338: Keeping Your Networks in Good Working Order with Glenna Crooks

By August 27, 2018Podcasts

Glenna Crooks says: "Reaching out for help is not just for you, it's for everybody else who's going to benefit from that as well."

Glenna Crooks illustrates the eight different kinds of networks everyone has and why you should make sure these work for you while you work for them.

You’ll Learn:

  1. The eight different kinds of networks in your life
  2. A method for successfully pruning your network
  3. The maximum number of connections each person can sustain

About Glenna

Glenna Crooks is a strategist, innovator and trusted counsel to leaders globally.  She was a Reagan appointee, global vice-president of Merck’s Vaccine Business and founder of a global strategy firm solving tough health care problems. She is active in academia, on boards, writes books and blogs, is a sought-after speaker and was recently named A Disruptive Woman to Watch. She is also a Zen artist and donates her paintings to support children with special needs.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Glenna Crooks Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Glenna, thanks so much for joining here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Glenna Crooks
It is such a pleasure to join you. I love the thoughtfulness that you bring to the questions in these interviews.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, well thank you. I appreciate that. Well, I’m excited to get into it. I think you’ve got a lot of great stuff to share. The first thing I want to hear you share is a tale of when you were five years old and you organized over 50 kids to create a circus in your backyard. What is this story here?

Glenna Crooks
First of all, I have to say I was a boomer, so on my block there were 50 kids. We were all about the same age. I can’t imagine a better sort of social life that I could have grown up with.

Now, why I decided to organize this circus, I don’t know, but it’s a credit to my mother’s patience that I’m here to tell the tale because I never told her, so she didn’t know until the day came. She was in the basement doing the laundry and saw all of these legs and people flocking into our backyard.

We had – some kids had dogs and so we had acts. We made costumes for the pets. We sold treats. I lived to tell the tale.  …

Pete Mockaitis
That is amazing.

Glenna Crooks
I think I’ve been organizing chaos ever since.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s so good. So many follow-ups here. First, how big is your backyard?

Glenna Crooks
You probably could have put a two car garage in it and maybe a little space besides that. We didn’t have a garage at the time so that gives you kind of an idea of the size.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh yes, so these kids were pretty packed in there.

Glenna Crooks
Yeah. We had adults – we invited our parents too. I just forgot to invite my own.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, were you punished or how did that go?

Glenna Crooks
No, not at all. My mom, when she tells me stories like this, she just sort of rolls her eyes and says, “I think they gave me the wrong baby at the hospital.”

Pete Mockaitis
Well, that’s impressive. I’m looking at my backyard right now and just imagining 50 kids in it because it sounds like it’s in the same ballpark of what you described. That’s wild. That would be a sight to see. Cool.

Yes, organizing chaos at a young age, putting together networks and making it happen for some cool results. You’ve got a book out called The Networksage. To what extent is it similar to circus organization for five-year-olds versus different or what’s the big idea here?

Glenna Crooks
Well, I have to give credit where credit is due and that’s to Robert Downey Junior. I happen to like action flicks and superheroes, so in 2007, after the first Iron Man trailer was released, I noticed an interview that he did in a fashion magazine.

In it he talked about how he had a pit crew of people helping him out: yoga teachers, sensei, a psychiatrist, his wife. But he said, “But I need a pit crew because after all I’m not a Model T; I’m a Ferrari.” He said, “And it takes more of a pit crew to keep us on the road.” Well, I must have been in a snarky mood that day because I thought to myself, “You know what? If you’re a Ferrari, I’m at least a Maserati.”

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, there you go.

Glenna Crooks
But you know what, you’re also right. It does take a put crew. Who’s mine? And how are they doing?

Then after a while I thought, “Uh-oh, I’m in other people’s pit crews. How am I doing?” Now I never actually had the courage to ask anyone, by the way, but I do know there were times I didn’t do it well enough. What a lot of those times had in common is that my pit crews let me down and because of that I let other people down.

The big idea here is that you have a pit crew; let them help. It was hiding in plain sight for me. Now I see that one of the most valuable assets we have is human capital, our own and that of the other people in our life, which is why the subtitle of the book is Realize Your Network’s Superpower because that pit crew that we have, that’s a real superpower for us.

Pete Mockaitis
It is. It is absolutely. I want to dig into that but first I want to just comment on how Robert Downey Junior made quite the physique transformation for that movie, Iron Man. It was amazing. He was just muscles on muscles, so I can imagine that would take numerous professionals in the area of nutrition or training in the gym. That must have been a brutal few months getting ready for that role.

Glenna Crooks
Right.

Pete Mockaitis
Which is why actors I guess get paid the big bucks. Well, that’s cool.

The pit crew notion, we’ve all got one. We’re all part of one and it’s a huge asset that is going on in our lives. We’re maybe sort of overlooking the value and importance of it. Understood.

Then, now you’ve actually gone ahead and categorized or segmented eight different network groups or types of pit crews that provide support in living life. Let’s see, could you maybe give us your one minute version or less explanation/definition/description of each of these eight types of pit crews.

Glenna Crooks
Sure. You want to hear all eight in one minute or-?

Pete Mockaitis
Let’s do it. One minute each. Eight minutes total.

Glenna Crooks
Okay. Eight minutes total. I’ll do it in less than that.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, you got it.

Glenna Crooks
In all I’ve categorized eight different networks. Now five of them I call birthright networks because we are born into them. Our parents create them for us. If you have kids, you’ve created them for your kids. This is going to make total sense. Remember said I said it was hiding in plain sight.

First, a family network. Second, a health and vitality network. Third an education and enrichment network. Fourth, a spiritual network. Fifth, a social and community network. Makes sense, right?
Now from the time that you’re quite young, you start shaping and changing those networks to suit yourself, but you will never outgrow what those networks provide for you.

Now then you mature into three other networks. The first one is a career network, which is how we usually think about networks and networking. The second is a home and personal affairs network. Personal affairs being things like your lawyer, your accountant, your car dealer, your banker, people like that.

Then there’s a final network I call ghost. Now, I didn’t set out to find ghost, but I’ve been doing research now with hundreds of people ranging in age from 7 to 87 for the last ten years, looking deeply into their lives and the people in it and ghosts started showing up.

Now ghost are people who used to be in your life who are no longer, either they’ve passed away, they’ve moved away, your paths diverged. Let me just think about it. Your third grade best friend, are you still in touch? A lot of us have lost touch with our college roommates, for goodness sakes.

Now, it’s important to know about ghost because there’s at least two or three really important types. One I call friendly. These are the people who loved you and you knew it. If you think about them, they warm your heart. They’re the people you should think about when you’re having a bad day.

Then you have another group I call hungry. These are the ones that left you with a bruise and a hole in your heart. Now, I call them hungry because you couldn’t satisfy them and you can’t satisfy them now, but guess what? You’re still trying. Not with them of course, because they’re not around anymore, but with people or in situations who remind you of them.

For me, instead of thinking about my grandfather, who was a friendly ghost, for me, when I’m having a bad day, it’s those hungry ghosts who come out and they pitch a tent in my office. They sort of scream at me all day and undermine what I’m trying to accomplish.

Understanding that even people who are not really present in your life today are still having an impact on you, is important for trying to be awesome in your job.

Just like your health and vitality network serves a really important role, not just because of your health but in that network is where I place the people who help you look good. One of the things we know is that attractive people make a quarter of a million dollars more over the course of their lifetime than unattractive people.

Pete Mockaitis
Now you mean literally physically looking good, like your pores are tight, your body fat is low and you’re muscles are toned and you’re glowing with your flesh, that kind of looking good?

Glenna Crooks
Well, there are certain characteristics that contribute to attractiveness that are just plain genetic, but grooming, having a good haircut and wearing good clothes and looking good that way also goes a long way. People who do, sell more products. They have a kind of a halo effect that they wear that really translates into hardcore income dollars for them.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Let’s dig into a little bit more detail here. Family networks, I get it. You’re right, that’s your aunts, uncles, mom, dad, brothers, sister, nieces, nephews, et cetera. Health and vitality you laid out, helping you look good physically in terms of the grooming and appearance and what not. What do you mean by education and enrichment networks?

Glenna Crooks
I mean education that prepares you for your job. Whatever it takes for you, whatever degree is required. Then enrichment, things like museums and the arts are part of enrichment.

In your spiritual network you may be a member of a religious congregation, but then you may also have connections with other people outside of a congregation for experiences you consider spiritual. For some people that’s reading poetry, tor other people, it’s walking in the woods, as examples.

Your social and community networks, the people in your neighborhood. Then of course as you get older and you can move around the city on your own and take mass transit or drive your car, being able to get out and around, the community organizations that you volunteer would be examples there.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, understood. Then let’s talk about the career then.

Glenna Crooks
Well, the career network is really interesting from my perspective. There’s four different groups that I place in this career network.

The first one is your workplace or where your job is. You have an official org chart for example. You have a job. You work within a hierarchy of a boss or a supervisor. You may have direct reports and then you’ve got people in a company who support you: HR, finance, so on.

There’s also another group and that’s your career networking group. Now this could be a professional society that you’re a part of or some sort of affinity group. Maybe you’re in marketing and you’re part of a marketing organization that meets from time to time. Or perhaps you’re part of a group that supports women in business or minorities in business for networking and career growth purposes.

The third group within the career network is your career education network. Now lots of companies today are providing educational opportunities for employees within a company, but then some employees decide they really want to do their own thing outside.

Maybe go for an advanced degree or maybe there’s a skill set that they want to build and they prefer to do that own their own than do it within a company or maybe the company doesn’t offer it. They take courses or do independent study on their own as part of that group.

Then finally you have a group that helps you with career transitions. If you are – have lost a job or if you are thinking about changing a job, there are networks that you can reach out to to help in that regard.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Understood. That’s a nice line up there in terms of segmenting the universe of pit crews and then having some sub-segments there.

I’m intrigued though, once you kind of go through this list, I think you’ll sort of notice some things that are strong and wonderful and some things that are lacking. Maybe right now we’re looking for a good carpet provider. I guess that shows up in home and personal affairs. What do you do then if you find that you’re lacking or you’ve got a hole or two in some key networks? How do you go about filling that hole?

Glenna Crooks
My comment about that is most people first of all don’t even know who’s in these networks. We haven’t had a structure for thinking about it. We think maybe this is data available in our Outlook contact database or maybe we can connect through LinkedIn or we can go on Facebook or Angie’s List or whatever, but because we haven’t had a comprehensive way or a framework to look at these things, the kind of find me a fill-in-the-blank-type person, tends to be hit or miss.

In addition to that, my research shows that a lot of our networks are way overloaded. I’m a gardener for example, before I plant, I weed. That’s what most people need to do in their networks. There’s lots of books out there and tools out there to help you network, like LinkedIn or like an Angie’s group to find the carpet supplier you would like. You can also get referrals from your friends.

What I have found is people know how to solve that problem. What they don’t know how to do is to look at all of their networks and decide how to prune and cut back so that they free up the bandwidth they need to go on and do more and better things and have the sort of life that they want to have.

To help do that, I’ve categorized or defined three different types of people within your network. Some I call primary.

Those who are primary are the ones who are closest into your heart. If they passed away, if they cut off the connection with you, you would be devastated, so a spouse, a child, a boss, your best clients, and even yourself. You’ve got to have yourself on that list. Those people are primary. Why I put you on this list will be important when I get to the next type. I call those support.

For everybody who is primary for you, you have certain intentions. You want your children to grow up to be healthy and well-educated and acculturated in your traditions. You want your boss to successful. You want your direct reports to have the resources that they need in order to do their jobs. You want your clients to be served well with the products or the services that you provide them.

Now, so for every one of those people who are primary and the intentions that you have, some people are supporting you to do that. It’s important to understand that’s their role. Their role is to be a support.

Everybody else is transactional, which doesn’t mean they’re not a human being who deserves dignity and kindness and all of that. It just means that if – you’re not going to have a special outreach to them if they get sick or you’re not going to worry if they decide that they’re going to move on to some other job or location.

The first thing people need to do is understand that distinction, once they know who’s in their life in all their networks. Then what they need to do is be very strategic about what they want to ask for. They need to know what they need.

Just telling me that you are looking for somebody to carpet your home doesn’t necessarily tell me enough. I want to know if it’s important to you that it – is price an issue for you? Is service quality? Is a warranty? Is the convenience of them showing up at a particular date? Will they move the furniture out of the room first or do you have to do that?

Pete Mockaitis
Is it CRI green label plus certified?

Glenna Crooks
Yes. Those are the – when you ask yourself those questions and you have clarity, then when you go out to get the referral, you know with much greater specificity what to ask for. Then – what I can tell you from my research, by the way, is that there are patterns in terms of what people lack in these networks. I know, for example, that if I am talking to a young man, he probably doesn’t have a physician.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s so funny. I was just chatting with a couple young men about this exact topic yesterday. One of them was like, “I know I’ve got to find a primary care physical.” And the other one, well he recently had a health scare, so now he has one. This is coming up just yesterday. It was quite common. It was interesting.

Glenna Crooks
Well, and I know if I’m talking to couples with young children, they don’t have custodial arrangements for the kids in the event of their death. I also know that lots of people must not have an attorney because 70% of adult Americans don’t have an up-to-date will.

There are some sort of hot spots within our networks. I think within a career network it’s so common today now to talk about finding a mentor and a sponsor that it will be obvious to people right away when they’ve made their list if there’s a mentor or a sponsor who’s missing.

Then with the clarity of knowing what it is they’re looking for. Do they want a mentor to help them change careers into a different field or do they want a mentor to help them go up the ladder within their own company? With that sort of clarity they’ll then know how to reach out to others and find that right mentor.

Pete Mockaitis
I love it. Just having that clear set of – I’m thinking about needs, I’m thinking about network categories and sub-categories and the specific match-up associated with them sort of highlight some needs and some people to fill in there. I want to talk a little bit about the pruning element. How – what are some indicators that someone should be pruned and how does one go about doing that?

Glenna Crooks
It’s probably one of the biggest surprises when people hear about this when they ask me that question. I say, I don’t really have to talk about this with people because once they see all of the people in their networks, they instantly see changes that they want to make. Even just making the list, people start to – they write somebody’s name down and they say, “Ew, I wish they weren’t around.”

Now, some people can never leave your network. If you’ve got a problem with your sister-in-law, you kind of can’t – you can’t un-sister-in-law yourself.

But what I – the other pattern that I have found is that the people who are the most successful at doing this pruning start with the transactional connections they have, again, that’s the – those are the least important. They are the most easily replaced. Then they move on to the support connections.

For example, I’ll use myself and a story about me. I have a – if I make an appointment, if somebody requires I have an appointment, like a doctor or a hairdresser or a manicurist, I’m willing to wait, but not long. I had people in those categories who always kept me waiting. Once I almost missed a flight because of it. Now I replace them just because I could see it. I could be very clear about what I wanted and then I could seek out someone who was better.

Here’s the other data from my research. Very frequently people think they have a problem in a primary relationship, a primary connection, with a spouse, with a boss. Those are the two biggest complaints I get: my spouse and my boss. What people find is when they have pruned and then replaced with better services, those people who are support and transactional, the problems with the boss and the spouse go away. That wasn’t the problem.

So much of what was happening was people were in the workforce, they were giving the best of themselves away all day, they went home and they had nothing left for the one they loved the most. Or conversely, the rest of their networks were such a mess— they had unreliable childcare or they were also caring for a pet who was then sick or they had an older relative they were helping out and a neighborhood that was not terribly supportive.

You put all of those things together and it was difficult to go to work with a clear head. I now realize myself doing my networks that the biggest career setbacks that I encountered came from being a homeowner.

Pete Mockaitis
Really?

Glenna Crooks
Well, I’m single and everybody talked to me, my financial advisors and so on about the money. “Could I afford the down payment,” and the upkeep and so on? Nobody said, “Do you have the bandwidth to manage 20 people,” because that’s what it takes.

Pete Mockaitis
Yes, it does.

Glenna Crooks
If you get up in the morning and find a leak in the roof or under the kitchen sink, you don’t exactly go off to work with a clear head. Or in my case since I travel globally, get on a plane and fly to Singapore and be fully present on the job. That was an insight that I didn’t have until Robert Downey Junior came along.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. That’s good stuff. So then when it comes to the pruning, I guess I’m having a little bit of a hard time as I think about my own collection of people who I don’t really want there. Maybe I’m not thinking hard enough or maybe I’ve already pruned.

I guess there have been no dramatic exchanges like, “I am terminating our relationship.” Like that never – that conversation hasn’t ever happened I guess explicitly. I guess I’m wondering, am I missing something or do you think maybe I just pruned. Are some people, are they already pruned by the time they get to you and they’re chatting?

Glenna Crooks
No. Everybody prunes. Everybody. Everybody downsizes something. People who entertain in their home decide they’re not going to do that anymore. It’s too much effort to clean the house and take care of the kids and prepare the meal. They take other people out for dinner instead or they only have potlucks and it’s in the backyard and people don’t come into the house. They make those kinds of changes.

Now I have seen in my research people who do make a coffee date with a support connection like a friend and say, “You know what? This relationship has been all take and me giving and you taking. It’s not been balanced. And so, this is not the kind of relationship that I want.”

I say much to the credit of the other person, they have said, “You know what? You’re right. I want to be a better friend. Tell me how to do that,” which I think is another part of this having clarity and telling people what you want.

And for anyone that you support as a part of their pit crew, if they haven’t told you what they want, we both know you’re not a mind reader, ask them. “What’s your definition of quality? What is it that you want from me? Let’s see if I can deliver that or not. Or maybe I can but not every day.”

Pete Mockaitis
Well, yes, that’s exactly where I want to go next is thinking about this giving and taking. What are some pro tips to making sure that we don’t fall on either side of that to be almost always the giver and sort of left void or almost always the taker and to be kind of a selfish person who’s burning some bridges along the way?

Glenna Crooks
The people that I have seen who have been the most successful at this are the people who’ve really looked at their own lives first and all of their networks, and then they’ve started by – and they’ve done a bit of pruning and they’ve created some bandwidth and time and energy for themselves because of that – and then what they’ve done is reached out to important people, shared that information and asked them to do the same because what that does is start to give you insights into each other’s lives.

This, by the way, happens best in the most intimate relationships, between spouses for example.

Couples divide workload. One person in the couple knows something that the other person does not. If one dies, the other loses more than half their heart, they lose all their information that their partner had. In my data are couples where a young woman died and left her husband without such basic information as the name of the children’s pediatrician.

Or – and many people now are moving into a stage of life where they’re not only caring for – they not only have a job, but they’re caring for children and they’re anticipating perhaps caring for older relatives.

I had my own experience of that. My mom his retired to Florida and she got sick. I navigated from 1,000 miles away with a telephone number for only one neighbor. That’s been corrected. I now know everyone in my mom’s life, so if it ever happens again I’ll be better able to step in.

For those of us who are in the workforce and want to move on and move ahead and do better at what we’re doing, having the rest of our lives in that kind of order, frees up our minds to actually show up and be fully present when we’re on the job.

Part of our problem with work/life balance and the whole discussion is we’re balancing one network, the career network, against seven others. The numbers in each case are really quite high and there’s a limit to what we can do cognitively.

Sir Robin Dunbar says we can only manage about 150 connections well. Now children hit that in first grade. The average working parent with three kids has got at least 600 people in the networks that they’re managing.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, that’s a lot. Cool. We talked about how to sort of balance the give and take in terms of sharing what you need and asking what – how can you be helpful, which is great. I’d love to get your thoughts on how and when does one ask for help and how does one do that well?

Glenna Crooks
Well, first of all, we should ask for help more often than we do. Again, in my – in the sample of people that I’ve been working with, they’re tending to do too much, too fast and trying to do it too alone.

The recipe is what I’ve said before, I’m feeling a little like a broken record. It’s knowing who’s around you, being really clear about what it is you want and need, and not just out of selfishness, but because you’re really an important person. You’re absolutely unique.

You have access to more resources than any generation in history and vast human capital, which means you can create a terrific life for yourself, your family and do good things in your career. Reaching out for help is not just for you, it’s for everybody else who’s going to benefit from that as well.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s great. Okay. That’s a nice case for doing it. Don’t hold back. Then when you actually make the request any pro tips for doing that well?

Glenna Crooks
Yeah, it’s just knowing exactly what it is you want, knowing who’s around you that you can ask. If there isn’t somebody who’s right around you who you can ask for that sort of help, chances are someone you know does know someone who will have that information.

We now know, for example, from research that friends of friends are the best source of information about jobs and mates. You and your friends tend to share the same information, so your friends’ friends, who you don’t even know, have different information. You might have to go through your friends and ask them to reach out to their friends you don’t know. Then ask that question best to them.

I will say this. I’m on the receiving end of this a lot because of the career that I’ve had, because I do guest lecture at so many places including at universities, I often have people reaching out to me for assistance. The easiest people to help and the most satisfying type of help and assistance to give is when somebody has a very clear request.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. Totally, ‘cause then you know you nailed it.

Glenna Crooks
Yeah. Instead of “Gee, I’m not sure what I should do next?” It’s much easier if you say – if they say, “I am thinking about this or that career path,” or “this or that next career move,” or “I’ve got this or that job offer, I want some help to know how to make this choice best,” or “I want to know if you’ve ever faced a situation like this and what you did.”

The more specific that request is, the more targeted the help is that I can do. Doing your homework first by gaining that clarity is really important.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Lovely. Well, Glenna, tell me anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?

Glenna Crooks
I would just say this. We are hardwired to be social and to connect with other people because we can’t survive alone. So as we’re connecting, what you need to know is that every network has a center of gravity. If you’re below that center of gravity, it will pull you up.

Now, that’s why if you want to be awesome at your job, identify something you want to do better and friend up. It’s like the active side of just asking for help, actually create the connection with somebody and hang around because when you’re around smarter, more experienced, more skilled people, you will do better. It applies to just about anything. It happens to my tennis game. I play with a better player, my game is better.

[33:00]

Now unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If you are above a center of gravity in a network, it is going to pull you back. In subtle ways it can hold you back. If you’re so awesome in your job that you’re getting bigger or better jobs or opportunities to shine in bigger ways in your company, as you transition from one network to another, the people in the old network are not going to be happy about it.

Unconsciously, they’re going to be fearing that if you’re leaving the group behind, what happens to them? Are they going to service? They may use social pressures to draw you back so that you need to know that.

Then finally, when it comes to your career, the strengths and the weaknesses of every other network will show up in force. If you don’t have a good plumber and you find a leak, it’s going to affect your day. If you do have good childcare if you’re a working parent, that’s going to allow you to go to work with a clear head. If your family had connections in your field, that’s going to give you a head start.

While you should always focus, of course, on your career network, it’s important to also take a look at all of the others.

Pete Mockaitis
Understood. Thank you. Now can you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Glenna Crooks
Yeah, it’s an African proverb. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I actually think you can do both, go fast and far, if you’ve done some of the things we’ve talked about today and focus on all your networks.

Pete Mockaitis
Thank you. How about a favorite study or experiment or a bit of research?

Glenna Crooks
Anything done by Nicholas Christakis. He has TED talks too. The difference between Nicholas Christakis and me is that he helicopters above a network and shows how everybody is connected. I help people stand in the middle of all of their networks and see it from that perspective. Both perspectives are worthwhile. He’s done some terrific research. He’s a great speaker too. You’d love his TED talk.

Pete Mockaitis
Thank you. How about a favorite book?

Glenna Crooks
Sherry Turkle. She’s been chronicling technology for a long time. She’s always been an optimist until her last book, which is called Alone Together: Why We Expect More of Technology and Less of Each Other. I think that’s part of why I like what I’m doing in Networksage is it’s reminding us that we need to have quality connections with one another. We just can’t connect through technology.

Pete Mockaitis
That is such a killer subtitle.

Glenna Crooks
Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
Because I think I find it so true in the sense of, it’s like, “Why do I have to push six buttons to get what I want from this app? This is absurd.” That’s a pretty high expectation I have of this technology versus it’s like, “Oh, this carpet person isn’t going to call me back, well, they’re dead to me. I’m moving on to the next one. I don’t expect much from them.” Wow, that’s worth chewing on the subtitle alone. Thank you.

All right. How about a favorite tool, something that helps you be awesome at your job?

Glenna Crooks
I work on three computer monitors. Multiple monitors have been shown to increase productivity by up to 40%. If I had room on my desk, I’d have a fourth.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh my gosh, well tell me how are these arranged and what you do with them.

Glenna Crooks
I do so much writing and so much research that I can keep a document open but then go on another screen and search the web, then watch emails, and Skype with somebody all kind of seamlessly without having to open and close apps.

Especially when you’re working on PowerPoint or Excels and moving data from place to place, it makes it – so I have a mouse that seamlessly moves between them. Then one of them is a TV set, so in case I want to multitask and watch something that’s – binge on Netflix while I’m doing something light, I can do that too.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s so good. This reminds me of one of my favorite Onion articles, which is – I’ll paraphrase to keep our clean rating and to not be censored in India – but it says “Coworker with two computer screens not forking around.” Well, like that, and they showed – it’s like, “Sources confirmed it was like watching Minority Report or something.”

Okay, cool. Well, that’s you. How about a favorite habit?

Glenna Crooks
I work a lot with Europeans, so I get up at 4:30 in the morning to call them earlier in their day while they’re still fresh and they’re rested. Boy, it’s won me a lot of points with my clients, but it’s also helped me to be productive.

There’s no other temptations. The phone’s not ringing. Emails aren’t sailing in to interrupt me. I get three or four hours of uninterrupted work time before most people start their commute. That’s really been – so even when I’m not committed to a European client, I’ve continued that. I’ve just really found it very valuable.

Pete Mockaitis
Tell me, is there a particular nugget you share that really seems to connect and resonate with folks and gets shared frequently?

Glenna Crooks
Actually I just realized that I already said it, that when it comes to your career, the strengths and the weaknesses of every other network will show up in force.

Pete Mockaitis
Yes, thank you. How about if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?

Glenna Crooks
My website is GlennaCrooks.com. You can also Google me at Glenna Crooks. I am blogging on this topic. You can sign up for my blog if you’d like. I will have booking speeches now. I’m doing some coaching.

I’ve developed an app to make all of this much easier. It’s designed now. It just has to be coded. I’ve formed a collaboration with somebody to bring this into the workforce and into companies to improve productivity.

Pete Mockaitis
What’s the app called and how do we get it?

Glenna Crooks
The name of the company is Coaching Sage QI. The app – this app – part of the app is probably going to be called SageMyLife. It’s not available yet. It’s designed. It’s not coded. Through my website, my blogs and so on, we’ll clearly be announcing when it’s available.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, awesome. Do you have a final challenge or call to action to issue for folks seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Glenna Crooks
I do. I want to hear from anybody who tries it. Take a look at the org chart that defines where you sit in the company because I don’t think it’s accurate. Create your own.

Take a look at what is it that you have to do, who’s primary for you in the company, who’s support for you across all the cross-functional teams, perhaps outside the company if you engage with customers, government regulators, the press, or other stakeholders, and design a real org chart that is meaningful for you. When you do that, what do you learn?

Just recently did this with nurses. For the first time they realized that a floor nurse was connecting with 125 different types of people, not numbers, types of people, like a patient is a type, a doctor is a type, a pharmacist is a type. Since they had more than one patient, they’re dealing with more than one patient family member or clergy member or so on, so maybe 300 people, none of whom report to the nurse. She didn’t hire them and she can’t fire them.

For the first time it was clear that a nurse’s job was not just clinical, it was management and the toughest management there is because, like I said, the team doesn’t report to her. I think most of your listeners will find that that’s true with them too. It will give them an appreciation for the real challenge they have on the job every day.

Pete Mockaitis
Awesome. Well Glenna, thank you so much for sharing this good stuff. I wish you and the book, The Networksage, tons of luck in all you’re up to.

Glenna Crooks
You’re very welcome and the same to you and your continuing series.

Leave a Reply