Stepping up and “Letting Go” or how to approach a new leadership role - Kerri Rusnak, #LASTConf 2014

Kerri Rusnak LASTConf2014 “Letting Go”
This is a mind doodle about the amazing talk, which @kerrirusnak gave in July 2014 at the LASTConf conference about stepping in to a new (leadership) role, accepting and overcoming initial obstacles and gathering the courage to just do it.

Here’s the transcript of the image mixed with commentary and a few take aways:

“LETTING GO” - KERRI RUSNAK

Kerri changed from being an agile business analyst / iteration manager to the role of Head of technology at REA.
It was about the attitude of ‘I CAN’, ‘I WILL’, ‘(this is) MORE ABOUT PEOPLE (than tech)’

KERRI’S JOURNEY

LEAP OF FAITH - JUST JUMP
Take a leap, if you don’t do it now when will you ever? You’re never ready, if you were it wouldn’t be a leap.

JUST START - You are NEVER QUALIFIED
When you first start a new role you aren’t qualified to do 100% of your job on day 1.

EXPERIENCE BRINGS QUALIFICATION
Your role is built over time, and it is not just you who builds it, you build it with your team and their guidance.

IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE EASY
If it was easy, you wouldn’t be there to do it. Accept the struggle and embrace it. There is no “fly-by-wire” with a new role, things will change a lot and often.

LETTING GO IS NOT GIVING UP
Accept that you can’t do it all by yourself and trust your team to work with you. Also make sure to have a #2 that you can work with and share and sense check ideas with.

NO ONE KNOWS THIS JOB
“Stay cool”, no one knows what your job entails yet, expectations will become clearer over time and you form them, too.
+ no one cares about what you do on day 1, the expectations are most likely that you are new and that is ok.

YOU ALREADY HAVE THE JOB
Guess what, you already have the job, so stop stressing about fitting the bill right away. If you weren’t the right candidate you wouldn’t be there. The role and its responsibilities will reveal itself.

RATE YOURSELF
Be confident - Play your own game of what the job means to you.

SHOW SOME BRAVADO
If you just started, show some bravado, it’s not always about delivery on day 1.
Share your vision and ideas, be bold but respectful and if you have to, then “fake it till you make it”.
Some smoke and mirrors are okay as long as you deliver in the long run.

THE FIRST 90 DAYS
Just ask questions, lots of them. Observe and respect the teams wisdom and knowledge. They know more about your job on day 1 than you do, so listen to them. Small decisions early on can have a big impact.

KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND WHO YOU ARE
If you know who you are, you can be authentic. Use this knowledge to be inspiring.

BETTER vs. PERFECTION
Don’t ever aim to be perfect or plan for perfect, plan to make things better than they are and do it continuously.

Overall, this was one of the most empowering talks I’ve seen and brought back to my team and colleagues this year and if you are about to step into a new leadership role, I recommend reaching out to Kerri and catch up for a coffee and a chat.

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