Well, welcome to the New Year! I thought it appropriate to start this year off with a warrior – no, a samurai, her name is Trish Bishop. Her battlefield is everything to do with information technology and its adoption. Now this woman who truly leads has projects that are multiyear multimillion dollar solutions. But rather than the traditional samurai her tools are not the sword, bows, arrows, spears and guns but rather an uncanny ability to see five to ten years out in terms of the information technology curve. Trish is a translator with an exceptional ability to translate business needs into technical solutions. Her armament also includes her ability to grasp all of the moving parts that will be required to get there. And most significantly is adoption by people who are being asked to entirely shift their perspective of their job and what they’re doing. Here goal is not mere adoption but true appreciation of the gifts offered by the new technology, the type of adoption that goes from the head to the heart. Now as most warriors she was born as one. She was the national project manager for one of the first ISPs in Canada. She became one of the first IT samurai warriors before the age of 20. Now I met Trish in the late 90’s. She was in her early twenties and I was the same age as her mother, which often committed on, I was on my mid-forties. We came together to build our virtual business incubator called “alchemy.” We did this in the surge of the dot-com era, and our intention was one of the first vehicles to aid small business in solving all of their business solutions through a virtual domain. We like thousands and thousands of others got squished by the dot-com crash. And so we parted ways although we have always maintained our relationship and stayed in touch. Now Trish went on in the early 2000s into the learning arena. And she managed national, international and global implementation for up to 250,000 users and developed extensive experience in change management and corporate communication strategies. As a project leader of multiple projects involving thousands of people, Trish began to quickly distinguish the nuances and the skills of the outstanding performers that she observed and those that struggled to reach their full potential. Through her observation of these folks she started to understand that there were true rock stars that existed in organizations, in arenas of their influence that really put them on the stage compared to the audience that watch them. In the process of observing these thousands of people she identified ten skills of how to become a rock star. As well as the process that one needs to go through to develop these skills from the very beginning to their full stage of maturity. I thought it might be interesting to touch base with Trish. Here we are at the beginning of 2016 and find a little bit more about what it means to become a rock star.
Lesley: Well, hello there, Trish Bishop. I can’t wait to have this conversation with you because I’ve always admired your chutzpah in life. And only you would come up with a program that’s called “How to be a rock star?” And I don’t know about anybody else out there but I loved holding my parents’ decanter topped as my microphone and to become a rock star. Thanks but that’s not the kind of rock star you’re referring to. Tell me what do you mean “Becoming a rock star.”
Trish: Ah yes. What do I mean by “Becoming a rock star?” Well, you know what, it started a very long time ago my career, and I’m not going to go in to all the gory details. But in a nutshell what I realized very early on is that there are people who are exceptionally capable and absolutely dominate their arena whatever that arena might be. And then there are other people who are in roles in organizations who may be very high opt in an organization, for example, who are lucky if they can manage their way out of the paper bag. And as I watch this overtime I actually spent almost two years literally watching these people who completely dominated to understand what is it about these people that completely differentiate them from everyone else. And when I did that, I came up with ten skills that can be learned that I believe differentiate the rock stars from everyone else.
Lesley: So when you say “Dominate the field,” what in particular..? I mean we’re going to go into the ten so I’m not going to specify the ten skills, but what is that you see or serve in these people that cause you to look at them and say, “Oh they’re really dominating the field”?
Trish: It’s so funny that you asked that because I remember watching one of those shows about the undercover boss. And one of the guys, it was a 7-Eleven chain and he went in, there was a guy who work in the 7-Eleven counter who was a complete rock star. I was watching this show and I’m seeing this guy and I’m going, “Rock star skill, rock star skill, rock star skill.” This is not about being in the operation of corporate or being in a specific arena in corporate. This is your arena whatever your arena is. It doesn’t matter. It is how you go about dominating that arena and that’s what differentiates these rock stars. So it’s not about being the high paid this, or the high paid that, or the big title or anything like that. It is totally about who you are, and how you show up, and what skills you bring to the table and how you represent them. So that is what they’re about.
Lesley: So, it’s when you see somebody who is so in flow in their environment. And I don’t want to use the word “control” because it’s not control that they… It’s like a magical atmosphere that is being created by them.
Trish: Sounds like an alchemy.
Lesley: Well, here we go, one of our favorite words. Transformational and how it brings people in and creates that experience for themselves, right?
Lesley: So, there are ten of them but I want to start with one that’s probably bit more complex. It doesn’t necessarily define itself by what it is. I want to start with the skill of “Jaguar Mentality.” One of the ten skills is Jaguar Mentality, what does that mean?
Trish: Yes and that’s an interesting one. So, one of the things you have to understand about the rock star skills is that there are levels of maturity. And you’ve known me for a very long time and I think that you would be the first to say that back in the day I would’ve had what would’ve been termed as “Pitbull Mentality.”
Lesley: You definitely were determined very strongly, very incredibly bright. But I would have to say that yes terribly determined “pitbull” maybe.
Trish: So the deal is, is that when you’re at a low level of maturity with some of these rock star skills, how they show up is little different than when you become a little bit more mature in the rock star skills. So back in a day I was definitely a pitbull and not meant that grabbed on to every bone and I would not let go, and I would shake that bone until there’s blood on the walls. Versus a Jaguar Mentality which is much more around the maturity of that skill where first and foremost you don’t have to grab every bone. So you can select your battles a little bit more precisely, and when you go into battle you can deal with a lot more grace than just leaving blood on the walls. So, you can engage with people in a way that leaves them feeling very much like they didn’t even go to work necessarily or not. But you’re very much more selected and a lot more grace in how you go about making sure you get what you need.
Lesley: So it’s getting what you need. And, how does it differentiate from another one of the skills which is “Relentless Determination”? So what’s the difference between Jaguar Mentality and Relentless Determination?
Trish: The Jaguar Mentality is very much around how you engage with others. So, you know, you’re getting what you need from others. So, you’re bragging through the wall, you’re going around the wall, you’re digging a hole under the wall, you’re doing whatever it is you have to do but others are being impacted by that. And while they can be impacted by the Relentless Determination as well, it’s not necessarily that your relentless determination is just your flat over fusil to give up. Sure you’d end the conversation. I mean I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Will Smith’s lemonade interview that he did and he’s like “I will die on the treadmill. You and I go head-to-head on the treadmill. I will die on the treadmill.” Like that is just it right? So that relentless determination for what you want but it doesn’t necessarily impact other people. Now it may but it’s not necessarily but engagement with other people. It is just an inner strength that just locks in the spine like steel. And you’re like “That’s it” and you just nothing is going to stop you.
Lesley: So, if I go back to the Jaguar Mentality what I’m sensing is that I just don’t take no for an answer. “It can’t be done. We don’t do that here.” I mean, Jaguar Mentality is no matter what I’m going to keep interacting in such a way that causes us to break down the walls or break down the policy, the procedure, the whatever it is that’s getting in the way of us really achieving. And in case of me individually, me achieving what it is that I’m out to achieve.
Trish: Yes and no. So, again, one of the pieces of the maturity around that particular skill is the willingness to speak your battles, right? So, in some of those cases you may be like “You know what, this isn’t one that I need to win at all.” So, even that willingness to let go of your need to be right sometimes which is very much, you know, that ego piece that gets in the way of a lot of being able to move forward. So, you know, being able to sit back, and watch, and see what’s going on and taking information. Bring option to opportunities to the table that you thought about rather than just grabbed onto and moving forward. As I said with a pitbull you are like, “Oh I just need to be right. I just need to be right” and you don’t realize that’s where you’re coming from but that’s the reality of it. Whereas with the kind of the more Jaguar Mentality you’re just sitting back and you’re watching, and you’re saying, “Hey, which battle do I need to engage in and who else might bring a solution to the table? And what other opportunities might be here that we haven’t uncovered yet.” And just go in a boat things a very different way than just bull on bulldozer.
Lesley: So it’s strategic, it’s innovative. It’s offering options, which is very different than the pitbull. I mean, you’re constantly bringing ideas and notions to the table, and you’ve choose the level of intensity that you’re prepared to go at in the selection of “which one of the battles am I prepared to go after and what makes sense for me to go after in this scenario?”
Trish: Bang on.
Lesley: Ok cool. I’m just trying such an interesting skill, and as you explain it I can seize the people that I admire who do that as you say with such grace that it’s like watching the a ballet dancer. Just sort of move in precision through the floor and you didn’t even know how they made that move but they made it and it’s striking in its impact.
Lesley: So, another one of the skills is the “Ability to see.” So what is that mean in the sense of becoming a rock star?
Trish: Yeah. And this is a hugely multilayered skill. And so this one I would look at is there are levels of maturity to some aspects of it but other aspects are developed over time. So, I mean if I look at it from one perspective if I go way back to when you and I did work together, you know, I was much more tactical, very much the implementer and you are very much the strategist. And working with you and learning from you, I find I’m very much more strategic than I ever was before. So my ability to see is multilayered in that, you know, I’ve always had the ability to see three to five years out so I’m always ahead of the curve which is extremely frustrating. It is what is right? So there’s that. And then there’s the ability to see the strategy around that piece and what does that look like. And then there’s the layer around people. The ability to see the talents they bring, the options they bring. I used to work myself to the bony 10-hour days, until I started to, again, let go of that need to be right and kind of put that ego in the back burner. And I started to realize “Wow. Yeah I’m smart. Yeah I’m talented. Yeah I’m good at what I do but holy crap there are people out there that are way better than I am or way smarter than I am” Or just way more creative, and innovative and interesting in how they go about things, and really being able to see allows you to leverage that.
Lesley: So, I want to go into your current job right now for a moment which is as a program manager/project manager, which is involved in the huge potash industry in Scotland but obviously it’s a global operation. And you’re the project lead in taking this organization from a mainframe into a modern.
Trish: Into modern day. And I mean, you know, there’s a lot of players in this and I’m a contractor so I’m external to the organization. So it’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of stuff that we have going on there but there’s so many moving pieces. There’s so much information, there so many moving pieces that are happening there and it’s just eaten. Again, that ability to see all of those moving pieces, you know, when you’re moving from one technology to another no matter what it is, it doesn’t matter what industry. It’s a huge kind of… You know, if someone can be very simple and straightforward but some of them monolithic. And even the simple straightforward ones have the implications that you need to be able to see, and understand and determine what the impact of that is going to be. I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve been on over the years that are like, “Oh this is simple. It’s as easy as to plug it in. How hard can it be?” Famous last words of every executive, right? “How hard can it be?” You know, I just got a wrong way and I go “Yeah okay” because they are, you know? You’re impacting. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in the IT arena you are impacting people’s lives. And that has huge complexities and things that you need to be able to see that are way beyond just a technology.
Lesley: And I think that’s the piece that’s so significant in the kind of role that you play in the IT industry. Yes it’s all these moving parts, it’s also the technical. And not just a technical understanding of the industry itself because you have to understand that to see what all the moving pieces are and then the technology associated with that. And then, the whole notion of this… I hate the term “Change Management,” it’s so huge, huge mountain that you have to climb with people to start transitioning their own frame of reference around what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
Trish: Yeah. The ability to see in all of that in holistically, right, so it isn’t just about seeing lines on a project plan. You know, it’s about being able to see the holistic view. And every time a decision is made, or a path is changed or whatever being able to see how all of that just shifted, right? And how all of a sudden where you had three options that you know you have one or you have seven. You know, so, seeing the whole picture and the ability to see that, that is not an easy thing and it is not a skill that everyone has. So, that is one and it can be learned but you very much have to… You know, it takes experience, it takes time, it takes… Some people just have it just naturally—they really do—but other people really have to work on development of that.
Lesley: Well, you have a program about how to develop these skills and that’s an important aspect to bringing people through those levels of maturity. As the listeners out there, saying, “I don’t know if I’m seeing all the pieces because we have lots of line spots.” So, what kind of advice or direction can you give somebody about first of all understanding what scope they’re currently seeing and then how do they start to expand what they can see?
Trish: I would say there are a couple of things that I would recommend in that area. So the first is, put your ego in the backburner because that first and foremost is going to get on your way of seeing anything, because that’s going to continue to push your need to be right which is going to affect your ability to see. The second thing I would say is to be very open. So, the more that you have hard lines, or hard beliefs or hard boxes that you reside in and how you operate the less open that you’re going to be and the less that you’re going to be able to see those things that are beyond those beliefs, those lines and those boxes. So, the more open that you are to new information, to seeing other people’s talents and capabilities to taking in their advice, or input, whatever , then the more that you’ll start to see how the pieces fit together and the more that you’ll get that bigger picture.
Lesley: So how do I test my ability to see? What’s the way in which I can find out?
Trish: Wow that’s a really cool question. How do you test your ability to see? You know what I would have to say that the best test would be to talk to people that you work with in an open and honest conversation. And find out from them if they feel like you honor what they bring to the table. That would be one way to test. Again, it’s a so multilayered, right? I mean, you know, it’s not like you can go out five years from now and go “Oh wow! I was right.”
Trish: That happens in five years when you get there and you go “Oh wow! I was right.”
Lesley: I think testing constantly just like ego in the backseat if not outside the door and being able to ask what people are bringing but also directly asking “Am I conveying that I am seeing all that’s involved?” I think we need to be really open to that kind of feedback because I think for many of us we don’t really know if we’re seeing or not. I mean, you know, our brains are processing billions of bites every moment about what we choose to see any given moment in time. So, constantly getting feedback about how we’re seeing I think is really an important piece to this.
Trish: And the other piece of it is the Ability to listen. Because, you know, when you and I just met a few years ago and passing shifts in the night or something I was like truly odd with where you are with your listening now. You know what I mean. Like you’re listening has just gone to such a state and I was like “Wow I’m not doing that. Like I know I’m not doing that.” And I know how your listening made me feel during the conversation, and how interested you were in the conversation, and how much you’re paying attention to what I was saying. And I thought to myself “I’ve got work to do because I’m not doing that. I know I’m not doing that.” So, you know, again, just being very self-aware and just e being paying attention and trying to figure out being open to feedback as you said is huge for that.
Lesley: But I guess being present and listening not because we have to listen but we because we find within us an absolute true interest in what that other party has to say, which brings me to another one of these skills which is “Respectful Communication.” So, give me an example of a basic level and then an advance level of Respectful Communication.
Trish: Yeah. I mean a super basic level is really… I mean let’s just it back to knots and bolts here how you structure an email. Or, I mean I’d say how you structure a letter but I don’t anybody writes letters anymore. You had your header and you had your proper footer and all that kind of stuff but you do, you should be doing the same thing in an email. You know, even to very simplistic rules like you structure the people in the two lines based on their title, right? Highest title comes first and some people don’t even know that kind of “role.” You know, who to be CC, when to be CC, what’s appropriate, what’s not, who to include to your email and how to treat a two-line versus a sealing. I mean this is very, very simple and it sounds very simplistic. But I will tell you as a project manager in my arena communication is probably 70 percent of what I do. So, you’re making sure the people understand what is being asked of them and all of that kind of stuff. So how and when I communicate is exceptionally important and making sure that to this I often to read an email three times before I send it if it’s even remotely could be taken as being confrontational or whatever. Just to make sure the languaging is very inclusionary, is very open. It is not pointing fingers to anyone, things of that nature, right? So, you know, people do not think that it’s the case intent; your intent when you write an email is very much comes across regardless of language you use. So if you’re sitting there steaming and you point the perfect language in place, someone will feel that intent of being pissed off when they get that email even though the language doesn’t say it.
Lesley: And I think what we feel is manipulated because there’s a conflict of interest that’s going on in that email that we energetically pick up. So that I think there’s the last art and how we do those forms of communication. And one of the things that I really admire in your emails is that you’re direct into the point. And I think that which I admire because who has time to read long lengthy paragraph emails, the kinds that I write? So, you know, I mean, the precision of information that you do as a project manager I think it’s something that’s very important because you’re expecting the time of the other party to weave through your thought process in order for them to understand what the heck you’re trying to communicate.
Lesley: So I think that’s a critical aspect. So what would be an advanced type of respectful communication?
Trish: I mean when you start to move into the more advance then you start to move into very much understanding the energy of a conversation, whether it’s in-person, or by email, or virtual or whatever. It doesn’t really matter. What is the intent in that conversation? What is the energy of the conversation? So, then we’re starting to move into reading that energy. So, I didn’t realized till years later, you know, and I learned many of my physical skills from you that my ability to facilitate as well as I do in the work that I do is intuitive. And intuitively what I’m doing without realizing it at the time but I know now is I’m reading the energy of every person in the room. So I know who is on board, who’s engaged, who’s trying to sabotage, who is definitely onside. You know, I’m reading that energy and the reality is that we all have that ability; we don’t all trust it, right? Which is one of the other skills that we may or may not get into today, but we all have that ability. And so, when we start to move to that level of respectful communication especially in terms of facilitation in particular we’re really looking to leverage that information that we’re bringing in at that kind of that more energetic level, and using that to make sure that everybody is on the same page. They don’t need to agree but they all need to be on the same page so that we’re all operating from the same place and getting the same information.
Lesley: Not just you done an awful lot of work on learning energy like working with energy, understanding energy, which is for somebody might be counter-intuitive, for somebody who’s in such a precise world as project management in IT and the whole notion of the information technology. What advice would you give to somebody who really has no idea what this thing is called “Reading Energy”? And starting to realize that that’s something probably will really help them start to become a rock star.
Trish: Uh yeah, where to start with that? We do all read energy. I mean, the example I give is… You know, if you’ve ever been in a relationship, or somebody was being dishonest with you, or was cheating on you or whatever anytime in your life, you know, somewhere along the line you knew it, right? You saw that you felt it. Or, you know, if I say you saw the signs but you felt it more than anything. You just felt something was off. That’s reading the energy of the situation, right? Encode intuition. Call it whatever you want. I mean, there’s all kinds of labels for it but the reality is, is that you’re reading energy. You’re interpreting energy that someone else is putting out and you’re getting information from that. You’re getting a message from that. What I like to tell the people is let’s call it intuition for ease of reference, and let’s just say imagine your intuition as a friend that you want to build a really fantastic relationship with. How would you interact with your intuition in that case? And the way we interact with energy is you would trust it, you would listen to it, you would communicate with it. You know, so if you think of your intuition as a person that you want to build fantastic relationship with, you can really build that capability in a significant way.
Lesley: So that is one of the skills “Trusted Intuition.” So, it’s one thing to have it but it’s a whole other domain in terms of to trust and then to act on it. I mean, this is where a sense of self-confidence in what you’re reading in yourself becomes a critical feature. So, we kind of covered it as well “Honesty and Personal Integrity.” What is it mean as a rock star to have honesty and personal Integrity?
Trish: Yeah. I mean, you know, at the very simplest level I remember way back in the day when I was kind of corporate fire fighter where I would be parachuted and to save the day and all that kind of good stuff. I just remember being brutally honest with my clients, right? So, it was already a difficult situation I was walking into, and I just flat-out refuse. And the reality is, is that that’s actually what saved the situation was that they knew they could trust me. They knew I would tell them the truth even if the organization as I was working for wanted to hide it all behind the kimono. That is not the way that I was going to operate. So, it’s a very difficult lying to trend sometimes, but you have to be true to yourself. And you know, when we get into the area of personal integrity I kind of giggle there because it’s like everybody has their own definition of what that is, right? So, your integrity may not necessarily match mine, right? What you determine and define as being in integrity may not be the same as what I do. So, we all have our own version of that and it’s one of the mature aspects of that rock star skill. It’s also honoring that you can’t others based on your definition, right? So you can’t sit there and say, “Oh they’re out of integrity, out of hoes.” Right? If you’re not in the area or arena that has that specifically spelled out with the code of ethics for example, it’s a pretty wide open field. And so, the ethics of the project manager down the road may not be the same as mine, does that mean they’re wrong?
Lesley: No. Well, it was interesting when I was doing a code of ethics for a surgical department, and the variety of definitions of what personal integrity was as diverse as a population of this country. And every single one of them believes that their definition of integrity was exactly what the definition should be in the code of ethics. And it’s an interesting process to start having people conversations about what really they defined it and how does the group come to some kind of collective appreciation of that in terms of the way they choose to operate. You know, we wouldn’t to all ten which we will be going to. I do want to highlight the others we didn’t talk about: The ability to learn, problem solving, basic financial skills and outstanding customer service. Those we will pick up on another time. What we are going to do though Trish is put up on my website which you’ve been instrumental with in putting out what these are. And I think we are going to start to talk a bit more about how a program can start to emerge if people are interested in learning these skills. And we should start talking about how we can bring that to life.
Trish: Sounds like a plan.
Lesley: Well, you know, you were always the planner with the detail. I was the visionary that thought that anything could happen, and you could tell me honestly “That ain’t going to happen the way you just thought.” So thanks for that beautiful sense of honesty that Trish Bishop holds in her heart and in her spirit. It’s amazing. Well what’s more to talk about, we are going to have some more conversations on this show in the future. And we are going to start rolling out what could become a really interesting program on the site around how to be a rock star.
Trish: Awesome. I’ve so enjoyed talking to you.
Lesley: Me as well. Listen, you have a good one.
Trish: You too.
You know, as with all my interviews we only get 30 minutes to tap the mind of these brilliant individuals. And underneath the surface there are so many aspects of who they are and how they’ve come to be the person that I’m interviewing in that moment and time.
Trish took a sabbatical in the early 2000s, type of a kind of force sabbatical in the sense that she was diagnosed in 1998 with scleroderma which is a rare form of arthritis. She refused any medications and began the incredible journey to reclaim her health and ultimately her life. Her focus was on uncovering deep within her what was triggering this illness so that she could reclaim the essence of her spirit to create that health from the inside to then take it to the outside.
In the process she wrote a fabulous book called “The Question Journey.” And I would recommend all of you to take a look at her website questionjourney.com, where she explores the very nature of the art of the question which we have taken a lot of focus on in this show, the questions that we used to find out the deep inner sense of who we are and who we are becoming.
Yes indeed she did return to the corporate world as true samurai, but a very different one as she had learned and acquired a whole new understanding of what human potential is and how we uncover it. Do look her up questionjourney.com. And if you google her name you’ll see her not only Facebook but other websites where her tool kits are available. We will be pursuing more on how to become a rock star in the weeks to come.
I wish you much joy and blessing in this upcoming year. Remember, I am your host and you are the reason why I exist. Thanks for listening. See you soon. –Lesley.