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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: Category: general
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!

Jul 9, 2019

This episode's question is...

I've recently been promoted to director at work starting very soon. I've never led leaders before. What can I expect? What will be different and what will remain the same?

If you're interested in reading along with us, we're currently reading Slack by Tom DeMarco in preparation for the bookclub episode to follow our next podcast!

Jun 25, 2019

This episode, we discuss “Ego is the Enemy" by Ryan Holiday.

Stay tuned next month for Slack by Tom DeMarco...

 

Jun 25, 2019

This episode's question is...

When I started in my current position a couple of years ago, I made clear that my expectation was that travel would be minimal. Over time, my role (title) hasn't changed, but both the company and my position have evolved, including a slight increase in the amount of expected travel. Now I'm being told that, because of the company's current direction and my role, I'm going to need to travel more, including some pretty significant international travel. I've considered proposing some creative solutions and alternatives, but in the end if they are going to insist I travel more, and extensively, I'm going to be forced to quit. How would you handle the situation?

Don't forget to stay tuned after this episode to hear us discuss our current bookclub book, Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday...or grab our next book, Slack by Tom DeMarco!

 

Jun 11, 2019

This episode's question...

I get very frustrated when things change constantly. I plan for so long and then my company just changes direction entirely and all of my plans are useless. How do I stop these constant changes or at least slow them down? Should I even try? Should I just stop planning?

Don't forget to stay tuned after next episode to hear us discuss our current bookclub book, Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday...

 

May 14, 2019

This episode, we discuss “How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge” by Clay Scroggins.

Stay tuned next month for Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday...

 

May 14, 2019

This episode's question:

I'm really having trouble with delivering what our scrum master thinks is a good minimum viable product. Our agile coaches do a good job of explaining what we should be doing but I can't have the coach with our team all of the time and they keep telling me that we're taking really big horizontal slices or build essentially the whole product before they have anything releasable but it seems like that is the smallest thing that can be delivered. How do you deliver something smaller without what your delivering being stupid?

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