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Woody Zuill: Knowing When to Stop a Conversation Is Knowing When to Listen

In this episode, Richard interviews Woody Zuill, an Agile coach well known for popularizing mob programming and the No Estimates movement. In this first part of the interview with Woody, he tells us how kindness, consideration, and respect can transform any team into a fulfilling working experience.

When you finish listening to the episode, connect with Woody on LinkedIn and Twitter, visit his website at www.woodyzuill.com, and check out his upcoming book No Estimates – How to Deliver Software Without Guesswork.

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TRANSCRIPT

Richard 00:11

Hi, friends. Welcome back to ‎With Great People, the podcast for high performance teams. I’m Richard Kasperowski. Our special guest day is Woody Zuill. Woody is an old friend and he’s very well known for popularizing both Mob Programming and the No Estimates movement. Now, Woody and I had such a great conversation, we just couldn’t stop talking. Our conversation was so long, it was really good conversation. It was so long that excited to split it up into two podcast episodes to make it more enjoyable for you. This is part one of my conversation with Woody Zuill. Remember to support this podcast, visit my website kasperowski.com.

Richard:

Hello, Woody Zuill. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Woody:
Hello, Rich. I really appreciate you asking me to participate today. I’m looking forward to this. I don’t get to see people like you at the same frequency as I would’ve a couple years ago. Just because we’re mostly working from home and don’t get the chance to see each other at a conference or some other kind of gathering.

Woody:
Of course, I think we live about as far away from each other in the U.S., as you can get without going to the ocean somewhere. Our chance to get together in the days before we were all working from home would’ve seem more remote than working remotely. We would see each other at conferences and so on. I really love that.

Richard:
I’m having flashbacks about some places I’ve seen you too. I think I saw you at the airport in Iceland once or something.

Woody:
I remember that. Yeah.

Richard:[crosstalk 00:01:54] I’m American, you’re American. I mostly see you in airports and at conferences outside of United States.

Woody:
There are some airports that’s more likely for that to happen than others.

Richard:
I’m around Boston. You’re in Southern California, I think?

Woody:
Yeah. I’m in San Diego area. I do love the Boston area. I really miss visiting Boston.

Richard:
We miss you here too. I miss seeing you face to face. I miss being able to visit San Diego and experience the best weather that there is in the entire world.

Woody:
It’s crazy wonderful here. I grew up here and I’ve always enjoyed it, but I get my fill of rain and snow and whatever by traveling, but I do miss that too. Today happens to be a rainy day. Very rare for us, but it’s wonderful.

Richard:
Is there anything that you would add on to my introduction of you? What else would you say about [crosstalk 00:02:52]

Woody:
That sounded great, thank you. I would say that I’ve been programming for 40 years, but I’m just an average programmer. At some point along the way I realized collaboration was really important. That’s a high importance to me is to make sure I’m learning how to collaborate well with others.

Woody:
I’m helping whoever I’m working with learn to collaborate well. I’m the most easily frustrated impatient person and that just doesn’t work well. I think it was Covey who said you can’t be efficient with people. I’ve had to change myself quite a bit over the years to become a better team player.

Woody:
Matter of fact, I used to write down, I had a little list I would write and I would add things too, and change it as the weeks and months went by like, “How can I be a better team player today?” I want to be really easy to work with without giving up the ideas and value that I could bring. That’s one of the things I would focus on.

Woody:
How can I be easier to get along with and at the same time still bring value because you can be easy to get along with by not contributing sometimes. Just not saying anything or agreeing to everything somebody else says. I have a lot of people would tell you, I’ve done a lot of teamwork stuff over the years.

Woody:
I think a lot of times I was a terrible team member and we need to figure that out for ourselves. It’s like I was just saying a few minutes ago when we were chatting beforehand from Amy Edmondson’s book who called Teaming, she had said, “Right now we need to learn how to get on a team become effective really quickly.”

Woody:
Maybe jumping ahead of the Tugman model is it called? The forming, storming, norming, and performing or whatever it was. Anyways, we need to find quicker, better ways to get there. We need to bring our full ability to work with a team to the team. I like to say that myself, I don’t think teamwork comes from the team.

Woody:
Teamwork is our ability to work well with a team. We need to be good at working with a team and that allows the team to exist and to be able to be effective.

Richard:
Well, this is so great. It’s as if you know what this podcast is about. It’s about teams and teamwork. I ask every guest that we have here. I ask about your best team ever, the best team that you were ever a member of in your life. Do you have one of those? Is there one best team ever?

Woody:
I would say if I’m going to keep it to software development-

Richard:
You don’t have to.

Woody:
I understand, but if I were to, I would say the team that I worked with or on when we basically allowed the concept of Mob Programming to emerge out of this team, that was probably the closest thing to a great team as I could think of. Matter of fact, I plan on working there for about a year because I know that I can transfer to a group like this.

Woody:
Well, everything I know in a year or less if I’m working with them, and then I’d go and do it somewhere else, but I stayed there for four years because it was just too wonderful to be with this team. The quality of the team itself, like at every company, with whoever’s there is who you’re working with.

Woody:
If you can’t put a team together, matter of fact, maybe this is almost too negative, but I don’t think you can gather together the best team you ever worked on. It’s just something that’s going to happen because when you gather together those people, you don’t really know how it’s going to work.

Woody:
The dynamics are not something that you really have control over. This team happened to turn into everything I could have ever wanted from a team. How they interacted with each other, how they were willing to go the extra mile. How they were willing to help each other, co-elevate each other.

Woody:
I just read a book called Leading without authority, I think was the name of it. I just read it in the last day or two. I read sometimes by listening to it on Audible, or whatever of recording. I had a commute to have to do that allowed that to happen. This is such a cool idea. If we try to co-elevate each other, what a powerful thing and this team focused on that.

Woody:
Matter of fact, even from day one, when the team was part of the interview process, they were looking for someone who could help them get out of the quagmire they were in. When they interviewed me, they say, “We want to learn to be agile and we want to learn to do these modern things.”

Woody:
They were already ready. You have to voluntarily want to improve to be able to easily move forward. There are other ways we can do that, but this was a team that was ready for it.

Richard:
If you could distill this team, this experience, the feeling of being with this team into one word, what’s one word that you would use for this team? What is the one word you would use for this team?

Woody:
From my own point of view, this was very fulfilling for me. I had tried to do things like this in software development. I’ve had this experience in other fields before, but we work as solo operators in software development for so much of our career, we don’t pay attention to the idea that we could improve our abilities as a team.

Woody:
Eventually, we just all get into this way of working that is solo. We emphasize that. We’ll tell people, “Just leave me alone.” I’ve actually equated it to this sometimes like the developer wants you to just clearly write down exactly what you want, slip it under the door, and then eventually the code comes back out. “Don’t rush me. Don’t tell me what to do.”

Woody:
Beyond your original descriptions. We just want to be left alone, not everybody. We’ve learned that doesn’t really work, but I’ve seen that so many times. This team was there to help each other. They were there to learn how to be better as a group. We didn’t set out to do Mob Programming, which is what we ended up doing, or invent mob programming, because I don’t even think we invented it.

Woody:
It’s like with everything, it’s more of a discovery. When you notice, “Wait a second, look, what’s happening here and what are we doing with a lot of things and let’s get more of this.” That’s it, it was fulfilling because I’d been wanting and hoping for this for a long time.

Richard:
Fulfilling because been wanting and hoping for this for a long time. What else about fulfilling? What more do you mean when you say fulfilling? Is there more? [crosstalk 00:09:55]

Woody:
I’ve recently been reading articles. I haven’t read the research yet that pretty much says to someone like 74% of workers are unhappy with their work. They have to feel part of being happy is feeling that you’re accomplishing something worthwhile. I don’t know if this is something that is in all people.

Woody:
I’ve talked to enough people to feel that it’s probably quite common. One of my big study areas for the last two or three months has been the earliest agriculture in the earliest towns and villages, permanent cohabitation areas. I don’t know how would I describe it better than that, but it was mostly families and small tribes who stayed in an area for a long time. Well, how did they do it?

Woody:
How did they do it without getting upset with each other and so on and so on? What is it that allowed them to stay as a grouping for a period of time? I think humans probably way before it was physically possible to stay in one area for a long time because we would use up a food source or whatever, we had learned how to work together well.

Woody:
That might go back to before even spoken language. I don’t know. Maybe we were just screeching at each other, we still were able to collaborate. I think it’s built into us by this time. I don’t know how long ago that was. It was before my time before my dad’s time, and probably a million years ago or something.

Woody:
I think it’s built into us. I’ve noticed this in so many different ways that we collaborate driving a car on the road, we are collaborating with many other people and we rarely get in accidents or whatever you call it when somebody crashes into someone else, how do we do that?

Woody:
Well, we’ve got a protocol and so on. It’s fulfilling to me to see a group that’s willing and ready to do this, and then we accomplish that. I think it’s just built into us to want this. I could be wrong.

Richard:
I think so. I think it is. I love that idea, it’s just built into us that we want to collaborate with each other.

Woody:
Of course that we avoid it because of all the problems with it.

Richard:
Still we avoid it at all costs. Even when we’re driving a car, we think we’re alone in the car and everybody else is in our way.

Woody:
Sometimes I wish they would just change the color of that light so I can go. It’s like, “Why are they doing this to me?” Of course, they’re not. There’s a really important thing here. As a human, we seek the company of other humans, and maybe some pets and things like that.

Woody:
As a company, we join together because we want to bring all the skills and knowledge and capabilities together to accomplish something. Then we go and sit in our own cubicles. We know innately that we need to figure out how to collaborate. We use surrogate collaboration mechanisms, for example meetings.

Woody:
Not too long ago, I saw an online social media communication thread going on. They were talking about making better meetings and I didn’t really contribute to it. I was just reading it and following along. I wanted to say the first step in getting better meetings is to not have them.

Woody:
Our choice isn’t always to do this thing that doesn’t ever seem to work all that great better. Sometimes the best thing to do is to figure out why we need to have this thing and experiment with other ways of doing it. One of the things we need from meetings is to communicate.

Woody:
Is a meeting the best way to communicate? Maybe it’s telling us we are saving up the communications for a specific time because we’ve become time-driven people. The only rhythm we really have is a daily rhythm. We don’t have a weekly rhythm. As humans, we have the rhythm of the seasons.

Woody:
We don’t have a weekly or a monthly rhythm. That’s something we put on us so that we could accentuate our capability of getting together at different periods and times. I think I’ve read quite a bit about this that we’re cultures. At one time they would say, “Let’s get together when the animals are roaming through here again.”

Woody:
Then, for the rest of the seasons, we are off doing other things, trying to find our food, but we know when all these animals congregate, we’ll want to be here. We’ll see you, then we’re not saying, “Tuesday, February 18th.” Whatever happens to be, it’s going to be when this event is occurring that’s naturally occurring around us.

Richard:
It’s actually at the right time when you’re prepared to do the thing, not just to talk about the thing that we might do if we ever got back to work.

Woody:
You can tell I’m really passionate about this, hopefully. In our work, we throw that whole idea away. We’re not event-driven, we’re schedule-driven. I think that’s counter to what really often will work best. Sometimes a schedule is okay. I’d really like to see proof of that.

Woody:
I’m not sure I’m convinced of that. Right now, we’re doing a podcast, we have to say on this particular day we’re to get together and record this. I’m okay with that. I’m not saying we can live without that totally. We just discussed something a minute ago before we started. Getting together at a conference could be as easy as, “Look, Woody’s here.”

Woody:
You walk over and say, “I’m doing this podcast. You want to do it?” Then we do it right then and there or say an hour or after lunch, or whatever. There’s a lot of reasons we need the schedules, but I would say meetings often are a fake way of doing the communications or ineffective way of doing the communications we need to do.

Richard:
“Let’s get back together when we see the cameras and microphones coming.”

Woody:
That’s right. There you go.

Richard:
We’ll just know what to do.

Woody:
In a culture where you’re event-driven, as opposed to schedule and time-driven, your pace of doing things is going to be very different. We make deadlines that have almost no meaning, except for somebody felt we needed to have deadlines. I know for myself everybody’s different in this way.

Woody:
I know for myself I can load up on food in the morning and pretty much not need to eat the rest of the day. I know people who need to eat every few hours or they’re going to have problems. There we go. Each of us is going to have different rhythms throughout our day that match us.

Woody:
I know for myself I often some of my best ideas have popped in my head when I’m asleep. Somehow, I get myself to wake up at that moment and I go, “Wait, I better write that down because I’ll forget it by the morning.”

Richard:
Wait, that wasn’t between nine o’clock and five o’clock?

Woody:
Exactly. This is an interesting point as well. Almost every workshop that I give at some point I’ll ask, “When do your best ideas come to you?” Most common people will say in the shower, that is the most common thing. Then I’ll ask, “Has the boss ever come to you and say, “I need some of your best thinking, go take a shower.”

Woody:
They don’t even think in those terms. The second frequent thing I hear is it has to do with sleep. Just before I fall asleep in the middle of the night or just after I wake up, I think they’re all related. The third, most frequent is something to do with exercising, which is usually a walking or biking, or running.

Woody:
It can be other things. I’ve talked to people in some areas where they do a lot of sailing and they’ll say, “While I’m sailing.” It puts you in this rhythm or in a sense of calmness or maybe excitedness. I don’t know it’s whatever it is. For me a lot of it came from walking and I think that’s very natural too.

Woody:
I bet our long ago ancestors did a lot of their best thinking and talking as they were migrating from the location to location, and they were doing it very frequently.

Richard:
Another funny thing that happened, all these things and when I’m meditating. I get so annoyed and I shouldn’t.

Woody:
You’re trying to push [crosstalk 00:18:41]

Richard:
I got a good idea. What do I do with this? I’m supposed to be meditating, but I got a good idea. Now what?

Woody:
Well that’s an area that interests me a bit. Not necessarily meditating, but how our brain operates and meditating is one state that we can try to be in.

Richard:
I think it’s all that somehow meditating is a way to do it when you’re conscious and sliding into that unconscious creative that when you’re walking, I don’t know you go, I don’t know what happens. When you’re almost asleep, when you just woke up. [crosstalk 00:19:11]

Woody:
One thing that interests me is that when the idea comes to us, we have to have a way of noticing that, of knowing that’s occurred. Then what do we do with it? I’ve noticed in actual work, people will often just go right past the good things that are happening because they’re on schedule to get something done that needs to get done.

Woody:
The way I like to think of it is like where I live a few years before I was born. We had a Gold Rush in 1849, actually a year or so before that, someone discovered some gold. The story goes, they were building this mill, this guy’s property, Sutter. They were building a sawmill, I guess it was.

Woody:
They were bringing water in to be able to drive the sawmill. That’s what they were doing and somebody reached down into the creek or the river and saw something shiny, gold, whatever, and picked it up and said, “There’s gold.” Now, if you go, “There’s gold here. I’ll throw it back. Let’s get the sawmill done.”

Richard:
We’re on a schedule. I have to get to that meeting.

Woody:
If we’re not paying attention, it may turn out that the sawmill would’ve been a better enterprise. If we miss the interesting things along the way, because we’re bound to a schedule or a deadline we’re losing in the value of discovery, which is really critical. This is something I like to see on a team is that we have five or six people paying attention.

Woody:
They’re not all paying attention to the same thing. Matter of fact, as I’m talking right now, Richard, you cannot actually hear everything I say, because your brain is operating as I talk. Every time I say something that’s even slightly interesting, which happens now and then, you will go, “I want to ask him about that.”

Woody:
Your brain is diverted for a while. Now, the study that I saw on that showed when we’re listening a lecture or a TED Talk, or something like that, we only hear about 10% of it. It’s hard to focus and pay attention. Let’s get five people paying attention.

Woody:
They’re going to see different things and we’re going to get this better chance at seeing the good things that are happening too.

Richard:
You’ve seen through the facade. You’ve exposed it to all of our listeners and viewers. I’m actually not paying attention to you while you’re here with me. I’m so sorry. It’s really funny because I am trying really hard to pay attention to you and be a perfect conversation partner, which is impossible, and taking notes.

Richard:
Of course, I’m not even paying attention to you when I’m taking notes. I’m taking notes to make sure I’m paying attention to you, but then I’m absolutely not paying attention to you.

Woody:
That’s a good trick to do to get your attention back on what’s going. If you make that quick little note, my mom used to do shorthand and she was really good at paying attention to things if she was in a meeting or something. She had shorthand, one of the standard short hands, but they let you put things down really quick.

Woody:
Then, she could look at her notes when maybe she needed to respond to something and say, “This is something I wanted to cover.” I’ve had that told to me by many people. Still, because we can’t hear everything everybody’s saying, and we want to do more maybe we can train ourselves to do that.

Woody:
One of the things I learned and I practice it a lot is to, and I think I learned this from Nancy Klein, she wrote a book about 20 years ago called Time to Think. She said being a good listener is actually a gift to the person who’s trying to do the thinking on something. If you’re good at it, you help them become a better thinker.

Woody:
She said listen as if the other person is the very next thing they say will be the most important thing you will ever hear. Now, you can’t do that very long, but I’ve practiced it quite a bit. When you do that, you realize how bad of a listener we actually are. That means you can’t be thinking about, “What am I going to say when they’re done?”

Woody:
You can’t be thinking about, “How would that work for me?” Or some other thing or completely distracted, which is I’m sure what many of us end up doing. I like that as a practice, a way to practice. That’s part of being on a team is it’s not just hearing what the other person’s saying, it’s to understanding what the other person is saying.

Woody:
That’s next to impossible if we don’t hear it. We could spend a whole 10 podcast just on that alone. How do we communicate on a team? Some people are interested in sports. My dad was really into baseball and I’d watch it with him often. Sometimes we’d go watch a game.

Woody:
I remember the excitement he would have when a short stop and a first basement would get a double play. If you don’t know anything about baseball, that just means everything gets lined up at just the right second. A guy can catch a ball jumping up in the air and spinning around at the same time to be able to do it, and release the ball before he hits the ground.

Woody:
He gets right to the person that needs to get to. If you can imagine, it’s like a very complicated choreographed dance or something. As a human and you see that the emotions from it, if you’re into that sort of thing, are really exciting. This is the thing, knowing how to interact with others to get what we need accomplished.

Woody:
It means maybe we need to practice a lot. I bet you, the people who do that well have probably practiced it hundreds and hundreds of times.

Richard:
So that when the opportunity comes, they just do it. Nobody knew that magical double play was going to happen.

Woody:
That second, it cannot be predicted.

Richard:
They were ready for it and they had practiced and they did it.

Woody:
Let’s add something else to that. If we’re not fit, we can’t hardly do it. We have to practice stuff that has nothing to do with that exact thing to be good at it. During a game, you’re going to get tired. Well, not with baseball, but with most sports during the game, you can get worn out.

Woody:
That’s what happens so much with baseball. Somebody’s going to complain about that. You know what I’m saying? If we’re not fit, if our muscles aren’t limb, if we didn’t even just at least stretch out before we came out, this goes with our team as well.

Woody:
If we come in the morning going, “Boy, I know I had a rough night. I got to pay special attention. Maybe I would have my little list of things to watch out for. I want to be a good team member today. I want to be easy to work with, and yet still very much contributing.” Boy, if we can remind ourselves of that and practice it.

Woody:
Matter of fact, I would throw of that out as a very important idea. Practicing teamwork is something I rarely see teams actually doing. That was one of the things we were doing on this team I’m talking about, which was at Hunter Industries. I like to share that because they’re the ones who gave me the opportunity to let a team figure out for themselves how they can come better instead of figuring it out for them.

Woody:
You need assertiveness training and you need to learn to shut up. I’m going to send you to two different trainings. Let’s give the team the freedom. Part of that was practicing working together, without the pressure of work. If you have the pressure of work, for example, with the baseball or any sport, if you said, “I want to really get good at double plays.”

Woody:
Book a bunch of games and we’ll just go out and play a lot of games and I’ll eventually get really good. That’s never going to happen. It’s going to happen only if we practice the things we need to practice.

Richard:
We’re talking about intentional practice here.

Woody:
Yes. Intentional practice.

Richard:
Knowing the things to practice and practicing them the right way.

Woody:
Intentional and deliberate maybe mean about the same thing. I think that we’re intentionally going to practice and we’re going to deliberately do some specific things to do it maybe. I like that.

Richard:
Cool. I always say intentional practice and other people often say deliberate practice.

Woody:
Do they come together?

Richard:
I don’t even know the difference, honestly.

Woody:
This is a good point, but I really like the word intention. If a teammate expresses an intention by saying, “I think we should do this.” Then I respect that intention instead of saying, “No, here’s why we shouldn’t.” That steals the learning from the rest of the team that we would get if we try.

Woody:
If someone expresses an intention and there isn’t a really good reason to say, no, that’s a good thing for a team member to be good at saying, “Yeah, let’s try it.” That’s really where the communication proves itself. If you say something and I say, “No, we shouldn’t do that. We tried that last year.”

Woody:
We are basically saying, “We actually understood what you just said, and we can never prove we have an understanding until we put into action, or at least I don’t think there’s as rapid a way of doing.” That’s why rapid delivery in the agile world of agile software development, rapid delivery is about learning did we get this right as soon as possible, rather than six months later?

Woody:
Can we learn today that we understood each other? How are we going to learn that we understood each other? Matter of fact, Richard, if I was asking you right now, do you understand whatever you replied, we have no way of confirming that. You could say, “Yeah, I understand.” I don’t know.

Woody:
You could say, “No, I didn’t get that.” You don’t know. If we have some way to confirm that and one way with software is if I were to say, “Let’s put a drop down there with the regions.” Then the other person I’m working with starts doing. I say, “No, no. I meant at the bottom.” I realized I left something out.

Woody:
If they put it in and they put the states instead of what I’m saying regions, I’ll see it and then I’ll say, “Wait, I really didn’t mean states. We have this idea of regions. Well, where in the database will that come from?” “I don’t really know. I don’t know if we’ve listed them out yet.”

Woody:
The communication is at a much fuller state by actually trying to accomplish the thing. I hope that’s helpful to people because that’s helped me a lot.

Richard:[crosstalk 00:29:37] You have no way of ascertaining whether I really got it.

Woody:
I do that when I’m doing training, sometimes I’ll say, “Does everybody understand?” Then, I realize, I got to assume there’s going to be some people here who don’t, who still shaking their head. “Yeah, I do.”

Richard:
The correct answer [crosstalk 00:29:54]

Woody:
This is the world we live in. I’ve seen this with parents and their children. I loved my dad, he used to say, “Do what I meant, not what I said.” I thought that was pretty good that was of course a joke. He was saying, “I know that this can be a misinterpreted in a lot of ways, but I think you would know what I intended because you know me pretty well.”

Woody:
Let’s do that. Well, I’ve been rambling quite a bit. I hope I’m getting somewhere where you want to be.

Richard:
I want to know more about that team. How do you know? How do you know that this demonstrate or what are the sensations within you subjectively and objectively? How do you know this was a great team?

Woody:
Well, that’s a good point. Trying to measure things like how do you know they’re a good friend? “Well, they call me three times a week. I see them every other week. They send me Christmas cards and birthday.” Does that measure friendship?

Richard:
Oh no, these are the things I’m supposed to do?

Woody:
There you go. It’s tough to say here’s how I would measure it. This is something we can sense. I believe almost everything that’s worth paying attention to in our lives are the only way we can know is that we sense it. How would I sense this? One of the things that is really important to me is how does everybody feel?

Woody:
Now, some of the big consulting firms have come up with lists of ways to know. It’s everybody having a fulfilling life because that’s one of the things that’s important to people. I had a boss once asked me, he came to me and said, “Boy, the morale around here is just terrible. How can we improve morale?”

Woody:
I said, “Well, we have to have successes. You keep giving us stuff that nobody can succeed with.” I probably said it to him at some point. If morale is bad, it’s probably because the management is causing a situation where nobody can feel fulfilled. Fulfillment is an important part of the work life.

Woody:
When I took the job to be with this team, I knew there were two things I wanted to accomplish. If I could do that, then everything else would’ve been falling in place to get there. We had to find a way to make the improvements without it being stressful for us and so on.

Woody:
The two things of my goals were, I want everybody when they’re coming in the morning, because this was co-located in those days. As they come in the morning, I want them to say to themselves something like, “I wish I didn’t have to work today, but I’m really glad I’m coming to this place to work. I can’t wait to be with these people.”

Woody:
The other thing I wanted was when we would have a job opening, because I was planning on needing to have more people, they would want to tell their friends, “You should come to work here.” How do I measure it? I think if I could have got that. This team itself why did I love being on it was because this team was learning to be open with each other.

Woody:
We were learning to get feedback from each other and how to do that in a respectful way. At one point, we came up with this three words about how do I want to be treated? We decided on with kindness, consideration, and respect. Well, initially, we knew we didn’t know how to do that. We would have to learn.

Woody:
Somebody brilliantly on the team said, “Well, there’s this thing in psychology where you just pretend to be what you want to be and it will help you start becoming that.” We pretended to be kind and considerate and respectful to each other, and it actually worked. After a while, we started finding people look up, “How do I listen better?”

Woody:
To be considerate doesn’t mean just to open the door for someone or something like that. Considerate means you have to consider their ideas, that means you have to hear their ideas. To be able to hear their ideas, you have to be pretty good at listening and learning how to get an understanding.

Woody:
On the other hand, if we want to be considerate of other people’s feelings, that’s much more difficult, but that was part of consideration. I want to be treated with consideration, at least takes those two things. How can you considerate of others feelings? This means we have to get a lot better at sharing our feelings.

Woody:
A lot better at sensing each other’s feelings. These little things, it only took the first week or two way before we started really working as a team for me to see this is a team that has a good chance. There were a few on the team that were considerate of others. There’s this thing I learned from, I think Ainsley, do you know Ainsley Nies?

Woody:
She co-wrote the Liftoff book with Diana Larsen and other things like that. We were having a talk when she said, “I’ve stopped trying to convince people things. I just do the behaviors that I think we should have and maybe others will pick up on that and follow that lead.”

Woody:
This is one of the things is if there were people and the team were already modeling the behaviors, they were already doing things that we just had to make sure we were paying attention. I don’t know how to measure this. Matter of fact, I’m pretty sure if I had measured how good of a team, a team is, it would completely miss the point.

Woody:
Maybe it would ruin a team if we were using measurements told the team we were using some kind of measurements. What a troubling thing. I don’t think that we can measure that stuff, but how do we know? We can sense it.

Richard:
As Woody says all that, I start feeling so self-conscious. I try so hard to be a good conversation partner, but am I listening well? Am I giving him enough consideration? Well, this is the end of part one of my conversation with Woody Zuill.

Richard:
Join us in our next episode as we continue the conversation and hear from Woody about concrete behaviors that we can try to imitate, so our teams might be as good as this team that he’s been sharing with us.

Richard:
Remember, to support this podcast, visit my website, Kasperowski.com.

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