Tell me a little bit about yourself. I grew up in small town Iowa. My family had its share of hard times when I was growing up, which I think created a deep form of resilience in me - a sense that if you adjust how you think about things, you can survive the toughest challenges and come out stronger. Later, I learned that this is called, “mindset” and it forms a core part of my work with leaders and coaching clients.
Why Slingshot25? After 25 years working inside large Fortune500 and Fortune100 companies, I wanted to try something new. I wanted to share what I have learned about what works and what doesn’t with smaller companies and teams who are trying to make their workplace a better experience for their employees. There is something very appealing about passing along my insights to organizations who can use it to completely change how it feels to work there, for the better.
Can you explain what you specialize in? Why does this service benefit your customers? I don’t specialize, I obsess. I think 24/7 about the impact that leaders have on the workplace, the power they have to make it a place where employees feel safe and important, or insecure and inferior. Everything I create is aimed at helping leaders understand that power and learn to act like the leader they most want to be - a leader who others would follow even if they didn’t have to.
What has been your favorite part of starting a company? Open space. Possibility. Dreaming of ways to translate what I have learned into help for others.
What challenges have you faced? What have you learned? I like to make a personal connection with the people I serve. Working directly for a company allowed me to easily do that. Now that I’m open to share my work with many more people, it’s a bit disorienting for me. It will be a fun challenge to solve, however, and I look forward to connecting with new people.
What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and how have they helped you succeed within entrepreneurship? I’m a collector and connector of concepts. I have a nearly endless appetite to take in information about how humans think, feel and act. I’m usually in the middle of about five books at any given time. I’m constantly looking for patterns and finding connections in what I read. I’ve started to believe that there’s only so much truth in the world. Meaning, at the bottom of a lot of human complexity, there are some truths that we can use to navigate that complexity. One of those truths happens to be, “embrace human complexity and stop trying to solve it.”
What is your favorite business book? What is your favorite for-fun book? Considering my response to the previous question, this one is impossible to answer. I don’t have a single favorite book. Instead I’ll mention a book that I’m guessing few business leaders have read, but I wish they would. It’s called “No More Feedback” by Carol Sanford. Our love affair with feedback has been on my mind the past couple of years. I absolutely do not believe we should stop caring about what other people think of our performance, but I do believe that organizations recklessly pursue feedback using systems that are riddled with assumptions. Making it worse, these old feedback systems keep us from pursuing more effective methods for creating insight. As for my favorite fun books? Anything by Brene Brown.
If you could have lunch with any celebrity or author who would it be and why? If I didn’t say Bruce Springsteen, people would doubt you are talking to the real Jackie Pelland. I’m a long time fan of his music and have seen him in concert several times. But, it’s not the music that would make lunch with him so rewarding. I love the way he thinks about his job even now that he’s secured a place in history as a rock legend. He still works as hard now to share his talent as he ever has. And he’s vulnerable about the personal challenges he has faced with depression. I find that admirable.
What class or training has stuck with you the most over your career? I was an early adopter of Seth Godin’s altMBA course. It was an intense program of completing 13 projects in 30 days. It was all virtual with a learning group from around the world. I was so blown away by the construct and spirit of the program that I created a similar program focused on leadership development. Which is a program we’ll soon be offering here at Slingshot25.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Older. I know that’s a punchline, but I really admired older people when I was growing up. I thought the stories they had to tell were fascinating and they led to my love of history. I can remember being puzzled by the idea that we rarely listen to the wisdom of elders and are often doomed to repeat the same mistakes again and again.
What is the last TV show or movie that you watched? Would you recommend it? I recently watched the Netflix docudrama, “The Last Czars.” It was set during a terrifying time in Russia at the outset of the revolution. Being a lover of history, I have read a few books about the Russion Revolution, but when I watched this series I was newly struck by the human pattern of creating circumstances in which a very few specific people can amass such power. The Romanov family paid a tragic price for that power which causes me to wonder how it happens again and again. In case you’re worried that I’m all stuck in my head, you should know I also love Schitt’s Creek. Pure joy.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?