Listen to the podcast (FULL TRANSCRIPT):
Level Up is a podcast for anyone interested in improving their leadership skills. The series is designed to help you get to know the leaders of Experian and gain insight into the skills needed to grow your career.
Most recently, we spoke with Beth Wheat, Vice President of Global IT Transformation and Engagement at Experian. She is responsible for leading transformational productivity programs in support of Experian’s global technology organization, EITS including the EmPower project portfolio and the Smart Automation Center of Excellence which deploys intelligent automation technologies to the organization. Past roles at Experian include leadership of EITS communications and engagement and the Global Program Management Office.
Here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Beth:
Don’t be afraid to build relationships with your leaders.
Beth herself really appreciates when her employees make the effort to do relationship building with her. More often than not, there seems to be a sort of divide between teams and leaders, and Beth advises that employees start making the extra effort; after all, relationship building is the best way to create trust.
The good ol’ “roll call” method is a good one to use during meetings.
Sometimes you don’t hear from the quieter voices during meetings. These voices could have the most brilliant ideas and solutions, but if it never gets out, there’s no moving forward. Beth does her best to ask for the input of every team member in the room. If she suspects someone held back from saying something, she will make the extra effort to email or talk to them one-on-one afterward.
“Defend the underdog.”
This was the philosophy Beth was raised on, and it has helped her become not only a leader but an advocate against important issues that trickle into the workplace. When you lend a helping hand to those who need it, there is more productivity, trust and general happiness—everyone benefits.
“It’s easy to reach for the shelf that’s near you when you’re pulling together resources.” What Beth means by this is that leaders should think more broadly and think about the opportunities they could provide people who aren’t typically considered for them. It’s hard to come across innovation when you are constantly leaning on the same people from the same backgrounds.
Pain and stress are fleeting.
As Beth pointed out, the things that might feel very painful and stressful in the moment will not seem that way when you look at it from the perspective of a week, month or year from now. Keeping this in mind will help you push through the moments of hardship and move forward.
Find the intersections between what you want and what your team wants.
This is a good place for all leaders to start because you won’t inspire your team to achieve their goals unless it’s something they also feel motivated to reach. Take some time see your team members’ visions and find a way to align them with yours and the organization’s. When you see and understand what they want and need and assure them you will work hard to deliver, they will trust you and deliver right back.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the next thing.
Most of Beth’s promotions resulted from a conversation where she expressed she was ready for change and more responsibilities—the next thing. Sometimes, you don’t need to have the awkward promotion talk; sometimes, it just takes letting your manager know what you want and what you’re ready for, and letting them help you get there. Beth even advises start stepping up and taking on those extra responsibilities before you even get the promotion to show your manager you’re ready.
We were so happy to have the opportunity to chat with Beth for Level Up.