MMP9: Confessions From a Wicked Vendor (or What I Learned in My First Year on the Other Side of Higher Ed)

Karlyn Morissette 
Director of Marketing Communications, Fire Engine RED

The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at

Speaker 1:  Ah, I'm going to hand the microphone over to Carolyn Morissette from Fire Engine Red and Da Deedee You Guru who is going to give us some confessions of someone who's passed over to the Wicked Vendor side of the table. Take it away Carolyn.

Carolyn Morissette:  OK. So my first confession is this presentation was originally called confessions of an evil vendor and then my boss saw it and she was like, "No, no that's not so much going to fly." Uhm, so we changed it but I got to do this really cool title slide so I guess that was pretty well. Really?

Speaker 2:  Yeah.

Carolyn Morissette:  Get on it conference organizers. What's going on? Uhm, so for those of you who don't know me I'm Carolyn. I wasn't always a wicked vendor. I started off my career in higher ed right after I graduated from college. I worked at Northridge University in their admissions office. I was the interactive recruitment manager so fancy schmancy title. I did that for a couple of years then moved down the road to Dartmouth College where I worked in the fund raising office. So managing their web properties, doing online marketing for them that sort of thing.
01:02 And then about a year ago Fire Engine Red came calling and any of you who've seen me speak or write a blog post over in the past couple years or so know that I have an epic love affair with this company. Since like 2005 I was a client there, love their products, love their people. They've got a theme song. If there are any Dead Milkman fans in the crowd, one of the Dead Milkman actually works for us as a software developer so I was like this is perfect.

So when Shelley and Renee called me they were like, you know, come for us. I was like OK. OK. Just tell me where to sign, I'm in, I'm in. So I've been doing that for about a year now and it's just it's such a different experience than working at a college. That was all I ever knew before that and of course I had some suspicions about what some of the differences would be. For instance the politics.

I want to make you all a little bit jealous of me right now, I do not have to deal, I deal with almost no politics at Fire Engine Red. And it's such a refreshing thing to be able to get up and walk three feet into my office, my home office I still work at my house and to not have to, be able to focus on things that matter and not have to deal with the wrangling and all that stuff so definitely good move there.
02:11 But there were also some things that I didn't have sow down and, you know, if any of you were just in, in Tanya and Erin's video presentation a minute ago, they were talking about hiring a consultant. And you know what I did so many epic rants when I worked for Dartmouth about all these evil consultants that the school was hiring, I was telling them the exact  same thing and why are you paying all these consultants money and wouldn't it be nice to be a consultant so that I'm actually listened to? And this turned out not to be so true either.

So some of our clients do listen to us, they say, "You guys worked with like 400 schools. You guys know what's up, uhm just show us what to do." But other ones, they pay us a lot of money and they don't listen to a word we say. And it was almost, it was a really liberating thing for me because I was like, OK, this wasn't a personal thing against me. This had nothing to do with my expertise when I worked at a college, it was just they had a preconceived notion in their heads and that was what they're going to do and they were looking for people to tell them that that was OK.
03:10 So that was almost a liberating thing that happened. And you know I could go on and on and on about this. I could tell you guys stories about clients that make us want to pull our hair out and I'm actually going to tell you one of those stories but, you know, we're going to keep that to a minimum and i could tell you lots of juicy gossip but when I was working on this presentation I really, I wanted to make it practical for all of you in the room and I really want to give you some key takeaways about things that I've learned and used every single day about managing people, managing projects.

And the irony of this is I actually started learning these things while I was still working to college while I was Dartmouth. This is my friend Pamela. Pamela is the Director of Professional Development at Dartmouth. Basically think of her as an in-house executive coach. It was Pamela's job to make sure that people were as successful as they could be in their positions. And I was really skeptical when I first met her, like she's the nicest woman in the world. She's this little lady. And I was like, really Pamela you don't even know how to use Google, what are you going to tell me about being successful on the web?
04:10 Really? Uhm, but you know what happened is when I was at Dartmouth, I started blogging a lot and I started getting on Twitter and I started speaking and my boss lost her mind. Lost her mind with professional jealousy. It was like one f those things where I'm the boss. People should be reading my blog and following me on Twitter and dadadada, you shouldn't be doing this. And she got really passive-aggressive about it and she started like basically antagonizing me every step of the way.

And I'm not a passive person so I was going right back at her and it was just, it was getting a really, it's become a really hostile environment. And then one day she did something to me in a meeting in front of a group of people and I was so pissed and I marched down to Pamela's office and I was like, you have to help me I'm going to punch her in the face. And I'm sure none of you have ever had that feeling about your boss before. And Pamela was like, OK, you know sit down. Just, you  know, relax, it's OK.
05:11 And what she started doing, what she had mediated meetings with me and Meg where Meg would sit on one side of the table and I would sit on the other. Pamela would be in the middle. She tried to get us to talk about our feelings and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We did this for a couple of weeks it went nowhere. So finally Pamela came to me one day and said look Meg has dug her heels in. She is not willing to change.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to work with you one on one and I'm going to give you all sorts of techniques that you can use here but more importantly that you can use when you quit and go somewhere else because she knew it was done at that point. It was over. And you know, we were together for several months. I actually stayed there as long as I did because I was working with Pamela and then Fire Engine Red came calling and there we go.

So really this presentation is going to be about what she taught me but I need you guys to do me a favor first because you guys are a cynical group of people. I know because I'm one of you. and I also know because about a month ago I asked on Twitter, I was preparing for this presentation and I asked, what tips do you guys have for getting things done at colleges?
06:08 I got a bunch of responses but ah, my buddy Jake summed it up quite nicely. Based on all these responses we're all a bunch of slippery rule breaking deviants. Excellent. But OK so some of the things I'm going to talk about, they're going to sound so cheesy to you guys. You're going to go, "What the hell Carolyn? This is like bluff mambo jumbo psychology crap. It's not going to work." But please like take the cynical hat off for the next 40 minutes or so. Let yourself be open to some of these ideas because they really do work. I guess that I used these things everyday at Fire Engine Red.

OK. So do we have a deal? Deal

[Applause and Laughter]

All right so I'm going to start off with a question. How many of you guys are managers? OK.  A lot of hands, a lot of hands. Everyone who did not raise their hand, I'm calling you all out right now. Because every single person in this room is a manager. And I'm not talking about like managing people or report for you except for that redhead girl in the middle there, I don't know what was going on there.
07:09 Uhm, now what I'm talking about is you are all in charge of managing your workload. You're all in charge of managing certain projects. More importantly though, you are in charge of managing your working relationships with your colleague, people that don't report to you but you have to see everyday and this is especially important in my case, you're responsible for managing your relationship with your boss. It's called managing up.

So you have to put yourself in this proactive mindset because really that's what we have to start off. You are in charge of managing your own reality. OK. Forgetting with slide is next. OK. So like I said I asked on Twitter, uhm, what are the biggest challenges that you face in getting projects accomplished? And I got a bunch of answers. And I think we just need to acknowledge a few of them right now because there are few things that we need to put in the accept the things you cannot change category.
08:00 It's not the, I mean you can mitigate them. So for instance, Jewel said, ah, momentum, bureaucracy, everything takes so long to get approval for. Yes. We work in higher education. There are committees. Everything takes a long time like everyone hates it but let's get over it build that extra time into projects and move on. I have to deal with this all the time with clients where I, you know, I'm trying to build an implementation schedule and I say, OK, I need to go to print on this date so I need to get them the copy like a month and a-half beforehand because they're going to have to send it through nine different committees and I'm going to have to do a couple of revisions, you just accept it. You deal with it. You build another schedule. We all know it's there.

Next one was from Curtis and he says, we don't have manpower or financial resources. And uhm, you know, Tony Dunn in his, in his session yesterday he hit on this where he said, "Our budget got cut and it really forced us to focus in on what was important." So I'll ask of you this one is an opportunity. you know a lot of people lost their jobs last year, a lot of layoffs and you know, we're all lucky to have jobs. So let's just like use what we have and use it to the best of our ability.
09:03 But then there were a bunch of answers that you know I would argue that you can do something about. I'm going to show you three of them right now and I just want you to think about what they might have in common. So Michael says, unclear requirements combined with an expectation of telepathy. Paul says, getting the precise level of interest from colleagues. Too much they won't he-- or too little they won't help and too much they muscle in. And Susan says, having administration truly understand the time expertise needed for projects.

The web is instant, right?

Speaker 3:  Right.

Carolyn Morissette:  What all these things have in common? Communication? I would actually argue. That all three of these are playing some version of the blame game. Look at these people I am working with, how can they possibly expect me to function in this environment? It's not my fault. This is the circumstances I'm given, I'm doing the best I can. And I don't mean to make fun of those three people because goodness knows, every single one of us has been there and has done an epic rant on a blog about the topic.
10:04 But you know what? We've got to change our perspective if you really want to make a better working environment for yourselves, to build better relationships with your colleagues, you've got to take a different approach. So, you've got to change your question. Every change big or small begins with a new question. This is a great book that Pamela gave me. It's called Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. It's ah, by Marilee Adams and guys it's the cheesiest book in the world but that doesn't mean that it's not right. And it has so many great tips.

Uhm, basic promise of it is that every time you're making a decision in any part of your life, work, you know, your family life whatever, you're asking yourself a series of questions. And how you frame those questions is going to dictate whether or not you have a negative or positive experience. So let's consider this list of questions right here. What's wrong? Who's to blame? How can I prove I'm right? How can I be in control? What is wrong with these people? Why are they doing what I want them to do?
11:05 You know, it's a pretty negative list of questions but I'm sure everyone of use has asked ourselves these questions if not out loud or in a group of people at least like unconsciously. Let's flip it. Let's try these questions instead. What works? What's possible? What are my choices? What am I missing or avoiding? What assumptions am I making? How can I make this a win-win situation? What does the other person feeling, needing and wanting?

So to tell you a quick story about one of my crazy clients, actually not my crazy client. And I thank the Lord that they weren't my client because this client was a nightmare absolute nightmare. Was abusive to our staff, emailing us nine times a day just being like cranky and nothing we ever do was good enough and dadadadada. And the project manager was starting to get really pissed off. So what's happening was the client is like writing these like nine-page long emails telling us all the things we were doing were wrong and we were horrible people and all that stuff.
12:00 And the project manager was feeding right back into it and she was going, how can I prove to this person that I am right? How can I regain control of the situation? What is wrong with him? Why is he acting this way? Feeding right back into the angst. What if, what would've happened had she asked what assumptions am I making? What am I missing or avoiding? Because what we find out later, is that this person was having a tremendous amount of stress placed on them by the people that they worked for. They were getting come down on really, really hard.

And in turn, they were giving that to us. And you know, that's not an excuse for their behavior. Please be nice to your vendors. Be nice to us but you know what? When you look at it from that point of view, you're taking the personal attack out of it. It's not about you. And you start to look at ways, you know, how, what information can give him to maybe make a little bit of the less stress in his life? What information can I really give him to help him out? So if we had done that, probably the situation would have gone a little bit differently. So Dr. Adams in the book, ah, she has this choice map again, I know this is cheesy.
13:03 I have totally shut off when I first saw this map. I was like, really Pamela? Look at it. Uhm, but it's right, you know. You basically have two choices every time you make a decision. You can go off the learner path, which is you're asking those more positive questions. How can you create win-win? Stuff like that. Or you can down the judger path. What is wrong with these people? But what the book says is that, most of the time we're asking ourselves these questions unconsciously. If you can switch that, become conscious of the questions that you're asking, if you start to head down that judger path you can switch lanes and go the other way.

And that's a really important point because we all need to be able to identify how to, how to make a, I mean projects go bad all the time. How can we turn it around to make it going a more positive direction. So that's one of my favorite tools.

The next thing I'm going to talk about, uhm, so I asked you guys what are your, your biggest tricks to getting things done at the organization that I knew exactly the answer that I was going to get, don't ask permission, Hamster Ninja Assassins. I wasn't expecting the Hamster Ninja Assassins one but, you know.
14:07 Ah, for those of you who were in Dylan's presentation this morning Black Ops secret projects. And then you know forgiveness comes easier than permission, and you know I think that there's places for stuff like this for smaller projects like Dillon said this morning like the 20% when you don't actually need to worry with a lot of people or maybe you do but, you know, for a big picture stuff if you want to make larger change in your organization, guys eventually you're going to have to start working with people. And you're going to, and they're going to be pissed off if you keep doing this ask, ask forgiveness later thing.

So what I would argue that you need to do, oh wait hang on, I forgot part of my presentation. So OK, and I was gearing up to do this. So what I have been picturing in my head for the last three days is if you come with this, with like this attitude of like, I'm fighting battles that's all hear I keep hearing people say. That I'm fighting battles, fighting battles. You know, you're going to, you're immediately coming out of from a defensive posture and all I've had in my head for like the last three days is all of you gearing up like you're in Braveheart and you got the blue makeup on your face and you're getting ready to charge over the hill and yell, freedom. And that's it.
15:13 And you know if you come at it with that attitude like you're instantly setting yourself up for a negative experience because you're already on the defensive end but what I would argue as a better tactic is to start recognizing how to communicate with people in ways that are going to be most effective to them. Not everyone thinks like you do. Not everyone reacts well to the same thing.

Another thing that Pamela made do and I fought this one kicking and screaming as well but she was right and she always is. She made me go to a seminar called the People Map. And basically if you're like a Myers-Briggs person the People Map is  a simpler version of Myers-Briggs. Uhm, there's only four personality types. And I'm going to go through each of them now, give you a little bit, ah, few tips and tricks about how to recognize different personality types and then tell you how to communicate with them so that it's going to be more effective.
16:03 So the first one is the leader. And the leader is typically they like being managers. They're not always managers but that's the rule they like taking. They like being in control. They're big picture people. They are very concerned about image like they have like nice car and fancy suits and the trophy wife and all that stuff. And you know, you will, they really want you to respect them. They want to have authority. So how do you work with a leader? First of all, when you're meeting with them, you got to get to your point quickly. Don't waste their time, that's going to piss them off.

Give them big picture. They're not interested in details. So when we're talking about like, oh they don't really know what it takes to do my job. If you're working for a leader, they don't care. Don't waste their time with that because they're not interested even if you try to teach them, it's not going to work out well for you. Just do what you do and let them, just give them the big picture. A big thing with the leader is you have to give them opportunities to be in control. So ladies, it's like when you have to let your husband think something with his idea, that's the same thing here. You have to let them think the stuff is their idea, just let them come to it in their own time.
17:04 Lastly, they are going to judge you based on your results so they're very rational people. They're, they're not going to judge you based on what you want them to deliver but judge based on what you actually did.

So the second personality type exactly the opposite of leaders the people person. So, you know, happy, friendly, extroverted, best natural communicators of any of the personality types. Big thing with the people person is that they want to have that strong emotional bond. So I have a lot of clients who are leaders. When I meet with them, I present them with charts and graphs and, you know, I'm very like detached and whatever. When I'm working with people person, it's completely different. I have to be chatty with them at first.

When I ha--, I was talking with my boss the other day, I have this one client who I absolutely love and I told her, like every meeting we have it's like we're sitting on the porch drinking mint tulips. Like this is great. And it's not that there are anyone focused on the project than the leaders are but they like to be chatty first. So that's one thing that you definitely need to do if you're working with a people person make that personal connection ask them about their family, their kids, what they do in the weekend that sort of thing.
18:09 You still can be emotional with a people person. You can share your feelings whereas for the leader, you can't. But don't criticize them because if you can help it because they just don't, it's really, really hurtful to them so just be aware of that. If you want to sell them on an idea, don't explain how it's going to benefit bottom line results, talk about how it's going to benefit people because that's what they care about. So you just need to like you might be presenting the exact same idea to a leader and a people person but you just need to frame it two different ways so they're going to be most responsive to it.

Next one is a task person. These are the worker bees. They're very detail-oriented. They're very punctual. They like chocolates. They like bringing order out of chaos and when I think of a task person, I think of my mother because I'm not, I'm a messy person. Like if you go to my apartment at any given day there'll be piles of stuff  all around, it's ridiculous. My mother's a task  person so she's a neat freak. And she cannot stand it and she waits until she knows I'm going to out of town, she will drive an hour down to my apartment and clean the whole damn thing.
19:12 Then I come home and I'm like, what the hell? I can't find anything. Uhm, but that's always what I think when I think of the task person is, is my mother. So how do you work with them. First of all you have to be on time. It's really, really important to task people. They will be the ones like tapping their watch at you. Uhm, describe things in step by step detail. So very different than the leader. Leader only wants high level big picture stuff. Task person wants really a lot of detail. They're going to be the ones that are interested in how you do what you do.

Don't get angry or yell. They really again, they internalize that crap. You know, you're setting yourself up for a blowup later. Document everything and most importantly with a task person, let them think it over. So if you work for a task person and you want to present them with a big idea, give them all sorts of documentation but then say, you know what? I've given you a lot of data just think it over and maybe we can talk about it next week. Don't expect a decision right away. They need time to process that information, right?
20:11 Last personality type and I'll give you guys two guesses about which one I am. The free spirit. And most of you guys are free spirits too, which is free spirits tend to be attracted to jobs like ours. So obviously a little bit more of an outside the box thinker. Uhm, with free spirits, it's, they are the type of people who will say to their manager, they'll go, tell me what you want me to do. Tell me when you need me to do it by and then leave me alone.

Speaker 3:  Yes.

Carolyn Morissette:  Do not micromanage me. They will get really, really pissed off if you try to micromanage them. So how do you work with a free spirit? First of all you have to relax like loosen the tie. It's just, they're not going to be responsive to you if you, if  you don't do that. Don't try to control them. Be prepared for unique solutions. So one of the benefits of working with free spirits is they do have that outside the box point of view. So they're going to give you a lot more unique solutions to a problem than say, a task person is.
21:05 Lastly if you want to sell them on something, sell them on the newness and novelty and innovation of an idea. That's really what they care about. You know free spirit is the type of person that, tell me if this ever happens to you guys. You get really excited about a project at the beginning and you're like gung-ho about it. And then it gets halfway through and you've moved on to like three other things on your head and that project kind of goes the wait side? Yeah, so that's, you're all free spirits.

So this is a, if you download these slides I'd just put this in here so you could have a side by side comparison. But those are the four personality types. And really guys, it's all about putting yourself in someone else's shoes, taking their needs into consideration. If you approach them, like I was just in here a few minutes before and the presenter said something like, you know, if I'm straightforward would someone has best compliment I can give them. And that might be the best compliment if  you're working with a leader. But if you're working with a free spirit or people person that might not be. That might make them very anxious.
22:04 So just be aware of what other people need when you're approaching them. So I've talked a lot about managing people and I've got about 20 minutes left or so, uhm, and I want to talk a lot about the tips that I've learned about managing projects. And again go back to Twitter, one of the, a lot of the comments that I got had to do with time. I don't have enough time to execute these things, you know. You know, don't have enough time. Understaffing plus a gillion or times a gillion.

I'm going to give you guys a little bit of tough love here, OK? I thought I was busy when I was working for a college. I had no effing idea what busy was. I  have three times the workload now than I do when I was working at a college. There are days when I wake up at eight, or I'd start working at eight a.m. Meeting, meeting, meeting, meeting, many, many, many, many meetings. Six p.m., oh wait and I actually need to do work so I'm up until one a.m. doing work and what, admittedly I'm crazy and I'm not suggesting that you guys take on my craziness. I mean I have Intel's design for tattoo for Christ sake. I'm not really sane in the head but you know, you just got to accept that there's always going to be more projects. You are never going to have enough time to do everything you want to do.
Well one of the keys is you have to force prioritization. So one of the things that Georgie brought up and a bunch of others is you know, fuzzy priorities, fuzzy priorities. I was talking with Finn about this last night. And uhm, you really have, I do this all the time with my boss. Is I'll go in she's a, she's a leader/people person. I'll go to her and I'll say, "Here are all the projects I have on my plate. Everything everyone wants from me. What do I really need to work on?" And I give her the opportunity because she's a leader to be in control, to tell me what she wants me tow work on.

Now a lot of say like, you know everyone wants something from me at my school. Everyone wants something. You have one boss. All right. You are a 421 person. They are ultimately the one that's writing your performance review that you need to please. And if you give them an opportunity to help you prioritize, what's going to happen is you're instantly gaining that buy in from them.
24:08 So that when someone comes to you and want something that's not on that priority list, you can say no. No, here's what I'm working on right now. This was approved by my boss. Your problem wouldn't go to them. You know Finn was talking about, you know, how he wants his boss to help him prioritize but his boss doesn't want it. He says, "OK. You come up with a plan. Finn's boss is a free spirit." He doesn't want to do that. And you know what? That's OK because that's giving you an opportunity to come up with what you want your priorities to be.

You know if you're working for a leader, they are going to prioritize things in a way that's important to them. They're not going to take a damn bit of what you want into consideration but you know, he's got a real opportunity to set up his priorities and what he wants to do. So really that's kind of critical for this whole thing.

Next thing I would say is create the right tools. And this can be super, super easy. I have a quality assurance manager, her name is Megan. Megan is a task person, the most anal person I've ever met in my life but that's good because she's the quality assurance manager.
25:04 And when she first started it was a new position. And uhm, there wasn't a lot of process in place so people were coming to her every which way from Sunday wanting things proofed. And Megan was just like she was going out of her mind because it was all chaos. And so we sat down one day and we did the simplest thing in the world. We created a Google form. And this is not the permanent solution to the problem but this took 15 minutes and basically every time someone wants something proofed, they have to go and fill out this form and it's like six or seven questions long. It has all the information Megan needs, so like who's requesting it? What project it's associated with? When is it due by? Instead of rush request stuff like that. It has all the information she needs.

The other people in Fire Engine Red by the way really like this because they weren't sure what the process was either so they were just kind of doing the best they could but we gave them this and they were like, oh, beautiful, perfect. Another cool thing about this form is that this run into a Google spreadsheet. So Megan doesn't have to do any work in terms of documenting. What kind of project she has on her plate, it just all feeds right into there in separate priority.
26:04 Priority is the only one that doesn't feed properly because Megan goes and does that manually. And what's good about this is that if someone comes to Megan and says, can you proof this 20-page document in three hours? She can go, no. Go look at the spreadsheet, not on there. I've got other things to do. And I totally back her up. So if someone comes to me and says, can you make Megan do this? No. You didn't go through the spreadsheet. There's other thing like managers, please back up your employees like it's really important and you know what? Your employee might be wrong you can work that out later but that trust that you're going to build with them over time like it's, it's more critical than, than being right on one specific project.

Next thing I would say is clearly defined rules. And I think that this is why a lot of like committee stuff in higher ed takes a year and a-half to do anything because you know there might be like a committee chair, there might be like a formal leadership established but no one really buys into their role. Everyone wants to be the leader. And you cannot do that when you're trying to, to work on projects.
27:05 And leadership has nothing to do with like hierarchy of the organization. I work on projects all the time at Fire Engine Red where the person assigned to lead the project, I outranked them. However, I'm on their project team. So for the purpose of this project I have to be subordinate to them and that's OK. That's my role. One of the depictions I've seen of this is Tony Dunn from like three years ago.

Tony Dunn:  That's right!


Carolyn Morissette
:  Yeah. Uhm, it's you know, the web team. Because look at this everyone has a clearly defined role. No one's stepping on each other's toes. Now of course I had said the key to this is buying and you know what? It's so hard to get some to accept that they aren't leading a project but really if you're working on a team, like just step back say, OK. Here are my deliverables. Here's what I have to do. This is the only  part I have to do of this project. So all that other work that I'm complaining about that I don't have enough time for? Like I can just do this stuff really quickly and get over to that.
28:07 A lot of people don't do that they want to leave the project doing until it all goes array. Along with this I definitely learned communication, communication, communication. It's just so critical for the success of any project. And it goes both ways. So the project lead has to constantly be communicating with the project team members but the team members also need to be communicating with the project lead. Uhm, one trick I've learned, you know, as the project leads me, it's not like the project that needs job to like execute individual components of the project it's their job to manage the project.

One trick I've learned is I really put the onus on other people I'm working with. So one of my designers, Nick, I'll say to him, "Nick, when can you have these design files to me?" I know in my head I need them on Thursday but I don't go to him and say, "Nick, I need them by Thursday." You know period in the conversation. I don't know what else he has on his plate. So I really give a chance for him to say, "Oh, I think I'm gong to be done by Wednesday or Thursday or Friday or whenever." If he tells me Friday, then I start the negotiation process. I say, you know, is there any way we can shuffle this around? Maybe I can move my deadline. Maybe I can go to his boss and his boss can reprioritize what she's got him working on.
29:16 But really you're getting buy in from him at that point because he has a say in this and you're putting the responsibility on him. So when I go to Nick on Tuesday and say you know, "Do you have the files ready?" or "Will you have them ready by the deadline?" He says, you know, "Sure." He says, "No." And here's what happened. But it just makes for a much more cleaner working relationship. Everyone has a say.

Uhm, project team members, and I didn't realize how important this was until I became a project lead and had to actually talk to clients all the time and explain to them why I was going to be missing their deadlines. Because people didn't do what they needed to do on the team. But please communicate with your project leads like if you know you're going to miss deadlines or stuff like that. It feels to have a level of trust and respect and this shows them that you're paying attention and that you're on the ball.
30:00 OK. What's next? Meetings.


So meetings are not all bad guys. There's actually a meeting going on at Fire Engine Red right now. And this is like my, uhm, my model for efficient meetings. It's called status meeting. We have it twice a week. I get to get out of it this week. But you know, it's half an hour meeting. Everyone in the company goes around, does one minute on what they're doing what they need from other people. It's the most efficiently run meeting I've ever been involved in. Because we all want to get the heck off the phone frankly and go do our work. But, you know, tips that Pamela gave me for leaving meetings, or even if you're like a meeting participant, think about doing this, and this is going to sound cheesy but it actually does work.

When you start a meeting, say to the people in the room, "We're trying to accomplish goal A, B, and C. Does that sound right? Does anyone have anything else they want to add to the list?" Get everyone to agree that those are the goals of the meeting. Then this little sideline conversations start happening, you can say, "Guys, you know this is great, you know good conversation. In this meeting we're trying to accomplish goals A, B, and C. So let's schedule a second time to go over this."
31:10 Now here's the key. You can't just do this once. It's like training a puppy you have to consistent about and do it over and over again. At the end of the meeting, you ask, "Guys, did we accomplish goals A, B, and C?" If you did not accomplish those goals because they're all having little sideline conversations, they're going to have to say no. And no one wants to say no. They want that good feeling of saying yes. And if you train them to understand that you're going to ask this at every meeting that you're in, eventually they're going to start to focus so they can say that yes and everyone can feel good and go team, rarara all that crap. But it really does work.

You know, you need to have a structure to these things so that people know what's expected of them so that they can, they can move on. One of the things I definitely want to talk about uhm, switching gears a little bit is the issue of trust. And this definitely comes in most into play when you're talking about like your relationship with your boss why don't they trust me all that stuff.
32:06 I had a friend of mine. He works for Higher Ad Vendor and they hired a new VP and all I heard was complaining about this VP for weeks. Like he doesn't trust me. I don't understand it. Blah, blah, blah, blah. And finally I said to him, I was like, "Kyle." Not Kyle James, different Kyle for those of you who know him. I said, "Kyle, what have you done to try to show him that he can trust you? What proactive measures have you taken? Have you thought about the way he likes being approached? Have you thought about what he may need from you?"

Trust is not something that is given automatically. It has to be earned and if you don't have that, if you aren't taking proactive steps to try to develop those trusting relationships with the people that you're working with, you're going to get nowhere and you're going to keep complaining about how they don't trust you. Now this is going to be an earth shattering revelation to you guys but not everyone is qualified. In fact, very few people are qualified to be a boss.
33:03 You are hired into directorial level positions, VP level positions because you're really good at managing people. You're hired into those positions because of your knowledge and expertise and a lot of us have had really crappy role models as managers. If I had not gone through several months of executive training, I would be a nightmare to work for because I worked for some of the meanest women in the world. Like they're crazy I'm saying but that was my role model, that was the only frame of reference that I had.

So you really got to get, try giving him the benefit of the doubt. They're not coming to work everyday with the goal of making your life miserable, you know. Try to work with them. Help them. Help them be better and they're going to trust you more as a result of that and you're also going to get to more of what you want. So win-win situation there.

One question I always like to ask if my boss is like really dug her heels in and I said, no we're not doing this on a project and hasn't given me a good explanation about why. Ask him what are you afraid of? What are you afraid of? Why, why are you digging your heels in on this? And they think about it for a minute and they go, OK I'm afraid of A, B, and C.
34:09 And that's given you some really good information right? Because now you know what are the things standing in your way to getting them to approve your project. And you can meet those expectations. Uhm, active listening is also a really important part of this because this is a question they aren't asked often. It's probably something they haven't thought about. So really pay attention, read between the lines of what they're saying. Because it's definitely, you'll get so much good information about it. You'll be able to accomplish so much more.

And you know what? Don't expect overnight miracles. This is all a process. You know, it's not going to, all the techniques I've talked about they're not going to work right away but again, I'm not kidding when I say it's like training a puppy. You really have to do it consistently and over time and eventually it really will work. All right, so I'm going to completely kind of switch gears now. Because one of the questions I get asked a lot since I, I'd jumped the fence is what, what advice do you have for me? What do I need to know if I'm about to, if I want to make the leap to the vendor side of the house?
35:09 And you know it's, I got to, I got to tell you guys it was one of best decisions I ever made. I really, I love working for colleges. I love working in academia but you know, the benefits of it definitely outweigh the drawbacks and first thing I would say is that you really have to make sure that you're working with the company that aligns with your values. OK. Fire Engine Red aligns perfectly with my values. I would not be as successful at other vendors. They just wouldn't work.

Uhm, a lot of vendors nowadays are starting to do like virtual positions so you can work from, from anywhere. Uhm, not all of them but a lot of them are starting to do it and if you, it sounds great if you can find that type of position and I personally love working from home but it's not for everyone. So if that's something you're looking for just really be careful and really think about it because it is really hard for a lot of acclimate too.
36:02 Uhm, you know and really just ask the company. If you're in the interview process ask them. Why wouldn't I want to work for you? At Fire Engine Red when we're in the hiring process, we, if a person gets like really far along in the hiring process and we're about to make them a job offer, we schedule like a half-hour meeting with them and like four other people that worked for the company. And we, I mean it's the most blunt authentic meeting. We tell them all the reasons why they wouldn't want to come work for us. Every single thing that's wrong with the company, every single obstacle they're going to encounter.

Then, you know, maybe they're ready to jump on board and maybe they're not. We actually have never had anyone like run away but, you know, it really manages their expectations about what they're going to find I mean we're a small fast growing company. There's a lot of growing pains involved. And we really want to make sure that people are aware of that up front. So asked. If you're interviewing with vendors, ask, you know, what, why wouldn't I want to come work for you? What obstacles might be in my way?

Next thing I would say if you want to get noticed, really put yourself out there. You know, I credit all this success I've had through blog, with blogging, Twitter, and speaking. Those three things completely changed the trajectory of where I thought my crew was going to go.
37:11 And Shelley, Shelley's the president of Fire Engine Red, she told the story that when she was on my blog one day and I used to have my own design. I used to have a link at the top that said "Hire Carolyn" and Shelley saw that link and it was, "Of course. Why wouldn't I?" And you know, a few weeks later I got a phone call. So don't be afraid to put yourself out there, really, you know, get involved in the community. If you have companies that you really like, write about them. Be an evangelist for them and the community because that what's going to get them to take notice and I mean it resulted a job for me. So I mean it might result a job for you guys too.

Next thing I would say, once again how much time I have left? Seven minutes? OK. Get it in writing. Uhm, a lot of people are uncomfortable when negotiating. And this is a really great book. It's about 30 years old. It's called You Can Negotiate anything by Herb Cohen. A lot of women especially. Women are horrible in negotiating guys but I'm not trying to be stereotypical but that's just kind of like psychologically it's the way it is.
We don't like asking something. Uhm, read this book because really I was so scared when I was negotiating with Fire Engine Red because there were a lot of really specific things I wanted in my contract and I just laid it all out and I was like, ah, I'm going to completely screw up this job offer but I'm not moving to a company unless I can get this, this and this and I got it all. And that was, you know, perfect. And so I was happy. The company was happy. We've really set some expectations and you know, it worked out well. So don't be afraid to ask for what you want and especially if a company has come to you, you're in a position of power at that point because they want you. So take advantage of that.

Last thing I would say be prepared to not be one of the cool kids anymore. My primary personality type is a free spirit but my secondary one is a people person. I want people to like me and when I moved to Fire Engine Red, all of a sudden a lot of people did it. And it was really kind of a painful experience for me to go to because I thought I had built up a lot of relationships with people who worked at school and all of a sudden they wouldn't take my call anymore. And I mean I'm, I'm not the type of person... And I thought they would've known this that we're just like trying to sell them a product all them.
I think, you know, most people here would attest, they'd known me like I don't ever try to sell you guys products but, you know, it's hurtful but it's, it is the reality of the situation and you just got to be prepared for that be ready. I was lucky that I actually had built up a lot of really great relationships that I've kind of maintained. Uhm, so that's my presentation. We got a few minutes left for questions. Here's all the ways you can contact me. I don't know. Any questions? Buehler? Buehler? Well fine, I guess that was perfect then. Excellent.