The Inside Gig: How Sharing Untapped Talent Across Boundaries Unleashes Organizational Capacity

The Inside Gig: How Sharing Untapped Talent Across Boundaries Unleashes Organizational Capacity with Kelley Steven-Waiss CHRO|Entreprenuer|Author|Keynote Speaker

My guest today is Kelley Steven-Waiss. This is a woman who’s really at the pinnacle of her career. What I love is that, as a leader, you will be able to see how Kelley is dealing with the human resource issues that we’re facing in the marketplace. That both of the skilled resource challenges, being able to find talent and train talent, and how you create engagement and a culture that is both powerful and profitable, and embraces the new workforce all the way from the oldest generation to the youngest in the workforce.

Kelley does this right now at HERE technologies, a multiple thousand-user organization. She’s done that with Extreme Networks, Integrated Device Technology, and PMC-Sierra. She has been responsible for global human capital and human resource strategies for all of those companies. Kelley is also on the board of Form Factor, which is a publicly traded company in California, as well as being the chair of the Advisory Board of Silicon Valley Education Foundation.

Kelley is incredibly accomplished. Something I know you’re going to enjoy hearing about is her innovation within Hitch, an endeavor within the HERE technologies umbrella. Kelley founded and solved a problem using AI and machine learning to find and source talent within her organization. Now, it’s actually generating revenue and is being sold to other companies as well. In my CIO Innovation Forum group, we often talk about the innovation mindset and how we’re doing this within our organizations. Kelley is a perfect example of this. How she brought in an idea to solve a problem within her own organization – and now it’s available for sale and purchase to others.

Kelley has co-authored a new book with Edie Goldberg called, The Inside Gig: How Sharing Untapped Talent Across Boundaries Unleashes Organizational Capacity. The book is scheduled for release in April 2020, but is available for pre-order now.

Kelley has this abundance mindset. One of the things she’s doing through this book is coaching leaders to look at the availability of talent from within their organizations and reverse a scarcity mindset by looking at this abundance of talent that they already have.

We’ve taken on these exponential technologies that give us the ability to have 10x growth, but we have to lead a different way. We have to lead from an abundance mindset, one in which we approach workers from a different perspective – not a command and control, but from understanding worker’s whole selves because that creates a unlock and it creates a shift in a powerful change in the leadership paradigm.

So, we cover a lot of ground in this conversation and you’re going to find valuable nuggets and snippets throughout. I’m really looking forward to getting feedback from all of you.
I want to welcome you to my conversation with Kelley Steven-Waiss.

What I think you will like about my conversation with Kelley is that she gives a window into where you have to adjust your thinking related to:

  • Multiple generations of workers co-existing
  • Leadership and serving your workers needs
  • How to encourage people to bring their Whole Selves to work and the power this enables within your workforce versus (just get the work done) She discusses what has shifted and the powerful unlock into a new leadership paradigm
  • For CIOs, especially with the talent squeeze globally, pay attention to elements of our conversation
  • The powerful story of how she founded Hitch, a talent Opportunity & Mobility platform that creates an internal marketplace for employees to find and discover opportunities so that the business can source talent from within.
  • From a top CHRO’s perspective, the most critical skills that you must insure that your kids have to prepare them for the modern economy.
  • How you can go sideways yet still go forward

About Kelley Steven-Waiss

Kelley Steven-Waiss is Chief Human Resources Officer at HERE Technologies, overseeing the company’s human resource management and talent strategy. She has more than 25 years of executive management experience in human resources, change management, and corporate communications.

Kelley started an incubator while at HERE to develop a talent mobility solution called Hitch, a cloud-based SaaS software, which uses machine learning and AI to match project-based opportunities to internal employee profiles based on visualization of employees’ skills.

Prior to joining HERE, Kelley was Executive Vice President of Worldwide Human Resources for Extreme Networks, responsible for the company’s global human capital strategies. Before that she held numerous executive management, including at Integrated Device Technology (IDT) and PMC-Sierra, as well as consulting positions in large global consulting, public software and retail companies.

Kelley earned her MA in Human Resources and Organizational Development from the University of San Francisco, and a BA in Journalism from the University of Arizona. She sits on the board of Form Factor, a Silicon Valley public semiconductor company, and is Chairman of the Advisory Board for Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF). She is married and the mother of four children.

Thank you for listening and have a great day! 

How to get in touch with Kelley Steven-Waiss<

Resources Discussed in this Interview:

This episode is sponsored by the CIO Innovation Forum, dedicated to Business Digital Leaders who want to be a part of 20% of the planet and help their businesses win with innovation and transformation.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Kelley Steven-Waiss.

You can go to the show notes to get more information about this interview and what we discussed in this episode. You’ll find the show notes at

Read Full Transcript

Bill Murphy: 00:00
Let's talk about the story that you share with me about your mother and sort of the vision that you have and the mission you have related to this. I think that would be really interesting to share with the audience.
Kelley Steven-W: 00:12
So, my mom at 44, my mom was... grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, she got out of high school and she wanted to become a police officer and this was in the early ‘60s and women just weren't becoming beat cops or detectives. And so she followed a different path and life changes, things changes and in her 40s, her father who was a homicide detective for 30 years, retired, came to her and said they've lifted the age ban, Christy and you can go into the LAPD or Los Angeles Police Academy. And she said, "Great, I'm going to do it." And she had just graduated college too in her ‘40s. She comes home and tells me she's going to now go into the LA Police Academy. And what do you think I say to her? "This is midlife crisis. Are you crazy?"
Bill Murphy: 01:02
Hello. And you are listening to Bill Murphy's RedZone Podcast. I interview leaders who inspire me in the areas of exponential technologies, business innovation, entrepreneurship, thought leadership, enterprise IT security, neuroscience, philosophy, personal development and more, welcome to the show.

Welcome back to the show everyone. This is Bill Murphy your host of the RedZone Podcast. My guest today is Kelley Steven-Waiss. This is a woman who's really at the pinnacle of her career. What I love is that, as a leader, you will be able to see how Kelley is dealing with the human resource issues that we're facing in the marketplace. Both of the skilled resources, challenges, being able to find talent, train talent. How you create engagement. How you create a culture that is a powerful culture, that's both a profitable culture but embraces the new workforce all the way to the older generations in the workforce.
And she does this right now with HERE technologies, which is a multiple thousand user organization. And she's done that with Extreme Networks and Integrated Device Technology and PMC-Sierra and she's been responsible for global human capital, human resource strategies for all of those companies. She's also in the board of Form Factor which is a publicly traded company in California and the chair of the advisory board of Silicon Valley Education Foundation.
Kelley is incredibly accomplished and what I love also in which you're going to really enjoy hearing is that, Hitch is a, literally an endeavor within the HERE technologies umbrella. She founded and solved a problem of using AI machine learning to find and source talent within our organization, but now it's actually a generating revenue and is being sold to other companies as well. And so that's often what we talk about within this innovation mindset is how we're doing this within organizations. And Kelley's a perfect example of this, of how she brought an idea to solve a problem up, she solved a problem within her own organization and now it's available for sale and purchase to others.
She just released a book that is available on pre-order now to be released in April called The Inside Gig: How Sharing Untapped Talent Across Boundaries Unleashes Organizational Capacity. What I love is Kelley has this abundance mindset and one of the things she is really coaching leaders through this book is look at your availability of talent from within and reverse a scarcity mindset and look at this abundance of talent that we have. We've taken on these exponential technologies that give us the ability to have 10x growth, but we have to lead a different way.
We have to lead from an abundance mindset, one in which we approach workers from a different perspective, not a command and control, but from understanding worker's whole selves because that creates a unlock and it creates a shift in a powerful change in the leadership paradigm. So, we cover a lot of ground in this conversation and you're going to find nuggets and snippets throughout. I'm really, really looking forward to getting feedback from all of you.

Bill Murphy:
I want to welcome you to my conversation with Kelley Steven-Waiss.
All right. Kelley, I want to welcome you to the show today.
Kelley Steven-W: 04:49
Yes, thank you for having me.
Bill Murphy: 04:51
We've got to get started with probably the best word I've heard recently, which is jungle gym careers. Tell my listeners a little bit about yourself. I've already done a little bit of a brief intro on before we get started, so they know a little bit about you but, let's talk about kind of where you've gone and how you've navigated this jungle gym career experience that you've had and what you think a future work is.
Kelley Steven-W: 05:17
I am probably a very, a nontraditional born in the wrong era person because throughout my career it was never about the ladder, so to use an image, it was the jungle gym, right? It was about feeling a sense of progression. When I was 20 years old, my very wise grandfather said, "Do what you love and the success will follow you." And I really took his advice throughout my career as I was presented with opportunities that sounded interesting, for example, I was in retail for 12 years. I was in the field. I was building stores and we were about to GAP to open Japan and they said, "Wow, you've kind of refined our training in the field. Would you like to help open GAP Japan or do something different?" And I always raised my hand. I raised my hand for the most challenging, when everyone would step backwards, I would lean forwards.
I think taking a lot of those risks really helped. So that idea that you can progress without just a promotion, is something that I think we're going to see more in the future work because the future of work is about this portfolio of experiences and that if you think about, having a toolkit of skills and you're constantly developing new ones and putting them in there, that's the new deal with your employers. How do you continue to build those skills in? And in many cases that might be going sideways, not necessarily going up, but, and going sideways, you actually can make more money. You can ultimately progress.
Bill Murphy: 07:00
What's caused this, Kelley, I mean, you're at the pinnacle of a career of talent management as the CHRO. So talk a little bit about where you are right now and then what got you to that point? You mentioned going sideways and potentially, is the new forward. Where have you experienced that in your experience?
Kelley Steven-W: 07:19
I love that [inaudible 00:07:21] sideways is the new forward. I have always colored outside the lines in the roles that I've been given. I've always had a vision for myself that is, I'm going to learn the most I can, but I'm always also going to provide the most value. I'm going to try to connect dots where other people are not seeing them. And I think having that vision has really helped me throughout my career. In my current role as a CHRO, one of the things that I saw as an opportunity to drive the agile transformation for HERE technologies by a new talent operating model and I talk a lot about that in my book called the Inside Gig, which comes out in April, is that the new model is to unleash the talent from the inside. There's so much untapped talent, there's so many hidden skills, and if we think of skills in sort of a supply chain, right?
If we're in supply chain management, we manage inventory of product. If we're in skill supply chain management we want to be able to forecast what we need, see what we have today, understand our gaps, and if we're really going to... with the shelf life of skills being two and a half year to three years, we're going to have to move people around, and today there just wasn't a way to do that easily that wouldn't create chaos. And so, while at here drawing outside those lines, I moved sideways and started developing a technology that I thought build that gap in the market and certainly would help here, become more agile. Stand up more agile teams, give people more cross functional exposure, do learning on the job, all those things that would enable that transformation from mapping and navigation to a platform company.
Bill Murphy: 09:16
Is that why you invented the Hitch technology? Is that where that-
Kelley Steven-W: 09:21
Exactly. The genesis of that technology was obviously the problem to be solved and it was called the HERE Talent Platform and we used the methodology of talent sharing across the organization to build that proof of concept so we 'ate our own dog food to build technology.' We got a core team together. We presented that proof of concept to the CEO. We deployed a pilot in early ‘17 and then by June of 2017 we rolled it to the enterprise. It was called the Here Talent Platform at the time. Later on, as I do a lot of speaking on the future of work and I'm out talking to different consortiums, et cetera, people said, "Hey, I want that, I need that." Because clearly it was a gap in the market and we've now commercialize that and we'll end 2019 with seven external customers. So, clearly, and you can see by the news yesterday that Josh Bersin said that workday was throwing a cannon into the HR technology market. This idea of the internal talent marketplace or inner mobility is becoming very important.
Bill Murphy: 10:32 You know it's interesting we talked a lot about on the innovation group, but that I run for chief information officers that they... and the innovation at the edge and organizations and how do we have an entrepreneurial mindset and then how do we act entrepreneurially as an entrepreneur and internal entrepreneur. And it seems to me like you've sort of taken an entrepreneur gear for yourself and really launched from an incubation and an idea into something that's going to be a meaningful new product line for your organization.
Kelley Steven-W: 11:03 Yeah. And if we think about what an entrepreneur really is, an entrepreneur has the ability to see what is missing in the market and be able to build it. I think that the difference between the entrepreneur and the intrepreneur is that, when you incubate something inside of a company, it is because you are developing something that has value in context, that is filling a gap in context for that organization. Now in the case that you can actually create something that has value or extends beyond the lines of your organization like Hitch, is that as a CHRO of many other companies, I'm looking outside of the window and saying it's not just here that's going through massive transformation having their business model disrupted, having talent challenges.
If we think about GDPs going down into single digits despite technology advancing. 50 year low and unemployment engagement at all-time lows across globally, clearly this is a problem to be solved that extends much broader than my own organization. That's really the difference, and the people have asked me, while I'm incubating inside of another company that's so difficult but actually it's that. It's being able to see that maybe the problem that we've solved at HERE technologies is actually also outside these walls.
Bill Murphy: 12:35
Did you go at this thinking you were just solving your own internal problem first and then it took on a life of its own and... can you take me through the process that you identified the problem? You're obviously very uncomfortable with the problem. How did you pull this together? How do you get this-
Kelley Steven-W: 12:52
No. I actually had this idea before I walked into the doors at Here Talent and my CEO at Here and I actually discussed this, because he himself is an accredited investor, so I think he has an opinion about businesses and the ability to evaluate opportunities. I told him that I saw that there was a gap in the ability to give people the jungle gym career experience. There's no way to move people around inside of company that we don't have visibility to skill goals. If you think about, if a CEO were to ask me, and they have in the past, how much data science capability do I have?
What HCM systems could tell me, or human capital management systems could tell me is, all the titles. You could tell me everybody that has a data science title but not the capability. What he's asking me is what is my supply against the demand that I have? He's asking me a supply chain question and I can't answer that in the system today. That's where I originally started, and then when the CEO was describing the challenge at Here, what he was looking for and try calming the company, the light bulb went off that, "Wow, this could be a lab environment to road test this concept." Now you never know if you're going to be successful, but gee the risk of going inside and being able to prove this and have a lab, that's probably the best thing I can do.
He afforded me that ability to test this idea, to use this technology in that context.
Bill Murphy: 14:34
I love that... When I was reading the pre-release version of your book, I was struck by the talent management is looking at titles, people's traditional titles and I could see, okay, that's going to miss a whole ton of real valuable context throughout that, about that human being. Other than just interviewing people one at a time, when you're running a multi thousand person organization, how do you scale, those interviews to get context? And then they're always changing, so how did you go about gathering the information and then from a person listening in, how would they gather the information that's necessary to look at context around human beings?
Kelley Steven-W: 15:11
Well, companies always say bring your whole selves to work, we want to give you a great experience. But then they put you in a box, and then they... if you're really good at being in that box, they want to keep you there even longer. So I think... I know if you're like me, I have felt sort of confined and that's why I've had to draw outside the lines. And so I assume that a lot of people feel that their job description today does not represent them. So that was my hypothesis. So, if I could create a... or almost a LinkedIn system from the inside, so, but much more personal than you would put on LinkedIn. So this is now what is the work I most love to do? What's my elevator pitch? What's my marketing of myself, Me Inc., in a system in a safe environment, which is-
Bill Murphy: 16:02
Okay. I get it.
Kelley Steven-W: 16:03
Right? Then stand up and make the work visible and now use of technology to dynamically match and reach out to me and people laugh, but I say it's like Tinder at work, you know? It reaches out to you on your mobile device and says, "Hey bill, would you be interested in this opportunity? It looks like you know a thing about communication and podcasting. We have a need to do this podcast next week and you'd be the guy." So you tap into that, you look at it and if you're interested you apply. So kind of the exchange of value concept that I'm willing to give you my data, and my market myself but what's in it for me? And not cooking the marketplace.
Bill Murphy: 16:47
A light bulb went off for me when you talked about an internal LinkedIn, but with a deeper understanding of the human being and then you could literally have a machine really assist. So this leads us to the next question. I believe... I hope that this is in concurrence with what you believe, but maybe it's not. I think that the ditch diggers in the 1900s were really unhappy when backhoes and excavators all of a sudden came on the scene. Because all of a sudden the ditch diggers said, "Well, we can't just dig ditches with our shovels anymore because we got machines to help us." I kind of look at this changes we're going through now is that, these automated assistant type tools that are being developed are going to be assisting humans, not replacing humans. So I'd love to get your answer to the question about human beings and machines assisting with this and just kind of what your general thought is on the future work related to that.
Kelley Steven-W: 17:38
And this gets into scarcity versus abundance and methodology and thinking because, I think that the general in the media it's been, beware the machines and the robots are taking over and one day they're going to kill all of us and they're going to kill our careers and that's just the wrong way to look at it. This is how I look at it, in the abundance mindset, I look at it that, machines are taking over work that we may not want to do anymore and we may be able to do something more skilled or at a better level or faster or cheaper because that machine is assisting us.
All the jobs that are taken away, they'll have so many more jobs created. Now, the problem in the backhoe situation is that probably people did... no one went to the ditch diggers 18 months in advance and said, because they had the ability to forecast that, "Hey, we're going to have this great machine that's going to take over this really backbreaking work that you're doing, but we're going to rescale you to do something really cool and different and we're going to transfer this particular area of expertise you have to do something else." And prepare them. We are decimating communities and the economy. If we don't get in front of that, if you're a [Cisco 00:18:57] or you're GM or you're any of these large employers, in these communities, in critical mass, you have an obligation, a social obligation to go in and re-skill and up-skill with some window in advance.
It's not scary. It's actually should be an exciting time for us where we can do more meaningful work, more purposeful work than some of the things that we're doing today more manually.
Bill Murphy: 19:26
How do you as the top of the food chain from... as a CHRO how do you coach people or how do you respond when people say, "Well it's hard to re-skill or..." And of course the A performers, they're always learning and they always want to learn and they're always like, it's a part of their DNA. But then you have the resistors or the people I just turned 50 this year so I'm constantly telling the folks that are in the group, in the CIO community, "Listen, forget the old ideas of being an executive. You need to rescale, relearn and prepare for the next 20 30 years." But there's a resistance that I feel about this. So how do you handle the resistance? What is your response back to people when they say, "Oh I thought I could just learn everything I need to know in college and now I'm hearing, I have to double down in my learning."
Kelley Steven-W: 20:13
Well number one we have to tap into people's passions and I think if we're going to get them interested in what's next, we need to make what's next transparent and we need to tap into... and sometimes with even co... I know when I walked out of college I was totally confused. I mean I had learned a trade. I studied journalism. I was a great writer, but how do I apply that if the journalism jobs aren't showing up? Because it was 1991 so now you know, welcome to the 50 over 50 clause that's what [inaudible 00:20:48] which I husband laughs at. It was a tough. It was the recession so-
Bill Murphy: 20:55
Remember that.
Kelley Steven-W: 20:56
There was a time when you did an interview when they said, "Well thank you so much, when we have a job we'll give you a call." So you are... I was forced to think about what transferable skills do I have? What interests me because grandfather said, "Do what interests you." I went into a business that I grew up in. I'm like, "Well I know retails, I'm going to go be the best." Because I had a college degree, the partner program at the Limited Corporation went into their management program and said, "I am going to learn business because that will, I believe will have value and I'm going to be the best I can at that." At that point in time, and I'll tell you was one of the best decisions I made, because I learned operations and merchandising and dealing with people, managing people older than me, younger than me and dealing with customers on a daily basis. The grumpy ones, the happy ones, the dissatisfied one. And I'll tell you that really prepared me for the jungle- gym career.
Bill Murphy: 21:55
How do you coach? How do you spend time talking to people about the fact that a lot of companies went from this model of, I'm going to push everybody out and they can work from their house and we're going to be super egalitarian and kumbaya about it? And all of a sudden now people are pulling back in, with more disruption. It seems to me that with the more disruption a lot of the businesses are facing, now they're realizing they've got to pull in. But I'm not sure what happened. I'm sure you know what happened. I'm not surprised it's happening. But what's your thought on the whole thing?
Kelley Steven-W: 22:28
You know what? I think that our mistake because I remember when Marissa Mayer sent out the memorandum that everyone must come back to work at Yahoo and-
Bill Murphy: 22:37
Right. Right.
Kelley Steven-W: 22:37
All the CHROs were up in arms because we were all about, work from anywhere and how dare she do this? How terrible? I think that we have a tendency to look at this in black and white and it's gray. We forget to ask the people themselves, what is the best way for you to do your best work? It's different from everybody. Some people need, for them to try, is about sitting around a table, face to face in a conference room and for others, it's give me telepresence and I'm totally cool, because I need to be at home to balance, I do better in my little cave and my own setup.
Back to the point that if you're going to bring your whole self to work, we need to know more about you. To deliver that more personalized customized experience, it's not a one size fit all. We have technology today to bring us closer to allow a face to face experience. If somebody has said, "I'm actually okay using technology from my tribal experience." Then that's okay. I think, again we just keep rotating to one angle or the other and not understanding that it might be a combination of both.
Bill Murphy: 23:57
Why can't we just tell people like back in the ‘90s here's your job and just do it? We're certainly 30 years beyond that, but why... there's something at play right now which makes that model not work and the shifts are happening. In the back of my head I'm wondering, is it just the exponential change? If there's just too much change happening too quickly so we just need to, hold paradigm needs to the shift? Or maybe there's something else that that maybe you could talk to that I'm missing.
Kelley Steven-W: 24:26
One of the things, and I'll attribute this to Josh Bersin, but one of the things he talks about is that the leadership model across the industrial revolutions is shifting. It's not just technology that's advancing, we have to advance also our leadership style and model. When work was repetitive, the command and control structure hierarchy works. Flip to now, which he calls the trusted enterprise, I call it the self-actualized enterprise, is that it's no longer about jobs. It's about the work, and the work being broken into tasks and, the expert you mentioned earlier to me in a prior conversation about, I want a combination of the UpWork people and my tribe from inside, that is the new model because it's about the work and if we have the luxury of I need this tomorrow and I need an expert on it of going and getting that, but I don't need them all the time and I don't need them on my payroll, we should be able to do that.
And you're at a pivot point in the future of work where we are going to see and we need to apply so many different models at one time. We have multiple generations at work. We have different layers of communication acumen. We have different types of technology and applications so this can be a very confusing time or it can be massive amount of enlightenment.
But we have to evolve our leadership model commensurate with where we are in the solution and we keep, you know that toddler toy that's, you put the square in the square and the triangle and the triangle and then-
Bill Murphy: 26:19 Right.
Kelley Steven-W: 26:19
You see a toddler trying to put the triangle in the square and then throwing the toy across the room because they're frustrated. Many HR professionals, many leaders and managers and employees are frustrated because we keep taking an old model and shifting it into a new model and we have to completely change. We just keep trying to do the same things and then the same things aren't going to work.
Bill Murphy: 26:43
Because it's interesting you've referenced Abraham Maslow and of course hierarchy of needs was his big thing. You had mentioned bringing your whole self to work and that just was not the paradigm, but it's funny that exponential change is 10X growth that everybody keeps referring to. You can't do 10X growth. It's funny, when I first started listening to singularity and the whole abundance mantra, my God this is great. Wouldn't it be great to think in a 10X manner? But it forces... we have these very powerful technical tools which are easily 10X but our thinking and our operating and our leadership isn't keeping pace, is it?
Kelley Steven-W: 27:26
Correct. That's why we were having disruption from so many different places. I would argue that even on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, there's one that I always put up when I'm speaking that makes the audience crack up. But it's true. Is Wi-Fi at the bottom of the triangle as Wi-Fi? What I mean is, if we aren't connected to a device or to a whole swath of individuals via social media, we feel like you the sky is falling on us and we can't survive. I mean ask a 19 year old if he can do without Wi-Fi for the next 12 months and you'll probably find, no, correct? Absolutely [inaudible 00:28:10].
Bill Murphy: 28:10
Hello, you know you and I both have kids that are roughly the same age from the stack, from college down through the teenage years and younger. I'm curious, what do you tell, the kids that kind of that top end of the teenage group that are going to be quickly into the workforce? I often as an entrepreneur I kind of enjoy talking about the challenges of entrepreneurship and dealing with people because I want my kids fully understanding that today. But I'm curious because you have a whole different lens as well of seeing high performers, low performers, all types of different performance and the skills that you're having to reach. Well what do you tell your kids?
Kelley Steven-W: 28:48
Yeah. I tell them that the way to set themselves apart in the future is communication skills. It is the... there will be a dearth of communications at acumen in the future and that if there's one thing they need to practice is communication, dealing with human beings face to face, carrying a conversation, the lost art of conversation. I had to tell my 19 year old that dating was ‘in person’, not over texts. Somewhere between IDK and LOL, there has to be a relationship, and then, to a room full of parents and juniors and seniors in high school at my sons, I have two sons and two daughters, but at the son's prep school, I said, "Your ability to carry a conversation will be the most important thing in your life because relationships are about people and people aren't through technology." For my eight year old that I think came out of the womb with their iPhone, this will be a challenge. This will be a true challenge for generation Y and Z.
Bill Murphy: 29:58
Well, I share a similar story with my son. I’ve had to have a very difficult conversation with his soccer coach (he goes to an all-boys parochial school up in Baltimore) and I laughed and we were coaching him through it. However, I love that they really forced the young men to have these hard conversations and not have the parent proxy. We were coaching him up in the background, but he had to walk in and he had to carry a hard conversation and it just... I laugh, but it's gosh, it's such a necessary skill, even today and it can't be done in texts.
Kelley Steven-W: 30:28
For us it would be death by SATs, you know? And for them an SAT is no sweat. I really don't want to have that conversation with the coach, you know? I remember my son having to schedule a doctor's appointment and he realize he actually had to call and talk to a human being and you would've thought I was asking him to extract a couple of teeth without Novocain. He's a very dynamic kid right? But this is the one thing in all seriousness that will break down our society and our financial wellbeing is if we can't communicate because push comes to shove whether we're having meetings through technology or other mechanisms, that communication is so critical and now it's more complex because it's across geographical lines too, so we have language barriers and all kinds of things and if we're going to move at the speed that I think the businesses are going to have to move, we have to have that as a skillset.
Bill Murphy: 31:37
I'm going to ask you in a little bit of a non-sequitur but I have a sneaky suspicion it's an important question because I know I struggle with it mightily. I don't have the luxury now of hiring someone into a role. I actually have found that I have to be massively clear about the tasks and break the tasks down. It's such a detailed that if I'm not really clear about the intention of the work that I want done, then it becomes muddled and in some way. My question is, how important is it for leaders to understand and be clear about communication of the things that they want accomplished versus being lazy about throwing someone into a role and having them figure it out? Where does that play in our conversation?
Kelley Steven-W: 32:25
Well, I think it's also probably even depends on the generations, generalizing that you're talking to. But I think people come to work because they want to be successful and have an impact and, when things move at such speed, I think we make a lot of assumptions. We lose clarity. Patrick Lencioni talks about The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and one of them is just lack of clarity, right? We have to be able to give clear instruction. I think we have to state what our expectations are, then we can unleash people's creativity and how they go about getting to the end game.
But I think also in terms of being good talent architects, if you're a leader and you're in this new future of work where you can go get an expert on the outside or you can have someone on the inside, the ability to break down work and be very clear about this task versus this one allows you to make those tradeoffs about who should be doing that work. So for as leaders, the ability to communicate effectively is important. And the ability to be a great architect of talent is to understand what work should be done by him.
Bill Murphy: 33:44
Oh, because I see this in the security world all the time, and I don't laugh, but I know it's a problem, is that I see the CIOs and CISOs putting these grandiose huge job requests out for a person that doesn't exists, and if the person existed-
Kelley Steven-W: 34:00
Unicorn job.
Bill Murphy: 34:01
Yes. The unicorn job. And I know where they're coming from on it, but really that role needs to be broken down into much smaller achievable parts, possibly outsourcing on demand type capabilities, but then growing someone internally to help govern that. I mean there's so many ways to tackle it, but that I think that was part of the genesis of my conversation is like, I love that. That's another post, the unicorn position.
Kelley Steven-W: 34:28
Good luck, with that right? I don't know it might be the person that says shoot for the moon and you might get the moon. But particularly on cyber, I mean let's talk about that talent pool for a minute. We have a 2 million deficit of these people. If you're in college and you're listening to this, go into cyber security, but I think back to your point, cyber security is in itself a huge umbrella and there's going to be expertise underneath that umbrella. So, for the individuals, decide what your... if you were the Me, Inc brand, then you have to define what your about? Know your differentiator. What differentiates you in the pool, right?
And how are you going to create value? What is it that you bring to the table so that your talent architect can actually place you where you can be most successful? Because this is just an area we just don't have enough people. I mean there's just not enough talent out there.
Bill Murphy: 35:31
How much do you rely on speaking of algorithms and machine learning and such? [Colby 00:35:36] for example, I have gotten my own Colby, a lot of my new people were looking at hiring. You have to go through Kolbe and then a StrengthFinders’ assessment just to understand where people's unique abilities are and their unique talents lie and such and just trying to figure out beyond the resume what are they coming preloaded with. I'm curious, how much do you rely on or would you build into the talent architecture of these services or these capabilities from third party experts psychological stuff?
Kelley Steven-W: 36:06
I think it's really interesting. I think AI is going to be an amazing complement to our recruiting and onboarding. As long as we keep it in check. We will never be... I remember the engineers saying to me over the course of my career, "I just want the algorithm to tell me what the performance rating is, and then they're going to lean on that." Right? "I just want it to spit out an answer." Unfortunately, there's still the need for a human being to make judgment calls to find that chemistry between yourself as a leader and the individual to find that right fit to ask the right question.
So, as long as we use artificial intelligence for insights or deeper insights or to ask the right question, that you might not have asked, because it probed and it drew your attention to ask it, that's the right way to use AI and machine learning in recruiting. I think that I get the sense that people think that this is the panacea, we're going to put AI in there. We're never going to have any bad hires and it's going to solve all of our problems. That's just not true. I think it needs to be used correctly. And if you're using it correctly and effectively, it's about insights.
Bill Murphy: 37:34
Let's wrap up with your book. We've been talking through some of the parts of your book, but let's talk about the genesis of it and the story that you share with me about your mother and sort of the vision that you have and the mission you have related to this. I think that would be really interesting to share with the audience.
Kelley Steven-W: 37:51
So my mom at 44... my mom was... grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s she got out of high school and she wanted to become a police officer and this was in the early ‘60s and women just weren't becoming beat cops or detectives and so she followed a different path and life changes, things change. In her ‘40s her father who was a homicide detective for 30 years, retired, came to her and said, "They've lifted the age band Christy and you can go into the LAPD or Los Angeles Police Academy. And she said, "Great, I'm going to do it." And she had just graduated college too in her ‘40s so she comes home and tells me she's going to now go into the LA police Academy and what do you think I say to her? "This is midlife crisis. Are you crazy?"
Because I wasn't thinking about changing careers. She was an accountant at the time, which is totally different. But she went into the LAPD Academy. She was with people 20 years younger than her. She did amazing. She won the most inspirational cadet award went up there with chief Willie Williams at the time and her father, was a very moving huge milestone. Three days out of the Academy however, my mom went to our first call and was killed in the line of duty responding to a domestic violence dispute. And of course the media grabbed that. It was national news. President Clinton called me actually at home, letters poured in all over the world. And those letters basically said, "Your mom's story about re-imagining herself and redirecting her career really inspired me. And I'm going to go..." I mean, these came from Asia and Europe and all over the U.S. and it occurred to me that people are more than what they're doing today.
They amassed... my mom had amassed so many different skills through the course of her lifetime, life skills, professional skills and so much of that would have gone untapped, no she would have gone on probably to be one of the most amazing detectives that they had because of experiences that she brought to the table and I wanted to unleash that in everybody.
I believe if every company was able to uncover these untapped skills, deal with this multi-generational workforce, wow, I mean that could really change the game. The genesis of hedge or the talent platform was really from that very personal story and I'm hopeful that it changes the world.
Bill Murphy: 40:27
Well. Absolutely. That's your big moonshot and this Prince met a passion behind that and I'm glad you shared that story so that... that's quite a lot of power to launch Hitch from and quite a lot impact at the top of an organization managing the talent that you have to. Is there anything that you really wanted to close out with today? Is there any message that you're really hoping I'd get to or something that popped into your head as we were talking that you want to leave as a message for my audience?
Kelley Steven-W: 41:00
Well, I think my best advice to people as they think about their careers is to not be afraid to take that role that really scares you to death. Some of your biggest learnings, your catapult moments are going to be from the willingness to take that risk. And so I really encourage you to do that, to think about what are my catapult moments? What is the way I might approach a jungle gym career with a lot of success?
Bill Murphy: 41:31
I love that. I love the word jungle-gym career and we're actually getting close to launching the Women in Innovation here in the Washington, DC area. Event it's going to be in early next year and the women that we run into that are CIOs within organizations, we run into, all over at the mid-Atlantic and that they tend to not be the chunk of the group, but they tend to be the really super high performers when you look at kind of the talent across the board and, it's funny that when I've talked to many of them, they've taken kind of unusual paths and they've taken advantage of different opportunities.
And I think your method not only applies to women, but anybody in any career right now, is just going sideways doesn't have to be a bad thing and... I mean it seems to me that careers are going to last longer these days as well. So maybe not being as panicked about, "Oh, I've got... this is my sunset of my career, but actually I can take this wisdom and retool and rebuild for the future." And now wisdom is going to help all the younger workers coming up correct?
Kelley Steven-W: 42:36
Yeah, and I think as you said, sideways is new forward. I think we're going to live longer. We're going to have a lot longer career. We don't... I think that I grew up with parents that were sort of, you go to college, you climb this ladder and it will take you years and years in between of hard work and I think we're going to see that again it's not the ladder that that people are taking that that long career horizon, will allow for small steps sideways still progressing by the way, maybe not getting a promotion but progressing, and that success will have a long window.
If you were climbing Everest, there's probably lots of pathways to get there. Depending on the weather you might go one way versus the other and I think we need to look at careers that way. We can all plant the flag at the top. We can all be the CIO at the end, but we might have taken very different paths to get there. And how wonderful an abundance view, how wonderful that we are all able to get there from our own unique path and that [crosstalk 00:43:49]-
Bill Murphy: 43:49
Well, I love this abundance mindset too, and I highly endorsed the book, I can't wait for it to come out. It's called The Inside Gig: How Sharing Untapped Talent Across Boundaries Unleashes Organizational Capacity. A big part of abundances is not being in the gap about what doesn't exist, but looking deeply into the talent that exists and how can I mine that gold? How can I mine that untapped talent? I'm really looking forward for the full release of the book in the late spring. Thank you for coming on the show today Kelley.
Kelley Steven-W: 44:20
Thank you, Bill. It's been my pleasure.
Bill Murphy: 44:24
So there you have it. This wraps another episode of Bill Murphy's RedZone Podcast. To get all the relevant show notes, please go to our blog at Additionally, make sure you go to iTunes and leave your comments in iTunes about the show. This helps our show rankings enormously. And it helps support the show. Until next time, appreciate you very much for listening. Thank you.

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