Why you need to walk the talk and eat the dog food

by | Jun 18, 2018 | Blog | 0 comments

Since February, I’ve been eating my own dog food.  In other words, I’m using the tools and following the advice I provide to my clients for a specific situation.

While the experience has taken me out of my comfort zone, it’s worth it. I’m growing as a coach and consultant as well as becoming more empathetic to my clients and their situations. 

Here’s the story. Generally, I coach and consult with leaders who are taking on a new role and want to hit the ground running. They are either moving up or sideways in their current organization or are switching organizations.

The more transitions leaders take on at once, such as changing geographies and industries as well as a new job, the bigger their risk for failing. That’s one reason why outside coaching and consulting is a smart investment for them and their organizations.

For the first time in five years, I’m now in the same shoes as many of my clients. I’ve taken on a part-time remote role with an outside organization while I continue coaching and consulting with my own firm Connect and the NeuroLeadership Institution.

My new role as a part-time executive communications coach for Quantified Communications is stretching my thinking, my muscles and my endurance in two distinct ways.

I’m learning about new technology that I need to apply. And I need to use familiar apps in a new environment.

As background, Quantified Communications has developed an objective, scientific method for evaluating and measuring communication effectiveness.  The company combines its proprietary data analytics with communication and behavioral science to help executives, MBA students and others improve their communication and enhance their reputations.

As an executive communications coach, I find it exciting to analyze big data and find actionable insights to support executives in reaching their goals.

For example, for the leader who wants to demonstrate that inclusiveness is a top corporate priority, I can analyze the language the leader has been using to date and then suggest ways to fine-tune words, body gestures and tone of voice to come across as more inclusive.

Learning how to use Quantified Communications’ technology platform has been an easier adjustment than acclimating to other aspects of the firm though, which was my surprise. It shouldn’t have been, since I know that leaders in new roles experience more challenges adapting to their new culture than performing the technical requirements of their job.

Since Quantified Communications uses many of the same tools that I use in my business, such as Google’s G Suite, Slack, and Expensify, I expected adoption with no friction or extra time needed.

Wrong! While I knew how the tools worked, I didn’t know how my Quantified Communications teammates used the tools.

Even more humbling to admit, I found the communication choices and decisions – which is something I’m knowledgeable about — most confusing. For example, when do my teammates expect me to initiate communication with Slack versus texting or email?

What’s the upshot? Three things I’m now doing differently: 

  1. Allow more time to get things done. Because I’m experiencing a learning curve with tried and true tools as well as Quantified Communication’s proprietary technology, I’m finally recognizing I need to build buffers in my schedule. Trying to muscle through and beat the clock is not a good option because I’m then prone to make mistakes.
  1. Ask others for guidance rather try to assume. Since it helps to get to know the people I’m working with, I’m now intentionally picking their brain about cultural norms with their permission. This as I also work on building relationships with them.
  1. When in doubt, pause and ask myself, “What would the CEO do?” and then confirm if needed. When I ask myself this question, I’m able to ground myself in the purpose and values of the organization. This helps me feel like I can take the initiative – or at least come up with a suggested plan of action that I can confirm.

In a sense, I’ve become my own case study for how to transition into a job, which helps me monitor my progress plus my trials and tribulations.

Also, while my particulars are different, my experiences track with others’, including my clients. It’s not the technical aspect of work that makes you feel woblly; it’s the cultural experience.

What’s your experience?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *