How we helped a global team of engineers, analysts, and product manager at a Fortune 500 company improve collaboration and communication and meet their timelines
- Engineering team had a culture of always saying yes and overpromising but under-delivering and missing deadlines
- Product asked for many last-minute changes with a seemingly never-ending list of new feature requests
- Engineering team was very introverted whereas Product team was very extroverted. This led to strained communication and misunderstandings where expectations were not always clearly understood
⬆️ How we turned this around:
- We organized group training sessions with Product, Engineering, and Analysts all in the same (virtual) room
- We took the team through exercises to better understand themselves and their teammates, identify their work and communication styles, and understand how these could positively or negatively impact their work relationships, especially when interacting with someone who had a different communication style
- We facilitated engaging conversations where each person discussed better ways to approach one another, taking into account their work styles and the personal traits each person shared about themselves
- We steered the conversation to team expectations and what changes would signal success for the team
- The biggest topic was around missing deadlines. The Product Manager explained they were okay with getting pushback as long as they were provided options for when the work could be delivered. They explained this would enable them to plan and set expectations with the business, rather than find out last minute that they were not going to meet a deadline and then have to scramble and soothe frustrations throughout the organization.
- Some of the engineers admitted that they had felt nervous about the idea of saying they couldn’t meet a deadline, but now felt more comfortable being transparent in their communication thanks to the agreements they made as a team with the Product Manager.
- The engineering team collectively agreed to ask more questions upfront to capture details (is this urgent? Is this a higher priority than X?) and making sure they had all the details before offering an estimate to the Product Manager.
- The engineers shared with the Product Manager that they needed to be able to ask more questions and get more context in order to better perform their job. The team mutually agreed to set check-in meetings each week to ensure they had space blocked out for Q&A as needed.
- Finally we helped the team lay the groundwork for a stronger team culture moving forward
- The team discussed how they could better support one another on team projects if they were falling behind or saw someone else falling behind
- The engineers decided they would like to understand more about the business needs behind their projects so that they could design better solutions to meet those needs.
- By the end of the training, the atmosphere and relationships between the teams was noticeably better as all the members believed there was a good path forward.
👀 Checking back in after 3 months:
- The product manager and engineering manager both agreed that their team was working together much more cohesively after implementing the new behaviors discussed in the training.
- They were no longer missing deadlines and dealing with the fallout from that; thanks to proactive communication the product manager was able to manage expectations with their stakeholders
- All members of the team agreed that communication was much more open and transparent and that this helped their workflow and ability to meet deadlines, with fewer misunderstandings and less re-work needed
- Many of the engineers also mentioned they felt more connected to the work and enjoyed knowing more about the business context
- The team said they felt closer and more understanding of each other than a typical work team would be, and that this was something they liked that happened through the training and changes they made
Minorities in Cybersecurity, Inc
We reached out to the Exceptional Life Institute to have them provide leadership development training for minority and women cybersecurity professionals in our MiC LEAD program. The MiC LEAD Communicators™ course is designed for cybersecurity professionals looking to move from individual contributor to people leader.
Monica was a huge hit with our leaders and provided much needed guidance on defining and identifying leadership styles and effective communication strategies. The training provided the right foundation for our leaders as they grow their cybersecurity careers.
Thank you so much for the wonderful training. Your excellent teaching skills and courteous personality have made the training fun and interesting. The training is already helping me in my professional and personal life. It has given me a new perspective to see and think things differently.
Thank you for taking the time to teach me the ropes of communication. I have really learned a lot from you.
This training has helped me learn a lot about myself, my weaknesses as well as my strengths and at the same time also helped me learn the same about my teammates which is eventually helping me work better with them on a daily basis. I have no doubt that the things I have learned during this training will continue to help me grow professionally and as a person too.
Also, I would like to personally thank Monica for making this training so interactive and fun. It wouldn’t have been the same without her.
Monica’s services provided me the tools I need to apply on the job for my next role as a leader. I highly recommend her services!
This training will empower you to reach new heights in your career. It’s that simple. If you want to break into middle or upper management, or lead your own team one day, these are the skills that will unlock that six-figure salary for you and ensure your team performance is stellar.
Not only will you become a master communicator and see huge productivity improvements in your own workflow (and the resulting A+ performance evaluations that come with that), you’ll also discover how to manage up if you have a difficult boss who doesn’t communicate clearly, plus how to set and manage expectations with them. This training is a win-win for you and everyone on your team.
The communication workshop helped in bridging the gap among my teammates by knowing them better – more than just a colleague. The program Monica hosted helped us to understand each other well which helped our team to get closer. It was very fun-oriented informative program.
Monica’s cheerful and positive personality all through the sessions did help me to participate actively and to be vocal and expressive about my thoughts and goals.
Thanks M!!! 😊
What did I get from the training –
1. Knowing ‘Self’ – specially touching aspects which are usually uncomfortable to address/face, hence pushed to back burners. And guidance around addressing these challenges
2. Knowing about ‘Others’ ‘Self’ – understanding the CORE of each of team members, who they are, how they act and why they act the way they act etc. Super helpful to build the camaraderie among the team
3. Using the knowledge of self + others to bridge the communication barriers between the two
4. Other thing I keep remembering is to take baby steps, as learnt from Monica – every activity lets first take a baby step and keep moving ahead
5. And I do take away many tips I will keep using in my day-day life at work and at home
Thanks to Monica for the wonderful session, something which – the more you practice, the more you benefit.
Noble Network of Charter Schools
I had the pleasure of being in three training sessions with Monica Ortiz through a leadership program. Monica’s tools and techniques for effective communication are very beneficial and practical for business communications. I enjoyed each session as it was filled with solutions on how to actively implement conflict resolution and de-escalation tools when engaging employees.
The communication class that Ms. Monica Ortiz taught is outstanding. I am a member of the Minorities in Cybersecurity Organization and I am currently enrolled in the MiC Lead Executive Training Program.
Ms. Monica Ortiz taught our first class on Effective Communication: How to Communicate Effectively. This class was amazing. Ms. Ortiz has a fun and interactive way of teaching. She is truly knowledgeable about the subject on communication and I learned a lot about my self during this class. I will use the techniques taught in this class in my everyday interactions with my co-workers, friends, and family members.
I really enjoyed learning about the Art of Effective Communication. Effective Communication is the art of successful conversation. This class taught me to have a clear understanding of what people want and expect from me so that I can convey clearly what I want or expect from them. Using the techniques that I learned in this class will help me in being an effective communicator, I will eliminate miscommunication, decrease errors made, have healthier relationships as I experience consistent forward progress.
Being an effective communicator is going to help me to be a great leader. The circle exercise that Ms. Ortiz had us do was an eye-opening experience for me. This exercise taught me that listening is particularly important when engaging in conversation with other people to not misunderstand what the other person is saying or asking of me. Another lesson I learned was Fixing Broken Communication Lines. Ms. Ortiz spoke about the importance of using effective communication in our personal relationships and work relationships. When I engage in conversation with other people, by using the correct tone and word choice will have a direct impact on who I am communicating with.
This class is one of the best classes I have taken and has sharpened my communication skills.