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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
Dec 15, 2020

Let's discuss Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates (not Michelle Obama).

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41W9YpbHNbL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Next up, The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova.

 

Dec 8, 2020

This episode is all fun and games, other than the parts that aren't...

My company moved everyone to WFH when COVID-19 hit our state. It’s been several months and my team has settled into their routine well, hitting their goals. In this time where people feel isolated already, the team is understandably feeling it as well. How do I keep them bonded, and maintain healthy relationships, when the most interaction you have is a square on a Zoom call?

(Also, it was teambuilding.com)

We are reading Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates for our bookclub, so, if you'd like to join us, get to reading!

Nov 24, 2020

In this week's episode, we answer...

My family is a dual income home. My partner is still working, and I’ve been laid off. So I’ve taken over the household and our two young children. There is no in-class school, and there is no daycare, meaning they are with me all day. There are shifts I can make once I go back to work, but the days of the 8 - 10hr work day are long gone. If this is the new normal, what should working parents in this situation be expecting from their leaders? What should companies be doing to pivot with their employees new challenges? And what have you two changed to help your team succeed and meet them where they are?

We are reading Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates for our bookclub, so, if you'd like to join us, get to reading!

 

Nov 17, 2020

Time to discuss the current bookclub book, The Art of Leadership by Michael Lopp.

The Art of Leadership book cover

For our next book, we will be reading Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates.

 

Nov 10, 2020

In this episode...

Like many, I’ve been furloughed. I work in the event industry, so being brought back full time is looking grim until spring next year. The company I work for is a small tight knit team that is committed to getting everyone back, and I love working there. There are still some projects and events that trickle in, and they’ve given us the option of working them, but they will have to back pay them when we come back on board.

I want to be a team player to help us get back on our feet, but back pay doesn’t help me right now and working an event can be Russian roulette. How do I set boundaries between helping a team out of love for the place, and taking a stand on what I need to as a professional they hired?

Don't forget to read along with us, The Art of Leadership by Michael Lopp is our next bookclub read!

 

Oct 20, 2020

This episode, we answer this:

My brother works in a manufacturing engineering plant. The company is a week or more behind promised delivery dates to various customers and has been running frantic shifts 7 days a week, to the extent that they are pulling marketing and engineering staff out of their normal roles and having them hand assembly parts. Today, someone in his group tested positive for COVID-19. They are not allowing employees in the group to leave for testing; they sprayed everything down in the area with disinfectant and sent everyone back to work. What would you do in this situation? He's not long out of school, so hasn't gotten himself well established yet - walking isn't a great option, especially with the economy like it is.

Don't forget to read along with us, The Art of Leadership by Michael Lopp is our next bookclub read!

Oct 13, 2020

It's time to talk about Radical Candor by Kim Scott!

For our next book, we're reading The Art of Leadership by Michael Lopp.

Sep 29, 2020

In this episode, we answer the question:

Each Christmas my team puts together a group gift that they give to me along with a card. Each year, I write a nice card for each of them, but, I don't buy a gift because I don't make that kind of money! Worse, because there are a lot of them, even pitching in 5 or 10 dollars each adds up to a really nice gift. Am I doing the right thing? Should I be getting them a gift? This would almost double my Christmas budget!

Don't forget to read along with us, we will be discussing Kim Scott's Radical Candor next week!

Sep 3, 2020

So now we circle back and read The Phoenix Project after having finished the sequel. How did it hold up? Let's see...

For our next trick, we'll read Kim Scott's Radical Candor!

Aug 18, 2020

Later than we'd have liked, we answer a question that is very timely and important:

How do I talk about Black Lives Matter and the protests and all that with my team? I know we're supposed to leave religion and politics at home, but it feels like I should address this. Should I?

If you have questions about this, or feedback about our handling of this conversation, we definitely want to hear from you... email jer@, dawn@, or questions@ leadingquestionspodcast.com

If you want to learn more, some great resources:

  1. How to Be and Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  2. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD
  3. White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
    1. Be sure to follow up with Lauren Michele Jackson's What's Missing from "White Fragility"
  4. Save the Tears: White Woman's Guide by Tatiana Mac
Aug 4, 2020

In this episode, we answer:

My boss has been trying to transition our team from everybody working all the time, day or night to setting realistic expectations for support and holding us to those. It's hard for me to take her seriously when she answers emails day and night within minutes of their arrival. I'm not talking about just high importance emails, but all emails. It's rare for an email that is sent between 6am and 11pm to fail to get a response from her within an hour. Sometimes, she even responds to emails at 2 or 3 in the morning! I don't feel right not paying attention to my emails when sometimes they're from her, and if it's important enough for her to be online at all hours, shouldn't I be too? What do you think she really wants us to do?

And some special treats from us to you:

Don't forget to join us as we read The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford!

Jul 14, 2020

Find out if we're crazy for reading them out of order, but this bookclub episode covers The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim.

The Unicorn Project: A Novel About Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data

Next up, we'll go back and read The Phoenix Project to see how it stacks up with this newer work.

Jul 7, 2020

Our question for this episode is:

I occasionally get invited to do social things with some of my employees and if I'm interested in the event itself I'll go - typically things like video games or even holiday parties. I don't go to every events, but I do go to the ones that sound fun. I'm not playing favorites. But it also means that I have gone to events for less than half of my team. Is that ok?

Don't forget to tune in next week as we discuss Gene Kim's The Unicorn Project!

 

Jun 23, 2020

In this episode, a listener asks:

I have a lot of vacation saved up. There are a few reasons for this. First, our company gives us a lot of vacation. But, second, we don't really get to use it. The team is always working long hours without breaks and if you take a vacation everyone treats you like you killed their cat. Plus, when I get back I just have a bigger pile of work to do.

I've gotten another job that I think that I'll like, but I'm scared to switch and find out its worse or something that I'm not good at. I'm thinking of taking a bunch of my vacation days and starting the new job to see if I like it. I should be able to take a full month off pretty easily, possibly more. Personally, I think this is a great idea. But my friends say if it was a great idea, why doesn't everyone do it?

Don't forget to read along in The Unicorn Project with us, we will be discussing it in our next bookclub episode!

Jun 16, 2020

Join us as we discuss Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers in the latest edition of our bookclub!

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

For our next book, we are reading The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim.

 

May 26, 2020

In this episode we answer:

At work we have a lot of mandatory "fun" events. If I don't participate, I'm not a team player. However, I don't enjoy them, and I'm here to work. How do I avoid participating and still keep my job?

But we also mention Puppy Monkey Baby and Shytown's "Olive Garden"...we're not proud.

Join us later this week as we discuss Malcolm Gladwell's "Talking to Strangers"

 

May 12, 2020

In this episode we discuss:

I have a coworker who very religious--she does regular prayer luncheons at work and talks about her involvement in various Christian charities and programs, for example. As a rule, it's not an issue in any way at work except, she chastises her coworkers for swearing. Not just the "big words" but shit, damn, hell…everything. It's having an impact on team morale and they are starting to get irritated with her over it. What do I do?

Don't forget to read along with us as we go through Malcolm Gladwell's "Talking to Strangers" for our next bookclub episode!

Apr 30, 2020

This month, we read "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Next up, we will be reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Talking to Strangers", so join us!

Apr 28, 2020

In this episode, in between rants we answer this question:

My boss hates his job and bitches about it all the time. He doesn't complain to everybody, just to me and a few select others. It's annoying and it makes me not like my job as much. I'm also worried about my coworkers hearing this and it affecting them as well.

Stay tuned later this week as we review "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

Joey Bag o' Donuts

Gymnast Fail Bars GIF - GymnastFail Bars Gymnast GIFs

And, A FUCKING TIMELINE:

Segmented timeline with years and milestone placeholders

Apr 14, 2020

In a very special episode relevant to world events we answer:

The work our company does doesn't lend itself to work from home, and the industry we supply to is dead in the water during the pandemic. Because of this, I've been furloughed for at least one month and probably more like three. What should I be doing with my time off?

Don't forget to read "Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise" by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool along with us! Coming up after our next podcast...

Over The Top GIFs | Tenor

 

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!

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