Have you ever found a framework, a diagram, that perfectly summarized an important and subtle idea? That somehow made that important idea concrete and easy to talk about?
That’s why I’m really excited to share today’s conversation with Emily Levada, Director of Product Management at Wayfair. We’ll dive into a Trust/Communication Map that, as a manager of a huge team, helps her navigate an essential question - is our team talking too much or not enough?
On the conversation design, meta side, I want to point out this important idea: The power of a visual to focus and shift a conversation. All conversations have an interface - either the air, a chat window or a whiteboard - a *place* the conversation actually happens.
A diagram creates a narrative space for a much more clear and focused conversation to take place - the diagram triangulates all of our individual inputs and ideas.
I stumbled across Emily’s medium article where she breaks down this trust/communication trade off using this simple visual map. She points out that the map we talk about is commonly attributed to technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ben Horowitz. In his book The Hard Thing About Hard Things he writes,
“If I trust you completely, then I require no explanation or communication of your actions whatsoever, because I know that whatever you are doing is in my best interests.”
With Communication on the Y axis and Trust on the X, you clearly don’t want your team in the lower-left quadrant - low trust and low communication. Things will get pretty rocky there, fast. Increasing communication can help, but wow, will your team get burnt out, fast. The upper right quadrant, from a manager’s perspective, is waste - in this region, we’re having too many meetings. We can likely decrease communication, slowly, until we find a perfect balance - low friction, high trust teams.
Emily, at the end of the episode outlines how she uses this diagram to have this crucial conversation with the teams she manages: Where does each member of the team feel we are on this chart? Are we spending too much time talking or not enough? If you use this diagram with your team, please let me know! Email me at Daniel@theconversationfactory.com.
As Emily points out, when there’s total trust, there’s a sense of safety - When my collaborators trust me to make things work, I feel empowered to find my own way, even if I take the long path, down some blind alleys.
Psychological safety is at the absolute core of teams that can make great things happen. We need trust and safety to make good decisions. Amy Edmonson, who coined the term Psychological safety, opens her book “The Fearless organization” with this amazing quote from Edmund Burke, an English philosopher from the mid-1700s
“No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”
With the right balance of trust and communication, teams can feel safe to act, learn and iterate.
For all of this and a lot more, listen to the rest of the episode!
Show Links and Notes
The Trust/Communication Curve
Agile at a large experience design organization
The Agile manifesto
The Five Elements of User Experience from Jesse James Garrett
Minimum Viable vs Minimum Lovable Products
Making Time in the Morning
Project Aristotle and Psychological Safety
Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization
The Learning Zone
The Trust Equation from the Trusted Advisor
High CUA Organizations, from High Output Management by Andy Grove
Helpful summary is here:
Daniel: Emily, we're going to officially welcome you to the conversation factory. Thank you for making the time to do this and for waiting for me while I fixed all of my technical difficulties.
Emily: Thank you for having me.
Daniel: Awesome. so you can you tell the listeners a little bit about who you are and what your role is?
Emily: I can start. Sure, sure. I'm a director of product management at Wayfair. I own a set of technologies that sit at what we call the bottom of our purchase funnel. So when you're shopping on Wayfair, that's the product detail page, the page that tells you about the things we sell, ah, they cart and checkout experiences. And then some other things like customer reviews or financing, how you apply for financing, understand financing on our side, our loyalty program. And I run a team of product managers doing that.
Daniel: Yeah. And so we talked a little bit about how do you get a hundred designers to all talk the same language. Like, cause you've got to, you have a big team. How do you get them all pointed in the same direction as a word? Like tell us about managing that conversation cause like you literally can't have a conversation unless you're speaking the same language. And so like there's that step back that you're working with.
Emily: Yeah. So I just shared an article that my design partner had written about our written design process or design toolkit as you might say. I think, you know, in any organization that scaling how you build the mechanisms for people to build shared vocabulary to be using the same tools. It's one that we invest time in. I don't know that there's any magic to it besides you know, making the time to have the conversation of what's the language that we want to use.
Emily: ...And being really intentional about it, right? What's language we do want to use, what's the language we don't want to use? How do we want to talk to new employees about these things in ways that are simple and digestible for them. And then they can build on over time. And then creating the mechanisms to make sure that coordination keeps happening. And you know, I think as we get more into this, you'll see that for me, how, how people communicate across the organization is a big part of what I spend my time thinking about.
Daniel: Yeah. I really enjoyed Jessie's article. We'll definitely link to it. One of the things that kind of blew me away was this idea that because I've worked with organizations where they're having a sense that, oh, we should have our own proprietary design thinking process. We should have our own flavor of agile. And he's like, we wanted something that anybody coming in would generally recognize. And so it's like, yeah, it's nothing. Here it is, it's kind of the double diamond. It's, it's the basics of design thinking, but doing it is the hard part.
Emily: Yeah. And I think one thing that's interesting is that we're actually not that dogmatic about how those things get applied. So really there's a lot of license to do what works best for your team. Right. Designers are part of a cross functional team with engineers, and analysts, QA, product managers and the designer should bring the tools to bear that are gonna help us understand customer problems and talk to our customers and prototype and test things. But we, but we're creating a toolkit that designers can pull from in order to do their work effectively.
Daniel: Yeah. It seems like a lot of work went into, into building that, that toolkit that they can pull from, but also like, I mean, this is the, this is the essence of agile, right? It's, it's, it's people and interactions over processes and tools or am I misquoting it? That's embarrassing. It's something like that. So like, let's talk about your origin story. Like how did you get into this work? How did you get your start and you know, where are you hoping to sort of ...what's next on your journey with, with the work that you're doing? Sure.
Emily: More so. I, rewinding to, let's say college I have two degrees. I have a degree in psychology and a degree in theater production. I'm a theater kid.
Daniel: That's amazing. I could see how that could prepare you for many, many, because everything's a circus and you know how to put on that. Let's put on a show like you know how to do that.
Emily: Keep the drama on the stage, we say yes. I actually, there's a tremendous number of parallels that I think are really interesting. But psychology and theater, they're both studies of how individuals behave. One scientific and one's artistic, but that's a common theme. And as I transitioned in technology and got an MBA, I fell in love with the idea of customer insights. So that we could understand it and influence people's behavior with the technology that you build. And so that's kind of one thread that pulls through here. And then that, that also fuels a passion for organizational behavior. How do I understand the behavior of the people around me and how we interact with each other in the conversations that we have in our organization? And then I think the other interesting thing about theater, well there's a, there's a product management tie. Building theater is cross functional. You have designers, you've technicians. I've learned over the years that the conversation that happens between a set designer, a stage carpenter and a scenic painter is no different than the conversation that happens between the UX designer, a backend engineer and a front end engineer.
Daniel: Okay. Can we, can you break that down? Cause like I don't think many people know those roles in maybe, maybe those words in either context. Yeah. Lay those out. Cause like this is the difference between like the, like the skin and the concept and how it works, Maybe....
Emily: Right...Well, so, so in both cases you have someone like a designer who's coming up with a concept or understanding maybe it's user behavior or the story that we're trying to tell. The content that we want to have in what we're publishing. And then but having the concept or having the vision is different than having the executed product. And so then you have a technician, right? You have engineers you have carpenters and painters and, and then really that's really just specialization, right? Those people are delivering on the thing that's been designed. And and they may have different types of specialization. And then I think where the thing that's the same in my role about that is that what you deliver is never going to be exactly the thing that you designed. And there's a constant process of learning and discovering the unknown and prototyping or having to cut to meet a budget or a timeline changing scope.
Emily: And that's the same, right? It's actually the same conversation. So I found a lot of skills in software development, product management that were skills that I had had developed earlier and loved that, that managing that conversation between those people and that translation between the functions. And then the other thing that I think is super relevant to the trust part of the work that I do is that the theater is a space and it's a workspace where coming to work emotionally available every day is part of what allows you to deliver the work. Like my, my early career, my conception of a business meeting was a bunch of people get in a room, we'd watch, a play. And if at the end of the business meeting everybody wasn't crying or laughing or right, whatever it was then like your product was not delivering the emotional experience that you need it.
Emily: And so your ability to then work through you know, how do I build something that resonates more emotionally, it was a, it was a critical part of that experience. And so I think that in the business world that translates into being, you know, high EQ, whatever that means. But there are some notion that that idea that you sort of come to work present and authentic and kind of with your emotional switch "on". That is something that I'm just really interested in and passionate about. That's kind of the way that I'm built. And and so how that translates into a different, you know, range of the world that I'm in today has been interesting question. I mean, so like, let's, let's dig into that a little bit because I think the idea that our product should turn the customer on like that it should hit
Daniel: Them and the gut the way like a great production should is a provocative one. And then like, so there's, there's these, there's that level of the, it should have that effect on our, our end user, but we should also be excited about doing it. And then I also need to sort of manage myself through that whole process of, you know bringing my best self to that dialogue, the interaction with all the people who are supposed to be making this thing. But there's a lot of, there can be a lot of conflict intention in that black box of making something that people are gonna love.
Emily: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I definitely, I think sometimes it's surprising to people that even just this concept of, hey, I want to build something that people love, that hey have emotional reaction to that, that I might talk about ecommerce that way. Right. Can we stupid. You're selling stuff, right? Yeah. But we all have to buy stuff, right? You right. You still want an experience that people really love. And also, you know, your home is intensely personal. And so for us, the experience of finding the right things for your home and crafting a space, crafting an environment that is a backdrop for really important parts of your life and your family and your friends your kids that's very emotional. It's a very emotional process. And so you want the tools that you're giving people to, to, to go through that journey to be emotionally resonant for them.
Emily: You know, I think this is, there's lots of conversations about this in the product world. This is sort of, you know, you're aiming for a minimum viable product versus a minimum lovable product, right? Yeah. It's that that difference. But I think for me the organizational side of it is equally as important. You know, we, we know that we, we all want to have teams that are creative, that are risk tolerant, that move fast. And then we have these really complex organizations and at the end of the day, like how do you build teams that can do those things? My point of view is that you really need to have the emotional component in order to build teams that can, can embody those qualities.
Daniel: Yeah. So I want to go back, I want to, I want, I want to go deeper, deeper into the trust and safety piece because that's, that's important. But I was trying to find this diagram that I just sent to you. And the chat window, I need to find who originated it. This was like one of my favorite diagrams when I was getting started in UX, just to like talk about the difference between like vision and concept and details. This is another version of it. Product is functionality. Product is information. There's so many versions of this just the idea that like, there's all these different layers in the process of making something real and my own sense that like everybody wants a seat at the table, right? Cause like even those people are highly specialized where they're like, oh, I'm just gonna make an "x". If they don't understand the vision and if they're not bought into the vision, people feel excluded. Yeah. People feel like, oh, I'm just a doer. Like, so I guess my question is like, you as a leader, how do you make sure that the people who are part of creating that vision feel like they're all included? Like how do you create inclusion?
Emily: Yeah. I mean it's interesting because yes, they want to feel included, but I would actually go so far as to say that they need to be included if you want to get the right product. Because if you tell people what to build, they'll build you what you tell them. If you tell them why you want to build it, they're going to build something better than what you asked them to build.
Daniel: Yeah. I'm just...that's a solid gold quote right there.
Emily: Uh and so I think that the question then very tactically becomes when is the right moment in the process to involve which person, what pieces of information are you giving them? But I think really it is about orienting around why, why are we here, what outcome are we trying to drive, not what are we trying to build. And you know, ultimately the conversation shifts to what are you trying to build. But I think partly there's a, there's also a listening aspect here, right? You listen to the conversations that people are having and if people are getting stuck and you start listening and are having conversation about the what you try to back them up to the why, right?
Daniel: Yeah. No I agree. Yeah. I mean there's so many avenues to go down because in a way like there's another piece which is like how are you seeing the patterns and all of that and all of those conversations that you're, you're, you're pulling together cause you're, you're looking at this at an organizational level as well, right? Like you're in a lot of different places and listening to a lot of different things. Like how do you make the time to start to weave it back together for yourself and to a clear narrative like "this is What's happening?"
Emily: Some of it is I think about pattern recognition, right? This is true of all feedback. So one thing that I say about feedback a lot is that you know, any feedback, whether you're giving, receiving feedback, it's a data point. And if you, if every piece of feedback you get, you took immediate action on and treated as equal to every other piece of feedback, like you'd go mad. And so when you get feedback or when you hear a thing, it becomes a piece of data and then up to you to look at all of the pieces of data, have you got and, see the patterns, prioritize which things you want to act on and then go act on them. And so I think, you know, as an organizational leader, as I'm doing one on ones or doing skip level meetings or listening to questions, people are asking in various forums or listening to the water cooler talk. It's sort of data that goes into the pattern recognition machine, right?
Daniel: Which is your brain. Are you using a whiteboard or a like a dashboard or anything to track that? Or is it just really like just filtering …
Emily: Yup. I have some, I have a notebook that I you know, clutch very tightly and carry with me everywhere I go. That I think is my primary, you know, hey, I'm just gonna write down things that I see or observe. I have a window of time. I get to work very early in the morning. I get to work at seven. And so from seven in the morning until nine when the kind of meetings start is my time to really kind of step back, reflect on what I'm need to do or what I've heard, what's new, where things are and get some focused work time. And so I think being able to just carve out the time to sort of step back and say, okay, is there anything here that I, that I need to be paying more attention to or taking more action?
Daniel: I have to say like in so many of the interviews I've done, one of the insights for me is that of all the conversations that we have to manage and maybe design the one with ourselves is maybe the most important one. And so having just, just having a notebook is like, like that's, that's huge. Right? Yeah. Really amazing.
Emily: Yeah. You know, I'm also very lucky, I have a wonderful set of people around me who are great sounding board for all the Times that I'm like, Hey, I think maybe there's a thing here, but I'm not really sure. I let me just say it out loud to you and play it back for me and you know, help me see if there's really a pattern or not. Yeah,
Daniel: Yeah. Analysis through dialog. Super important. So I think it would be useful for us to talk about like, so I found that this medium article that you wrote using this, you know, don't I just love visual frameworks of trust versus communication curve. And how did you, like where did that how does that framework filter into your life? Where did it come from for you and how do you, how do you actually apply that in your own work you use? Just talk to us a little bit about that little knowledge chunk and then we'll, sure, sure,
Emily: Sure. So we, we first introduced the concept of psychological safety, which related but not the same in 2017. I actually, so psychological safety I think was popularized based on Google work, Google's project Aristotle. There's a New York Times magazine article about it that profiles a woman who's on Google's people analytics team. And she was a classmate of mine in my MBA program. And so I had been following the work and thought it was really interesting. And we actually introduced a concept of that is one level higher than the psychological safety concept, which is the learning zone. So the, the researcher who, who came up with the concept of psychological safety actually has a framework that's two axes and psychological safety is one access. And the other access is accountability, accountability to results. And, and when you have both of those things, you get this magic thing called learning.
Emily: And I think that what was really important about that, cause you ain't swim it cause like I'm looking at that as a two by two from like very accountable and very safe means I've learned something. Yeah. Put that together for me. Yeah. So, so very accountable means like there's pressure, there's pressure to do, right? Like you, you, you're gonna run fast because there's pressure. But if you have high pressure and low psychological safety, you get anxiety, you get fear of failure, right. That, that and that is a killer, right? Especially in an agile process where there's a requirement to like take risks and try things and it, you know, that every single thing you do is not going to be a win. What you want is for every single thing you do to teach you something, right. The, to be another step on the journey to understanding where you're going.
Emily: Oh, this is incredibly important in spaces where I remember it's it's Andy Grove. It's from high output management. He has this concept of, high CUA organizations or tasks that is complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity, right? So you don't have a roadmap. You don't know where you're going. You have some idea where you're going, but you might be wrong. You don't really know how you're going to get there along the way. And there's a high degree of complexity that you need to be able to fail and you need to be able to challenge people's ideas. You know, we know that the creative process, it's not that people just have brilliant ideas, they actually have not great ideas that then other people add slightly less, not great things too. And then, you know, you build, you like you, you build on top of each other and you make connections and then all of a sudden there's an Aha moment that you, you've landed on something that has value, right?
Daniel: So I would say that these CUA things can only be done through conversation. It's only through like one person can't do it by themselves. Through that, you have to…
Emily: Right, right. And so you have to have a group. And that group has to be willing to say stupid things and to say that they disagree, to challenge the status quo. And you can't do those things if you don't have psychological safety. If you're afraid that you will be judged for what you say or for challenging, then you don't get any of that behavior. And so, so when you have psychological safety, that's when you get... And performance pressure. That's when you get, okay, we're going to try something and then we're going to learn from it. And so learning becomes the kind of cornerstone to continuous improvement with that flavor of, hey, we're willing to take risks.
Emily: We want to move fast. We're listening to each other. We understand that the solution we get you together is going to be better than the solution any of us could come to individually. And so that, that, it was a few years ago that that really became an important piece of how my department was thinking about the culture that we wanted to build. And, and in that I was thinking about, okay, what does this mean for my teams and how do I figure out when my teams are feeling that anxiety and how can I help them have the right conversations to get them back into that learning zone? And one of the observations that I had is that we spend a lot of time talking about how we talk to each other, right?
Emily: I say to the conversation designer but, but that in the organization that often takes the format of, you know, do we really need to have this meeting? We should add this meeting. We should remove this meeting. I think we should write a new update email. We're getting too many emails. I, everybody needs to go into this spreadsheet and fill out this information. And there's just this, there's a cycle of "add a bunch of communication and process and then think there there's too much and take it away. And then I think there's too little and add more."
Emily: And there's a justification that, that sort of a natural cycle. And the observation that I had a, and I talk a little bit about where those pieces came from, but the kind of connection that I made in my brain at some point in doing this is that the amount of communication that you need is the dependent variable. The independent variable is how much trust you have. It's not an objective, hey, in order to do this thing, I need this amount of communication period.
Emily: The amount of communication that you need to be successful is dependent on how much trust already exists between the individuals doing the work. And so for me the interesting moment was, hey, let's reframe all of these, communicate all of these conversations that we're having about communication into conversations about trust and what does that look like? What would that mean? Yeah. And that actually you, you these, the costs of all of this communication, we call it coordination cost often. Yeah. That it's, that it's not a given. Like as your organization gets complex, you will need more communication. That is true.
Daniel: So I'm going to, I'm going to sketch, this diagram just for the listeners. So they don't have to go any place else like okay, it's the, the y axis is amount of communication required. The X-axis, is access trust between team members. And in a way what you're implying is that there's a, a curve, a line that goes from the upper left to the lower right where basically the more trust you have, the less communication is required.
Emily: Right? That's exactly it. To accomplish any goal, the amount of trust that you have and the amount of communication that you need or inversely related. So if you have very little trust, you need a tremendous amount of communication. If you have a lot of trust, you need way less.
Daniel: Can I push back on this concept? Just like, cause I feel like in a way like when there's a lot of trust, communication flows really freely to be like I can see on the graph anything that's above the line is inefficient use of resources and anything below it creates like friction of confusion or like, and I've seen this in projects where you're like waiting for someone else to like tell you it's okay to do what you think needs to be done. But at the same time I feel like my fiance and I talk a lot, you know, we, we have a lot of communication. There's also a lot of trust. Like I'm checking in with her and telling her my evening plans, not because I think she's worried that she doesn't, you know, where are you off with? She just wants to know and I want to tell her. So like maybe that's, maybe that's different cause it's, it's a personal context. I don't know.
Emily: Yeah. Maybe trust and communication are actually self-reinforcing. And so when I say you have high trust and low communication that that implies that you actually have a higher degree of communication. I think, you know, maybe you could think about this as sort of additional communication or required communication, formal communication, right? And there are lots of different ways you could cut that. Although I do think that you actually just see less communication partly because one of the primary pieces of that is if I trust you, then I trust that you will understand when I need to be involved and you will proactively communicate to me and therefore I don't need to be doing the inbound communication to you. And so you know, you, I do think that there's an opportunity. I think the, and the really important piece of that is that we think we spend a lot of time talking about how we can add or subtract communication. And my thesis is that if you actually invest in building trust in teams, you can run more efficient organizations because you reduce the amount of communication that everybody to do.
Daniel: Wow. So that upfront investment pays off. And your, I mean this is the classic go slow to go fast. Like you're like definitely has proved for you.
Emily: Well yeah, I mean you, you, you invest in trust that allows you to pull out this communication. It certainly makes people happier and it gives you more of these other things like a willingness to take risks. You know speed to delivery risk tolerance. Yeah. Some of those other components that I think are really important.
Daniel: So can we talk a little bit about the mechanisms, cause you, we talked about this in the pre-talk, like what are the mechanisms of creating value for the company through that, but then there's also the question of how do you actually, what is the process by which you create this kind of trust and psychological safety in your teams? So this is like the two side, like how do you do it and then how do you show that it's, how do you prove that thing that we, we were just talking about that it's, that the investment's worth it. Yeah. Cause people ask me all the time and I have a mixed answers for that.
Emily: Yeah. I think, you know, I do think it's hard, right? It's hard. This is why the, some of these concepts like psychological safety and trust and vulnerability and Kulik they feel squishy cause it's hard to understand the value. But I do think that one of the things that's been interesting about this framework is that it is pretty easy when you start to look around and you start to diagnose, okay, where are my teams? And you start to actually selectively pull levers like, okay, I'm going to add communication here or I'm going to just remove communication here. That as a manager, having a framework like this just helps you be more active in how you manage those things, right? So if, if a manager can, if having this framework and diagnosing where their teams are effectively allows them to pull, you know, just a handful of pieces of communication out of the system without impacting the result, it's being delivered. You're delivering value right now. If you pull that communication out in a place where you don't actually have their trust, then you, you risk poor execution on the work. Right? And so the ability to make good decisions about where you can do that and where you can I think is what I'm trying to help managers do. I think in terms of actually building trust I have one go-to tool that I share. Although there's really many, many different ways to think about this. I'm a big fan of the trust equation, which is from the book the trusted advisor. Yeah. The trusted advisor is really about building trust in client relationships. But there's this concept in it called the trust equation, which is just a one way of breaking down what does trust really mean? And that trust equation says that trust is needed before components.
Emily: There are three things that create trust, credibility, which is I trust your words. You know what you're talking about. You say, I don't know. When you don't know what you're talking about. That's one. Reliability is you do what you say you're going to do. So I'd say trust your actions. And then the third is they use the word intimacy. That can be a loaded word in business contexts. I tend to think of that as discretion is, is probably the closest thing. Like I, I trust you with a secret. Or I trust your judgment. It can mean I, it can mean you sort of know me personally. And then there's one thing that is sort of the great destroyer of trusts, which is self orientation. So if I believe that you will act in your own self interest instead of in my best interest then I don't trust you if I believe that you will take into account my best interest and think about my point of view, then we build trust.
Emily: And the really important thing or the reason that that's my sort of critical tool is because it allows us to give feedback about trust that's much more specific. So it allows us to give feedback, allows me to give feedback about communication that's happening in the workplace. That is feedback about trust, but using those underlying concepts. So, Hey, when you well... Shit your way through the answer to that answer in that meeting and then had to go back and admit that you didn't know what you were talking about, you damaged your credibility with that stakeholder. Yeah. Right. Or when you didn't respond to that email, you damaged your reliability yeah. Or, right, then and then the positive version of that to hey, the fact that you thought to include that person in that meeting showed low self orientation and helps you build that relationship. And so more than anything that's just given people the vocabulary to have a conversation about trust without using the squishy word of trust.
Daniel: Yeah. Breaking it down into components. Use the word levers, which I like. I talk about that a lot in my conversation design work, which is like, wow, how do we actually grab hold of this squishy thing and say like, oh, how do we manipulate it? How we actually move in? And you're like, at least you and you can focus on reliability, credibility, intimacy and intimacy is important. Like, I, I've begun to realize like the importance of actually spending time getting to know people. Like you forget this, otherwise people think it's just transactional. And that's, that's really, really critical.
Emily: Right? And, and I think that also sorry, I just lost my train of thought for a moment.
Daniel: I mean it's amazing by the way, like, I don't know like that you had the trusted advisor equation in your, in your brain. Like, so you get, you get a tunnel pass, it may come back to you.
Emily: It meant that's okay. We can keep going.
Daniel: What's that?
Emily: I said we could keep going...
Daniel: Oh, so we, yeah, we are actually getting close to our time. So like I usually ask the, what haven't we talked about that we should talk about, which may or may not jog your memory…
Emily: I remember what I was thinking.
Daniel: Yeah. There's the key - distraction!
Emily: So the other thing about the trust equation is that it's actually true that different people value different parts of that equation. Well, the other thing that it allows you to do is have the conversation of saying, you know, sometimes like I've had situations where I'm kind of not connecting with someone or we just seem to be missing each other and not building the kind of relationship that I want. And then the ability to have a conversation that's like, Hey, I, what I'm looking for really is, you know, intimacy. And the other person says, well, I really want reliability and I don't really care about intimacy in this relationship that that allows you to figure out what matters for trust in that relationship more effectively.
Daniel: It does. And so when you, you talked about how you spend a lot of time in your team talking about conversations like this is, this is the conversation about what matters to you in your conversations with the conversation about how often you want to be talking, the conversation about all of these different pieces of it. And I just did an interview with my dear friend Jocelyn Ling. We'll publish soon as well. She was the first person who ever I sat down in a meeting with who said, let's talk about how you like to work. Are you a calendar person? I mean this was almost 10 years ago, so there was no Skype, there was Skype, there was no slack, there was, there were fewer tools, but it was still an important conversation to have.
Emily: Right, incredibly.
Daniel: Like I have a calendar/ spreadsheet orientation and that's like if somebody is making something in a word document that could be a spreadsheet. It, it, it, you know, cause me hives.
Emily: Right, Totally. And you know, it's important to know if you're working with someone who really needs time to digest before they get into a room, then writing that preread is going to be that much more important. Right. Or if you know, obviously understanding the intimacy part, understanding what parts of the day are more difficult for people. You know, for me, I get in super early, but then I leave, I need to get home to my kids. And so, you know, if you catch me while I'm walking out the door, I'm not going to be, no,... I'm less likely to take the time to stop and have that conversation right.
Daniel: And don't have an extra five minutes!
Emily: I really don't. Yes. So I think that that's, those things are super important and, and actually just giving people the ability to have those conversations really openly, really directly or giving them tools to do that.
Daniel: That's awesome. So is there anything we haven't talked about that we should talk about around trust, psychological safety, organizational conversations?
Emily: Yeah, there's, there's no one big thing. I think, you know, my, the thing that I hope is just that people feel like this is a tool that they can use and, and to really think about that the next time they hear somebody having a conversation about communication, to think about, hey, are we really having a conversation about, about trust? Right? So somebody is asking you for communication, is it really because they don't, they don't trust some piece of this, they don't trust you're going to deliver something or we've missed an opportunity to, to keep them informed and vice versa. If people are complaining about having too much communication. Is that really because there's more trust than you're building credit for and how do we, how do we change the conversation more?
Daniel: Yeah. Well that's awesome. We, I guess, I mean I'm, I'm going to try and squeeze in one more question cause like I said, I'm looking at that framework and I'm thinking to myself is that a framework for Emily to think more clearly and to talk with another manager about stuff or is it a conversation that a team can have? Like it's not like a two by two matrix. I'm not looking at it as like a importance difficulty matrix where somebody is doing an exercise with it. It is, it is both. So there's definitely, yeah, only a piece
Emily: Of it that is as a manager, I want to have a sense of where my team is or where different project teams that I work with are and be able to actively manage. But there's definitely a team component here and I think it's a really interesting exercise to do. It requires a really good facilitator, which is get your team in a room, draw the framework on the board, two axes and a line, right? Make sure people understand it and then say, everybody grab a marker. Where do you think we are? Or, or if you don't think your team has enough trust to do that, everybody grab a sticky note and draw the framework on your sticky note and fold it up and hand it to me, right? We'll do this sort of anonymously and then you plot on the graph like where does the team think we are?
Emily: And the interesting conversation is not about coming to objective alignment that "we are here today", but actually that some of your team members think your team has a high degree of trust and some of your team members go, right. And how do we, you know, some, some team members think that we've got too much communication and some think we have too little because they actually have different communications styles. And, and communication isn't connecting on the same for everybody. And then how do we use that as a lead in to this conversation of, hey, how do we work more effectively as a team?
Daniel: I'm so glad I asked that question because I think that's a really, that, that's a, it's a classic visual facilitation move of where are we, where do you think we are? And then the, the benefit is not, oh, we need to get into the same place. It's like, Oh wow, you think we're here and I think we're there. Let me hear more about what you think, why you think that. And you talked to the other person about why they think they think that's what they think. That's awesome. Okay, then we're definitely out of time now, Emily, I really appreciate you making the time for this. This is really delightful conversation. I think this is super duper important stuff for everyone to get a grasp on.
Emily: Thanks for having me!
Daniel: Awesome. And we'll call it "and scene!"