1% Better S2,

Sarah Abbott (part 1) on Leadership, the Art of Listening & Defining the Problem First – EP056

April 13, 2018

Hi there,

It has been a very interesting week since the release of the episode with Josh Quigley last Friday. Thanks to all that connected in directly, commented on the socials, provided feedback and nice words. Something like 30,000 views on LinkedIn alone so that’s great. For those that checked out the episode, thank you. It’s very clear that this is a topic that needs more discussion & exposure so I’ll be returning to it again in the next few with a couple of episodes that I’ve already recorded. More to come.

To this week’s episode. We switch focus towards Management, Coaching, Leadership, and Values. All subjects that my guest, Sarah Abbott, has extensive experience with.

Sarah is an Experienced HR Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in HR Leadership, Executive Coaching, Group Dynamics, Leadership Development, Talent Management, Personnel Management, Employee Engagement, and Succession Planning. Strong internal consulting professional graduated from Tavistock Institute.

I worked with Sarah during her time leading HR for EMEA at EMC and Dell EMC. Last year she set up her own venture, The People Practice, with co-founder Susan Manning.

We originally planned to chat for about 45 minutes but the examples and insights that Sarah shared were so very rich and full of good learning, that we just kept going. So, I’ve decided to break the conversation into two parts, with part two coming next week.

In Today’s first part, some of the areas we cover include:

  • Early memories and formation of core values & principles
  • Growing up where Sarah’s mother helped instill a great self-belief
  • Sarah’s early career, experience and lesson learned
  • Ernst & Young experience giving Sarah her first role in HR
  • Being fearless, taking chances, and having ‘what’s the worst that can happen’ outlook as long as it’s not life or death!
  • Apple experience & learning from great leaders there in the late 1990s
  • Leadership development programs that focused on value based training with a focus on a self-awareness, EQ, and networking
  • Use of performance tools to show different sides of yourself
  • The value of having a learning log
  • Self-reflecting – make it part of your culture
  • 4 Week challenges of self-reflecting with a journal
  • Developing the Art of Listening
  • Freedom from having a healthy conscience
  • Doing right by myself and do right by others
  • Putting yourself on the edge of disparate communities & of different things

1% Better Nuggets Shared include:

  • Focusing on what the ‘real question is’
  • The difference between what I heard v what was said?
  • The secret sauce is in the white space
  • Deep dive into understanding the problem – before trying to solve – you will agree on the real question to be answered
  • Asking the right questions
  • Bringing a curiosity to the role
  • The Tim Cook influence – having the ability to ask Killer questions to the core of what you’re trying to!
  • Focusing on the core of what you’re trying to do!
  • Values based learning
  • Ask the question – if you did nothing what would happen?

Stand out Quote from Einstein – If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.

Book Recommendations:

  • Time to Think – Nancy Kline
  • The Power of Pull – John Hagel, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison

Connect with Sarah:

 Check out the DisruptHR Cork Event that Sarah & Susan are hosting on Tuesday 17th April in Cork. Details below – https://disrupthr.co/cork/


Just a quick note to say thanks for listening. There are a lot of podcasts to choose from and you picking this one means a lot to me. I know that sounds like a cheese-ball thing to say, but it’s true! I’m enjoying creating these shows, learning from them and I’m hoping that you are too.

To help me make the show even better, I wand & need your help. Your feedback is essential. So, please take a few minutes to get in touch (links below, or subscribe on iTunes and leave a rating or review).

If you liked this episode, share out the link via one of the socials. It will help me reach a bigger audience. If One Person gets something from the Episode that makes them 1% Better, I’ll be a happy man.

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