In this episode, Alison Wade and Jessie Shternshus chat with Cindy Peterson, a Woman Who Transforms Organizations. Cindy is a partner at Peerless Partners, and her passion is helping companies solve complex challenges at the confluence of operational effectiveness, change management, and organizational transformation. 

Alison Wade: You’re listening to Women Who Change Tech, the podcast that gives you access to women who are contributing, inspiring, trailblazing and disrupting the business of technology. We believe that when women inspire other women, amazing things happen. I’m your host, Allison Wade,

Jessie Shternshus: And I am your host Jessie Shternshus, and we are connecting women around the world to share ideas that help us thrive and advance in our personal lives and in our careers.

Alison Wade: Be sure to share this podcast with your friends or rate and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and help us bring Women Who Change Tech into the lives of more professionals.

Jessie Shternshus: Hold on to your seats as we give you a dose of inspiration from some of the most talented and creative women who are shifting the face of technology.

Alison Wade: Hi, Jessie. How are you doing today? 

Jessie Shternshus: Doing good. How are you doing? 

Alison Wade: I’m well well well. Well let’s tell everybody what we’ve been up to since we saw each other last.

Jessie Shternshus: Well let’s see. I have been in cold cold Boston freezing my tail off doing some work up there among the cranberry people.

Alison Wade: The Cranberry people. I love it. I love it.

Jessie Shternshus: Yes. And learning all about cranberry bogs which is very interesting and beautiful. And what have you been doing?

Alison Wade: Well we’ve been apart for a while because both you and I got into a conference season and travel season and we were so busy. And then all of a sudden it was Christmas and we just had a lot going on in our lives. So we are so happy to be back. Doing this again. And we have a fabulous guest called Cindy Peterson who we got to spend a week with in Italy and an amazing tour of the Tuscan countryside and she’s a really incredible human. But apart from that, in my own personal life, my I have a big huge win. And that is that my teenager moved out. He’s 18 and he’s an early college adopter. So he’s gone off into the wild on his own. He’s living in his own little apartment right next to the college he’s attending. And it makes both of us really happy.

Jessie Shternshus: Nice. I forgot I also was doing a conference in San Francisco and I got to see Cindy in person when I was in the Bay Area also. So that was kind of nice as well after I got back from Italy. So been traveling quite a bit since we last did our last podcast, but I’m excited for everybody to get to meet Cindy today. 

Alison Wade: Me too. Let’s introduce her.

Hi, I wanted to introduce everyone to Cindy Peterson, a woman who transforms organizations. Her passion is helping companies solve complex challenges at the confluence of operational effectiveness, change management and organizational transformation. She spent the early part of her career on the factory floor at Intel. Using Lean Six Sigma practices to optimize quality yield and output. She took those experiences and apply them to knowledge work for management consulting to a solar startup, to driving digital agile and lean transformation at a leading retailer. She believes that companies can’t evolve successfully without harnessing the collective brainpower of your employees to solve problems and make new ways of working. Cindy has been a speaker and Keynote panelists at the National Association for change management professionals, Microsoft workplace analytical forum, and the Lean Startup conference. In 2020 she’ll be speaking at the EPIC conference in San Diego. Her talks include great ideas going nowhere, test and learn to the rescue, the Agile playbook, a catalyst for real agile cultural change. And Jessie and I recently had the extreme pleasure of getting sidetracked with Cindy and walking through Tuscany, Italy together for a week and it was pretty magical. Welcome, Cindy.

Cindy Peterson: Hi, Jessie. Hi, Alison. So good to talk to you guys.

Jessie Shternshus: Yay. Too bad we’re not still in Italy.

Cindy Peterson: No kidding, I miss our deep conversations, hiking through two beautiful vineyards of Italy.

Alison Wade: Deep conversations are always better with wine, right?

Cindy Peterson: wine? Yes, wine and hiking. Always a good combination with deep conversation. So yeah, I’ve missed you ladies. It’s good to hear your voices.

Alison Wade: Yeah, truly, truly missed you too. I will never forget that day that we went off the beaten path. Remember that? When we got lost and found a new way to get to the the village of intention for lunch. And we there was a whole gang of us girls and we just had the best time it was so much fun.

Cindy Peterson: Yes, we did, but only some of us got to ride with the Italian version of Fabio. 

Alison Wade: That is true. I was lucky enough to be one of those.

Cindy Peterson: Some of us had to hike our butts all the way to the village.

Alison Wade: I live a charmed life. What can I say?

Jessie Shternshus: We’lll teach you our wonderful ways of life at some point.

So you tell people, sort of how you got started a little bit about your background. They know we said a little bit about how you got started at Intel. But will you kind of expand on that?

Cindy Peterson: Yeah, definitely. So yeah, like Alison said, I started my early career, actually an engineering and today I can usually win a happy hour contest. Where people talk about guessing what your education was in. Because today, most people guess that I have a psychology background and I have organizational development background, but I’m actually trained from university in chemical engineering. And so I started as a baby engineer on the factory floor at Intel. And what was interesting about Intel at the time was if you came with a degree, almost on day one, they had a new employees. So I had these two people that worked for me walking in the door as a 22 year old engineer with not a lick of experience. And I had these two very experienced 20 plus year veteran, engineering technicians both in their 40s that reported to me

Jessie Shternshus: How was that?

Cindy Peterson: You know, they I think back on it, and they were so gracious because imagine, imagine how they felt having this yahoo 22 year old that was supposed to be managing and leading them. And so it was, it was very humbling, let’s put it that way. And they were awesome. And they really managed me, I did not manage them. But I got this taste really early on, on what I did and didn’t know about leading people. And that was really the start of kind of developing a passion for it. So I spent a lot of years in the sort of the manufacturing engineering world at Intel. I did a stint at Hitachi, a Japanese company for several years and kind of made my way through different ways of leading and influencing people at a manufacturing organization. And it culminated in my final set of manufacturing was actually was brought into lead the manufacturing organization at this solar startup that was looking to go from really like their great R&D idea to actually having a scalable product and all that was super interesting. But I at that point I, after the solar startup, I made the switch into sort of the digital world and working at and working with an internal consulting team that really was helping the organization to continually transform. So how do we bring in modern agile practices? And what does that look like for an organization? How do we help our technology and product teams really become outcome focused, versus output focused? Starting to work with knowledge workers, I realized that that was my passion and that and since then, was like, this is where I’m staying. I’m gonna stay with working with knowledge workers. I think it’s so much more interesting than working with manufacturing plants and machines, and that kind of technology.

Jessie Shternshus: What drew you to that and what do you think it was about working with knowledge workers that was more interesting to you?

Cindy Peterson: Really was, so if I think about how you are trying to evolve and make things better in a manufacturing environment, you have these really expensive pieces of equipment. And the goal is generally to make them as foolproof as possible. So humans can’t mess them up. And to kind of work with what the capabilities of these pieces of equipment are to get the most out of your process, or to fix problems that might be hurting your yield or your output. And that’s fine and interesting. But when I started working with knowledge workers, what I found was that it’s so much more powerful to be working with what I’ll come is, and the products that are building is really a combination of just this group of people and their collective brainpower and what they can actually build from the knowledge of their brain into this product. And I think that’s so much more powerful and interesting, frankly, than tweaking dials on a piece of equipment. And so that was what drew me to knowledge workers. And just the fact that building teams around trying to build new products, build that team, and how you structure it, and the skill sets and the diversity, like really can make a huge difference in what they can produce. 

Alison Wade: So you said the words outcome versus output, would you explain a little bit about how that’s that’s the dynamic you were trying to achieve? And what that really means and how you implement that?

Cindy Peterson: Yeah, so when we talk about outcome focused organizations, those are organizations that their teams really are accountable, true and driven by really focusing on moving the needle on whatever key performance indicators that is important to that company. So it might be that one team’s focus is reducing calls to the call center. Or it might be another team’s focus is increasing part of the conversion funnel for a product. So instead of handing a team and saying go deliver this thing, and we’re not gonna, and a lot of times, they actually don’t even know why, like what they’re actually driving by delivering feature X, Y, or Z. And so, outcome based organization, they’re accountable to moving the needle. And they know that they have a target for what they need, how they need to drive the business. And but then they’re given the leeway within that to say, this is what we think is going to be the most important, maybe we’re going to have to throw some things out to our customers and see what resonates with them and then iterate on that. And so it gives teams this level of accountability to and in real attachment to what the outcomes are, and helps them rally around a goal as a team rather than just while I’m writing this 10,000 lines of code to deliver this feature but I don’t actually know what it’s doing for our customers.

Alison Wade: And how does that relate? I know one of the things you specialize in is the Agile fish tank. Can you explain what the Agile fish tank is? And does that relate to what you’re just talking about?

Cindy Peterson: Oh, absolutely. It’s actually a big part of what we think about when we think about the Agile fish tank. But just to kind of explain our analogy of the Agile fish tank. So if you think about your teams, as these beautiful agile fish, I like to think of them as tropical fish. I don’t know why. Powerful and pretty and everyone oohs and aahs over them. So you think about these high performing from teams or whatever agile methodology you follow, as being your agile fish. It’s great to have these beautiful fish, but if you plop them in a tank that murky or dirty, or because they don’t really know what the goals are they’re trying to achieve or you it’s filled with algae because you’ve got a lot of process and overhead that’s keeping them from doing their best work. Or worst case, like you fill the tank with freshwater, which can be a lot of the waterfall processes that we see companies that have outside of their agile organization. And so what happens to fish or beautiful tropical fish, when you put them in a freshwater tank, they just simply go belly up. So when we talk about sort of the Agile fish tank, it’s all those things that surround your teams that really make a difference and how they can perform and are they’re performing at their best. And so it’s things like, you know, please think about you guys probably, you know, heard the term a million times, water Scrum fall. So we have this waterfall planning process where we plan out an entire year that all that we’re going to spend and all that we’re going to deliver and then we give teams like go go deliver this thing by this date. You’re really getting in the way of teams being able to do that outcome based, iterative process. And so we work with teams on how do you create actually an Agile planning process so that you are feeding the teams continually and allowing them to then come back and show how are we delivering against what we said we’re going to deliver? And do we need to make changes along the way. I mean, that’s the whole point of doing Agile is that we learn along the way. We release things to the customers, we get data, we get feedback, and we decide is that something we’re going to continue to pursue or do we need to pivot and change our focus area? So another example would be around, like having some sort of innovation pipeline. So we see a lot of clients that they have great ideas that maybe they come in from business stakeholders, maybe we’re seeing something new in the marketplace that we want to go off and explore. And so they take a team that maybe is working on something that’s really generating revenue or operational efficiency, and they say, okay, go figure out how to get us on Alexa. And the team goes great. But why are we doing this and do even also is going to be successful, but you’ve derailed. And so creating an innovation pipeline where you can go test those new sort of disruptive ideas and get a signal, that’s something we really should be investing in, rather than taking high performing teams off track from what they were already working on. And so it’s those kinds of things that we consider that the Agile fish tank. 

Jessie Shternshus: Do you feel like you use those kind of Agile ideas or methodologies like in your everyday life, like, are there things that you’ve learned along the way like in this past year or two, like, Agile things where you’ve tested things just in your personal life this last year or two that worked or not worked?

Cindy Peterson: Ask my children.

Yeah, it’s funny, I tell a story, when I’m doing my testimony to the rescue, talk around how I use this in my personal life, and I think my children are very used to us talking about hypotheses and talking in hypotheses and, and just to solve everyday problems within the family, my, my five year old was struggling to get dressed in the morning, which was causing so many customer probably resolving all stressed out. So we had somebody that wasn’t getting dressed when it was time to leave for school mom was stressed out. And then we would have these incidents in the morning of like, what have you been doing standing in front of your closet for 30 minutes. And so I sat her down and said, okay, like, here’s the problem we’re trying to solve. Here’s an idea I have of how we could solve it. And this is how we’re going to measure success. We’re going to measure success in that mom is stressed out in the morning and you can get dressed and ready in less than five minutes. Does this sound like reasonable expectation to you? And then we talked about, like, what are different ideas we could do to get her dressed in the morning and the first one actually failed. Because I said great, how about we lay out your clothes the night before. Okay, that sounds good. Well, that didn’t work. And so that hypothesis failed because she changed her mind by the morning.

I kid you not. And so we’re like, okay, and come up with a new solution. So I use this all the time, in my personal life with my family, with our business. My partner and I, we talk a lot about just eating our own dog food. Are we really using sort of this test and learn mindset when we’re talking about business decisions and trying new things for the business? 

Jessie Shternshus: Yeah, I know, you took a really awesome trip this past year with your daughters as well. And were there things that you did sort of that you had to figure out on the spot or be sort of Agile where you thought things would go one way and then they went another as well.

Cindy Peterson: Oh, yes, that was the definition of our entire trip. 

So my daughters and I was lucky enough to be able to take eight weeks, with my five and seven year old to do an RV trip, just the three of us, although we had some people joining us visitors along the way. And we did 6,500 miles in this RV, we did a big loop all over the western US. And I on a daily basis, I think we’ve ran into like how, I mean, some of it was just like as a team motivating them, like how do we how do we keep this team of ours motivated and aligned on what even our goals are for the day? We certainly had a lot of times where we were flying by the seat of our pants in terms of having to change our plans along the way. So you know thinking about everything about the Agile cone of uncertainty being on the road with two young children, when I am not an experienced RV driver is the definition of the cone of uncertainty.

So you know, like, I am a planner. I did. We didn’t just throw caution to the wind all the time, but there was a lot of times when we would get into a situation and I’m like, wow, this is not what we expected it to be. Okay, like, what are we going to do differently that is still going achieve our goals, but we have to we have to approach this from a different perspective or, gosh, I really thought that driving 10 hours today was a good idea, but clearly not and so how are we going to change what our goal for the day is and be okay with that because we just had things that didn’t work the way that we expected. Yeah, so it was definitely I I learned there was a lot of leadership lessons in an eight week RV trip.

Alison Wade: Did you have daily stand ups?

Jessie Shternshus: Daily throwdowns? Did you have daily throwdowns?

Cindy Peterson: Oh we did and it was really like, what? It’s funny, we laugh about it, but I’m such an Agile geek. That really happened, because we would each have different goals that we want to achieve for the day, but yet we had to remain this cohesive unit. And so there was a lot of like, Well, what do each of us what are we trying to achieve today? And and how do we fit all of that in and work together? And there was a fair bit of negotiating, going into that as well. If you want if you do a four mile hike with with mommy this morning, we will definitely spend time at the pool in the afternoon. So those trade offs are good ice cream. So there was also a lot in terms of like reward and recognition for being good team players, that we did along the way as well.

Jessie Shternshus: You know, what you reminded me of is recently I know well you said, I’m a planner, so you had planned certain things that you wanted to do and that reminded me of something you’ve been involved in doing. I think it’s called, what is it called instinctive driver. But what…

Cindy Peterson: Oh, the distinctive drives?

Jessie Shternshus: Where, so like the different types of people that you might be working with. So like you said, like, I’m a planner. And we had, you and I have had this long conversation after I worked through the tests that I had taken and talked about how you work with different types of people and to be empathetic and understanding of all the different types. Do you want to talk a little bit about how that works? I thought that was super fascinating and interesting.

Cindy Peterson: Yeah, I know. Yeah. Jessie, you were you were one of my first guinea pigs. 

Jessie Shternshus: I love guinea pigs and being a guinea pig.

Alison Wade: And I have taken the test but I haven’t gotten my feedback from you yet. I’ve got to set that up because it was so spot on.

Cindy Peterson: Actually, because I was giving Jessie her debrief yesterday. And and we actually were talking about you, Alison, because you guys work together so much just in how you can appreciate what each of you bring to the table. So I’m excited to do yours as well, but to kind of back up, and because what is this instinctive drives thing. And so I was lucky enough, always looking for new tools in my belt to help both individuals that I’m coaching but also teams and this is really powerful tool for teams to understand more about each other, so that you can work better together. And so, there is this assessment called instinctive drives, which was actually developed by an Australian. So Alison like one of your peeps. And he was really looking for something that got beyond the like Myers Briggs or disc profile, really focused around your behaviors and why you act a certain way. Below that, sort of if you think about the, the nature versus nurture, like what is your nature at the core. Also kind of drives and motivations were you born with that you really can’t change. But then how do you use those to operate your best to make the most of your talents, but also to understand like what are your vulnerabilities. What are your blind spots and to help you manage them both internally to yourself, but also thinking about people that you work with or your family members and understanding how they’re different so that you can learn to really appreciate what other people are bringing to the table that may not be your sweet spot and may be your vulnerability. So it’s a really powerful tool. Jessie I’d love to hear like what your thoughts were after taking it and then talking about the insights that it could bring for you.

Jessie Shternshus: Okay, yeah, I I loved it. I thought it was extremely fascinating to kind of see how it broke down my different behaviors, especially, when we talked about how I was high on the improv side, surprise, surprise, but also that I really like to, like, get things done. And that I like to get to the like how, like, how do we move this forward as soon as possible? And I was like, yeah, that’s pretty accurate. So, in some ways, you might think about those things as conflicting. But that’s very much describes my behavior. And then I thought it was really interesting to think about, like, how that affects the way I work with others and how that shows up positively or negatively, how that when those things are extreme, you know how to be self aware how they might get me in a bind, or, and then I started thinking about when other people might take this test that I work closely with, like you, Cindy or Alison, or other people, how to be more aware of what their drivers are and how they show up and then how to be understanding of where we’re very aligned or where we’re different in how that makes them come to the table. So I loved it. I found super fascinating. I love that kind of stuff, though. It’s so awesome. 

Cindy Peterson: Yeah, so do I  and actually, and Jessie you and I were talking a little bit about this in your debrief. It also gives you this roadmap a little bit for other people with like, Jessie and I are coaching people. And it just kind of helps give you this understanding of how they’re, how they think, what’s really motivating them and driving them to be who they are, and so you can really kind of immediately make an impact and helping to really reinforce those things that are driving them and help get them to the point that they’re using those. And so using those skills and talents, but also acknowledging where some of the challenges they might be having, whether it’s working with other people or even with their family can be around how people are very different in what motivates them. And so understanding that and learning to appreciate that in other people, but also learning how to communicate differently with different people because we don’t receive communication the same. And I was telling Jessie a story talking about planning, and one of my, one of my drives is, I’m very high in what they call verify, which means I like to see the big picture, I want to have lots of data. I really want to understand the system and how it’s working. So that I can solve problems which is really aligned with what I do for a living, which is great, and you know, helping these like larger system, organizations deal with these systematic problems or challenges that they have that’s keeping them from maximizing their effectiveness. But at the same time, I realized, talking with other people, as I was learning about this assessment, that people that are not like that, that go much more and Jessie is one of these people, on their, their perspective, in terms of what their experiences are in the past and they make decisions based on that, and it’s much more gut feel and internal.

Alison Wade: I think I was super high on that as well. Wasn’t I?

Cindy Peterson: You’re actually right in the middle. So what’s great about that, Alison is you you have the ability to sort of understand, you know, people that are like me that need lots of data, and people that are like Jessie that can make decisions based on their experience and not even necessarily the be able to articulate here’s the five pieces of data use because it’s very inherent and how they are. Or me that I have the five pieces of data. And I’ll show it and it’s in a spreadsheet. By the way, one of the women that I was seeing this training with said, who is also what we call avoid verify, which is very got field decision making. She said you drive me crazy. And she’s a consultant, when she would have people asking her all these questions and want all this data and want all these examples, because she’s like a personal attack on me, like I didn’t know what I was talking about, I didn’t have credibility. And I had to learn that that is just how some people internalize and are able to take in information to make the decisions. And when I realized that it wasn’t personal, it wasn’t about me and my credibility, it’s that they needed that information. Now, I understand when I’m working with those people to have that at the ready for them because that’s what’s going to be comfortable with making decisions, which is very different than the way that she works personally, but it has helped her be much more effective as a consultant.

Alison Wade: Yeah, that’s amazing.

Jessie Shternshus: Tell us about the the kick ass women’s group you’re gonna start, speaking of amazing and making an impact.

Cindy Peterson: Yes, it started actually, this this past week was our first event so, so my partner and I, our first event, now you will be at these events when we become national, which will happen, but yes, our MVP remember back to the test and learn even with our business. We started it small in the Bay Area and we been talking a lot of peerless partners about what is our way of giving back to the community. How are we wanting to, what is our offering from that perspective, and one of the things that we both felt really passionate about was, as we think about how we’re building and growing this business in just organically, we had met some really great women that were either working on their own on their own company or entrepreneurs that we’ve relied on for a lot of knowledge, a lot of questions about the business, and just learning that there’s not that many of us still out there that are doing this. And so wanting to bring those women together to have this, this ability to then understand what each of us do, what are our superpowers, what do we bring to the table, in terms of our value proposition either for working with each other, or a client offerings, so that we really had two goals for this initial kick ass women event. One was just understanding and giving people a platform to talk about what the value is that they bring, so that we can have people that we can call like, who do you call Ghostbusters, when you have a client need that is not in our sweet spot. But we recognize a need and can bring someone in that we know, you know, can really help that client or even for our own personal growth as a business. That we have tools in our belt that we can use, and that we have this network of really kick ass women that can fill that need. And then secondly, for each of us to share what we have to offer. And so we have other people that can help us make those connections that maybe we wouldn’t have the opportunity to otherwise. We had this first event we had 11 women who are either small business owners, founders, or entrepreneurs. And it was just it was fantastic. We had a great time, we had really awesome conversation and just this diverse group of women that had just developed something that was very unique to them and it was, it was amazing. So we’re hoping to continue that and grow this. Apparently there is a bad ass women’s network that we found.

Alison Wade: Yeah, I love it. Awesome.

Hey, which brings me to the point of the notion of abundance versus competition. And you mentioned that that’s especially important for women in tech. 

Cindy Peterson: Yes. Can what does that really mean? I think, yeah, I think you know, we’ve all and especially I think those of us that have been, that are in our generation, sort of the Gen X generation, that have been in the workplace for 20 years. And, and again, like in a lot of male dominated professions, there’s been this notion of scarcity, that there’s only so many positions as women advance that are going to be given to women and therefore we are competing for those positions in, you know, male dominated professions. And that’s really hurt us in a lot of ways. And, you know, in terms of, actually, let’s not make it a scarcity model. There’s a quote, I read an article recently that said, “women in leadership, it’s not the pipeline problem, it’s a pathway problem.” So it’s not that we don’t have a pipeline of women, right 55% of college graduates today are women. Right? And in many, you know, in professions like software development, but yet, it’s the pathway to get to advancement. And so if we kind of flip that scarcity mindset on its head, and stop thinking about competing with each other, how do we make the pipeline bigger? How do we make the pipe bigger so that more of us can fit through the pipe, that is a really important concept and something that I know, I’ve been advocating for a lot with women that I coach, and have done a lot in my own career of, you know, how do we bring up other women? How do we recognize talents and other women and bring them bring them along and help to make that pipeline wider as opposed to pushing them down? Because we think there’s only so many of us to fail.

Alison Wade: Yeah, kind of like taking a woman first stance and, and trying to see if you could find, I think that’s the thing about women in tech is that you often have to take extra time to find the right person for the position, or the job, or the task, or whatever it is, they may not be easily or readily at hand, so taking the time to find those, and to build that pathway is really important.

Cindy Peterson: Yeah, and, and there’s like this statistics out there and LinkedIn just did a study, not too long ago, talking about women and men applying for positions, and women tend to only apply for positions that they meet almost every criteria in the job posting. Where men will apply for positions if they meet 50-60% requirements because they believe and are confident that they can learn those other things readily. And so because of that women reject, like 20% more job opportunities when they’ve looked at the job opportunity, because they will not apply for it. It’s really important as women leaders or peers even to, to help encourage women to say, no, you should just apply because I know you have these things, and you can learn those other things, and really helping to kind of push women to maybe a little bit outside of their comfort zone when they’re feeling like that and say, the guys are applying for these. And we should be too. 

Jessie Shternshus: Absolutely. So do you want to play a game, just for fun, what do you think? 

I thought we can play a game called five things. So it’s about just kind of thinking on the spot where one person gives another person a category and it’s like just a random category. And then you have to just name five random things that go in that category. So if I said, like, five things you would find in so and so’s locker, and then you have to come up with those five ridiculous things. And of course, whatever you say, is perfectly fine. There’s no wrong answers, then you can surprise us with whatever your brain comes up with. And then the next person gives the next person tell us five things in blah, blah, blah. So, you want to do it?

So, um, I’ll give Alison, I’ll give you one first since you’ve warmed up in a pool before. Yeah. Or you can give me one do you want to start with torturing me first? Okay.

Alison Wade: Because you’re really good at this, five things you find in a pool in Italy

Jessie Shternshus: Five things you find in a pool in Italy: Alison, you’d find Alison, you’d find an empty bottle of Prosecco, you would find half eaten cannoli, you would find some floaties from a kid that couldn’t swim, and the fifth thing would be some bathing trunks, five things. Five things. Five things. Five things. Okay. Alison, name five things you’d find in your favorite rock stars diary. What would they have put in there? You tell us.

Alison Wade: Beyoncé’s phone number, really emotional poetry, glued in little pictures of selfies of themselves.

Jessie Shternshus: Yeah, of course very egocentric

Alison Wade: Some song lyrics about somebody done somebody wrong song.

Jessie Shternshus: Yes and what is the last thing?

Alison Wade: Their credit card number and the code because they’re not always the brightest.

Jessie Shternshus: Five things. Five things. Five things.

Very great. Okay you give one to Cindy. No pressure.

Alison Wade: Five things that you’d find in, I was gonna go something business, should I go with something business or not, like a really defunctive Agile organization. A bad fish bowl let’s put it that way.

Cindy Peterson: Like an actual fish bowl?

Jessie Shternshus: However you interpret it.

Cindy Peterson: With the actual fish bowl, you know, so you would, you would definitely find a kid’s toy that they dropped in because they thought the fish would play with it

You would definitely find like an exoskeleton for that little cool shrimp that you thought would go in your aquarium.

I was gonna say, oh see you stole mine, you would definitely find some sea monkeys.

Alison Wade: Especially in the 70s they were all the rage right?

Cindy Peterson: And you would find, obviously you would find one of those little you know like fish castles that are in an aquarium. And you would find one of those fish that goes along the sides and just like sucks off all the like the cleaner fish, all the algae. Yeah, those would be my five things.

Jessie Shternshus: Perfect! Five things. Five things. Five things. Perfect. It’s a different, a different tune for the states now. Good job, ladies. 

So Cindy, tell us, what do you have coming up next? What can you tell our audience where you’re going to be or what you’re doing?

Cindy Peterson: Yeah. Well, you know, I’ve got quite a few talks coming up at various conferences. So obviously heading to the EPIC conference to talk about our Agile playbook, which is one of our favorite tools that we use and like to share with other people trying to align, you know, the broader small, A Agile organization around a set of beliefs of how they’re going to operate. So we’re gonna be talking about that at several different conferences. I’m actually going to be facilitating at the Business Agility conference in New York in a couple of months. So that’ll be really fun to just be one of the facilitators and get to see all the new ideas people have our own business agility. And what else, and I’m also I’ve been fairly involved in the Change Management conferences over the past few years. And that’s a great way to bring sort of a lot of the work that we do with Agile back to the change management community, which is more versed in how do we drive change, but they’re not so versed in, like, how do we do it in an Agile or Lean way. So everything kind of comes full circle that way. And then I’m going to be doing a lot of work with this instinctive drives we talked about earlier. Can I make an offer to your listeners, ladies? So, so I just was telling you guys I was recently trained to become a coach and facilitator in instinctive drives. And so I am really looking for people that are interested in learning more about themselves. And so, for the first 10 podcast listeners that reach out to me either my Twitter feed @LeadingWith1 or on LinkedIn, I will give you a link to do your own instinctive drives assessment. And then you will be able to get a free debrief and coaching session about your assessment to learn more about yourself.

Alison Wade: Excellent.

Cindy Peterson: So I’d love to give that to your listeners. And I’m definitely learning more along the way. So it’s just great to get different, all different kinds of people. So I can learn about all of what drives different people. And then the other thing I’m really excited about thinking about tools and about is, I’m going to be working with the founder of an organization called Transformational Speaking, her name is Erin Loman Jeck and she does work all around the world and helping to create amazing speakers. But she’s really started to focus in as you guys can hear as a lot of my passion around helping women, helping women to be taken more seriously, and have voices heard in a male dominated industry and she actually does it a lot based on psychology and really helping women kind of find how to use their voice effectively in a room full of men. 

Alison Wade: That’s awesome, is she West Coast based by any chance? 

Cindy Peterson: She is West Coast based actually. Yes. 

Alison Wade: Excellent because I run a thing for women on Friday’s at the STAR conferences and that would be a great topic for that.

Cindy Peterson: That would be really great. Yeah, I think, you know, it was sort of what I was talking to her about joining her, and helping her, do that she said that it kind of just has appeared for her that this calling to specifically to help women as a much bigger part of what changed, that’s really cool, to kind of have tailored a lot of her expertise towards helping women and women have become great speakers and just just to be able to have their voice be heard at an equal level to the men in the room. Yeah, and then, of course, just continuing my day job of helping those agile fish swim in bright, clear, agile waters.

Alison Wade: That is awesome. That’s a great visual. I’m gonna hang on to that visual. It’s really nice. I like a lot. 

Cindy Peterson: Yes, you know, I find people really can resonate with that. And they are like, yes, I’m an Agile fish. I’m swimming in the murky water. They know, they know, they are swimming in those murky waters. So it’s helpful.

Jessie Shternshus: Love it. Well, thank you so much for joining us today and being on our podcast and helping us clear the murky waters. It’s great to have you.

Cindy Peterson: Yes. Thank you guys for having me.

Alison Wade: Yes. And I look forward to our next adventure when we see each other in San Diego. And then hopefully, we’ll be again in some exotic location tramping around the world.

Cindy Peterson: Yes. Hopefully we will. But if nothing else we will be in San Diego.

Alison Wade: Absolutely, that is exotic enough for us right?

So Jessie, I loved talking with Cindy today,

Jessie Shternshus: Me too. I really liked all the things she had to say. I enjoyed hearing her talk about going from kind of her background in engineering and working in manufacturing and then going to more knowledge based working and why she was drawn to that. I thought that was really interesting building from the brain into creating something that you have in mind and then watching that become a product. I thought that was really, really cool. What were some of the things you liked?

Alison Wade: I loved it. There was many things. I love the outcome versus the output. I think that’s just a great mindset to have. And it’s one of the hardest things I think to do, to keep focused on the outcome and on the, on the team’s influence on the outcome. And how they can do that and how that relates to the company’s key performance objectives. So I really liked that concept. I also loved hearing about the Agile fishbowl, I think that I will have this image of the beautiful agile fishbowl in my head for a very long time. So I really really enjoyed that. 

Jessie Shternshus: Yes, me too. I thought it was also interesting when she talked about how she applies Agile just to her everyday life like her talking about using it with her children and at work and even using it with her new kick ass women’s group. So there’s so many gems to what she said and I, I love when people they not only are they coaching and using that at work, but they really live and breathe what they do, and they really believe in it. 

Alison Wade: Absolutely. So which one do you want to play again, for our listeners?

Jessie Shternshus: Why don’t we listen to the part about the Agile fish tank?

Alison Wade: Okay, let’s do it.

Cindy Peterson: When we think about the Agile fish tank, but just to kind of explain our analogy of, of the Agile fish tank, so if you think about your teams, as these beautiful Agile fish, I like to think of them as tropical fish. I don’t know why, colorful and pretty and everyone oohs and aahs over them. So you think about these high performing from teams or whatever Agile methodology you follow, as being your Agile fish. It’s great to have these beautiful fish, but if you plop them in a tank that murky or dirty, or because they don’t really know what the goals are they’re trying to achieve, or it’s filled with algae because you’ve got a lot of process and overhead that’s keeping them from doing their best work, or worst case, like you fill the tank with freshwater, which can be a lot of the waterfall processes that we see companies that have outside of their Agile organization. And so what happens to fish are beautiful tropical fish when you put them in a freshwater tank they just simply go belly up. So, when we talk about sort of the Agile fish tank, it’s all those things that surround your teams that really make a difference and how they can perform and are they’re performing at their best.

Alison Wade: You’ve been listening to Women Who Change Tech, the podcast that connects you to extraordinary women for deep, inspiring conversations.

Explore previous episodes of the Women Who Change Tech podcast here.