Know Your Role
We have a purpose platform. I have this thing. What am I really wanting to do with it? There's a couple of things that we can do with it, and I've already talked about a little bit, about a few of them, I think. One is, it really can help you know your role in any conversation. So beyond the crucial communications moments, I love being in the presence of a leader who knows their role in the conversation. My first example, actually, my second example, this gentleman who's a clarity maker, he knows that that's his role in the conversation. Again, whether he's in a one on one conversation with his CEO, or if he's in a strategy meeting with his team. And when we know our role in the conversation, it can be, you can show up more wholly. I'll give my example. I, a couple of weeks ago had a conversation with a new potential client. And what they were looking for was, yes some coaching, but also potentially moderation of a conversation for these very high level, but intimate meetings that happ...
en twice a year for this organization that works on advancing democracy in the United States. And I got a question, which was like, how do you think about your role in the room? And I had to think, okay hang on a second, and I went back to my purpose platform, and I got to get clear for myself about, there's not way. My role isn't to be smart, to be the knowledgeable one in the room. In fact I'm better when I'm naive, when I commit to my purpose platform, which is to not be the person who knows all the things, but instead to be an earthquake in the room that let's people, shakes things up a little bit and lets people see something differently. So as a facilitator I shared, after I thought about it for a second and leaned back on my purpose platform, I could share with this woman, that look if I'm gonna be moderating my role isn't to compete with the talent on the stage, the people that I'm facilitating. My job is to make them look amazing. My job is to help make them look super smart, but it's also to be a little bit of an earthquake here and there, so that things don't go as predicted, as expected. So that I can bring questions that, my job is basically to be the dumb one on the stage, but also the courageous one at the same time, so that I can ask the simple and powerful questions that facilitate a bigger question and not just a tennis match of questions and answers. And when I invest in that role, when I say Dia, you don't have, in prepping for something like that, Dia, what is my role? I don't have to worry about trying to be the smart one. I don't have to prepare around content. I have to prepare around, if there's something I really wanted to know, if there was a big, bold question I should be asking here, what might it be? And that helps me speak from a place of alignment with who I am and not tryin' to fake it 'til I make it. There's no faking it when you're on your purpose, and that is a so much more powerful place to be. So it helps us identify what is my role going into this conversation. It can really give you that platform to stand on over and over again, and help establish what you might want to be know for as a leader. So my first conversation about the woman who's the, my first example about the woman who's a status quo challenger, that is whether she's saying it out loud or not, that is the platform she's standing on every time she goes to speak. And she will find the right and most thoughtful places to actually use the language of challenging the status quo in a way it doesn't break trust with the people that expect certain things from her role, yeah? So it really is the place we, every time we sit down to write, or co-create, or talk about how to prepare for her next crucial communications moment, we always start from here. It's we start standing on her platform. If you are gonna be a status quo challenger, what does this moment mean for you? How explicit are we gonna be in that or implicit are we gonna be with that? But she knows that's the thing she can hold on to, no matter how things go. It can also help us make clearer content decisions. You know if you have 12 minutes in front of your organization, or in front of an audience, the content choices are infinite. What do I talk about in my 12 minutes there are too many choices. So as you think about, if you have 25 minutes of content and you only have 12 minutes, you might use as a way to say, okay if I'm the status quo challenger, which pieces of this content are super relevant, and what feels extra or off of that. One of my students talked about stepping out, can I share your story a little bit?
Stepping out on her own, independently, and really functioning as a bridge between technology and art. So if that's your platform, I am the bridge between technology and art. That's my role in the world and you know you have 10 minutes in front of a room, how does that lens help you decide what content to let go of and what to include. Whether you do what kind of exercise or not. What kind of metaphor you might draw on or not.
I think it could be expended. This is kind of like my purpose platform for the last 10 years.
And I think I wanted to add another component which is finding the actual business value of art and also the social impact value of art. But there's so many different component and I'm having a struggle to clarify this extension of the purpose, so this is super helpful.
Well that's very interesting. Let me add to that, that you know it's funny, our purpose platforms need to be sort of specific enough that you yourself can say, yes, I know what that means. I know what that is. You don't necessarily always have to explain it to other people. It just needs to, when I say, no Dia, just be the earthquake that you know you are. I know what that means and it serves me, okay. So if it makes sense to you, that's what matters here. This isn't a branding exercise. This is not gonna turn into brand assets that you put onto a menu, but this is something that is useful for you. Now I think about this idea of being a bridge between art and technology as a purpose platform that can be the container for how do we monetize that? How do you think about thinking this is a profit center? How do we, right? It's not just art for arts sake.
So I think we have to be specific enough but also big enough to serve you across all the things you do in this world.
Yeah, I realize this, it's not just art and tech, it's the duality between things.
That fantastic, my role in the world may be your purpose platform. Good example, I'm riffing here but great example. Maybe your purpose platform is more around yes, I am the person that helps recognize dualities.
Like unify the dualities.
Yeah, to unify the duality, fantastic! So that is, we're on the right track here. So then for me as a coach, I'm gonna be able to, or you working with colleagues, you're gonna be able to say is that on for me? Is that what I'm talking about here or am I off? So this is also a place, you know sort of one of the other useful area, that how this is useful for you, is that it can really help influence culture intentionally. Whether you're leading the culture and help defining the culture of a team, of a workplace, of a club, of a community. When you know what your purpose platform is, you can make choices about how you engage with that culture to codify it or deteriorate it. I'll give you a really simple example, painful, painful, example. I was at an all-hands for a very large technology company that is really about a platform for individual and diverse perspectives. And a leader in the organization got up to talk about something, and when he was done, he asked everybody in the room to stand and repeat after him. And all I could do was sit in the back and say, we're here to champion a platform for diverse, and unique, and individual perspectives, yet we are all repeating after you? That felt so off-culture to me, and what, there were 1,200 people in the room, incredible impact. So how do you think about how you talk to your communities, to the folks that you're influencing in a way that is yes, aligned to your purpose, but also recognizes and can codify the values in the culture that you're in front of. That make sense? I know it's kinda, it's just like we have to not be tone deaf about that and we have to be able to reconcile, even if the culture that we're speakin' to in front of us is opposite of us. We have to recognize I live over here. This culture lives over here. I can either do damage to it by wielding myself on it in a way that is not resonant at all, or I can recognize how we're different and honor that somehow in how I choose to communicate with them. Or I can bridge my purpose platform to this culture and make choices, whether it's language, or the examples that you choose. What you choose as a leader to recognize and reward in that culture that helps codify and reinforce it, or you can blow it up.
How do you deal with corrupt businesses or individuals where the mission is a fake projection of what they want the business to be, but the core of the business and the employees, mismatch that mission. And also just, he'd also asked about the definition of culture in that situation.
Yeah, so that's a really big and juicy question. I don't have a perfect answer for it obviously, and yes that's a problem. In my coaching, I will sometimes, okay look, that's something I don't have control over in my coaching engagements. That's sort of out of my hands and may be out of scope for this class. However, sometimes in my coachings, I may ask a client I'm working with, wait a second you're talking about this, but here's what I'm seeing. What's happening here? Or I'll talk a fair bit, I'll wanna talk a little bit about what's going on in the business, that makes this moment for them as a leader, particularly important. Why now do we need to tell this story? So I do wanna get under that a little bit. Those aren't problems I can solve. So I'm sorry I don't have a really satisfying answer for that. I think that as I again, as I execute my own coaching engagements I'm gonna wanna help make sure there's as much alignment as I can, also I don't always have a clear view into how much mismatch is going on actually. So if you live in an organization all day, where you recognize that break, I think that's a different problem. I think that's a different problem. What was the second part of that question?
The definition of culture.
Right, so in my mind, in this context I think of the definition of culture really being around the values, and the rituals, and the ways that we be together that help us know that we're in a thing together. That is not very articulate definition of culture. Yeah, they're like, I mean it's the values that we say we have. It's the things that we do together to ritualize those values whenever we can, and those things help us know if we're in or out of that culture, yeah. And I take that from the questions that I ask the folks that I'll coach and work with. Okay, wait a second do you're talking about, you're giving this particular example, or you're recognizing or rewarding this particular thing that happened this year. Is that a line? I see you have a list of values that you espouse. It feels pretty off. It feels off, or why that and not something else? Or which one of these values are you actually representing in your choice to bring voice to this particular recognition. Yeah, thank you for that question. You really kind of got me there. (laughing) Great, and then of course lead. Just helps you lead. One of my favorite things working with somebody, that earlier question about the, or that earlier example about the woman who's a status quo challenger. When we sort of identified it, all of a sudden she went, I know what to do. And in my mind that's very useful. Okay, and then of course bringing strategies to life. If I know what my purpose platform is and I know I have to speak on behalf of a particular strategy that my team developed. I'm gonna be very thoughtful. I'm hoping, I'm gonna be very thoughtful about how to bridge those two, so when I'm talking about it, I'm also still speaking from a place of my authentic purpose. Okay and then again it can really help us speak from the heart.