Agile-Lean Ireland (ALI) Podcast

Jason Yip - Tactics for influencing leaders at different levels - Agile Lean Ireland Meetup

June 02, 2022 Agile-Lean Ireland Episode 2
Agile-Lean Ireland (ALI) Podcast
Jason Yip - Tactics for influencing leaders at different levels - Agile Lean Ireland Meetup
Show Notes Transcript

There are different levels of leaders, each of which require different tactics to influence. Jason will describe the differences he's seen between leaders at different levels (leaders of individual contributers, leaders of leaders, leaders of leaders of leaders) and then explore different tactics that seem to work better or worse for each level.

Speaker's Bio
Jason is a Staff Agile Coach at Spotify NYC and has been there since 2015 supporting Spotify Advertising, mostly around managing the effects of scaling and supporting leadership teams. Prior to Spotify, he was a Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks since 2001, mostly in Australia. While there, he supported and was a committer on the CruiseControl Open Source continuous integration server. He first encountered Extreme Programming in 1999.
He mostly writes on Twitter (@jchyip) and Medium ( His most popular writing seems to be "It's Not Just Standing Up: Patterns for Daily Standup Meetings" ( and "Why T-Shaped People" (

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Three primary leader levels of leadership that I'm going to talk about and kind of where I'm mostly exposed to level 1 leaders of teams and individuals, Level 2 leader of leaders Level 3 leader of leaders of leaders and it can keep going. So I don't talk about. 4 and up, but like my kind of convention here is I just add another number every time you go another layer. Sure, but depending how large organisation is, you can have leaders of leaders, of leaders, of leaders and so on and so forth. Sometimes that hierarchy shifts and almost always it shifts just because you start getting a problem with scaling type issues. So usually there's some kind of adjustment here for the most part with any. I think the kind of L1 to L3 thing which people might say like a manager, a director of EP type structure tends to be quite common, so I'll stick with that. It starts getting into things that I'm. As exposed to so I don't really want to comment too much about that. OK, so. Given that, that's just kind of give a sense of what I'm talking about of different levels of leadership, let's look at tactics for influence at each level. Starting with the L1 leaders. So if we talk, think about and I don't know what kind of. I actually assume everyone has exposure to a leader as long as you've ever been exposed to like reporting to someone. So if you, what do people wear like? That's first level. What they tend to do, like what occupies their time. What I typically like these are kind of the. The typical things that I've seen fills up most of the time 1. They're growing individuals or they're growing teams, so whatever that might look like in terms of how how they do that development, but they're spending a lot of time growing individuals and teams, they're engaged in hiring and firing depending on the higher rate of the organisation that may eat up a lot of time or not that much time. They're typically involved in facilitating delivery, so given this is like the first level of management, they're still pretty close to what is required to deliver outcomes. So they may be involved in that. Depending on the organisation, they may be even accountable for that, so they spend a lot of time on it. Or not. And finally, they will be the first point of contact for any issues. Meaning if there's an escalation, there's questions, some larger change occurred and people are asking like getting support or whatever for that, I'll one leader is the first point of contact for the vast majority. Obviously, if you are a leader, your first point of contact, whoever you report to, but the L1 leaders. Are the the vast majority of the organisation will be reporting to this because most people will be individual contributors rather than managers hopeful. If your if your organisation has mostly managers and not a lot of individual contractors, then there's probably some bigger problem which I don't. I'm not going. To bother talking about. OK, so this is the the this is where they occupy their time. And these are the. These are the problems that I. Think I've found typically show up because of these are where they spend their time and which also are opportunities for leverage to influence so. Depending on the level of experience with the this leader to like, if you are a first time leader, you're very likely to be a Level 1 leader, right? Because you've never let anyone before, so you're going to be just leading teams and individuals, not leading other leaders. That's unlikely. So which means that a lot of these things are associated with learning. Proud to be like your first time leader type stuff, so growing individuals teams like maybe you had experience with that doing as an individual contributor or this could be your first time starting to be the person that is listening asking questions, getting giving feedback to people. That sort of stuff. This might be the first time you're dealing with hiring and firing and generally like that is probably the most severe version of things, but things that require like they're very strong emotional context and high stakes type situations. So how do you deal with that, which you might not have been dealing with as much? The facilitation of delivery, a kind of typical problem I see is. Just shifting from oh, I I just as an individual contributing, you could just do it yourself and but now you're that's not what you should be doing cause you're facilitating you're not driving delivery per say or like running delivery. And then when you're the first point of contact, so something large happens in the organisation. Maybe you weren't even involved in that, and yet you're still the first person people talk to. How do you deal with that? And these kind of are the forces given these are the troubles that typical for the L1 leader. That means my tactics here tend to reflect those things. The general theme I have for when you're trying to influence a Level 1 leader is you're trying to help them learn how to be more effective as a leader from the baseline level. So three things, three things here. The first one is the facility, how do you effectively facilitate delivery? Second one is how to delegate and empower. And the third one is how to deal with difficult conversations, especially the emotional aspect of it. OK, so this this one the. Facilitating the delivery as in like I say here, this is where you share or apply useful agile lean concepts and practises to help them solve delivery problems. This is typically what I've done to influence level 1 leaders. I don't really intend to talk a lot, I'm not well, I'm not going to. Talk a lot. About this mainly because I think even for this. Crowd, this is. Typical stuff, right? We're an agile lien meet up. This is normal. Stuff not, not nothing particularly interesting here, but this is where you go. OK, there are these sort of things that maybe these are kind of easy for us. They're actually most useful when you're talking about L1 leaders who are concerned about facilitating delivery like considered delivery problems. OK, I've got tricks that I can share. And then you find the useful, that kind of stuff. This is where that fits. I'll talk later about, like this. Doesn't this problem or this concern doesn't hold later on? So that's why some things just don't work as well. OK. The second thing because hey, they're trying to learn how to empower and delegate, et cetera, sharing useful models for empowerment. So hey, I'm a new leader. I can help you work out how to think about empowerment. So not just as a one line word, but how do you structure it such that you can gradually increase the ability to delegate? And be able to trust that people do stuff. That's the one I the model that I've typically used and I like is called the ladder of leadership. This is by Al David Marquette. He wrote a book called Turn the ship around. Actually, how many people have read turned the ship around? I'm curious. I see one hand, but I can only see one hand. OK, I saw a couple. Oh, yeah, if you you raise the. If you use the zoom thing, then I'll see your. I'll see it pop up. So that actually helps. OK, so it's a good book to read. It is about. Creating more leaders, which is effectively what the like a good OL1 leaders, that's what they're trying to do, right? So they're trying to free up time, build people up. And I like this thing, it kind of says, hey, no matter what level someone is at, you can always move up to the next level. So if they're, if they're kind of someone reporting to you and they always want. You to tell them what to do. You can at least get them to start sharing their observations of what's going on, and then if they do that, then they get them to to share what they're thinking about, what they're seeing, and then if they're thinking. About things you asked them, what they they would like to do and if they're able to say what they would like to do, you ask them what they intend to do and then if they talk about what they intend to do, you you, you essentially say why haven't you already done it really so and then if they are doing things like then you kind of move on to their reading. So this is all. Step by step, how do you get someone from tell me what to? Due to taking their own initiative, being more independent, growing into a leader themselves, that sort of thing, and this is this type of discussion seems to happen quite a bit more at the L1 leader side, especially with newer leaders. But even with more experienced ones, because this is a very common thing. General idea here is doing. This means that they find you useful, and then you can influence various things. The last thing that I think a technique that seems to be or a tactic that seems to be most useful for influencing our leaders, is sharing useful models for and helping them practise for difficult conversations. So the picture here I have is from crucial conversations like they talk about conversations that. Or have differing opinions, strong emotions, high S. Which is the most difficult conversations to have and how to go about that? I found like helping someone learn how to deal with something like that, which is quite scary if you're not used to it, even if you are trained and used to it it it's not. It's it maybe still be a little bit scary. So having being supportive there being ready to help them with that including role play simulation to help them practise that does buy you a lot of influence. And so then they one like they they go, OK, this person is helping me do my job more effectively. But also you're already into now you can talk about serious things because you're both understand a model for. How to do that? OK, Karsten, you raised your hand.

No, that was just because.

I forgot to lower it after you asked about who.

Read the book.

Oh, sorry. OK, cool. OK, excellent. OK. So there there are, I should say there are different models for this and I like even for the previous one there are different models. The main thing I want to convey is if you are useful for this particular topic, your level of influence tends to be like it's it's a good path to acquire influence because this is a very common. A concern? OK, so now if we go to level 2 leaders. The type of activities are quite different. There are. There may be some overlap, but for the most part the kind of top of mind where most of the time goes is different. So there is still growing people type angle but. For an at level 2 leader, so this is leader of. Leaders. What? You're who you're growing tend to be other leaders on both either formal or informal. So what I've typically seen is an L2 leader would grow like, for example, they'd grow. They're trying to develop engineering managers or informal leaders in my mind would be like staff plus engineers. So the very influential individual contributor. Or an engineering manager and the skills that you're trying to convey there, or help someone develop are kind of different than what you would do as an L1 leader. Effectively you you'd have to be say hey, I know the skills that are effective for being an L1 leader and I'm trying to. Convey that as an L2 leader. So instead of hiring and firing, even though you're still doing hiring, firing, but it's just not nearly as common because just less roles I guess. Even though it can't eat up a lot of time if you're trying to replace people, but the the main, the bigger thing I think is more negotiating for headcount. So about this level you are. Typically involved in negotiating, negotiating for budget capacity for hiring and all that kind of stuff kicks in, which would not be something necessarily you'd be as aware of or concerned about before. But here now you're going OK how many people do we need? Like, how do we negotiate all this kind of stuff, which is can. Again, be like overwhelming or concerning. If you never done before, you're not at this level 2 leaders, you're not facilitating delivery so much as framing and kind of facilitating the overall delivery system type thing. So there will be multiple deliveries going on in your kind. Putting some umbrella around us so people know why they're doing certain things, but also ensuring more systemic patterns are dealt with. There is a lot. More coordination politics at this level, specifically with leaders of other leaders of leaders. And this is not to say that there's not coordination politics at different levels, but this is where I've seen it, kind of. It's almost like a jump. That that occurs mainly because usually you're crossing the larger boundaries at. This level and finally I'd say there's some time what I call compensating for air sandwiches. So what's an air sandwich? An air sandwich is when there is some higher level vision for your organisation and that everyone knows there's high level vision. There is the day-to-day stuff which your L1 leaders are taken care of. So day-to-day delivery stuff. And then there's the in between which shows the connection between the day-to-day stuff and. This high level vision. And a lot of places, there's a big hole. Right, so nobody knows how to connect what they're doing day-to-day to what the overall organisation is trying to do. Usually at this L2 level, and it does occur at different levels in between as well, but L2 is the probably the first point of contact where people on teams are going. I don't understand how we're doing connects. To this bigger. Picture this is where this shows up. The most so I call that compensating for an air sandwich. Not saying that I think every organisation should have or does have an air sandwich, it just happens often enough and these L2 eaters are eating it the most, so they kinda have to work out. How do I deal with that? And and now, like you can't say, hey, that's someone else's problem, because it it is your problem. You're the the person that one's coming to. So again, what are the typical issues with these responsibilities? One, because people expect your to reframe and facilitate overall delivery. There's a lot of questions about what's going on. How do we deal with it? Type stuff. When you're starting getting more politics type stuff, so how do we deal with politics like I I think what people talk about, which I I don't like, I actually don't like describing it as such. But they saying about shielding or taking care of the politics stuff I'm like normally you would say, oh, someone else can take care of that for me. So I don't have to worry about it. And then once you get into this type of level, then you're the person taking care of it. I usually would say, but this is kind of give the details like you don't want to protect people from context per say, but you do want to. Facilitate and make it less of a distraction. So. How? But how do you deal with that compensating for air sandwich stuff there? There's just a large concern about how do I get all these teams? Like they're all like all doing their own thing. How do we get them all aligned toward a shared goal? This type of thing happens quite. A bit here. OK. So in terms of tactics for influence, a lot of it falls underneath that umbrella of how do I help this person align a bunch of teams toward a shared purpose? Again, if you are helpful there, then again, you become more influential because these these are the key things that the L2 leader is concerned with. 30 I have four things here A1 how to do large group communication, both written and spoken. I'm highlighting problems that they weren't aware of there. This is where the distance starts to increase and as a a third party, if you will. Now it depends again, like I'm talking as a. Consultant slash coach. So I'm outside the reporting line so I can point out and see things that is difficult for them to see. And then how to structure good strategy again like if L2 is trying to frame overall delivery which now we're getting into strategy and stuff, how to both determine and communicate that and tactics to deal with by and politics. Because both you're trying to align everyone within your organisation. As well as get buying from partners or other organisations that you need to deal with. OK so. One thing I found this actually happened. This happens quite a bit of I spent a lot of time with. These L2 leaders, a lot of stuff I do that seems to be effective for influence is just providing feedback to improve the effectiveness effectiveness of their large group communication. So I don't know where it comes from. It seems like at a certain level, people just start sounding corporate for some reason. I don't know who's telling them to do this. If you help someone simplify their language so they don't sound, they just don't. They sound inhuman effectively, which means that makes them. It makes it harder for their message to be received. That helps. A lot. If they improve their logical narrative structure. So it's not just a random set of points that there is a logical sequence and relationship to a message, probably even before we talk about language that improves the quality of the message and just it's kind of related to the simplify. But this thing of being more transparent and authentic. Just like say, like get to the point, say the thing, don't try to. Work around it, right? There's especially being at this level being like working around it, not really saying what you want to say ends up producing a lot of rumours which creates trouble. So the idea here is providing this feedback and as the large group communication gets more effective. Again, you're useful, and then you become more influential. You people come to they, they they come to you for help for stuff because they can trust that you can help them convey the message they need to convey to the larger group. That's like in terms of feedback, like things you say, hey, if you're reviewing something, there's also something around structure and process to improve the effectiveness of large group communication. So I think especially if this, yeah, if this is not something they've done before like maybe earlier on when they were just a Level 1 leader or an individual contributor. They would just wing the message so they write something and they just send it and it's like it's probably OK. Typically at this level of your level 2, if you don't do it well, you're going to. Get a lot of. Pushback or complaints, or like all these consequences, it's it's just the impact of each message is noticeably higher, so it's important to make sure that it's affected, that you anticipate the problems that will occur. So typically I've introduced a more structured process for this that you have. An initial author write a draught. You're getting feedback from a a smaller group initially, typically a leadership team, if you. Have one or. A targeted reviewer. So people that are influential within the organisation that you know can give you good feedback. Then you send the message, then you're monitoring the reactions and following up as needed. If it didn't get received well and then you're repeating this message. As often as required to get the message across. So it's a much more systemic systematic. Way to communicate, which again first time being a Level 2 leader, they may not know to do that and they just try to wing it and then it doesn't work. Helping people know how to deal with this. Like usually like sometimes it is. They try the winging thing and then they go oh what that didn't work and. They get really concerned, et cetera and giving them something to help them feel more comfortable with this process. Again, helps them out. It's useful and builds you influence. OK. Pace here so. Next thing is providing early awareness of hidden problems. So as mentioned this where this is primarily when you're outside the reporting line, if you're even. If you're inside the reporting line. If you're aware of problems that they're not of, it's useful for them to hear it. I think there's a very common phenomena with L2 leaders, like where it starts. Really it gets worse the further up you go, where they stop knowing what's. Going on. I think sometimes people think ohh they're not doing something because they're they don't want to do it. It's sometimes they don't even know the problem exists because nobody's telling them and they can't see it because there's just not enough exposure. So having being a person who shares problems that they can't see is very useful. One strong way to do it, I think, which again I think relates to some. Probably typical for people in the lean community is visualising, so some things are too difficult to even understand if you're just talking about it. But if you can put up a map or a picture of some sort, it becomes more obvious that there's a. That's worth worth dealing with. I've shared a few here like the first two are kind of a typical lean thing like value, stream map. Pareto charts just say hey, here's the thing, this is what's going on and that's becomes useful. And they like that and the last one there is wordly map, which is effectively just showing. It's kind of like showing I would say, how are the things that we're building, how do they layout in a product life cycle? So we understand where. There were. We're allocating our efforts strategically that it makes sense of that sort of thing. All these things are about, again, creating awareness of hidden problems. You become useful and more influential. As I mentioned before, there is an expectation the L2 leader is almost like first point of contact for strategy stuff. There are broader levels of strategy, but there is at least some discussion of of strategy here because you're saying what's the strategy for our at least our local area, multiple teams, etc. And. I think. I've actually found a lot of people have really bad models for strategy, so sharing something useful, but also simple is is useful here for influence. The best one I like here is from a book called Good strategy Bad Strategy. Really they have a kernel here which has three parts. One is a diagnosis of a situation. Guiding policy, which is kind of guiding principles for how. We think we should respond to that diagnosis and then a set of coherent actions. So really three things. If you're saying developing a strategy, you really wanna make sure you answer all those. If you get that core there, then you can build off of and that's been helpful. So. It's difficult. Sometimes I think for people at this level to when there's an expectation for them to work out the strategy and a lot of times I don't think anyone taught them how to think about stuff like this. So it's useful to be able to do that again. Being useful, showing something new, build influence. OK, last thing is sharing useful tactics to deal with. Buy in and politics again. Like we mentioned before, the at this point you start dealing with having to. Deal with much more significant cross boundary politics. It depending on the organisation, you could already be dealing with that lower levels, in which case it's. Even worse of a mess, but. Even though even with good organisations, at this kind of L2 level, there is just more of it, just because of the you start crossing boundaries where people don't work as often together so they don't resolve things as much. So you're still dealing with this kind of initial a much a higher jump in terms of politics. There are useful tactics here again born from the from the lean. Face people talk about demo. Actually, how many people heard of no washy? I'm actually curious sometimes I. Nemawashi how many people? Know this. Got one in the hand. You have lean in the title of your meet up. You got to know this stuff. So Nemawashi old school Toyota type thing it it's effectively it's typically translated as preparing the ground. So if you the kind of thing here is you don't get agreement in a large group setting like in a meeting you don't. You don't even try to. What you need to be doing is you get agreement by this kind of repeated back and forth with individuals like getting in touch with people, making sure their concerns, reflecting concern, doing all this stuff and they call preparing the ground cuz you do all of that. So by the time you have any kind of formal get together to say, hey, we're gonna make a decision, you already know what's going to happen. You don't walk into kind of this high pressure group situation not knowing what the result is gonna be because you prepared the ground beforehand. That's called nemawashi. It is a very useful common tactic for larger scale influence with large organisations. I actually just saw this when someone was talking about how do staff plus engineers influence larger technical changes in organisations? The same idea like Nemo, Washi, you go around, you talk to people, get people on board. One like person by person. By the time you're getting into an RFC larger group discussion, you already know what the answer is because you already talked to everyone and that's. That's a tactic which people who have not dealt with things at the scale may not even realise they think. Ohh, I'll just fire out a group thing and we'll just chat about it in a group and everyone will get together and Kumbaya and it'll work. And then they're shocked when it doesn't because it's just because the dynamics don't. Don't work that way so. Warning people about this helping them learn how to do this effectively. Again useful buys. Influence here on the right here I have. I have a link here which cuz I have more tactics here. There are these things about. OK, you're dealing with very large scale cross boundary initiatives and usually the answer to resolving them are not always we'll all just talk together and everything will work out. We're all in it together type thing. There's a lot. There's a few tactics where, yes, it would be nice if we all were all in together, but there are varying interests and you kind of have to do certain things to make sure that things work out. Well, the example here quickly is. Just the use of liaisons that are specifically selected for particular skill sets, which may not be as useful at a smaller scale, but at a large scale they're very useful. So there's a very lot of deliberate things that happen to navigate politics. I will just on a final point on this one, just want to say like at the. L2 plus level. This idea of there are no politics is is nonsense. You may say it for cultural purposes, but that's not actually true. It's not doesn't reflect reality. You always have varying interests, whether or not people like. It's not politics in the sense of people hate you. It's more that people have differing interests and you have. To navigate that. So there and there are different tasks for it.


And let's look at L3 litres. So a big shift here with L3 leaders is the Oh yeah, is not wasting their time, but treating them like a human. So there's two phenomena I found when I first encountered people at this L3 level. So leaders of leaders of leaders. Is 1. They have almost no time available. Typically this is where you start seeing executive assistants show up to help with time management, organising meetings, etcetera. Stuff like that. Also, this is also typically a level where you start seeing not always, right, so which could be one level beyond this. But you stop seeing sometimes they're not part of a team, which means that their role, their experience, is much lonelier than you might think. So this thing of starting to feel like hey, nobody, there's no one I can talk to. And two, I have no time is almost affects how all the interactions go. So because of that I have two tactics here. This is probably where it's the hardest for me, cuz this is sort of the extent of where I'm. Starting to have influence. But the two tactics that I tend to use are one getting to the point, including. If you're asking for something, just ask for it. Don't like beat around the Bush? Like get to the point and two, respectfully saying what is needed to be said so the the the phenomena of. How people not talking telling you stuff combined with the, you know, they're still human and they they need someone to recognise that they they're not like robotic. This kind of abstract executive person. And like leaning into that can get you influenced because it's like you understand the situation, they're. OK so. Actually, I think I've probably flipped my slides around, but so this one what do L3 leaders typically do? Growing leaders of leaders just on another level up, which is even more complicated allocating headcount. So if you're talking about, hey, we're how do I allocate budget to different groups you're having at this level, you're dealing with higher level politics and escalation. So that means like company. Organisation level politics escalations you are probably establishing larger term strategies, so you're like you're the person who creates the air sandwich. If you're not clear about how things. It's kind of like you and typically not a lot of time. OK so. Going to the get to the point thing. So this is like the first time I ever had an encounter with an executive level. This kind of all through your leader type person, the first advice he gave me was, yeah, Jason, you kind of need to get to the point. I don't have time because I was like, I was like, I'm gonna tell you how I got to this conclusion. I'm working through all the steps, which is kind of typical when I'm talking to people cuz they're. I'm trying to teach people how to solve the problem. And here he's like, now you don't. You need don't need to do that. And you just. To get to the point, and then I'll ask you if I wanna know how you got there. So this is essentially the idea here is that you should be using inductive logic, not deductive logic. Deductive logic is starting from the beginning and then working the steps that lead you to a conclusion. Inductive logic is starting with the conclusion and then explaining how you reached that conclusion. OK, so if you're at an L3 leader plus, typically you wanna go with inductive logic. Just get to the point. If they want more details, they'll tell you that I want more details. You wanna be prepared with it, but sometimes they'll say cool. I don't need to know. And then you're moving on. Right. Because again, efficiency with time, etc. Kind of related to that, which again I encountered maybe like recently is you don't try to teach them how to fish. So this whole thing of ohh if you give someone a fish, you feed them and then like once and then if you teach them on fish you they eat forever kind of thing at this level they don't fit. If they need to fish or they need fish, they delegate the fishing to other people. So don't try to teach them other fish they're not interested. And again, you're wasting time. Again. It's. It's like same thing with the inductive logic. You could say, hey, here's the fish. If they want to know how you got that fish or how the fish is like how fishing works or something. They'll ask, and then you can have that ready to go, but you don't start there. OK. Does that, does that make sense to everyone? This was kind of the the most interesting thing I've learned over the years because it was. It was weird when I first encountered it.

So Jason, just when you talk about don't teach them to fish, some of the people that I encountered at that level, I I guess it depends on how you. Define fishing. Because some of the people that I encounter at that level maybe don't have certain. Subtle skills that that I think that they should have at that level in terms of managing communication. Or being effectively empathetic in their communication to maximise the impact of their message.

Yeah. And then you should be doing this. What I this slide here? You respectfully say what need to be said. Right now that from there, they may ask you to help them. Or they won't. But I wouldn't go to say ohh let me teach you how to do it. Until they ask for it. What I what I would say you do here is you. You say it right because again it's like if they were saying they're they're not that necessary that effective at communicating it's useful for them to hear it and they may actually be in a situation where nobody's telling them. Right, there's there's like here. Like they stop hearing problems due to distance, right? They're too far away from problems or filtering because people are trying to. What do you call it? Suck up. So like they go. Oh, I don't want them to feel bad. So I'm not gonna tell them because they're like, you're in a position of power. So they philtre. So you never hear anything. And then having someone who is willing to say it but also say it respectfully. Because second point here, even people with power, they want to feel safe, right. They're still humans. And also probably lonelier, because they may not have a peer group that they they interact with that often. So having someone to say, oh, I can trust that this person will tell me what I need to hear and that they respect me like they're they're not trying to show. That I'm bad at my job, per se. They're just providing me useful feedback that becomes very useful. You become very influential, you get invited to stuff and all. This so and so forth. Yeah, like this phenomenon of less team peer support people not telling them stuff. It can be very fairly isolating feel. So being able to respectfully say what is need to be said is useful both for useful for them but also influence, because now you're someone becomes trustworthy and get invited to things. Yeah, but again said before, like this may cause them to ask you to teach them something. Or or might not and I would not step in unless it's being asked for the other the other, the other level is. It's like you you probably follow a similar type of thing, but not as severe. I think sometimes you can kind of just like work through a problem. Without necessarily saying that. But this this becomes a there's like a Cliff here as well. OK, so summarising tactics, the kind of general approach that I take and this is not the only approach, but this is the one I tend to take for tax, for influence and for leads to different. If you want to be influential to leaders, you need to be useful for them, and in order to be useful, you wanna understand their goals and context. Once you understand their goals and contexts, you can do things that are helpful that are useful for them, and that gives you influence because they trust you. You there's things that you like, it's valuable for you to be around and. Therefore, you can, beyond the things that you're doing that are useful. You can even ask for or influence things that are not even related to that, because you have this base level of of trust and value in that relationship. OK. Again, these are more guidelines and actual rules. And also I would say which I mentioned before, every leader is they're still human and they're unique. You will see different specific preferences, different specific strengths and backgrounds, etc. The levels kind of indicate what's typical that occurs there and what our typical. Concern. So if you had to, if you had to guess, have to take a bet. They're they're reasonable. But once you start to learn who a specific person is, you'll pick up more specific problems or concerns or styles. And then you want to adapt to that and adjust as needed. OK. So I guess we can switch to questions. I'm also curious if anyone has any other tactics that they've found effective.

Thank you Jason for. There is a question here in the chat Michael asking if you could go over again the deductive inductive logic piece.

Ohh OK. OK, I I had the little. I have a funny little example here for deductive logic. I mean deductive logic. So deductive logic is you kissed my girlfriend. You insulted my mother. You kicked my cat, therefore I hate you. So you kind of like here are. The facts. Building it up and then you have a conclusion. Inductive logic is I hate you. Why do I hate you? You kiss my girlfriend? You insulted my mother. You kicked my cat. Right now with this. With an L3 leader, I would say you could just say I hate you and then they'll go cool and then they move on and you don't. You don't say anything. Like or they might say. Ohh I'd like to know I'd I'd like to know how you came to that conclusion and say, OK, cool. I got some follow up stuff.

That that one makes sense, like you don't want to come across as confrontation confrontational because then you know that you're not setting up yourself for productive conversation after that or or constant conversation after that, so that that makes sense. Thanks for things for clarifying that.

Yeah, like I I I. What was the last? The last time I've done this again? Like I I I go oh, I messed that one up the last time I saw this was I'm going. Hey, here's an overall strategy. So how should we be allocating particular capabilities which these things are, we say, hey, they're innovation bucket, experimental bucket productive. These are commodity stuff and this is how we want to split them up and reallocate. Efforts and stuff like this and I was like spending all this time talking through how we derived all this blah. And just like, just get to the point. Right. Like cause you to to some to some extent they even lost the point that I was trying to get across and was like, OK, like they just don't have time to to work through this stuff versus all the L2 leaders were like, oh, cool, they're like working the problem with you. It's just like a completely different dynamic. OK. Does that make sense?

It does. Thank you. Yep.

So Jason, a follow up to this question, can I ask you, so would you use that that kind of tactic or technique to to communicate with anybody who is busy or no like if people are on the ground, if they do their job, they do need to know the facts and which you which you differentiate. Like is it I'm. I'm just, I'm just thinking is it a good technique to use with inductive logic with anybody who is busy or rather not?

I sort of sort of. There are some cases where I'm saying you really should not be proceeding if you don't know why that's there. Like it's not safe because you almost have to say you need to understand the logic, like the how we got there, because you need to adapt as needed.

Thank you.

For the L3, they don't need to do that. Someone else is adapting. They just need to know what was the point, and then they just authorise and we're moving on, right, like they don't need to know if you say, hey, this this person needs to know the mechanism because they may need to adjust things. Yes, they need to understand how it got there. Having said that, yes. If, if, if it's like we already all sort of know the mechanism, just tell me what the conclusion. Sure. Right. If like if you are actually under severe time constraints, yes, you just go, we're going with this and then we just trust that the logic was good because we're already moving like I could think sometimes with a like maybe like an emergency or an incident type stuff you would just say, OK, let's do this and then we can just like later. On we're saying, OK, this is. Like in a post mortem, we could say. How did you get to that point? But you wouldn't like say ohh we're we need to do this emergency thing and let me walk through the steps about how to came to that action. Like you're it's too like it's way too slow. You just don't wanna do that.

OK. Thank you. OK. Yeah. OK. Thank you. Yeah, perfect. Makes sense. Thank you.

OK. Any other questions?

I have more kind of. A personal question, Jason, why did you decide to unpick this subject?

It's just kind of a. Sorry, I was just getting echo there.

Yeah. If everybody who is not speaking, if you once you ask the question if you could mute yourself because otherwise we got the quality is not great. Thank you.

Yeah, like once. Why am I interested in this this subject? Mainly because I was no noticing the the difference. It was just kind of interesting right there. There's broadly in the industry people are talking like there's general people talk like specifically in technology engineering side like they'll say like engineering manager versus. A director versus a VP, they're they're like different jobs. I don't know if people like it's actually hard for people to realise this until they get exposed to that, as people within the agile lean community, if you're doing trying to influence change beyond like, hey, we have these skills, we use them, but also we want to encourage them to be used more broadly and in order to be able to encourage you to use more broadly, you do need to understand. How? How things change at different levels. So I just thought this was a useful skill. It's one that I kind of picked up over time, which at the beginning of this all I wouldn't have even thought that this was a thing. So that's why I figured it. Was useful to share.

Thank you. Yeah, I enjoyed. It very much thank you.

Uh, I guess, Erin, you have your hand.

Yeah, I have a quick question so.

One of the.

Things I've used also is what's called positional value or positional strength, so it's figuring out. You know. What that person is attempting to need for the advancement of their positional strength in the organisation, so I I mean I would, you know, I don't know how you would frame that in, but it's it's sort of a piece that I I was taught sort of as part of. Twitter production system planning. Kind of sure you know, you know how to because those those hippo types have. You know, they have, like their own career progression and you're trying to help them. You're trying to add value to their progression and contribute to that. Does that make sense?

Yeah, yeah, for sure, like. And that does assume like that career progression is what that particular person is primarily interested in. And this like the specific thing you kind of like, what is that person like where? Where are what are their motivations, what their goals? And then yeah, you're you're trying to help them achieve that type of thing. I've I've heard similar things like in the sales context too. So like, when we're like assessing prospects, it's the same, same deal we're we're trying to understand like what are they looking for and then we can help them achieve that. So it's there's a lot of win win type. Type things here going on. I did have one thing which I was like. I thought it might be interesting just to put within all of the like, all of the leaders it's like. L1 leader learn how to become an L2 leader L2 leader. Learn how to become an L3 leader or. Even how to interact right? Because I I do spend time talking to people at L1 like, OK, this when you're interacting with the L2 person this. Is what you should be. Doing and you're interacting with the like L2. You're interacting with L3. And so on. So on and so forth because you. Go cuz even like that's. Something or like if you wanna be promoted to that. These are the sort of things that you need to start, like thinking about getting better at all that kind of stuff again, that it's still into the be useful for the goals and constraints that they the context that they have which then requires influence and they have. Different ways to talk about that. OK, maru.

You want to add something to to to this one slide. One thing I've I've experience being useful for. 15 years working with Exec leadership is. The use of visualisations so on top of. Using the right level of abstraction or giving them the starting with the end because you don't know what kind of reasoning they find themselves and you. Don't know what? They need that. Stuff to to be used for they you said. On one of. Your slides, they could get lonely there. It is very lonely and they have their own agenda. And they cannot unless. They have a set of trusted people in your team or other teams. They sometimes aren't even isolated, so having good visuals if you give them that, you can start building credibility and trust because they can take these as an anchor because they're tracking dozens of topics. That's just the one thing you're working on. Or maybe maybe 100. Yeah, go ahead and just.

So what I would add to that is like, is there stuff of? I'm like. I was talking about visualisation to highlight a particular problem they didn't know about, but I do agree with you of. Helping because there's some aspect of not just visualising what you think that they should be aware of, but helping them visualise what they're thinking about. Is important. This is like a different type of usefulness now.

And different types of. So what I mean by that is the art of modelling. So you talk at certain point you talked about the system and when you're doing that you encompass a lot of insights and information that they can use when they when they you know when they when they offload their working memory from the next problem and go back to the issue that you have when the language.

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, for sure. Like, because I think there's two things like few things like one that you help them think through stuff, right. So it's a technique to help them think so. They go wow, this is crazy mess. I'm on my own. Like, how do I deal with this?

Get to this.

Helps them with that. There is also the. Now I can get other people involved because now they can express it. It's outside their head. There's a thing, there's a boundary object. There's something that other people can engage in, other people are engaging to help steal partially with the loneliness. And I'm a part of a team again, kind of thing. So yeah, like there's different the visualisation thing beyond working through things it the ability for visualisations to bring people together on a shared problem also address the isolation aspect of it for sure.

You talked about. You know, working with L3 leaders to help them become L2 leaders, L2 to become L1.

Another way around.

This other way around? Yes. Sorry otherwise.

Yeah, maybe an infinite number. The L's can go on forever.

The there's strong research to indicate that the best way to become promoted is to act in the way that your manager acts, right? Because they identify with that few acts, even if it's not necessarily in. The the best management. Approach. If you act in the same way as your manager acts, you're more likely to get promo. So if your manager is a command and controller, if you act in a command and control manner, you're. More likely to get promoted. So in in that situation. I'm not sure that well. I'm trying to grow nurturing. L1 and L2 leaders in an environment where the some of the L2 and a lot of the L3 leaders. Very command and control, sure. And so. That could be putting them in a position where they're not optimising their activities around their ability to be promoted.

Sure. OK. So 2, two things I typically talk about people like one, there's some aspect of this is messy now. It's messy now. And to help people deal with that, right? So that's why I'm saying like you're dealing with political politics now, right? So what you think should happen and sort of the reality of the situation and how you navigate that to still. Like like I never advocate for people to say. Oh, just eat it right. Life sucks. Deal with that. I like I go. No, we're we're intelligent. Crafty, sneaky. So we're gonna say we're gonna try to drive things in the direction where we think goes. But you also can't ignore that you're dealing these politics. Like, so how do you process that? How do you deal with it models, et cetera. So one thing is like you go, there's a few things. One, one, I usually go. OK, let's go above that. Like, I don't care what? How the style of this person is. What is a larger objective of the organisation and how effective are we at accomplishing that? If we can show that we are effective at contributing to the larger thing. Our style can acquire influence. Right. There's the reporting line, but influence networks are not just reporting line right. You can also you can play it by jumping a little like hey, if we if I make you look good because I can deliver particular outcome even though I have a different style, you're still protecting me because you're protecting yourself type stuff or I have peers who kind of this like whatever the other one was. Sometimes I also say is you go. I'm trying to help you become effective within this industry, not this company. Right. You, especially in in technology, people only stick around for a few years. I'm going. You might not. You're not, you're not. Gonna be here for, like, decades. Right. And I would say that style, you're not gonna go to any place that's any good. But this style is the one where you are like being more effective as a leader that you are focused on broader stuff that you're not is kind of old school theory X type thing. Like if you eventually want to work at a obsolete bank, maybe. Sure. But not like at a good place. So that's what you helped. So I kind of different ways of framing it. I don't know if that answers your question.

Yeah, it's helpful. I I mean, I also want to ultimately influence the L threes, which is the more challenging part because they're less introspective. I find them a lot less introspective than the L twos in particular.

OK, so if you're, if you're like, so this is not growing in L2 and L3 type things. So I'm saying time in L3 and they're they're not on board, this is where they still have problems. They might. They still have the thing of how am I effective? I'm on my own kind of type things, even for the people who are kind of like if sometimes when you say, hey, why is someone so command control and telling them what to do some of. That is due to lack of safety. Right. They're alone. They don't know what to do. They got positional power, but they're not effective. What do they do? The only thing they know how to do, which doesn't work. So that's kind of an angle. This is not always the case. Sometimes you go ohh. OK. I'm dealing with the sociopath. OK. Different. But presuming that is not actually that common. So presuming that's the case. And it's just. Helping people learn how to be more effective. And it it doesn't necessarily match up what they're. Currently doing.

And thanks, I'm almost out of time, Jason. I'm not sure we are. We are over. So are you OK to stay up more minutes?

Oh yeah, we can do, we can.

Do a couple. OK. Thanks for that and thanks for the presentation as well. That was really insightful. I I wanted to ask one thing that I picked up on was the the vacuum, the feed, the vacuum, and there's a concept that I've come across in a book called, I Think it's primary leadership called the CEO disease. Which is along the same lines. You know, the higher you go up the ladder, the the people are more inclined to suck up to you and you lock context, you know, so So what I'd be curious to know your thoughts on why does that happen and if you've tried any any techniques to try and influence to kind of maybe help L3 leaders L2 leaders to build that self-awareness? And and and influence them to be more reflective. As as Brett mentioned.

Yeah, there, there's the thing. Like there's a, like. So let's let's set aside this. Let's set aside to suck up things, so I'll put that as a separate problem. There's one problem that has nothing to do with sucking up. It is just pure distance. Right. The further up you go like the just the further distance you just don't. There's no exposure, limited exposure. You're not aware of stuff, so you get this information gap thing and yeah, it's not just L3 like you keep going. You just see this replicated across. Now one thing I way to think about it, I go. You can still at least deal with the gap that you have, so you could say hey, at least a certain distance I can deal with and you can. Make sure that, at least within a certain range, you can extend it and you could even say incrementally. Just keep extending the stage you one of the issues is you actually physically run out of time. You can't know everything. It's not possible because there's not enough hours in the day, so you have to accept there's an exposure gap. Up there that you have to deal with. So this is where you get into what do I need to be aware of? What do I need to get connected with what has to be delegated, what has to be kind of distributed and what should not be? I've seen people do things like skip levels. So they do regular interaction with additional one additional level. This is just to extend the awareness like one it extends your awareness but also establishes the particular pattern. So even though you yourself, you don't know everything, but you're establishing a pattern that allows the linkages to. Be more effective. Cross organisation there's that there is also remote people like people with like all the all remote companies just talk about like you start just being crazy transparent about everything. Like everything just gets published and it's broadcast. You wanted different issues of curation and all this kind of stuff, but things like that and that that can help in terms of now, if we get that the suck up problem. The suck up problem. There's a little bit of. This song, like I almost want to say, systemically reward people coming like. Raising problems. Like it has to be. Rewarded for people who say something's going wrong, like everyone has to feel like, OK, that's how it's done. If you're not doing that, like people look at you funny kind of thing. That can try to help with this suck up problem. I don't. I actually like offhand, I'm not. I'd have to think about. I don't think there's any other way to stop it.

OK. Thanks for the questions. And Jason, I'm conscious of your time. So it's been great talk. I think it's a great conversation for the questions from from the audience there just before we close like where can people find your work and work with you for them to contact you?

Probably the best spots I had in the cover there, the best place is probably on Twitter at JCH, Yep, or just search for me on LinkedIn. I also have a A blog on Medium which I update every so often. That's probably it.

So I hope everyone enjoyed as much as we have enjoyed the talk. Hopefully we see all of you back in our next meetups.

Thank you. Thanks.

And Jason, thank you very much. That was very informative. You can see on the charts you probably didn't have time to to go for the chat yet, but there is lots of complimentary messages there. So thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with us.