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Channeling Montell Jordan


The foundation of my job is to be an enabler for my team.   Sometimes that's being a bridge-builder, sometimes it's knocking down silos, and other times it's a well-timed ice cream sandwich.  

But the one thing that it always is... being an empathetic listener. 

Although this is next to a photo of Montell Jordan, this is my belief.  I am unsure how Montell feels about what I'm saying.

We spend so much time learning every detail about our users that sometimes we miss the people gathering the data.  I make it a point to learn everything I can about my teams.  

When I'm able to align the personal goals of each team member with the corporate vision for our team, happiness and productivity are dramatically increased.  I've partnered this with some great processes that have resulted in a 300% boost in productivity.

When I align leadership and team member expectations, the result is an increase in visibility and efficiency.

So how do we get there Montell, I mean Jay?

I ask questions.  A lot of questions. I like to break them off into what would be 10-15 minute conversations.  I truly enjoy being around talented people.  I like to think that if I can get close enough, I'll be able to absorb some of your magic powers.  Or at least absorb how you view the world, and how that translates to how you view problems.

Here are a few sample questions I love to start with:

  1. What do you love to do?

  2. What are you good at?

  3. Do you get to do that here?

  4. What do you want your job to be?

  5. What do you think your job is?

  6. What does your boss think your job is?

  7. What does leadership think your job is?

  8. If I could snap my fingers and fix something for you right now, what would it be?

The idea behind any of these questions is that it starts a conversation.  Create a list that works for you, just make sure to ask open ended questions, be engaged, care about the answers, and be thoughtful in your replies  or interactions.  Oh, and never miss an opportunity to be transparent and share about you.  I am flawed and I make mistakes, everyone does.  Be open about it, be real.  One of the most powerful tools is the empathy toolkit is transparency.


There are more and more questions to follow.  These will start to get into pain points, workflows, processes, etc.  Truth is, after engaging on those first level questions, the next level is so much deeper as you share goals and desired outcomes.  The team will take much greater ownership once they know that you care.

Our way of doing things will always be infinitely more successful than my way of doing things.

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