The Hard Skills

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Facebook Live Video from 2024/03/19 - The Power of Adaptive Planning and Creativity in Strategic Decision-Making

Facebook Live Video from 2024/03/19 - The Power of Adaptive Planning and Creativity in Strategic Decision-Making


2024/03/19 - The Power of Adaptive Planning and Creativity in Strategic Decision-Making

[NEW EPISODE] The Power of Adaptive Planning and Creativity in Strategic Decision-Making

Tuesdays 5:00pm - 6:00pm (EDT)                              


In this episode, we speak with Dr. Liz Sweigart who will share with us about the importance of Adaptive Planning, practical frameworks for strategic decision-making, and how to embrace innovation and creativity in that process. Given the ongoing uncertainties we face, our ability to infuse flexibility, continuous adjustment, and creativity into thoughtful scenario planning, risk management, and other strategic tools can help navigate ambiguity and mitigate potential challenges, and empower us to to know what to do, when, and how. 

In this episode we delve into how to strategically navigate the complexities of uncertain futures without fear or trying new things. Liz Sweigart, PhD will emphasize the critical need for adaptive planning, highlighting the importance of continually evaluating and adjusting strategies in response to evolving circumstances. Through practical frameworks and methodologies shared in the conversation, audience members gain actionable tools for strategic decision-making amidst ambiguity. Moreover, Liz will champion the role of innovation and creativity in strategy formulation, encouraging listeners to embrace uncertainty as a catalyst for innovation rather than a hindrance. She also reflects on her own experiences and what she has learned about caring for herself, especially her mental health, in the midst of change and uncertainty. This episode will hopefully be a beacon of guidance, empowering individuals and organizations alike to confidently map out strategies to thrive in uncertain environments.

The audience will gain: 

1. An understanding the Importance of Adaptive Planning

2. Practical Frameworks for Strategic Decision-Making

3. Encouragement to embrace Innovation and Creativity

From history major (who dabbled in Medieval Studies and chemical engineering) to nonprofit finance leader to Big 4 tax partner to emerging tech startup executive, nothing about Liz Sweigart's 20-plus year career has been linear. As an independent board director and advisor, Liz works with individuals and organizations ranging from startup founders to the C-suites and boards of publicly traded multinationals in various industry sectors. At her core, Liz is passionate about fostering environments where human beings can thrive and flourish. She holds a BA from Rice University, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas (Houston), and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from The Chicago School.

#strategy, #tech, #leadership, #mentalhealth, #leadershipdevelopment #TheHardSkills

Show Notes

Segment  1

Dr. Mira Brancu introduced the guest, Liz Sweigart. Liz shared her diverse background, starting with a History major and later pursuing an MBA, which eventually led her to become the founder and Executive Director of Speak Out Sisterhood. The conversation shifted towards the importance of being a leader who prioritizes showing interest in others rather than just trying to be interesting themselves. Understanding people's backgrounds, interests, and motivations not only benefits leaders by enhancing their network and understanding their employees but also fosters personal and professional growth. Embracing vulnerability and recognizing that one's perspective may differ from others' is humbling and allows for valuable insights from diverse opinions. This discussion transitioned into the concept of "adaptive planning," comparing traditional approaches like the "waterfall method" to more agile methods like "sprints," which involve breaking tasks into shorter, feedback-driven cycles.

Segment 2

The second part of the discussion focused on the importance of managing expectations, including handling difficult and uncomfortable feedback. It emphasized that while we may not have control over every detail, we do have control over the energy we bring to a situation. As a leader, it's crucial to communicate changes effectively, providing clear reasons behind the shifts in plans. Liz highlighted the significance of "showing your work" by explaining the rationale behind decisions, as this helps people grasp the necessity of adjustments and understand their implications. Managing expectations involves helping individuals visualize and comprehend upcoming changes- “how it will affect me, is there anything I can do about it, and what am I responsible for.

Segment 3

Liz discussed two aspects of leadership: leading oneself and leading others. When it comes to leading oneself, she emphasized the importance of regular self-assessment and setting SMART goals, with particular emphasis on making them time-bound. It's crucial to recognize that not everything lasts forever. This led to the identification of realistic milestones to work towards, whether within 1-2 weeks or 1-3 months. The next step involves defining objectives achievable within these time frames and remaining adaptable. It's essential to ask questions about collaboration, seek necessary guidance, and identify any missing pieces. Gathering data is crucial for making informed decisions and identifying areas for growth. This approach applies to seeking mentorship as well. Mira highlighted that relying on a single mentor may lead to missing valuable insights, as different mentors bring diverse perspectives and lessons. As individuals grow, they encounter various mentors, contributing to their leadership journey. Finally, it's vital to be rigorously honest with oneself and acknowledge obstacles while planning strategies to overcome them.

Segment 4

Liz identified three obstacles: time, resources, and self. Regarding time, the challenge often boils down to prioritization since everyone has the same 24 hours per day. Resources, particularly personnel, can be insufficient, prompting a need to assess whether existing resources are utilized efficiently. This ties into the broader concept of effective management. Lastly, the obstacle of "self" involves concerns about others' perceptions, leading to unnecessary worry about how one is perceived. In reality, most individuals are preoccupied with their own concerns. Prioritization and expectation management are crucial, as setting priorities enables clear expectation setting. By considering these factors, individuals and organizations can better plan and set achievable goals.


00:00:36.750 --> 00:00:50.499 Mira Brancu: welcome to the hard skills show with me. Dr. Mira Branku. On this show. We discussed how to develop the nuanced hard skills needed to drive significant systemic change, to make a real impact through your leadership.

00:00:50.670 --> 00:01:00.950 Mira Brancu: Be ready, take notes. I always do reflect deeply and identify at least one small step to further develop your hard skills muscle.

00:01:01.350 --> 00:01:04.150 Mira Brancu: Today's guest is Dr. Liz Swider.

00:01:04.190 --> 00:01:11.489 Mira Brancu: and we'll be talking with her about the power of adaptive planning and creativity and strategic decision-making.

00:01:11.640 --> 00:01:19.209 Mira Brancu: So that's a great topic for our season. Three's focus on mapping a leadership strategy. And I'm super excited to have you here, Liz.

00:01:19.620 --> 00:01:21.520 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Thank you so much for having me.

00:01:21.620 --> 00:01:34.710 Mira Brancu: Yeah, absolutely. Now a little bit about Liz. She started out as a history major who dabbled in medieval studies and chemical engineering.

00:01:35.070 --> 00:01:48.880 Mira Brancu: And then she moved into nonprofit finance as a leader to Big 4 tax partner to emerging tech startup executive. So nothing about her 20 plus year career has been linear.

00:01:49.120 --> 00:02:02.719 Mira Brancu: and as an independent board director and advisor, Liz now works with individuals and organizations ranging from startup founders to the C-suites and boards of publicly traded multinationals in various industry sectors

00:02:03.010 --> 00:02:12.740 Mira Brancu: at her core. Liz is passionate about fostering environments where human beings can thrive and flourish. She holds a bachelors from Rice University.

00:02:12.840 --> 00:02:16.049 Mira Brancu: an Mba. From the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

00:02:16.210 --> 00:02:23.099 Mira Brancu: and a Phd. In organizational leadership from the Chicago school. So welcome Liz, fascinating history.

00:02:23.290 --> 00:02:28.990 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Well, thank you. And you know, when I think about it, and I look back on it with perspective.

00:02:29.300 --> 00:02:34.640 Liz Sweigart, PhD: I can see all the dots connected. But man at the time that was not readily apparent.

00:02:34.830 --> 00:02:37.769 Mira Brancu: Tell us about the dots, I'm sure a lot of people would like to know.

00:02:38.360 --> 00:02:48.150 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Well, I've always been somebody who has been led by curiosity. So II think curiosity is probably the most powerful word that there is.

00:02:48.240 --> 00:02:52.700 Liz Sweigart, PhD: I am relentlessly curious. I want to know why.

00:02:53.010 --> 00:02:59.209 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and II want to see what I can do. II want to know what is possible.

00:02:59.680 --> 00:03:08.169 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and so my my interest in the art of the possible is really what has guided my whole life, and frankly my career. I grew up in New York City.

00:03:08.290 --> 00:03:19.610 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and now here I am coming to you from Houston, Texas, so pretty different. I moved to Houston to go to Rice because I wanted to see what else there was in the world.

00:03:19.810 --> 00:03:24.880 Liz Sweigart, PhD: I from there thought, well, I'm going to go into the family business, which is law

00:03:25.060 --> 00:03:30.500 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and right. Before I graduated from college, I said, I don't want to do that.

00:03:31.450 --> 00:03:53.130 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and so I found my way into the Big 4. Well, I guess at the Big 6 at the time. And from there I again. I just followed my curiosity, and that's what led me to nonprofit. It's what led me to getting my Mba. And being back in the Big 4 and public accounting to the land of investment, banking

00:03:53.130 --> 00:04:05.290 Liz Sweigart, PhD: to back in the Big 4 again and then, now in tech and specifically working in blockchain digital assets. Web 3. The decentralized web.

00:04:05.830 --> 00:04:18.130 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So I would say that along the way I had wonderful people, and I know we share some mentors in common. I had wonderful people who encouraged and supported me.

00:04:18.410 --> 00:04:29.249 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and who created opportunities for me to meet other people who were forging their own paths and being able to see other people doing it.

00:04:29.520 --> 00:04:34.879 Liz Sweigart, PhD: That was empowering for me. being able to develop my own leadership of self.

00:04:34.970 --> 00:04:41.090 Liz Sweigart, PhD: being able to develop my own self-awareness, my situational awareness, my ability to self-regulate.

00:04:41.210 --> 00:04:45.750 Liz Sweigart, PhD:  allowing me to lead myself through my career. And then

00:04:45.820 --> 00:04:48.830 Liz Sweigart, PhD: that positioned me to be able to lead others.

00:04:48.880 --> 00:05:01.510 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And now, in the roles that I have, I get to both lead founders of businesses, people who are in very well established businesses. I also get to lead teams of my own.

00:05:01.620 --> 00:05:10.030 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So it's been an incredible journey, and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had just this chance to.

00:05:10.190 --> 00:05:12.400 Liz Sweigart, PhD: followed by relentless curiosity.

00:05:12.520 --> 00:05:15.690 Mira Brancu: Yeah, I can so relate.

00:05:15.700 --> 00:05:21.420 Mira Brancu: And I do think there's something about that curiosity that helps

00:05:21.650 --> 00:05:23.850 Mira Brancu: you

00:05:23.890 --> 00:05:24.980 Mira Brancu: lead

00:05:25.050 --> 00:05:28.980 Mira Brancu: in kind of a unique way, right? A lot of leaders

00:05:30.110 --> 00:05:38.979 Mira Brancu: find themselves in their leadership role through their technical expertise. And sometimes it's hard to let go of their technical expertise their first love

00:05:39.140 --> 00:05:47.460 Mira Brancu: in order to have a bigger view and their sort of organization. I think you, you and I probably had a sort of similar

00:05:47.500 --> 00:06:06.750 Mira Brancu:  pathway, and that I remember when I was in grad school, and my advisor was like Mira, you need a focus, and I was like, but being a generalist is a strength, I think, and he's like scratching his head. He's like, What is she crazy? Being a generalist is not a strength. But I did realize that my

00:06:06.920 --> 00:06:20.679 Mira Brancu: curiosity led me to explore the things that were not just interesting to me. But allow me to flex and be interested in what other people were doing. Instead of having my own individual agenda.

00:06:20.730 --> 00:06:28.290 Mira Brancu: which is one of the sort of key components of leadership, is making sure that you're thinking broadly. And you're supporting multiple

00:06:28.300 --> 00:06:35.929 Mira Brancu: kind of lanes of effort within an organization or outside of the organization or things like that. I don't know if that sort of resonates for you, too.

00:06:36.250 --> 00:06:46.279 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Absolutely. It does. And I think you hit on. I mean, you hit on several things. There is a lot to unpack but in particular,

00:06:46.380 --> 00:06:57.240 Liz Sweigart, PhD: where, where I see the biggest opportunities in leadership are for leaders to be really interested in and curious about their people.

00:06:57.480 --> 00:06:59.439 Liz Sweigart, PhD: The people that they are leading

00:06:59.730 --> 00:07:09.079 Liz Sweigart, PhD: as a leader. When you show an interest in others. that is, when people become more interested in you.

00:07:09.370 --> 00:07:18.939 Liz Sweigart, PhD: I tell people frequently that if if you want to be anything in a room, be the most interesting, not the most interesting

00:07:20.160 --> 00:07:24.590 Liz Sweigart, PhD: people love to talk about themselves. I mean, that's why I'm here.

00:07:25.170 --> 00:07:43.410 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We love talking about ourselves and giving people an opportunity to share about them, to share who they are, what motivates them, what they're passionate about. Wow! What do you learn from that? And especially as a leader, you learn about how to motivate people. You learn exactly how you will demotivate people.

00:07:44.210 --> 00:07:46.800 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It's it's a really incredible gift

00:07:46.870 --> 00:07:51.949 Liz Sweigart, PhD: to be curious about others and the world and about yourself.

00:07:52.620 --> 00:07:55.640 Mira Brancu: Yeah, I mean it. It's it's

00:07:55.660 --> 00:08:09.750 Mira Brancu: beneficial to your growth to be curious, right? It's beneficial to other people's growth around you. And I think there's something infectious about it. I mean, if you're the kind of leader that is

00:08:09.800 --> 00:08:20.520 Mira Brancu: really interested in succeeding the organization succeeding, but also how it might succeed uniquely with the set of people that you have supporting it.

00:08:20.860 --> 00:08:26.049 Mira Brancu: That can be fairly expansive if you're willing

00:08:26.080 --> 00:08:28.210 Liz Sweigart, PhD: to sort of go there. Right?

00:08:28.600 --> 00:08:36.470 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Yes, absolutely. And when I think now about how distributed the workforces are that I interact with.

00:08:36.679 --> 00:08:41.999 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So when I think about being in the bleeding edge of technology, if you will.

00:08:42.320 --> 00:08:53.680 Liz Sweigart, PhD: so many of the people I work with are from all sorts of corners of the globe, several of which I've never visited. And I'm I'm a quite a frequent traveler.

00:08:53.950 --> 00:09:07.390 Liz Sweigart, PhD: but what I am learning is that when when we really open ourselves up and we create those spaces for people to share about themselves, to teach us.

00:09:07.760 --> 00:09:11.440 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And as leaders for us to learn

00:09:11.950 --> 00:09:18.140 Liz Sweigart, PhD: active learning and being able to onboard new information.

00:09:18.290 --> 00:09:27.940 Liz Sweigart, PhD: use that information to inform what it is that we do next. It is so intoxicating.

00:09:28.150 --> 00:09:39.270 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and you could say to have such a distinct point of view and plan for action that you are just going to plow forward and do what it is that you've decided to do.

00:09:39.660 --> 00:09:49.710 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and one of the biggest challenges of leadership is being humble enough to say, I have gained new information based on this information. What I

00:09:49.790 --> 00:09:52.020 Liz Sweigart, PhD: firmly believed before

00:09:52.540 --> 00:09:57.410 Liz Sweigart, PhD: does not seem to be accurate, for where things are right now.

00:09:58.340 --> 00:10:04.109 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and I want to change my trajectory. and that a lot of folks that I run into

00:10:04.190 --> 00:10:07.900 Liz Sweigart, PhD: perceive changing their mind as weakness.

00:10:07.970 --> 00:10:11.889 Liz Sweigart, PhD: whereas I think, changing your mind

00:10:11.950 --> 00:10:23.120 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and being willing to be seen changing your mind in public is one of the greatest acts of courage you can have as a leader. because it also frees up your people to say

00:10:23.130 --> 00:10:29.020 Liz Sweigart, PhD: you know, the thing I was doing doesn't seem to be working. and I probably need to try something different

00:10:29.540 --> 00:10:38.779 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and to be open to that level of experimentation. And particularly again in the space that I'm in with technology, it is changing so quickly.

00:10:39.020 --> 00:10:43.480 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And what we think is going to be the outcome of what we build

00:10:43.950 --> 00:10:47.279 Liz Sweigart, PhD: oftentimes isn't. And so we have to pivot.

00:10:47.710 --> 00:10:54.360 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We have to be flexible and open to change, and especially in the area that I'm in, which is open source.

00:10:54.560 --> 00:11:06.209 Liz Sweigart, PhD: That means that not just your code, but your design. I mean, everything that you are doing is on public display as you're doing it. You are building in public.

00:11:06.690 --> 00:11:15.950 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and that takes a degree of bravery and courage that I mean. It's astonishing to be willing to put yourself out there and say.

00:11:16.130 --> 00:11:23.210 Liz Sweigart, PhD: here's the best I know how I am learning how to do better. and I am open to feedback.

00:11:23.910 --> 00:11:28.190 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and that to me is leadership in a nutshell.

00:11:28.690 --> 00:11:35.630 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We are leading in public. We are being seen trying in public. and that is hard

00:11:36.020 --> 00:11:40.490 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and taking feedback, putting that feedback into practice and action.

00:11:40.870 --> 00:11:44.880 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and being being willing to be wrong.

00:11:44.910 --> 00:11:57.549 Liz Sweigart, PhD: being willing to learn being willing to try to iterate. That's what we're called to do, not to pick one single position or set of beliefs and hold fast to them forever.

00:11:57.700 --> 00:12:01.030 Liz Sweigart, PhD: even in the face of conflicting information.

00:12:03.000 --> 00:12:09.749 Mira Brancu: I'm gonna follow up on a number of these awesome ideas. But a lot of this. What you're talking about

00:12:09.810 --> 00:12:15.620 Mira Brancu: is clearly connecting to your thoughts around adaptive planning.

00:12:15.640 --> 00:12:19.600 Mira Brancu: So I'm wondering if you could define for folks.

00:12:20.050 --> 00:12:25.929 Mira Brancu: How do you? How do you see adaptive planning? What is? What is that? How would you define it for people?

00:12:26.620 --> 00:12:31.260 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So it there's 2 pieces that it

00:12:31.360 --> 00:12:35.000 Liz Sweigart, PhD: fairly. Obviously, there's there's adaptation. And then there's planning.

00:12:35.640 --> 00:12:42.090 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Most of us have been raised up, either personally, professionally, or both.

00:12:42.270 --> 00:12:54.489 Liz Sweigart, PhD: with what? And I will come back to tech frequently, because when you're a hammer, as Maslow said, everything looks like a nail at one of the things that we've been raised up in is is something called waterfall.

00:12:54.740 --> 00:12:59.020 Liz Sweigart, PhD: which is where we spend a bunch of time planning.

00:12:59.060 --> 00:13:12.240 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And we think through things. And we can end up in in the the great analysis paralysis. But we gather all of this information, and we study and scrutinize all of this information. And then we come up with a plan.

00:13:12.410 --> 00:13:30.300 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and we frequently document the plan. It has multiple steps, and you can put it in charts. And sometimes you even use a a software to organize your plan. And then you hand out tasks and responsibilities, and then you get to the end. And maybe what it is you've done isn't actually what's needed any more.

00:13:30.400 --> 00:13:40.239 Liz Sweigart, PhD: But man. Did you follow that plan? That is, that is most typically how organizations and individuals have operated for a really long time?

00:13:41.400 --> 00:13:48.940 Liz Sweigart, PhD: There came to be this philosophy primarily applied to software development called agile.

00:13:49.530 --> 00:14:00.000 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And the idea is that instead of doing everything in this big, long waterfall process, you actually break it up into small pieces. You do it in something called sprints.

00:14:00.090 --> 00:14:13.039 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Typically, they last about 2 weeks. And the idea is that you're going to accomplish a certain set of tasks. You're gonna have a particular set of outcomes at the end, and then you're gonna share those.

00:14:13.430 --> 00:14:28.019 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And as you're going through it. you are frequently asked to pivot. because you will build, you will test, and it will break. and you will be getting feedback constantly from the people who are ultimately going to use the thing that you're building.

00:14:28.560 --> 00:14:34.980 And so when I think about what does it mean to be an adaptive planner, what is adaptive planning?

00:14:35.110 --> 00:14:47.570 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It is taking these ideas and these concepts from disciplines such as agile and applying them to our strategic decision making.

00:14:48.490 --> 00:14:55.379 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So it's a question of how do we remain agile, adaptive, nimble, and a bit humble.

00:14:55.490 --> 00:14:59.460 Liz Sweigart, PhD: while we are also mapping out next steps.

00:14:59.470 --> 00:15:06.800 Liz Sweigart, PhD: tasks, responsibilities. How we're going to hold ourselves and others accountable because you can't just wing it.

00:15:07.000 --> 00:15:15.650 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And at the same time. if you have something that is too rigid. you're not able to respond to what is happening in real time.

00:15:16.620 --> 00:15:30.140 Mira Brancu: Great great definition. That's super clear. we're nearing an outbreak. Once we come back, I want to get into some of the challenges to balancing?

00:15:30.250 --> 00:15:35.160 Mira Brancu: Those 2 seemingly opposite tensions.

00:15:35.250 --> 00:15:47.870 Mira Brancu: And then, you know, when when does it not work? When? What are sort of the impediments to that? So you're listening to the hard skills with me, Dr. Mira Branku and our guest, Dr. Liz Swigert.

00:15:47.880 --> 00:16:02.899 Mira Brancu: We air on Tuesdays at 5 Pm. Eastern. If you'd like to join our online audience. You can ask questions there on. Usually we're there and linked in, or sometimes, and we'll be right back with our guests in just a moment.

00:17:11.770 --> 00:17:31.380 Are you a business owner. Do you want to be a business owner? Do you work with business owners? Hi, I'm Stephen Fry, your small and medium-sized business, or Smb guide, and I'm the host of the new show. Always Friday, while I love to have fun on my show. We take those Friday feelings of freedom and clarity to discuss popular topics on the minds of Smes today.

00:18:15.440 --> 00:18:20.870 Mira Brancu: Welcome back to the hard skills with me. Doctor Mirabonu and our guest, Doctor Liz Swigert.

00:18:20.960 --> 00:18:34.019 Mira Brancu: We were just talking about adaptive planning. We were talking about what it takes for leaders to truly lead in today's environment, which is to find this sort of

00:18:34.140 --> 00:18:41.670 Mira Brancu: fine line, maybe tension, maybe balance between knowing you. You need a plan

00:18:41.880 --> 00:18:49.100 Mira Brancu: to a certain extent, but you also really need to be nimble and adaptive, flexible

00:18:49.300 --> 00:18:53.009 Mira Brancu: to adjust. As you learn. Behind these

00:18:53.270 --> 00:19:02.000 Mira Brancu: is still a learning element. and there's a humility element, too. And so it got me thinking about a lot of things.

00:19:02.040 --> 00:19:05.089 Mira Brancu: One is you mentioned.

00:19:05.380 --> 00:19:09.200 Mira Brancu: A lot of leaders feel like changing my mind is a weakness.

00:19:09.440 --> 00:19:12.609 Mira Brancu: Tell me more about that

00:19:12.850 --> 00:19:16.830 Mira Brancu: sort of internal barrier. How how

00:19:17.060 --> 00:19:28.590 Mira Brancu: do leaders get beyond? Or how do we all, as a city, get beyond this assumption when there's so much good outcome that can come

00:19:28.770 --> 00:19:32.790 Mira Brancu: from that kind of mind changing, pivoting, adjusting

00:19:33.310 --> 00:19:34.810 Mira Brancu: kind of stuff.

00:19:37.070 --> 00:19:47.890 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Talk about a lot to unpack. Well, sumir, I really appreciate that that question. And I've got a few examples. Let me let me start off with one.

00:19:48.260 --> 00:20:00.699 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Oftentimes I work with founders of companies who are looking to raise money because your number one job as a founder is not to run out of money. Your number 2 job is to not run out of money

00:20:00.750 --> 00:20:18.150 Liz Sweigart, PhD: so so much of the role and the time for a a startup founder is focused around. How do? How do I ensure funding whether that funding is from an external investor, or it is from revenue that we generate

00:20:18.630 --> 00:20:25.800 Liz Sweigart, PhD: some some form, some form of business activity that's bringing in cash to sustain the business. So you can continue to grow.

00:20:26.810 --> 00:20:35.559 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And one of the things that I often find, especially in the technology space where there is a lot of competition for venture capital funding

00:20:35.730 --> 00:20:46.659 Liz Sweigart, PhD: is that a founder will decide. I am going out for a particular type of fundraise, and I am going to Target X amount of money, and it's usually a pretty big number.

00:20:47.360 --> 00:20:49.860 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and they will get feedback from the market

00:20:50.150 --> 00:20:59.259 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and the feedback from the market says, you know, if you adjust your approach a little bit you won't get as much as the number you originally said you got you were going to get.

00:20:59.450 --> 00:21:09.409 Liz Sweigart, PhD: but what you will get is something that will sustain you and help you get to a position where you can actually go and raise the larger sum from a position of strength.

00:21:10.300 --> 00:21:12.779 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and it is challenging.

00:21:13.030 --> 00:21:23.119 Liz Sweigart, PhD: When you have gone out and you feel like I've put myself out there. I've told people I'm going to go and raise this big amount of money. And now I'm changing what I'm doing.

00:21:23.280 --> 00:21:29.760 Liz Sweigart, PhD: What's the market going to think? What are what are people going to say? How are they going to judge me

00:21:30.450 --> 00:21:35.169 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and pivoting your message? And being able to say.

00:21:35.680 --> 00:21:45.250 Liz Sweigart, PhD: I assessed the feedback from the market, and it told me that our best course of action is to take this amount of funding

00:21:45.260 --> 00:21:57.870 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and use it to shore up this portion of our business, to expand our marketing in this area to reach this new market, to actually get this part of our product delivered to the market.

00:21:58.360 --> 00:22:06.210 Liz Sweigart, PhD: That's and that's a very powerful message. And it reflects very well on the leader, because it's showing that you learn

00:22:06.250 --> 00:22:12.299 Liz Sweigart, PhD: that you adapt that you're able to take feedback, that you have a degree of humility.

00:22:12.740 --> 00:22:24.040 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and at the same time it can feel very uncomfortable because you think I've put myself out there like this. And what I said was going to happen. What I thought was going to happen didn't.

00:22:24.720 --> 00:22:25.750 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And

00:22:25.950 --> 00:22:31.579 Liz Sweigart, PhD: the thing in life that gets us more than anything is mismanaged expectations

00:22:31.720 --> 00:22:44.450 Liz Sweigart, PhD: when either we think something's gonna happen. And it doesn't. Or we tell somebody else that something's gonna happen and it doesn't, or someone else promises something to us, and it doesn't happen

00:22:45.090 --> 00:22:48.979 Liz Sweigart, PhD: being able to manage the expectations

00:22:49.170 --> 00:22:53.499 Liz Sweigart, PhD: is a critical critical skill for leaders.

00:22:53.640 --> 00:23:03.809 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And so when we're being adaptive. one of the things we have to do is we have to be open to the difficult feedback.

00:23:03.830 --> 00:23:11.429 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We have to be open to the fact that there's a lot of things that are force measure details that we have no control over.

00:23:12.460 --> 00:23:15.310 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We can control the energy that we show up with

00:23:16.490 --> 00:23:20.009 Liz Sweigart, PhD: everything else. Not so much

00:23:20.210 --> 00:23:25.519 Liz Sweigart, PhD: so how we do that as leaders is extremely important to the outcomes that we can achieve.

00:23:25.640 --> 00:23:32.229 Mira Brancu: Yeah, and most of the time. We fear the negative judgment

00:23:32.380 --> 00:23:35.170 Mira Brancu: about our decision as leaders.

00:23:35.300 --> 00:23:37.579 Mira Brancu: Most people are not

00:23:37.820 --> 00:23:49.080 Mira Brancu: judging you about your decision. They're judging you about your approach. And that's, I think, what you're getting at like.  if you can't communicate the why

00:23:49.400 --> 00:23:54.389 Mira Brancu: and explain like, here's how I got here. Here's why I'm changing my mind.

00:23:54.420 --> 00:23:59.489 Mira Brancu: Here's how I sort of like thought through that that helps people say, well.

00:24:00.070 --> 00:24:04.680 Mira Brancu: she was really thoughtful, like she really took in a lot of

00:24:05.080 --> 00:24:11.770 Mira Brancu:  different data points to make that decision right? If you just sort of like willingly say

00:24:12.410 --> 00:24:14.479 Mira Brancu: we were doing that. Now we're doing this.

00:24:14.500 --> 00:24:26.909 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Stop judging me for it. Most people will judge you for that. Yes, they will. We all learned a very valuable lesson in elementary school. Show your work.

00:24:27.290 --> 00:24:33.020 Mira Brancu: There is a reason. There's a reason less. All of the math teachers I have ever had.

00:24:33.160 --> 00:24:41.280 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Show your work. because if you come up with the wrong answer, but I can't see how you got there. I don't know where things went off the ramps.

00:24:41.500 --> 00:24:45.680 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It may be that you actually understand all of the concepts.

00:24:45.740 --> 00:24:48.189 Liz Sweigart, PhD: but it was the arithmetic that tripped you up.

00:24:48.590 --> 00:24:55.720 Liz Sweigart, PhD: or what I'll see is, no, you didn't understand the concept. And so that's what we have to. That's what we have to fix.

00:24:55.740 --> 00:25:02.119 Liz Sweigart, PhD: There's a difference between not knowing how to do something and making a careless error along the way.

00:25:02.470 --> 00:25:09.749 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and that goes back to what we were talking about earlier when I brought up what open source means and building in public.

00:25:09.820 --> 00:25:16.960 Liz Sweigart, PhD: You are showing your work. and as leaders how we show our work is important. We are not.

00:25:17.200 --> 00:25:33.390 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We are not coming out and saying, Oh, I'm flying by the seat of my pants and providing every thought that comes into our head the moment it comes into our head. That's why we develop self-regulation. That's why leadership of self is so important to being a successful leader.

00:25:33.610 --> 00:25:38.969 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Because we're able to process the information and then share what is helpful.

00:25:39.660 --> 00:25:49.930 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We can provide information that helps, as you just well articulated people, to follow our train of thought. And you're right. They may disagree with our train of thought.

00:25:50.170 --> 00:25:53.809 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and they will know how we arrived at what we arrived at.

00:25:54.190 --> 00:26:04.980 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And when I see leaders being successful achieving the objectives that they set out realizing the outcomes that they wanted.

00:26:05.340 --> 00:26:12.869 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It's that they were able to do that. They were able to articulate in fairly real-time

00:26:13.010 --> 00:26:15.189 Liz Sweigart, PhD: what they were doing and why.

00:26:15.240 --> 00:26:20.970 Liz Sweigart, PhD: at an appropriate level of detail for the stakeholders that they were communicating to.

00:26:21.830 --> 00:26:28.189 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And it comes back to managing expectations. Because that's how you do it. You help people to know

00:26:28.340 --> 00:26:30.530 Liz Sweigart, PhD: what what is coming?

00:26:31.360 --> 00:26:33.180 Liz Sweigart, PhD: How will it affect me?

00:26:34.330 --> 00:26:36.870 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Is there anything I can do about it?

00:26:37.480 --> 00:26:41.320 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And what is what am I responsible for?

00:26:41.720 --> 00:26:53.029 Liz Sweigart, PhD: One of the most powerful questions I keep coming back to in coaching conversations not just normal coaching relationships, but coaching conversations. What am I responsible for?

00:26:53.200 --> 00:27:02.810 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And helping the other person to ask that question of themselves. because so often we take on so much more than what we are actually responsible for.

00:27:02.850 --> 00:27:17.949 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And beyond that, we take on things over which we have no control. We can do nothing to affect the outcome, and then we beat ourselves up, and we invite others to beat us up when the expected outcome doesn't come to fruition.

00:27:18.810 --> 00:27:24.119 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We had no control over it. And yet we wanted to kind of pretend that we did.

00:27:24.460 --> 00:27:25.240 Mira Brancu: Yeah.

00:27:25.760 --> 00:27:31.550 Mira Brancu: so true for so many situations is half the battle is figuring out.

00:27:31.590 --> 00:27:34.079 Mira Brancu: You know where where to put my best effort.

00:27:34.090 --> 00:27:36.440 Mira Brancu: What is

00:27:36.550 --> 00:27:41.349 Mira Brancu: my responsibility versus not right. And so

00:27:42.870 --> 00:27:43.660 Mira Brancu: if

00:27:43.960 --> 00:27:54.140 Mira Brancu:  if a leader is to engage in this effectively. this trying to find the balance between planning and flexibility.

00:27:54.270 --> 00:28:03.129 Mira Brancu: you know thoughtfulness, innovation, failing fast, but being really careful, you know, with the risks that kind of thing.

00:28:03.720 --> 00:28:12.550 Mira Brancu: it sounds like part 1 one of the pieces around. How they would do this is managing expectations.

00:28:12.740 --> 00:28:15.820 Mira Brancu: Right? So. I'd love to

00:28:15.990 --> 00:28:37.980 Mira Brancu: get into your frameworks for strategic decision making, starting with the managing expectations after we come back from the outbreak and dive into, like some examples of how to apply this, how can leaders explore this? Okay? So you are listening to the hard skills with me, Dr. Mirabranku and our guest, Dr. Liz Swigert, and we'll be right back in just a moment.

00:29:39.600 --> 00:29:59.169 Are you a business owner. Do you want to be a business owner? Do you work with business owners? Hi, I'm Stephen Fry, your small and medium-sized business, or Smb. Guy, and I'm the host of the new show. Always Friday, while I love to have fun on my show. We take those Friday feelings of freedom and clarity to discuss popular topics on the minds of Smes today.

00:30:31.820 --> 00:30:49.229 Mira Brancu: Welcome back to the hard skills with me, Dr. Mirabanku and our guest today, Dr. Liz Swigert, who is sharing with us about adaptive planning

00:30:49.330 --> 00:30:55.200 Mira Brancu: and how we can use it to find that

00:30:55.350 --> 00:31:09.299 Mira Brancu: right balance between being thoughtful about your planning, mitigating risks while also iterating and trying things out and being a little vulnerable about it. So I, for for leaders who like

00:31:09.590 --> 00:31:17.839 Mira Brancu: find this entire concept uncomfortable. What? What are some good ways? Tell us about your frameworks for

00:31:18.080 --> 00:31:24.099 Mira Brancu: strategic decision making, being able to balance these, starting with these expectation management

00:31:24.570 --> 00:31:27.739 Mira Brancu: and anything else that would be helpful for them to think about.

00:31:28.050 --> 00:31:33.530 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Absolutely. So let's first think about it on 2 parallel paths.

00:31:33.780 --> 00:31:38.779 Liz Sweigart, PhD: I like to think about things in terms of leadership, of self and leadership of others.

00:31:38.860 --> 00:31:46.790 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So on the leadership of self side, there are periodic check ins that you need to do with yourself.

00:31:47.060 --> 00:31:50.469 Liz Sweigart, PhD: separate and apart from what you're doing with your team.

00:31:50.480 --> 00:32:05.700 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Whether that is your immediate leadership team. It's an extended leadership team. It's an entire organization. You you know the the groups that you're working with, and and how how frequently you're meeting with them. But first and foremost is starting with yourself.

00:32:06.300 --> 00:32:11.719 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and as an adaptive planner, what I try to do is first

00:32:11.810 --> 00:32:26.219 Liz Sweigart, PhD: define the timeline. So we've all heard of smart goals, and the tn smart goal is time bound. So first. it helps when you're iterating and experimenting to remember that not everything is forever

00:32:26.770 --> 00:32:33.429 Liz Sweigart, PhD: so frequently I talk to leaders who are concerned, that if they make a decision it is irrevocable.

00:32:33.560 --> 00:32:35.809 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and that is how things are always going to be.

00:32:35.850 --> 00:32:52.060 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And frankly, that's indicative of a fixed mindset, which is the opposite of a growth mindset which is fueled by curiosity as we talked about before. So, first and foremost, it's let's be reasonable because we are not Karnak.

00:32:52.290 --> 00:32:57.010 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And so we are not prognosticating into the far flung future

00:32:57.150 --> 00:33:05.340 Liz Sweigart, PhD: we have, we have a period of time that we are working on. Now some things take years. They take a long time to do.

00:33:05.620 --> 00:33:21.909 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and they can still be broken up into pieces on the longest of journeys. There are still way stations, and there are still milestones. And so the first thing to do is to identify well, what's the right milestone for me to be working toward.

00:33:22.130 --> 00:33:30.180 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And I talked earlier a bit about sprint planning and how things are done in 2 week periods. Well, it doesn't mean that everything's said and done in 2 weeks.

00:33:30.280 --> 00:33:37.739 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Your stories translate into something called epics. so you may have something. You may have an epic journey that you're on.

00:33:38.140 --> 00:33:49.229 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and you can still break it down into smaller parts. And so the first question is, really, where am I? And what is the appropriate next waystation?

00:33:49.350 --> 00:34:04.429 Liz Sweigart, PhD: What's the next place that I need to stop and check in, or that I need to deliver something that I need to have something to show and making things time bound is also helpful because it stops things from feeling like they're going to drag on forever.

00:34:04.880 --> 00:34:12.039 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It forces you also to be more iterative and to evaluate more in real time.

00:34:12.850 --> 00:34:17.710 Liz Sweigart, PhD: I know what I'm trying to work toward is this is what I'm doing.

00:34:17.909 --> 00:34:21.590 Liz Sweigart, PhD: getting me farther down the line toward that objective.

00:34:22.330 --> 00:34:28.419 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So first is breaking things into pieces. Typically, I work on one week, 2 week.

00:34:28.480 --> 00:34:35.329 Liz Sweigart, PhD: one month, 3 month. That's that's typically the the sizes that I want to take. Those are bite size chunks to me.

00:34:36.360 --> 00:34:40.649 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Next, we want to think about what are the outcomes that we seek.

00:34:41.199 --> 00:34:47.210 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Frequently we'll talk about goals and objectives. Those don't tend to be terribly specific.

00:34:48.780 --> 00:34:54.070 Liz Sweigart, PhD: What I want to know is, in a week I will have fill in the blank.

00:34:54.679 --> 00:34:59.590 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So, for example. in a week I will have

00:35:00.110 --> 00:35:11.059 Liz Sweigart, PhD: onboarded a new employee. I have somebody we've just hired, and within the week I'm going to make sure that all of their information, their forms and everything else is filled out, and we're all set. Okay.

00:35:11.320 --> 00:35:13.930 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Now I know what my outcome will be. My outcome

00:35:13.960 --> 00:35:17.420 Liz Sweigart, PhD: is that I will have an onboarded employee. Okay.

00:35:17.780 --> 00:35:18.990 Liz Sweigart, PhD: I know that it's a week

00:35:19.430 --> 00:35:26.480 Liz Sweigart, PhD: now I can start breaking it down into tasks and component parts, and if things start to go in the wrong direction.

00:35:27.020 --> 00:35:31.950 Liz Sweigart, PhD: I have a way to be adaptive as we go and change what's happening.

00:35:32.450 --> 00:35:39.470 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So whether it's something as mundane as a task like that. Or it's something that's much bigger.

00:35:39.600 --> 00:35:51.760 Liz Sweigart, PhD: For example, finding new board members raising money, developing or designing a new product, whatever it is, you can identify the outcomes that you want.

00:35:51.900 --> 00:35:58.189 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So, for example, if you're thinking through products services in 6 months, we will have

00:35:58.970 --> 00:36:02.310 Liz Sweigart, PhD: an app in the app store, for example.

00:36:02.520 --> 00:36:09.340 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Okay. I've got a time. I know what I know what the the outcome is going to be.

00:36:09.640 --> 00:36:17.750 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Now I can start to break that down into its component tasks and parts, and I can start asking the other important questions like.

00:36:17.970 --> 00:36:19.980 Liz Sweigart, PhD: who do I need to bring along with me?

00:36:21.650 --> 00:36:24.069 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Who's not? Who am I not considering

00:36:26.950 --> 00:36:30.019 Liz Sweigart, PhD: who or what resources

00:36:30.220 --> 00:36:34.850 Liz Sweigart, PhD: do I need to bring to bear? Who have I not met yet

00:36:35.130 --> 00:36:38.540 Liz Sweigart, PhD: that I need to help me with this

00:36:39.650 --> 00:36:42.509 Liz Sweigart, PhD: starting to ask the questions about

00:36:42.650 --> 00:36:47.590 Liz Sweigart, PhD: well, what else am I not thinking of? Who else could I consult?

00:36:47.730 --> 00:36:57.979 Liz Sweigart, PhD: What other resources are necessary here? What type of feedback should I be seeking whose feedback is most important in this process.

00:36:59.400 --> 00:37:04.360 Liz Sweigart, PhD: being able to think through those questions. That's the adaptive part of it.

00:37:04.410 --> 00:37:08.520 Liz Sweigart, PhD: because it's information. And input that's not coming from you.

00:37:10.270 --> 00:37:14.950 Liz Sweigart, PhD: 99% of the adaption you have to do will not be caused by you.

00:37:16.120 --> 00:37:18.720 Liz Sweigart, PhD: The 1% is yucato.

00:37:20.760 --> 00:37:25.099 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And now you've been out sick. And so you need. You need to make some changes.

00:37:25.150 --> 00:37:32.339 Liz Sweigart, PhD: But almost all of the adaptation and the agility that you will be called on to demonstrate

00:37:32.470 --> 00:37:36.840 Liz Sweigart, PhD: is as the result of something that is an external force to you.

00:37:37.230 --> 00:37:41.259 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And so, if you pay attention

00:37:41.450 --> 00:37:42.510 Mira Brancu: to the force.

00:37:42.630 --> 00:37:50.539 Liz Sweigart, PhD: if you pay attention. Yes. that's and that's that's an important one. Where is my attention? What is drawing my attention?

00:37:50.560 --> 00:37:53.640 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Where's my, where's my attention being pulled? Now?

00:37:53.680 --> 00:37:56.870 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Data points. That's the other part of adaptive planning.

00:37:57.340 --> 00:37:59.910 Liz Sweigart, PhD: There is data all around us.

00:38:00.700 --> 00:38:04.970 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and we have a tendency to over index on single data points.

00:38:04.990 --> 00:38:08.369 Mira Brancu: One person tells us they hate the thing

00:38:08.870 --> 00:38:11.279 Liz Sweigart, PhD: someone else tells us they love the thing

00:38:12.080 --> 00:38:17.810 Liz Sweigart, PhD: we glom on to a single data point, and that informs all of our decision making

00:38:19.100 --> 00:38:25.470 Liz Sweigart, PhD: collect as much data as we can analyze it and then decide what we want to do.

00:38:26.050 --> 00:38:39.150 Liz Sweigart, PhD: One of the most valuable lessons I learned getting my Ph. D. Was that I didn't actually have to take everybody's feedback. Well, let me rephrase that. I did have to take it. I needed to listen to it. I didn't have to act on it.

00:38:40.480 --> 00:38:43.870 Liz Sweigart, PhD: My work is my work. and I own my work.

00:38:44.300 --> 00:38:52.469 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and sometimes I get feedback. That's really helpful, and informs how I do my work better. And other times. It's just feedback.

00:38:52.900 --> 00:38:54.000 Liz Sweigart, PhD: just data.

00:38:54.270 --> 00:38:57.599 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and I choose not to do anything with it.

00:38:58.110 --> 00:39:04.749 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So being able to take a balanced view toward the data that we receive the feedback

00:39:04.890 --> 00:39:09.390 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and decide what we want to implement and what we don't, and not doing it in a vacuum.

00:39:10.230 --> 00:39:12.720 Liz Sweigart, PhD: seeking outside opinions and advice.

00:39:13.390 --> 00:39:21.229 Liz Sweigart, PhD: That's why founders have advisors. It's why it's why we all have people that we trust. Why, we have mentors

00:39:21.620 --> 00:39:24.080 Liz Sweigart, PhD: seeking those opinions.

00:39:24.310 --> 00:39:26.339 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And again, it's more data.

00:39:26.450 --> 00:39:33.720 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It still doesn't mean you have to act on it, even if it's the best mentor you've ever had, or it's your most strategic advisor.

00:39:34.280 --> 00:39:37.839 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It's your choice. Ultimately, what you do with that data.

00:39:38.030 --> 00:39:40.499 Mira Brancu: Yeah. And I do think that

00:39:40.730 --> 00:39:54.910 Mira Brancu: you're, you're right. People do over index on one data point, and you could literally apply this to almost every decision making opportunity you have in your life. Right? So you mentioned mentorship.

00:39:55.430 --> 00:40:06.609 Mira Brancu: Right. If you lean on one mentor for every single decision you make in your life, you are missing important information because one person cannot be

00:40:06.630 --> 00:40:11.399 Mira Brancu: everything to you. Right? We we grow up with multiple

00:40:11.550 --> 00:40:30.390 Mira Brancu: mentors in our lives as when we're children are, you know, one parental unit might bring. You know you one thing that you need, a different type of parental unit might bring something else, a grandparent, or a friend, or a peer or a teacher. There are lots of people who bring different things to us, and

00:40:30.530 --> 00:40:35.600 Mira Brancu: that if you start recognizing that already, and you apply that

00:40:35.810 --> 00:40:37.710 Mira Brancu: to

00:40:37.720 --> 00:40:41.570 Mira Brancu: just how you think about serving in a leadership role

00:40:41.710 --> 00:40:58.859 Mira Brancu: serving your organization. Right? It's the same thing. It is recognizing that in order for you to make really thoughtful decisions, you need a lot of external data points and gathering. And so for for people who think about

00:40:59.190 --> 00:41:09.380 Mira Brancu: this constant pivoting, adapting as an overwhelming or anxiety producing process or a feeling of deep uncertainty.

00:41:09.580 --> 00:41:22.120 Mira Brancu: It's probably because you're trying to do it all by yourself with insufficient information. and that's what I'm hearing from you, Liz is you're saying, don't do it by yourself.

00:41:22.300 --> 00:41:30.890 Mira Brancu: Don't just guess out of thin air. Don't just make a 10 year plan, and just hope that it'll work out, you know, actually

00:41:31.080 --> 00:41:36.629 Mira Brancu: be very thoughtful about gathering consistent ongoing input

00:41:36.700 --> 00:41:38.609 Mira Brancu: from lots of sources.

00:41:38.830 --> 00:41:55.320 Mira Brancu: And it will help you continue to hone and hone and hone. It actually makes you a better like it's it's almost like your own, your you you're your own adaptive system. You are a complex, adaptive system at that.

00:41:56.460 --> 00:42:01.049 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Yes, well, that's a that's a wonderfully succinct summary. And

00:42:01.860 --> 00:42:12.450 Liz Sweigart, PhD: the piece that I would add to it is that, in addition to seeking the feedback and gathering the data. One of the most important things when you are doing this planning up front

00:42:12.610 --> 00:42:16.790 Liz Sweigart, PhD: is rigorous honesty about the potential obstacles.

00:42:17.310 --> 00:42:22.940 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We are really really good at identifying the outcomes that we want.

00:42:22.980 --> 00:42:32.530 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and being able to describe how they will look and how they will feel. Think of it as the 2 sizes, 2 small swimsuit hung on the refrigerator.

00:42:33.550 --> 00:42:54.030 Liz Sweigart, PhD: My! I will! I will fit into this. I can see myself at the beach, being the envy of all, and my plan is to cut out all sugars, all carbohydrate. It's everything that makes life enjoyable between now and then, and I will hang this swimsuit on the refrigerator as my constant reminder, and that lasts about a day and a half.

00:42:55.240 --> 00:43:08.570 Liz Sweigart, PhD: because you never really addressed the obstacles between here and there. and part of what goes into this adaptive planning for leaders is being rigorously honest about the obstacles

00:43:08.810 --> 00:43:21.719 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and creating building into the plan how you will address them. Now, you don't necessarily have to assume that all of them will show up. and it's very possible that there will be uncertainty around the obstacles.

00:43:21.920 --> 00:43:27.879 Liz Sweigart, PhD: but, generally speaking, going into things, you have a pretty good sense as to what might be on the horizon.

00:43:28.470 --> 00:43:36.489 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So, being honest with yourself and others about the potential obstacles, and then building your plan to address them.

00:43:37.020 --> 00:43:42.860 Liz Sweigart, PhD: That is critical for you as an adaptive planner, and then being open to the fact that

00:43:42.890 --> 00:43:44.560 Liz Sweigart, PhD: things will be different.

00:43:44.920 --> 00:43:46.520 Mira Brancu: Yeah,

00:43:46.740 --> 00:43:54.989 Mira Brancu: let's talk about. We're we're nearing an ad break. Let's talk about after the ad break. What are the sort of typical obstacles that you see

00:43:55.230 --> 00:43:59.419 Mira Brancu: in leaders who are really trying to lean into this

00:43:59.540 --> 00:44:04.660 Mira Brancu: and are still finding some challenges. So when we come back.

00:44:04.750 --> 00:44:15.630 Mira Brancu: let's dive into how to sort of work around what those challenges are and how to work around them. You're listening to the hard skills with me, Dr. Mirabu and our guest today, Dr. Liz Swider, and we'll be right back.

00:46:20.900 --> 00:46:26.920 Mira Brancu: welcome back to the hard skills with me, Doctor Mayor Bronku and our guest, Liz Swigert.

00:46:27.340 --> 00:46:35.170 Mira Brancu: Dr. Swigert. All of what you said sounds great. And it's

00:46:35.770 --> 00:46:45.700 Mira Brancu: perfect for the hard skills. Because these are really hard. They they are really hard skills, right? You've already mentioned, like

00:46:45.980 --> 00:47:04.340 Mira Brancu: part of the obstacle here is getting out of our own head about being right. You know. Showing up with with no weakness. You know, which means trying to appear like I'm not changing my mind. We've worked through some of that

00:47:04.620 --> 00:47:09.849 Mira Brancu: some of the other obstacles that I'm thinking about is like,

00:47:10.170 --> 00:47:19.940 Mira Brancu: You know, people who just have a natural state of anxiety about will things work out, you know, and try to sort of work through that

00:47:20.030 --> 00:47:23.680 Mira Brancu:  People who,

00:47:24.060 --> 00:47:33.630 Mira Brancu: you know, feel like their organization. If they're not at the top of their organization, feel like their organization.  might not look

00:47:33.710 --> 00:47:36.320 Mira Brancu: well upon them if they just

00:47:36.800 --> 00:47:49.259 Mira Brancu: engage in trial and error, and they make mistakes right? Well, we talk about that related to psychological safety all the time. When it comes to organizational development work right?

00:47:49.390 --> 00:47:52.140 Mira Brancu: But for for a leader who, like

00:47:52.290 --> 00:48:03.299 Mira Brancu:  does have the opportunity to engage more in this work like share with us some examples of the most common

00:48:03.740 --> 00:48:16.179 Mira Brancu: challenges that you've seen personally around. You know, trying to engage in some of these kind of strategic, adaptive, planning ideas that you had and what are a few ways that people can work through that.

00:48:17.090 --> 00:48:30.560 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So it's interesting to me is that really there are 3 obstacles. The 3 big ones, and they transcend organizational size. They they transcend just about everything.

00:48:30.900 --> 00:48:33.060 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It comes down to time.

00:48:34.020 --> 00:48:43.880 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It comes down to resources. Personnel budget bandwidth, which is just another function of time.

00:48:44.510 --> 00:48:54.210 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and it comes down to self. It becomes down to the things that we do that get in our own way. So let's start with the first one with just time.

00:48:54.530 --> 00:49:00.729 Liz Sweigart, PhD:  I I'm pretty sure that I say it all the time. I hear it from other people all the time. I don't have time.

00:49:02.120 --> 00:49:08.090 Liz Sweigart, PhD: No, you do. We all funnily enough. We all have 24 h in a day. All of us shared that.

00:49:08.280 --> 00:49:20.110 Liz Sweigart, PhD: What we're really saying is this is not a priority getting really clear on your priorities. and if something is not a priority, but you feel it should be a priority.

00:49:20.340 --> 00:49:25.509 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And yet you're saying I don't have time. What you're really saying is, it is still not a priority.

00:49:26.080 --> 00:49:34.360 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Get really clear about your priorities and get really clear about the priorities of the people who control the resources you need.

00:49:35.380 --> 00:49:45.610 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It's not just about understanding your own priorities. It's about understanding the priorities of the people 360 degrees around you. because it's the people whose inputs you need

00:49:45.710 --> 00:49:50.710 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and the people whose support you need and the people who you're going to need to help you do stuff

00:49:51.070 --> 00:50:00.140 Liz Sweigart, PhD: understanding that and finding the ways that you can communicate again. This is an expectation management. finding how you can communicate.

00:50:00.220 --> 00:50:06.990 Liz Sweigart, PhD: how, what you're doing and what you're asking for aligns with those priorities. And if it doesn't be honest about that.

00:50:07.910 --> 00:50:09.590 Liz Sweigart, PhD: so that's number one

00:50:10.010 --> 00:50:13.460 Liz Sweigart, PhD: number 2 resources money

00:50:13.980 --> 00:50:18.250 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and people. It doesn't matter if you're working in tech tek is human

00:50:18.340 --> 00:50:29.210 Liz Sweigart, PhD: human beings to build technology for human beings to use. So every business is a people business.  if you don't have enough people

00:50:29.260 --> 00:50:32.889 Liz Sweigart, PhD: to do what it is that you purportedly need to do.

00:50:32.920 --> 00:50:37.759 Liz Sweigart, PhD: It's also a prioritization problem. And so the question becomes.

00:50:37.790 --> 00:50:43.259 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Am I? Am I really using my resources efficiently.

00:50:43.370 --> 00:50:58.790 Liz Sweigart, PhD: Am I using them effectively, and is how I have people deployed, how I have money deployed, how I'm making investments is that aligned with my priorities. and if getting something done is a priority, you will align the people and the money to do it.

00:50:58.900 --> 00:51:02.120 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and if it isn't again, be honest about that.

00:51:03.240 --> 00:51:08.450 Liz Sweigart, PhD: the last ones ourselves. We are really really good at getting in our own way.

00:51:09.050 --> 00:51:24.959 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and one of the biggest ways we get in our own way, and I know that I can geek out with a fellow psychologist. On. This is a little something called felt understanding, which is beautifully meta concept that essentially says what I think other people think about me.

00:51:25.220 --> 00:51:34.219 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So much of our behavior is guided by what we think other people think about us, or what they will think about us, based on how we act

00:51:35.130 --> 00:51:40.190 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and spoiler alert. Most people are too busy thinking about themselves.

00:51:40.850 --> 00:51:46.740 Liz Sweigart, PhD: but we're convinced, because we're busy thinking about ourselves that they're thinking about us. Generally speaking, they're not.

00:51:47.090 --> 00:51:54.259 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And so we change and adapt our behaviour based on what we think other people think

00:51:54.860 --> 00:51:56.759 Liz Sweigart, PhD: without actually asking.

00:51:56.970 --> 00:52:07.769 Liz Sweigart, PhD: going back to what we were talking about before clarifying others, expectations of us, clarifying our own expectations for ourselves, and communicating those things proactively

00:52:07.890 --> 00:52:11.890 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and consistently ongoing communication

00:52:12.080 --> 00:52:18.060 Liz Sweigart, PhD: as you, the title of the show could not be better. That is a very, very hard skill.

00:52:18.840 --> 00:52:31.740 Liz Sweigart, PhD: So when we see obstacles that folks face. Those are really the Big 3, and they ultimately come down to a question of prioritization and expectation management.

00:52:32.000 --> 00:52:44.829 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And you can manage the expectations once you've set the priorities. And once you understand what other people's priorities are. and managing expectations comes down to communication.

00:52:45.340 --> 00:52:50.469 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And so, as leaders, what can we do? We can manage our own energy.

00:52:50.930 --> 00:52:53.389 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We can communicate early and often

00:52:53.450 --> 00:52:56.509 Liz Sweigart, PhD: transparently and honestly.

00:52:57.420 --> 00:53:11.749 Liz Sweigart, PhD: and that's I mean it. It shouldn't. It shouldn't be the secret sauce, but it is and I think, going back to this idea, we've been talking about about adaptive planning.

00:53:12.770 --> 00:53:17.709 Liz Sweigart, PhD: What we're doing is we're sketching out the outcomes. We want to see.

00:53:18.140 --> 00:53:25.430 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And we are developing a map to get there that's based on connecting dots.

00:53:25.680 --> 00:53:37.090 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We identify what the next milestone is a plan to get to that milestone. And then we figure out what we need to do to get to that milestone that might not have been on our original roadmap.

00:53:38.050 --> 00:53:47.480 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And so we are being adaptive, while at the same time sticking to this overall sketch that we've made, because what we're working toward is an outcome.

00:53:48.030 --> 00:53:53.530 Liz Sweigart, PhD: We know what it is that we want to see at the end of this time period.

00:53:53.650 --> 00:54:08.799 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And now it's a question of adapting how we are setting priorities. How are communicating with others, how we're deploying resources so that we can get there? And so what adapts is that planning and utilization of resources, not

00:54:08.870 --> 00:54:22.380 Liz Sweigart, PhD: the outcome. and there are times that we will decide midstream that the outcome isn't exactly where we need to go. and that's a point where we can pivot, and we can articulate a different outcome.

00:54:22.550 --> 00:54:29.150 Liz Sweigart, PhD: And then we can reprioritize and reorient and repoint our resources to that particular outcome.

00:54:29.190 --> 00:54:36.689 Liz Sweigart, PhD: But this is about trends. This is. This is about transiting between way stations on our way to a particular outcome.

00:54:38.300 --> 00:54:49.190 Mira Brancu: Excellent overview, Liz, thank you. It reminds me it's it. It resonates for me just personally in that my own company. I made a 10 Year plan

00:54:49.280 --> 00:54:57.010 Mira Brancu: right? And the tenure plan had to do with a very big overarching interest area of supporting women in leadership.

00:54:57.180 --> 00:55:05.469 Mira Brancu: How I got there and what I did has iterated over time, as I learned more and more, and gain more clarity.

00:55:05.480 --> 00:55:18.549 Mira Brancu: And that's really what you're getting at is it's okay to adjust over time as you gain clarity about the needs of your market. And you're gathering data, and you're learning, and you're iterating.

00:55:18.690 --> 00:55:22.849 Mira Brancu: And I haven't let go of the outcome. It's just I haven't sort of

00:55:23.250 --> 00:55:34.870 Mira Brancu: trapped myself into a very specific plan. So with all of that, we could, we could go on and on forever. If people want to learn more about you and your work.

00:55:34.920 --> 00:55:36.170 Mira Brancu: where would they go?

00:55:36.530 --> 00:55:49.550 Liz Sweigart, PhD: The best place, honestly, is Linkedin. You can find me on Linkedin. I welcome hearing from folks. II just don't believe you can know enough, generous, empathetic, excellent, and kind people

00:55:49.960 --> 00:56:10.020 Mira Brancu: awesome, and she is one of them folks so reach out to her and connect with her and follow her. She shares so many thoughtful nuggets. Well, beyond, you know, just this one topic area. So, audience, what did you take away? More importantly, what is one small change you can implement this week based on what you learned from Liz.

00:56:10.020 --> 00:56:22.220 Mira Brancu: Share it with us on Linkedin, at Mirabranku or at Liz Swigert, so we can share you on we're also on Facebook, Instagram Twitter and Twitch all over the place.

00:56:22.390 --> 00:56:33.620 Mira Brancu: In addition to being a live show, we're on apple podcasts and spotify. So please go subscribe to the podcast leave a review, share with others, to increase our visibility, reach and impact

00:56:33.760 --> 00:56:35.859 Mira Brancu: the stuff we talk about on the show

00:56:35.920 --> 00:57:03.730 Mira Brancu: as part of our research based strategic leadership pathway model that we teach in our towerscope leadership Academy as well as in group coaching and other work that we do to find out more about that. Go to go, and you'll find out more about the Leadership Academy and other work that we do. Thank you to Talkradio, Dot, Nyc. For hosting. I'm Dr. Mirabanku, the host of the Hard Skill show. Thank you today, Dr. Liz Feiert, for being with us.

00:57:03.740 --> 00:57:09.349 Mira Brancu: Really appreciate your knowledge and have a great rest of your day wherever you're tuning in from

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