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You can’t be what you can’t see

Joining Tegan Valeny and Jake Sparkes for episode 51 of The Tech That Connects Us was Kate Wendelboe.

Kate has had a fascinating career and held senior, influential roles at BT, such as Director of Media & Broadcast and sits on the Board for Rise – a group for Women in Broadcast.

We delved into how Rise is helping address issues of diversity and inclusion, as well as a few other questions around inclusive teams and fitting in, here’s what Kate had to say.

How are Rise helping address issues of diversity and inclusion?  

“One of the best things we do with Rise is making sure that there’s that pipeline of talent coming up. Because that is it; it’s educating children from the youngest of ages, about the opportunities that are out there for them to open their minds up to industries like media broadcast and cyber security. 

With Rise we have a whole series of programmes where we’re looking at the pipeline, all the way from school, up to supporting professionals who are decades into their careers. Our Rise Up programme goes into school and we get kit and link it to some of the science curricula and talk about how images appear on screens. Then we get them to set up a studio in their classroom, so it’s a hands-on experience. Then in the afternoon, they film a game show which brings the whole thing to life for them. 

We’re then finding ways to keep in touch with them as they progress through the education system. We’ve set up a mentoring scheme for people who are at university, we’ve then got a second scheme for people who are early in their career and then networking events throughout to promote the network and to allow people to feel supported.”

So how can we make our teams more inclusive? 

“We’ve just had a brilliant series of events at BT about race, diversity and inclusion, and it’s something that we’re talking a lot about internally. You can have diversity but without inclusion, it’s important to make sure there’s representation. So we’re making sure that we have enough of different groups represented. So that everybody in the team can look around and see somebody who is a bit like them in some ways. And that very much helps in gender inclusivity and makes diversity sustainable. 

‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ 

This all comes back to culture it’s so important that we create a culture where these things can be discussed, and myths can be dispelled and people limiting beliefs about themselves can be worked through and dispelled as much as possible.”

What would your advice be to someone worried about fitting into the industry or concerned about being different? 

“Make sure that you’ve found as many different people as you can within the industry, to make sure you’re getting lots of different perspectives and find somebody that you can trust to talk to. It may be easier said than done but those conversations that you can have when you find somebody you can be open with will help you dispel some of the myths.”

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

How COVID is shifting typical hierarchal structures.

On episode 32 of The Tech That Connects Us Podcast John Clifton and Tegan Lloyd Williams interviewed Nancy Goldberg, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer, Nagravision.  

From professional rock climbing and snowboarding to the EVP of Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at the Kudelski Group and Nagravision, Nancy has walked a very different path to most people in her position and one part of the interviewed that really stood out for us was how Nancy and Nagravision adapted their leadership style over the past 12 months.  

As a leader, how have you had to adapt your style over the last sort of 12 months or so? 

“I would say these last 12 months it’s been really tough, but incredibly helpful at the same time. It’s really pushed us in a way that we weren’t necessarily super comfortable with in the beginning, but it’s really opened our eyes and opened our ability to manage in a different way.  

I think one thing that we have been able to embrace over this last year is really looking at our entire employee base and shift away from the standard hierarchical structures, really empowering people across the entire organisation, with decision making, execution and what success even means.  

That is what has shifted for us in this organisation. This is a company that for many, many years was very hierarchical with our decision making; it was done from the top down. But when COVID hit we’re suddenly having to work in a completely different way, in completely different environment.  

Now, we have shifted into smaller teams all over the world. And all of these smaller teams can take on problems, resolve those problems, and push them back onto the organisation effectively. So that’s where I see where we’ve changed not only from a company perspective, but my own management style.”

What is the most positive outcome that has that has come out of this? 

“The most positive outcome, I believe out of this period has been camaraderie, collaboration and teamwork. Again, I think that as we have had to deal with the situation, and we are spread across 33 countries around the world with about 3,300 employees. We had to come together as ‘mini teams’ to resolve immediate problems and deal with time zone issues and deal with things in real time.  

For me the best thing that’s come out of this is this renewed sense of camaraderie of team spirit of collaboration. To me, that’s the biggest benefit that we have achieved over this period, or the biggest benefit from a very bad situation.”

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.   

The Importance of the ‘Permission to Have Downtime’

One of our most passionate, enjoyable, and fun podcasts to date was with former EVP Human Resources, SES Networks, Dara McCann with her deep expertise in diversity and people.

John Clifton and Laurie Scott sat down with Dara and really learned some fantastic insights into her unique perspective on fostering an engaged and hard-working team while we’re increasingly virtual. Her advice on ‘permission to have downtime’ was especially resonated with us that we’ve shared it below:

I think people must have permission to have downtime.” 

And I think people are concerned about their jobs in this environment, they are very keen to be seen to be doing all the right things and seen to be working hard. 

When people were going into an office, it was easy for a line manager to know, who’s doing hard work. It was superficially easy for people to see who was working hard and who wasn’t, who was in on time, and who was late. It was easier to have that little interaction that you could check “How are you getting on?”. 

Nowadays, people are relying on email and video to communicate. This leads some feeling like they have an obligation to be always ready for their camera.  

So, I think, in today’s world employers need to be a little bit more accepting of the fact that people are trying their best. People may be trying to school their children or trying to take care of people. 

As employers it’s important to give people permission to take a break, which is one way that we can improve their mental and physical health. 

But there can’t be a lip service where you simply say “Oh, of course, take the afternoon off” or “of course, go for a walk” and then secretly in your mind think: “I wonder if they’re actually doing any work?” when they’re back working. 

The challenge of today’s business environment is to be flexible and agile. Ensure you are connecting with your employees one on one, asking how they’re doing as it slows down a bit, but don’t forget that everything will get faster again soon enough. But it’s really that permission to take time out of the screen and really sort of recharge. 

And I think you need to look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and that a person’s psychological safety is just as important to them as their physical well-being.  

If an employee does not feel they can take time off without asking for permission, then there is a lack in the trust of that company, and it will most likely suffer from this deficiency. 

And so, you’ll find people with a lack of trust or demanding jobs often find themselves feeling guilty for taking time off. They know their boss or line manager wants that report or deadline and they don’t want to disappoint them, so it’s important that these relationships are built on trust as well. 

Leadership, people and dviersity are important topics that we cover on nearly every episode of our Podcast. So don’t hesitate to go through our podcast archives and listen to some of our fantastic conversations with business leaders and experts.

Lessons on Leadership from Lawo COO Jamie Dunn

We recently interviewed Jamie Dunn, COO of Lawo pioneering IP-based video and audio technology company for broadcast production, on an episode in our weekly podcast The Tech That Connects Us.

John Clifton and Tegan Lloyd Williams discussed a wealth of insightful information from taking opportunities, lessons learned, the boom of audio, and his thoughts on leadership; which we thought was especially poignant during these strange times.

So we’ve shared our version of his thoughts on leadership and communication below:

There are many ways to be a good leader, but one thing I think is fundamental in these times is communication. 

I always thought that it was about reading a lot of books on leadership, but they were just talking about this difference between management and leadership.  

And I concluded myself after thinking about this is that leadership for me is just about personality. Leadership can’t be trained, it’s something ingrained in someone whether they have a good idea of what it means to lead people and know-how their actions are going affect others around them or not. 

Leadership is about belief. You have to give people the confidence that what they are doing matters, and you should be able to do this without face-to-face contact if your messages are strong enough; from my point of view empathy in messaging is key for producing effective leadership. 

Empathy is all about leadership as well, understanding that what people are going through and where they want to go can be very important. 

I always loved the leadership aspect of my work. As a leader, I can help guide and empower those around me to be their best selves while also being well-connected with them. One area where this is really apparent is communication – as someone who has built his career on great communications skills it’s paramount that all leaders are proactive about listening and understanding what people go through to communicate effectively. This way we can support others during difficult times or celebrate together when things get better! 

It’s not easy just to say, you must do this, you must do that. Because of safety and traveling restrictions we have lots of limitations for what used to be a walk in the park. This is not an easy task; however, it starts with listening and understanding what people need to make adjustments that will help them succeed any way possible. 

Understanding how our guests excel in their respective market’s is always a great talking point of our weekly Podcast The Tech That Connects Us, So don’t hesitate to go through our podcast archives and listen to some of our fantastic conversations with business leaders and experts.