The Geek's Guide to People - Shifting from Output to Impact

The stereotype of technical professionals as inarticulate, socially inept geniuses inventing problems to solve is unkind and inaccurate. Yet the Dilbert image persists. So do jokes like the one about the engineer sentenced to death on the guillotine, who watches the instrument of death malfunction, then tells the operators how to fix it.

Why do people make fun of engineers and those with their mindset? Do people wired and trained to analyze and solve problems and focus on the mechanics of a situation frustrate those whose brains are wired differently? And how does the engineer’s way of dealing with individuals and interactions - that first value of the Agile Manifesto - sometimes get in the way of team collaboration and productivity?

In this interactive session, we'll show a little empathy for engineers and other analytical folk whose neurological wiring makes them seem different from the rest of humanity. We'll also explore how those with the engineering mindset can develop their own empathy and consciously adopt behaviours that amplify their value to their teams and organizations, make them more effective leaders - and make their own lives easier by positioning themselves for understanding.

Join Sue in a lively exploration of what can happen when engineers and technical professionals shift their mindset from solving problems to creating impact.
You will leave this session with an appreciation of:

  • How to make your ideas meaningful to others by taking their perspective
  • How shifting your language from "What?" to "So What?" helps people connect the dots
  • Why giving up the need to be smart may be the smartest thing you ever do
  • Techniques you can use to take someone else's perspective.
 
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Outline/structure of the Session

Introduction of the topic and main idea
Discussion of the "engineering mindset" - examples
Short table exercise to illustrate different cognitive styles
Different perspectives
Individual exercise, group discussion
Types of empathy
Why empathy matters
Developing empathy - conscious actions, deliberate practice
Pair exercise
Wrap and look forward - call to action
[Will take and answer questions as they arise]

Session could be 60 or 90 minutes

Learning Outcome

  • How to make your ideas meaningful to others by taking their perspective
  • How shifting your language from "What?" to "So What?" helps people connect the dots
  • Why giving up the need to be smart may be the smartest thing you ever do
  • Techniques you can use to take someone else's perspective.

Target Audience

Anyone involved in introducing new ways of working in organizations - engineers and non-engineers

schedule Submitted 10 months ago

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  • Cherifa
    By Cherifa  ~  7 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Suemake some

    I have attended your presentation during trhe summer while in Agile2016. Just one thing that I would like you to highlight is really the link that you can make with the coaching . How as a coach I can instill this empathy to team members? How easy it is to change someone to become empathic? and what are the benefits?

    • Sue Johnston
      By Sue Johnston  ~  7 months ago
      reply Reply

      I LOVE that suggestion. Thanks so much.


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    • Do we need help?

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    • The challenges & flaws that we faced when transitioning from team based agility to organizational agility
    • Some of my reflections as an inside observer
    • How to use the lessons learned as a wake up call
    • What can be done to help the organization to thrive

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    Nightingale’s approach was later applied to outcomes-based education and in programme management with the introduction of ‘logic models’. Fundamentally, it is a quality management approach focused on helping us get the desired results from our interventions and activities. Nightingale was arguably the first person who figured out that you need to start with framing the result you want to achieve (the why) to determine what you should do, how you should do it, when you should it, and where you should do it - all the while using an inspect and adapt mindset to interpret actual results against expected ones to determine the next course of action to be taken, including re-framing the expected results based on what we have learned so far.

    In this interactive session the two Larry's (Cooper and Sullivan) will be your guides as you learn how to identify the goals and objectives (the why) for a real world scenario, how to use a simple canvas and mapping technique to figure out what needs to be done and in what order, and how to adapt what gets done next based on what we have learned so far. The mapping technique is similar to story mapping except that it provides a deeper understanding of the true nature of most projects in enterprise settings - this technique helps us story-map our strategic intent.

    It helps us to more clearly identify and solve the minimum viable problem.

    For Product Owners it will help them gain better insights into how value gets defined at an enterprise level and provides a line of sight from strategic goals and objectives down to actual products too be built. For leaders it helps them understand that most projects are often really multiple ones that need to be sequenced and that it is the work that is often not identified and hence not done that sinks most large efforts.

    These techniques provide clarity and allow us to deal with uncertainty when dealing with complex problems and messes while maintaining agility throughout.