Corporate Strategy

105. The Autonomy and Challenge...Challenge

January 08, 2024 The Corporate Strategy Group Season 4 Episode 1
Corporate Strategy
105. The Autonomy and Challenge...Challenge
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wonder if there's ever a wrong time to chase after new horizons? We kick off with a tale about a peculiar woodchuck that somehow spirals into a lively discussion on the art of embracing change and seizing the moment to set goals that truly resonate with you. Alongside that, we dive into the realities of working through holidays and how critical it is to snatch those precious days off to rejuvenate. The startup world is no joke, and we navigate the tightrope walk of fostering team spirit while keeping a lid on the sensitive info that could spill the beans too early.

Let's face it, the workplace is a complex beast, and we're pulling back the curtain on the elusive creature that is psychological safety. Is there such a thing as too cozy a workplace? We explore whether comfort could be the kryptonite of high performance in certain job scenarios. Shifting gears, we share insights from our own career paths, discussing the challenges of maintaining autonomy as companies expand and ponder over how to find that sweet spot of satisfaction when the corporate world starts to feel like a straitjacket.

We wrap things up by dissecting the trials and tribulations of product management and the balancing act of keeping your team on track while your eyes are on the tech horizon, like AI's promising future. The conversation moves to the pivotal role of feedback and personal values in the quest for employee satisfaction and retention. To top it all off, we lighten the mood with our game "What Do You Mean?" and extend an open invitation to continue the banter on our Discord channel. Join us for a journey that's as informative as it is entertaining, with the occasional meme for good measure.

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Speaker 1:

Did you confirm that? I think so. It might be a woodchuck.

Speaker 2:

It could be a woodchuck. He's not like smiling either. I think that's a creepy part.

Speaker 1:

That is the creepy part about Craig Craig Craig Craig Craig Craig, craig, craig, craig Craig Craig Craig Craig Craig Craig Craig, craig, craig, craig Craig.

Speaker 2:

Craig Craig Craig, craig Craig Craig.

Speaker 1:

Craig.

Speaker 2:

Craig Craig, craig Craig.

Speaker 1:

Craig, craig, craig, craig, craig, craig, craig, craig, craig, craig, craig, jingle their Because Up and Down start a new thing whenever you'd like, anytime.

Speaker 2:

That's the point it's robbed.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, good you have it start today.

Speaker 2:

Right, that's the whole point. So you don't have to wait for that time here. But I think it is good that everybody recognizes that there is a time of year to do that Like. I think it reminds you. Oh yeah, you know now's the time. So I actually appreciate that. But you've got to undercommit and overdeliver, otherwise you're going to get demotivated when you don't actually hit the goals that you want. So really think, make them modest goals, make them smart goals. Do you hate that? I just said that. Make them smart goals and, you know, jump in the new year with a new perspective on things. But going back to my whole point, I did not get a lot of time to think about what do I want to do different? What type of energy do I want to have? Because it was just work through the holidays, unfortunately for me.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I know, I'm so sorry. I know you had you planned on timed off, but unforeseen circumstances Make Clark my ask to you take some time off in January. It's a great idea Really. Should just start taking random days, just drop it right there. If you took Monday off, which is probably too late, now, tomorrow the eighth, you'd get a Monday off every day in January.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's a great point. Sometimes that holiday schedule just works for you. Huh, it does.

Speaker 1:

It does. So think about it, think about it. I mean, we got Martin Luther King Day coming up. We got some other holidays coming up, take advantage.

Speaker 2:

Might as well.

Speaker 1:

Well, how about you Time? Are you still alive? Are you still kicking? I am, I'm alive, I'm kicking. I've had some critical conversations with some of the things that have caused me grievance, and I'm hopeful that I can affect change. We'll talk about it, you know, I think that's full.

Speaker 2:

I think it's a line Conversations, or was it pretty, just like. Ok, here's the situation. Were they going to deal with it or were not? Or was it getting pretty?

Speaker 1:

heated. I don't think I've ever in my life even heard of a situation as unique as the one that I'm in. And I can't obviously talk too much because you know that's insider information, right? I don't want to influence anyone who may know of me or work with me or, you know, buy my company's product or anything but like, truly, one day I'll have to write a book because wowie-wowsie.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think that's like you mentioned before you're at a startup and there's no rules. Sometimes it is the Wild West, so, boy howdy.

Speaker 1:

That's true. Maybe that's just the way it is. Yeah, and you know it's kind of crazy because, on the positive, you know, if you follow me on LinkedIn, if you know who I am, you follow the work the company is doing really well and I'm really proud of the work that I've done for the company, as well as just everyone I work with. Everyone I work with is like a 10 out of 10 human being that just brings their A game every day and it's wild to be in a place that has people culture that is just outstanding and you know I think it's just got interesting startup problems that are very unique and learning how to work with that that's, you know, that's my challenge and one day it'll make for really great pod material. Very true.

Speaker 2:

One day, One day a material, a book, something you'll be able to share with the people Well good yeah. We're good you feel any different in the new year.

Speaker 1:

No, I like you, I don't, I don't really believe. But you know I love your point on sandbag those resolutions. If this is something that you take seriously and you know, no judgment, if you do and all honesty, sandbag it. You'll feel better about accomplishing your goals if you actually accomplish them than if you whiz them hard.

Speaker 2:

So I don't get over delivered. Yeah, it's just like you know. To give you a sports ball analogy and just like, if you're throwing a new quarterback in, give him short down completions, Really something to build the momentum down the field. Otherwise, if you just start throwing ball and balls and you start missing them, then you're starting on a bad foot. So set small expectations, crush them and just keep on getting that momentum through the year.

Speaker 1:

All my goals for this year are tied to major video game releases like Yakuza. Infinite Wealth comes out at the end of January, and that's like a hundred hour game. And then I got Dragon's Dog, like two, in February. That's like another hundred hour game. Like how am I going to do this?

Speaker 2:

So are these goals to finish these games? Is that what the goal is?

Speaker 1:

Oh, there's no option of not finishing.

Speaker 2:

You're not doing what we literally just said. You can't be hypocritical. Oh, I will finish them.

Speaker 1:

Just you and me. I will get it done. Nothing comes between me and my games.

Speaker 2:

We're going to get a live stream of you 36 hours straight to complete whatever game.

Speaker 1:

It is Clark. I have been amassing a collection of management games that I would love to stream with you and just have you experience the joy of management. Sims oh man.

Speaker 2:

Boy. I think it'd be a lot of fun. We got to do it this year because I'm really looking forward to it. I also haven't played a video game, and God knows how long I will do the playing.

Speaker 1:

You will just tell me how you want. I will be your secretary, you're the manager and I'll do all the work based on your executive decisions.

Speaker 2:

Sounds just like my day-to-day job.

Speaker 1:

Perfect. It sounds just like my day-to-day job.

Speaker 2:

Oh man.

Speaker 1:

You all do all the work.

Speaker 2:

We tell it to be what to do and we don't actually do anything, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Weird how life imitates, art imitates life. I don't you know. I'm here for you, Clark. Whatever you want, I love it.

Speaker 2:

I love it. Well, hey, I got some good news. What kind of news Is it good news? If it's not good news, I don't want to hear it it's 2024.

Speaker 1:

I mean it's kind of news. It's posted by the Harvard Business Review. So, hbrorg, I mean it's a little bit more credible than some of the other things I've talked about in the past. But the headline of the article is can workplaces have too much psychological safety? This is written by Peter Capelli and Lyot Eldor. I don't know them, but it's a fun article. I posted it in the chat. They have a nice little summary here which is kind of I'll just. I'll just read this and you can tell me what you think. It is certainly important for people in some jobs to feel safe, speak up, make mistakes, take risks or ask for help. They include jobs that involve creativity, learning and exploration. But five studies of workers in a variety of frontline jobs have found that more is not always more when it comes to psychological safety. Previous research had found that only in the average effects, which of course are made up of high scores and low scores. But psychological safety is not an either or outcome, it's a question of degree. The authors found that when you move from average to high levels of psychological safety, performance and routine jobs is actually declined. So TLDR, and that's, that's the TLDR of the article. But there's my TLDR the more safe you feel, the less likely you are to be productive.

Speaker 2:

That's exactly what I heard and I actually I kind of felt that in the title of the article I was like I think I know where this is going and it's exactly what you just said. Yeah, it's like you're less productive, you're just less motivated to actually do work because you feel so safe.

Speaker 1:

You know it's interesting because that was certainly true in my previous job, in my previous company. Boy, did I feel safe and I would just call it. In all the time I'd be like you know what I'm going to act like. I'm really busy today and I'm not. It's weird because I feel incredibly safe in my current job, but also the opposite of what the article states. So I'm not too sure. Maybe they need to do some more study. I'm curious. Posted it in the corporate strategy channel on the discord. For those of you that go there, give it a read. I'm really curious what the group thinks on this one.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think in your case, like a startup who's not acquired, who's not like a public company, I think you have that pressure just from having to kind of fight for your life to be a true operating business. And so I think that's why, even though your culture is great, you still feel the right level of motivation so you feel safe from like a workplace culture, people kind of perspective. But from an actual, like business perspective you probably don't feel as safe. So maybe that's the reason.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean it's wild. You truly see how much an individual has an impact on the success of a company in a startup. So I think you're right. It is definitely a matter of I am safe as an employee. I'm not worried about performance reviews or anything like that, cause I know I'm crushing it, but from a company perspective there's that risk just inherently because of startup. So maybe the article is right, maybe I'm wrong and you're always right, clark.

Speaker 2:

See, but what's interesting is like I feel safe. I'm doing an introspective here live. I feel safe in terms of, like, my job, my capabilities, but I also maybe it's just pressure, to put it myself Even though all that's there, like I have no worry about being fired. I could probably coast and do a lot less, I think. I put the pressure on myself to stay productive. You know what I mean? Yeah, totally. I feel totally psychologically. I could probably take off this next week and no one would bat an eye.

Speaker 1:

So you know what? I think that's actually a perfect lead in to today's topic. I think so. Yeah, I mean, this was our idea, but you've really been sort of headstrong in this effort, clark. So run us through. What are we talking about today?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So in the last episode for those that are just now tuning in we talked about CAC and what that is is basically just a way for us to measure how essentially kind of happy we are at work, looking at four main categories culture, autonomy, challenge, compensation and it's really used as a ruler because you might weigh any of those things differently, uses a ruler to kind of measure how satisfied you are with your work. And if you kind of weigh each one of those things, you'll essentially be able to measure is this the right place to be for me or should I start looking elsewhere? And Bruce and I did an interesting experiment back in March. So the end of March we basically for two weeks we sat down and we measured our CAC and we basically had a spreadsheet, hour by hour, day by day, for two business weeks. We said 9 am here's my score for culture, autonomy, challenge. We didn't do compensation because our compensation is fixed, it doesn't change day to day. So we only did those three things and every single hour we scored it. And then at the end of the two weeks we basically did an aggregation of the data and we did a calculation to say what's our score If we were to look at it and let's just say our scores were okay like yours was passing at the time, bruce Mine was 53%, so not great, but it was what it was. And as we kind of looked at how we value each of those things culture, autonomy and challenge we said, okay, how do we feel now? Do we feel like these are the right weights a 35% to 25% to 50% for each one of those things. And we basically, if you listen to that episode, we say actually we did change ours a bit. We modified them to either have culture less important, autonomy less important and challenge more important, like in my sake or in your sake, bruce, it was, you know, moving down culture a little bit, bumping up autonomy and keeping challenging roughly the same and seeing kind of where it puts us. So, unfortunately, bruce's score got pretty significantly lower. My score stayed relatively the same, but still in the 50s, so it's not still not great. So, getting all the way to today, we basically said now let's think about what's not great in the things that we value and let's think about okay, it's 2024. What can we do within our control to fix some of those things so we are happier in the workplace. Did I summarize that all, all correct?

Speaker 1:

Thank you, you did it perfectly, clark, so let's kick it off. I mean, this is going to be the second episode in our sort of introspective series on how we can fix it for ourselves, but hopefully our thought process helps y'all, the listeners, to kind of understand how you can do this for yourself. So I'll start. I think and we talked about this last time my priorities have really shifted and for me, the biggest thing I need to be positive on the CAC scale is autonomy, and right now, yeah, it's what I value most. Right now I don't feel like I have the kind of autonomy I had when I started, which, you know, it's funny, because when I started at my company, there was five employees there and now there's over 100. So I mean, that's just. You know, that's how startups work.

Speaker 2:

They will change things.

Speaker 1:

It will, it absolutely will, and expectations change and you know it's just, it's an interesting thing. So I have less control now, just over the company at large, because there's just less people, less influence, there's more people that have to be considered. It's a lot harder for me to maintain the level of autonomy I once had. So the two things in my mind on how I can fix this is one I need to be a lot more vocal with the people who I report to and who they report to on my expectations for my role in my job, which is such a tough thing to do basically say like, hey, I'm unsatisfied, I'm unhappy because things used to be a way and I was able to perform a certain way and have those expectations laid out and then see if one, the company is willing to match my need, or if they say no, then option two is clearly plan, exit and think about other locations or find another place to go where I can have the kind of autonomy that I would like to have.

Speaker 2:

I think that's great and we talk about this a lot like. Clearly setting expectations is important because it sets yourself up for success and it lets you know if you're actually doing the things you're supposed to be doing or what people expect from you. And if those things are ever mismatched, like if you're not aligned with your leaders, then obviously someone's going to be disappointed at the end of the day. You were that Right. But let me ask you this. So maybe on that point, Bruce, is it because, as you've grown, there's more process, bureaucracy, more kind of hoops you have to jump through to actually get work done? Is that essentially what's happening?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, in a way, I would say the biggest challenge that has been introduced that did not used to exist is when I started, there was not much in the way of leadership no-transcript. As you know, if you've ever worked in a corporate company, the more execs you have, the more C levels there are, the more opinions that exist and I report directly to the C levels and for me that means that I have to get validation, feedback and opinions on every piece of content I create. Everything I say, every story I look to tell with a wildly different audience of execs. And that becomes an exercise in frustration for me because I end up. You know, I have an idea on what we should say do, based on my experience, based on what I'm hearing and you know the events I go to, the conversations I have. But then there is the expectations of the execs, who have their own goals, their own direction, their own point of view in place of being. I'm not even saying they're wrong, I'm just saying they're different than me. So everything I do ends up having to go through this arduous review and edit cycle, and it used to take me weeks, less than weeks, to get a written asset done. Now it takes months, because that's just how long the new review edit cycle is, with all the different perspectives, opinions and personalities I'm trying to work through with. So my autonomy has like tanked because of that and the you know it's actually had a conversation with my, my direct manager, a few days ago, basically saying, like you know, the quality of my work is suffering because I am basically putting out what other people want, not what I want, and I think we can actually get to a better spot and maybe this does help my autonomy If we say, hey, there are levels of review and ownership that occur, and understanding when we go to those levels, for what kinds of work maybe needs to be laid out and written as a process somewhere which would ensure that. You know, on the bigger ticket items, yeah, we go all the way to the top, but on a blog or something, then it's not as big of a deal. That's a, that's an idea. I don't know if it gets me to the level of autonomy that I used to have. I don't even know if that's possible in all honesty, but you know that's, that's the things I'm trying to fix. Well, I think that's a.

Speaker 2:

I think it's a great way to go about it. You know, I think you're setting the right expectations for those types of reviews. I think everything you said just makes a ton of sense. To do that. I think the place where you're at now is like when you have to have C level review. When you're a five person company, that's easy, right, because it's like there's not a lot a lot of stuff coming in. The intake is small. So, yeah, everybody from a C level can review it, give feedback, make sure it matches the vision of the company. If you scale a company, that's not scalable. You know you have to trust other people to do certain things, and so I guess my challenge to you, bruce, would be think about how you can position it so that you're the one accountable for the results, whether you're the one who created it or your team created it. But saying to those leaders say, hey, I need you to trust me and I'll prove it to you with the results that come from it, but I need you to trust that I can handle it, because we're going to have all this stuff coming in this year. Our company's bigger, you're going to have a lot more to intake and going through that level every single time. It's going to be a bottleneck and it's going to slow down how productive we can be. But if you trust me to do my job well and you hold me accountable to the results the actual quantifiable results then you can essentially see that you can trust me to do those things. That way, you can spend your time doing more important things with your time.

Speaker 1:

I think that's that is the way to go about doing it and I'm not going to stop trying that approach. We'll see where it gets me. There are a few things that I can't talk about that do bump into some of that, but I think at a normal operating sort of company with maybe not a startup but like a more regular sort of corporation. That is not an out of the way expectation to set down and to have that conversation and I think you'll very quickly leave the learn whether it's something that's addressable or if it's something that you could have to change on your own by going elsewhere.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely, man. I mean, that's good, though I think you're doing things you need, but it does depend a lot on your landscape. So that's something for all listeners is like just think about where you're at. Your situation is going to be different than the feedback we give, so may not be too applicable, but I think, like you said, like yeah, due to other factors you may not be able to do that, but in a typical corporate environment, I think that's a very good thing to attempt to do and at least, if you get a no, I still want to review everything. Then at least you know where you stand and you know you're going to have to work around that Right? So if you plan accordingly, you're going to have to make sure that reviews are happening, and I think the best thing you can do is trust your team to not have to go through you and create that same table bottom up for them.

Speaker 1:

Right and I think that the takeaway, when you're trying to make a change in terms of autonomy your autonomy at a job it's generally going to have to be a conversation between you and your superiors. That's not something that you're just going to be able to affect on your own. It's going to require buy in from the higher ups, 100%.

Speaker 2:

Well, that's great. I think that's an awesome first step and that'll really help, at least set for me and I talked about this on last episode at least the expectation is there now, whether it goes in your direction or not, so that way you know what you're working with, because understanding that makes a lot better than not understanding that and still bansal every time you have to go through the process. So you're taking a step in the right direction, which is all you can do yeah.

Speaker 1:

It's something that I'm going to. I've done a little bit already. I've laid the groundwork to do some more and I will. It's not something that gives me conflict or concern to do it. I feel confident that again I am safe so I can have those conversations and I can see the results happen in real time. So when we do a check, and however many months from now, you will know whether or not the effort I've put out to change my CAC and my favor has worked or not.

Speaker 2:

I love it. Do you think, in terms of the idea creation, the roadmap, if you will, if no one could already tell them a product manager, do you think you are in control of that? Looking further out, because I think you gain autonomy when you're the one coming up with the ideas as well.

Speaker 1:

No, I'm not Okay. I used to be, I'm not anymore.

Speaker 2:

Because I think that would be something that would help too is if you're building a team, if you can trust your team to take some of the day-to-day stuff off your plate so you can focus more on strategy and seeing three to six, six to 12, however many years in the future, if you want. At least, then if you're focusing on that, you're the one driving it and you'll gain autonomy by doing that, because you're pushing the vision rather than saying the vision is coming to me and I'm executing on it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, it's more the latter than the former, unfortunately.

Speaker 2:

Got it Well, maybe that's another area too is kind of, as you're expanding, you know, yeah, that's opportunity. If you're looking more into the future, you'll get to own more of it and you'll feel more autonomous.

Speaker 1:

Let us hope.

Speaker 2:

Let us pray fingers crossed. We'll pray for you. All right, clark, give me yours, I'm up, all right. So for me, my highest rated element of CAC is challenge, and we talked about this a little last time. It's mainly just because I love to learn and I love to, you know, basically be posed with something new, that I have to figure out how to solve it, and I get bored when things are always the same or there is no kind of challenge. It's like, ok, I can close my eyes and I can do the things that I'm doing, and that's kind of how I feel right now. And that's my rating is so low. It's like I think I could, you know, hop on for an hour a day and do everything I need to for the whole week, right? And the rest of my time is kind of just attending these meetings to make sure that the herd of cats is not going too far off the path, if that makes sense. So I've been doing a lot of thinking, and this one's hard because, like you, can't always like bring on new types of challenge, new work, because you kind of have to just execute to get the business done that you have planned. You know what I mean. But I think obviously the natural answers are OK, skill development, new, innovative projects, kind of outlining something for the future. And my company right now we're in very different spots, bruce and I. I'm at a very large company, you know, 100,000 employees, maybe more than that, holy crap, yeah, I mean it's. It's a global company and that's true, a lot of that, yeah, there's a lot of loops and things to jump through, so I already have a lot of bureaucracy, but you know, I'm I'm in the what they call the executive level, so I have quite a bit of pull on the digital stuff that I work on. But, like, coming up with new stuff is not always an opportunity, because we have a huge backlog of things that I've been painting the picture for for years that we've just struggled to execute against and deliver, and luckily, we've made a lot of changes in the last year to fix that. So now we're doing more stuff than ever and we're working more efficiently, which is great. But all that stuff, like I've been talking about it for years. So like I'll hop into a meeting, bruce, and be like people will be asking, well, what are the requirements for this? And like I wrote this wiki four years ago and here are the requirements, they haven't changed. Like this is what we need to do. So it's not always that far back, but that's an extreme example of something that did happen recently and I'm just like that's boring to me. I'm like I wrote this four years ago. It's still not done, and so unfortunately, there's not much I can. I can do there. But I think the the exciting thing is being able to look forward, now that we're getting more momentum, and say are there new things in the technology landscape, which obviously with AI and everything, are there new things that could impact my business that I could start to look at and maybe even pivot the things we were planning to do to move towards that? And that's something that I haven't really gotten the opportunity to do because we've been so backlogged with everything. But now that we're getting some momentum, I can see kind of the light at the end of the tunnel to say, oh, there will be opportunity to come up with something new, to incorporate AI to whatever it might be, right, right, and be able to kind of get that vision painted, get it funded and ultimately have it planned out and then have my teams execute against it. And I think that's what, as I was thinking about this more and more, I think I focused this last year on how do I get out of the day to day weeds and how do I build a team that I can trust to be responsible for building out the things so I can be accountable for the results. And I think I've done that. I've been lucky enough to hire every single person on my team. They're crushing it. They're definitely freeing up my bandwidth so I can do that. So I think that's the next thing for me is how do I look further ahead and be able to come up with those new innovative type of ideas and paint the picture, pay the way for it and basically weigh that against things that are already on the roadmap, and saying this is actually more important than this because of X, y or Z, business benefit, customer benefit, whatever it might be, and I asked a couple of questions. Wait, sorry, I just literally went on a therapy session for myself right there.

Speaker 1:

And this is because I think product management is such an interesting beast. I mean, you know how I feel about you, but you know. Me personally or the craft, you people in general. How dare you? Product managers, don't get me started. So the question I have who ultimately decides the priority for your backlog? Who's the owner? Is it you?

Speaker 2:

It's a good question. I'd say, looking forward. I think it will be me. Previously, I think it was kind of by committee, because we were so backlogged. It's like, okay, we can do like one of these 20 things, that's all fight about it and let's figure out what the most important thing is to the company. That's how we decided.

Speaker 1:

That was my assumption, based on the fact that you feel your challenge is not what it could be. It just screams committee-based decisions. Because you I know just who you are and your sort of attitude and energy you're going to gravitate towards the new, the exciting and the potentially, like you know, harder path to forge. That's going to yield a better result and I don't think your problem is so unlike my own, from a. You're going to have to really convince the committee, the people above you and the people around you that they come with data right, as much data as you can. The things you're seeing, the work that you're trying to budget and plan for Somehow it's more beneficial, it's going to provide more value than the things that have been expected to get done for the last four years that you've already budgeted for. And that's a challenge. It's hard, but maybe not the kind of challenge you want.

Speaker 2:

I think it is somewhat I won't know. I don't think to like actually get into it and see what hurdles kind of come up, but I think it is because it's like when I talk about something for so long, like I know it like the back of my hand and then it's just a matter of executing against it or enabling my team to execute against it, it's like okay, the fact that took this long to do it, like I'm already bored it just it just feels like you know, we should have done this forever ago and now we just kind of need to do it. So I think it does kind of fix it, because it just enables me to look ahead and find those new things that hopefully we can execute on faster. What I hope I don't do is contribute back to the problem of now. I'm just creating more and more things for the future that someone else is going to sit on for the next four years. You know what I mean, right? So there's an element of catch up. I still think we need to prove we can do, which. I think the trends through Q4, where we are now with certain projects, things going on I think we're going to move a lot faster due to some massive changes we made in organization, technology stacks. We use all that good stuff. So I think we spent last year kind of rebuilding the foundation a bit to accelerate into the future.

Speaker 1:

So you actually were able to pay off some of your current cact debt if we can call it such a thing in the previous year and potentially you've opened a gate that will allow you to do exactly what you need to do to improve your your cax car. I think so.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think the last probably more than a year, maybe even 18 months, holy crap, maybe, maybe 24 months it's been. You're scaring me. You build a team, you make these massive changes, you give the feedback, you influence the change, and in a massive organization, it takes a long time to do these things, unfortunately, but I'm finally seeing it. I can see, like I think, the lights at the end of the tunnel here, where it's like okay, now we're moving. We made the big decisions. Not everybody was happy about it. A lot of people left, a lot of people changed their role in the company, and I think it was necessary to get to where we want to be. I think, bruce, if those things didn't happen over those last two years, I would have left two years ago. Yeah, so I think things are, and that also is another reason why I haven't pulled plenty yet, even though my score isn't great Because I think the big things that need to happen, the hard things like getting rid of people or ripping technology out from underneath something and saying there would be no updates to this new technology or this old technology platform for 10 months as we're refactoring it We've made those decisions, and so I think that's the encouraging thing is, the hard stuff was done and now I think we can accelerate.

Speaker 1:

You feel, like you were given an assurance 24 months ago that things were going to change in a way that was going to be more appealing for you to stay on and continue working there.

Speaker 2:

An assurance, no, what. I think the hope was there. I think it was like okay, there's some talk, we've got a really good, the main kind of CEO type person, great, okay, they're really shifting things around. So I think it's a little bit with Big Corporate 2 is you kind of just have hope it's going to go in the right direction and then you look for the signs along the way to keep on feeling that hope.

Speaker 1:

So the reason I ask. I appreciate that answer. I see myself in your position 24 months ago, but that's depressing. Yes, I'm not. I'm not sure what to look for, and maybe it's different because I'm in such a different kind of company than you are. You give me the assurance that staying on for 24 more months is going to give me the kind of results I need, because I can. You know, I can do everything. But I said I was going to do, but if, if nothing changes in the next three months, like it's going to be, flip the bit on LinkedIn, really start to look, because I just don't have that kind of patience. And my question to you is was it? I think you are a pharmacist person than I am. Just, if we're going to highlight, you know, character, flaws and differences, I think you can withstand a lot more than I can.

Speaker 2:

Would you agree, I think? I think it goes back to what we were talking about personalities wise in the last episode. It's like you're the dreamer, the vision, and you have a lot more emotion and decisions and how you feel. Mine is more like business, so I can be a little more cold to it. So I think obviously the more emotion you have in something, the more you're going to feel some type of way and I think I benefit from not necessarily having those characteristics, but you benefit in seeing the bigger vision and making big changes for yourself, like you did.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's true. So, pros and cons, you're calling me emotional is what you're saying. And listen, that's true, I am. You have to be emotional to be in marketing.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, okay, all right, it's hard, I'd say to your question, though it's like I didn't have any assurances and I kept my options open, as I think anybody should who's unhappy, and you should look for something that's that's going to be better. I had a couple offers and they just they weren't better than what I, what I already had and the hope that I had of thing of where things could be and, luckily for me, like it kind of worked out. But I think you have to look and this is really hard, even if you're a seasoned professional. You have to think about what are those big things that need to happen so that I can be more successful and I can do the things that will influence my cat and obviously we can't get too specific on here, but I think those things incrementally happen for me and I knew what they were like. If I look back at it, I know hindsight's, 2020 but I generally knew what the issues were. It was delivery issues not moving fast enough and it was because of having the wrong people, the wrong processes, the wrong technology. And what did we fix? I hired a whole new team because I got the the ability to do so, to build the right team, whole new technology platform. So I kind of got all the things that I needed to get to get to where we are now. It just took a long time your people problem. Your past people problem were people that you could directly influence yes and no, that was part of it, but also partners that I had that just were not getting us where we need to go, that they were there for a long time and those people were pushed out okay, leadership took care of it exactly we kind of brought the issues and we were transparent about it and the challenges came to light and obviously it wasn't easy, it was really hard, but certain people were pushed out and I think that made all the difference.

Speaker 1:

I think you're just telling me more reasons why I'm screwed that I didn't realize before. Thanks, clark.

Speaker 2:

I just hate to say it. Like people, problems are the hardest problems to start because they're they're emotional and it's tough to get rid of people in a large enterprise organization. Luckily for you, you're in a startup. I think you have more ability to get rid of people. Maybe not, but yeah, in most cases I'd say that's true and enterprise situations. You kind of just shuffle people around, throw them in a corner and say, okay, we just will move them off this project, but then you never really get rid of the problem. Yeah, yeah, I can tell you just deep in thought, yeah, see, we both depressed each other a little bit so it's not to 2024 great start.

Speaker 1:

Great start, uh well, I mean it. Just it's just making your, your experience is making it very clear to me what I need to see. It's it's not things that I can directly influence is is what I'm hearing. It's it's what I need to see from leadership and expectations of individuals and kind of. I think I almost need my leader's culture, or my leader's cact, to align more with my cact and I.

Speaker 2:

You know that just might not happen and that's fine but I think you also have to share the feedback, because I think sometimes leaders don't yeah, don't see it all and don't see people, problems and if, or process problems, technology problems, whatever it is, and you have to make it evident and it doesn't mean you you're going to be like, oh, if you don't fix this or you don't get rid of this person, then I'm out. It's like right, listen, there's a lot of challenges and you can fix these by coaching. You can fix this things by, you know, moving people around so that you have the right skill sets in the right area. But I really see this as a challenge and I need your help to to solve this, which is going to make us more productive, have better business results, whatever. So I think it's kind of on you as the employee to poke and prod in the right direction. You know like these are the issues that I see and this is what I would I recommend. They might even tell you you're wrong because of x, y and z and you kind of just have to say, okay, maybe they, maybe they have a good point or maybe they don't yeah, yeah, I mean never to worry about me, uh, with holding feedback, that's uh that's a very special yeah, I'm gonna tell

Speaker 1:

it to you, whether you want to hear it or not. Cool, cool. So the the I feel like you are about to have a great year, which is awesome. I've worked hard for it and you've put in the time for it. I'm excited.

Speaker 2:

The challenge is like how long is it going to keep on taking? You know what I mean. Like it's already been two years, another year? At that point it's like, well, you know, it's another year goes by. It's like how, how long are you willing to hang around?

Speaker 1:

what is your threshold?

Speaker 2:

better. Oh, I don't know. I don't know. I think and I kind of hinted at in the last episode I'm getting my fulfillment elsewhere, on some side stuff. So like the compensation curve that we talked about, it makes it okay, like sure, it's 53 if you don't look at the compensation curve. But if you add in the compensation curve, probably in the mid 60s, maybe, maybe a little higher. So at that point if I'm getting the fulfillment elsewhere, it's like all right, I can deal, I can figure this out. Yeah, so as long as it stays that way, nothing drastically changes for the for the worse from a compensation perspective or or just from a a CAD perspective. Then I think I could stick it out for a while, dang that's nice yeah, we'll see. Though, yeah, yeah, I'm never changing landscape that's true.

Speaker 1:

That's true, I think. I think you're in a. You're in a good spot, although you you worry about your ears are too much for my liking. But uh, from a, from a CAD perspective, I think you're in a really good spot mm-hmm. I worry about yours.

Speaker 2:

I do too. I think all you can do is take meaningful steps in the right direction, and yeah if you see those iterative steps happening, it can give you the hope you need to keep on hanging on. You know, yeah, if you don't see any change, that you're gonna be in for a hurt.

Speaker 1:

That's true. I think that's. I think you're right. I think that's the only thing I can really do beyond continuing to give feedback and be vocal. Yeah, what's funny is, uh, you know, we didn't talk about, we talked about our key cac attribute. For you it's challenge, for me it's, uh, autonomy. We didn't talk about culture at all, and I think the funny thing about culture just a quick aside it's not that it is easier to fix, but it is far easier to influence, because you can be the kind of culture you want to be and your company will very quickly fire you if they don't like you, right? If that's the case, which is, you know, not always a bad thing uh, then if you're, culturally, you're not a fit and you don't let and you rely on culture to be, you know, happy as part of your cac, then you need to go elsewhere, but you can influence that now they're receptive to your culture. I feel like that's one of the things that just being yourself, being open, being involved and participating and helping, like find other people that align with you and informing little teams and and then pushing that out that's something you can directly influence, which is funny.

Speaker 2:

Ours is not so direct and I think you and I kind of mentioned it too. I think we're in a different spot than like an individual contributor just because we're management, so we're less influenced of like a working teams culture than I think like an individual contributor let's say, a developer on a scrum team would be right, that's true, and I think, as managers, we need to learn the culture of our team, yeah, and what they want and whether we like it or not, and ensure that that culture is set for them. I agree. Right, it was good. I hope this was helpful to you guys. Listening too is. I think one day we'll share this tool so you guys can measure your own cack and hopefully do your same thing for 2024. You don't have to get as granular as we did just for the sake of the exercise, but really think about what are those things that matter to you and try to get a pulse of how are those things where you are now. You don't need to do hour by hour for two weeks, but just get a rough sense and write some of those things down and think about how you can make things better for 2024. And if you don't see the steps to make things better happening, then time to pull Plan E.

Speaker 1:

That's something for us to think about the threshold of Plan E, when, because you can't just do it, because you're unhappy, there needs to be some kind of mathematical decision, just like how we took compensation and turned that into an offset Like Plan E. There needs to be some thought about how that relates to cack. If you are at the lowest percent, if you're at a failing cack score so less than 60% and you remain there for an x amount of time minus the offset of your compensation like in your case your compensation helps make it tolerable then Plan E is not even a factor. But for someone like me, I don't know where the time frame is, I don't know when it's right. So just something for us to think about is how we work that into cack, because I think ultimately that is one of the options that's always available to you when you're not happy, but it's not something you should just do.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I agree, and it kind of depends how much can you actually control within your capabilities and then how much is external, and I think it may have so many variables. What the workshop?

Speaker 1:

this one, because you don't have a job six months in Exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, six months is not. It's a bad look. If it's a startup, then sure, I mean six months could be way more than enough to influence change. But if you're an enterprise culture, like in my case, two years to see the change, but it was iterative. There were steps to get there, but I knew it wasn't going to be overnight because I'm in a huge organization. So I think if you, it kind of depends on the context of where you're at, but I think there is some way you could measure it and at least get the 80%. There always be the exception, but I think you could hit the 80% and 20% would still need to be factored in. Yeah, I agree, future episode. I like it, good point.

Speaker 1:

Well, I'm good, are you good? I mean, I'm not good, I'm good.

Speaker 2:

Are you good, clark? I'm good, I'm great. I actually motivated myself a little bit through that. So thank you for hearing my rant and we're just going to keep checking on each other. That's what we need to do as corporate citizens. Corporate strategists check in, make sure each other are healthy and good and can fix whatever they can to make things right.

Speaker 1:

I definitely feel worse. So thanks, Clark, it's great. Your feedback really put me on the right path Well you know what'll make you feel better.

Speaker 2:

What's that? I think today is the day as my turn. For what do you mean?

Speaker 1:

That's right it is. It is your turn Go on.

Speaker 2:

Oh, here we go. I think I know how to start this one.

Speaker 1:

So, for those that don't know real quick, what do you mean is the game we play at the end of each show, especially on shows like this, where they're not always as fun as we'd like them to be. But it's a game you can play by going into our Discord, which you'll learn how to do in just a minute. You go into the what do you mean channel and there someone will post a meme that is tangentially related to the previous episode, and we've got a great one from capitalist correspondent Alex Restrepo. So, clark, please, what does this mean?

Speaker 2:

I think the only appropriate way to start this is dun dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun dun dun.

Speaker 1:

I appreciate that that was really fun, you already know what it is. Do I know what you mean? Good grief Clark, it's one of my all time favorites please.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's so good. So, anyways, you know what I'm talking about. There's obviously something looming in the depths of the ocean and you're just sitting in a boat, in a little cabin, and it says I've looked into Casey's eyes, black, dead eyes, like a corporate doll, the hack it's cacus. Is that what that is? It's cacus, it's cacus. It's the cacus I've looked into the cacus eyes. Is that what this is supposed to?

Speaker 1:

be Black dead eyes, black like a doll's eyes.

Speaker 2:

I was like cat. I couldn't even understand what that meant. I knew the reference.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

But I like that man, our corporate capitalist correspondent, alex, always crushing it. This means to me I need to watch this movie again, like this always reminds me. But anyways, this is super accurate to what we've been talking about. We are corporate dolls, but listen, you got to pay the bills. Everybody's got to work. So if you're in a corporate situation, measure your cac, find a better situation and pay them bills and be happy.

Speaker 1:

Pay them bills. Get them bills, get real paid. I think, as you know, the rapper once said that, yeah, get real paid. No, I think I was Beck. I guess Beck is technically a rapper. I guess that's true. Yeah, he's a part-time rapper.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, he's got some songs.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Good job, it was a great meme. It was a great meme, I wasn't sure if you'd seen Jaws before.

Speaker 1:

So I was super excited for you to try and struggle through the explanation.

Speaker 2:

First of all, I think. Second of all, I don't think I've seen this in a decade, so definitely got to watch it.

Speaker 1:

This is a summer jam. I can watch Jaws every summer in my life.

Speaker 2:

Yeah it is a summer jam, I agree yeah.

Speaker 1:

For sure. It's just a perfect movie, man, I want to make a metaphor to the corporate world.

Speaker 2:

I mean, it is a metaphor to the corporate world and how you feel to sit us in. But also there's just something lumen about Jaws being corporations and us as the little peons within the corporation, just sitting in the little parlor, not knowing what's going on around us and it's just going to come and bite you Think about the whole plot.

Speaker 1:

The premise of why they go out in the first place is the fact that this idiotic leader is like now, let's not close the beach, let's not close the beach, we can't take a hit on 4th of July. Got to keep that beach open. And they know, this giant, man-eating rogue, great white shark, is just prowling. It's already chomped the lady, it's chomped the little boy. Nah, keep the beaches open. It's only when it comes after Sheriff Brody's son. That's when things really kick into high gear and the citizens have to take it upon themselves because the government's not going to do anything. So, of course, three people go out in a boat. Take on this great white.

Speaker 2:

Oh man, it's such a good metaphor, Such a good metaphor.

Speaker 1:

It's really good. Love that movie, jaws, just love it Downtown.

Speaker 2:

Downtown. Yeah, we're not ending the episode yet. Right, we still have to talk about how we're going to, how you share this, how do you even get involved?

Speaker 1:

How do you even?

Speaker 2:

get involved.

Speaker 1:

Hey, you want to get involved. You want to hang out with Jaws, you want to hang out in the cabin and sing songs, but you know be tired and want to go to bed. It's easy All you got to do is actually just look at the show notes. Just look at the show notes. If you're listening to the podcast, you have access to the show notes. Why even go to our website, our website's corporatestrategybizbiz? You could do that. You could, or you could take the device that's in your hand or near your hand or next to your butt. Look at them show notes and there's a link to the Discord. There's a link to our website. There's a link to Buy Us a Coffee, which is a way that we are starting to support the show. If you want to keep this thing ad-free, which I think right now it is, I think it is.

Speaker 2:

It is. Is it ad-free Pretty?

Speaker 1:

sure it's ad-free at the moment. You want to keep it that way? Well, just buy us a coffee. Our current goal is getting to $22 a month and with that we can run the entire show cost-free on our end. Which is it? We're not a corporation. We're not looking to make millions, we're just looking to not spend money on our hobby. So that's how you do that. It's all in the show notes. Please check it out.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and please don't put your phone under your butt, whatever you do. That's disgusting.

Speaker 1:

I see it so much. I see so many butt phones. It's just disgusting.

Speaker 2:

That's despicable and refuse. But yeah, yeah, I think share helps, especially if you're on your podcast provider of choice. Share us, get people to go to our website, get people to listen to the episodes Hopefully they'll find it valuable to them and hop in the Discord, where you can provide more topics If you want us to talk about something. We really don't shy away from anything. We've had some people who have put 10 topics in there. We've probably talked through all 10 over time. So go in there, give us your feedback. We'd love to hear it.

Speaker 1:

We just had someone new join the Discord, maybe we got this from our outro. I was like who's new? Who's new? Havlov's Drul just joined recently. Give them a hand wave and a high five. They seem like a really awesome person. Got a cool story. Welcome to the Discord, Thanks for joining and thanks for listening.

Speaker 2:

Welcome. So cool to have you here. Yeah, it keeps on growing, keep on providing feedback back in the channel and there's just a group of good people we talked about this last time but everyone's helping each other out, Everyone's got questions, everyone's just providing value there.

Speaker 1:

So hop in there. It's a lot of fun.

Speaker 2:

Truly.

Speaker 1:

I think that's it.

Speaker 2:

That can be a reminder. You can get an email. You can drop an episode. We got a newsletter. Yeah, go in there. On the website you can sign up, enter your email. If you want to be notified first and you want to be the number one Big Cat Energy fan, you can do that by just entering your email.

Speaker 1:

It's that easy. It is that easy and you can also follow us. There's a lot of places we are right now. We're not incredibly active there. I said it before. I'll say it again Times will change eventually and we will do more with those things. I mean, you heard our aspirations of doing game streams with Management Sims. There's a lot of things that we are looking forward to doing. It's just a matter of getting the right pieces in place so we can do them, and hopefully soon. So again, thank you for your listenership. The best way if you really want to help us is give us that nice review and share this with your friends, the more listeners we get through. Word of mouth is the best marketing, because any ads we do, any LinkedIn posts we make, is in a sea of nonsense and garbage, but your word that has value, that carries weight. There is nothing better than a word of mouth recommendation. So thank you for those that share with others and we appreciate your listenership, as always. And just remember, as you go out into the world every day of the week, suffer through your corporate jobs. I got a hard stop and I'm Bruce.

Speaker 2:

And I'm Clark. And I think your new intro is downtown, downtown. I want to hear that every single time.

Speaker 1:

Someone could program Craig to do that instead of now recording what he joins. So much better, so much better, hey, but you know what? The rest of y'all? You're on mute. We'll touch base with you next week.

Work, Goals, and Startup Challenges
Exploring Psychological Safety in the Workplace
Autonomy and Leadership in the Workplace
Navigating Challenges in Product Management
Considerations for Employee Satisfaction and Retention
Discussions on Corporate Strategies and Jaws
Word of Mouth in Podcast Promotion