October 2, 2015 / Press Releases

Mariposa Leadership, Inc. Hosts an Executive Onboarding Expert and Author, George Bradt

George Bradt, co-author of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, and an executive onboarding and transition acceleration expert, to be interviewed by Sue Bethanis, CEO/Founder of Mariposa Leadership, on the popular Wise Talk Leadership Forum for executives on October 22, 2015.

October 1, 2015 | SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Mariposa Leadership, Inc. is pleased to announce that George Bradt, an executive talent onboarding expert and co-author of the book, The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, will be a guest on Wise Talk, a popular monthly leadership forum for technology executives, on Thursday, October 22 at 3pm PT/6pm ET. In an interview with Sue Bethanis, CEO/Founder of Mariposa Leadership, George will share insights on how successful executives plan for their first day on the job, the information they gather as early as the interview process, and how they use that knowledge to craft a message, build a team, and deliver quick wins.

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February 19, 2015 / HR / Talent Management / Wisetalk

WiseTalk Summary on Capturing Rookie Smarts

To kick off our 2015 Talent Management theme, we invited Liz Wiseman to join Sue Bethanis as a guest on WiseTalk. Liz is a highly regarded leadership expert recognized by Thinkers50 and author of the new Wall Street Journal best seller Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work. She is the President of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley, California.

Sue and Liz had a rich dialogue on the research and findings in her book Rookie Smarts. One of our biggest a-has from the conversation was about the value of the inexperienced. It could be said that those who are new to something for the first time can’t bring value, but we learned that this is essentially a myth. Those who are inexperienced operate from a “hungry state.” They lack expertise so look outward to a network of experts to get ideas and leverage their knowledge a project, much more so than experts.  We also learned in the tech world, where everything is changing so fast, the value of the experienced leader is in how fast he or she can learn, not what they know.

Favorite Quote:
“When I’m quick to say yes to something I don’t know how to do, I don’t need a personal development or learning plan that tells me to go work in certain ways that are against my nature, I’m just forced to do it.”

Insights:

  • Liz’s definition of a rookie is being new to something important and hard, regardless of age. Whether you’re 21 or 71, it’s doing something you haven’t done before. The value of a rookie doesn’t come from bringing fresh ideas. The value comes from bringing no ideas. When one comes in and has a gap in knowledge, it puts them in a predictable hungry state. They tend to point outward, ask more than talk, they lack expertise so seek it out in others. Liz mentioned an interesting data point: the inexperienced bring in 5x level of expertise on a problem then experts. The reason is because they lack expertise, so they point outward and ask for help. Rookies mobilize a network of expertise and bring it back to bear on a problem. When they ask others how they do something, they receive a diverse set of voices that they have to reconcile. The process of reconciling is when some of our best thinking is done and is why rookies get so smart in the space of relative ignorance.
  • In her research, Liz found that experience leads to success but rookies are surprisingly strong performers and in many cases outperform people with experience. Those cases are the knowledge industry, where work is innovative in nature and where speed matters. Why? Not because rookies are more skilled, but because they are more desperate. They have “no points on the board,” they are the new kid on the block, so work quickly to deliver quick wins and proof points to see if they’re on track. The most successful veterans and rookies operate in fundamentally different ways. When she looked at low performing cases, they failed in very similar ways.

Tips for capturing rookie smarts:

  1. Individuals: Liz suggests individuals try not to linger too long in a job that you’re qualified for. Say yes to things you don’t know how to do. When we keep putting ourselves out there in rookie situations, we are forced to ask questions and seek help, because we don’t know what we’re doing. She also suggests refreshing your assumptions by practicing “naive” questions, such as, what are we doing this for? Who is the real customer here? What happens if we don’t do anything? A fun exercise to audit our assumptions is to ask, what is it we believe to be true about this? Our work? Our customer base? List out the assumptions and see if you have evidence to support them or if you have evidence to the contrary. Also, swapping jobs with someone for a day will build empathy for what others do, as well as leave you with fresh ideas that can help you innovate.
  2. Feed a diet of challenge: In Liz’s research, she found, on average, it takes someone about three months to wrestle down a new challenge, and about three months after to be ready for the next one. The real practical way to keep you and/or your team rookie smart is to continue to feed yourself or your team a diet of challenge. Ask every three months, am I or is this person ready for a new challenge? Not more work, but harder work. Liz’s research also correlated satisfaction with challenge. As challenge goes up in a job, so does satisfaction and vice versa. If leaders want to drive satisfaction up on their teams, give them harder things to do.
  3. Power combinations: At team level, one suggestion Liz offered is for leaders to be deliberate about how power combinations are created. There is value in the way that both rookies and more experienced talent work. Partnering this talent is important, such as reverse mentoring and being clear about giving veteran leaders a chance to learn from rookies on their team. Try pairing a team of rookies anchored by expert, or put an empowered rookie on a team with more experience.

What we found most interesting:
In Liz’s research, when she looked at high-performing rookies, she found the most valuable/highest performing of the rookies were experienced executives taken out of one domain and put into a different one. They know enough to know the good questions to ask, how to manage people, and have their “sea legs” but are placed in a different sea so don’t know all the answers. This is where she found executives are at their best.

To learn about Liz’s approach to the extensive research, the four rookie mindsets, and more interesting insights from Liz and Sue on mid-career professionals and the world of work today, listen to the recording here.

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October 24, 2013 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

On: "Productivity Improvement: It's Not What You Think"

In this article, author Dorie Clark sets out to challenge the traditional mindset on what it means to improve one’s productivity. Many executives try to increase productivity using times of intense focus without interruptions. Dorie contends that this “head’s down” approach isn’t the only route to increased productivity, and may hinder creativity and innovation.

In the article, Productivity Improvement: It’s Not What You Think, published in the National Center for the Middle Market, Dorie redefines productivity. She draws on the expertise of Mariposa CEO, Sue Bethanis, for tips on behaviors executives can adopt right away to positively harness the energy in office interruptions. Read it now.

What is your definition of improving productivity? How do you go about making the most of office interruptions?

Comment below! Or pose a question via Ask Mariposa.

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August 1, 2013 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Mariposa Articles

Leader as Designer

Learn how to utilize Design Thinking in your role as a leader.  This essay, Leader as Designer, by Mariposa Leadership CEO Sue Bethanis, opens up Design Thinking to different applications and audiences that goes beyond product development. She offers a clear 4 step process to easily move from idea-to-innovation. The results: successful services,  new experiences, and novel solutions to old problems.

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April 17, 2013 / Blog / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

Products Are Hard Conference Recap: Design Thinking Process and More!

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The 2013 Products are Hard Conference on April 1st proved to be rich with insights and fresh thinking on the product development process.  More than 200 product designers, developers, marketers, entrepreneurs and executives were treated to stimulating talks throughout the day by various thought leaders, including Mariposa Leadership CEO Sue Bethanis.  Sue presented a design thinking model that leads to breakthrough thinking and therefore has value for leaders beyond product creation.  Attendees participated in a rapid prototyping exercise to get a taste of how a design thinking process can be applied to solve wicked customer or team problems, as our clients have done in our Design Thinking workshop.

We captured brilliant tidbits from the presenters. Here are a few of our favorites:

  •  “LEAN Startups: Learn. Measure. Build.” Janice Fraser, Founder/CEO, LUXr @clevergirl
  • “Hardest part of product management is creating order from chaos. Listen. Learn. Think (dream). Test.” Sarah Rose, VP Product, ModCloth @sarahfrose
  •   “Understand all your customers. Your product must produce value for all of them.” David Charron, Senior Fellow and Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Haas School of Business @d_charron
  •   “Few things lose investor confidence more than an inability to launch. Better to launch and learn.” Charles Hudson, Venture Partner, SoftTech VC @chudson
  •   “Product building challenge: knowing when working with opinion vs. fact. Turn opinion to hypothesis and test.” Hiten Shah, Co-Founder, KISSmetrics @hnshah
  •   “Using design thinking for services is equally important as using it for products.” Susan Bethanis, Ed.D., CEO and Founder, Mariposa Leadership @suebethanis
  • “If trying to design products for global users, think about similarities in shared social and psychological rewards.” Judd Antin, User Experience Researcher, Facebook @juddantin
  • “Empathy interviewing requires beginner’s mind, getting off your own agenda!” Indi Young, Consultant @indiyoung
  •   “The people who make the product need to fall in love with it first.” Chris Lindland, CEO & Founder, Betabrand @Betabrand

Products are Hard presentation slides are available for viewing.

 

 

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April 4, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: 3 Tips for Developing Leadership Influence

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Andrea asks: I am not in a formal position of power but lead several cross-functional projects and collaboration is critical to our goals.  How can I develop more leadership influence?

Susan Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa responded:

You are smart to be thinking about developing leadership influence skills, even as an informal leader.  Cross-functional initiatives, flatter management structures and virtual teams which sometimes include third parties have become the norm in business today.  Understanding how to influence others is a skill that when honed, serves company goals and your career.

Here are 3 tips:

  • Consult and Pre-Sell.   Meet with stakeholders to share your ideas on achieving a desired outcome.  Solicit their reactions and ideas as well.  By inviting input and balancing it with advocacy, resistance can be minimized while gaining buy-in.
  • Know Your Audience, Tailor the Message.   Develop clear and compelling messages rooted in short and long-term requirements.  Research your stakeholders’ needs and tailor the message based on their interests.
  • Establish Behavioral Rapport.  Match the pace and volume of your speech with that of your stakeholder.  Avoid matching negative emotional states.  Be conscious of your body language, including posture and facial expressions, as unintended non-verbal cues can undermine effective communication of your message.

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March 21, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management

Ask Mariposa: Criteria for Coach Selection

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John asks:  I’m thinking about working with an Executive Coach.  What criteria should I use to select the right coach for me?

Susan Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa responded:

No doubt, executive coaching is a powerful process for overcoming barriers to achieving your personal and organizational goals.  The process is cumulative and builds over time through cycles of appreciation, observation, feedback, option generation, practice, problem solving and action.  Developing rapport with your coach is important to the coaching process so selecting for chemistry, in addition to background experience, is key.

Your coach should both challenge and support you.  As you interview a potential coach, consider the following:

  • Is the coach creating a safe and confidential environment for me?  Can I trust this person?
  • Does he/she understand the issues?  Is he/she credible?
  • Is his/her approach sound?  How will my progress be measured?
  • Is his/her communication style compatible with mine?

Besides chemistry, also consider relevant industry knowledge, client successes, prior corporate experience, and education and certifications as they relate to your coaching goals.  You’ll discover each coach offers a unique perspective based on the sum of their experiences, and this experience contributes significantly to the coaching process.

For additional perspectives on preparing for executive coaching, read the Mariposa article, When Bad Coaches Happen to Good People, and HBR’s blog post, Before Working with A Coach, Challenge Your Self-Assumptions.

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January 17, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: Introvert vs. Extrovert

Ask Mariposa

Carrie asked:

My CEO is a major introvert; I’m a strong extrovert. I thought we could manage these differences but it’s becoming a wedge between us. What do you recommend?

Sue Bethanis, CEO responded:

Great question, Carrie. Here are a few points to consider:

· Typically, introverts need time to reflect. Whether you’re online, in person, in a meeting, or in a group, all parties should create a space for reflection; even if it’s just a 30 seconds for you and him/her to gather one’s thoughts.

· It’s really important that you pace your CEO. In terms of how you speak to him/her — how fast or slow, loud or soft -– matching their pace makes a big difference in terms of meeting them where they’re at. You may want to slow down or speed up but it’s important to think about matching.

· Another thing to note is that it’s really important to have a “process conversation” with your boss and find the best way to communicate with each other. When should you email each other? When is meeting better?

· Susan Cain is an author and speaker and a great resource for how to find the balance between introverts and extroverts. Here’s an inspiring TED talk from her I hope you will enjoy: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html

We welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

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January 15, 2013 / HR / Talent Management / News / Strategy / Wise Talk

The Passion Behind Your Business Strategy

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There are several key factors that go into a winning business – a great idea, a great team, great passion, and great leadership. All are important, but great passion can be the fire that helps fuel the success. Consequently, it can also destroy the business when it is misguided.

Like all fires, passion can spark other flames and become contagious, igniting the passion of investors, business partners, and customers, as well as employees. If left uncontrolled, passion can consume, destroy, and leave a business with an empty dream. However, when controlled, directed, and focused, it can boost a business’ chance for success.

Here at Mariposa, we’re fired up about strategy! It being our leadership theme for 2013, we’re excited to start off this year by peeking into one of the more popular classes at Harvard Business School, a strategy course taught by professor Cynthia Montgomery. This class is also the basis of Montgomery’s book, The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs. In it, Montgomery identifies that an effective purpose and the passion behind it are what initiate value creation and capture.

Join us Thursday, January 24th at 1pm PT, on Wise Talk as Mariposa Leadership, Inc. CEO Sue Bethanis talks with HBS professor Cynthia Montgomery on how to transform sparks into strategic fire!

Topics for the interactive discussion will include:

• What’s your definition of a strategist?

• How do strategists keep a competitive edge?

• What is a common mistake you have seen executives make when it comes to strategy?

We welcome you to join Wise Talk, our free monthly teleconference and submit your own questions for discussion. Sign up and be entered to win a copy of this month’s leadership resource, The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs.
One winning listener will be announced at the end of the talk!

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January 3, 2013 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management / Strategy / Wise Talk

The Value of Strategic Leadership

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Every year Mariposa Leadership aims to engage you in a new leadership theme. Last year it was Design Thinking and we feel very fortunate to have shared the wisdom and resources of several well known innovators via our free monthly teleconference Wise Talk. Our 2012 guests included Roger Martin, Bill Burnett, Teresa Amabile, Saul Kaplan, and Jeanne Liedtka, just to name a few…

In 2013, our Mariposa Leadership theme is Strategy, and we look forward to sharing Wise Talk discussions with you and some of the finest strategic leaders and authors in the business!

This month we focus on introducing you to yourself as a strategist. Whether you run a global enterprise or a small business, we wish to present to you the strategic tools to not only outwit your competitors but offer you, as a leader, the means to shape your organization decisively.

Combining the best of ideas about strategy and leadership and giving you the tools and confidence to step into the role, our January Wise Talk guest and author of The Strategist, Cynthia Montgomery, will not only help you reinvent yourself but also your business and the world around you.

In her July 2012 McKinsey Quarterly article, Montgomery explains how strategists lead. Central to her case is a simple observation: it is the strategist who must make the necessary choices that determine a company’s identity. It is the strategic leader who says, “This is our purpose, not that. This is who we will be. This is why our customers and clients will prefer a world with us rather than one without us.” She defines the strategist as meaning maker, as voice of reason, as operator, and expands on these giving examples of each, concluding that maintaining strategic momentum is a never ending task, however profoundly rewarding.

cynthia-montgomery-thumbWe are very excited to welcome Cynthia Montgomery on this month’s Wise Talk. Join her and Mariposa Leadership’s CEO Sue Bethanis on Thursday, January 24th from 1-2pm PT as they discuss how to be the strategist your company needs.

To sign up for our free monthly teleconference Wise Talk and submit your questions for discussion, please visit:

https://mariposaleadership.com/resources/teleconference_wise-talk

After sign up, you will receive the call in information and be entered to win a copy of this month’s leadership resource, The Strategist. One lucky listener will be announced at the end of the talk!

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