I was born into a working-class family in western Colorado, where we raised orphan lambs while my father and mother built a thriving automotive repair business after my father was fired from the local dealership. The people that lived in the area were primarily white, christian, and conservative. My father would describe me to others as his “feminist eldest daughter” and “she's 14 going on 40.”
Three days after graduating high school, I was in US Navy boot camp. I chose the Navy because my grandfather was a sailor in WW2 and my father in Vietnam. The company I joined was comprised of 80 women from all over the US and US territories; every religious and racial family background you can imagine. This is where I very quickly started to learn what it meant to be a team, having each other’s backs (a foxhole mentality) and that our differences made us stronger and better.
It's been almost 25 years since I got out of the Navy, and looking back I can trace much of what have become my Philosophical Pillars to that pivotal time. Over those years I have worked in commercial construction to consumer electronics to wearables industries; and in functions from sales, quality, IT, hardware and software engineering, and operations. No matter the industry or function, there some some truths that are universal and self-evident.
I cultivate teams with Superpowers. I specialize in developing other leaders and teaching them how to operationalize the behaviors that will allow them to do the same. These are my philosophical pillars for leadership and life:
Have the courage to be curios, vulnerable, and seek to know-thyself. Doing what is right for the team and others is not always easy, it takes a choice to exercise courage. At times it is incumbent upon us to speak truth-to-power; those who truly deserve to lead appreciate this kind of courage. Have the courage to lead from where you are; leadership has nothing to do with titles or positions.
As a leader, we should above all serve those that are in our charge. We have a responsibility to provide opportunities for growth and to give and receive feedback. When people know you are truly devoted to the team’s success and care about them as a person, they will give you some of the greatest feedback about your leadership and management. When they know you have their back, they have yours by bringing their best-self to the team.
Teams require a vision that they believe in and are willing to work together to achieve even when times are really tough. It is the leader's responsibility to articulate the vision and facilitate the creation of common purpose and invite all team members to contribute to the journey. People often talk about having roots and wings, same idea here for teams and organizations.
People want to excel and be valued. For teams to achieve mastery, they need a common language and a shared toolbox of methods, mechanisms, and frameworks to draw upon. I don’t care which tools and language a team decides to ultimately use, just so they come together and all agree upon a set.
People and teams most often need to be liberated from limited thinking. We must liberate ourselves from the pre-conceived notions we have about groups of people and recognize when those are unconscious. One of the most common things teams need is to be liberated from is so much ambiguity they are unable to function at a high level.