Level Up Leadership: Genevieve Juillard

Listen to the podcast (FULL TRANSCRIPT):

Level Up is designed to help you get to know the leaders of Experian and gain insight into the skills needed to grow your career.

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Most recently, we spoke with Genevieve Juillard, Managing Director, Credit Services Global Expansion. In this role she oversees product advancement into new markets and development of access to strategic new data assets, including leadership of the Data Exchange innovation team. She is also the business leader for Project Athena, a global program meant to strengthen and accelerate innovation capabilities at Experian.

Here are a few takeaways from our discussion with Genevieve:

Tune out your insecurities.
Each position Genevieve has occupied at Experian—save for one—has been a completely new role created just for her. Going into positions where there was no precedent for her to follow could have intimidated her, but instead, she chose to remain excited. Here are a few reasons why it worked for her:

  • Remaining excited is always easier than feeling insecure or undeserving
  • New roles give you a chance to flex different leadership muscles
  • Letting your insecurities take over can result in a loss of passion and in turn, poor performance
  • No one will give you what you want; you have to go for it and create the opportunities for yourself

Have a clear vision and learn to be flexible.
Genevieve has served in many leadership positions at Experian. Going into several, new leadership positions across different business units and different countries definitely created some challenges for her. Here are some ways a clear vision and some flexibility helped her out:

  • A clear vision is key to helping you stay focused on business objectives (and will help remove doubts)
  • Don’t stick to the status quo. Think of new ways of doing things.
  • Know when to zoom in and zoom out. Zooming out is important to ensure you’re on the path to achieve your vision (or goal)
  • Things won’t always go your way; some flexibility will give you the room to accept collaboration and improve your way of thinking

Disappointment is part of the business.
As someone who has lead numerous business units at Experian, Genevieve has had a lot of room for disappointments. You will hear the word “no” a lot throughout your career, but it’s important you learn to roll with the punches. Here are a few things you can do to ensure you do not get too lost in your disappointment:

  • Don’t take things personally
  • Understand that your way may not be the best way, at least not right now
  • Know when to push – and when to hold back
  • Keep your chin up and stay on the lookout for other opportunities

You are never really “too busy.”
So many of Genevieve’s colleagues praise her for her ability to make time for anyone regardless of her insanely packed schedule. She was quick to point out, “It only takes one minute to say hello.” Here are a few things you can do to embody Genevieve’s openness with your own colleagues:

  • Make the effort to say hello to the people you pass by in the hallway
  • Catch up with colleagues you haven’t seen in a while when possible
  • Making time for others should be part of your DNA

Take the time to understand different cultures and techniques.
Genevieve has had the privilege of taking her career to four different continents! While that’s an exciting prospect, it also leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings between cultures. Find yourself moving your career internationally? Remember these tips for breaking the barriers between culture in the workplace:

  • Work techniques vary greatly across the world. Successful management styles in one country, may not work in others
  • Learning new techniques can be beneficial to your own work ethic
  • Being openminded and receptive to new concepts can only improve how you operate as a leader

We were so happy to have the opportunity to chat with Genevieve for Level Up.

Check out interviews with other Experian leaders.


Full Transcript

Mike: Hey everybody, welcome to the Level Up Leadership podcast. My name is Mike Delgado.
Patty: My name is Patty Guevarra.
Mike: This podcast is designed to help you get to know the leaders here at Experian and also gain insight into the leadership skills and traits needed to grow our careers.
Patty: In this podcast we’ll talk mentorship, career navigation, handling rejection, work–life balance, mental health, diversity and inclusion, and so much more.
Mike: A lot of recordings are done through Webex, so sometimes the audio quality’s not perfect. We apologize. We’ll get better in time. But we hope you get a lot of information out of these shows. We certainly have. Enjoy the show.
Patty: Today we’re excited to chat with Genevieve, Managing Director of our Credit Services Global Expansion at Experian.
Mike: So to prepare for today’s discussion, Genevieve, we talked to a number of your colleagues. And it was really cool, some of the themes that kind of emerged from those discussions. And people described you as a change agent, a mover and shaker.
Mike: And then even before today’s show, Patty and I were looking at your LinkedIn profile, and we just saw how you’ve moved around into so many different roles here at Experian. You’re kind of like the NBA player that everyone wants on their team. I’m curious how you would describe your role here at Experian over the last 11 years?
Genevieve: Well that’s kind, thank you. How would I describe my role here at Experian over the last … Well it’s hard to describe me in one way, but I think a theme in my career inside and out of Experian would be that I like to create things, whether that’s established or not. And actually, until I led CIS, I hadn’t had a role in Experian that I did not actually create.
Mike: Oh interesting.
Genevieve: Or that had … I didn’t have a role that had have been established before. Running CIS was the first time I was stepping into a role where there had been a predecessor.
Mike: Oh I love that.
Patty: That’s cool.
Genevieve: And you know, I tell people, I think that’s one of the great things about our company, and is that it’s a large company but it makes room for entrepreneurialism. And I mean entrepreneurialism, not just going and building a new business, although that’s fantastic. But foreseeing something that needs to happen and having the ability to go make that happen. And maybe that’s where the change agent comes from.
Genevieve: But I’ve felt like there have always been a great reception when I’ve seen something that I think is an opportunity or a change that needs to happen, and made a case for why that needs to happen, and that’s always been really well received. And that’s perhaps why, from early in my career, that’s how different roles got created, was through a lot of activity like that.
Patty: So that’s really interesting, I didn’t know that your positions were newly created for pretty much all of them. How did you transition into a position where there was no predecessor to show you the way, or show you how things were done?
Genevieve: I think you have to have a vision of the future, and a view for how you’re going to arrive at that vision. Which I guess is really just the path you need to create.
Genevieve: And you also have to be extremely flexible when you find out that the assumptions, perhaps, that you had around how that path would go and what that vision would be, you have to be flexible when you learn that some of them hold not to be true, or that the environment may be different than you assumed, and so flex. And you flex both your path as well as perhaps the shape of the vision, in order to still achieve what you’re looking to achieve.
Genevieve: So for example, in Australia, went down there and we created the joint venture. Had a plan to build this business, and so that’s how I ended up leading that business as the first employee.
Genevieve: And early on, we looked at the environment. And going and creating a typical credit services business, and I realize a lot has changed since then, but this is many years ago. Creating a typical credit services business means it would be a long time to reach parity with our existing competitors.
Genevieve: So quite early on, we started looking for space in the market where we could play and compete effectively to creative revenue streams that would allow us to continue to grow despite not being as competitive in the core business.
Genevieve: And so for example, I remember this day well. The new legislation was coming out about what would be required with the data laws. And we saw there was going to be a compliance challenge for our customers in regards to meeting their consumer assistance needs.
Genevieve: And I pulled the team into a room and we went into a whiteboard. And I said, “Guys, this is an opportunity. Our clients don’t know how to solve this. And this is something we could do, quickly. It’s totally different than delivering a credit report, but it could be a revenue stream that we could get going in the meantime.”
Genevieve: And we whiteboarded it out. Started some conversations, and a few months later, we were selling that to our customers. And indeed, that became one of our first revenue streams.
Mike: Wow, wow.
Patty: That’s really cool.
Mike: I love how Genevieve like, you’re just always looking for opportunities. And when you find something that is interesting to you, you just create a position. We have this need, I can actually fill this need, and then you get it done.
Mike: What advice do you have for those that are in the organization right now who are very creative, they’re highly productive, they have vision, but they’re having trouble making that first step of like, how do I actually make this happen?
Genevieve: What advice? I’d say, find the step. I think sometimes our fear holds us back. And you won’t move if you don’t move. And so, you have to take that first step. And it may be not perfect.
Genevieve: The first conversation, the person may tell you no. And I do have a story of something I pitched once, where I was really attached to it. And the person who, the decision-maker told me just a flat-out no.
Genevieve: And I was fairly disheartened. It was early in my career. And then six months later, they brought me back into their office and they said, “You know that thing, we need you to go do it.”
Genevieve: So you know, I think you have to have a little bit of, obviously practicality about what the first next steps need to be, and have some thinking and consideration around that. But also I think you need to let go of the fear of why you’re not moving.
Genevieve: I think that’s also true in management. I mean one of the best pieces of advice I got very early in my career, and I tell this to others that I mentee, is as a manager, you can manage the outcome, to an extent, of a poor decision. Not, obviously don’t go make poor decisions.
Genevieve: But if you have a difficult decision and you take the information that you have, you do the analysis, you figure it out, and you make a decision. And if it’s not the right decision then you manage that outcome. And that’s what you do as a manager. But what you cannot manage is indecision.
Genevieve: And as a business, our responsibility as leaders is to make sure the business is always moving forward. And I think it’s the same thing in response to your question in regards to, okay I’ve got this concept, I’ve got an idea, I see a need, where do I start? You start by moving forward. And you sometimes don’t even know the steps until you take the first one.
Mike: That’s really good. You mentioned, I like your story where you shared, you had this vision, you had this idea and you’re super excited about it. You take all these steps, you actually pitch it to the leaders and then get that no. Which is crushing. How do you proceed after the nos or the failures?
Genevieve: Oh you pick yourself up and you go after the next thing. I mean … Yeah, disappointed. I have to say on that I didn’t necessarily kind of go back and back. I went, “Okay, there is an appetite.” Because it was clear. It was a clear answer. And I’d done my work, right? So it was disappointing, but I think you get over it and you start looking for the next thing that you want to do.
Genevieve: And it just, it happened to be good luck that six months later the environment changed such that the decision-maker in this case saw alignment with what I’ve seen, and changed their mind.
Mike: You know something that came up in our conversation with Adam Fingersh in our last session, is he talked about the importance of the why. And so I’m curious for you, being a change agent, being somebody who’s always looking for new opportunities to grow our business, being so flexible to move into different roles at any time, what drives you?
Genevieve: Learning, which probably isn’t shocking to hear. I love learning and I love challenge and I love ability to have impact. I love seeing the results.
Genevieve: The other thing that drives me is the team. And to work with a team that’s engaged towards an outcome, and that’s high-performing, is one of the more satisfying things in the world.
Genevieve: When we come to work, we spend a lot of our lives here, right? And we give it a lot of our best hours and our best thinking and our best energy. And to be able to do that together and be part of building and sustaining a team that’s organized towards and outcome and is working in that kind of way is really gratifying.
Genevieve: And so I spend a lot of time thinking about teams, how they’re built, how they’re run, and how to sustain towards higher performance. And I think a lot of that comes down the vision and the strategy and having a plan, but a lot of it comes down to culture and trust within those teams. And in the interpersonal dynamics within those teams.
Patty: So speaking of teams and trust and culture, you have been around to so many different regions around the world. How do you break through the cultural barrier and manage to maintain the same effective leadership style in each new place you’ve been to? And empower your team and get your team to trust you?
Genevieve: Yeah. It’s a great question. I think part of it is learning by doing. I’ve moved around, I’ve lived on four continents. I’ve been a part of diverse teams. So I’ve got practice at this point. And maybe that’s related to that early advice of, you’ve got to take the first step to get somewhere. So practice does help.
Genevieve: And I’ve made mistakes, right? So I was actually, it’s funny. I was sharing a story with someone today about, in Africa. And I took on a team of 400 people, and when I first got there I was using my similar style that I have.
Genevieve: And I tend to have a style with team members where I ask a lot of questions. And it’s what you would typically call the kind of a coaching style, right? So if someone comes to me and they’ve got an issue, I’ll ask them questions about it to help them figure it out.
Genevieve: Because that helps that person develop and it creates a constructive conversation. And I think it’s usually a very well-received style in Western environments.
Genevieve: But it took me a little bit of time to realize with that, in Malawi, with this team of Malawians, that they took that to mean that I didn’t know what I was talking about. That I was asking questions because I didn’t know.
Mike: That’s interesting.
Genevieve: And that created fear in them, right? Because they’re like, “Our leader doesn’t know anything.”
Genevieve: So I had to adjust my style to one that’s unnatural to me, which is to be more kind of telling and authoritative, to instill that trust. And yet balance that with, okay but I also need a team that continues to develop in their own competency. So how do you do that, how do you maintain growing folks in what is a fairly hierarchical, fairly sort of say, do type of environment? So really interesting challenge.
Genevieve: So yeah, I don’t know, the answer to your question is in different teams and environments you have to be open, you have to be aware that you have preconceived notions and that because something is different does not make it wrong, it makes it a learning opportunity. And you also have to acknowledge that you are going to make some mistakes.
Mike: Yeah, I love that example of learning to adapt to different cultures and different types of teams, to learn how to better drive them and motivate them.
Mike: And certainly core to that is something you mentioned just a bit ago about trust. That’s super important. And I’m curious about, what are some intentional things that you do to help foster trust with your teams, or people that you’re working with?
Genevieve: Well one is having a conversation about trust. So, one thing that builds trust is being able to have those conversations. And using, I like … A language around that.
Genevieve: So I actually think quite a lot about what are the components of trust, what are things that impact trust amongst team members, so that you can have a conversation around that framework rather than around the person? So that you’re thinking collaboratively around how to build that.
Genevieve: So if you think about, what are the components of why you trust a team member of yours. Well you trust that they’re able to do, they have competence, that they’re able to do what they’re going to do, say they’re going to do.
Genevieve: You have, you trust that they will do what they say they’re going to do. You trust that they’ll keep you in the loop and communicate to you the things you needed to know about.
Genevieve: And you trust that they will be considerate of you and other team members in the way that they deliver and act with the team and in respect to their responsibilities.
Genevieve: So I think you can actually kind of break down what those components are. And then that helps you have an understanding and a framework for when that might be breaking down, how to address it.
Genevieve: I think the other thing is around, and this relates to culture, and I think culture and trust are related, is around what kind of environment are you in with your team?
Genevieve: So, and this will come down to personal style, but also recognizing what the personal style is of the team in a larger organization, the tenor and tone of that organization, and having a view of what you want that to be.
Genevieve: So for me, I love to laugh. I’m not very funny, I’ll be the first to admit that, but I certainly love to laugh. And I like to have a tenor and a tone that is less formal, and that where people feel free to be themselves. And that there’s a degree of, and I guess that goes back to the trust, that there’s an ability to kind of be yourself and share yourself with one another and have fun at work.
Genevieve: And where there’s a lot of respect for both high performance and being smart and having impact, as well as for having respect for one another and a lot of fun.
Mike: Yeah, I like that. I like how relational you are. I want to talk to you a little bit about building trust and vulnerability. It seems to be a popular topic these days about being a vulnerable leaders. I’m kind of curious what that means to you.
Genevieve: Yeah. So I think it’s important. To me it’s about authenticity. So, you can’t … And I’m thinking, I might have an example in my mind. Because you can kind of see it when it’s not happening. And when you see someone, a leader who seems perfect, that’s almost troubling, right? Because no one is.
Genevieve: And we all have the things that we’re working on. We all have the things that are happening in our heads. We all have things happening at home and other places, that are part of our lives. And we are our whole people. And I think the way to be our best person at work is to be ourselves.
Genevieve: Again, I have a mentee was talking about something the other day, and she was asking my advice. And I was like, “You be you,” right? If we’re trying to be somebody else or we’re trying to be what we perceive people want us to be, we’re going to be hitting up against that all day long, and that’s going to be stressful.
Genevieve: And you’re not going to get the best work out of yourself if you’re stressed in that manner. Nor out of your team members. And you know, vulnerability and authenticity is about leading by example. And if that’s how you want people to feel at work and be at work, you’ve got to start with yourself.
Mike: Yeah, that’s right.
Patty: Your colleagues admire you for being able to juggle so many things in your life. How have you mastered the art of time management? And do you have any daily rituals that maybe help you stay energized and ready throughout your day?
Genevieve: Oh, that’s … I don’t think I’ve mastered the art of time management.
Mike: Genevieve, Genevieve, time management came up a lot. Everybody was like, “I want to know how Genevieve does it. How does she do what she does?”
Genevieve: Oh that’s funny. Ask my admin and she’ll say I’m terrible at time management.
Genevieve: You know, like I said, I’m driven by learning. So I think I like to get involved in things, and I probably don’t say no enough. But I’d have to reflect on that, I’ve never really thought about it as being something defining. And so I’d have to reflect.
Mike: No it’s truly amazing because you’re super busy, but everyone also said you make time for people. And I heard that several times.
Mike: And then I thought, just in my brief interactions with you through email, how quickly you’d respond back. Even though I’m not expecting. I’m like, I know you’re super busy, I’m going to send out an email. I might not get a response back, I might wait three weeks, no big deal.
Mike: But then you got back to me. And then when I talk to other people, they’re like, “Yeah, Genevieve’s really good, she’ll just make time to chat.”
Genevieve: Oh so that’s interesting. So I think that making time, that it takes time to make time for people is amiss, right? So we all know the example, and luckily here at Experian we don’t see this a lot. I think we have terrific executives who are really engaged and do make the time.
Genevieve: But I think we can all think of examples of people who are kind of too busy, right? And they kind of rush down the hall, and they don’t seem to have that time. And I mean, think about it. When you’re going to the restroom and you say hi to somebody, how long does that really take you to do?
Mike: Right, right.
Genevieve: It takes you a minute, right? So I actually believe that making time for folks, being a burden or being a burden on a calendar is amiss. Making that time doesn’t take that much time. And the impacts that it has on your other activities is not substantial. So it’s more about what you’re prioritizing.
Patty: That’s a good way to look at it.
Mike: Yeah.
Patty: So we did speak to Leisl, who heads Integrated Communications here in Costa Mesa. And she described you as a strong and confident force to be reckoned with.
Patty: And she’s endlessly impressed by you. She had so many good things to say. What I’m wondering from that conversation is if being a young woman in your field has ever intimidated you, and if so, how you got past that?
Genevieve: Yeah. I mean I think there have been at times. I can remember a meeting early in my career where I was in one of our foreign offices. And I hate to say that this was with Experian, but it was. We’ve changed a lot since.
Genevieve: But it was one of our overseas offices from the US. And it was a meeting with a number of global stakeholders. And it was an all-day meeting, and we hit till lunchtime. And they turned to me to ask me where the lunch was coming from.
Patty: Oh no.
Genevieve: And I was like, “I’m not from here.” But you know, but it’s colleagues, and I was younger than all of them, and I couldn’t exactly just react, or at least I didn’t feel comfortable, I mean I guess I could have. So there have been moments that have been uncomfortable. And I think that’s an extreme example.
Genevieve: And actually, I think those kinds of moments, at least for me, have actually contributed to my strengths, perhaps. Where I think those are opportunities to reflect.
Genevieve: At that meeting, I probably could come up with three different responses than the one I did have, that I probably would prefer that I would had, right?
Genevieve: And that, am I going to beat myself up over that? I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s worth it. I think it becomes a great opportunity to reflect and to become stronger. And to think about how you’re going to enter into the next situation.
Genevieve: I think, we all have moments or times or contexts where we feel less confident. And I think the first thing is to recognize that that’s normal. And then I think for me what helps is to also recognize that that’s my issue, not others’, right? So it’s really a non-issue.
Patty: That’s a good way to look at it.
Genevieve: It’s not real. It’s just you.
Patty: Yeah.
Mike: Genevieve, you’ve mentioned several times about your mentees. And you’ve obviously made time to help build up other people. I want to ask you about that but before I do, I want to talk about people who have mentored you.
Mike: Because you are extremely driven, productive, making changes, driving our business, doing all these things. And I’m wondering, how have mentors helped shape you?
Genevieve: Oh I’ve been so lucky. I’ve had phenomenal mentors. And that’s shaped me a lot. And I think mentors come in different flavors, right? They may not be, quote-unquote, ‘my Mentor,’ with a capital M.
Mike: That’s right.
Patty: Right.
Genevieve: They can be people who you … Actually, they come in so many places. They may be people who wouldn’t consider themselves a mentor to you at all, but are nonetheless people you’re learning from.
Genevieve: And I think, particularly at Experian, I think I’ve been very fortunate with diversity and breadth of people that I’ve learned from and continue to learn from.
Genevieve: And some of those have been in more formal capacities as either a boss or somebody who is a Mentor with a capital M, or a person who I just have a candid relationship with, who I can talk to.
Genevieve: But also in other forms where, it’s like I said, it’s more about being able to observe and learn in different contexts. And perhaps that person doesn’t even know that I kind of look at them as somebody to learn from. But I do. And so, that speaks to, I think, the quality of folks we have around our organization. There’s plenty.
Genevieve: And by the way, mentors also are not, they’re not always senior to you. I’ve learned a lot from folks who worked for me, who didn’t work for me, who are colleagues across the organization, as much, frankly.
Mike: You know, we were chatting a couple of weeks ago with Brian Ward, and he was talking about how basically we’re all working on something, and this is something, and this is something you’ve kind of mentioned. That nobody’s perfect, we’re all on this journey, we’re all learning, we’re all growing.
Mike: I’m curious about, as a change agent, as somebody who is constantly moving and shaking things up, are there any big challenges that you wrestle with?
Genevieve: Oh man, yeah, I guess they change day to day. I mean I’ll have to think about that. I will say, I like the feeling of being a little uncomfortable. And maybe that’s strange. To me that signals I’m learning. So I actually, when things are comfortable, I start to get a little uncomfortable.
Mike: Oh interesting.
Genevieve: When everything’s just really … And I don’t mean for a week or two. But you know, for a sustained period of it’s starting to feel like I’m got this, just totally in hand. Then I start to feel itchy. And I think it’s because I’m not learning at the same pace.
Genevieve: You’re always still learning. I mean I come, anybody in any role, you’re learning every day. We learn by living, frankly. But at the same … Yeah, I like to be in a context where I’m actually, I feel uncomfortable. Because that means I’m learning at a pace and volume that I like.
Genevieve: I know that doesn’t … I’ll try to think of something kind of bigger that I’m working on. I guess not consciously. But I feel like probably on a smaller scale, I’m constantly working on a lot of things.
Genevieve: And whether it’s different relationships in the organization or different business problems or different, managing different demands on me between work and home. And I kind of feel like I’m constantly working on a lot of things.
Patty: Okay so we have about five minutes left, and we did receive one question from Ann Chen. Ann is asking you, for someone new in their role and looking to expand themselves professionally and globally, how would you recommend the best approach to achieving that as successfully as you did at Experian?
Genevieve: You know, I think it would go back to what I said earlier, which is looking for opportunities to have impact. Again, another thing that somebody said to me early in my career was great advice. So all my best advice came from other people, is really what we’re learning here.
Genevieve: Is you don’t get promoted for doing the job you do today well. That you get to keep your job for doing the job you do today well. And I think that that is good advice, because you’ll know, and you can see the people in the organization, they always are the busiest, right? Because they get tapped so often. It’s people who are either, who are doing other things above and beyond, whether they were asked to or not.
Genevieve: And I think if you are curious and you’re looking at wanting to get into different and diverse parts of the business, and that’s not to say that everybody does want to do that, to go into different diverse parts. But for those that do, having an eye out for what’s happening in those areas, and just getting involved.
Genevieve: And part of that is seeing, hey, this needs to get done here, and starting to offer to do it. It’s very rarely that people refuse a pair of hands to help.
Genevieve: And that can be hard to balance that with the other responsibilities you have going on. I’m aware of that. But I think, again, it goes to how you prioritize it and how you manage your work to be able to do that.
Mike: I have one other quick question, Genevieve. For the managers out there that are looking to develop their employees, and seeing people that are visionaries, that are creative, and they’re looking to help motivate that and grow that. But what is your advice for leaders to help mentor up the next Genevieve? How do we make more Genevieves? That’s my question.
Genevieve: I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Actually, to follow up on your last question, and then I’ll get to this one. The other thing was people who are interested in diverse parts of the organization.
Genevieve: And one of the things I like about Experian is you can reach out across the organization, and it’s friendly company, right? No one’s going to say, “Oh who’s this person? Take a hike.”
Genevieve: So if you’re interested in learning about different parts, different geographies, go onto the system, find out who’s over there, and send an email. And you will get a response, I mean, I think 90 times out of 100.
Mike: That’s great advice.
Genevieve: And so ask for the chat. And I think, take advantage of what I think is one of the great aspects of our organization and our culture.
Mike: Yeah, that’s really good advice.
Genevieve: In regards to mentoring, or folks who, and I think I’ll characterize it a different way [inaudible 00:31:49] more Genevieves. But I think they’re thinking about if you’ve got someone who you think has potential and talent, how do you manage and mentor them to help them grow?
Genevieve: And that’s going to depend on each person. Each situation is unique. So the first is to kind of tap into what makes that person tick. For me, like I said, learning made me tick.
Genevieve: So I was very lucky to have bosses who I think caught on without talking to me about, but they seemed to catch on quickly. Actually, probably before I knew it, that I liked being thrown in the deep end.
Genevieve: And so I found myself in a periodic basis, probably just often enough, to keep me from getting too comfortable, like I said, or bored, being thrown off the deep end and into some sort of project or situation. And I found that very challenging and thus rewarding and exhilarating.
Genevieve: Because, and I went through that, I learned that, oh wow, I like that, I love that learning process where I’m a little bit uncomfortable. Not everybody may be like that, so don’t go throwing people off the deep end.
Genevieve: But I think, again, like I said … And it’s hard for a manager to be, probably as intuitive as that. So I was very lucky. And it might be easier to just have the direct conversation, versus trial by, just figuring it out.
Genevieve: But yeah, it’s having the conversation, figuring out what someone ticks, and encouraging them. And probably encouraging them just past what they would be comfortable wanting to do on their own.
Genevieve: Because you know, that is what potential is. If you see the potential, you have to, as a manager, be probably pushing them in a supported way to go a little bit faster or further than they probably would push themselves.
Genevieve: But also, with some folks, vice versa, you also need to be, again, and I’ve seen this, you also get some types where, I’m ready for that huge job and they’re not. And you’re like, you don’t want … You also need to care for someone to make sure they don’t crash and burn.
Genevieve: So there’s also some conversations about, “Okay, that’s what you want. Let’s sit down and map that out and understand how we can support filling the gaps that might be there or the steps that need to be, how we might need to round out your experience and your capabilities to get you there over some period of time.
Mike: Yeah, that’s really good. And by the way, I loved how you described your management style, that you’re, at least in the West, you’re like the coach. Like you’re not going to give all the answers, you’re there to get people thinking about different solutions. I really like that approach. Where did you pick that up?
Genevieve: That’s a good question. I can’t remember discretely where I did. But I must have along the way. And like I said, in the African context, it didn’t work. So you know, it depends on where you are. But I think perhaps maybe because that’s how I would like to be managed, to be honest, is partly where it comes from.
Genevieve: I think the other thing in my management style, for better or worse, I tend to be pretty hands-off. In that, I have people in roles because they are competent, and I believe they can do their job well.
Genevieve: And so I’m not a person who … So I see my role as that more, as more a coach, a shaper of, a person to remove problems and obstacles, than I do as a quote-unquote ‘manager’ who is supposed to be involved in sort of the day-to-day intricacies of what someone is doing.
Mike: That’s good. I think one of the main themes I’ve got out of this conversation, Patty, for me, has been how Genevieve just loves learning and constantly growing and challenging herself.
Mike: So I guess my officially last question is going to be, are there any favorite books, TED Talks, whatever …
Genevieve: Oh my goodness.
Mike: … that has impacted you recently that you’re like, this was helpful, I’m growing by reading this or watching this?
Genevieve: Oh, see, people ask me for books all the times and it’s so hard for me to answer about what I read. I absolutely love to read. And I feel so constrained by these kind of questions. Because I don’t like to single out specific books.
Genevieve: And actually, it’s interesting, people ask me for business books. I read novels and literature and news and articles probably more than I read business books.
Genevieve: And I’ll tell you, I find business books to be… They’re too often a simple or fairly simple concepts that you can get in five pages, and they’re put into 200 pages because they’re trying to sell a book. And so I find them a bit frustrating and I’d rather get the Cliff Notes.
Genevieve: So I don’t want to not answer your question, but I guess I would put it a different way, which is: I think there are lots of ways to learn. Reading being one of them, another forums, TED Talks are awesome.
Genevieve: And I would rather encourage I think, exposing yourself to a diversity of things and thoughts is important. And different ways of thinking too is really important. I think it helps grow yourself and I think it can help your team as well. I say the same thing about constructing teams. And people who know me know I’m a deep believer in how diversity within teams kind of lead to effectiveness and performance.
Genevieve: So I would say the same thing in regards to learning and what you expose yourself to, is go for the diversity. And you don’t have to necessarily agree with everything you’re reading. But I think that that helps with empathy and understanding. And I think empathy and understanding leads towards trust and again, more effectiveness of being a team member.
Mike: Yeah. I wish we had an applause track, because I would play that right now. A crowd like … I love that.
Patty: We do have one last minute question from the Webex.
Genevieve: Oh and of course my favorite podcast is Level Up, obviously.
Patty: Oh stop it. Good answer. Should have just left it at that.
Patty: We have one more question from the Webex, and I think this is a good note to leave it off on, since we are nearing the end of March. This is from Yvette. She asks, “Genevieve, what are your goals for FY20?”
Mike: Oh, that’s a good one.
Genevieve: Oh you best. End with a tough one. I mean I think the goals remain the same. Continue to have as much impact as I can, continue to support and grow my team and teams however I can, and continue to learn.
Mike: Yeah.
Patty: Good. Short and sweet.
Mike: That’s fantastic. That’s excellent. Genevieve, thank you so much for your time, sharing with us your leadership journey, things that have helped you along the way. And great learning more about you and your personality, it’s absolutely so much fun chatting with you.
Genevieve: Yeah, you guys too. Thanks so much for the opportunity.
Patty: We hope you enjoyed today’s episode of Level Up.
Mike: If you’d like to see a summary of today’s show, you can go to the Experian blog. The short URL is just ex.pn/levelup.
Patty: If you found any of the information today helpful, please consider supporting us by hitting Subscribe or leaving us a review. Thanks for dropping in and giving us a listen, and we hope to see you again for our next episode.

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