can back this up, that I said, I wanna run a test that makes a client a million dollars.

0:52:12.5 VK: And that’s the way that I’m gonna help make sure that I’m feeling some of those successes. And I have to say that, I know we talked a lot about the juniors and some of the ways that they think about those visible signs of progress or ways of setting goals. And I actually think it’s getting harder for me, the further I get into my career to think about discreetly what are the things, what are the line in the sand thinking further out three years on the line. Like, what do I want to say I’ve been able to accomplish? And so maybe this is just like a little bit of a rut that I’m in, but have you noticed that at all that like there’s differences in what’s hard about setting goals for juniors versus more senior people? Or maybe I just have a complete [laughter] I need to come up with a better way to set some metrics against the things that I do, set some goals against.

0:53:00.3 HC: I think two things. So firstly, hopefully your business partners know that you like feedback and thrive off it. And hopefully you’ve said to them, Hey, I’m just the sort of person, if you give me a positive piece of feedback, I will cherish that. It will make my day, I will hug it all day long and you will absolutely like that is what I thrive off of. So that you are getting that on a regular basis. If you tell people that, they will give you that is my experience. So hopefully you’ve done that. But in terms of like your particular goals as you get more senior, I think it just becomes less linear. So as someone new into the business, hey, the next milestone is the promotion, which is like two to three years or the next thing and the next thing, and then I wanna be a manager. And then…

0:53:40.4 HC: It starts out oftentimes with people being very linear. And then as you become more senior, I think you have to be much more flexible. What is my goal? Maybe it’s to experience managing a very large team or experience working in a different type of company, or what are the experiences I wanna develop, and then being extremely flexible on how I get them. So that might mean, I lose the director title if I gain that experience. That might mean I go take a pay cut or work at a very different company or do something entirely different with my life. But prioritising what experiences you wanna gain is something I think that becomes more important as you become more senior. If it’s always just getting to that next level. I mean, you’re gonna run outta levels pretty soon. It’s not something that goes and goes forever. And so you can’t just keep it being the next level, the next level, I think is what you’re kind of putting at there.

0:54:35.5 VK: Yeah. Yeah. Just wanted to make sure that that wasn’t [laughter] too far off. ’cause I, I’m not some super senior, but I don’t, I’m not, I don’t feel like I’m… I’m not a spring chicken. I’m not 10 years outta college or less anymore, so [laughter]

0:54:48.3 HC: Yeah. And I don’t have all the answers here either. I think it’s for me as well, something I think about what are the experiences I want to gain next in my career, so. Happy to chat some other time, Val on this for each other.

0:55:00.2 VK: Woo-hoo, Moe I’m gonna bogart your girl [laughter]

0:55:03.6 MH: That’s right.

0:55:03.7 VK: No, you’re incredible Helen. I love it. [laughter]

0:55:07.4 MH: No, this is excellent. All right, well we are running out of time so we have to start to wrap up. This is incredible and actually so many things Helen, you’ve shared have been so right on the mark. And so thank you so much for sharing some of your insights and lessons learned with us and our listeners. So one of the things we like to do on the show is do go around the horn and share a last call. Something we find interesting that maybe our listeners will too. And Helen, you’re our guest. Do you have a last call you’d like to share?

0:55:36.6 HC: My last call is, I recently went on vacation. And truly, take your vacation time people, it makes such a difference. That is, I know it’s not the most insightful new tool out there in the world, but that was my big insight for the week is take a holiday.

0:55:52.0 MK: I love that.

0:55:52.9 HC: Take a holiday folks.

0:55:56.0 MH: I love it.

0:55:56.1 MK: And an actual holiday.

0:55:56.4 HC: Yes. Disconnect. Go on a place where the WiFi is a little bit crap. It’s a good idea.

[laughter]

0:56:05.8 TW: I’ve got it planned. I know when we’re taking it and I can’t wait.

0:56:08.0 HC: Oh, good for you.

0:56:08.1 TW: Yeah, that’s important. That’s awesome. All right Moe what about you? What’s your last call?

0:56:12.5 MK: I am so excited.

0:56:13.2 TW: Oh that’s right.

0:56:14.4 MK: You know when you find something and I’m sure every single person in the world probably knows about it, but when you find something you’re like, Shit, how did I not know about this? This is insane. It’s called Goblin Tools. Have you guys, is everyone aware of Goblin Tools? Okay, great. I’m excited. [laughter] So it has a few different things that it does. One is magic to do. So you put in a task like I need to install tracking for Google Analytics 4, and it will break it down into the tasks that you need to do in order to do that. Or I need to write a brief for a client. It will be like, Here are all the steps you need to do. It has a formaliser. I never ever recommend using that. There is never a good occasion to take your written work and make it more formal.

0:57:00.1 MK: But there is one called the Judge where you can put in say like a message or an email that someone sent you to see if you are misconstruing the tone and it will help you understand if there’s like…

0:57:10.6 VK: Interesting.

0:57:11.5 MK: Yeah, I know.

0:57:13.0 MH: That’s cool.

0:57:13.7 MK: Because sometimes you get a message from someone and you’re like, Wow they’re being such a dick. And now you can put it in the judge and it will tell you [laughter] basically whether there is a tone there. Then there’s the estimator, which will help you break down a task into like how long it estimates it’s gonna take. There’s one called the compiler. Oh yeah. You basically put a brain dump in and it will break it into like a list of tasks and then there’s the chef, which is like, you put your ingredients in and I’ll tell you what to cook. So it’s just like this tool that I am, feel like I’m gonna be like using constantly and I’m really excited about. So, yeah.

0:57:54.0 MH: Yeah. Where has this been all my life?

0:57:57.2 MK: [laughter] The judge would’ve saved me so many hours of therapy. [laughter]

0:58:00.0 VK: I know, right?

0:58:02.0 MH: It is like 15 years of trying to figure out how to handle emails the right way.

0:58:07.6 MK: [laughter] And I do have to say thank you to Stefan. He presented at our Analytics meetup recently and he shared this and I just was like, Pooh.

0:58:17.0 VK: Amazing. Sorry.

0:58:17.1 TW: That’s pretty awesome. Awesome. Thank you. All right Val, what about you? What’s your last call?

0:58:21.5 VK: All right, so this one’s a little left field but I was pretty excited about it as well. My favorite type of music is classic rock and so here in Chicago I listen to 97.1FM The Drive and they have a podcast called Behind the Song and they did one recently on the ELO song that is scientifically proven to make you happy and it’s just a fun song and, I love like breaking it down and like understanding how they recorded it and the inspiration for it. So that’s always fun part of the podcast. But the thing that I was the tie in here to the show, I swear it’s there is the study about what makes songs make you happy. Like what is the happiest song in the world and I guess it’s this perfect combination of using Major keys seventh chords, 137 BPM A strong beat and four beats in every bar. So it’s thousands of songs were tested over years and years. And they evaluated it and this is still to this day the happiest song in the world. So if you’re having a bad day or you aren’t in a place to take your vacation yet, [laughter] while you’re planning it, listen to the ELO song Mr. Blue Sky.

0:59:31.5 MH: Oh.

0:59:33.0 VK: It’s in like tons of commercials. As soon as you listen to it you’ll be like, oh yeah. So. All right. What about you Michael?

0:59:41.4 MH: Well, mine is not as good but actually it’s funny ’cause Tim sent this to me and I was looking through it and I was like, oh this is be my last call. So thanks Tim. Shout out [laughter] So there’s a venture capitalist named Sriram Krishnan who actually used to work at Meta in the engineering, I think. And he collects corporate memos and governmental memos and things like that. And they’re all these different kinds and styles and he puts them out on his webpage. And so it’s a really cool page. It just has a bunch of different memos and it’s kind of interesting because a lot of them are a more like intimate reflection of the moment that that person or a company or leader was in. And so they’re kind of fun to read, sort of kind of a fun thing.

1:00:21.4 MH: I was reading through it and I read the one Howard Schultz wrote back in 2008 about Starbucks and I was like, well they should have done something with that memo ’cause he was absolutely spot on and they haven’t really capitalized, but those kinds of things. Anyways, it’s fun if you like that sort of thing. Anyway, so that’s my last call.

1:00:42.3 MH: All right, well as you’ve been listening, you’re probably thinking to yourself, oh, I have a question or I have a thought about this. We would love to hear from you and it’s easy to do that you can reach out to us through LinkedIn or on the Measure Chat Slack group or via email at contact@analyticshour.io. So we happy to hear from you and please do. And of course no show would be complete without a huge shout out to our producer Josh Crowhurst. Thank you Josh for all you do for the show. All right once again, Helen, thank you so much. Thanks for coming on and sharing with us.

1:01:18.1 HC: Thank you.

1:01:19.2 VK: Yeah, thank you.

1:01:19.9 MH: Awesome.

1:01:21.9 MH: All right, so no matter where you are in your leadership journey, you can lead from anywhere. Just remember that I think I speak for both of my co-hosts, Moe and Val, when I say, no matter what kind of leader you are or your leadership style, keep analyzing.

1:01:39.4 Outro: Thanks for listening. Let’s keep the conversation going with your comments, suggestions, and questions on Twitter at @analytics hour, on the web @analyticshour.io, our LinkedIn group and the Measured Chat Slack group. Music for the podcast by Josh Crowhurst.

1:01:58.0 Charles Barkley: So smart guys want to fit in. So they made up a term called analytics. Analytics don’t work.

1:02:06.3 Kamala Harris: I love Venn diagrams. It’s just something about those three circles and the analysis about where there is the intersection. Right?

1:02:13.8 MH: Tim usually does that without telling anyone Val to try to catch me and telling an embarrassing story. So. [laughter] That’s good that you let us know. All right.

1:02:24.4 VK: I’m trying to go for miss Congeniality this year for the APH award. So [laughter]

1:02:29.0 TW: Oh, hey. That’s a good idea. The atheist.

1:02:33.1 VK: The atheist invented right here.

1:02:38.9 TW: Mr. Blue Sky.

1:02:41.8 VK: [laughter] Or I could just break into song Ooh, rock flag and aligned to business outcomes.

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