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InfoQ Homepage Podcasts Esther Weinberg of The Ready Zone on Building Cultures of Trust, Respect & Safety

Esther Weinberg of The Ready Zone on Building Cultures of Trust, Respect & Safety

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In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Esther Weinberg of The Ready Zone on building cultures of trust, respect & safety to enable resilience and the ability to respond to disruptive change.

Key Takeaways

  • No matter what field you're in, technical or non-technical, the one thing that people really want, is to have the experience that they are respected and trusted in the workplace
  • Organisations need to be ready for change in multiple dimensions, and change readiness can be measured
  • There are six zones of readiness: pivot ready, action ready, influence ready, connect ready, impact ready and culture ready
  • Coaching is having the absolute belief that the person that you are working with has the ability to facilitate their own change and to come up with their own solutions
  • Power and influence are distinctly different and anyone can have influence

 

Transcript

Shane Hastie: Hello, folks. Before we get into today's podcast, I wanted to share with you the details of our upcoming QCon Plus virtual even, taking place this May 17 to 28. QCon Plus focuses on emerging software trends and practices from the world's most innovative software professionals. All 16 tracks are curated by domain experts to help you focus on the topics that matter right now in software development. Tracks include leading full cycle engineering teams, modern data pipeline and continuous delivery, workflows and platforms.

Shane Hastie: You'll learn new ideas and insights from over 80 software practitioners at innovator and early adopter companies. Spaced over two weeks at a few hours per day, experience technical talks, real-time interactive sessions, asynchronous learning, and optional workshops to help you validate your software roadmap. If you're a senior software engineer, architect, or team lead and want to take your technical learning and personal development to a whole new level this year, join us at QCon Plus this May 17 to 28. Visit Qcon.plus for more information.

Shane Hastie: Good day, folks. This is Shane Hastie for the InfoQ Engineering Culture podcast. I'm sitting down across the miles with Esther Weinberg. Esther, welcome. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today.

Introductions [01:44]

Esther Weinberg: Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here, especially, you and I have been chatting for a few minutes already so we're already in it.

Shane Hastie: We are indeed. So, you and I have had a chance to get to know each other a little bit, but of course our audience haven't yet heard about you. So, would you mind just giving us the very quick introduction and overview, who's Esther and why you're here?

Esther Weinberg: I'm Esther Weinberg. I am the chief leadership development officer and founder of a company called The Ready Zone. The Ready Zone is all about the methodology for creating workplace cultures where trust, respect, and safety are as measured and as valued as the bottom line. Because what we know, and I'm sure all of you can attest to this, that when you feel ready and powerful to take on the opportunities and challenges at your feet, you can actually be successful. So that's what my company is and what we do. But how I got here was an interesting circuitous path. I started my career in public relations many moons ago working in 12 different industries. And I remember at one point I honed in on the entertainment business and I stuck with it.

Esther Weinberg: First, I thought it was a very sexy business. It was very cool. There's film and there's television. And it was interesting, and I still do love that excitement because I do think that entertainment can impact so many lives, but working with creatives and also the technical side of it is what I really loved as well. And so I worked on the PR and marketing side in agencies and then I left the industry for a bit because I thought that maybe taking a turn at finance would really do it for me. But I found out that it wasn't quite my niche area. And so then I had gotten an opportunity to work for Fox.

Esther Weinberg: And it was so interesting because at the time, they were creating a network called FX, and they were creating it out of a 6,500 square foot apartment in New York where all the production would be, which was very cool at the time, because you were actually doing your work inside of this insane environment, in this beautiful apartment that had a ballroom and had a rec room and a library and it was just absolutely magnificent. And then I had the good fortune to move to California. I'm from New York and moved to California and started working for Disney. I had a pivotal moment when I was working for Disney. It was really interesting. I was part of the executive team, and we were sitting there and someone said, we had a management consultant who said, "We've lost... Some people have left the company." And then the CFO says, "Oh, about a third of our workforce has left the company."

Losing Great People [04:25]

Esther Weinberg: And I remember the head of sales and I looked at each other and we were like, "Wait a second. We're losing great people to very specific niche tech companies. So we're losing technical people, we're losing creatives. And why are we losing them? This does not make sense." And I remember the CFO saying, "We're Disney, don't worry about it." I thought, "Well, that's not a way that we want to build a culture. That's not what we want to do." And I remember it just seemed insane to me. And a few months later I left the company, which probably wasn't a surprise, and I started my own company and I've had it for almost the last 20 years. I've had the great opportunity to work, not just domestically, but internationally as well.

Esther Weinberg: The last long, long stint I did international I was working in Uganda, Africa. I was not just doing organizational development. Well, it was interesting, at night from 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM, I would do work virtually in the United States. And then during the day I would do work for children's rights and human rights organizations. And it was all around building the capacity. And I remember at one point I was doing an assessment of a U.S. government project on AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, and evaluating the effectiveness of the organization that was disseminating new drugs. And there was a doctor in the back of the car, and I remember when we were chatting and he says, "And I realize, if I get my assessment wrong, people will die." That has never happened. That had never happened to me before in my career.

The Need to Be Respected & Trusted in the Workplace [05:56]

Esther Weinberg: And the one thing that I did realize which brought me even more powerfully to The Ready Zone methodology, is that no matter what field you're in, technical or non-technical, that the one thing that people really want, is that they want to have experience that they are respected. They are respected for their thoughts, their ideas, and methodology. They have an environment where they are trusted to do the work that they are paid to do and beyond. And that there is psychological safety so that they can actually be who they need to be. And there's actually great data around it. There was a gentleman named Paul Zak who wrote a book called the Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies.

Esther Weinberg: And in a Harvard Business Review article, I remember he was writing that in organizations where there's a high level of trust, there was 74% less stress. I mean, can you imagine? Because workspaces are so damn stressful as it is. People had 106% more energy. They had 50% more productivity. When I saw those numbers, I thought, "Well, of course it makes sense." But what was interesting as PWC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, did a report in 2016 with CEOs that shared that 55% of CEOs worldwide believe that a lack of trust is a major threat to their organization's growth. You could see it when you work at multinationals and you work in organizations all around the globe. No matter what specific role you are in, those ingredients for what you want in your job, when those ingredients are a part of it, then people can actually be much more successful. Period.

Shane Hastie: So, The Ready Zone. Ready for what?

Being Ready for Change [07:35]

Esther Weinberg: It's so interesting, especially now that we're in the midst of different phases of one of the biggest changes globally that has intersected everyone, which has been COVID-19. And probably at a time the world listening to this, there's different levels and layers of how it's impacted us. But what's interesting, I think that COVID-19 is showing us, is an extreme level, is What happens in the midst of severe monumental change. I would argue that most leaders have not been trained and developed to manage a pandemic, let alone coming out of social isolation and social distancing.

Esther Weinberg: And I think what we've seen much more now is that companies have been struggling even before this happened. They're struggling to stay relevant at the detriment of their workforce. So having a playbook and strategies for how to actually move forward is going to be powerful because people are still thinking about, we're talking about ready for what? Let's just think about it. How do you retain and rethink culture? Because we were talking about this before, teams are more dispersed and they weren't originally designed to be led and fostered remotely. I think there were roles that were, but not on the scale that we're seeing now. How do you keep your leaders in your teams engaged regardless of circumstance? And also we have seen that Zoom or virtual platforms, Microsoft Teams create this wonderful environment where we can be connected, but I there's a false sense of connection.

Esther Weinberg: Like I'm just talking to you over Zoom and it looks really fabulous, but does that mean that we're creating that culture, a virtual culture the same as it would be if you walked in a building and it was the smell of a place, as we say. And also, how do you develop a powerful mindset during change? And the last thing I would say about that is we're also in the midst of leading a workforce that's continuing to move through and beyond the environment of this massive change and there's a trauma that may exist as a result. So if you think of all of that, there's a lot we have to be ready for. But I think that The Ready Zone was born out of the concept of, how do you remain ready and powerful regardless of circumstance?

Zone Performance Indicators [09:53]

Esther Weinberg: We've created what I call these six key, we call them Zone Performance Indicator. So they're our KPIs for The Ready Zone. And they’re evaluation tools to reframe, refocus, and realign then enable leaders, their teams and their organizations to actually succeed during times of change. Because what we found is that there's lots of, and I'm sure you can all attest to it. When you work in an organization, people talk a lot, and you know talking isn't necessarily communicating. So you say, "These things are important to us and we're creating this level of culture," and all that kind of stuff. But the fact is unless we're actually measuring it and we're putting an evaluation next to it, we can't actually know the mark difference that we are making.

Esther Weinberg: And so I think that what's unique also about The Ready Zone is that by creating these six zones, it also allows leaders to reframe, refocus, and realign and be specific, almost as a diagnostic, of where I need to be, where it's going to be really crucial in order for me to leave during whichever point my team or I am, or my organization is in our life cycle.

The Six Zones of Readiness [11:08]

Shane Hastie: What are these six zones?

Esther Weinberg: There's pivot ready, there is action ready, influence ready, connect ready, impact ready, and culture ready. And so what that basically means, pivot ready is all around... I think the pandemic stole my language, but it's all about, how do you set up sustainable environments, cultures, and workforces so they can... What's those ingredients that people can move quickly when things are disruptive, and things change? In the human resources vernacular, we would fancily call it change management, which I don't believe in. Because I think if you set up environments, and you speak about this, agile environments, if you set up environments with the right skillsets that are being required in order to be able to shift, guess what? People will. So that what action ready is all about.

Esther Weinberg: Action ready is all about, it's a combination of things, and that's much more around mindset and intention. And what I mean, and not to sound so vanilla. But what I mean by that is, how do you create, how do you have boundaries in order to do... which is one thing that's really being marginalized these days. Because people think, "Oh, now that we're all working from home on Zoom, wait a minute, you can work all the time." So that's actually not true. And so, action ready is all around setting boundaries, creating a legacy as a context to what you live into. How do you actually leverage your sense of curiosity in order to create a greater impact and have different conversations in your organization?

Esther Weinberg: Influence ready is how do you not just have influence, which is the new leadership, I don't know if I'd call it that,] but it's how we're evaluating leadership more powerfully these days is your level of influence. And you can't have influence without visibility. And most executives want to have influence but they don't want to be visible. How do you create visibility without looking like you're a used car salesman? I call it, how do you amp up your visibility quotient in our vernacular.

Esther Weinberg: And then connect ready is all about how do you communicate? How do you structure the right messaging, knowing your right audience? How do you engage in tough conversations, knowing what the trigger points are for you and others? How do you prepare for those conversations? And how do you level up and manage up in a way that will allow you to communicate powerfully.

Impact ready is how do you set up teams and design teams to be able to deliver on all the things we're talking about?

And culture ready, the last bit, is really about how do you mentor and coach people inside of your organization to create one that has constantly a loop of giving back? So this way you don't have to ever think about, "Well, wait a minute, you didn't uplevel that team," or, "Wait a minute, there's a skill gap here."

Esther Weinberg: When you're in an organization that has that as a constant, then that upleveling of skills is going to be there no matter what. I would say the key takeaways from all of this, from the six zones, is that there are specific measurements that can measure how you're setting up the structures of these organizations to be successful.

Shane Hastie: Often we think of these things as the soft, fuzzy skills and we want people to be good at them. These are all really motivational and wonderful, but how do I know I'm being successful? How do I even know where to start? And how do I measure myself and my organization?

A Story of Personal Change [14:33]

Esther Weinberg: I'll give you a specific example. And I'm going to give you a mild one to show you that from mild to severe. There was a woman that I was working with and she was senior vice president an entertainment company and she was on the technical side. And she said to me that the reason why we had started working together is because there was, while she was incredibly direct and very much in your face, there were lots of issues she was sidestepping and she lacked compassion. She didn't know how to nail this compaction with handling of prickly issues. And her aim was to be compassionate and collaborative while being direct. So, I remember it was so interesting, at the beginning of our meeting, we were going to review some logistics for the next steps in our engagement. And the next steps was a conversation between she and I and the president of the division, and a very Los Angeles like. I'll have my assistant call your assistant and we'll connect and schedule.

Esther Weinberg: And anyway, when we did all that, she said, "Oh no, no, no, no, no. Please do everything through me." And I thought it was really strange. Senior vice president, she wants to elevate to an executive vice president level. She's got a lot of people that work for her, and I think scheduling would be the last thing you do. So, what I realized is that what she said to me is, "Look, I have an assistant but I don't trust her, and I don't even think she's the right person for the job." So I was like, "Wait a minute, wait a second. When we talk about in The Ready Zone, pivot ready, we talk about a concept called pivot moments. And what that is, it's an equation. It's a mathematical equation, I would say, which is your perception, which means your emotions, plus your position, meaning your experience about the change, plus your performance. The actions you're taking actually creates these pivot moments, which is moments that you can shift very nimbly. And I can give you an organizational example in a second.

Esther Weinberg: So clearly she was in a position where she had this woman working for her. You can imagine, if you have someone in a role and you find that they're not successful, what are you doing or not doing about it that's moving them in or... What are you doing about it? But anyway, when we were talking about, "Okay, what are your emotions around your assistant?" Because this had been going on for a while. And as we all know, we do lots of things. We all say we're going to do something and then it drags on for sometimes years. So when I said to her, okay, what was her emotions? And she said, "I'm really afraid. I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm really disappointed in this woman." I said, "Okay, well, what is your experience when you see her?" And she's like, "Look, I think she's doing a terrible job. She doesn't have the aptitude. She doesn't have the desire to grow, and she's not doing the work that I give her even though she's had deadlines and those deadlines follow it up with."

Esther Weinberg: We really got honest. And I said, "All right, so what actions are you taking to create a different result?" And she said, "Well, if I had to get really honest with you," and she said, "I'm complaining to my husband and I'm not really doing much." And when I asked her how long it was going on for, "How long do you think this has been gone on for?" Just take a guess, Shane. How long do you think it was going on for?

Shane Hastie: Six months?

Esther Weinberg: Two years. Now, here's the thing. She'd simply tolerated the behavior until it was intolerable. So the pain of it being intolerable became a place to pivot when we talked about it. But when we say pivot in this moment, what does it mean? Was she examining where she was ineffective? Was she admitting her part, and were there opportunities to pivot earlier? Did she have to wait for her to get to a place of intolerance to do so? So where are you in your work that you are proactively looking to pivot? Because an effective leader first looks at yourself, take responsibility for where you can be the cause in the matter to make the adjustments. And that examination is, that's inner work, that's vital for each leader to take. And she had to be clear on her intention. What was her intention that was at her feet right now? She said, "I want to move compassionately and fearless and fiercely through it because I haven't been."

Esther Weinberg: That's the thing I would tell people. If you want to create this, and the great thing about this is what we're talking about, pivot moments, anyone, any title, any industry, any field can do it at any time. It's like what I call the back of the napkin. Right? You just write down what are all the changes that are impacting you personally? As you write them down, write down the emotions that you have about them. What's your experience about the changes? And then be really clear, what actions are you actually taking and do they support your intention? Once you get really clear on it, when you say, "Oh, here..." Like for her, "I've been complaining to my husband, it's happening for two years," and then she laughed. But then we could say, "Okay, what do you now need to stop doing that brings you closer to your intention?"

Netflix as an Example [19:22]

Esther Weinberg: And a great corporate example is Netflix. Netflix, years ago when they had a failed business model and they created this quick stir. I don't know if everybody remembers this, but it was a branch when they were dividing the DVD business and the internet side of the business, and then the stock plummeted and it was an absolute disaster. And so what was incredible was CEO Reed Hastings, I'm sure took an opportunity to look at what they could do that actually can move them through the situation a lot faster. I mean, that was a costlier example, right? Because obviously stock price fell and they lost subscribers. But I say, if you have even the simple tool of a pivot moment, that can actually move you first and then you can model those behaviors and teach that to other people to do the same. So that's a very practical example.

Shane Hastie: Given that we're in the Engineering Culture podcast, one of the items you mentioned was culture ready. And you touched on that as the ability to mentor and coach. And if I think of one of the things that we looked at in the InfoQ trends report for this year, is the idea of systemic and leadership coaching, and leader as coach is something we certainly see a fair amount of in the literature today. There's a lot spoken about we should be doing this, but if I think of many of our audience, they're coming from a very strongly technical background. What is this coaching stuff? And how do I do it?

What is Coaching? [20:59]

Esther Weinberg: Yeah, it's such a great question because I find that coaching gets conflated with so many other modalities. I remember once I was in a session and there was an executive vice president of a team, and I was explaining the distinctions with coaching and she said, "So wait a minute, you're telling me I'm a horrible leader." And I was like, "Okay, well, I'm not sure what you're doing yet." And she said, "Well, one of my people brought me a document and they asked me my opinion so I critiqued it. And then I demonstrate to them what to do differently. But you're telling me that that is not coaching and that's terrible." And I said, "No, it's not coaching. That is mentoring. And that may even be consulting. You have to pick the modality that's going to work in the moment.

Esther Weinberg: So what I would say that's an answer to your question is probably a big answer to the question which is coaching in its intention, if you're someone who likes science and analysis, you'll probably like this. The essence of coaching is not that I am telling you what to do. It's different than sports coaching. So if you were a tennis pro like Venus Williams or Serena Williams and your coach did not correct your swing, you'd fire them. But in the workplace, this is quite different. Meaning that in the pure sense, coaching is having the absolute belief that the person that you are working with has the ability to facilitate their own change and to come up with their own solutions. You as a coach, as a conduit to make that happen through inquiry and through igniting curiosity.

Esther Weinberg: So what happens is that it ignites a different part of the brain. And that's why it's so powerful. Because we're so tempted to give people the answers that if we would do what's called creating an information gap, that gap, by asking questions, because what happens is when people get curious about what they don't know, they start to want to solve it. But if I don't create that gap for them and I give them the answer, the part of the brain which ignites is not as sticky. So when I discover my own answers, that actually is stickier for me and I will move on it faster. That's why coaching becomes such a powerful concept and modality. The thing is, it's not taught, it's not fostered, and it's not modelled well.

Esther Weinberg: So if you look at the distinctions, because mentoring is, "I know something from my grand experience, and I'm going to share it with you because I'm wise," supposedly. "And I have this experience and I'm going to share it with you and share with you what has happened or occur to give you some examples." Consulting is when I'm hired to provide some technical expertise or a piece of information or some advice in that respect. Training is when you fundamentally don't know something and I'm teaching you it. So coaching has nothing to do any of it. In strip down and all its glory, if you really master, which I think is a very vanilla concept when I say if you're leading into listening and curiosity, and if you're asking open-ended powerful, what I call high-velocity questions and you're being empathetic in how you're listening to people, and what I call you follow the breadcrumbs. So every single coaching conversation, the person will tell you what you need to know to ask the next question.

Esther Weinberg: Because sometimes I get asked how do I know what to ask? It's very simple. If you really listen and you're really curious about what the person's saying and why the issue exists, you actually will be able to move to the next step question. So that's why coaching is so important. The thing is that there's lots of different training programs and how to do it. If people get certified as an executive coach, it takes them two to three years in programs, and there's a reason for it. But I think if we can, for the people listening to this, if you can lean in, what's so good, just think of it.

Esther Weinberg: When you're a technical leader, someone's giving you a problem to solve, and you have to lean in on asking the right questions in order to solve the problem. So you already have that ingrained in you to be able to do that. You just have to know that when you're coaching someone, what's taken out of the equation is you don't know the answer. So you have to trust that the other person will tell you everything you need to know for them to solve what's in front of them. So that's what I would say the distinction is, and really critical for people to learn.

Shane Hastie: This is not a natural skill for leaders because we've come up from, "As the leader, I've got to have the answer."

Leaders Don’t Have to Have all the Answers [25:42]

Esther Weinberg: I think we make our lives more difficult when we think we have to know the answer. I was talking to an executive the other day and she was trying to solve a very technical issue. I think she has a 60-person team, there were 20 people involved, and she was saying to me, "What if I don't know how to solve it?" I said, "It's not your job to know how to solve it." I said, "If you get stuck, you ask them, 'Where should we move next? What should we do next? What's going to be most important. What's the first thing we need to do to solve it?'" The worst thing a leader can do is to be in the knowing always.

Esther Weinberg: The most important thing, one of the critical skillsets for us to develop, and there was some great science data on this in a Harvard Business Review or case study that was done about a year or so ago about, I think it's called The Business Case of Curiosity, is it's actually a business imperative. Because if you took it out of the equation of the work you did, you would not be able to do your work. But the thing is, when it comes to leadership, when we lead people, we just want them to do what we want them to do. And we think that if we actually ask people questions, I had someone say this to me once. He was arguing with me about the benefits of coaching.

Esther Weinberg: And I'm like, "There's no argument." But he was like, "It doesn't work. I don't have the time to ask my people questions." These were engineers that were solving, they create all these infrastructure around podcasts and podcasts networks. And he said, "I don't have the time to ask my people. I just need to think they need to go and do it." I said, "Well, that is where you're going to get derailed, because you're doing all this level of heavy lifting, and if they solve it, then frankly, you don't need to be in the equation every time." What people don't understand is the moment you start telling someone what to do and take away their opportunity to coach you are enabling them to rely more on you. And that does not build a sustainable organization.

Shane Hastie: Let's talk about the difference between power and influence. As leaders, we're in positional power, but you talk about influence ready.

A Story About the Difference Between Power & Influence [27:54]

Esther Weinberg: It's a funny thing because I think you can influence anybody to do anything. Here's the trick to it that I find that's missing. And I'll give you a great example. There was a woman who was an executive who handled technical research for an entertainment company. And they brought her over from some of the technical companies. Her background was from Yahoo, Google, and Apple, I mean powerhouse. So she comes over to this organization, she's leading this division, and her client group is all around developing new technologies as a part of the entertainment company. So every single week she's going into these meetings and every single week she's presenting data, empirical data that you can't argue with. She's presenting data to them about how to reshape the business and how to mold the business moving forward. And every week the group of people are debating her, quite frankly, bullying her, attacking her, in her words, being very nasty.

Esther Weinberg: It got to such a point where she said to me, "I have to leave my job because I'm so miserable. Every time I go into these meetings, I'm being second guessed, and now I'm second guessing all my work. Unintentionally, but I'm now second guessing all my work." So we started talking about it and she said, "I can't have influence over them anymore. They think I'm incompetent." And I said, "Well, isn't that interesting? The person that actually comes from the organizations to which they want to compete against, you have the most intel than they do. So it doesn't actually make sense." We talked about something that I call building your VQ, your visibility quotient. What that basically means is you cannot have influence without visibility.

Esther Weinberg: Most leaders I know, most people I know constrict when I say those words together. But here's what I mean to make it really simple. So what she and I talked about is I said, "Whom people in the room that you want to have influence over that you think you make a difference?" I said, "Let's make a list of them." So this is very practical, she just made a list of all these people. And I said, "Okay, I want you to think about what they are passionate about. And I'm talking about personally, professionally. Whatever you know about them, I just want you to write down." And then I said, "Let's write down what your passions are." So I basically call that a passion center. "What's their passion centers and yours?"

Esther Weinberg: And I said, "Okay, where does your passions and their passions intersect?" So I call that your circle of alignment. So she picked one woman and she said, "Here's someone where actually our values intersect." And what that basically meant was, I don't know if it quite was values intersect. Maybe it was more intersection of interests, but basically what she said was they both value mentoring, developing others. They both came from the tech side of the company. In fact, the woman she was talking about influencing was someone who had come from real startup environments, almost more scrappy than she was in many ways. They're both Asian women, but that didn't... She said to me, "I know we both are Asian, but I don't know what angle of Asian descent we both are, so I don't want to put that as a commonality." I said, "That's true." And she said, "The other thing is that we're very passionate about the technologies that we represent."

Esther Weinberg: So what we agreed was that she was going to simply, because this woman that I'm talking about is extremely introverted. So the thought of her being in a mass group of people is not her thing. So she took her to lunch. And I said to her, "When you have lunch," because she's like, "I don't know this woman, how am I going to talk to her?" I said, "Start with where your passions intersect. Start talking about technology. The technologies you're both important about. Talk about growing teams." We came up with three different bullets based on those passion centers. So as a result, here's what happened, which was amazing. The meetings, these weekly meetings that were so detrimental to her, the woman that she had lunch with started to say, "Hey, I was having lunch with Pam and she was talking about these things. Hey, can you elaborate further on it?"

Esther Weinberg: And then she would also over-index when she was with [inaudible 00:31:39] she had lunch with, with her boss, she would say, "I was talking to Pam over the other day and we were talking about this technology that we're trying to implement. She used it also at Yahoo and I think it'd be really important to get her point of view." So just that in itself, something happened that was amazing. So the president of the division who told me when I interviewed him about her 360, who said, "I think she needs to be fired because she's incompetent." There was an industry event in New York and my client wound up, she was sitting at a table, and the long table, lots of seats, the president who said she should be fired sits down right next to her and turns out they start becoming fast friends over, guess what? Common interests.

Esther Weinberg: She had no idea what this guy's passion center was. All of a sudden, they start talking about travel. Travel to Vietnam, travel globally. All of a sudden, automatically they have some powerful connection. The next night they had another event, guess where he sits? Right next to her. After that, these meetings on a weekly basis became transformative. She was asked her opinion and perspective and respected, was not debated again, was asked to put together strategic plans and initiatives based on her ideas and performance that was really listened to and not dissected like it used to. So this way of building influence, I actually think is more powerful because an introvert or an extrovert can do it.

Esther Weinberg: As long as you know, "Here's the people I want to influence, here's what they're passionate about, here's what I'm passionate about. Here's where those passions intersect," it gives me a starting point to develop a relationship. And then that gives you that relatability and relationship, because what's the old adage? That people buy people, right? They don't necessarily buy products. And no matter what your business is, people are buying you first, even if you're not selling them anything, because you're always selling them an idea or a perspective.

Esther Weinberg: So this way of developing your level of influence, I have found to be the greatest stickiness, and frankly, enjoyment, whether you're more introverted, more technical, more extroverted, no matter what style you're at.

Shane Hastie: Esther, thank you very much. Some really, really interesting ideas in there. If people want to continue the conversation, where do they find you?

Contact Esther [34:17]

Esther Weinberg: It's really easy. They can contact me at thereadyzone.com. And I encourage people also to download my book Why Your Company's Bottom Line is NOT Your Top Priority— 6 Eye-Opening Strategies to Put People First.

Shane Hastie: Thank you so much.

Esther Weinberg: Thank you.

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