Do You Know What You’re Great at Doing?

When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I got in trouble in school for bartering snails for colored pencils. Yes, my school mates traded their beautifully sharp and colorful Caran D’Ache pencils for slimy yet speedy snails. Interestingly, it wasn’t bringing snails into the school that was the problem. It was the deal making and wheeling and dealing manifesting on the playground instigated by yours truly. Clearly, my entrepreneurial spirit was not encouraged where I went to school. Such a shame. And just in case you needed further evidence, my bartering wasn’t limited to snails. I was a conker broker as well.

I didn’t recognize it at the time, but this was one of many shenanigans as a precocious little girl which should have clearly shown me a path to a career in sales. It’s always seemed second nature to me to find a solution a problem or provide resolution to someone else’s. If there’s a win for both of us, that’s even better. The question “why might they want this?” is always foremost in my mind.

And what does this flashback have to do with the idea of balance? The first step on the path to finding team balance is knowing yourself. Continue reading “Do You Know What You’re Great at Doing?”

Looking at the whole and not just the role

Welcome back to part three of the “Balance Series.”
Read Part I: How can you be courageous so you can be brave? and Part II: Do you practice organizational empathy?

I’m not sure if my first exposure to the concept of talent balanced teams was an accident or if it was just the first time I was mature enough to notice what was going on. Either way, it totally changed the way I thought about building leadership teams.

Back in the early 2000’s while I was at CNET Networks (soon to become CBS Interactive), I was part of the team that supported the sizable and complex sales organization. I was partnered with the Client Services lead Stacey DeLarios and the Ad Technology lead Adrian D’Souza.

If you ask me how life is today, I generally say “crazy, but good crazy.” However, that period with Stacey and Adrian was genuinely bizarre. It was the beginning of the tech bubble explosion and we were just as impacted as our friends. What it meant for us, however, was this weird combination of almost annual (and terribly painful) layoff rounds, accompanied with this continued acquisition of new brands and companies into the portfolio.

During this period Stacey, Adrian and I leaned on each other in a way that I’d never experienced before. It wasn’t planned or even discussed, but we had this immediate and mutual respect for our individual talents. Not only that, but we sought each other out to work through problems that weren’t necessarily in our “lane” of responsibilities but were in our “lane” of unique talents.

We were in the thick of it at the time and didn’t recognize how this mix of gender, personality, talent, culture, skills, style (I could go on) actually worked better for us as a team. It was when Adrian left several years later, Stacey and I noticed the hole. It was never quite the same again. Continue reading “Looking at the whole and not just the role”