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InfoQ Homepage Podcasts Tackling the Human Side of Digital Transformation

Tackling the Human Side of Digital Transformation

In this podcast, Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods spoke to Missy Lawrence about the human skills engineers and engineering leaders need to build in the digital age

Key Takeaways

  • Most engineers have built their skills working on large systems in particular ways – the shift to a truly digital economy means a significant shift in the ways we have to build products
  • Changing our ways of working requires managing the natural human emotional response to change through building a genuinely psychologically safe environment
  •  Innovation needs increased speed of trust – empowered people able to make decisions quickly
  • The skills needed for working well with people are not “soft” – these are hard skills that need deliberate learning and practice
  • Diversity and inclusion requires uniqueness awareness and open mindedness


Shane Hastie: Good day, folks. This is Shane Hastie for the InfoQ Engineering Culture Podcast. Today, I have the privilege of sitting down with Missy Lawrence. Missy is in sweltering Dallas, Texas, today. And among other things is the host of a Women in Digital podcast, the Digital Dish. She leads ISGs operating model capability for Americas and is talking a lot about the human side of digital. Missy, welcome. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today.

Introductions [00:37]

Missy Lawrence: Thank you for having me. I'm a huge fan, Shane, and I've just been following InfoQ. As soon as I read, I think just the intro of the book, I said, "Oh, we are kindred spirits."

Shane Hastie: Thank you so much. So for the benefit of our audience please tell us a little bit about you and your background.

Missy Lawrence: I've about 20 years of experience in what I like to call the intersection of human capital optimization and the people within technology and the people in digital. So the company that I work for currently focuses on research and advisory for technology, digital transformations and strategies, and ultimately what's the best outcomes from a labor arbitrage perspective and a digital arbitrage perspective.

Prior to that, my focus was always on supporting, from maybe like the HR business partner role, the CIO, or the chief product officer, or the chief technology officer. So for the past 10 years, my focus has always been on the people who are building apps for, it could be the hospitality industry, or I've worked with every major US healthcare company, Aetna, Humana, all of the United Health groups. So the insurance providers, the actual caregivers, biometric screenings and how digital has changed and shifted the way non-digital companies show up. That has been my passion. And how do we actually enable and empower the people that are in digital to provide the best value ultimately to consumers and customers.

Prior to that, the first 10 years of my career was spent in pure HR. I worked for the United States Department of Labor. I was focused in the Employment and Training Administration. So my focus has always really been on people and how do we ensure that people can do their best work, that they are able, qualified, willing and available where the work is. And the work has always been in technology, at least for my generation as a professional. It's been driving change through new applications, new software, new hardware, right?

I wasn't born digital, but in that generation that is very digitally savvy, those are my people and I just totally geek out and nerd out around all things technology. It's a passion for me. I don't even think of my work as work. It's truly looking at behavior management, behavior dynamics and how humans interact. And I apply this very scientific, brain-based leadership, neuroscience approach to how technologists and technology companies or the IT department of a company can actually optimize their human capital using brain-based leadership.

Shane Hastie: So let's delve a little bit into that one. What are the characteristics of brain-based leadership?

Brain-based leadership [03:31]

Missy Lawrence: Man, I mean, we could talk about this for hours. As simplistically as I can say it, as simplistically as I can, you want to think about constantly reducing the functions of the amygdala. The amygdala is the oldest part of our brain. It's our natural knee-jerk reactions. Every human that works in technology is going to need to keep that amygdala in check. We do that by employing our executive functions. That's our prefrontal cortex.

And you're like, "Missy, what the heck does this have to do with technology? What the heck does this have to do with a product mindset or product line delivery?" Well, I'll tell you. If you think about someone who's been in IT, in development or engineering for the past 30 years, they've gotten to where they are and they're successful because of the habits that they have. They're basically on cognitive autopilot. This is how you do the thing.

Well, now that we're talking Metaverse, now that we're talking Web3, now that we're talking about banks and the banking and financial services institution wanting their interactions to be more like an Amazon experience, technologists have to build and deliver in a different way. They have to work with their, I would say colleagues across the aisle. It's not a requirements document anymore. I hope not. We do still have some Fortune 100 companies we see who are following the BRDs and play and build and run and throwing it over the fence to the black box of IT, and having that relationship manager, that business requirements analyst go back and forth. But what you're really trying to get at is breaking down a highly monolithic infrastructure and architecture, getting into microservices, DevOps, DevSecOps.

The digital product mindset shift

That's a whole change. That is identity crisis because you're telling someone who's gotten successful doing and building and developing the way they always have that you need to work in a new way. And they're like, "Okay, I'm going to go learn this new language. I'm going to learn some new skills. Be a full stack developer." Well, you actually have to learn how to work with people who don't speak like you or think you or have the same motivations as you, right? And so you're sitting hand-in-hand, room-to-room and lock step, and you have the same values, the same goals, the same experiences as "the business," as I'm doing air quotes right now, whether it's sales or marketing or whomever your internal clients are, your external clients, it's a different mindset shift to work in the new way.

I call this basically the product mindset. In order to do that, you have to tap into different functions and you have to create new neural pathways. And the most frustrating thing that I see in digital transformations that fail or where the ROI is not there... And this is whether it's, I don't know, huge clients like the IMF, huge banking institutions, the Associations of Medical Colleges.

There's been so many instances where we just didn't get the exact outcomes that we wanted because of the people, because we didn't have the speed of trust. We didn't employ the psychologically safe environment. People started freaking out because that amygdala was freaking out. So their brain, their oldest part of their brain was like, "I don't like this. What's happening? This is a change. Who moved my cheese?" All those things you've probably heard of and read of before. How do you actually teach technologists to master their executive functions. I'm doing this with my hand where the thumb is like the amygdala and it's moving around and it's like, "Ah!," and you get your PFC to kind of cover that up and master your executive functions and control that.

Learning to manage the emotional response to change

How do you teach that? It's a structured methodology. There's a science and there's an approach and many other industries, or I'll say departments might do this more innately, like sales people. They might naturally know how to flow in and out of this and how to have what we call conversational intelligence and emotional intelligence. Not necessarily my geeks and my people. So what I've learned in supporting them over the years is how to coach them and teach them emotional intelligence, conversational intelligence, and ultimately behavior management that gets them the outcomes that they want, gets the CIOs the results that they want or that chief digital officer the results that they want.

Shane Hastie: Let's delve into the first, almost buzz word that you brought up there, psychological safety. We hear a lot about it, but-

Missy Lawrence: Do you?

Shane Hastie: Yeah, but it's almost become a hackneyed phrase because so many organizations I see talk that, "We're safe. It's great." But you've talked to the people on the ground and no it's not.

This needs real psychological safety [08:04]

Missy Lawrence: It's the watermelon effect. If you're looking at, from a project mindset and if you're a provider onshore, offshore outsourcing, you're looking at SLAs and how are we doing? How are as the development organization? It says we're green but you actually talk to the people and the ethos is different. It's super red. That inside being the watermelon effect.

As you look at projects and trying to move away from a project mentality, it's kind of like the Martin Fowler sense of products over projects. I want to liken it to going all the way back to the Agile Summit. I think it's the fourth bullet in the manifesto of people over process. Psychological safety is not like a silver bullet. It's not one way of being. It's not a look in a field that fits for InfoQ, that's different than ISG, or what works for Zappos versus Spotify's model with the tribes and guilds and squads.

It is literally about figuring out what that way is that you do things around here. And that's how I simplify it. Your culture and the level of psychological safety, in layman's terms, is just the ease to innovate, to try, to experiment, to fail in a safe space, to learn and to continuously move forward. I know you like that word continuous. And so that is ultimately what we're trying to get at is how do you create a corporate culture and then on the ground, what is the climate of the actual team topologies, right? And that's a whole ‘nother amazing book. But how do you actually think about the climate and how we develop?

And that's what we're getting at when we talk about psychological safety. If you go out to, there's a cheat sheet. Scroll all the way to the bottom. And there's a cheat sheet on psychological safety, lo and behold. And it talks about things around shame and guilt and a failure culture versus a blame culture. You'll hear from Harvard Business professionals and one of my favorite authors, Amy Edmondson, who literally wrote the book and coined the phrase psychological safety, on creating a fearless organization where you're not scared you're going to get called to the carpet. There is not perfectionism.

And that's typically what you see when you get process, process, process over the actual what are we delivering in the product? Are we just following a process for the sake of a process because you don't want your hand slapped or your head bitten off, right? You'll see this in organizations that are very, maybe document heavy, more bureaucratic organizations, highly regulated, high compliance organizations, a lot of healthcare insurance, banking, financial institutions, because they need to be, right? There's a lot of risk. There's a lot of PHI maybe.

So, you have to have certain levels of compliance and risk and security and data integrity built in, but in terms of how you develop and in terms of how you actually deliver value to a consumer, you need to have a psychologically safe environment to be able to do that. And that ultimately is empowerment. There are assessments that we can do. There's culture debt dashboards. We talk about tech debt a lot. There's a culture debt dashboard that I've partnered with a colleague to generate to be able to give you, here's your dashboard of where you need to actually close and reduce your culture debt to actually see the outcomes that you want.

So there's an approach, like I said, and a structured methodology that you can apply to close that psychological safety gap so it's less nebulous and abstract. What are we talking about? Their dynamics, is it communication? Is it decision making pushed down to the lowest level? Is it rewards and recognition? Is it innovation and hackathons? Is it learning and shared experiences? Do you have communities of practices? There are very specific elements to fostering psychological safety and that's what the human side of digital is all about.

Shane Hastie: Coming back to some of the points you made about the digital transformations that failed or that we didn't achieve the outcomes we were hoping for. You made an interesting statement about they didn't have the speed of trust.

Improving the speed of trust [12:09]

Missy Lawrence: Oh, yes. So when I think about reducing cycle time, even something as specific as MTTR, mean time to recover, how quickly you can get in a war room, how quickly you can solve problems. This is what the engineering culture is all about. It is how are we solving a problem? What is the problem that we are actually trying to ultimately address and getting to the root cause as quickly as possible?

You cannot do that and you can't get to outcomes and business value without speed, and you can't have speed without trust. And what I mean by that is when you have a more check-in culture or a command and control culture or a hierarchical culture on a spectrum of hierarchy, like let's say it's all the way here on the left and then anarchy, somewhere over here on the right, there are other things that you can do in between there that will allow for better flow. And that's what I mean from the speed of trust.

Hierarchy says, "You don't make this decision because I don't trust you to make this decision. And why I don't trust you is maybe because I'm holding the information and the insights and the intel and the data that you might need to make that decision too close to the vest or at too high of a level. And so you don't even have the information you need to make that decision so it's fair that I don't trust you." Or you could have just effed up before in the past and I don't trust that you're going to get this right? Whether that's a team, an individual, a department, this whole IT, we're going to have our own island IT because we don't trust you.

So the speed that you need, you're never going to get if you have to have checkers, if you have to have approvals, if you have to send this up to your manager and you've got 13 levels of hierarchy and bureaucracy and approvals versus maybe there's something on the end of the spectrum that's just before anarchy, that's more like a holacracy. That could be an option. Or maybe just to the left of that, a sociocracy, where I trust that whomever is in this project, I'm making a circle with my hands. This is kind of like the whole holacracy, it's a circle. You're in this circle.

If you're in this circle, you own everything. The risks, the failures and the success. You make all the decisions, all the budget and the ROI of that. The revenue recognition, the marketing, everything. You own this value that you're bringing to market. And if you're not in that circle, you have no say so. I don't care if you are the CEO or you're even on the board. You have allocated and said, "I trust you to make these decisions and to run with this." That's my definition of a product team. And so you have the right information, you have the right skills, knowledge skills and abilities. You have the right metrics, you know the value, you have the voice of the customer, you're doing consumer journey and customer mapping. You're going to develop what you need for that consumer and you're going to bring value and then there's going to be all kinds of exponential benefits that come back into the organization, because I have trust. I have speed.

If you don't have that, you're just going to have to make decisions, you're going to have to wait, you're going to have to get approvals, you're going to have some bottlenecks, you're going to have to have a consensus culture. We've seen that, where you've got to have 12 people in the room because I don't trust that this person knows to bring me in to make this decision or that they know enough about my role or my work to make the best decision. So if you don't have trust built in to the DNA of the organization or the fabric of that team, you're just not going to get the speed that you want and then so you're over budget. You're over schedule. You've paid consultants over $8 million and you still don't have the actual outcomes that you want.

That's a real story that I read recently on bringing in consultants. And again, I work for a consultancy, so I'm not knocking it at all. But bringing in consultants to do process work when at the end of the day, it's a behavior and a cultural challenge, not a process, not a strategy. It's truly about the people.

Shane Hastie: But people are hard.

The skills needed for working well with people are not “soft” – these are hard skills that need deliberate learning and practice [16:03]

Missy Lawrence: People are so hard. And you know what, Shane, this is what drives me crazy when we say soft skills. These are not the soft skills. And I get it, they're non-technical, so I say we have technical skills and we have human skills. Actually there are three reports last year of the state of DevOps, the state of Agile, and the state of its skills around DevOps or learning. I'll send it to you. All three of them talked about the number one to number five challenges. Within each of those top five, one to three was always something around people and culture and psychological safety.

Just mind blowing, in the past two to three years. And I don't know if that's kind of a fall out of the COVID zeitgeist that's made us focus on the fact that it's not about having the best building or the best strategy or the best process or the best campus, it truly is people. People are hard and these are hard skills. But they are skills. They're muscles that can be flexed. They're skills that can be learned. You can be trained. You just have to want to and at least have a leadership imperative that says, "We need you to develop these people skills."

Shane Hastie: Thinking of the people in these IT departments, in these digital areas, the people who are at the moment cutting code and designing the microservices architectures and so forth, our audience. What we see is we take often the best technologist and because they're good at their job, they're promoted into a leadership role.

Missy Lawrence: Level two, level three. Uh-huh.

Shane Hastie: And they stumble because they don't have these human skills. How do we in our organizations support these people to build those skills?

Missy Lawrence: Our newer CIOs and chief digital officers, even like CSOs are aware of this and what we're calling this is the contemporary CIO's organization and their leadership team. So it's the modern technologist and the modern leadership team, where there are playbooks that you use. There are cohorts. So they have to have their own level of psychological safety, because it's a bit of a, what we call from a neuro-leadership perspective, Dr. David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute has a model called the SCARF model, and you have to acknowledge in the SCARF model... It's an acronym. The S is for status, the C is for certainty, the A is autonomy, the R is relatedness and the F is fairness.

For leaders who have gotten to where they are, because they are the top of their class, think of it as like a dojo master. Right? They're going to train up the next level down. They've moved from a level one to a level two to a level three. And now they're responsible. They are functional domain competency leaders. And they can train all day long on how to do this functional domain competency.

You're now asking them to get a broad skill this way. So you're taking what we call an "i," think of it as a lowercase "i" with a dot at the top, and you're converting that into a capital "I" and then you're converting it into a "T." So they start learning these broader skills around collaboration and working across business lines. How to develop other people, how to teach conversational intelligence.

Resources and tools for building people skills

There are many different organizations and frameworks and methodologies out there. My favorite is Dr. Judith Glaser, the late great Dr. Judith Glaser, who wrote a book called Conversational Intelligence. It's your CIQ. This is how you think through what is my status, what level of autonomy do I need? So I'm going to apply some of the things from Dr. David Rock's model, Your Brain at Work, or Quiet Leadership, either of those two books from Dr. David Rock, and embed them with this really good, juicy mix up of a lot of different things.

We've created a playbook right in the human side of digital that takes maybe four or five, six different books and distils it down into micro learnings so that you can do a type indicator or a trait-based personalities test to say, "What kind of leader is Shane? What are his strengths? Where are some of his shadows and gaps that he may not know? Where does his status get in the way? Where does his level of needing to build relatedness get in the way or his inability to build relatedness get in the way?"

So you're going to do a little bit of a self-assessment. You're going to understand where your gaps are, and just like anything else, you're just going to close that gap. That overly simplifies it because the work is still there. But what you need is a psychologically safe space where you feel comfortable amongst peers, like a round table. You're not going to do this with people that you're training at level one and level two. You're going to want to sit with the other brilliant minds and people who've gotten to where you are and that's how you actually hold yourself accountable. You need this mini cohort.

So we've organized these types of sessions where we kind of call it like a Coach of Coaches program. We just take you through a series of walking you through materials and helping you to practice them and teaching you how to coach other people and also how to look for where you kind of get into your own way. Because you don't really want to do anything that's anathema to what you ultimately want, but we don't know what we don't know until you know it.

And so I think there's myriad ways that you can get more self-actualized in your leadership style as a technologist, agnostic of what you do in technology or in digital or in IT. But as soon as you are aware that this is a skill set you want to develop, there's things out there that you can self teach or that people can coach you through.

Shane Hastie: Coming back to... Yeah, these are things we can learn.

Missy Lawrence: Yes. Yes.

Shane Hastie: I want to cycle back around to the concept of cultural debt. What are some of the things that we would look for as an organization? What are the factors that would be on that dashboard?

Identifying cultural debt in a team or organization [21:51]

Missy Lawrence: Wasted data sprawl in terms of PowerPoint presentations. Or have you seen the meme of this one Excel that requires 20 square foot within a network operating center. It's doing process work for the sake of "This is the way we've always done it." Or we're creating materials and slideware to replace conversations and dialogue because I need to make sure that I have CYA hovering myself to the nth degree.

I'm not talking about things that you need for our traceability or SOX compliance. I'm just talking about, I want to go have a conversation with Shane. I don't feel comfortable enough to just have that conversation or that he trusts that I know what I'm talking about. So I need to pull 10, 15 people together to work on a deck, to have 40 slides for a 30-minute conversation. That's one kind of like a... Just a trigger, one example of a cultural behavior that says I probably don't have the trust built in that I need because I've got a performance orientation versus it's okay to not have it all fully baked and we will figure this out or I trust that you'll figure it out, and if not, then I'm here to give you the guidance that you need without being called to the carpet or any adverse effects on you as a person.

There are other things around empowerment. When I say communications, it's not a communication plan. Right? It's not OCM, or Organizational Change Management. It's not something that Shane outsources, like Shane might have a huge, multi-layered 40 different work streams, five, six different projects within this program that he's trying to bring to life for a client. And there's going to be a communication schedule and a cadence that says, "Here are the stakeholders." This is not that. That's great. You need to have that. You need OCM and you need to kind of project manage how you're going to educate people and make them aware. And then how super users are going to adopt.

What I'm talking about is, Shane, can you communicate? And that's different. So when I say communication, that is, are you having the appropriate level one-to-one conversations or two-to-three small group conversations with the people who are actually influencers? Are you doing vision casting and visioneering? Are you holding people accountable? Are you holding up the mirror for people? These are skills that you can learn to move from a level one to a level two to a level three in your levels of conversational intelligence, the same way you would as a site reliability engineer in your skills that way. So that's another component that's huge.

When I think about some of the other elements in that dashboard, decision making and where and how and who gets to make that decision. That is critical. Decision making should be pushed to the lowest level of the people who are closest to the work. And that might sound like we're preaching to the choir with this audience, but it's harder to actually pinpoint than you might think. And so it requires you to take a step back and constantly keep your head on the pivot and scanning the horizon and say, "Do I need to make this decision or can you make this decision? And is it okay if you make the wrong decision? Or if it's not okay that you make the wrong decision, then I do need to give you direction. But in the future you make that decision because you're closest to the work."

That's another key one. Recognition. How often do you recognize the individual? How often do you recognize the group? Which ways do you recognize them? It doesn't necessarily always need to be a spot bonus. Be nice. I'll take it. But there needs to be some sort of built-in, two-way dialogue that says, "Here's how I need to feel recognized and I need to know, Shane, that you know what is of value to me and why I show up to work every day."

People don't leave companies. They leave teams, they leave bosses, they leave people. Right? In the face of the great resignation, everyone should be looking at their culture debt. Unplanned attrition is another huge key performance indicator around your level of culture debt. Why are people leaving? People aren't necessarily leaving the workforce and retiring. Some people are, but people are leaving because they've sat at home and realized what was important to them. And so making sure that you don't have a values gap and you can recognize and reward people based on their values. Why they're showing up to work, why are they doing this? Are they learning something right now that they want to actually take to their dream job later?

How do you actually leverage this as a win-win and facilitate and usher and send them off, but have succession planning. So all of this human capital life cycle management and human capital optimization, that's I think the critical indicator around your culture debt. Are you doing these types of things to bring the best out of people?

Shane Hastie: Missy, one of the things that you've said in the public forum is that digital demands diversity. And you represent the smallest element of the information technology community.

Missy Lawrence: I do.

Shane Hastie: A woman of color. We don't have enough diversity at all.

Missy Lawrence: I'm working on it.

Shane Hastie: So how do we bring more diversity into our organizations?

Uniqueness awareness to help bring more diversity into tech[28:54]

Missy Lawrence: This is what... I won't say keeps me up at night because I have a great pineal gland as I play with my little brain that I'm squishing. Yeah, I don't have that circadian rhythm issue. My neo class nucleus is pretty good.

But I think that women in STEM in general, that's one level of diversity that there's been a lot of progress around in the past decade, and definitely in the past 20 years. I'm used to being the only woman in the room. I'm used to being the only minority in the room. I'm used to being the youngest person in the room. And that's changing.

I think in general it just requires everyone to... I don't want to even use the word "allyship." It just requires everyone to have what I call uniqueness awareness. It's not diversity awareness anymore, like diversity equity and inclusion is table stakes. Most people have a program. They've got something. They've probably set up some network resource groups. Fine. Check a box.

What it really is about is understanding who is Missy? What makes Missy tick? What are her skills? Who is Shane? What makes him tick? What are his skills? Can he bring his authentic self to work or does he need to fit in? So there's a difference in... Brené Brown. If you're not familiar with Brené Brown, who has taken her Shane research... I'm in Texas. She's out of the University of Texas Austin. Go Longhorns. She actually has taken that approach into corporate America with her books and her works around Dare to Lead.

And so if you think about her concepts, it's about belonging versus fitting in. And belonging says you could see me as a blob. I don't see Shane as a Caucasian male in New Zealand. I see Shane as a combination of his brain, his heart, his mind, his interests, his efforts. And there is just kind of this blob of skill sets that comes to work. Missy is a different blob and a makeup of skill sets that comes to work. Those blobs... And I'm sorry I don't have a better word. These blobs need to be able to do their best work.

And having that diversity of thought, interests, skills, that's actually how you get the ROI out of your human capital and how you optimize it. So it's less about getting a woman, getting a minority, getting multi-generations in a room. It truly is about differences of thought because I mean, I've definitely been there where I've had to be one of the guys. I'm much more androgynous. I'm like six feet tall. I played sports. I get the analogies. I can hang with dudes for the most part. And I'm just a huge nerd. Comic books, DC Comics. I kind of geek out about the things that scientists and mathematicians geek out about. So it hasn't been a problem for me, in all fairness, in my career.

It's a challenge when I hear women who have so much that they can contribute to technology into digital transformation, and anything right now that you have an interest in is going to be digital. There's going to be an app or a website about it. If you're basket weaving, there's going to be an app on how to best weave those baskets. You know what I mean? There's going to be some sort of technological software or hardware device that's going to enable whatever your passion and your interest is. And I think that's where we need to go as an industry is just talking about those things.

Inclusion and accessibility

Gosh, I mean, we could talk for days about inclusion and accessibility even more so when we think about UX and UI and development and design thinking. I had an article in Information Week on unconscious bias in artificial intelligence and how do you actually get developers to do the right amount of testing and have diversity in their testing, so when you're doing things like artificial intelligence, I don't show up as a cat because you're not testing enough Black or Asian people. This is like a real thing. And we laugh about the Chihuahua versus the muffin or hot dog not hot dog and all these different things that are funny, that are memes in AI. But it's less funny when it's a natural language progression and someone is stressed out.

This is a real story. There's been a death's in a family and they need a flight. They need to get home. They're calling. The wait times are ridiculous. And an airline says, "Do you want to book a reservation?" But the person who's on the other side is saying, "I just want to book a flight. A reservation for what? I want to plan a trip." So literally understanding cultural nuances and language and colloquialisms and verbiage, that's where the companies, the providers, the engineers, the developers who are winning the deals and who are making a huge impact for clients and ultimately for customers are taking the extra step.

And so it's not just enough to say we've got a chat bot. Right? It's enough to say that this chat bot understands the customer and the consumer and where they are and can speak to them in a way that's going to get them that speed of trust to the outcomes that they need very quickly. So there's multiple layers and levels around what I call digital demanding diversity. And that article is out there, but it truly is starting with in an organization, the executive level, the leadership level. If you look around, if you look at your board, if you look at your website and you look at About Us, is it a bunch of white men or Indian men? How do you change that? Because that is truly going to change what filters down into the company, your net promoter score, your brand, the talent that you can attract. And the way I talk about that, or the value of that ROI of diversity is your culture coin.

So think if you have a quarter or a dime, or I don't know any other coin phrases in other currencies. But you have the piece, like a metal coin, and on one side is your internal company culture, and the other side, heads or tails, is your external brand. That coin can only be as strong as both of those sides are. And so you might have a strong, amazing brand. We've heard all the horror stories about amazing companies that people love, but on the inside, the employees are disgruntled. Right?

So all of that is still a part of diversity and the diversity in digital. How do you ensure consumer engagement is also the same as customer engagement and experience? It just all has to come together. Again, back to the human side of digital. You can't separate the need for diversity of thought and equity throughout the leadership all the way down to the interns and then inclusion of thought and of different experiences because the world is so flat right now. It's going to keep getting flatter and flatter.

Shane Hastie: Thank you very much. Some really interesting and valuable content there. If people want to continue the conversation, where do they find you?

Missy Lawrence: Well, there is the ISG Digital Dish Podcast, where we definitely talk about all things Women in Digital. But you can email me, hit me up on Twitter, on Instagram. I am @TransformMaven, M-A-V-E-N. So Transform and then Maven, two Ms. It's on Instagram, it's Twitter. And missy@

Shane Hastie: Missy, thank you so much.

Missy Lawrence: Thank you. My pleasure.


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You can keep up-to-date with the podcasts via our RSS Feed, and they are available via SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast and the Google Podcast. From this page you also have access to our recorded show notes. They all have clickable links that will take you directly to that part of the audio.

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