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Leading Questions Podcast

We are Dawn Kuczwara and Jer Lance; technologists, leaders, and (most importantly) opinionated people who want to draw from our wealth of experience in becoming leaders and leading teams to help answer your questions. If you'd like yours answered, email us and we'd be happy to "help!"
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Leading Questions Podcast
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Now displaying: Page 1
Mar 31, 2020

Now that Jer is done being sick, we're back with this question:

My work takes referrals and recently I referred a friend of mine that I thought would be a good fit for a position we were looking to fill. He went through the interview process and thought he did really well, but then the company sort of ghosted him. I suggested to my friend that he call and ask what was going on and when he did the company's explanation was they had decided to go another way. However, I know they are still looking to fill the role. Is it okay to ask why they didn't hire my friend?

We are currently reading "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Because of a communication SNAFU, we will be doing this in one month, so look for our review after episode 83!

 

Mar 3, 2020

In this episode, we answer the question:

What am I supposed to do when I feel so busy I can't get things done? How can I get out of this mind set, use it to my advantage, and then influence my team or the people around me with my experience?

Image result for office parkour gif

Don't forget to join us as we read "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

Feb 20, 2020

This month, we read "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson.

Next up, we will be reading "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

 

Feb 18, 2020

In this episode, we answer:

While working on a dev team a while ago, we were reviewing our job postings as a group to ensure they reflected our actual needs. One of the requirements was for a bachelor's degree. My leader challenged if that was needed, and another said yes. Never one to back down, the first leaders said "Really? Raise your hand if you have a college degree." Very few people present raised their hand - and this was a great team. That meeting has stuck with me for years. Why do companies insist on a Bachelor's degree in their job descriptions? Where do these presumptions come from? How do we work together without them - or better, how do we acknowledge that they aren't needed?

Stay tuned later this week for our discussion of "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson.

Feb 4, 2020

We're back to single-question episodes with this one:

Recently I was speaking with several other leaders from my company and the subject of Glassdoor came up. One leader mentioned that he'd run into a former employee that hadn't been happy with their experience at the company, and this person said "I should have paid attention to the Glassdoor reviews". The former employee was right - our reviews are terrible, the complaints are legitimate, and the few good reviews sound forced and false. The suggestion from several others in the group of leaders was that we should ask several people who would leave favorable reviews to go on and do so. My take was that would feel just as false as the other positive reviews. What's your take on this situation? Should the leadership ask people they know will leave positive reviews to do so? Wouldn't actually paying attention to the criticism be a better strategy? We're really hurting for resources right now.

As promised, Maddox's rating of a children's drawing of a fire truck!

We are currently reading "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson, if you want to read along!

Jan 23, 2020

This month's book is "How to do Nothing" by Jenny Odell

Hear Jenny talk about this topic on Adam Conover's (absolutely fantastic) podcast!

For our next book, we read "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson.

 

Jan 21, 2020

Join us as we continue to ask some of the quick hit questions posed to us over the past couple of years. The questions in this one are:

  1. Do you check the social media of people that work for you?
  2. How do you feel about visible piercings or tattoos on your employees? Does it matter if they talk to customers?
  3. Is it every okay to leave without 2 weeks' notice?
  4. Would you ever take a job you have absolutely no experience with?
  5. How important is grammar or typos in a resume or cover letter or whatever?
  6. How long should it take to get up to speed at a new job?

Don't forget to join us as we discuss "How to do Nothing" by Jenny Odell later this week!

 

Jan 7, 2020

Over the past several years, we've accumulated numerous questions that probably aren't big enough to support an entire episode on their own, so, we bundled a bunch together and rocket through them in this two-part episode! The questions in this one are:

  1. How do you feel about start times/end times or set schedules?
  2. I am planning to quit my job, when do I tell my co-workers? Before or after my boss?
  3. Do you let your company put their software on your phone?
  4. Is it ever okay to say "if this happens I'll quit"?
  5. I like my job but hate a coworker, is it okay to just tell my boss that?
  6. Is it possible to be as successful as a remote worker as a local one?

As promised, pictures of Dawn and her husband next to a tower!

Catch us next episode as we finish up the next set of short questions, and don't forget to read Jenny Odell's "How to do Nothing" along with us!

 

Dec 12, 2019

This month's book is Ben Horowitz's "The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers"

 

Next up...Jenny Odell's "How to Do Nothing", a concept that both of us could stand to learn from.

Dec 10, 2019

In this episode, we respond to the troubling observation...

I think my boss is a racist. He has said things like:

  1.  "I can't hire someone the team won't be able to understand" about two different Indian candidates
  2. He won't send our sole black engineer to client sites because he says it'll make our clients uncomfortable
  3. He recently said that given two equal candidates, he'd pick the white one even if he were a little worse because he'd work harder and have a better culture fit

What should I do? I need this job.

Don't forget to read along with us; we discuss "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz later this week.

 

Nov 26, 2019

This episode's question is...

Why is hiring and recruiting so broken? Why does nobody do it well?

Read along with us as we read "The Hard Things About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz!

Nov 15, 2019

This month's book is Jane McGonigal's "Reality is Broken"

Next month we will discuss "The Hard Things About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz with a completely straight face!

Nov 12, 2019

In this episode, we answer...

As a leader, what is the best way to deal with coworkers who were mistakenly given your salary by upper management? Not only have they disclosed it but it's off by about 35%. How to deal with upper management undermining your leadership without taking a bazooka to upper management and undermining your own relationship with upper management and coworkers?

And stay tuned on Thursday morning for the next bookclub episode where we discuss "Reality is Broken" by Jane McGonigal!

 

Oct 29, 2019

In this episode, we discuss a leader of leaders' struggle with a member of their team over-committing and throwing their team under the bus.

I'm a leader of leaders. One of the leaders on my team has what we'll call a bad habit. At the start of a sprint, he will agree to a certain amount of features to be completed. Without fail, halfway through the sprint, he informs us that "the team" has decided that they can't finish all of the features, or that they will be late in doing so. I'm trying to coach him out of this habit, but it still happens, without fail, every delivery cycle. He seems to feel he's "voicing the concerns of the team", when in reality it feels like he's throwing them under the bus. What else can I say that makes it clear to him that his tactic is both passive-aggressive AND harmful to his team?

Don't forget to read Jane McGonigal's "Reality is Broken" along with us for our bookclub!

Oct 15, 2019

This month, we read "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr.Join us next time as we read Jane McGonigal's "Reality is Broken"!

 

Oct 15, 2019

In this episode, we talk scrum masters and iterative delivery:

I'm a product owner in a team that just started doing agile a few month ago and our scrum master is not great at it. He was a very waterfall technical guy in the past and now he makes it hard to be a product owner because he still acts very waterfally and mostly wants to get involved in solving technical problems and not doing all of the other things that a scrum master should be doing to help. What do I do?

Stay tuned after for our discussion of "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr!

Oct 1, 2019

A listener asked a little bit about us, this episode:

Why do you lead? Specifically, what made you change from technology to leadership?

Clearly, we have thoughts! Don't forget to join us as we read "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr!

Sep 17, 2019

For our ninth book, we read "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick (or Peter, if you're so inclined) Lencioni.

Next up will be "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr, if you are one of the 7 people in the industry that hasn't read it yet!

 

Sep 17, 2019

In this episode, we answer...

One of the goals assigned to me when I was hired at my current company is to train a new junior systems engineer so he can develop a broader skill set and gain some experience on the systems engineering side (he was performing desktop support duties previously). However, even though the Junior SE doesn't have any experience in that area, he regularly argues with me about the "correct" way to do something. I feel that I spend more time arguing with the junior guy than actually implementing new things and managing the environment. I'm not sure how to handle this. I'm willing to teach, but it's challenging to teach when you're constantly being questioned about if your way is correct or not, especially by someone with no experience in the field.

What should I do? My manager has addressed this type of behavior in the past with the JSE, and we've both talked to him directly about these issues, but it keeps happening.

 

Sep 3, 2019

This episode, we answer the question...

How do you switch careers? I'm worried about completely starting over and then finding out I hate the new one.

Don't forget to read along with us, because our next bookclub book is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni!

 

Aug 20, 2019

In this, our eighth bookclub episode, we talk about "Drive" by Daniel Pink.
Our next book will be Patrick Lencioni's "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team"

 

Aug 20, 2019

In this episode, we respond to...

I want to be promoted to a leader role because all of our leaders suck. We need somebody that knows how software is delivered to lead these development teams and stop making garbage decisions all of the time. I have been turned down over and over and over. How do I get that promotion so I can fix things?

Stay tuned after this episode to join us in discussing Daniel Pink's Drive!

 

Aug 6, 2019

In this episode, we answer the following question:

You both have talked a lot about letting employees fail, but what if they fail constantly? I teach them how to do things right and they do it wrong unless I'm right there doing it with them. I don't get it.

We are currently reading Daniel Pink's Drive, so grab a copy and join us in a few weeks!

Jul 23, 2019

In our seventh bookclub episode, we discuss Tom Demarco's "Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency"

For our next book, we'll be discussing the oft-referenced-by-us "Drive" by Daniel Pink.

 

Jul 23, 2019

This episode, we discuss changes...

Many things at my current company are changing, and most are not for the better. The culture and the goals are just not the same as when I joined more than 10 years ago. I've been fighting the changes but I am not winning. When do you know it's time to quit? How long should I keep fighting?

Hang out after this episode to hear our discussion of Slack by Tom DeMarco!

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