242: Tamra Chandler: It’s time to reboot feedback
Tamra Chandler Show Notes Page
Tamra Chandler had just bought into a partnership and lost all of her equity when the firm experienced a forced closure. Tamra responded by building a successful organization elsewhere and has continued to positively impact the lives of colleagues and clients. She’s now on a mission to reboot feedback.
Tamra Chandler was born in LaGrande, a small town in eastern Oregon. Her family moved to Montana when Tamra was three. As a result, she grew up in Kalispell, situated in the beautiful northwest corner of Montana, near Glacier National Park. Tamra is an only child of young parents, so she’s known to say that she and her Mom and Dad grew up together.
Both of Tamra’s parents were business owners before they reached the age of 30. Her mother owned a popular women’s clothing store and her father launched a series of start-ups over the years. Today Al, Tamra’s dad, still sits in his CEO seat of a successful company he founded more than 20 years ago. As such, it’s probably not a surprise that Tamra is also the founder and CEO of her own company. It just took her a little longer to get there than her parents.
An entrepreneurial spirit and strong work ethic run deep in Tamra’s blood, driven by years of witnessing her parents’ hard work and passion. She began working in her mother’s store while in middle school. Once she was old enough to collect a paycheck, she worked a smattering of jobs through high school and college, including as a lifeguard and swim instructor, office store cleaner, and cherry sorter.
Armed with an Electrical Engineering degree after college, Tamra began her professional career as a Boeing engineer. Truth be told, engineering was never her true calling, and after three years she returned to school at University of Washington. MBA in hand, she never looked back.
Grad school led to a consulting job at United Research, where she learned the trade from some of the best professionals in their fields. In those early consulting years, she gained skills, know-how, and techniques that have been key to her success and continue to be part of what differentiate her and her team today.
In 1994 Tamra joined a fledgling team of consultants in Arthur Andersen’s Seattle office. In 1998, she made partner at Arthur Andersen and soon after stepped in to lead the Business Consulting practice for the Northwest corner of the U.S. That fledgling team grew from 20 in 1998 to 225 by 2002, when things took a sudden turn. Despite thinking she’d found her place, Tamra was uprooted by the Andersen-Enron debacle, and soon found herself leading 375 consultants, along with a few fellow partners, to Hitachi Consulting as a safe harbor. Tamra dedicated six years to Hitachi and established a thriving practice. While continuing to support clients, Tamra wore many other hats while at Hitachi, including Chief People Officer and Strategy Lead. Inspired by the work she was doing to differentiate Hitachi in the field of global consulting firms, Tamra saw the need for a strategic consultancy in the people, organization, and talent space. Armed with this insight and a vision of what could be, Tamra made a friendly departure with six colleagues in tow to launch PeopleFirm in 2008.
This year PeopleFirm celebrated its 11th anniversary and was recognized (again) as one of Forbes Magazine’s Top Consultancies in the U.S.
Tamra takes pride in having created so much positive change on a human-to-human level. Some of the impacts have been big, some small, but all are meaningful. Tamra has been in the fortunate position of being able to provide opportunities for people to do amazing work in areas they feel passionate about, and they have shined. She notes that there’s no better feeling that seeing someone blow your mind with the work they do and the impact they’ve had, and knowing you had a little part of their success.
At an organizational level, PeopleFirm is Tamra’s legacy. She had a vision of a different kind of consultancy, and with all the amazing people who have been part of the PeopleFirm tribe during the past 11 years, they’ve brought that vision to life. She’s immensely proud of what they’ve built in a short time and she’s grateful for the many industry honors the PeopleFirm team has received.
Tamra lives in Seattle, Washington. (However, a recent home purchase in France is bringing her that direction more often these days.) She is happily married to Jeff Mosier, her partner of 33 years. Tamra and Jeff have two children: Ivy, 23, a visual artist, and 19-year-old Wilson, who just completed his first year in Economics and Management at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Tamra and Jeff’s house is typically full of dogs, although Tamra says there aren’t enough at the moment, as only Perry and Luna Fox are in residence today.
Quotes and Mentions
“We need to reboot this idea of feedback.” – Click to Tweet
“Feedback is broken in the way most of us have experienced it.” – Click to Tweet
“It’s time to fix feedback so it’s something that’s truly helpful and not harmful or hurtful.” – Click to Tweet
“If you’re seeking or extending feedback, first and foremost we need to build connections with that person.” – Click to Tweet
“If I don’t trust you and you’re trying to help me, I’m not going to trust that feedback.” – Click to Tweet
“When feedback is coming at us, even if we have a trusted relationship, it still may kick up our fears.” – Click to Tweet
“Of fight, freeze, flee, or appease the most common feedback response is appease.” – Click to Tweet
“Our traditional models of the dreaded performance management review have polluted our idea of feedback.” – Click to Tweet
“Let’s redefine feedback and understand what good feedback means and try to bust a bunch of these myths that pollute our experiences.” – Click to Tweet
“The most impactful feedback that people get is positive feedback.” – Click to Tweet
“Leaders who give positive feedback are the highest ranked leaders in leadership capabilities.” – Click to Tweet
“Just lean into the feedback, frequent, focused, positive-oriented feedback.” – Click to Tweet
“Leaders need to move away from this idea that they need to be hard, critical, or strong-willed.” – Click to Tweet
“For our relationship to be strong, we have to have five positive connections to one negative.” – Click to Tweet
“We’re all works in process, none of us are perfect.” – Click to Tweet
“The roles we play in feedback are seeker, receiver, and extender.” – Click to Tweet
“If we start moving ourselves into seeking feedback the benefits are immense.” – Click to Tweet
“We can start asking some really good questions as a receiver of feedback that helps use get value from even a blunder feedback experience.” – Click to Tweet
“How do you go out there as a leader and seek feedback?” – Click to Tweet
“The most powerful feedback we can seek, is usually to our peers.” – Click to Tweet
“We are all fighting our own battles.” – Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Tamra Chandler had just bought into a partnership and lost all of her equity when the firm experienced a forced closure. Tamra responded by building a successful organization elsewhere and has continued positively impact the lives of colleagues and clients. She’s now on a mission to reboot feedback.
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expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”] 242: Tamra Chandler: It’s time to reboot feedback
Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast where we uncover the leadership life hacks that help you to experience, breakout performance faster and rocket to success and now here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.
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Jim Rembach: Okay fast leader legion, Today I’m excited because today’s guest is going help us with one of the most important f-words in your world.
Tamra Chandler was born in LeGrande, small town in Eastern Oregon. Her family moved to Montana when Tamra was three as a result she grew up in Kalispell, situated in the beautiful northwest corner of Montana near Grayson Glacier National Park. Tamra is an only child of young parents so she’s known to say that she and her mom and dad grew up together. Both Tamra’s parents were business owners before they reached the age of 30. Her mother owned a popular women’s clothing store and her father launched a series of startups over the years. Today, Tamra’s dad still sits in a CEO seat of a successful company he founded more than 20 years ago. Tamra began working in her mother store while in middle school. Once she was old enough to collect the paycheck she worked a smattering of jobs through high school and college including a lifeguard swim instructor, office store cleaner, and cherry sorter. Armed with an electrical engineering degree after college Tamra began her professional career as a Boeing engineer. Truth be told engineering was her true calling and after three years she returned to school at University of Washington with an MBA in hand and she never looked back.
In 1994 Tamra joined a fledgling team of consultants in Arthur Andersen’s Seattle offices. In 1998 she made partner at Arthur Andersen and soon after stepped into a lead business consulting practice for the northwest corner of the United States. That fledgling team grew from 20 in 1998 to 225 by 2002. When things took a sudden turn despite thinking she found her place
Tamra was uprooted by the Andersen-Enron debacle and soon found herself leading 375 consultants along with a few fellow partners to Hitachi Consulting as a safe harbor. Tamra dedicated six years to Hitachi and established a thriving practice. Inspired by the work she was doing to differentiate Hitachi in the field of global consulting firms, Tamra saw the need for a strategic consultancy in the people organization and talent space. Armed with this insight and vision of what she could be, Tamra made a friendly departure with six colleagues in tow to launch People Firm in 2008, that’s been recognized as one of Forbes magazine’s top consultancies in the US. Tamra also is the author of How Performance Management is Killing Performance and What to do about it, and Feedback (and other dirty words): Why we fear it, How to Fix it.
Tamra lives in Seattle Washington. However a recent home purchase in France is bringing her that direction more often these days. She’s happily married to Jeff Mosier, her partner of 33 years. Tamra and Jeff have two children Ivy, 23, a visual artist, and 19 year-old Wilson, who just completed his first year in economics and management at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Tamra and Jeff’s house is typically full of dogs although Tara says there aren’t enough at the moment. Tamra Taylor, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Tamra Chandler: I am totally ready.
Jim Rembach: I’m glad you’re here. Now I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you but can you her passion is so that we can get to know you even better.
Tamra Chandler: My current passion is, I am just so excited about this feedback thing. So I think that I’m sort of eating and sleeping and breathing that. We just had a great event here in Portland. I’m sitting in Portland Oregon right now. We had 40 executives show up last night and just said what we call a Learning Lab and just the conversation and the wisdom even from those leaders and the experiences that they share just has me just super excited that we did this book and we’re out there kicking up this conversation.
Jim Rembach: Okay, so that leads me to want to ask, what was the main emphasis in those discussions?
Tamra Chandler: Well I think everybody agreed with us, that we need to reboot this idea of feedback, that it needs a fresh start. That feedback is broken in the way that most of us have experienced and they’re probably engaging in it today, and so we’re out there trying to start a movement of leaders and everybody else who wants to come along with us who thinks it’s time to fix feedback. So it’s something that’s truly helpful and not harmful or hurtful.
Jim Rembach: Well and one of the things that you talked about in the book and what it starts off with and to me it just kind of launches from there and really sets a good groundwork is you talk about self-preservation and part of this is just wiring is who we are as animals and then there’s been a lot of societal things that have impacted it but ultimately we’re talking about how to preserve that self-protection component. So when you say tell self-protection, what does that really mean for everyone?
Tamra Chandler: Well I think where we came from, we have evolved over time but our evolution, what we’ve learned to do is protect ourselves, and back in the day that might have been the saber-tooth Tiger or the snake hanging from the tree, right? And we learned that danger means physically respond, get out, and be safe. And the interesting thing is with the world of feedback, well if someone’s coming at you with some feedback it’s probably not going to cause the end of your life but we tend to still physically respond in that way as that self-protection and what happens mentally when we do that is we move into with what Laura and I like to call our reptilian brain, we sort of moved back into that protection, the safety, the fight-or-flight kind of mode and when we are in that brain our wise brain shuts down. So almost all of us can think about times where someone has said something and we’ve responded in a way that when we think back on it later were just sort of horrified or at least little bit humiliated and it’s because that reptilian brain took over and our wise brain shutdown and so we weren’t able to show up necessarily the way we want to because we’re in that self-protection mode
Jim Rembach: Okay so for me that kind of also leads me to a particular question before we go into something else, and that is you talked about how we respond to understand be able to take in fear related type of information before we start taking in things that are growth focused and positive. So if I start thinking about those elements and components, should it be that I wait to do the fear types of things that could potentially cause people to—and as you put it in the book we’ll get in this to a second, it’s fight, freeze, appease, we’ll talk about that in a second, but should we sequence things in a certain way so that we’re having a greater amount of success?
Tamra Chandler: Well yes and no. I think that one of the things that we talk about is if you are wanting to engage in a feedback relationship with someone whether you’re seeking or whether you’re extending feedback that first and foremost we need to build connections with that person, we need to have trusts, we need to have a platform by which we can have the conversation because if I don’t trust you and you’re trying to help me, I’m still not going trust that feedback even if it’s valuable. So yes we have to start from that perspective but I think what we have to realize is when feedback is coming at us even if we have a trusted relationship it still may kick up our fear and that’s where we have to really sort of change our minds. If we say we have to train our brains and we have to learn to get out of that reptilian brain and back into our wise brain and so like when we do workshops with people and stuff we spend a lot of time helping them start to practice little tips to get into your body because when we get back into our body we get out of that response mode so even simple things like rubbing your hands together to start and feeling the more between your hands can start to take you out of that response mode and get you back into your body so you can start to gain control. So we can’t stop the fear even if we love somebody they can still come at us with something that is scary to us, so we have to also figure out ways to start to manage our own fear and get out of our brains in that sense.
Jim Rembach: I think that’s a really important point when you start talking about some of these techniques and tactics. I do want to get a little bit more into this whole fight, flee, freeze or appease. And so, I want us to talk a little bit more about this four elements that’s associated with this self-preservation and how it impacts feedback.
Tamra Chandler: Right. The fight, freeze, flee or appease I think in the corporate environment when we’re working side by side the one that gets the least amount of attention but is probably the most common is the appease. Someone actually, last night, brought this up where they are trying to drive more feedback for leaders and asking individuals to provide more feedback for leaders and they said unfortunately most of the responses, oh, you’re great everything’s lovely and keep doing what you’re doing rah rah. Those are people trying to appease they’re not actually engaging there’s still the fear there of having an honest conversation. Maybe that leader is doing great things but that’s still not good feedback that’s not specific it’s actually not telling them why they’re great or what they should keep doing. Oftentimes if we’re extending feedback to someone and we see them sort of glass over or they’ll say, gosh, thanks a lot, we kind of instinctively know I don’t think that landed anywhere I think it just woof and they said thank you and they made it sound like they cared about what we said and they walked away that’s really an appease.
Jim Rembach: So when you start talking about this, and you and I had the opportunity to chat a little bit off mic before we started recording, we talked about what we’re kind of familiar with and what we’ve been exposed to and really when we start thinking about this whole traditional mindset action and activities associated with it as well as the emerging workforce and how they really don’t receive much feedback or have not received it and so we’re really almost having to start from a ground zero which could be a good thing.
Tamra Chandler: I think maybe that is a good thing. I think that when you talk to people who have grown up in our traditional models and particularly throw in there the dreaded performance management review all those models have really polluted our idea of feedback. If you think about the review, and review makes us believe that feedback is this big heavy meeting that hashes over the past and that one person is the know all tell all of the other person and I bring you into the room and I put my box of Kleenexes in the middle of the table because we’re going to have this big conversation about your strengths and your weaknesses and we’re going to hash over the things that happened last year, there’s so little value in that conversation that is not feedback. But we think it is because we’ve been told it is. And so these are the types of things that we have to sort of wipe the slate clean and say that’s not feedback let’s redefine feedback let’s understand what good feedback means and let’s try to bust a whole bunch of these myths that pollute our experiences in the way that we’re going forward.
Jim Rembach: I think that’s perfect. So let’s bust a couple myths, go ahead.
Tamra Chandler: Okay. One of my favorite myths is, and I know that you do a lot of work with leaders. It’s interesting because if you talk to leaders a lot of them think that good feedback is, I’m out telling my people what they’re doing wrong or telling them how to fix something. The science and if you’re geeky enough you want to get into the science, look at Zinger and Folkman’s, Research in the Space, because it’s really powerful and they’ve looked at thousands of leaders and understood what’s happening here and ask the people that are working these leaders. Here’s what we know, the most impactful feedback that people get is positive feedback. It drives the most important and improved performance, it’s inspiring, it helps people look forward, it engages them, it drives that level of commitment. Leaders who give positive feedback are the highest-ranked leaders in leadership capabilities.
So if you’re trying to improve your leadership scores just lean into the feedback frequent focus positive oriented feedback. Interestingly, even leaders who really do a good blend of more positive but also corrective and directional feedback there’s starting me better than those that just give pure positive feedback, which is kind of an interesting finding. You probably really need a blend if you’re really helping your people grow thrive in advance. So leaders need to move away from this idea that they need to be hard or critical or strong-willed and move their people forward. If you can lean in to that positive feedback that’s hugely important. I think the other thing, there’s this old, I’ll use the PG language here there’s this whole idea of the poop sandwich. A lot of people were trained on this idea that gives somebody a compliment, give him some tough feedback and then close with a nice compliment and that was a good feedback practice, for years that was trained and taught to people. It’s a horrible practice. Because what happens with that practice is we’re mixing the message, what is it we’re trying to say? Is it the positive thing or is it the tough feedback? What’s the most important piece in that? And most the time people are going to smell the smelly medal the poop sandwich part and say, you know what? I think those two compliments were just thrown in there they’re not even meaningful. And so I don’t trust any of that information particularly those compliments. And so we start to erode the trust between the individual we’ve diluted the message and and it’s really not a valuable conversation at all.
Jim Rembach: Okay, so also you shared something a little bit about Gottman’s research in the all five of them, got to hit on that a little bit. And we actually have to go overboard on the positive in order to impact that thing that we need to have improve in (inaudible 15:36)
Tamra Chandler: Right. And the Gottman research is about relationships and that ties back to that in order for feedback to flow in order for this to work for us to get value out of it Jim if you and I have a relationship we have to have trust. In order for us to have trust we have to have some connection that binds us. And so what Gottman’s research, while he did it under the auspices of marriage counseling and evaluating marriages, we think what’s so important that we can take away from that is for our relationship to be strong we have to have five positive connections to one negative. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be five positive feedback it can simply be—we go to lunch we work on a hard project together we have things that connect us—so our relationship has that strength in it. And the more positive connections we have, I think of it like you’re building that ground level you’re building the platform by which you and I can have richer and more influential and meaningful conversations. So those positive connections you just keep putting more layers underneath that relationship.
Jim Rembach: For me as you’re saying that I start thinking about longevity and I started thinking about 10 years and I started thinking about all of those things associated with how long people are actually at work together and when you start looking at these term lengths who are putting all those factors into place about people at senior level how often they turn and turn. If we’re looking at mid-level and absolutely the frontline, people are saying now you’re going to have like 14 jobs if you emerge into the workforce by the time you get out of it, I mean, do you really even have time to build a religion?
Tamra Chandler: Oh gosh, I sure hope so. But I think you’re right. I think that is one of the challenges. Laura and I sort of joke about when we’re working with a new set of managers or leaders for example and you start telling them, hey, you need to be connecting frequently and they get this sort of glassy eye days and you know what they’re thinking is, when do I find the time to do that? And I think what we need to realize is again with all these things it’s light and easy. We’re not saying be robotic about it we’re not saying you have to sit down for half an hour with someone we’re just saying be authentic be engaged. We all have to eat we all have to do these things so use those times to really connect with people and build that relationship. If you are a new person you’ve got a new boss you can drive that too starting to reach out and just getting to know people.
I was reflecting this week on some of my best friends are people who’ve worked for me at one time but took the time to say, hey I really want to get to know you, and had the courage to drive that relationship. We can all engage in this process even though, yes, there’s a lot of churn and there’s a lot of change.
Jim Rembach: Okay, so that leads me to something that we also talked about off mic. We talked about what we’ve been conditioned to in the workplace and in our society, we talked about North America versus other places around the world and I had shared how on the Fast Leader show I read a bio that’s a little bit more of a personal bio because I say it’s not what you do that makes you great it’s who you are that makes you great and it’s a very important distinction that we often lose. And you said, well, that’s kind of a phenomena here in the States, however, when you travel globally you get and experience something different, what do you experience?
Tamra Chandler: I was thinking particularly, because as you mentioned in my bio, I’ve been spending a lot more time in France and as I’m getting to build a community in France what’s been interesting to me is the contrast in their relationships. What I’ve noticed is people don’t ask you right away what you do, they want to know who you are, and they ask you questions about your family, and your history. Maybe it’s because their history is so much longer, I don’t know, they care a lot about those types of things. But also what I’ve learned is that they’re faster to become your friend, it’s easier to get into those communities and move faster I think.
Unfortunately, and maybe it’s the speed like you’re talking about that we work at in the U.S. that it’s hard sometimes to make new friends or to build those relationships, like people aren’t really willing to invest the time. Maybe that’s because, well, how do I know you’re going to be here in a year? But I find it’s easier and in a very short amount of time in France we’ve been able to build kind of this whole network of friends and people and people go out of the way to help you. And gosh, I wish we could bring more of that back, as we’re trying to bring the human back into the work that we’re doing in the U.S. just really leaning into those relationships and establishing much more of that rapport would make us all so much stronger and frankly happier.
Jim Rembach: And I think this kind of goes into the hold rebooting of feedback, is that we need to do things differently than we’ve done the past. You talked about Dr. Dweck’s work in regards to mindset and having more of a growth mindset and we’ve got to change some of our behaviors. I even remember working with one particular Police Department on an engagement, a project, and I had some senior level leaders within a conference room and I started asking some questions where we got into that as far as who you are not so much on what you do. And then one guy looked at another he goes, I’ve known this man 20 years and I just learned something new I had no clue about. Why did you count 20 years and not know that?
Tamra Chandler: Right, right.
Jim Rembach: I think that we just have to really stop and take a step back and so part of that gets into the reboot of feedback, how do we reboot?
Tamra Chandler: Well, first and foremost we need a new definition of feedback so that’s the first thing we put forward. We need to redefine it in a way that provides us sort of that platform again that which we can all connect with. Can I read you our definition? It’s a clear and specific information that sought or extended with the sole intention of helping individuals or groups improve grow or advance. So we were really careful about the words that we selected in that definition the clear and specific as in focus, you’ll hear us talk about one thing, the sole intention of helping somebody improve, grow or advance. We always say go out there and kick a lot of ass. One of the first questions you should ask yourself is, what’s the intent of the feedback if you’re looking to offer somebody some feedback? What’s my intent? We absolutely, as you said lean into the growth mindset and we play with this idea of flipping the switch from prove to improve. How can we in our own minds switch from prove to improve? So making sure if you’re offering someone feedback you’re not trying to prove something but you’re trying to help them improve. And I think so often when we get feedback wrong it’s because we think we need to tell somebody something maybe they made us mad or we think we have a point of view that they need to hear or something of that nature which is then in our definition not feedback. As a receiver of feedback or as a seeker of feedback if we switch from this idea of prove to improve then we can open ourselves up to look for all works in process none of us are perfect we all got things we need to work on. So if we start to say, hey, this is who I am, as we said, this is who I am and this is what I’m working on help me here I’m in this state of continuous improvement. We’re not out trying to prove we’re the smartest or prove we’re the best at something or all that type of thing that puts us in a completely different state of mind.
Jim Rembach: Well and as you’re talking you use some words I think it’s really important for us to be able to explain and talk about because we need to build skills in all three of these. You talked about a speaker, a receiver, and then there’s also an extender, help us with that.
Tamra Chandler: We wanted to make sure and we kind of thought about what are the roles we all play in feedback? And we broke it out into these three roles seeker, receiver and extender. We always start with seeker because that we think is really the golden egg here in changing how we engage in feedback. If we start moving ourselves into seeking feedback the benefits are immense. We lower the fear both in ourselves and in the person we’re asking because we’re giving them permission we’re seeking specific feedback that we care about we get to choose the time and the place and hopefully we’re asking in advance so the person we’re asking has the time to prepare and think about their answers so we’re getting higher quality information. So we can really lead the way by getting out there and seeking.
Of course, once we seek then we’re in receiving mode and sometimes we’re receiving because we’ve asked and sometimes we’re receiving because we haven’t. But whether you’ve asked or not the receiver is really taking that information in and choosing what to do with it. We had a gentleman last night asked the question, what if you’re receiving information from an extender who’s really bad at feedback? Even as the receiver we can take control and we can start to ask questions that help us get value from that. What’s the one thing you want me to get away from this conversation? Is there a place you’ve witnessed me doing that that you can walk me through so I can understand it better? We can start asking some really good questions as a receiver that helps us get value from even a kind of blundered sort of feedback experience.
Tamra Chandler: And then lastly is the extender and almost always everyone immediately goes to this role and thinks about all the powers with the extender. No, we want to move the power to the seeker and the extender is someone we’re asking to just share what you’re witnessing. Share what you’re observing let go of the judgment, the assessment, the ratings, the no I’ll tell all, the giving the solutions, move to someone who is witnessing here’s what I’ve noticed and then engaged the person in a conversation about, do they see it the same way? Is this valuable feedback to them? How can you help them work on this if it’s something they’re interesting in working on if it’s a strength how can you help them find more places to apply that strength really engaged in that kind of conversation as an extender.
Jim Rembach: Well, as you’re talking to I would think that we could easily make the mistake and basically take what you were just saying right there and think that, oh, that’s top-down conversation and that is (inaudible 26:34) seeking the feedback from a superior in rank. And I would dare to say that no it’s probably needs to be the superior doing it first in order to model it.
Tamra Chandler: Exactly, yeah. We have tips and tricks and ideas in each of these different roles. The second section in each area says leaders go first. It’s about, how do you get out there as a leader and seek feedback? And for some leaders this is really hard. Because you may have a lot of ego built up in your leadership. You may not have those relationships yet with the people on your teams. We say start easy, start in a team meeting and at the beginning of the team meeting say, hey, at the end of this team meeting I’d really love feedback on ABC, anchor it in the work that you’re doing start to build some muscle with the team that opens up the dialogue. And then when you come around to the next meeting say, hey, I really love the feedback you gave me in that last meeting this is what I’ve done with it at the end of this meeting here’s what I’d like and then you start to build a habit and a rapport. Once you’ve done that maybe you can start building one-on-one relationships with some of those people to go out and say, hey, I’m really looking for feedback on our strategic plan I built let’s talk about that and any ideas you have for me how we could make it even better. So we can really start to show how we can lead the way and that is so important.
The other thing, Jim that is so vitally important to recognize here is the most powerful feedback we can seek where we can offer is usually to our peers. And so we really like to try to shine a spotlight on peer to peer feedback, research shows that we’re thirty percent more likely to take in peer feedback and I think there’s a couple of reasons for that. When our peers see us more often they know us, they see our work they know our strengths. Even that guy who worked for 20 years he probably still had some good feedback for that peer because they’ve worked closely enough together and leading into that is really important and it’s safer and it’s a great place where we can start to practice some of these skills.
Jim Rembach: And as you say that I start thinking too is that there are certain organizations and I would dare to say that it’s at all levels where they may look and say, well, I don’t really have up here. in the small organization that can happen in the large organization the person at the very top there’s no peer they’re all subordinates there’s that peers among subordinates. For those people who feel like they’re isolated where do they go?
Tamra Chandler: That’s really interesting. I think again they can go to the people whoever they’re working with whether they’re peers or not. I would just look at who’s in my ecosystem? And who sees me? Sometimes it may even be a client or a customer or someone else. In our business oftentimes some of the best feedback comes from the clients that we’re working with. And being able to build a relationship with them and ask them for their insights or their specific feedback. Once you’ve got a trusted relationship. So I think we just have to step back and think about who is it this witnessing the work that I’m doing? And how can they provide me observations about what they’re seeing?
Jim Rembach: It sounds like we also have to kind of change our definition of what peer is as well.
Tamra Chandler: Right, yeah, I think you’re right.
Jim Rembach: Everything that we talked about in all of this—the fear, flight, freeze, appease all of them, all of these is just wrapped up in a ton of emotion. One of the things that we like on the show to help us make sure that we’re focused in the right direction are quotes. So is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?
Tamra Chandler: I love this quote and I used to have it for a long time, I think on my Skype header or whatever it’s, be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. I think particularly in this case that’s such a great quote because it’s it gets into that fear piece again. I think we are all fighting our own battles. We’re trying to be the better person. We’re trying to contribute. We’re trying to show up or trying to connect. We’re trying to manage our children. We’re trying to manage our parents. We’re all just out there trying to do our best. And in a crazy, crazy luca world. So I think recognizing that—I don’t know about you but I say that I used that quote with my kids a lot. Because when your kids are in their 20’s or teens they can be very critical and very judgmental. I’ll often say, you don’t know that person’s story and you don’t know what they’re dealing with and you don’t know the battles that are raging inside your brain so be kind. And that one just really resonates with me.
Jim Rembach: I would dare to say that I also too for many of us we kind of have to start building our own different approaches. Kind of like getting rid of the hole so what do you do it should be, hey, what are you battling today? You never (inaudible 31:33) that to go. Again I got in a habit of asking person, so where do you find your joy? It’s amazing people will just sit there and process what you’re saying and all of a sudden the corners of their mouth go up their eyes get big and then they start telling you what it is.
Tamra Chandler: Right, right that’s a great question. Talk about connecting those are the dirt great kind of questions to build those connections.
Jim Rembach: Now you have to be prepared though because some of those conversations have brought me to tears.
Tamra Chandler: Oh, well, if you ask my team I’m like the queen of tears, I cry all the time they’re used to it. No one can declare I’m not a vulnerable leader.
Jim Rembach: That’s it, got to be vulnerable. We’ve committed to this as leaders we have to be willing to put ourselves out there. When you were talking about the leader going first is that for leaders oftentimes their legacy is that—you know what? I’ve been beaten up for the past 15 years associated with feedback and now I have something different. Well, yeah, you’re the one who has to do the most work sometimes.
Tamra Chandler: We even talk about leaders sometimes have to hit the reset button because a lot of us have been trained in ways that aren’t very productive or helpful. If you’re going to change the way you’re going to engage in feedback and if you’re going to start seeking you’ve got to be willing to sort of show up and say, hey, maybe the things I was doing weren’t working so well I’m turning over a new leaf I want to hit the reset button I want to start fresh with you and I’m going to start by asking you to provide me some insights, that could be a really good thing to do sometimes depending on your history with the people you’re talking to.
Jim Rembach: And I would say be prepared to have to do that at least three times because they go and you’re going to get the appease and asking **there’s a what they’re going to give you an appease.
Tamra Chandler: Fair enough, I think you’re right.
Jim Rembach: Needless to say when we start talking about all of these learnings and even talking about the course of where you started near Glacier Park and getting to be part of a global firm and having your own and having the success there’s still humps that you’ve had to get over.
Tamra Chandler: So many.
Jim Rembach: That’s right. Can you share one of those with us.
Tamra Chandler: Yeah, like I said so many it’s hard to pick what’s the most exciting one. But I think there probably wasn’t any event in my life that was more from a business perspective rocking your world than when I was at an 80,000 person top-ranked firm at Arthur Andersen and the next day our license was pulled and suddenly we were unable to operate so we had to respond. It was really an interesting time because as partners we had the most to lose. Our equity was in the firm all of our assets were I just signed a note that was just as big as my house mortgage that I now owed and I had nothing left to show for it. So I thought that was such an interesting time and to watch the way different leaders responded. You saw some of the most amazing people show up and do just phenomenal leadership things to help calm people and bring them forward and really rise to that occasion and then you saw others who did not. That was really an interesting time where we had to step back and say back to who are we, am I going to just flee away and take my bags and run? Or am I going to stay here with my team and see us through this? And I think that was a hump for sure.
Jim Rembach: Well, obviously I know what side you felt long.
Tamra Chandler: Yeah, it was a time, there’s lots of stories to go along with it.
Jim Rembach: I would dare to say that there would even be some more interesting stories talking about those that just didn’t handle it very well. What you just said right there to me
is it’s very telling in a lot of ways when we start even going back to that whole self-preservation of self. How do we respond?
Tamra Chandler: Mmm-hmm.
Jim Rembach: So, when I start thinking about where you’re going with this—your firm was recognized as one of the top consulting firms, you had the book—what is one of your goals?
Tamra Chandler: People will ask me why I’ve been in consulting for 30 plus because it’s a kind of a crazy world to live in for that long and I always say I’ve been here because I truly think we make a difference. One of our values that people firm is leave every client situation better than you came to it. And that could be a hallway conversation or it can be organizational transformation project. But I truly feel like we advocate for people and we help find that win/win between what organizations need and what people want. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that we help make people’s lives better, at least their lives at work better, and that’s my passion that’s what keeps me going and if I didn’t believe that I couldn’t have done this for this long.
Jim Rembach: And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.
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Alright here we go Fast Leader Legion it’s time for the Hump day Hoedown. Okay, Tamra, the Hump day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Tamra Chandler, are you ready to hoedown?
Tamra Chandler: I hope so.
Jim Rembach: So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Tamra Chandler: Oh wow! Rapid response. Managing my time more effectively.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Tamra Chandler: Be yourself.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Tamra Chandler: I think that I truly care about people and I connect with them on a personal level.
Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?
Tamra Chandler: My husband. Is he at tool? Don’t tell him he’s a tool.
Jim Rembach: Most endearing sense. And what would be one book you’d recommend to our legion? It could be from any genre but of course, we are going to put a link to “Feedback” as well as your other book on our show notes page as well.
Tamra Chandler: You know one of my all-time favorite books is switch by Chip and Dan Heath.
Jim Rembach: Okay. Fast leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going too Fastleader.net/TamraChandler. Okay Tamra, this is my last hump day hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you can take your knowledge and skills back with you but you can’t take it all you can only take one, so what piece of knowledge or skill would you take back with you and why?
Tamra Chandler: The skill I have is connecting the dots from many different things if the one thing I had to hold on to would be that being able to take research and science and experience and connect the dots and create something with it.
Jim Rembach: Tamra it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the fast leader Legion how they can connect with you?
Tamra Chandler: Yes. They can contact me on LinkedIn @TamraChandler and my email for people firm is available there so you get right in to us or you can come to www.peoplefirm.com and connect with us there. I’m also on Instagram and all over the place so I’m not hard to find.
Jim Rembach: Tamra Chandler thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and the fast leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.
Thank you for joining me on the fast leader show today. For recaps links from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe if you haven’t already head on over a fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
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