Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kate Matsudaira on Success, Day Two Keynote #ATDTK

These are my live blogged notes from the opening keynote at ATD TechKnowledge 2016, happening this week in Las Vegas. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Talking today about SUCCESS. Goal: one or two things from today that you can bring back to your office to be more successful.

Merit no longer is the way we get ahead. What happened to merit?

Four parts to her success formula:

1. Chess
2. Cake
3. Oprah
4. Mickey Mouse

The new world of tech:
We’re all really busy today.
Most people are distributed – we work from home offices, we communicate online and face to face time is less frequent
We often have to define the work we’re doing and the projects
It’s a different world and we have to think about our careers a little differently.

Chess is about strategy. Like a game, you have to think of the work you’re doing as a series of moves. It’s gotta be part of a bigger plan. And what limits you is time and  energy.

Make sure you’re on the right path. Invest in something that’s going to make sense for you. Choose the right game to play. Pick what you focus on.

Build skills that are rare and valuable. You’ll earn more money, have more flexibility, have more control.

Following your passion is for suckers.

As you think about your career path – think about what your doing now that you really like. And then think about how to make those skills rare and valuable.

It’s a craftsman mindset. Think about your rare and valuable skills and then make a plan around it.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal…

Set aside time to be strategic. The idea of DELIBERATE PRACTICE.

The notion of spending 10,000 hours to get really good at something – new research shows that number may be more or less – what matters is the quality of what you’re doing and how you spend that time. Get thoughtful about how you spend your time.

Have a plan. Do you have a target? It’s hard to hit a target that you can’t see. You need a plan and a direction.

Make a list of your skills that are rare and valuable
Take time for deliberate practice


A wonderfully baked cake is about getting great results. In a study at her former company, they asked people “what was the one thing that contributed to your success?” And it was getting results.

Make sure you’re doing work that matters. Every to do list item needs to answer a question “how does this help my company?” Can you tie this in a concrete way to business goals?

Work on the right things.

It’s not enough to just do your job. Fill in the gaps. You get paid to do your job. The more you add value, the more successful you’ll become.

A key part of doing more, is making sure that people know about it. Your manager is your most important relationship at work. Make sure your boss is your advocate and your mentor.

Not all bosses are good ones. But you can make your boss a good boss.

Make sure you have regular meetings with your boss. Build rapport.

If you’re only using one on ones to talk about work, your missing an opp. Ask questions like “what’s the most important thing for our team to accomplish this quarter?” or “is there a project like this that happened in the past that went really well?”

When they coach you and answer your questions, they’re investing in you. And it’s hard not to like someone that you’re investing in. Manage your manager.

If you have a lot of autonomy, no one knows what you’re doing all do. Make sure you communicate what your doing. Send regular status updates – every week. And make them short enough to fit on a phone screen.

Get good at estimating your time and be on time with your deliverables.

Be on time to things. Show up and be respectful.

Make the most of your time. Use it efficiently. The secret of time management is knowing what to do when you have a spare 15 minutes. Break your work up into 15 minute chunks so you can do something productive. Have a system. Think about how to work smarter (time blocking, pomodora ?)

Making it work for you:
Manage your manager – have regular meetings and ask good questions.
Share your status and make your work known
Be on time
Work hard


Like Oprah, your success and influence is really important. Successful people are influential.

Influence comes from power.  Power means that you have the ability to get things done, people listen to you.

Three sources of power to help you become more influential:

1.     Expertise – you have knowledge about a topic and people look to you. You know a lot about how your world works and how your company works. Build your expertise.
2.     Charisma – people do things because they like you, because of your personality. Read the Charisma Myth if you need more help. Some great leaders weren’t charismatic.
3.     Relationships – an area where all of us can be better. When you have great relationships, you get more done. Relationships are about trust. If you have no trust, you have no relationship. Think about whether you and your boss have a good relationship. Do they trust you? Your boss wants to know if you’re going to be a good investment in his/her time.

So think about how you build that trust.

How do you assess performance? Hours worked is not a good indicator. Features? Talk to the people that your people work with. 

Trust in an organization is all about the relationships in the org.

Elements of trust: Contribution, Reputation, Relationship Architecture

Relationship Architecture
Make two lists
1.     Who are the most influential people at your work?
2.     Who do you spend the most time with?
If there’s not a lot of overlap in your list, then you’ve got a lot of work to do. Your relationship architecture is all about your trust graph. The people who are influential are only going to get more influential over time? If they know about you and have good things to say about you, it helps…

Relationships are like filmstrips – every interaction with someone is like a frame in a filmstrip. Find ways to add frames to that filmstrip. Go out for coffee, have conversations, etc.

If you want to be really influential, rebuild bridges with people. Generate positive interactions with those people. If you’ve had an issue with someone in the past, ask them to help you with someone. Ask them for advice. When we help people, we can’t but help like them (see more on this from Benjamin Franklin).

It takes six positive interactions to counteract one negative interaction. Take the long term on rebuilding that bridge.

Where does success come from? It’s not from your work, but from people. These relationships and your influence is what you should work on.

And then you have more power, like Oprah.

How can you build better relationships?
Expand your relationship architecture; make influential connections with people outside your work


This one is about your attitude. Who doesn’t like Mickey?

Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10. Now think about what you need to do to be amazing. Write a few things down.

Imagine you come back from a conference and your boss has hired someone to replace you – someone who is way better than you. What do they do? Do they work more hours? Do they have more knowledge? What do they have that you don’t?

It’s less about how you work and more about the relationships you have. It’s these soft skills.

It’s not just about what you do, but how you do it.

Work on being better in those softer areas.

Be someone people want to work with. Inspire others and motivate them. Be a person that people want in their meetings because you add value.

Learn to be open to new ideas. Don’t be the person who just tells others all the way their ideas are wrong. Help other people foster and grow their ideas.

Bring solutions. Don’t just complain.

Don’t commiserate and jump on other people’s pity party bandwagon. Don’t badmouth people. When you bad talk and then act differently – well, that just erodes trust.

Empathy with a positive attitude. Don’t erode your own power and influence by falling to other people’s negativity.

Try to reframe the situation – if someone is negative, ask “why may that be?”

Think about the long term. How many people remember about stressful situations from five years ago.

Think about every speed bump as a chance to grow.

There’s no right answer. There may be some wrong ones.

Make others feel important. If someone talks to you, be present. Make other people’s days better. Have a good attitude.

Be coachable. Solicit regular feedback. Not “how am I doing?” but “I did this presentation, is there any way I could have improved the slides?”

And if they give you feedback that you don’t like it or don’t agree with it, take it as valid. Say thank you. Take it as a gift to learn from.

Making it work for you:
How are you coming to work?
Be present. Be an active member of the team.
Ask for feedback and try to be better from it.

So chess, cake, Oprah, Mickey Mouse = strategy, results, influence, attitude – all come together to make you more successful.

Time and energy are limited. Maximize your energy. Know when you write best (maybe not late afternoon, but morning – work to your energy flows).

Manage your email and social media. Eliminate distractions so you can use your time more effectively.

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