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Meet Cynthia


Q & A

Q & A

How do you keep yourself up to date on changes in this industry? How do you integrate those new changes into your work as they arise? 

Continuous Education and access to industry (Technology and Business) progress is key to staying in touch with changes in the industry. This can be achieved through two ways:

  • Education/Learning – I have an account with Udemy and Coursera that I use to keep myself informed and educated on the latest technologies and basic information.

  • Network/Webinars – I have an extensive network of individuals who operate in different roles and industries. I stay connected with them on a regular basis to learn about their Technology investments and progress in their business models. I am a good listener and reader of information on social media, so when I hear about some relevant and essential topics mentioned, I make the time to attend or listen to webinars, so I can stay informed.

Describe a time when you had to communicate a strongly felt belief or opinion to your team. 

Beliefs and opinions should always be rooted in solid facts and figures. Through my experience, I've seen that this solidifies commitment and makes it easier to rally others behind a vision. In one of my leadership roles, I faced significant challenges that highlighted the importance of aligning strategy with business needs:

  • Engineering vs. Business Mindset: When I stepped into my role, I found a team of engineers tackling issues one at a time, without a broader view of overall business requirements. This approach created both scalability issues and delivery bottlenecks.

  • Resistance to Change: The existing team leaders were hesitant to change their working methods. Their solution was to expand the team rather than adapting or restructuring. I needed to delve deep into understanding the business needs.

  • Successful Transition: With a clearer picture of the business operations, I segmented them into distinct focus areas. This strategic move led to creating multiple teams centered around business needs, instead of merely an engineering perspective. Although initially met with apprehension, the team leaders eventually embraced this new model, relishing their revamped roles and the enhanced ability to support the business in a more scalable fashion.

Such a transformation underscores the power of aligning strategies with data-backed insights and adapting to serve overarching business goals better.

When working with a challenging customer, how do you decide what approach to take? 

Beginning with "Why": Grounded in both my personal experience and Simon Sinek's theory, I've found that commencing with the "Why" serves as a potent tool to unify people around a shared passion and vision. As Simon Sinek eloquently articulates, effectively conveying your "Why" not only defines your value proposition but also resonates with the listener's innate behavior driving faculties. This is the foundation of the revered Golden Circle model, setting it apart as a transformative leadership theory.

  • Comprehending the Core Reason: The objective is to not just discern the immediate needs but to delve deep into the underlying "Why". Grasping this genuine and logical "Why" facilitates a seamless alignment of stakeholders with the central rationale.

  • Navigating Organizational Dynamics: In expansive organizations, there may be individuals who resist merely for the sake of it. In such contexts, I employ the 8020 principles: securing the buy-in of 80% of pivotal stakeholders. Once a majority is onboard, experience shows that the remainder usually align in due course.

This strategy underscores the essence of rooting conversations in purpose and the transformative power it wields in guiding teams and clients toward shared goals.

Tell me about a time when you experienced a loss for doing what is right.

In one of my roles (at a vast organization), there was a need to design, develop, and deliver a platform that provided the business with the ability to manage their client relationships (some CRM features) and other business process automation to serve their clients in the right way. Given the nature of the business, some of us felt the need to develop a custom application, rather than try to modify a 3rd party CRM application significantly. There was tremendous pressure from a few key members of the organization (at a higher level) to use the 3rd party CRM platform rather than develop our solution. My team leads and I created a case study to demonstrate the need of build vs buy. It seemed apparent that build was the right solution; however, at the end of the day, firm pressures required us to move with the Buy the 3rd party CRM platform and develop several custom solutions. Throughout this process, my team leads and I maintained a clear articulation of the needs and options, and decision makers made the decision regardless of the preferred suggestions. Once the decision was made, we all became aligned with the executive decision and proceeded with the ‘buy’ option.

Give an example of something you did that helped build enthusiasm in your staff.

In one of my above answers, I highlighted the need to significantly restructure my teams to allow us as a team to scale and serve the business in the right way. Sometimes, individuals find organizational changes difficult to adapt or adopt. So, it was important to create a work environment that generated excitement and enthusiasm. I focused on two things:

  • Get the leaders to lead teamwork – I worked with my team leads to formally schedule events that allowed team members to meet outside (in the open air – given COVID situation) to allow us to interact and get to know each other. We scheduled several holiday events in open-air spaces and some in larger conference rooms. We sometimes mingled business and pleasure; this way work got done while having fun. In addition to usual events, we planned 2 sessions a month, where we would call out some successes and showed individuals how to manage success.

  • Direct access to team members – I scheduled several skip-level sessions. These were brown bag sessions, sometimes funded by me. Initially, some sessions were remote (via Zoom), but eventually, when everyone started to come into the office, we booked a larger conference room and met during lunch hours (pizza sessions).

When establishing a vision for/with your team, how do you go about it? 

When working in a business environment, vision should always be driven based on a Client Centric view. Always put Client in the center of your vision and goals. Once we know the needs to our clients, it is easy to get aligned behind the vision and lay out goals and outcomes based on pain points or specific needs of the Client, Platform, Service, etc.

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