Lessons from Corporate Innovators

Sylvia Vogt — President, Carnegie Bosch Institute

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Episode 5: Sylvia Vogt — President, Carnegie Bosch Institute

On this week’s episode of Agile Giants, I sit down with Sylvia Vogt. Sylvia is the President of the Carnegie Bosch Institute, and a co-instructor of the leading innovation executive education course that I talked with last week at the beginning of Dennis Boecker’s interview.

The Carnegie Bosch Institute is a partnership between CMU and the Bosch Corporation that actually goes back multiple decades and yet remains a model for to partner with Carnegie Mellon.

Sylvia’s actually an employee of Bosch, but her role is to lead the Carnegie Bosch Institute. This provides a really interesting lens into a university-corporate partnership. However, more to the point and really what we talk about in this interview is that she’s ended up becoming an executive coach and help lots of companies, not just Bosch, think about their innovation processes and the teams to get involved.

I enjoyed the entire interview, but particularly would call out:

  1. Her definition of innovation vs creativity (starting at 3:03)
  2. How different personalities approach creativity and innovation (6:43)
  3. How team leaders should approach innovation? (13:02)
  4. How culture impacts innovation? (26:34)

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Full Transcript

Sean Ammirati: 00:08 Welcome to Agile Giants, lessons from corporate innovators. I’m Sean Ammirati, your host, co-founder and director of the Carnegie Mellon Corporate Startup Lab and partner at the early stage venture capital fund, Birchmere Ventures.

Sean Ammirati: 00:22 Each week, I’m gonna talk to guests who are experts at creating startup inside large corporations. I believe, fundamentally, a startup within a company is the same as the one inside the proverbial garage, group of entrepreneurs trying to make the world a better place using new ideas and inventions. However, I also believe some of the techniques and processes are just inherently different. This podcast is going to explore those similarities and differences.

Sean Ammirati: 00:49 On this week’s episode of Agile Giants, I sit down with Sylvia Vogt. I’ve known Sylvia for a long time. She’s the President of the Carnegie Bosch Institute, and actually was co-instructor and really helped me develop, along with her, the leading innovation course that I talked with last week at the beginning of Dennis Boecker’s interview.

Sean Ammirati: 01:14 The Carnegie Bosch Institute is a partnership between CMU and the Bosch Corporation that actually goes back multiple decades and is a model for how companies can partner with Carnegie Mellon even to this day.

Sean Ammirati: 01:25 Sylvia’s actually an employee of Bosch, but her role as an employee of Bosch is to lead the Carnegie Bosch Institute, which is a really interesting lens into a university-corporate partnership. But more to the point and really what we talk about in this interview, is that she’s ended up becoming an executive coach and help lots of companies, not just Bosch, think about their innovation processes and the teams to get involved.

Sean Ammirati: 01:48 We start with her just giving her definitions of creativity, innovation, and talking about innovation models that I think does a great job setting the context, then talk about how different people approach innovation, how leaders should think about their team composition as it comes to innovation, and finally, how a company’s culture impacts innovation. I hope you really enjoy this week’s episode. Thanks so much.

Sean Ammirati: 02:19 Welcome to another episode of Agile Giants. I’m here with Sylvia Vogt. Sylvia is the president of the Carnegie Bosch Institute, an adjunct professor of management, and a certified business coach; even more than any of those though, Sylvia’s really become a thought partner for me and a great friend as I’ve explored this topic of corporation innovation. Sylvia, thanks for joining me today.

Sylvia Vogt: 02:37 Thanks, Sean. It’s great to be here with you.

Sean Ammirati: 02:39 Great. So I thought one thing that would be fun to do on the front end of this is just set some context a little bit. So one of the things that I quote all the time from you is your definitions of creativity and innovation, and kind of how you look at these two activities. Maybe you could share with the audience how you think about the similarities and differences of creativity and innovation, and more specifically, your definition of both of those activities.

Sylvia Vogt: 03:03 Yeah, I work a lot with people who come in and want to improve their innovation in their teams and there’s often a lot of confusion what actually is innovation, and what is an invention versus innovation, what’s creativity versus innovation. The best definition that I have found for that, and that I use a lot, is that creativity, we can look at as spending dollars or money to create ideas versus innovation is spending ideas to create a bottomline impact. So in short, what this means, innovation is ultimately defined by that it creates a value at the end.

Sean Ammirati: 03:44 Yeah, perfect, and obviously, you can’t keep spending money on creativity if you’re not taking those ideas and ultimately making money with innovation, right? But it’s the sort of full cycle that you’re starting with dollars at the beginning, creating things, and having those ideas that you come up, create business value through innovation. One of the things I’ve observed about you is that you’re very good at helping people walk through both of those processes, both the creativity process and the innovation process. I think part of that is that you have really good models for how people think about these processes. Could you talk a little bit about maybe … and I know that there are different words and feel free to share whichever ones make sense, but some of your different models that you advocate people think about as they think about different innovation processes and different innovation models?

Sylvia Vogt: 04:32 Yeah, the way we are thinking about innovation is that it has some distinctive, different phases and there’s a lot of models out there, a lot of people I can quote on that, and I want to give credit to, and most of them differentiate into four phases, distinctive, different phases of innovation. One that a lot of people have heard about is that you start with the problem as phase one, what is the problem we are solving? Your phase two is then that you diverge from that and in divergence is where a lot of the idea creation comes in. You even diverge what could the problem be, but you diverge in what could a solution be. But once you have diverged, you need to come from all that creativity and do what’s called converging. Again, make the whole pool of ideas smaller and come to some selection. Then the fourth phase, the final phase, is called executing it, which is what we call getting things done.

Sylvia Vogt: 05:32 Now, there’s other words, different words work for different people. So some people call the first phase, you first need to define the problem; then go second into discover; third phase, decide; and then forth, deliver. But what I often say in plain English, let’s just say we have to start with, let’s clarify our purpose, then we create some choices, then we have to make choices, and then we have to make it happen. But at the end of it, always needs to be value creation as the end result.

Sean Ammirati: 06:05 Yeah, and I’ve watched you walk lots of executives through these different phases. It seems like some executives, define, discover, decide, and deliver that language may resonate with them more; or in others, it’s this more, I guess, human English version of it, clarify, purpose, create choices, make choices, and then make it happen. But as you think about the people that you’ve talked to and you kind of walk them through that, do you think, before they interact with you, do you think people often have that full cycle in their mind or are there parts of the kind of four phases that maybe executives tend to overlook before they get to start interacting with you?

Sylvia Vogt: 06:43 Now that’s an awesome question. We find very different people in this. There’s some people who are highly experienced. As a coach, I work with teams and I work with individuals, and work with teams from early stage startups all the way through to mega-big, international, conglomerate companies, and all very different people. You have people in there who come from the technology innovation side, you have people who come from the service innovation, people who come from the human element innovation side, and how do we work together as a team.

Sylvia Vogt: 07:17 So I find some people come in and have a great understanding and experience about the full cycle, but very often, I would say, in my experience, the majority of people do not have a full understanding of the full cycle and it might actually have a tendency to neglect one or two pieces of the cycle.

Sean Ammirati: 07:41 Yeah, yeah, 100%, and so this sort of gets to this like different people approaching innovation in different ways and you coach them through that. What’s your process like to sort of help somebody get view into this whole four-step process and help them approach innovation wholistically, like your model kind of implies they should?

Sylvia Vogt: 08:03 So for instance, when I work as a team coach with people, one thing I always like to offer teams is to look at their different personality styles. I personally work a lot with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and there has been some awesome research work by someone from Ireland, Damian Killen, who has worked on what do personality styles have as an influence and how you approach in your attitude, innovation, and what’s the impact on your team.

Sylvia Vogt: 08:30 So my approach is often that I offer for people to work with them as a team through, what are the innovation models but then the human element of it. Frankly, Sean, I believe the human element is one of the most underrated issues coming up to make innovation successful.

Sean Ammirati: 08:49 100%. Yeah, it’s absolutely true, right, and so this human element thing, right, different people approach innovation in different ways. Myers-Briggs is one way that you can assess that, but just more generally, what are the different approaches people might take to innovation based on their personalities?

Sylvia Vogt: 09:07 So what often happens is people tend to like one or two pieces of the full cycle innovation process. It energizes them, they’re excited about it, or they’re deeply thinking about it, but what truly gets them inspired and engaged in their own personal manner. The other one or two or three elements of the four-piece cycle are just less inspiring to them, and so what we find, for instance, if you have a team where the team focuses, early-stage startup on a cool, new idea they’re really excited about, it might be at times harder for them to think about making it effective in the markets scalable idea for a few years down the road. But they’re great at thinking about the original idea.

Sylvia Vogt: 09:58 The same the other way around. If you have a mega-big organization, which is looking at constant improvement and many things to, for instance, enable the manufacturing process to be more efficient. It might be harder for some people on that team to think about the big … shot and what the next century will look like.

Sean Ammirati: 10:16 Yeah, and you use the personality assessment and spend time with them coaching all those things to figure out where they fit in to that on the front end, is that right?

Sylvia Vogt: 10:26 Yeah, and what I would like to call that is building some bridges, so people can have some self-awareness, who they are, and then in a trustful environment, they can select to share who they are with others, and they can select to learn about others on the team. That’s always a very personal choice, how much people want to share or not. Out of that, we can look at, so what are maybe some of the blindspots that you as an individual or you as a team leader or the whole team or even the whole organization might be having; and what are some of your strengths, what are you really are good at and you should continue doing what you are doing.

Sean Ammirati: 11:04 Yeah, so you kind of walk them through this, right? They discover like, “Hey, I’m really energized by the defining and discovering phase, maybe less the deciding and delivering phase.” And, maybe somebody else on their team, if there’s this bridge of trust, might say, “Well, I’m actually really excited about the delivering phase, but less the other,” and a third might be really into this decision-making and how they’re sorted, right?

Sean Ammirati: 11:30 Then you can help them kind of come together and have an optimized process together based on each of their different kind of preferences and where they get energy from, is that fair?

Sylvia Vogt: 11:41 Absolutely, that’s right. It’s fair to say that and it’s not only where they get energy, also where build the deepest expertise in which of these pieces, and how can they capitalize and harness the strengths of everyone on the team for the right moment in innovation.

Sean Ammirati: 11:57 That’s interesting. So it’s sort of personality plus work experience together that drives these preferences, is that fair?

Sylvia Vogt: 12:04 Yes, that’s fair to say and that leads to the success of innovation processes and projects.

Sean Ammirati: 12:10 So you’ve got different people approaching innovation different ways here based on this. Now let’s talk a little bit about you’re a team leader, right, and you’re responsible for making, whether it’s a startup or, I think, particularly relevant for this content, say you’re part of one of these large established companies trying to … and you’ve been tasked by the CEO to spin up some innovation teams, and some innovation processes. You’re probably going to have some people on your team, have a chance to recruit some people from the organization into your team, and maybe if you’re lucky, make a couple hires, right? But how should that person think about the different people that should be on their team? I imagine personality might be part of it, work history might be a part of it, but how should they approach this filling out and rounding out their team?

Sylvia Vogt: 13:02 Oh, that’s a great question, and it’s not an easy answer to that. So first, we always have to start with the strategic outcome, that’s expected. So we start with hard, business ideas and the direction, how to make innovation that it could impact the bottomline. We always need to have that as a context. But then the next step is, I would always recommend, and in coaching I do that, to the leader, him or herself, to first start with self-awareness and understand what draws them most in and what are their skills and their blindspots, and then, to take a look together with the whole team, at the whole team. This ends up then in being, you could visualize it like a map, what parts of the innovation process this team is really good at covering and what parts of the innovation process this team needs to think about how they can get additional help in.

Sylvia Vogt: 13:55 So now, how do you get the additional in? You can do it, and if you have the luxury of hiring more people, you can bring people in who have deeper understanding and skillsets that your current team doesn’t have. Not everyone has the opportunity to shift the team in these ways, so the key thing is then, how can you expand your blindspot innovation network? How can you bring other resources in, other thinkers, other people who help you to uncover your blindspots and have smooth sailing across those blindspots?

Sean Ammirati: 14:29 That’s awesome. I wanna actually go through each of those four things just a little bit more to unpack them. So let’s start with the first thing that you said, “And you need to start with the bottomline.” I think this is something that I’ve really appreciated, and some of this comes back to your definition of innovation and creativity. A lot of people think of innovation as this sort of touchy-feely thing, but at the end of the day, I think you do a great job reminding executives that this has to deliver bottomline results and fit into the company’s overall strategy, and that just like any other activity a company does, it needs to really start with the bottomline.

Sean Ammirati: 15:06 I’m the innovation leader and I’ve been charged by my CEO to make my group more innovative, spin up this innovation team, are there questions or things I should do if I manage up to really make sure I’ve flushed out that strategy and what I need to do to be successful there?

Sylvia Vogt: 15:26 The first thing that comes to my mind in that is, you need to be at the table, and let me explain that. I learned that about how you define lobbying and how you can influence people, and the first thing I ever learned was, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the table. So if you’re an innovation leader, if you get tasked by someone else, if you’re not the CEO yourself, but if you get tasked by someone in the C-Suite, to lead innovation, claim your seat at the table and be at eye-level with the people that you are helping to accomplish the results for the whole company.

Sean Ammirati: 16:08 Love that. That’s awesome. Okay, and now, the next step was figure out sort of their preferences, their skills, and what they bring to the table on this four-phase process. Obviously, one of the ways they can do that is working with a coach, like yourself, but if they don’t have access to something like that, are there any tips or tricks you might give them to quickly try to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and their preferences around these four phases?

Sylvia Vogt: 16:39 I can give a simple example, but often it is helpful if you have someone from the outside help steer through team dynamics. But, I’ll give a simple example from team dynamics. If you’re able in a mindful manner to step back from the conference table while the discussion is going on and observe, and observe what’s going on, you will quickly see who of the people take a lot of the airtime for speaking, and who of the people speak much less and do deep-thinking before speaking. One of the team dynamics, just as one example that we often observe, is that the people who do deep-thinking often are not given enough space or are not invited enough to voice what they have been thinking about. It’s a very simple, very straight-forward team dynamic, which makes a lot of teams in innovation processes less effective because they only listen to about half of their voices in the best way.

Sylvia Vogt: 17:40 If you don’t have the resources to work with a team coach or do any of these things, the mindful approach as leader to step back, to be quiet yourself, to step into the circle and just observe what’s going on around you, like in the Toyota methods. It’s called the Ohno Circle. You just stand there, you don’t intervene, and you observe and you take notes, and then you reflect on that. You will be amazed how many insights you’re going to be able to win even out of an eight-hour day, where you just step back and observe and then reflected on the results.

Sean Ammirati: 18:17 Yeah, people may not be familiar with that term, Toyota Circle, but it’s a great story. How did that term come to be?

Sylvia Vogt: 18:22 It was someone by the name Ohno and it was about that in the Toyota manufacturing plants and in the Toyota methods, which are leading in big scale manufacturing in the world have set a lot of examples. That one of the things people were trained as managers is to just stand in the middle of where all the action is, a little bit out of the way, but in the middle where they can see everything. Basically make a chalk circle around you, stand in that circle. Don’t leave it, don’t interact. Have a notepad with you, observe and take notes quietly. Then after you’ve done that for your eight-hour day, step out of it and look at what did I see, what did I observe, what did I learn from that, what’s going on here? This leads to extremely insightful results for people.

Sean Ammirati: 19:12 I would definitely encourage anybody to get a coach. I always tell my CEOs in my day job that if Michael Jordan needed a coach to play basketball, what makes them think they don’t need a coach. But if they don’t have those resources right now or they’re advocating for them, I do think this Toyota Circle applies, not just to manufacturing, but to creativity and innovation, I think is really helpful thing for them to understand their skills and the skills of their team.

Sean Ammirati: 19:44 If you move onto that fourth part of it, we’re getting the additional help, I think the hiring part of that is pretty obvious. If you can add people to your team, that’s great. But you also said, if not and you don’t have that luxury, you can expand your blindspots. Any tips on how to do that?

Sylvia Vogt: 20:00 So one of the ways to think about is, even looking at the people you typically interact with when you talk about innovation ideas or when you talk about your startup idea or your next strategic step, and then to quickly analyze along a couple of very simple things. You can think about, for instance, within your organization, what kind of professional backgrounds does someone come from? Is this a technical person, is this a finance or business person? Is this someone who comes from philosophy from any other area?

Sylvia Vogt: 20:34 Then you can look at how long has the person been in the organization. Is it a rookie or is it someone who has been here for 30 years plus, an old hand. You can look at, in general, life experience. Is it someone who’s in the workforce for the 1, 2, 3, 4 years? Is it someone who’s been in the workforce already for a generation?

Sylvia Vogt: 20:55 All these contribute to the approaches people take their experience. You can look at gender. What is the diversity you have in the room? I work a lot with international teams. What is your international diversity on the team? And so now you look at that because everyone of us brings different approaches to the table.

Sylvia Vogt: 21:17 Then the last step you take is to take a look who you are and now you compare a little bit. Are you mostly, in your innovation network, speaking with people who look like you, who are like you? At that moment, it’s the good point to very systematically and strategically expand to ask other people.

Sylvia Vogt: 21:38 So, for instance, one good example is someone of my generation, which is more in the baby boomer age. We talk a lot nowadays about reverse mentoring, so on technologies, on new things that we work with someone who is much newer to the workforce, but has much more experience on some of the newer technologies and mentor us. If I only speak with people who are like me, I’m not taking advantage, I’m not capitalizing on the diversity of people who can be in my network.

Sylvia Vogt: 22:07 So, that’s the one thing. Look at your network, expand your network on, who do you go to for advice and ideas to get innovation ideas. There’s one thing where I would like to quote you, Sean, what you always bring to the table is that the facts are outside the building, one of the core elements of lean innovation. The facts are outside of your team, the facts are outside your family too, the facts are outside of people who act like you and look like you.

Sean Ammirati: 22:38 Yeah, this diversity topic, I think, is so key. It’s come up already a couple times on some early episodes here, but this international element to it, is something I think you’re uniquely, in addition to many other things, it’s another area that your experience gives you unique insights into. So you do a lot of work with these global companies, when you walk into this, to a global team, what are some additional things that you’ve got your antennas up for and you’re trying to make sure you’re managing as you’re trying to help them move from a group to a highly functioning, high performing team?

Sylvia Vogt: 23:14 The international component is like almost adding another map to the whole story. So, if maybe you’ve ever had some maps of the world, a world map, and then you shift the page, and you see a map of the oceans and how does it look underground. This is what I mean, there’s different layers. It’s not only the individuals and the personalities and the gender and the experiences and the companies. Now you add the international component to it and we come to very different behaviors, which are more the norms and standards, how things are looked at, what’s considered appropriate, how to say things.

Sylvia Vogt: 23:52 It’s starts, for instance, with, in some cultures the most senior person will always speak first, and everyone who’s more junior, will stand back and will almost fall inline with the idea that a more senior person has said. In other cultures, the most senior person hangs back quite a bit and lets the more junior people flush out ideas and then might make a final comment on things.

Sylvia Vogt: 24:19 Then you have a lot of different mixed cultures; and to understand that who’s at the table, what their culture background drives them to say or not to say, is very helpful so you can build the bridges as a team leader in your team to give everyone a voice at the points where they’re really strong, and flush out what they can contribute to your innovation concept.

Sean Ammirati: 24:42 That’s great. Okay, I think that was awesome on team components. I wanna move to maybe the fourth are here, which is company culture, right. You’ve done a lot of work with companies to understand their culture and look at how that impacts other innovation processes. Maybe before we jump into that question, what’s your definition of corporate culture?

Sylvia Vogt: 25:05 Well, there’s a very simple one for that, and that’s how things are getting done around here. We could go into a lot from leadership theories and management theories, but for the purpose of talking about this topic, it is the easiest to truly, when you walk into a new organization, you can see so easy, what are the differences to another organization you know. What happens there, and this is the simple definition, how things are getting done around here. Once you figure that out … So for instance, how decision-making happens in your organization, is one of the things.

Sylvia Vogt: 25:40 Or what you, Sean, mentioned earlier, maybe you get tasked by the CEO to do innovation, are you then ever back at the table to discuss this in depth or is this a style in that organization and a culture that it’s handed over to you completely? Is the accountability for it handed over to you completely or do you need to ask for permission for certain things? All these are things which are part of the company culture. What are the norms there, what are the expected behaviors, what are the decision-making ways, how is risk-taking in that organization? All this impacts the culture of an organization.

Sean Ammirati: 26:17 Yeah, once you sort of know your culture, right, and you know how things get done around here, then you gotta figure out, given how things get done around here, how’s that gonna impact how innovation gets done around here? And so, what are some ways that culture impacts innovation?

Sylvia Vogt: 26:34 Two big areas to distinguish, and one is an almost simple one, so I sill just mention it quickly. It sounds simple, and that’s what we call the physical space for innovation. So what does the company and the organization enable, which sometimes cost a little bit of money to create spaces where people can move freely, brainstorm, can document their ideas. There’s all those ideas about collaboration spaces, open environments. A lot has to do with the space to be able to permanently visualize what a team is working on so that the team can always go back to that wall and look at it, what are they doing and reflect back. Creating spaces like that can sometimes, in a standard, traditional, old business environment with very tall walls, be a little bit more costly. Sometimes it’s a little bit easier to create it.

Sylvia Vogt: 27:31 A lot of organization I do interact with at this point in time, are actually taking it one step too far. They all go like for startup accelerator spaces. Everything’s completely open, which actually does not allow for the most effective work in all circumstances, so it needs to be well-thought out.

Sean Ammirati: 27:50 100%.

Sylvia Vogt: 27:51 It sounds very easy. A little bit of money investment, but often the investment doesn’t have to be that deep. For instance, I had my office wall painted with a paint where you can whiteboard on your whole walls. I have two full walls in my office simply painted and all of a sudden I had an unbelievable amount of creative space that I could visualize. So it’s not always that expensive to do it.

Sean Ammirati: 28:16 Yeah, I think people often pick the wrong things when they’re trying to do this, right? Like they see the ping pong table or a foosball table and they miss the actual quiet space that you can go and think. But certainly, the space has such a huge impact and I’m a huge fan of the whiteboard walls, as well.

Sean Ammirati: 28:34 Okay, so the first one was space. There was another one you were gonna say as a way?

Sylvia Vogt: 28:37 So the first one was the physical space, and the second one, we call the permission space, which goes much deeper in, what is truly the culture in your organization after you have your ping pong table, and after you have your free coffee and your drinks, and you can get into your space at midnight if you have a great idea and all these things. But, what is the true permission space which enables you and your team, and how you enable your team, to pursue some ideas?

Sylvia Vogt: 29:06 And the permission space might have a little bit to do, is there even a little budget for people to try something out? Because innovation, we talked about it, you have to first create ideas. In the end, the ideas need to lead to some bottomline, but there will always be some ideas which have cost you some money to create the ideas until you come through your stage gate process of whatever model you utilize and then that idea gets stopped. So you have had some investment, which ultimately leads to the question, how safe is it to fail in your organization?

Sean Ammirati: 29:42 Yes.

Sylvia Vogt: 29:43 And that is the true permission space. How do you look at this, that enabled people to try things out. Not just to spend money where they shouldn’t be spending it. They need to be very strategic, but how can you allow people to try some things out, bark up some blind alleys, and from there, move on to the right thing. This question, that this is one of the deepest questions I ask people up to C-Level, how safe is it to fail in your organization? There’s usually, the first reaction is 60 seconds of silence.

Sean Ammirati: 30:16 Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. I think there’s two types of failure, right? There’s failure where like the idea just turns out to not be as good as you first thought it was; and then there’s a failure in the process itself, where you don’t do the hard work you need to do to make the innovation successful.

Sean Ammirati: 30:38 One of the things I like to think about is that first type of failure where you have a hypothesis, the hypothesis turns out to be wrong, you do good work to figure out that hypothesis is wrong, and ultimately decide to kill the ideal. That actually is a failure of the idea, but a success of the person running the process, right?

Sean Ammirati: 30:58 The second type, where it’s like, “Oh, they don’t do the work they’re supposed to do.” That you certainly need to coach up just like you need to coach up anything else when a person on a team isn’t kind of pulling his or her own weight, but it seems like these issues get conflated a little bit. I think this permission space is a great way to make it clear to people that like, “Hey, we want you to go and really explore and do the hard work that innovation has, and there’s a job for you at the end of this no matter what happens.”

Sean Ammirati: 31:28 Is there anything you’ve seen to sort enable change in a culture to make it more tolerant of taking these risks and having this permission space?

Sylvia Vogt: 31:39 So in the whole first part that you said, I couldn’t agree more, and you said it so perfectly. There’s nothing I can add to that, so thank you for saying it that way, Sean. It’s a deep way, I think, you bring to the teams you work with, and I’ve seen you work with them in that way.

Sylvia Vogt: 31:55 To your last part of your question, there’s one word that comes to my mind, and it’s always the same, it’s trust. It all revolves around that. You have to put trust in people and people have to put trust in you. That’s where permission space starts with and where it ends with. Trust is multi-layered and trust takes spending time with each other, understanding each other, understanding the differences among different people, and reconciling those differences in being able to truly embrace other people in other ways, and then saying, “I trust what you bring to the table.”

Sean Ammirati: 32:34 Yeah, that’s so good. All right, last question, and I have been not preparing people for these because I’m looking for off-the-cuff answers. I guess once you start getting published and out of the queue, this will be less of a spontaneous answer. But I want you to go back to when you were just starting your career, and imagine that someone is at that point in their career right now and they’re looking at all the interesting things you’ve done, Sylvia, in both the coaching and leading the Carnegie Bosch Institute and all these things. They think like, “Man, I would love to get to a point in my career where I’m doing the same kind of work.” Any piece of advice you might give a 22, 23-year old person just coming into the workforce today who aspires to do the kind of things that you’ve done with your career and are doing?

Sylvia Vogt: 33:19 I had fantastic opportunities throughout my career, and I’m very grateful for that. I have been given opportunities where I could choose to take on jobs, which helped me to grow further. So what I would suggest to anyone is, in a very deep, very follow-your-heart, and by that, I don’t mean follow your hobbies or things that just give you on a surface-level, some joy. But look at things that really, really inspire you to do it, where you truly want to roll up your sleeves, where you so much want to be engaged that you would be happy to come in at midnight and do that job. And, try to have more pieces of your work world in that area where you’re deeply inspired that you want to make a difference. That’s a very good starting point.

Sylvia Vogt: 34:10 The second thing is, it still is true today as it was when I started with the workforce, many decades ago, it takes about, we say, about 10,000 hours of constant practice to become an expert at something, so that doesn’t change even today. You cannot be, for instance, a good car driver unless you keep practicing driving and you keep practicing again in all conditions. That’s the same for where your heart drives you, your inspiration is, you roll up your sleeves. You have to stick with it also, for a while, and deepen your expertise in it and become a great partner and a great knowledge partner and a great resource in it.

Sylvia Vogt: 34:52 That worked for me, that doesn’t work everyone else. For me, it worked well that I also always was open to new opportunities, and when I was offered new opportunities, I always looked at, “I can grow in that. I’m a little bit scared by it. I don’t have the skills right now,” but the trust is being put in me. I took those opportunities, and I’m super happy about it, and that I was given those opportunities and chances.

Sean Ammirati: 35:20 Well, Sylvia, thanks for coming on Agile Giants. I really appreciate it. It’s been fun to work with you over the years and it’s great to be able to share you with the audience here, so thanks so much.

Sylvia Vogt: 35:28 Great pleasure to be here.

Sean Ammirati: 35:37 I hope you enjoyed this episode of Agile Giants. If so, consider sharing it with a friend, and if you think it’s worth five stars, which I hope you do, please go to iTunes and rate it, so that others can find this content as well.

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