Building Teams That Succeed

On this episode of the PLM Quick 30 Podcast, host Patrick Sullivan from ArcherGrey is joined by Trish Torrizzo, CEO and Founder of Ascentiya. Listen on as they cover:

  • Secrets for planning strategic initiatives
  • Guiding principles of managing people and teams
  • The importance of gender, diversity  and inclusivity in the workplace
  • Building team confidence and custom programs

Patrick Sullivan:

Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of ArcherGrey’s PLM Quick 30, where we dive into all things PLM, digital thread, and digital transformation. Got to make sure we cover all those digital phrases here. I’m your host, Patrick Sullivan. And thank you for joining us today. If you’ve been struggling with how to build teams that succeed, you’re in luck, because that’s our topic of discussion today. I’m really excited for the conversation.

Patrick Sullivan:

We have a special guest today who has a tremendous career starting off as a consultant at Accenture and moving into various VP and CIO positions for a number of companies, including Fortune 500. Her unique approach and trail of successes has led her to a path that’s resulted in the creation of our own company, and I should say companies that help people achieve an inclusive culture. Now, if that’s a new term for you, then you’re about to learn about it, and how it can help you build a team that succeeds.

Patrick Sullivan:

So our guest today is Trish Torizzo, who is the CEO and Founder of the Ascentiya. In addition, she is the managing partner at Triple Hill Consulting, which is a management consulting company that offers advisory services for digital transformation. So, Trish, thank you. Thank you very much for spending some time with us today.

Trish Torizzo:

Thanks, Patrick. Happy to be here.

Patrick Sullivan:

Oh, great. So I’ve given a brief introduction. So would you mind filling in the gaps and telling a little bit more about your story?

Trish Torizzo:

Sure. So, as you said, I started in consulting, which seems like a million years ago. But that was Andersen Consulting, which later became Accenture. That led to a career in big in process, business process, but also systems, and that was back in the day with the big ERP implementations, which was a new journey for so many companies. And so, I just started out specializing there, leading those types of initiatives, having to build teams quickly often to achieve those results, build teams, disassemble teams, rebuild teams.

Trish Torizzo:

And then eventually, I did move into … Left the consulting, started working with one of my clients at the time, which is Boston Scientific, and took on a role there. And then one thing led to another. But I would say one thing that’s consistent across all the roles I’ve had as a CIO or head of IT in different companies was the need for speed, the need to build teams that were high performing, would achieve the results that the company really was keen on obtaining. And like I said, oftentimes in the world of IT, you’re building teams and then you’re disassembling teams and then building another team in somewhat of a pivot, and then same thing, disassembling. So, I have had a good time doing that and creating those teams for the companies.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. Well, thanks for filling in some of that background, the idea of building and rebuilding. It’s fun to think about when you’re watching your local team, whatever sport it is. You’re not thinking about rebuilding, but when you’re talking about a company and you’ve got these corporate initiatives that you’re … Like you said, race against time. Sometimes the luxury of building a team … I don’t know. I mean, how do you approach those types of scenarios?

Patrick Sullivan:

And I guess if we rewind a little bit and just explore this life that you’ve laid out as a CIO, I mean, let’s talk about the justification for the programs, first of all. Because like you said, the corporation has objectives that they want to achieve. And so, how do you analyze and justify and prioritize these investments in the first place? And are you thinking about the dynamic of the team and whether or not you need to rebuild? Or are you deciding what programs you’re going to pursue it first?

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah, that’s a great question. The best way to go about this certainly is the IT leaders not building the investment plan. However, the IT leader is coordinating the efforts across the company to determine what should be on the investment roadmap for the three to five-year technology roadmap. I think it’s our remit as leaders and technology through our partnerships to sit down with our divisional presidents, our functional leaders, and review or ask, what’s your strap map look like?

Trish Torizzo:

What is your business strategy for finance or for division A or division B or supply chain or manufacturing? And it’s our job to coordinate those discussions, understand what they’re trying to achieve. And then for that, what technology enablers will be required for them to achieve those results. And then pull everybody together, and say, okay, in aggregate, this is what you’re all driving. Our job is to look for those synergies across time.

Trish Torizzo:

And then our job is also having a point of view about how much can a company take on at any point in time in addition to its core operations. So, again, I see our role as coordinator of all of that, that results in that three to five-year technology roadmap. In all of that, obviously, that return, so while we should not be in charge or accountable for the ROI of these initiatives, again, I think we champion and carry the torch and coordinate the efforts that drive, what is the value of each investment, what’s it going to bring back to the table to grow the top line or to reduce the OpEx.

Trish Torizzo:

And then our job, again, I think, is to organize and facilitate a rank order of that. So what are we going to take on this year as a company? And usually, creating a committee that at a minimum has a CEO and the CFO at the table of, okay, here’s all the great stuff the entire company wants to do. Here’s what value each of these are going to bring, either top line or reducing OpEx. And then from there, that committee drives what will and will not be done in any given year.

Patrick Sullivan:

How frequent is it that either a particular division or the screechy wheel gets the grease, versus what’s best for … What you described is that, ideally, there’s a governance methodology in place and there’s a decision making process that’s fluid. Is it always that well designed or is it often … I don’t know.

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah, I …

Patrick Sullivan:

Are there some curveballs in there?

Trish Torizzo:

I think many companies struggle with this. It’s either the, hey, who got to the line first with an idea, and then off that goes. There’s not many companies out there that have that rigor in place. I mean, there are some, but many that I’ve worked with have needed this to be installed. And I would say what you see a lot of companies do is their annual planning, and then who’s got money to do something or who’s first in or the ideas first there. Rather than that really, really what I call value based operations. What’s going to bring the greatest value to the entire company?

Trish Torizzo:

And that means different things for different companies. In a particular year, maybe the greatest value is reducing OpEx because there’s maybe a lot of cost pressure for a company. Maybe for another company, that value, the greatest value is growing top line. And I think devising, it’s also our job to devise what weight are we going to give to each of those. What weight are we going to give to reducing risk? What weight are we going to give to growing top line? What weight are we going to give to reducing OpEx?

Trish Torizzo:

So that we can judge fairly all the investments that are coming in. In terms of the agility, if it’s done annually, that’s still good. But obviously, the world doesn’t work on an annual calendar. Stuff happens every day. And so, you lay the plan out. But a week after you lay the plan, something’s happened. The company decided they’re going to acquire another company or they’re announcing acquisition or they’re divesting something or they’re restructuring.

Trish Torizzo:

There’s always something to disrupt the best laid plan and having not just the governance model in place of what you’re going to do annually, but also a process to take in anything additional, like a walk-on type of initiative and weigh that against other things that are out there. And are we just going to add it to? And what does that do to us? Not just on the delivery side, what does it do to us operationally? Will we have enough people in the different business functions to take all of this on and run the business? And looking through that, again, it’s our role to paint that picture so that decision-makers can make a thoughtful decision.

Patrick Sullivan:

My interpretation of what you said was that there’s objectives that people want to achieve. You look at the systems and the processes associated to it and decide how are you going to judge success from a value perspective and you’re a facilitator of that. When do you start to pay attention to the people side of things? Is that incorporated in those first two? Or do you build the roadmap first and you say, we can take these on because we’ve got good teams and these … Is that part of the ranking system?

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah, and that’s a great question. When you’re taking on what’s of highest value and then you’re going to paint a picture, so you all agree, what’s of highest value, what would the weeding of these different categories? And you could then start painting out what does that multiyear roadmap look like and what does it look like in year one. A good approach is to lay that out, load it as if you … I don’t want to say have infinite resources. But responsibly lay out what you believe would be feasible, but don’t overconstrain yourself.

Trish Torizzo:

Because, again, if you’re trying to … A lot of companies, I think, end up stifling growth without thinking about how can they creatively get a lot of work done that might exceed their own capacity. A good approach is lay these things out. Again, there’s got to be somewhat about feasibility considered in there. And then really think creatively about how you would go about getting this done, and what people, what resources it would take out of the organization. Obviously, IT is rarely the limiting factor. It’s will you have enough people in finance?

Trish Torizzo:

Or will you have enough people in manufacturing or in sales of division one and loading at an aggregate level? I call it an aggregate roadmap of initiatives loading in the resources below and understanding, is it feasible and where it’s not? Where do you get locked up? See what you can adjust at the aggregate level of when you would start initiative. Sliding something just one month to the right might unlock an issue and working it there. And then, again, think creatively. I think another lever and then add the cost to the program is backfilling resources in a company.

Trish Torizzo:

Oftentimes, that’s thought about too late. Because people say, wow, it’s going to take three months for somebody to get up to speed. And then it’d be useful to get in the position to be able to pull the guy out who’s doing that job today to go on a project. But if you knew about that six months before you started the project, it shouldn’t be a limiting factor. So think about backfill opportunities to be able to get this work done, so that you bake it into the cost of the program and you have plenty of lead time to make that work.

Patrick Sullivan:

That’s sound advice right there. There’s an art to planning, and that’s in the estimating, and everybody in an organization has to estimate and plan at some point. And then it really takes experience and probably overcoming some challenges throughout your career to be able to talk about that and say, hey, listen, sliding it one way there back and forth could alleviate the problem. Always incorporate backfill into your plan of what if X, Y, Z happens.

Patrick Sullivan:

I mean, it’s a little difficult from our perspective because we’ll tell our clients will say, listen, we know that you’re experienced at this, but you should bake in. We recommend 30%. We understand that may be tough for you to get. But 30% to accommodate potential shifts and schedules or things that pop up that you don’t anticipate that you will be able to accommodate because you plan for it. It’s a tough conversation.

Trish Torizzo:

It is. And I think our role is illustrating that. A picture speaks a thousand words, as they say. Like illustrating what this multiple investments under one timeline and then the resource requirements for that and how to solve it, moving these pieces around and how to solve, and then where you really get jammed up where there’s no choice but the backfill. Being able to illustrate that, again, to executives and people that need to make a decision, it’s our job to make that crystal clear. So it’s easy to understand and simple.

Trish Torizzo:

Oftentimes, I think companies struggle because they’re running projects in silos and it’s hard for them to see the cumulative effect of that on the organization. And illustrating that cumulative effect, but not after the fact, what that cumulative effect has in 6 months or 9 months, or 12 and 18 months, allows for this type of planning and incorporating those costs into programs.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah, yeah. That’s a great point. If you don’t mind, I want to jump onto this people side of things around building teams. So what are some of your … So you’ve got your plan laid out and now we’re talking about the people aspect of this and we’ve anticipated some type of backfill scenarios. What are some of your key strategies when you’re building a team to pursue these programs?

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah. Earlier on, when you would ask to give a little bit about myself, I use the word assemble and disassemble, assemble and disassemble. I think for anybody out there that’s running a portfolio of programs or projects or initiatives, thinking really nimbly about people and the kind of role that they can fill on different initiatives is critical. We don’t want to be, at the same time, spreading people across multiple initiatives, can create a lot of retooling burden that will consume a significant portion of a person’s capacity.

Trish Torizzo:

So if you have one person on 10 initiatives and on Monday, they’re working on to, and on Tuesday, working on to, they will tell you themselves, they spend time emotionally retooling to get out of one thing and back into another. That, at the end of the week, they’ve spent 25% of their time retooling to move between a number of initiatives. I think being thoughtful about how we plan resources across different initiatives. So you don’t have a retooling burden. I’ll call it the guiding principle I always think about.

Trish Torizzo:

Another guiding principle is understanding what a team needs to be at the start of a program and not being afraid to imagine what a team needs to be at a different phase in the program. And for some really larger IT transformational initiatives, you might start out with a certain structure, operating structure for a team. And oftentimes, there comes a point where you have to pivot and change that structure of the team to get from the beginning that might have been requirements through design, through development.

Trish Torizzo:

You might get into testing, you need to now pivot the team in a different form with different, leaders running different stacks of work to get from testing out to deploy. And so, again, another guiding principle is don’t feel that the team you put in place and the structure of the team you put in place at the beginning needs or should be the structure at the end. So, you have an operating model.

Patrick Sullivan:

How do you handle the potential communication factor of that? Because the intent of the design or the intent of the requirements and that traceability associated to that, who’s carrying that torch if the team is shifting from one major phase to, for instance, the testing phase?

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah, exactly. And it’s not that you’re taking every people off the team and putting them on another team and bringing in new characters, it’s the structure of the team that you’ve put in and who’s leading stacks or work streams. And what their role is, at the earlier phase, and then what it becomes in later phase and maybe making a pivot of who’s leading, testing. Somebody who’s leading maybe a phase of the requirements, phase for design might not be the best suited person to lead a testing phase. Again, don’t feel like you have to stay locked in with certain leadership positions. And nothing here should ever change the artifacts that we’re talking about, traceability matrix of your artifacts from requirements all the way through design and develop and test.

Patrick Sullivan:

So going back to why you started Ascentiya, I want to bring up the topic of … I don’t know if this is a sensitive topic, so we can steer clear, but gender and building teams and some of the other points associated to it. Is it important, the balance of it? And if so, why?

Trish Torizzo:

Right, right. Patrick, it’s been a journey for, I think, all of us. And when we think about what life was like, I don’t know, 20 years ago, and you think about all the journals and the articles that we read and whether it’s Harvard Business Review or any of the others, and back then, we were told, if you’re diverse, you’re going to win, you’re going to have a winning team, you’re going to beat out competition. We were just told it was about diversity. So we blindly ran out there and, well, I need to be diverse. Look, I’m an IT department. I got all males on my team. I need to shake it up.

Trish Torizzo:

Let’s get to your point: gender. Let’s get some women in here. Let’s get people of color in here. Just because we were told diversity wins. And so, why were we told that? Well, lots of good reasons, diverse thinking. It’s not just about gender, but it’s about … I mean, the idea of gender, if you’re out there developing a product and the people developing the product don’t represent the people who are going to purchase the product, are you really going to develop the best product for your consumers?

Trish Torizzo:

So there’s all kinds of different scenarios that say, diversity brings greater robust thinking, well-rounded thinking about what we’re developing, how we develop it. Diversity comes in many different forms, not just gender and race. And it’s also how long in career, so somebody new, fresh in the industry might bring new perspectives to some of us who’ve been in it for 20 or 30 years. I think everybody agrees there’s value to diversity. But we blindly jumped in just saying, alright, great, let’s go get some young people. Let’s get women on the team.

Trish Torizzo:

Let’s get people of color around the team. Now, everybody’s recognizing, so those two letters at the end of D, E and I, the E and I, we really probably had it backward. We were driving for diversity, but we didn’t have inclusive cultures and environments. And so, when building these teams, one thing to think about, aside from the practical terms of what it takes to deliver and how you structure a team from an operating model, but if you do want that diversity, you have to ensure that you’ve got an inclusive culture first.

Trish Torizzo:

I think that’s the journey many companies are making. And I say journey because there’s a lot to this subject. And that’s part of what we do at Ascentiya. We partner with companies to really take that journey to create an inclusive culture so that they can achieve their diversity objectives.

Patrick Sullivan:

That term may be new to some folks listening, so inclusive culture. Can you please expand on it and give some examples around it?

Trish Torizzo:

Sure. Ascentiya is really simple. Does everybody feel welcomed? Do they feel valued? Do they feel like they belong? Do they feel like they’re part of the team? Those words belonging, valued, welcomed, and then the word feeling around that, that’s all individual. And the way I like to explain it for somebody … There’s an easy way to think about it. Think of a zebra in a herd of elephants. The herd of elephants will often, and individuals in the herd when you’re part of the gang or part of the herd, you act in a certain way that sometimes without even knowing what you’re doing.

Trish Torizzo:

Things that you’re saying or not saying, things that you’re doing or not doing, things that you’re even thinking or not thinking, create and send a message to the zebra that you’re not welcomed here. And there were little subtle things. What makes this really hard, Patrick, for everybody is that there are things that, first, the person in the herd doesn’t even know they’re doing it because it’s hardwired behavior. And nobody else sees it. And the only person who sees it or feels it is the zebra. And so, it’s really a tough one to get your arms around.

Trish Torizzo:

And that’s what this journey is really about for many companies, is understanding, what are those things that are invisible to us? And how do we create awareness so that we can recognize those? How can we tune in so that we don’t make these mistakes and we don’t send the message to people? You’re not welcomed. You don’t belong. You shouldn’t be here. You’re not valued.

Patrick Sullivan:

Is there an example that you can think of that would help? I like the analogy, and maybe this is deeper than you want to go, but …

Trish Torizzo:

That’s okay.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. Is there an example that you can share with us?

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah, exactly. And it’s something really, for your listeners, particularly … I’m assuming many are in some kind of technology, engineering or R&D or IT. I know we’ve all struggled with it. Myself, as a leader, I’ve always leaned on HR like, bring more women, bring more people of color. Where are they? And then we hire some and we’d be high fiving each other like, yeah, we get some in. And then people are resigning. The zebras are resigning. I could never get my organizations above a certain number, like above 15% women in IT. Or it’s always a challenge.

Trish Torizzo:

And so, examples of things, and again, I want to say to your listeners, these things that we do, that people in the herd do, don’t even know that they’re doing it. Because I don’t want to send anybody, like put anybody off like, here, you should go feel guilty because you shun it. These things that we do are hardwired into us from the time we’re in the cradle, and we’re socialized and they’re firmed up through socialization as we grow and move through life. So I want to put that out there before I give any examples of people like, oh, you call me the bad guy over here.

Trish Torizzo:

We’re not bad guys. But really, everybody is socialized in this way. So some examples that you hear people often, often share that happens to them. One example is when you’re the zebra, it takes just a few minutes in a meeting, a handful of minutes for the herd, people in the herd, just completely stop making eye contact with you in a meeting. And you could be sitting in a chair and you notice. If you’re the zebra, you notice like, wait a minute, nobody’s even looking. There’s no eye contact.

Trish Torizzo:

People will start talking around the room and they literally jump over across around you as they’re engaging with each other. And you can imagine what that would feel like. If you’re the zebra, you’re like, why is nobody talking to me? Why is nobody … It just feels bad. It feels like … I always tell people, if that’s hard for you to imagine because it’s never happened, you’ve probably not been the zebra in a corporate environment. Maybe you could think back to a time when you’re a kid and like, I don’t know, you weren’t part of the cool kid.

Trish Torizzo:

What did it feel like when the people weren’t engaging you or in a sport or something like that? What did it feel like? Because these types of things happen in a corporate environment often, and they send messages to certain groups or individuals of underrepresented groups in a company that they’re not welcome. So that’s one example.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah, that’s a really good example. And it’s a soft one. Just like you said, it’s hardwired into how you may not even notice that it’s happening because you’re so comfortable within the group that you don’t see the folks that may not have the same comfort level. It’s tough to have awareness of that if you’ve never been taught to be aware of it.

Trish Torizzo:

Right. Oftentimes, another one, I call it the spin the bottle. And again, this is what people have told me that happens all the time. Oftentimes, women will tell you that when … And they can even be more senior than other people in a room. And let’s say, I don’t know, there’s eight people and one woman and somebody will come in and they’ll ask, start asking the question. And of course, your viewers can’t see me now, but somebody who asked the question, a guy maybe will come in, and say, “So, has anybody here ordered lunch for today?”

Trish Torizzo:

And the word today, it will always land on the female, like the question mark lands … That’s why I call it spin the bottle. When it comes to the question mark, it lands to the one female in the room. And then everybody looks at her like, so did order lunch? And it could be like the SVP of whatever in the room. And there’s just an assumption that oftentimes the … Or the same spin the bottle happens with who’s going to take the notes or who’s going to take meeting minutes. Some of these administrative type things, it’s just assumed that if there’s a woman in the room, the herd just assumes that that’s the person who should do it.

Patrick Sullivan:

Right, right, yeah. That’s very subtle. I mean …

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah, it is. It’s very subtle. And like I said, the only person who notices is like, so … And then here’s something else that happens and why at Ascentiya we want to have these dialogues with companies that want to … They really want to tune into this because they don’t want to send those messages. We work with them to go through these types of examples and understand what this is, what it looks like, how to recognize it, and then what kind of culture do you want to build. How do you start the journey to correct that?

Trish Torizzo:

And while we have that conversation, I like to share, hey, it’s not … While it’s important, so when we talk about why is inclusivity important, because we talk about diversity, but why is inclusivity important? Well, you just simply want everybody to feel welcomed and to contribute. You’ve gone out of your way to hire people in your organization. But if they feel like they’re not valued or welcomed or what it is, you can imagine how they’ll start not contributing, not participating, and start looking for a job or just be disengaged.

Trish Torizzo:

That’s one way to think about it, is your employees and just wanting them to feel good, but also wanting them to contribute because you brought them into the organization to be part of it. And something else to think about, though, is if this is happening with your employees, there’s likely commercial losses you’re experiencing and don’t even know. I can give a number of examples, of personal examples of where things were said or done where somebody was trying to sell me as a CIO something, and it was just so … What should I say? I don’t even know how to label it.

Trish Torizzo:

But it was a big misstep on a salesperson’s part to say something that they didn’t even realize. And for me, I could be like, well, that’s fine, I’ll still give them … I’ll award them this $100 million work. Or I’ve got four other people who are bidding on it anyway, why would I go with this person? And sharing some of those examples with companies about, okay, it’s about how engaged are your employees? But also, are there commercial losses you’re experiencing that you’re not even aware of it?

Patrick Sullivan:

I mean, some of this is just tripping my mind a little bit. But let me see if I can reverse that statement around commercialization. Because oftentimes, when people are … And we talked about it at the beginning of this conversation about ROI and unlocking value and laying out a roadmap and we’re talking about technology process, primarily. And then we started to dive into this people thing. And the people planning aspect of it typically stops at capacity and in expertise. And that’s the planning.

Patrick Sullivan:

And now what we’re talking about is this whole other feeling of engagement and that trickle down effect of whether or not they feel inclusive, which is going to create a better team, a better result. So if we take your last comment, and we’re talking about the potential consequences, like the potentially negative side of not paying attention to inclusivity, if you reflect on your career, can you speak to any impact of your strategies where you’ve successfully made progress on inclusivity and on the past programs and the benefit from pursuing that strategy?

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah. I’ll be honest, Patrick. This is a journey for so many people. I can think of a couple of times where I’ve had an opportunity to come in and rethink an organization. What should the operating model be for a company? And like a zero-based budgeting, zero-based operating model design and requisite organization to support that design, building that organization out. So I’ve been able to do that a couple times. And in doing that, holding the line and saying, look, it might take five times longer to fill a role with a diverse candidate than to fill it with any candidate for the general people who would normally feel that.

Trish Torizzo:

And holding out was painful, because as a leader, until you fill those positions, you are filling those positions. I mean, somebody’s gotta do the work. In one company, I felt like I was in six boxes. And you’re trying to hold up the teams. You got these critical positions that are open. Filling those positions with diverse candidates helped in drawing a line saying, look, I’ve got a leadership team, there’s going to be eight senior vice presidents, I think half we should fill with diverse candidates so that they can then drive and give them the same remit, them and in all, all senior leaders, the remit that they should be driving diversity through.

Trish Torizzo:

And again, I’ll say this, for me, back then, it was all about the diversity first, and we weren’t looking at the inclusivity. And I can say that we felt the impact, but didn’t know why. And this idea of putting the I first and making that the priority, I don’t want to say it’s new for many because we’ve always talked about it. The importance of it and the critical importance and how it’s actually a dependency to the diversity is where many of us are. So, in the past, I thought I was doing the right thing because I was taking care of the D.

Trish Torizzo:

But not really understanding what was happening on the floor of my departments, what was happening in the meetings. And were these types of things happening, yes or no? And really addressing that, I was like many other people struggling to bring in diverse candidates and retain diverse candidates because of what was happening that I couldn’t see around inclusivity. It’s the work I’m doing now to help companies get there. But again, it’s a newer space for many people.

Patrick Sullivan:

I mean, it’s really an epiphany, quite frankly. Because there’s the recognition that it’s happening. And so, you try to deal with the culture to raise awareness and then mentor, train. I mean, it’s a human thing.

Trish Torizzo:

That’s right.

Patrick Sullivan:

It’s not like you can go into training.

Trish Torizzo:

That’s exactly right. It’s a two … So, the model that we put in place for Ascentiya is, look, this stuff that happens, there’s a zebra and a herd. Does it impact every zebra out there? No, there’s plenty of women in male-dominated fields that have risen to the top. And there’s plenty of pick the zebra in whatever herd, but that’s not everybody. It’s not the majority. Many people don’t know how to manage those situations. The idea with the Ascentiya model is that we coach individuals.

Trish Torizzo:

And for us, our model is, it’s not exclusively to, but it is specifically to women in male-dominated fields, coaching them as individuals to develop the right tactics, to thrive in those environments. Not survive, but to thrive in those environments. Use those points, those things that happen as levers and leverage to drive your success because there’s ways to do it, at the same time, coach the company and their culture to become aware of that. Because neither one of these things are going to happen overnight. And by doing both, we think, well … And so, when we think of our ideal client, we think of a company that’s keen on changing the culture and keen on supporting the development of women in their organization.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. I mean, as you’re talking, just simply communication is the starting point and consistent like the north star. There’s empowerment of somebody who feels like the zebra. But if you feel like the zebra, it doesn’t mean that you have to necessarily retract, but they may not know how to communicate. They may not know the tools. They may not know the psychological impact of, oh, well, I don’t want to be combative. When really, if everybody is ready to have the conversation and willing to listen and willing to analyze themselves and express themselves in a real way, in a welcoming way, even if you disagree, we can still be colleagues and respect each other and thrive.

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah, Patrick, that’s right. I mean, there’s tactics that we share with women that are not even about directly addressing it. I mean, you can change the dynamic of a room very easily and subtly yourself. And what we teach women is, hey, look, what just happened? First off, if you’re just entering corporate, here’s stuff that’s going to happen. It’s just going to happen, be ready for it. And when it does, here’s what you should do. And so, we share that with them.

Trish Torizzo:

And most importantly, share, and it’s going to happen, not because you’re not valued, not because people think you don’t belong. It’s going to happen because people are wired in a certain way and it plays out in this way. So a big part of that is coaching that it’s not you. And coaching that before they walk into that, it goes a long way from a confidence perspective. Like, okay, it’s not me, this is a normal thing, this is what happens. That’s an important thing. And then working with companies to say every company has a culture that’s unique to them.

Trish Torizzo:

What is their … Are they running by tribe? Are they running by consensus? And working with them to say, what kind of a culture do we want to create around this? Do we want to be the kind of call it in the room when you see it? Or do we want to be the kind of to have a debrief later? Hey, I noticed whatever, but again, designing that with the company, so it’s customized to fit into who they are is really important as well.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. Well, I mean, I certainly love the evolution of your journey. And we spoke a little bit before this conversation, the podcast started recording about … It’s funny, we’re all pulling these technical process-related things where we’re accomplishing things on a list and oftentimes on a piece of paper, unless you’re a poet, you’re missing the emotional side of things. And I love that your journeys brought you to this emotional side of things and the sense of the community and how powerful community can be. So to that point, what type of results do your clients expect when they engage with you from the Ascentiya side?

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah. In terms of companies, from an inclusivity perspective and an awareness program, I think there’s a realistic expectation that they’re just beginning a journey that’s going to take a while. I’ve not met anybody who’s like, okay, so how do we fix this by November? I’ve got one client who has said like, it was something to the nature of, it took us four years to get here. We’re not going to get out of here in a month or in a short amount of time.

Trish Torizzo:

And when some of the things that we’re talking about, when we say how long it took us to get here, when we think about society, when we think about how we operate and how we’ve been trained to think and how our brains are wired and work, it’s been a lot longer than 40 years. This has been going on for a long time. There’s really realistic expectations that this is a journey we’re starting. I think there is, though at the same time, an expectation like, can you tell us what we should and should not do? Is there a decoder ring here? Is there a template?

Trish Torizzo:

Can you give me the directions? And that’s always a tough one. Because it’s not that simple. We don’t want people walking around in a company on eggshells. And we don’t want to say never use this word, never say that, never say this. Because so much of this is around judgment, and good judgment. To apply good judgment, you need to be aware of what these things are. The couple of examples that we talked about here, there are dozens and dozens and dozens of things that occur that send messages to a zebra, you don’t belong here, you shouldn’t be here, leave now.

Trish Torizzo:

And sharing what those are in a safe place so that people don’t feel guarded, they understand, it is the way it is, but let’s learn about it. Let’s find our awakening around this so that we’re aware of it, we’re cognizant of it. And then we could begin the journey.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah, that’s the comment that you made around being hardwired. I’m doing a self-analysis of some of the scenarios that you are bringing up and like, well, how am I hardwired? It takes a lot of discovery, even on just one topic for myself. I just love the work that you’re doing, and I love the topic. I think it’s not only fascinating but essential for us to continue to evolve on this journey of not just from a society perspective. But where you’re going to start.

Patrick Sullivan:

And I love that Ascentiya focuses on the individual, that may feel like the zebra to give them tools of empowerment to be able to communicate effectively. And not necessarily take this offensive approach, but arm them with ways of dealing with it when it happens and recognizing it. It’s something that exists that we need to deal with and you’re taking a positive approach to it. So I really love that you were willing to sit down with me on this podcast, share some of these thoughts, share your vision and your passion around it.

Patrick Sullivan:

One last question, because I know people are listening in management positions, executive positions. What advice would you give to them going back to the beginning while they’re developing and thinking strategically about these programs that they’re looking to pursue and succeed that’s tied to value and ROI? I mean, given this whole people conversation, I’m sure it’s a topic that would be new to them in their planning to be successful. What advice do you have for them to build successful teams so they achieve what they’re looking to achieve?

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah. This will sound like a big step deviation, step off of the inclusivity conversation we’ve just been having. This is going to sound so captain obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I see in companies this happening. I’m sure your listeners have as well, that you’ve got a really important initiative, really important investment. Great. You’ve rank ordered your stuff, everybody said, here’s our strategic imperatives that we need to deliver on. And then we go and we say, okay, who’s going to lead this thing?

Trish Torizzo:

And we say, well, let’s get that guy, he’s really well organized, or that person. They’re really well organized and they really want a new challenge. And we give it to them. But they don’t have the experience to deliver that kind of thing. And oftentimes, I would say these critical roles, these critical delivery roles, finding somebody who’s not just a clipboard carrying task manager, did you do your job, did you do your job. But somebody who truly is a delivery leader who understands all because they were in all aspects of delivery at a point in their career that you’re picking the right person regardless of what their gender, whatever you’re picking somebody who really has the experience to be successful.

Trish Torizzo:

And if you don’t have somebody, add the dollars, add the money into your program if you can and do it early, and bring somebody in who can partner with them so that they can learn them. But having them try to do this because they’ve got maybe some leverageable skills from something else, I mean, it’s oftentimes setting individuals up for failure and then having to worry about how to correct a program later or drive a recovery effort.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. And then you’re dealing with the backfill issue.

Trish Torizzo:

Yeah, exactly.

Patrick Sullivan:

Times with multiples attached to it.

Trish Torizzo:

Exactly, exactly. So it’s all about the right skill and the right seat, which I know is sometimes a lot easier said than done. But it’s critical to success, obviously.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. Well, Trish, I’ve really enjoyed the experience of being witness to all of your culminated success and the advice and where the journey has brought to you. I really appreciate you dealing with some of these difficult questions. I know they’re not topics that are normally covered related to PLM projects, specifically. But I think it’s essential for everybody to pay attention to this topic, have these conversations. And I really appreciate your insights. So thank you.

Trish Torizzo:

Thank you, Patrick. It’s been a pleasure.

Patrick Sullivan:

Alright. Well, thanks, everybody for listening to this episode. If you want more information on ArcherGrey or more information related to the great work that Trish is doing, go to ascentiya.com. You will see the transcript on our website. And if you need any additional information from ArcherGrey, please feel free to email us at info@archergrey.com. And Trish, I assume going to your website is the best way to get in touch with you, either Triple Hill Consulting or …

Trish Torizzo:

It is. Yeah, yeah. Or ascentiya.com or Triple Hill Consulting.

Patrick Sullivan:

Alright, alright. Great. Well, thanks, and have a great day.

Trish Torizzo:

Thanks so much, you too, Patrick.