Karen McGrane podcast interview: adapting to change through compassion

Karen McGrane

In Episode 18 of the Together London Podcast, I talk to Karen McGrane about adapting to change, telling stories about our mistakes, and using compassion to get better outcomes.

Check out Karen’s website, her upcoming Dare Conference keynote, and follow her on twitter @karenmcgrane.

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Jonathan Kahn: I’m speaking to Karen McGrane, who’s joining me from New York today. She’s the author of “Content Strategy for Mobile,” and she’s been a pioneer of user experience design and content strategy for over 15 years. She helped build the UX practice at Razorfish. She was the first information architect there, and she left as the VP for user experience. She now leads Bond Art + Science, which is a consultancy in New York.

We’re really excited that Karen’s one of the keynote speakers at the Dare Conference next month in September. Karen, thanks so much for taking the time to join me today.

Karen McGrane: Thank you for inviting me. I’m really looking forward to this.

Jonathan: I think I first heard about your work, Karen, through the content strategy community. The one thing I always think about in terms of your work and content strategy is this phrase you have, which is, “content strategy is change management.” What does that mean?

Karen: Back when I worked at Razorfish back in the very early days, Razorfish had this tagline that was, “Everything that can be digital will be.” I found that to be inspirational. I thought it was a really good way of setting a vision for where the work that we did was going. I thought it was exciting and I loved it. That tagline was in support of their positioning at the time, which they called digital change management, which I thought was a load of crap. It sounded management consultingy. I remember thinking about it and being like, “What is digital change management?” That doesn’t make any sense. We make websites. We make websites. People hire us. They say, “We need a website.” We build them a website. We’re really good at making websites. That is what we do.

In the intervening years, it has just become increasingly clear to me that everything we do is digital change management. Everything we do is change management. The work that we are all engaged in is less about the success of any one project. It’s less about the success of any one website or mobile app or intranet or whatever it is we’re building and much more about how we work with organizations, work with the people in those organizations to help them understand and adapt to the massive amounts of change that digital technology has wrought on our society.

When you work with organizations it comes clear pretty quickly that user behavior moves forward much more quickly than organizations do.

You see, particularly in the last few years, the massive change that mobile has made and how quickly everyone went from not using a computer at all to using a desktop computer to all of a sudden having these magical mobile devices that they’re just deeply attached to and they use for everything. How quickly we all have adjusted to and now take for granted that we are carrying the entire Internet around in our pocket all the time.

Then you contrast that with how slowly organizations have adapted to that change and how slow the pace of focus on mobile is coming. Similar to how slowly organizations adapted to the change of the desktop web or digital technology in general. It’s because these organizations, you’re dealing with people. You’re dealing with people’s careers. You’re dealing with a pace of change that is based on how quickly org structures evolve.

That is based on people’s retirements, to a certain extent. It’s based on a pace of change that is much more glacial because it’s measured in years or decades as opposed to the seemingly weeks and months that some of the adoption of new digital technology or new mobile technology happens for people.

I think being able to look at the problem from both of those perspectives or I guess maybe a better way to put it is if all you’re looking at is, “Hey, I’m making a website. Hey, I’m making a mobile app. Hey, here’s the right decisions for how someone should navigate this mobile app,” or what the tap targets should be, or any of the specific design decisions around “We’re going to use responsive web design.” If that’s the only lens that you’re looking at that problem through you’re not going to be as successful as if you can see it from both sides.

The other side is what does this new digital technology mean inside the organization? What does it mean for the careers and the value systems of the people who are going to be expected to manage and maintain it? And how can I have some perspective around what this pace of change means for the people inside so that I can have a little bit of empathy or compassion for how much change they’ve had to go through in the past few years?

Jonathan: Right, which is a very different way of looking at a design problem than saying, “What technology should I be using?” or, “What’s the best practice for testing it?” for example.

Karen: Honestly I, myself, have struggled with this in my own career where…It’s like especially if you’re younger and you believe your responsibility is to go into an organization and make the best website you possibly can. You might look at the people inside that organization and kind of look at them and be like, “Oh, you dumbass. Why don’t you understand that responsive design is the correct answer? Why are we even debating this? I’m right about this and responsive design is what we should be doing. Let’s stop talking about this because you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m right. Let’s just do this.” It’s important to recognize that that’s coming from a good place. That’s what you think your job is, is to go in there and explain to them that responsive design is the right way to go and that if they don’t understand it, that means that they’re dumb and you’re right and you’re going to just convince them of how right you are.

With a little bit of perspective, you can start to see, “Oh, wait a minute. My job certainly is to help them understand and perhaps even persuade them that here’s why we would use responsive design. Here are some of the decisions we’re going to have to make as a result.” But going into that conversation just convinced of your own rightness and convinced that if somebody doesn’t understand how right you are, that it’s their fault. That’s maybe not the most productive way to approach that problem or there’s a certain amount of hubris or fear that underlies it.

A lot of people in the web design, digital user experience space…It’s like I think we all are still struggling with our own sense of invalidity of our careers. It’s like you can’t go to a cocktail party and tell anybody what you do or you can’t just be like, “Oh, I’m a lawyer. Oh, I’m a doctor. Oh, I’m a teacher.” You’ve got to give them a whole paragraph long explanation and you explain what you do and they’re still kind of like, “So you’re a coder?”

We, as a profession, still struggle with the feeling that what we do isn’t a real job. It doesn’t really exist. We bring that into these conversations with other people. It tends to frustrated or we’re trying to work our own feelings of not being totally valid by hammering on these people like, “No, we’re right and you have to listen to us.”

Seeing for myself over the course of my career, being able to watch that dynamic in myself and say, “Oh, you know what? There’s a different way to handle this.” That different way of handling it comes from having more compassion for the people that I’m talking to and helping. Looking at it from their perspective and saying, “Oh, you know what? You are probably really sick of hearing about the latest new digital thing and responsive design probably just seems like the latest trend that somebody’s come along telling you — is the most important thing ever.”

Really, it comes down to having a little bit more trust and compassion for myself or for ourselves. To say, “OK. You know what? We really are a real profession and we can be patient and kind to other people, because that’s the only way we’re actually going to navigate this massive change that we’re all going through.”

Jonathan: Listening to you talk about that, it just reminds me so much of my career in being a web fixer. I just remember spending a lot of time complaining about other people not getting it and people not understanding. I remember just being quite a drag on my friends because I’d just be going, “Oh my God, this company. They just don’t get it. They’re from the olden days. They don’t understand.” I look back on it and I can see that that’s a whole load of defense mechanism about why things were screwing up, and not taking responsibility for what I was agreeing to be part of and all that. But at the time, it was just like, “Why don’t people get it?”

I now look on stuff like even the people I follow on Twitter, I do see still quite a few tweets I think I need to maybe prune. Quite a few tweets where people are still…Most of their tweetage is talking about other people’s failings.

That’s still quite a big part of the discourse and getting yourself out of that and saying, “Actually, I want to stop doing that because that’s making me feel miserable,” or as you’re saying just beefing up my own insecurity about whether I’m actually having any value. It’s quite a tricky one.

Karen: It’s really hard and the truth of it is when you see that kind of, I guess I would say negativity being put out there in the world. In a sense, that’s projection. In a sense, that is, “I am being defensive.” That’s a great word for it. “I’m defensive and I’m protecting myself because inside I’m concerned that maybe my job isn’t real. Maybe I’m going to lose my job.” I have to get every more strident and ever more negative about, “Why are these people so dumb and not listening to me. They don’t get it. It’s all their fault.” It’s like you don’t get out of that by staying in that loop. You don’t get out of it by ratcheting up your feelings of defensiveness or negativity or blaming other people.

You get out of it by being able to feel more compassion, and feel more empathy for what they’re going through. You’re never going to get there if you don’t apply those same things to yourself and say, “Oh, wait. Of course I feel insecure about these recommendations. Or of course I have questions sometimes whether people actually value what I’m doing.”

That’s OK. It’s OK to recognize that in yourself and say, “OK. That’s what’s going on here. I’m going to do what I can to make sure that I respect myself and value myself and treat myself with credibility.” And that’s going to come through, then, in the way that I treat other people.

Jonathan: Yeah and then that usually makes me think of one of our defense mechanisms in that situation is to say, “Well, I didn’t get to choose what my job is.” Like you were saying before, “It’s my job to be right. It’s my job to increase profits or reduce costs or all these other things that we don’t really have any control over.” Because I think a lot of people would still feel like they don’t get to choose the engagement or they don’t get to choose what they are measured on.

Karen: Yes. Choosing that is maybe one level of job satisfaction. I’m not going to argue with you on that point in the sense that my job satisfaction is much higher now, that I am totally in control of my workload, and what clients I take on, and how I spend my time. That kind of autonomy is, in fact, probably the greatest predictor of people feeling confident. Maybe the way to put to put that is the absence of that autonomy is probably the most solid predictor of stress in people’s lives or people’s workload. Even for people who don’t have control over that or they don’t get to choose, one important step is simply to be able to understand what those things are. I may not get to pick and choose on what I’m being evaluated on, but I can at least try to explicitly understand what those criteria or what those characteristics are. In that, you do feel less powerless. You do feel more in control not, perhaps, of the yardstick but at least of your response to it and how you personally approach the problem.

Jonathan: Right. It might be as simple as saying, “Oh, I see we want this video to go viral. That’s our objective.” And then say, “Why? Why and what would happen?” There are obviously different levels here. It’s, again, the education or expertise as bringing knowledge that you know from elsewhere into the conversation so you can say, “Well, you guys seem to be aiming for X as written down here. Now let’s try and compare that with stuff that I’ve learned from the UX community,” or whatever it is, and try and make that more realistic or at least something you’re happier with.

Karen: I see a progression in the mindset of the people who have increasing career satisfaction as they go. A lot of it, to me, is rooted in being able to understand, and to a certain extent embrace the attitudes and language and value system of business. A lot of people, especially when they’re just getting started, go into it and they think things like, “Well, I’m not a salesperson. I’m a designer.” Or, “I don’t care about all that business stuff. I care about my definition of quality. I care about my value system.” As people progress, it’s very common to hear people come back and have this light bulb going on moment where they’re like, “Wait a minute. I’m a salesperson. The engineers are salespeople and the designers are salespeople and the writers are salespeople. I care about business. I care about money.” Not in the sense of, “I’m trying to convince everybody to be some kind of craven capitalist and focus on profit to the exclusion of all other values,” but rather that if you think of money, if you think of profit as the yardstick by which we can measure the success of our work.

The highest compliment that a user might pay to the quality of our work is that they would be willing to exchange money for it. Money. Money is inherently valuable and they have said, “I believe that this product that you made is more valuable than money.” That’s very powerful. That’s not looking at money for its own sake or profit or whatever other yardstick you use. That’s really saying, “Oh, OK. The way that we evaluate our work has some quantitative dimension and that quantitative dimension is money.”

Jonathan: Right. We’ve been talking about organizations. If we’re engaging with organizations, so much of their culture comes to status, power, and money which are all kind of very, very closely intertwined. If you’re going to engage with an organization you need to be somehow engaging with money, whether that’s high status or low status or whatever. You can’t really escape from that.

Karen: You cannot. If you actively try to avoid it, and I’ve seen plenty of people who try to actively avoid thinking about the financial aspects of the work or try to actively avoid thinking about what the business cares about. They really want to say, “No, these are my values. I care about these values of design,” or, “I care about these values of good coding practices. I don’t want to have to worry about the business. That’s somebody else’s problem.” Those people wind up less satisfied in the end because they’re continually frustrated that they can’t get the organization to understand and respect their values. They’re coming in and saying, “No, you should care about what I care about.”

If you want somebody to care about what you care about, you have to care about what they care about first. And so, being able to frame your point of view, frame your argument, and frame your discussion of your value system in the language or perspectives of the business, that’s not selling out. That’s just, in fact, being sensitive to the needs of your audience.

Jonathan: Yeah, it’s communicating.

Karen: Yep.

Jonathan: One of the things that I want to ask you about on those sorts of topics is I organize a meet up group here in London about content strategy. One of the things that comes up when you talk to people one on one about something like content strategy or digital design is it’s so common for someone to say, “Oh, I know that my organization is very dysfunctional and really, really, screwed up.” They honestly believe that their company is in a much worse state than any other company. If you think about the word dysfunctional when you apply it to a family the myth of the dysfunctional family is that your family is screwed up and everyone else’s family is like in the movies. It’s that same concept. If you actually ask anyone else about their family, it does seem rather similar to yours.

What’s your experience when people say to you, “Oh, Karen. Our company’s really dysfunctional”?

Karen: My favorite is, I hear it pretty much with every client I work with. “Oh, Karen. If we let you see our content management system you would be so horrified. You’d stop speaking to us and you’d run screaming out of the room.” I just laugh. I’m like, “You don’t know what I’ve seen. Trust me, your CMS is fine.”

I have noticed that tendency, as well. People, for some reason, want to believe that they are the most messed up company out there. In fact, none of them are. Or, in fact, most companies are a very average amount of screwed up.

There must be some benefit to people thinking that they’re worse off than other organizations. There must be some benefit to allowing them to be like…OK. I’ve found myself in my consulting practices often delivering some variant on the line of, “Your problems, they are very hard. They are very difficult. It is right that you are struggling with them but I’ve seen them before. I know how to help.”

That balance of, “Yes, your problems are very difficult but they are not uncommon, and we have some ways to fix them.” That strikes the right tone of, “We’re respectful of what you’re going through but also they are not insurmountable challenges.”

Jonathan: In a sense, that’s getting at the value of our job or the value of being someone who does a lot of work in user experience is that you do have the opportunity to see how many organizations are struggling with the exact same problem and move away from saying, “We can’t keep up with change so we’re just going to hide under the bed,” versus, “OK. Everyone has this problem. That can even be an opportunity if want to see it that way.”

Karen: Yeah. I’ve had many conversations with friends and colleagues about what the role of the outside consultant is and what the role of the in house team is. Certainly over the last decade or so I have seen a growth in organizations investing in in-house user experience teams. When I started in this field it was almost all agencies driven. Now I look out and it’s significantly driven by in house teams, which is great. That’s a very positive and to be expected evolution of where the field and the discipline goes.

It does mean that there is a role for both players. There are lots of things that you absolutely need an in house team to do and to own to have that ongoing sense of knowledge development and ownership of what they know about the product and what they know about the customer.

There’s also a lot of value in having outsiders come in and say, “I’ve seen the inner workings of lots of different companies. I can come in and be bulletproof, in a sense.” It’s a very common thing to hear in house teams say, “We’ve been saying this for years, but then some outsider comes in and everybody’s like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to listen to this person because they’re important and fancy.'”

The truth is it’s not that anybody was ignoring it when the in house team said it. It’s just that to say those things, and have your point of view followed, there’s a cost associated with that. You are expending social capital to say, “Listen to what I’m saying. Follow my strategy.”

Whereas if you have an outsider come in and say it, and then you say, “Well, this outsider says it so this is the direction we should follow.” The balance of power within the organization isn’t disturbed by that. People are then able to maintain their internal relationships on the same footing. Just recognizing that that’s the dynamic that’s happening can make the relationships or make the decisions about when you bring in a consultant and when you have the in house team focus on something. It can make those conversations a little bit easier.

Jonathan: Yeah, that reminds me of something that always seems to come up for me which is I think people retreat into this concept of opinion and disagreement where the people who are afraid of change, which is everyone, would prefer to hear a discussion as a disagreement or a…”You and I disagree.” And then we’ll say, “Well, we have different opinions and this department wants this and our department wants that.” Maybe one of the values we can bring as consultants is to say, “Here’s a load of information and perspective and what’s happening outside. Let’s ask why five times,” and all that kind of stuff. The kind of, “I can prove to you. I can try to prove to you that you do not have different opinions. You are starting from different assumptions.” When you do that, it does seem to quite disrupt that negative way of working.

Karen: I agree. You realize that these internal teams, they are operating in a complex web of social relationships. You have to be careful about how you disturb those things. You have to recognize that these relationships have to last for the long term. Or despite reorgs, and various new flavors of how they structure things or who reports to whom, the relationships that people have need to be maintained. You have to be careful about saying, “I’m going to win this round.” Well, it may be better to try to reframe the discussion so you can get people focused on the same thing or get people to challenge their assumptions. Sometimes that is best done by someone who can then say something and then walk out of the room because they can…It’s like, “I’m not here to make friends.”

Jonathan: And, “You asked me to come and tell you my opinion. Well, my opinion. My perspective and that’s what I’m going to do.” I want to try and move this conversation to something that you said in your plenary at the IA Summit this year. You said lots of amazing things. In fact, if anyone is listening there is a recording of this talk and a transcript online, and so do check that out.

The thing I just want to focus on now is I am just going to read a little bit of what you said. You talk about, you see people so focused on technical skills that when something isn’t going right for them they keep trying to maximize that technical skill. “I’m going to go into this meeting and I’m going to be more right. I’m going to be more right than you.”

The thing is you’re already right. The problem is your stuff isn’t being implemented. Your ideas aren’t getting the traction you want them to have. The way to actually get that to happen is not by being more right. It’s by understanding that there’s this whole other side of things.

What is that other side of things?

Karen: One of the ways that you can look at people’s skills is to look at their technical skills. “How good are you at being a designer or an engineer or a writer?” There are actually two other ways to look at skills. One of them is external skills, external social skills. “How good are you at persuading other people, making your point, sharing your ideas, understanding other people’s motivations and values?” And then there are internal skills. “How good are you at feeling good about yourself?” basically. “How good are you at recognizing your own value, calming yourself down, making yourself feel good, even in the face of conflict or adversity?”

What you tend to see is that people who are good at their role, their discipline, will rank themselves very high on technical skills, and will rank themselves lower on external and internal skills.

Those percentages tend to be switched for people who are in positions of leadership. The CEO or the top salesperson, they’re going to rank themselves lower on technical skill. They’re going to look at themselves and go, “You know what? I’m not the best designer in the world. I’m not the best engineer in the world. I’m not great at any one of these things but I’m really great at is internal and external skills. I’m good at understanding people and I’m also good at understanding myself.”

What you see when you have technical people, when you have people who are filling a particular role, when they start to get frustrated, when they start to find that they’re not getting the traction that they want, they go to what they’re good at.

If I’m a designer, I’m going to go and I’m just going to beat my design skills, I’m going to beat that drum as hard as I can. I’m going to go back, and I’m going to just tell you more about how responsive design is the right solution. I’m going to get articles, and I’m going to get frustrated because you’re not getting why responsive design is so right.

The truth is that’s not the route that’s going to get you success. You’re doubling down on the one thing that you don’t need to double down on right now. What you should be doing is instead, for a lot of these people, it should be focusing on your internal skills, which is, “OK. How do I tell myself that I’m right?” How do I make sure that I’m caring for myself in a way where I’m saying, “The fact that this person isn’t listening to me or doesn’t believe what I’m saying is not a reflection on me or my skills or my competence or how good I am. In fact, I am every bit as good and smart and competent and capable as I was.” That’s not the dynamic here.

And then focusing on external skills, saying, “OK. If I’m not getting this person to understand and buy into my point of view, what do I have to do differently? How do I have to persuade them differently? What are their values? What are they bringing to the table that will maybe help me frame my argument or frame my point of view in a different way?”

When you talk about this stuff it so often gets referred to with this derogatory term “soft skills,” which just sounds so squishy and so hand wavy. It’s exactly the kind of thing where, if you’re an engineer and you’re told that maximizing your engineering skills isn’t going to get you more success. Instead, you have to maximize your soft skills. It’s exactly the kind of thing that’s not going to resonate with that engineer.

That’s why I almost want to find different ways to talk about it, to help people see, “Oh, right. Me getting better at engineering or designing or writing, isn’t actually going to solve this problem.”

Jonathan: Yeah, I was talking to Dan Brown about this exact problem because he’s written a book called “Communicating…” Sorry, his original book was “Communicating Design,” but his new book is called, “Working Together,” I think is what it’s called.

Karen: “Designing Together.”

Jonathan: “Designing Together.” I was asking him for help with, “How do we spread the word about the Dare conference?” He said something like, “People don’t want to come and talk about stuff they’re no good at,” basically. “They want to come in and they want solutions that are proven to make you bulletproof, to be better tomorrow without personal risk, and without talking about squishy things.” I thought, “Oh, dear. He’s right.” It’s like I know this is the right topic to talk about, and I know that the thing you were talking about could help almost any practitioner I can think of, however senior or however junior. And I also know that we have this whole load of culture, even in the UX community that avoids all that stuff and tries to focus on short terms solutions, bulletproofness, being right, proving that you’re right.

What’s worked for you in talking about these things?, I suppose is my question.

Karen: Well, for everybody it’s something that they do probably have to come to for themselves. I’m sure you’ve seen this in talking about Dare, that the people who aren’t there yet in their own head, it’s hard to persuade them and the people who have come to this realization on their own are very enthusiastic about this topic because they’re like, “Oh, finally we’re going to talk about this.” I find that, for me as I’m managing people or mentoring people or even just sort of having these types of conversations with people about their career, I just try to weave in these stories. I try to find good stories that I can tell about my own history, my own trajectory and I’ve come to these conclusions. I try to talk about mistakes that I’ve made, or realizations that I’ve come to over the course of my career in the hopes that that might spark something in someone else, make them go, “Oh, right. I had a meeting like that.”

I try to do this with my students, too. I teach the design management course in the MFA program in interaction design at the School of Visual Arts here in Manhattan. I’m teaching a lot of students who are probably in their mid 20s. And with a lot of the design management stuff, I tell them, “Look. These may not be problems that you encounter when you first start working. You may not get out and be wrestling with these issues in your first few years of work but five years from now, 10 years from now, I hope that when these problems come to you will have this brief spark of recognition and say, ‘Oh, right. OK. I’ve seen this problem before.’ You might not even know how to solve it at that exact moment but at least recognizing, ‘Oh, right. OK, this is a problem that other people have. This is a path that other people have been down before.'”

Recognizing that, “Oh, OK. This is normal. This is a thing that happens to people,” can set you up to go through it a little bit faster and come to a solution on your own a little bit more easily.

Jonathan: Awesome. Yes. It’s, I suppose, the best way to talk about it is just to describe it, use personal stories. It’s making me think, as well, that one of the techniques for dealing with these problems in our work is to actually tell our own stories. I found a story from my past about how I used to tell myself I was a firefighter, and go in and solve problems and be the hero. What I was actually doing was hiding from the difficult part. That’s been one of my most powerful, effective things I’ve found to talk about these issues is to say, “Oh, this is how I screwed up.”

And then almost everyone can identify with that at some level, including in some ways that I never expected. Somebody told me that that metaphor worked really well for content people, which I hadn’t really thought about. The content person who goes in and tries to fix all the content on their own as this hero, and how that’s easier than actually talking to people about something more sustainable.

That’s really helpful to hear you say that, that basically we need to just talk about what we see and when people recognize that as relating to their experiences then they’ll come and say, “Yep, this makes sense.”

Karen: Think about how much courage or how much self compassion you have to have even to be able to talk about your own failures. That does reflect a certain maturity or a certain willingness to acknowledge, “Oh, right.” My having made this mistake or my having evolved and done something that I can later look back on and shake my head and go, “Oh no, that was not right.” Being able to look at that and say, “Having done that actually connects me to other people. Being able and willing to share that story makes me more human, and it’s not something that I have to be ashamed of or try to hide.” But instead I’m going to tell these stories because I’m, in a sense, proud of the fact that I figured something out along the way.

It’s very powerful. You see it when people talk. You see it at conferences whenever anybody wants to discuss a theory. They’ve got their five point model. It’s kind of like, “That’s interesting.” When people have a personal story to share or they’re like, “This happened to me at this client,” or, “This happened to me with my team.” You just see people perk up. They want to hear that story. People particularly like the stories of how you screwed up.

I believe it’s not because people are sitting there waiting to pounce on you and say, “Oh, man. I always knew you were an idiot. You screwed up here.” It’s because sharing those stories makes people feel more human. It makes people feel more connected. It helps people then come to terms with their own mistakes, and feel better about them.

Jonathan: It’s like we want you to be vulnerable so that then we can be OK with our own vulnerability. My improvisation teacher said when you do a sketch the audience loves for you to suffer, because then you’re suffering for them.

Karen: That’s a nice way to put it.

Jonathan: The other sort of thing that I just thought, tactically, from what you just said is that there is a kind of hack. This is a kind of a hack to connection in the sense that we all want more connection. We all want people to listen to us. We want people to identify with our work more. We can actually, in that sort of nerdy way, say, “What’s a shortcut to getting connection? What about talking about the time you screwed up?” That doesn’t need to be manipulative. It can actually just be a way into a conversation by just saying, “Well, I’m going to start off by telling you something that I screwed up in my life because I’m OK with doing that. That might then open you up to being frank with me. There are all sorts of techniques here that we can pick up relatively quickly even though they’re quite scary to use. “

Karen: Honestly, think how you would feel. What’s a better way to persuade you? If I came to you and I’m like, “Jonathan, you’re wrong and you’re doing this badly. This isn’t how it should be done. I wish you would stop screwing up.” Or if I came to you and I was like, “You know, I saw something similar in the past when I was working. I made this mistake and here’s what I learned from it. I struggled with this thing that I did but actually making this mistake has really helped me because in the future I handled things this way.” It’s like which one of those are you going to listen to?

Jonathan: Awesome. That’s a fantastic way to end it and I think also a great preview to your keynote which is called, “I Suck and So Do You.” If you’re listening, make sure you check that out. Thank you so much for this talk, Karen. It’s been fantastic, really helpful. I can’t wait to see your talk in London.

Karen: Thank you so much, too. I really appreciated it.