It’s Time for a Change

Leadership Moment: Switching Sides

The Boston Renegades won their fifth consecutive WFA Pro Championship, propelling QB Allison Cahill to her eighth championship ring (Tom Brady stopped at seven). The MVP however, wasn’t Cahill – it was Whitney Zelee, defensive end. This isn’t the first time Zelee has taken championship MVP honors. In 2011 and 2014, she also did so … as a running back (in 2013, she also took league MVP, but the Boston Militia failed to make it to the championship that year). Zelee sat in the bleachers for the last few years, as mounting injuries took their toll (her story is captured in Born to Play).

This year, Zelee returned to the field. The Renegades were stacked at running back: Tytti Kuusinen and Ruth Matta headed up a stacked backfield. Instead, Zelee came into a new position, which relied on many of her existing skills: the ability to read the field, make quick decisions, and move with speed and aggression to make a play. Much like many people who switch jobs mid-career, she had to learn a new way to play, but leaned on her transferable skills to accomplish a successful transition.

One Minute Pro Tip: Look for Difficulties

Everyone else’s job often looks easy – especially if they’re really good at it. It makes it enticing to imagine ourselves in their job, and we can easily overestimate our skill, because we don’t really understand what they do. Instead of watching for what makes their job easy, we should look at the challenges that they’re regularly overcoming. It’s also a great way to build a relationship.

Ask someone what makes their job challenging (if you’re truly brave, ask how you make it challenging). Listen to the response. It will often teach you things about the environment you hadn’t really paid attention to, give you insight into the skills your colleague is relying on, and help you identify ways that you can stop making their life more challenging.


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Webinar, The First 91 Days of a CISO’s tenure, with Christina Shannon, KIK


Aug 9/10: Reducing Your Team’s Energy Costs: An Inclusion Microtalk, at Black Hat USA

Sep 20: SANS CISO Roundtable

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Chapter Cameo: Helping Others is an Investment in Helping Yourself.

Chapter 17 of 1% Leadership captures a lesson that we sometimes attribute to Fred Rogers: Look for the helpers. Sometimes, when you’re struggling to help yourself, a worthwhile step is helping someone else: sometimes, that inertia is sufficient to get you moving on helping yourself; other times, that help is returned to you.

Leader Q&A: Moving On

Leader V asks I’ve built an amazing team of people, and I just got laid off. I’m pretty sure that the environment going forward at the organization won’t be good for my people. Should I help them leave with me? I don’t want to just abandon them there.

V, you’re struggling with one of the hardest moments a leader has to face: how do you move on, especially when it wasn’t your choice. I suspect you’ve had opportunities to move before that you didn’t take, and one of the reasons you didn’t was your attachment to the team that you’ve just been cut off from.

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