In the Slipstream – Episode 24 – Interview with Julienne Barton – Sureal

 

Scott Charlton: 
Hello and welcome to another episode of In the Slipstream FM, the podcast produced specifically to help accountants and financial planners in practice. The aim of this show is to help practitioners improve. Not so much technically, but by way of empowering you to make better business decisions.

Scott Charlton: 
My name’s Scott Charlton, and I’m the director of coaching here at Slipstream Coaching. I’ve got a really interesting discussion in store today, where we get to speak with an expert in helping people to get the best out of themselves and when working in a team situation. It’s fascinating. Then after the main interview is finished, I’m going to share with you the outcome of a coaching conversation I’ve had with a practitioner recently, one that touched both of us very deeply.

Scott Charlton:
Let’s get started.

Recording:
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Scott Charlton:
Today’s feature interview is with Julienne Barton, and it’s got nothing to do with Essex regulations, tax office rulings, practice software, or anything to do with premises. It’s way more important than any of that. Julienne is a long-standing colleague of mine who has been working with businesses large and small for many years. Julienne has had plenty of experience with both accountants and financial planners during her career. She even worked with my own firm back in the day.

Scott Charlton:
I’ve asked Julienne onto the show to talk about instinctive drives. What drives each of us, and how we can use this knowledge to be at our best and interact productively with others. As listeners to this podcast tend to be high achievers, I’m sure you’ll be interested to learn about how you can very literally give yourself a winning edge. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with instinctive drives, or ID as it’s often referred to, for many years. I’ve found it very useful, and I’ve happily referred others. Come, and let’s hear what Julienne has to share about ID.

Scott Charlton:
So Julienne, welcome to the show.

Julienne Barton:
Thanks, Scott, for having me.

Scott Charlton:
Now, you and I go a long way back to when you were the coach of my accounting firm. But for the benefit of the listeners who don’t know you, would you mind providing a brief overview of your career please?

Julienne Barton:
Yep. I started my career at PWC in Adelaide and I was there for ten years. I’m a chartered accountant and my main focus was business advisory. I then moved to Queensland and co-founded and was CEO of a wholesale and retail business, T&C Surf Designs. And over a ten-year period grew that, and then sold it. And then brought together my firsthand business experience with my professional business experience, as you said Scott, to start with business coaching. And your accounting firm was one of the first of my clients. And it was a real turning point for me in my career, and let me explain why.

Julienne Barton:
So three director, accounting firm, and me, and your firm initiated that the four of us get our ID profiles done. And when I got the profile back, it was like the light bulbs went on, because here I was business coaching your firm. We’re very clear on the strategic direction, but it’s like that’s 20% of it. 80% is all about successful execution, and the way for me as a business coach to motivate each of the directors to execute needed to be very different, tailored to the way you’re wired. So that was a really defining moment for me in my career.

Julienne Barton:
And for the past 20 years I’ve been working with business owners and leaders; helping them realize the potential for their businesses, and for their people at the same time. My business is surreal, and central to what we do is focusing on achieving success through people in an engaging way.

Scott Charlton: 
Okay, great. Well look, that is precisely why I’ve got you onto the show today, to explore those people-related issues. So we’ll get into that in a moment. But what’s something about you, which isn’t on your LinkedIn profile, that the listeners might find interesting about you?

Julienne Barton: 
Well, back to when I was a little girl and when I could just walk. As soon as I could walk, my dad would take me along to the AFL. We’d go along to Unley Oval in Adelaide and watch our beloved Stirt play. And it was a really great shared experience for my growing up years, going with my father most weeks to the AFL. And at quarter time, when I was small, he would lift me over the fence, and I would run out to the middle of the Oval to find out what the coach had to say, come back, and report. Save for three-quarter time.

Julienne Barton:
But I always remember one time. Our coach was a real gentlemen, quietly spoken, excellent coach. I accidentally went to the wrong team, and all of a sudden, overnight, I think I’d heard every expletive that existed. So that was a little bit of a shock for me as a little girl. And to this day I’m an AFL tragic, and I now love going to the Gabba and watching the Lions play. And already I’ve got the fixture in my calendar for next year, and hoping. I’ve got an exciting future, and hoping for a few wins next year, and that we get off the bottom of the ladder.

Scott Charlton:
Right. Well I thought what you were going to say is that you got to the point where, at three-quarter time, you’d run and on tell the coach what to do. [laughs].

Julienne Barton
[laughs]. No, I wasn’t quite mature enough for that.

Scott Charlton:
Yeah, well I could see that happening though, by crikey. Okay, so what I’m really interested in exploring with you today is in relation to the people side of businesses. The, if you like, sort of the soft stuff that applies in these practices. And I’ve heard it said that the major asset of a professional practice walks out the door at the end of play each day. What’s your take on that?

Julienne Barton:
Well, as soon as you create that picture, to me it’s all about times they are a changing. You know, the days of being a nine to five worker, being the knowledge worker that would walk out with their briefcase at 5:00 p.m., very much working in the silo, hoarded information. You know, they had, probably, their own office, their filing cabinet with their own key, with their own files, or files on their hard drive. All that has really changed, and the same with typically sort of back in those days was command, control leadership. You know, do what I say, there’s a stifling of creativity, limited flexibility on how you could go about things.

Julienne Barton:
So that is all becoming a thing of the past, the workplace is evolving and now it’s about you can work any hours from anywhere, and a lot of our technology is cloud based. And we’ve bet, you know, when we think of the people asset of the future, it’s not around the knowledge as much as it’s around the people skills. And from a leadership perspective, leadership is really evolving. For leaders to be successful moving forward, they need to be engaging, empowering, inspiring, so their people asset wants to stay with the firm.

Julienne Barton:
So it’s now all about that soft stuff. That’s really become a business imperative.

Scott Charlton:
That’s a great answer. And as you were talking I was thinking about all the different combinations that you can get, working from home, people working in different locations, even in different countries. And I think when people talk about work-life balance, it may not necessarily be working any shorter hours, but having more flexibility in terms of where and when you do the work. So yeah, I’d say great answer on that.

Scott Charlton:
Do you have any observations in terms of professional practices who open that up to more flexibility? Are there any sort of things you’ve noticed in terms of, be it recruitment, retention, productivity, any comments on that?

Julienne Barton:
So I think very much the firms that do offer flexibility are far more attractive to people these days. So their more likely to get the candidate that they want and retain them. I see it making a really big difference.

Scott Charlton:
Great. So one of the tools that you’ve mentioned already, which is an integral part of the consulting work you do, is the ID profiling system. Because I’m pretty sure that’ll flavour a lot of what we’re going to discuss today, would you mind telling us a little bit about the ID and how it can assist organizations in terms of the whole people issue.

Julienne Barton:
Okay. Well, ID stands for instinctive drives. And your ID reveals … It’s a profile, a profiling tool. And your ID reveals what instinctively motivates you, your innate motivations, the why behind your actions and behaviours. It enables you to discover your natural operating system; the way you need to operate to be your best. So those all starts with self-awareness. And when you think in terms of an athlete and they might have just got their personal best and they’re being interviewed, and so often you hear them say, “I was really in stride today when I got my personal best. I was really in the zone.”

Julienne Barton:
So what ID reveals for each of is what is our personal success code for us to be in stride and in the zone. And I’m sure some of the listeners might be thinking, “Well, why do I need to know about this given I lived with all my life? I’m aware of who I am.” In response to that, if you are thinking that, is a lot of what we do is in our subconscious. And so knowing the way you’re wired, through your ID profile, brings what you know in your subconscious to be consciously aware. And when you’re consciously aware, we’ll all have times when we feel in stride, and then we’ll have times when we feel really out of stride. And all it does is when we start to get out of stride, we get these early warning signals, “Whoa, my needs aren’t being met right now.” What can I do that works on the basis of the way I’m wired to get back in stride? So it really helps knowing that consciously.

Julienne Barton:
And looking at the way you are, your ID profile, just, we’re gonna point out from the start, it’s different from a personality profile. A lot of people think that profiling is always personality profiles, and a lot of them are, but the ID isn’t. And let me explain that with the onion skin model that the ID system uses. And we all have our own set of onion skin layers that are unique to us, and that’s our nurture. Things like confidence, self-esteem, life experience. And then on the outside, which is what you see, is our actions, behaviour, personality. So personality profiles will sort of measure the outside of the onion, whereas ID looks at the way your instinctively driven. And ID then blends with your onion skins to create your own unique personality. And what I like about it, it doesn’t pigeonhole anyone, because we’re all uniquely different with our nurture and our personalities.

Julienne Barton:
So a big part of ID is all about self-awareness. But from an organizational perspective, it then really helps to have that awareness of others, to know how they’re wired. To understand how to best work with each other, how to work effectively and interact with each other. And it can really help on being more effective as a leader and a manager and a coach of people within your team.

Julienne Barton:
And it also really helps, because naturally we all have our way of doing things that works best for us, and whether we mean to our not, we naturally have an ID bias. So just being aware of the fact that others might be wired differently from us really helps us to not impose our ID bias on them when we’re working together.

Julienne Barton:
And then building from self-awareness to awareness of others, it can really help from a team perspective. You know, really create a common language. It helps take away misunderstandings that are caused by being wired differently, to help build on trust and being able to have those real conversations. And really help from going and working in silos to effective collaboration. And then, beyond the team, to stakeholders. It can really help on how you effectively interact and engage with them.

Julienne Barton: 
And, Scott, you sort of said what are some of the benefits that I’ve seen as a result of that? And there are a lot of benefits, but just examples of that are it really helps the team to be more motivated and engaged, helps with higher morale, better retention, more productivity, and helps at driving change. And there’s so much change happening at the moment.

Scott Charlton: 
So, Julienne, I’m thinking of the listeners here, and there might be a couple of categories that would be worthwhile acknowledging. Firstly, there’ll be listeners who haven’t done anything in this area before who perhaps might feel this is perhaps a bit left field. And, dare I say, we don’t want to come across who have found religion. How am I to assure them that this is actually something that is worth of their consideration for them and their firms?

Julienne Barton:
All it is, is that we each have a way of operating that works best for us. So if, by understanding that, you can help people be in stride, more effective, and you can be more effective and in stride at the same time, I think that’s a great outcome. But I think the last thing anyone wants to feel like is that they’re put in a box. And as I was talking about before, it doesn’t put people in a box. It doesn’t tell us what sort of personality we’ve got, doesn’t tell us what career we’re suited to do or not. And, really importantly, there is no good or bad ID. It’s just all about what works for you, be true for you. And, if anything, I’ve found it really liberating, because it’s all of a sudden it’s okay to be me. I don’t need to conform to expectations of others that expect me to work in a way that works for them, but doesn’t work for me. And it really helped me to manage expectations.

Scott Charlton: 
Cool.

Julienne Barton:
So does that answer your questions Scott?

Scott Charlton: 
Yes, that’s great. The other category of people is those who have actually done some sort of profiling in the past, and there’s quite a number of profiling tools out there. So if you’ve done the XYZ system, how then does that influence whether or not you decide to do sort of an ID thing? Is the same, or is it sufficiently different? What’s your take on that?

Julienne Barton: 
Well, to them, I think, with some of our listeners they might have had some negative experiences. And often the negative experiences are around being pigeonholed. You’re not suited to do that particular role, for example. So what differentiates the ID from those sorts of profiles, it doesn’t pigeonhole you. And then I think there might be others that have sort of done profiling and it’s provided some insights, but what do we do with it? But again, ID sort of gives some insights on how to apply it all. So I think it provides an experience that isn’t along the lines of those negative experiences that some of you would have achieved. Rather, it simply provides insights that you can apply on how you can be in stride and at your best, enable other to be at their best, and effectively engage and interact together.

Julienne Barton:
And from my perspective, when I did my ID back in 2001, what I personally found was it was incredibly accurate. I can trust it to be right. And I’ve used ID extensively over the years, and I keep on finding you can trust it to be right. So it’s nothing sort of to be concerned about. For me, it’s been more a really positive experience. It’s enabled me to be a better leader, a better coach, a better facilitator. But also a better parent and a person. Always room for improvement, but it’s certainly made a difference.

Scott Charlton:
Wow. Okay. That’s a ringing endorsement. So is it the tool itself or how it’s used that provides the benefits, do you think?

Julienne Barton:
Well, there’s no point just getting your ID done and not using it, because in a sense it’s then not useful. And yeah, back in the day, Scott, when we did our ID, we received a written report, and it’s likely it found its way under a pile of papers on a desk or in a filing cabinet. And it wasn’t such an easy thing to use. Fortunately, with technology, it is very user friendly these days. There’s now an online ID platform. So if you decide to go ahead and do the profile, you fill out a questionnaire. You get back some reports telling you all about your ID, how can people best collaborate with you, how can people best manage you, personalized videos. All those insights that make it really easy to use.

Julienne Barton:
And as an accredited consultant, when we work with businesses, we’re then able to offer some additional business features to help users within an organization with working with other people. We create a business network, which is private just to the people that work within the organization, and where the leaders can get reports helping them manage their team more effectively, where they can get insights on how to give effective feedback to people. We enable them to create. You know, often within the business you’ve got sort of might be functional teams and cross-functional teams, where you can go in there on this business network and create groups. And for the groups, get insights on how do I, how do we engage that group of people, what to watch out for within that group of people. If it’s playing out, strategies to help that group of people work more effectively together.

Julienne Barton:
So it’s really easily accessible online, and even more so because you can actually have it in the palm of your hand. There’s an app you can download on the app store, or on Google Play. So you might be about to go into a meeting thinking, “Oh, I’m about to meet with Scott. How do I best interact and engage with Scott?” I’ll quickly look up his ID, and get some quick tips as I go into my meeting. So it’s easy to use these days.

Scott Charlton:
Well, okay. All right, so what I’d actually like to do is get hands on into specific areas. And first one that I’d like to explore is personal success and career development. So I’d imagine sort of some of your replies will have an ID flavour, but, I mean, you’re vastly experienced in this area. So I’d sort of encourage you to sort of don’t just think of in terms of the ID that we’ve been discussing. So the question I’d like to start off with here is to have a successful, enjoyable career, is it just a case of technical excellence and putting in the hours and looking after your clients, as perhaps traditionally we’ve been taught to do? Or what are the other parts of one’s makeup and development that need attention, do you think?

Julienne Barton:
Okay. So, and I know I’ve already talked a lot about it, but I would say it’s beyond technical excellence. People excellence is really important. And we’re in a sort of, with our listeners that we’ve got, I would expect a lot of you are really wired for excellence and high standards. But the key to each of your success as you evolve in your career is how do you define excellence? Is excellence and high standards sort of around what traditionally might have defined it, which is the technical excellence that you just mentioned Scott. Or do you consider excellence beyond technical? Do you consider excellence includes do people enjoy working with you? Are you a good listener? Are you an effective delegator? Do you get people on board in an engaging way when you’re driving change? Or do you just tell them? Do you show empathy? Do clients consider you to be a trusted advisor?

Julienne Barton:
And, you know, because if you include these sorts of things within your definition of excellence, you’re absolutely wired to do that to a really high standard. But by redefining that, it can really help you evolve in your career. And with the way work is evolving, with more and more tasks are becoming automated, artificial intelligence is doing more and more of the technical problem solving that has traditionally been done by many of our listeners. And digitization is transforming our business models. It’s becoming even more critical to have outstanding people skills, be it with the team, with clients, with stakeholders. And to be collaborative, good at working with people, rather than in technical silos.

Scott Charlton:
Wow. That is really redefining it, and there’s a number of things that you’ve mentioned there that certainly do broaden the scope. So I’d like to explore that further. So to be best version of one’s self, I’m thinking the traditional strengths shouldn’t be your total focus, but perhaps some of those areas that you’ve mentioned, they may be vulnerabilities, might need some further attention.

Julienne Barton:
Well there’s a bit of both there. One of the benefits of working in a team is you can leverage the strengths of self and team. So some people on the team might have some things as a strong suit, and others will have others. So in that sense, make the most of it. But there’ll always be things that we do in our roles, we’re not as comfortable with, which me might sort of see as a vulnerability. And that’s really coming up with some strategies to mitigate those as well. So it’s a combination of both. And what I often look at it as is there are a whole lot of things that we typically do that are in our comfort zone or in our confidence zone, and there might be other things that we actually could be really good at, if we actually focused on becoming better at them. So sometimes it’s just about building our confidence and stretching our comfort zone to be comfortable doing things that we perhaps haven’t invested as much time on as our investment in technical excellence.

Julienne Barton:
And I’m sure many of our listeners would really surprise themselves if they really focused on some of these other ways of being excellent and invested the time in it, just as they have on the technical prowess.

Scott Charlton:
So can you give me an example where a practitioner’s work situation has been improved by this awareness? Sort of knowing that there are vulnerabilities, in terms of how that might be actually turned into a more productive situation?

Julienne Barton:
Well sure. So I’m going to sort of put some fictitious names in here for some real examples. Let’s take Patricia. I’m giving you some practitioner example. Patricia. Now Patricia, her gut knowing is almost always right. It really works for her, even though it can be really hard to explain the reasoning behind her recommendation. And she was working, and still does work, but working with Ian. And Ian, the way he’s wired, he really needs to know why. He needs to understand the rationale and the justification and the reasoning.

Julienne Barton:
Now, before they understood the way they’re wired and invested in understanding that, when Patricia was working with Ian, she was continually feeling judged. You know, he’s always asking her to justify herself, and she felt like he was judging all of her recommendations and what she would come up with. And from Ian’s perspective, you know, when he’d watch Patricia, he’d see her lose posture and find it difficult to explain, and he’d think, “How can I trust Patricia?”

Julienne Barton:
And then, when they sort of found out about each other’s ID’s, and just that awareness of how they were wired differently really turned around their relationship. And for Ian, now he was sort of asking himself, “Do I really need to know why?” Now, sometimes he does because he needs to explain it to someone else. So if it’s more about, “I’m generally interested, let’s talk more about it,” the reasoning will come out for Ian, from Patricia. But other times where, you know, Ian simply needs to be confident that Patricia’s recommendation will work, can in most circumstances, he now looks for initial reaction. He trusts her gut know. He doesn’t then give her a whole lot of questions afterwards, because he knows that it’s really likely to be right.

Julienne Barton:
And then conversely, Patricia, understanding how Ian is wired, sort of now doesn’t sort of … She just knows, “Oh, he just needs to know why.” He’s not judging me. Let’s just have a chat about it, and I’ll be able to help him with all of that.

Julienne Barton:
So in that sense, with this case, with these two practitioners, knowing ID really helped them to build mutual respect, to build trust, and appreciate and embrace their diversity. And those same two practitioners, from a business perspective, they were also now starting to leverage the really complimentary talents that each of them brought to the team. Because Patricia, you know, the way she’s wired is all about coming up with the opportunities, the possibilities, to really grow the business, to help it realize its potential. And Ian’s talent was to identify, well, what could get in the way of us achieving that? Identifying the risk, coming up with ways to mitigate those risks to ensure that outcome was certain.

Julienne Barton:
So all of us now are really starting to appreciate the complimentary talents that they would bring to the team, and making the most of it, rather than looking at each person through their own ID bias and expecting, or wanting, them to be similar to them.

Julienne Barton: 
Does that sort of answer your question, Scott?

Scott Charlton:
Great example. Perfect example. I can think of a couple of situations where that would be pretty similar. So with Patricia practitioner, if I can call her that, is this something that just applies at her work? Or could she apply this to the rest of her life as well?

Julienne Barton:
Okay, well let’s look at Patricia and Ian. And for Patricia to be at her best, she really thrives of having fun, and workplace being positive energy, fun environment. And when Patricia and Ian were together, Ian would sometimes, before ID, just look at Patricia and go, “Does she ever get any work done? Is she taking work seriously?” Because, for Ian, when he’s at his best at work, he likes to have a quiet, focused environment where he can think things through. When he’s at work, he’s seriously working. But when Ian leaves work, he likes to seriously have fun, and in fact, he can actually be more fun than Patricia.

Julienne Barton:
So there’s the appearance of well, he’s need for plan is simply work related, but not outside of work. But, in fact, his need for a plan is 24/7. It’s simply that when it catches up with his work colleagues, outside of work, he’s actually planned not to have a pre-planned agenda of what they’ll do. So his plan is not to have a plan.

Julienne Barton:
Does that sort of explain, an example of that, Scott, that makes sense?

Scott Charlton:
That’s an intriguing one, a plan not to have a plan. So simply, we might actually need to reflect on that. Just in finishing off this section, would it be creepy to get one’s spouse and children to do an ID profile?

Julienne Barton:
Well, I think it’s sort of the opposite, because they’re our most important relationships. So from either with the partner or a parent with a child, just being aware of your ID bias and understanding that they’re needs might be different from yours, it can really help enable you to honour their needs. And keep in mind it’s not creepy in the sense that there is no good or bad ID, it’s just all about being true to you.

Julienne Barton: 
And let me give an example of my daughter and me. You know, I’m all about, if something’s important for me, making it ideal. And as part of all that, along the way I’ll change the approach, and the plan as I get new thoughts, ideas, and directions. What hasn’t changed is what I’m aiming for, but I never keep moving how I’ll go about doing it to get a great outcome.

Julienne Barton:
Now, my daughter, the way she’s wired, she needs a plan. She needs certainty. And before sort of knowing her ID and my ID, it’s like these last minute changes that I kept on making, you know, it’d be really stressful for her. So now, just knowing her ID, I’ll know to just sort of go, “Hey, I’m thinking about,” and she will then sort of say, “Hey mum, have you thought about this, have you thought about that.” So together we’ll sort of decide whether we need to adjust the plan, and if we do she’ll come up with some thoughts that will really help with all of that.

Julienne Barton:
But there were times where I’m under the pump, and I won’t think of checking in with her, and in that situation often my daughter will be just triggered to say, “You know, mum, it’s really stressful when you keep changing plans on me.” And that’s sort of like, “Oh, let’s talk about it.”

Scott Charlton:
Okay. All right. Well, that’s a great example. Let’s turn attention to organizations then. Are there any classic mistakes that practitioners make with respect to the people on their team, do you think?

Julienne Barton: 
Oh, a classic mistake, well, a couple of things. One is often you find practitioners will tend to recruit a lot of people in their own likeness. So in a sense, sometimes you can just get a firm that’s predominately mini-me’s of a practitioner. And I think that’s a mistake, because you really miss out on the diversity of not having mini-me’s in that sort of work place.

Julienne Barton:
And then the other big thing is whether there’s diversity or not within the team, is just the classic case of ID bias. You know, we’re sort of brought up with do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Well, that’s fine if you’re wired the same way, but if someone’s different it’s actually, no, put yourself in their shoes. What would work for them? So I think that ID bias and recruiting a lot of people that tend to be their mini-me’s are two classic ones that I see play out.

Scott Charlton:
Yes. That is a bit of an eye-opener, I think, recruiting in one’s own image. We’re gonna change the focus to something that I like to talk about with the firms that I coach, it’s what I call the hustle factor. It’s when a firm has a zing about it, where good things happen. I’m thinking in any number of things, such as meeting monthly revenue targets, and coming up with new ideas to service clients better. You know, I can just walk into a place, and within ten minutes sort of get a sense as to whether it’s there, whether there’s an expectancy, etc.

Scott Charlton:
So where does that come about, do you think, and how might you build that into your own firm?

Julienne Barton:
Okay, so when you talk about firms having a zing factor, what comes front of mind to me is firms that are people centric. Teams, clients, stakeholders. You know, the firms where there’s a strong platform of trust. They’re true to their core values. They’re collaborative. They have an engaged and motivated team, proud to work for the firm. You know, in firms where they’re really passionate about why the firm exists, and what their role is in fulfilling it. And firms with a zing factor, I tend to see a real excitement for the future.

Julienne Barton:
 And I know I’ve talked a lot about being people-centric, and I think that is part of building those firms, but it’s also … They really do need to have a clear and evolving strategic direction. And they need to ensure that the leadership, the team that they have, is aligned to the future needs of the business.

Julienne Barton:
And then a big one is all around accountability. It needs to be that they achieve accountability in an engaging and motivating way in order to make things happen. You know, for example, Scott, with your Slipstream Coaching 90-day Challenge, it’s a fun engaging way of getting people to do things that they said they’re going to do.

Scott Charlton:
Wow. Okay. Great answer. I’m hoping that people listening will sort of be taking a few notes there. I love that bit about the core purpose, which sort of goes right back to the start, and the clarity of strategic direction. So many business owners just go about with a fuzzy plan in their own mind, and then sort of say, look, my team, they aren’t proactive. I think look first at the leader, not at the team.

Julienne Barton:
So true.

Scott Charlton:
I’d like to focus now on teamwork. What works better, you touched on it briefly before, but a team of practitioners who have common traits and characteristics, or a team where there are very different attributes? Any thoughts on that?

Julienne Barton:
Well, actually I’m gonna go back behind that, because whether or not you’ve got a team of people with common attributes, or not common attributes, it depends on whether there’s actually work in the team. And I’ve sort of like to start with that, sort of like that’s the basis. And if you picture, I’m gonna give an example here, if you picture a giant Belgium horse. You might not know what a Belgium horse looks like, but it’s a big horse, and it can pull 7,000 pounds. No, we’re not talking Kilos, but we’re talking pounds. So if you picture two of these big horses, each individually can pull 7,000 pounds. And then they’re brought together in a “team,” where they’re harnessed together, but when they are moving forward and pulling, they’re still pulling independently of each other.

Julienne Barton:
So that’s an example of a team working in silos. Combined, they can pull 15,000 pounds. Individually, the two of them, 14, jumped to 15. Not a significant difference. But then, if you take the two Belgium horses, harness them together, but train them to pull together, it’s been shown that they can then pull 25,000 pounds. So that’s a big jump from 15,000 pounds working in silos to 25,000 pounds working collaboratively. And that’s truly teamwork.

Julienne Barton:
So to me, the most important thing is, irrespective of whether you’ve got people with similar ID’s or different ID’s, is are they working in silos, or are they working collaboratively. And let me give you a couple examples of where teamwork, working collaboratively, really made a difference. And I’m gonna go back to Patricia and Ian.

Scott Charlton:
Right.

Julienne Barton: 
So in this case, they are very different ID’s. So yeah, and this is where if you respect and enjoy the difference, it can really make a difference. But if not, it can be really tough for both Patricia and Ian. I’ll give you an example.

Julienne Barton: 
For Patricia, when you communicate with her, for her to be engaged and enjoy the interaction, you need to keep it concise. Just give her the bottom line. She will ask for more detail if she needs it. Now, Ian, he prides himself on developing a comprehensive and thorough report, and is so proud of himself when he gives this report to Patricia. This was pre-ID. And then post-ID, knowing Patricia’s ID, and Ian knowing that she’d never actually read his report, she just quickly skimmed through the headings and the executive summary, all of sudden Ian has got all these hours freed up to do other things.

Julienne Barton:
So it’s almost like they’ve gone from pulling the 15,000 pounds to the 25,000 pounds, because of all the extra time Ian’s got not preparing all these detailed reports that disengage and aren’t useful for Patricia.

Scott Charlton:  
God, this is a question from the heart here, but what if he likes preparing reports? [laughs]

Julienne Barton:
Well, he does. [laughs]. Oh, hopefully he can work with some other leaders that actually would really enjoy receiving those reports.

Scott Charlton:
Yeah, okay, that’s great. Now, I’m thinking in terms of leadership now, and particularly leadership in professional practices. And we’ve both seen a common characteristic of the people who are leading professional service teams are those who are drawn to problems and like to work through things in isolation. Yet, something that you said to me quite a number of years ago just really struck a note. And that is, it’s not about being in the cone of silence, it’s about achieving through others. So do you have any tips in terms of somebody who is from a technical background, and sort of the preference is, or has been, the part of the reason for their successes is working in isolation, now, how they might make a journey to being an effective leader?

Julienne Barton:
That’s a really great question. So when you’re talking, describing a practitioner like that, early on in their career, it’s not only do they love solving technical problems, it’s very fulfilling for them to know that they’re personal contribution is critical in helping they’re clients, and when they solve the technical problems. And then, as they transition to leadership, it’s like how do they honour that need to be able to personally contribute to really help their clients? But, in a way, that is being achieved through others like you mentioned.

Julienne Barton:
And I’m gonna draw a parallel here, and I want you to think of, we were talking about AFL before, so let’s go back to AFL. And you think of the practitioner that was one of the players on the team. An outstanding contributor as a player on the team. Essential to the team, in fact team winning the premiership at the end of the year, as one of the players. As that player evolved, got to the stage where it’s time to retire and become and he was able to become a non-playing coach. And this player is coaching the team, but he’s still himself, that he’s just finished playing, so he still actually could run out in the field and really contribute, because his career has just finished.

Julienne Barton:
And he’s coaching the team, and he’d love nothing better than to get a run on the team on the Oval, help the team win that premiership. But he’s not allowed to do so, he’s a non-playing coach. So it’s like his problem to solve, or his challenge, is how do I enable the team to win the premiership, but without me running on the Oval to help them do so?

Julienne Barton:
So from a practitioner’s perspective, there’ll be times where you are part of the time, and you can run out on the Oval, and you can play, and there’ll be other times where you are the non-playing coach. And if you visualize yourself that way, when you’re tempted to jump in and do the work, go, “I can’t do that, my problem to solve is how to get the team to solve their own problems.” I think that sort of visual can sort of help with that journey of going from early in career through to a successful leader, in that example, for that sort of practitioner.

Scott Charlton:
It’s a good example. And even when the coach is sort of allowed a cameo ten minutes on the field, well they can’t be playing in every position. So they still need to be held to pass the ball occasionally. What about interruptions? A common frustration of the senior practitioners being continually interrupted, and that might be client’s phone calls and emails, but I’m thinking particularly of the stream of people that sort of wander to the door of a practitioner’s office, knock on the door, “You got a moment?” So it could be client matters, technical input, getting review points cleared, what should I invoice. So how does somebody get some of the serious work that they know that they need to have done, so that might be client work or it might be working on something to lead the firm. So how does a person get that done, whilst still being available for other who need to interact with the leader?

Julienne Barton:
So let’s go back to your example of your practitioners that might be listeners on this call that love nothing better than an interesting problem to solve.

Scott Charlton:
Yes.

Julienne Barton:
Their vulnerability is, they can spend most of their day solving other people’s problems, with all the interruptions that you’re talking about. And at the end of the day, they’ll reflect back and go, “I can’t believe it. I haven’t got to one of my priorities today.” And that significantly impacts on their productivity, as you’ve just mentioned. So for practitioners that love solving problems, they’re always going to love solving problems, but it’s redefining what is their problem to solve.

Julienne Barton:  
So, for example, is their problem to solve the problem that the team members brought to them, or is it how do you get the team to solve their own problems? It could then be a protocol of come to me with your recommendations. Or the moment they start reviewing some work and start to see some errors, going back to that team member and going, “I think you need to go back re-look at this,” rather than going and fixing it themselves. So just redefining what the problem is, where the problem to solve is, to get the team to solve their own problems, and coming up with some strategies around that, as an example, can make a massive difference to their productivity.

Julienne Barton:
A lot of it, at the end of the day, it all gets back to time management strategies. And there is no one size fits all time management strategy, because we’re all wired differently, but it’s more understanding, on the basis of what you’re wired, you know, ID really helps to come up with strategies that will work for you.

Scott Charlton:
Excellent. I’m thinking what you’ve just described in terms of getting people to solve their own problem might also be relevant to what I often hear practitioners say is that, “Oh, it’s easier to do it myself.” Any quick comments on that classic line?

Julienne Barton:
It is a classic line, and I hear it often too. And, again, the strategy to help the practitioner around that will vary depending on the way they’re wired, but it’s such things like, okay, so there’ll be some practitioners that are really anti-waste, for example. So it’s all around, well, you’re really wasting your resources if you’re doing what they’re hired to do. So you’re really busy, and you’ve got an unproductive workforce. Or for others where they’re very much passionate about really growing their team, it might be they need to sort of see, well, they might have done it more quickly themselves, but to really invest in growing their team and, obviously with a longer-term benefits down the track, they won’t have to go through “It’s quicker to do it myself.” So that’s just a combination of the way it works for different people.

Scott Charlton:
Let’s go on to recruitment now. I’m interested in exploring how listeners might recruit better. What process, for example, would you suggest for a busy, say two to three partner firm, once they’ve got down to a short list of candidates?

Julienne Barton:
Okay, so rather than talk process, I’d really like to share some big picture from our minds. Firstly, shortlist. If candidates are on the shortlist, it’s likely that they have the technical competencies that are needed. So it’s then really all about looking beyond the technical competencies to look at who the best candidate will be. Now questions like, are they aligned to the core values of the business? Are they aligned to the future needs of the business? Do they have a positive can-do attitude? Do they have a strong sense of self-worth and confidence? And do they have great people skills, be it with clients and with your team?

Julienne Barton:
And then if you find the candidate that you really want to have join the firm, the key is how do you get the candidate you want to yes. They need to want to join you, just as much as you want them to join the organization. So don’t let your busyness get in the way of really being aware of when you are with the potential candidates, share with them your excitement for the future of the business and what they’re role will be in making it happen. Have it so that when they leave, they think, “Oh, I just so hope I get offered the job because I would just love to work for this organization.”

Julienne Barton:
And, finally, remember recruitment is an art. It’s not a science. We all get it wrong at times. But the key is, if you do get it wrong, is acknowledge it and promptly. It’s not good for the team member, or for the business, for them to be in a role that they’re not suited for.

Scott Charlton: 
Great. Okay. Tell me, what are your thoughts on role descriptions? Should they describe the role in detail, or is it sufficient to keep the description pretty broad?

Julienne Barton:
For me, it’s really stepping back and looking at starting with what’s the purpose of the role? Why does it exist? What will success look like, if someone is successful in that role? And to really step back and ask that question is key. And, so, from there, then go, what are the key duties and responsibilities needed to fulfil that purpose? What are the key attributes that are needed? How would you know if they’re being successful in the role? What are the key measures of success?

Julienne Barton: 
And often I find, particularly at the leadership level for practitioners, they might be quite focused on doing role descriptions for their team, and often in a lot of detail. But they actually forget to do it for themselves. Or if they do do it for themselves, it’s sort of again, just into things around technical, operational, that sort of thing, rather than stepping back and going, what is the purpose of my role? What would success really look like? And have more of an emphasis on that they need to grow the business, and they need to have better leadership skills, and so forth.

Julienne Barton:
So, to me, to get the role description right, and starting with that purpose and what success looks like helps people to focus on not only doing things that are within their comfort zone, but things that might be outside of their comfort or confidence zone that they need to be really good at to be successful in the role, to enable the business to be successful.

Julienne Barton:
So it’s more about that big picture focus, I think. Be concise, leave the detail to supporting systems and processes if appropriate.

Scott Charlton:
That’s really great there. I asked one question and got a really good perspective on something else, which is what is the purpose of my role as a business leader. And if you have clarity on that, then perhaps all those ‘it’s quicker to do it myself’ things will go away. Because if you’re really clear that your purpose is to lead the business, then it can’t be because you’re majoring in the minors on fixing little stuff. Cool. Okay.

Julienne Barton:
That’s a good example.

Scott Charlton:
Just as we head towards the end here, listeners of this podcast, Julienne, will know my interest in acting boldly. So could you give me an example of how using a profiling tool, like the ID thing that we’ve been discussing, how that would enable you to act boldly when it comes to improving the performance of a team member?

Julienne Barton:
Well, going back to your question, Scott, you know we talked about what can be outside the confidence and comfort zone of some of our listeners, which is being really good at the stuff beyond the technical and operational. And one of the things, you know, I would … When you look at practitioners, you’ve all invested so much time at being so incredibly good at what you do from a technical level, and working with clients and giving them what they need. And it’s to be bold to go, “You know what, I now need to invest a lot more time being good at the soft stuff.” To really strengthen, to really stretch my comfort, my confidence zone. It’s all about be bold, prioritized to have excellent people skills. And what I’ve shared with you today from the ID system, that can help you with this if you think that is something that can work for you. Just don’t hide behind your technical prowess.

Scott Charlton:
Wow. Okay. That’s powerful. So looking back on what we’ve covered today, what would you say to someone listening who might be really interested, but perhaps not entirely convinced about the role of profiling in professional practice? And maybe it’s laced with a past experience, or a natural scepticism, or even a concern about being a little intrusive for team members. What would you say to them to perhaps explore this further?

Julienne Barton: 
I would simply say start with yourself. Just do your ID. See if it resonates for you personally. Just go in with an open mind. Simple as that. And for me, it was that opportunity to experience it personally. And when I did, wow, I was amazed at how accurate and insightful it was. And as I mentioned before, a big thing for me was just it was liberating to know it’s okay to be me, not to feel pressured to conform to expectations of others that are wired differently. So, yeah, keep an open mind. I think you could be pleasantly surprised.

Scott Charlton:
Great. Yep. I would endorse that. And what I’ll do is I’ll put details of the relevant website in the show notes. Julienne, in finishing up, what’s the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Julienne Barton:
By phone or email or LinkedIn.

Scott Charlton:
Great. Okay. I’ll put your contact details in the show notes as well.

Julienne Barton:
Thanks for that, Scott.

Scott Charlton:
Yeah, no, my pleasure. Any final tips for listeners about optimizing their own performance and that of their team?

Julienne Barton:
Invest in being self-aware, and understanding the way you need to operate to be at your best. But be aware of your own bias. I really encourage you to embrace and be respectful of diversity. And adjust the way you work and interact with other based on their ID, because it’s all about helping other to be engaged and motivated and at their best.

Scott Charlton:
Fantastic. Julienne, thanks very much for your time today.

Julienne Barton: 
Thank you Scott.

Scott Charlton:
I hope you enjoyed that interview with Julienne Barton. It’s interesting, isn’t it? That we enter our respective professions, thinking it’s all about technical knowledge. And for sure, that’s very important. However, to a very large extent, that’s just the ticket to entry. Once you get into an organization, then how high you fly will very much depend on how you get on with other, your work mates, your subordinates, your leaders, your clients, and your influencers. The ID system is certainly one way of engaging in how people are different, and that is actually a good thing.

Scott Charlton:  
Julienne spoke, for example, about the tendency to recruit in one’s own image. A platoon of mini-me’s, whereas a group of complementary skills will be a much more resilient and capable group. I hope the insights Julienne had to share in teamwork, leadership, and recruitment, gave you some additional awareness to take into future activities within your firm.

Scott Charlton:
If you’re interested in finding out what your ID is, I’ve put details on the show notes. Essentially, you go to the instinctive drive’s website, pay your $50, Australian, that’s right, it’s only cost $50. And answer about 30 questions, then out comes a report. I heartily recommend this step.

Scott Charlton:
In the final part of our episode today, I’d like to share an outcome arising from a conversation I had with a practitioner recently. This conversation followed on from a breakaway business planning workshop that the practitioner had attended two weeks prior. The system we follow here at Slipstream is that attendees have a one-on-one conversation with a coach to work through their draft plan. And so it came to an earnest discussion on the core values in the plan, which was great because the practitioner really didn’t sound too convincing when I asked him to talk me through his three nominated values.

Scott Charlton:
So we came to the first of the three core values. Neither he nor I was terribly convinced about his description. What he shared with me, was that the first value had been born out of something stamped into his DNA from a very early age, to be useful. “That’s it,” I said. “Use something that means everything to you.” So the value became Be Useful.

Scott Charlton: 
Then followed a discussion about keeping things real. From there, the second value became Be Authentic. The practitioner was well-pleased about this. “What about team members of your firm,” I asked. “How do you want them to relate to clients and one another?”

Scott Charlton:
“With respect,” was the reply.

Scott Charlton:
“Great,” I said. “That’s the third value.”

Scott Charlton:
So the outcome from this discussion was a memorable set of values. Be useful, be authentic, be respectful. I think we were both getting goose bumps. It’s like that when something just rings true. I feel honoured to have been part of the process, and it’d be great to be a fly on the wall when the practitioner shares these values with his team. I’m sure he’ll be speaking from the heart, which is a fabulous quality in any leader.

Scott Charlton:
Thanks so much for listening to In the Slipstream FM. If you enjoy what you’re hearing, please tell friend and colleagues. Until next time, onwards and upwards.