Phil Zofrea, We Trust You To Achieve Our Goals

Phil Zofrea, We Trust You To Achieve Our Goals

Kayana Singing  00:07

We all have something to share. KnolShare with Dr. Dave


Dr. Dave  00:13

Well, Sophia, thank you so much for coming on the knolShare with Dr. Dave podcast. This is your first time, isn't it?


Phil  00:21

Yeah. Yeah. I'm excited. Glad. Oh,


Dr. Dave  00:24

  1. I'm excited to have you here. You know, I just want to say thank you for, you know, I think we worked together for two and a half years, something like that. Yeah. And I mean, I learned so much from you. And I walked away. And I'm like, she's so much smarter because of Phil.


Phil  00:45

Definitely goes both ways. Thank you.


Dr. Dave  00:48

Yeah. And just thank you for all the support, you know, and the work that I'm doing for you to show up here and give this energy. So thank you so much. Yeah,


Phil  00:58

no problem. Yeah.


Dr. Dave  01:00

So we're going to talk about, you know, we trust you to achieve our goals. That's kind of really the big topic. And, and I'll just go ahead, go ahead and jump in. And just say, you know, can you recall a specific instance, in your leadership journey, when you fully realized the transformative power of trust?


Phil  01:22

Yeah, I, you know, for me, I don't know if it happened all at once. And I can remember, even starting off, you know, younger days and sports and, and then later on in business and personal, a lot of different learnings. But I guess if I had to say, one biggest moment for me was when I actually got into management, and, you know, I, I started to educate myself. And I found out hey, there's other people out here talking about this, right? This Speed of Trust, you know, I read that good degreeto great, leading from the heart. Simon Sinek's video, Five Dysfunctions of a Team and on and on and on, right, but all that kind of stuff. I started immersing myself in that. And it really, it made sense, right? How to me how the power of trust was essential to good leadership. And then I tried to practice it, and just continue to apply it and learn from it. And, and I never stopped learning, like, just just this past week. My youngest son's getting married in November. And we had, you know, the wedding party, my niece and nephew were in there, as, you know, ring bearer and flower girl. And they were kind of like, no, they don't have to come for the pictures in the beginning. And, and they can get we can take their pictures later on. And the family, my side of the family was kind of like, well, don't they want the kids in the pictures? And you know, everything else? And so we kind of said, we kind of said, Hey, how are we perceiving this behavior? So we communicated, right, we talked to them, and said, hey, the families, you know, they were a little concerned, hey, the kids really wanted to be in the pictures. And my son and his fiancee were like, Oh, wow, we were just, hey, we just said that, because we didn't want them, you know, their little kids. We didn't want them there that early. Right. And so we that's why we're doing it. But we took their behavior, right, and said, Well, why don't they want the kids there? Right. And it was our view or our interpretation of their behavior, you know, was what we were going on? But what was their intent? Right. Right. And their intent was actually to save them time. So, you know, even something small like that, right? Personal just seems, you know, you start to think about that and communication, right?


Dr. Dave  03:56

Yeah, most definitely, you know, and sometimes sort of follow up, you know, question to that is, you know, how did that transformative power of trust, You know, and that experience shape your approach to leadership after that, if there was any?


Phil  04:13

Yeah, well, that one was just like, you know, last week, right, but these are things, these are things that, you know, come up many times, I guess, is what I'm trying to say in personal and, and in business. Right. And so, you know, there's, there's, I mean, there's other things I could go to right. One, you know, was director of it at this company. And, you know, we did business mapping, and we found, you know, a whole bunch of things in there that there were all these approvals that were in there, right. And they were just rubber stamps, really, because the VPS that had to had to, you know, say oh, yeah, Go ahead to the next step. They really, they really weren't involved. So how did they even know? Right? That was correct. So they, so we tried to, we tried to what we did we show them, hey, look at how much time it takes you to respond and this and that, and what and what do you really know? Right? And, and so that was another experience that kind of transformed you little bit some of what I'm trying to say, because I just transformed little little by all those things, right. And then, in this particular case, they were open, right, sometimes you don't get that openness. But they, they realize that and there was openness there. And we changed the the whole approvals. And it just sped everything up. Right? Because you're not you're not waiting on that.


Dr. Dave  05:43

Yeah, reduce reduces that wonderful tax. Yeah. Yeah. So how do you cultivate the nurture trust within your team? And are there results practices? I mean, are there ritual practices or policies you found particularly compelling?


Phil  06:02

I, yeah, I really try to lead by my behavior. So I really I, I, and I, I like to think I do this naturally, but I'm really concerned for my people's well being right. And I genuinely have an interest in them. And I want to so some, by my behavior, I want to keep, I want to keep my commitments, right, I want to listen to what they're saying, I want to give people a voice, I want to ask how I can help. I want to be able to publicize and discuss failures, right? To be able to learn from that. And sometimes you have to work your, you know, you have to work your way to that and most importantly, need the feedback. The two way feedback, right? between myself and, and the team. So, from that, you know, perspective, right? Some of the, let's see, the second part, I guess, some of the ritual, rituals, practices, policies, that kind of thing. I like to spend time, you know, together other than work, so, you know, try to get to know them, personally, everybody else to get to know everybody. Personally, I remember when I first started, you can see the gray hair a long time ago, you know, a while ago, let's say, you know, when everybody was preaching, hey, work is work personal is personal. Don't bring your personal into work, right? But, you know, it's really counterproductive. You're spending a lot of time with these people, right? It helps with empathy, it helps, it helps with everything, I think. So let's get together. Let's spend, let's spend time, you know, together. You know, have common goals, make sure we define those common goals brings people together to the whole thing about communication and retrospectives if you can have them to, two way feedback, be able to publicize and learn from your your mistakes, some of the practices since since you asked it in there, too, that I use, I kind of like Jurgen Appelo's, management 3.0. I've kind of leveraged that a lot. Out there, he has something called the competency matrix. So a lot of times, we'll just start with teams or even, you know, just to see where you are, what we do is we say, hey, our team, what's the competency we need on our team? And we just list that vertically, right down the left hand side, and then horizontally across the top, we put the team members. And then in the first column, right to the right of the competency, we say, well, how many at what level of competency? Do we need people on the team? You know, level one, level two, expert level three. And then, you know, you'll find out a little bit about how you trust each other when you go through this as a team, even you know, people are actually becoming vulnerable, right and admitting, oh, yeah, well, I don't really know that much about that. So you know, you start to work that in. But then, for me competency, you need competency on your team, if you don't have competency, how can you begin to trust right, the team to do something? So it's kind of like my first first step, usually with a team. And then we prioritize, right? What do we want to attack? If we've got multiple things on there, on that matrix that we need to go after? What do we want to attack first? And then really, it's my job as a leader and a manager to help them get there. Right? What kind of training do we need? What kind of experiences or experiments do we have to run so that they so that they can they can learn? So that's one and there's a couple of others? You know, that I kind of lean on to delegation poker helps a team figure out, hey, what level of management? Do you do you want involved? Right? Or team, right? Is the manager going to delegate completely? Or is are there going to be, you know, there's different levels, right to complete delegation. And it kind of, you can kind of use this game to go through that. So just a quick example, if we need to hire someone, is that the manager that's just going to interview and solely decide who's going to be on the team? Is it the team that's just going to interview and the manager stays out of it and says, Hey, team, you do whatever you want, right? or anything in between? Right? So that helps, I think with that. So there's a number of things out there. And without going into too much detail, people can probably go out there, but it was a good resource to me, right. So that's, I guess, I would say, some of the practices that I tried to use, and tools that I tried to use


Dr. Dave  11:01

really great tools. So one of the challenges that we have is like trusting a team is difficult, especially during uncertainties, or high stakes periods. So share a situation where it was challenging to let go and trust what you did it anyway, and then talk about what were some of the outcomes after, you know, allowing yourself to be that vulnerable?


Phil  11:28

Yeah. Um, I noticed. Because I've now been with, you know, in coaching, I've noticed sometimes that I hide behind, saying, I'm helping people. So I say, Oh, I'm gonna, I'm helping, I'm you know, but by helping I hide behind that, and I'm doing too much, right. And I'm not letting them do it themselves. So I had an aha moment about that. And it's always great to have someone that'll give you, you know, like our relationship, right, we always giving ourselves giving each other, you know, really good feedback that you may not recognize yourself. So, but I had this aha. moment, and I tried to be vigilant about it. And I think the last time was, you know, last company, where we were at, even. And I, I think I tried, I was trying to do too much for the team and I and the teams. And I said, Hey, Phil, you got to step back, you got big room planning? I do take into consideration, hey, what's the risk and the impact? Right? And especially, what's the competence to begin with? We talked about that, right? We need. And I, so what could happen, really, they're in big room planning, right? So so let them go, let them make their, you know, let make them make their mistakes. But I think I saw the outcome that you're asking for, I think I saw people learn a lot quicker, right? While they were doing it themselves, and they made their, and they made their own mistakes. And by them, actually, you know, with me in there and watching them, making mistakes, learning from them, I was learning too. So, I mean, that I had a great outcome with that, I think big planning and might be a little bit different than, you know, just turning somebody over to Oh, yeah, you, you, you run the, you know, the the respirator that's supporting this person, you've never run it before. Yeah, go ahead and make a mistake. Right. Not, uh, probably not a great idea. But, you know, but given, you know, right, again, you want to take that into account. But given you know, that particular scenario that I was talking about, I think it helped, you know, it helped them tremendously helped me.


Dr. Dave  13:58

Yeah, I can see that I see that, you know, it's given people an opportunity to, to learn, that is what trust, you know, enables within the team. So, but let's, let's talk about setting up an organization, right, if you're trying to set up an organization, how do you gauge the level of trust within your team? And are there any specific indicators or signs that suggest team members feel trusted and empowered?


Phil  14:29

Yeah. I feel, I feel trust is a soft measure. So it is definitely difficult, right? We, we have all these things we can measure, right? But I think that is a soft measure. I tend, I tend to watch behavior, right? Again, that's soft. If I'm just doing it, right, but then you have others that want measurements on these things, right. So in that case, surveys Uh, you know, we've, you know, I've done I've done with organizations. What I like to do, though is not, you know, come out and ask like specific questions, sometimes maybe ask some questions that kind of that kind of lead you right to gauging it. So let's say for our teams or our organization, our failures in lessons learned, discussed and publicized. So let's just say that for a question, right? And depending on how you answer that, you can see what what's the level of openness, right, you know, in the team or in the organization is informations. And along the same line, it's information open, easy to find. You know, it? Is it easy to give feedback, receive feedback, then maybe more specifically, right at it, do you trust your boss? Do you trust your teammates? Right? But these kinds of things, I think, if we answer these questions, we can at least, you know, yes, we can, we can get a little bit of a more of a gauge, other than Hey, yeah, I see this, I see that. And, you know, there are some basic trust indicators, you know, out there, you know, and you can take a look at some of them and find some of them right, in those books that we were talking early on, right. competency and character, right, you know, Speed of Trust, right from Covey, in alignment. And, you know, make sure everybody's aligned to be supportive, be honest, you know, all those things, on and on are very, very important. So, those quote, you want to you want to create questions to measure that.


Dr. Dave  16:45

Yeah, yeah. That's, that's perfect. Because what about empirical evidence that you actually have these visual radiators, and you're fully exposed to the world? Well, yeah. For trust?


Phil  16:58

Yeah. Yeah, right. Yeah, it's out there. And so yeah, if you get an organization like that, and it really has to work all the way up the line to, you know, so you can't just put your radiator out there if the team believes right, and then an exec comes walking by and you know, that, you know, and they're, you know, they're got the sledgehammer out, boom, you know, and hitting people over the head. So, yeah, got to work your way up.


Dr. Dave  17:28

Yeah. There's certainly work to be done in that context with working with other leaders, and maybe even a leader that's above, you know, where you are, right, in building that level of trust. Yeah. So, you know, how do you balance trusting your team and assuring accountability? Are there any type of checks and balances or check ins? That to ensure trust doesn't lead to complacency?


Phil  18:03

Yeah, you can't just, you can't just keep on trusting and trusting and things are happening, and you don't pay attention to the evidence, right. So, um, first, though, I think when you start out, you can't have accountability without clear expectations. So so bam, right off the top right. Yeah. I feel you've got to have those expectations. Even if it's, Hey, that we have our sprints, right, and then your Sprint's you're going to do you've committed to do these stories, okay. It's an expectation, what's your sprint goal? Right? expectation, big planning, you've got your objectives, right. OKRs, objectives, key results, all those things, we get our expectations. And then from there, I think we can do, you know, say do metrics, what we, and we've both done this right at our last organization. And, you know, you say the, say do metrics on those things that I just listed, right? And this is, this is gonna go to trust, because basically, as you operate as a team, and you have those, say, two metrics, you're building that credibility. And, and I think that's really important. And I think, you know, performers, high performers, especially want that accountability, and to make sure that accountability is fair. And, you know, just as I said before, so we can't be as leaders and managers, we can't be complacent, complacent. We can't ignore the evidence that we see. There's an issue over and over and over again, we should be addressing that and we should be asking the team Hey, how can we help? here's the here's the evidence, right? How can how can I help you? You know, I I think that's Should you know that's important?


Dr. Dave  20:03

Yeah, if you look at the other side of that, that we have a team that's constantly hitting 100% of their commitments, you know, what type of conversation, is that the kind of trust conversation that you have going on there? Because while they're hitting 100%, so that kind of leads to a sense of complacency, but there may be something underneath there that we aren't fully aware of. And maybe that's another conversation for about complacency. Yeah. Yeah. How do you handle that?


Phil  20:35

Oh, yeah. I mean, we were talking about this at the, at the last, you know, organization to right, and yeah, teams were turning in 120%. You know, because, because the mindset was there, oh, if I'm not over what I say, I'm a failure, you know, and I in and, you know, so when you see that all the time, maybe you know, you want to, you want to question that, specifically for OKRs, right, when we talk about objective and key results, because we want to shoot, shoot for the stars, and maybe we'll hit the moon, right. So that's a higher, I think it's a hard mindset way everybody's probably been working right? their whole lives, even through school. Right. And now, all of a sudden, you know, that we've got this little mindset shift. So it, you know, it definitely, it definitely is a tough thing. Even individually. You know, to, to do that, let's let, I think this might be helpful for our listeners. So I'm going to go a little off a tangent, but go for it. So one on one, right managers with their people, you have your one on ones. Now, how do they, they, they trust you? Right? If I asked them, I do their performance reviews, some of these companies, they only wanted it at six months or even a year. So you're going through a whole year, and then you're doing it all at one time, right? So a boss of mine put this in place. And I said, Oh man, this is a great idea. Basically, the one the ones that I would have weekly, and then but once a month, the one the one would be, hey, what do you feel? You know, what? Well, where do you what are you proud of what you did? What do you feel that you want to improve on? And then you know, what are your action, what actions you're gonna take, until the next month to, you know, make that happen? And how much trust has to be there for them to be able to say that to you, right? So you're building trust with them, they feel they're not getting, you know, really beat over the head about it. But you've also got information to talk with them, at the end of the year about all these things, you just keep it in one big email thread that that person's keeping it. And it just I don't know, it just worked out really, really well for me at this company. And I try, you know, to tell everybody about that. If they want to try it, and it maybe it'll, maybe it'll work for them. But number one, it helped me, you know, with evaluation, and they thought it was fair, I just didn't spring them on it, you know, spring it on them at the end. And we got to talk the whole the whole year round. So anyway, little bit off of a tangent with a one on one trusting but I thought it would help.


Dr. Dave  23:30

Yeah, well, trust is trust, you know, we need trust. So I would say that, you know, every journey has its bumps right? And, you know, share a time when you're when your trust was tested? Or perhaps misplaced? You know, and then how did you handle that situation? And then what did you learn from it?


Phil  23:51

Maybe we maybe we can piggyback piggyback on what I was saying before, because I had I was working at this one company, and was a little while ago. And the departments were siloed. So we had a VP that was in charge of development of VP that was in charge of testing, VP for requirements VP for architecture, right and all the way down. And basically, I was trusting and open and honest with my peers. And some of them were, you know, more trusting then others right trusted and others how things will go. But basically, because the executives above us were at war. What happened was I trusted them with my information, but then they've got to say something and then they communicate that to their boss, right and then all of a sudden, you know, my boss because I trusted you know, the director. I was working with my peer They communicated that up and my boss got hammered. Right. So that's what I was saying before. That's what I was saying before it has to go, it has to really work all the way up, right? And then I mean we, and now we can talk about the subjects that go along with that, right? You know, how can we inspire trust? How can we, you know, how can we try to be re? How can we try to rebuild that? You know, but, you know, those are, and those are all different subjects. But, oh, another one that Jill, let's just do a flip side of that, though, another one that pops into my mind, because this was many moons ago. And I was just a system programmer. And it was a small company that I was working for consulting for. And they maybe had 50 people, they were like a shipping company. And I had to do this consolidation algorithm, and I messed it up. And so they, and then I had other work to work on, but I couldn't get to it because I had to go back and I had to fix this consolidation algorithm. And my bosses who went in there and talk to the CEO, again, this was a small company, and they didn't want to admit that, hey, you know, we messed up on the consolidation algorithm, we have to fix it. And that's why, right? And so I think they didn't know what to say, and whether they wanted me to be the scapegoat, or whatever. But they just called me into this meeting with with the CEO. And they sat me down. Oh, because he said, who's working on that? And they, then they brought me in, and he said, Well, okay, Phil, you know, why can't you know why? What's taking so long with this? Why can't you get to this? And I said, Well, I because I made a mistake on the shipping consolidation. And I have to work on that. So and, and because that's really important. And I That's why I can't get to this. He, I never expected in my entire life. He stands up out of his chair, and he goes, Oh, alleluya, finally, somebody's telling me something telling me the truth. Yeah, obviously, he didn't trust my blesses. And yeah, you know, and, and maybe I was, maybe they called me in to get thrown under the bus, maybe, maybe they didn't, you know, maybe they didn't know how else to address it. But so there's, there's, there's a time when it actually came out, because I had now I have instant credibility with the, with the CEO.


Dr. Dave  27:25

You can trust that Phil guy, Dr. Phil. We can trust Dr. Phil. Yeah.


Phil  27:33

I was scared when I did it, you know, I was like, Well, what am I gonna do? I I'm, which is, you know, we go off into another subject, but one of my big things is to be honest. Right. So I have to, I have to fall through with it. So sometimes, you know, sometimes, you know, you get, you get beat beat up for it. And sometimes, you know, it's, it's accolades. But, you know, if you if everybody you know, I think if everybody learns this, right, and, and tries to be trustful that it can only, you know, make the organization great. I feel.


Dr. Dave  28:15

Yeah, well, yeah. Because what I heard you just say is that by being honest and trustworthy, the outcome and what you're learning from that is that, hey, I gained some credibility with some very important people in the organization. So that's big. That's huge. Yeah. So let's talk about emerging leaders, right? They're still developing their leadership styles, you know, style, you know, what advice would you give about the role of trust in building and leading effective teams? And how can they start fostering a culture of trust from day one, as your?


Phil  28:59

Yeah, so probably some of the same things we've kind of been talking about. But model, like I said before, for me, it's modeled the behavior you want in your people, right? So I would say any, any leader, right manager, for leadership, model, the behavior that you want in your people, because they're watching you, they're definitely watching you. And, and the two things to keep in mind is character, competency. And you have to make sure if you want to trust your team, you have to make sure that they've got the competency to do it. Right, and the skill set to do it. And that's why I really liked that matrix that I was talking about before. So you know, if you're looking into leadership's your leadership, character, competency,


Dr. Dave  29:50

You were talking about the competency matrix is what you were talking about before,


Phil  29:56

okay, yes, yes, I think you can use that as a tool. But, but really, right, the team has to have competency. You can you can be the nicest person in the world. But how can I? If I don't? Right, you're man, you're you're the nicest person nicest doctor, you know I've ever met. But, you know, can you do an appendectomy? Because I'm not laying down the table until, until I have trust that you


Dr. Dave  30:23

better not. Right. Yeah. So.


Phil  30:25

So it's the same thing. Right. So, and others, you know, things I was saying before, I really like to, you know, people I relate to genuinely, you know, get to know, my people, you know, have a relationship with them, just makes things so much better, you know, lead from the heart, you have their best interests in mind. And, like we said before, as far as accountability and that kind of thing, don't ignore the evidence. That's another big thing that I like to list, right? Because that keeps us from getting to that complacency, which you were asking about before. Two of the last biggest things for me, is number one, the communication, right, that feedback, that two way feedback, because in my, in my little story, right about my son's wedding, if we would have had that question that we felt that we could ask them, we would have gone on thinking one thing, right? And, and it would have been totally wrong, because we made a perception on their behavior. That was not their intent. So gotta have that communication, that two way to a feedback is so so important, I think. And then the other thing is continuous learning. Educate yourself, educate yourself, if you're a leader, educate yourself. How many times? Do we educate people on technical things? It's right. Well, that's what I see all the time. But this, but this is so important, right? Leadership and trust, educate yourself on those things. And you will, you'll, you'll, you'll read, right, you'll see things and you go, Oh, how can I? How can I experiment with that? How can I implement that? And then, you know, learn from doing and just keep learning and learning and learning? So that's, that would be my advice.


Dr. Dave  32:26

Well, those are like worthy advice. So I mean, if you're coaching someone, I would certainly like to learn all those wonderful things from you. Yeah. So I just want to know, is there anything else that you would like to leave our audience with, you know, to help them, you know, think about trusting your teams, or people to achieve the goals that they have set forth?


Phil  32:53

I think my last message right there is just realize how important it is. Right? We've talked about a lot of the details, but give the importance, give it give it its due, it can help you so much. And, you know, with your teams, with your organization with your delivery, right, your speed of delivery, if you're dealing with politics, and, and, you know, having to work through all these relationship issues while you're doing something. It's going to, it's going to slow you down, it's going to consume your time, right. So learn how to, you know, learn how to get, you know, learn how to get trust. Learn how to inspire trust. And I think, you know, people just give it its give it its due, it's so, so important. I believe it's so important.


Dr. Dave  33:50

I concur completely. So a thank you again, for coming on the KnolShare with Dr. Dave podcast. It was so much fun just having these conversations, we have these rich conversations where we get on the phone or we text each other. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to get to know you and to continue to know you and every time a hurricane or bad weather come up. I would say, hey Phil did you get blown away?


Phil  34:15

I have good weather in the background right now. Yeah, yeah, we just we just we just missed one. But I enjoy our time together. Also. Dr. Dave, thank you for having me on. And I hope that, you know, people can, you know, learn, you know, learn from what we've just discussed today and maybe go out, you know, and look up some of the things we were referring to too, because I know that's how I learned a lot is I just hear a buzzword right and then I I write it down and I do research on what people were talking about. So hopefully, hopefully we've we've, you know, helped and shared today with people.


Dr. Dave  34:55

Yeah, for sure.


Dr. Dave  35:01

So thank you so much. And, you know, we will continue to learn from each other. That's what I say.


Phil  35:09

That sounds great to me. Hey, thanks a lot. I appreciate you having me on Doc. And as always great to have a discussion with you on this thing's for sure.


Kayana Singing  35:24

Let's talk about it. talk, talk, talk. Lets go deep. We all have something to share. KnolShare with Dr. Dave