Career Growth with Julie Winkle Giulioni

Reading Time: 19 Minutes

How can you develop your career if your manager isn’t taking charge? How can you start a career conversation? What ways can you grow in your career outside of the ladder of promotions?

After the Interview

About Julie Winkle Giulioni

Julie is the co-author of Help Them Grow or Watch them Go – a must read if you want to take your career development to the next level. Julie helps organizations enhance learning, engagement, retention, and the bottom line. Named one of Inc. Magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers, Julie’s mission is to help organizations tap their only sustainable competitive advantage: talent.

Read the Transcript

This transcript was auto-generated from the original video recording using Otter Voice Meeting Notes. While the transcript has not been human edited, we hope it will still help you to quickly find or reference useful information from the interview.


Deliberate Leaders I am your host Allison Dunn, Executive Coach and Founder of the Deliberate Leaders podcast where we’re dedicated to helping leaders build strong, thriving businesses. Each episode, we feature inspiring interviews to help you on your leadership journey. And I am so excited to introduce today’s guest. We have with us Julie Winkle Giuliaoni, who is the co-author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go. And I would say this is an absolute must read if you want to take your career development conversation to the next level. And Julie helps organizations enhance learning, learning engagements, retention, and ultimately a company’s bottom line. She’s been named one of Inc, Magazine’s Top 100 leadership speakers. Julie’s mission is to help organizations tap their only sustainable competitive advantage, which is their talent. Julie, thank you so much for joining us here today.


Oh, thank you, Allison, I’ve really been looking forward to this.


Me too. I always love this first part. So having a deliberate conversation, we want to know what is your number one leadership tip that you would give to our Deliberate Leader listeners?


Be a prism.




Tell me more.


So, you know, prism is this unassuming little piece of glass. But it’s got the power to take just ordinary light. And through working through it, it becomes these beautiful hues. And when I think about leaders, that the best leaders I know, they operate the same way, you know, they show up, transparent, no agenda and none of their own staff. They’re there in service of taking the energy that people in an organization have, and focusing it in a way that allows them to discover and explore and transform and ultimately, you know, really step into and own the unique gifts and talents and strengths and superpowers that they have. So I think as leaders, you know, all we have to do is kind of get out of the way and be a prism for others to shine through.


Oh, that’s awesome. I also I like that. And when I think of it, maybe I’m thinking of it in the wrong way. But I also feel like a prism reflects back. forgiven. So I think the energy aspect of that is beautiful, very nice, great tip. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, helping them grow or watch them grow or watch them go. And one of the things that I really appreciated about your book is I’m highly visual, and visuals throughout this was absolutely fantastic.


Thank you for that it was a super fun playing it out that way as well.


And it just made me keep on flipping the pages to be able to absorb the learnings but then also lock it in with a visual. So it’s not just a straight read, it is creative, it’s a candy for the eyes as well.




Thank you. I’m hoping that we can just spend a little bit time today I know that career development is the foundation of which I know, almost all of my clients thrive on yet it often feels like it’s one of those things that gets cut first, or it’s an absent conversation altogether. Or people think it’s supposed to be some structured process. And you’ve really outlined some interesting ways for people to think about their own career development and how to own hands. So what would be your guidance on how people if they’ve not been having a career conversation or development conversations? How to start one? How do you do that?


Yeah, so as leaders, I think so much of the power of a career conversation really boils down less to, you know, what you do, and more about who you are and how you show up. And so again, the folks I’ve seen who really engage in powerful development dialogue with others, they tend to, you know, really see that their role is to be of service, you know, they come with the assumption that everyone can learn and grow and that there’s more that they can bring to the party. And you know, there’s a humility there’s a generosity, there’s a curiosity that operates and, and I think at the end of the day, from my perspective, the syntax and how you do it, the techniques the verb formulas, all of that is really secondary to the spirit with which a leader approaches the conversation. So that’s kind of where I start is, you know, let’s check our intentions. And if we’ve got the right intentions, then you know, the book, the training we do, all of that just kind of takes it to the next level. But I have seen some, you know, really committed leaders have very clumpy conversations, if you’re going to like, evaluate the mechanics of it, you’d give it a laugh. But it was authentic and genuine and in the moment, and it was exactly what people needed. For sure.


My takeaway there is that it’s the intention behind it, it’s not so much how the conversation happens itself.


It’s kind of back to being deliberate. Right? Absolutely.


I love that.


And I appreciated the perspective of your highlighting that there’s three distinct types of conversation. So would you would you mind sharing with those three are and then just a little bit so that people can think about that for themselves?


Sure. You bet. So one of the things that we did, we did some research before writing the book. And what we found was that the number one impediment from a leadership standpoint, number one barrier standing in the way was time. And so we knew we had to, we were going to create some sort of a framework, it had to operate at the speed of business. And so this three part framework operates just like that. The three parts are hindsight foresight, and insight. And so hindsight, involves those questions. And those conversations that help somebody understand you know, who they are, and where they’ve been, what they’ve done, and what they love, and what they want to do, where their interests lie in their passions and their values, maybe what they don’t want to do. You know, it’s all of that kind of baseline information that we typically associate with career development. And it’s also real similar to, you know, kind of the questions we ask people during an employment interview. And, and it’s interesting, because we’re so curious under those circumstances. And then once we invite them into the family, you know, once they become part of the organization, literally and figuratively, End of discussion. So hindsight is about kind of keeping the interview going over the course of someone’s career. So then, if hindsight just looking backward, and kind of inward foresight is about looking outward and forward, it’s about understanding what are the needs of the business, you know, where are we going strategically, it’s about looking at the, the environment, the industry, the sector you’re in. And then even broader than that in the big picture, stuff like changing demographics, economics, geopolitical issues, environmental issues, the stuff that’s normally the domain of strategic planning sessions. But the truth is, all of that absolutely has implications right down to our individual jobs, because it creates the guardrails, you know, the playing field with it when it within which career development is possible. So that’s foresight. And then we’re hindsight where I’ve been when I love what I want to do intersects with foresight, where are things going? What are the needs, that’s what we call insight, and that’s the sweet spot to be mined for possibilities and opportunities and, and actions to help people move forward and ultimately learning.


Yeah, I love that. And it’s such a great demonstration of you can get gems from every angle of it. So it’s not just always forward, right?


Yeah. And when you bring the two together, that’s when you have a really great win win. Because it’s all about the employee that’s not sustainable the organization forever Do you know make investments


that are one sided, if it’s all about the organization, employees aren’t going to be interested in that long term, and where we can blend the two. So what I’m learning what I’m growing, what I’m wanting to do fuels with the organization needs, I mean, like, what leaders gonna say no to.




One of I, there’s a few chapters that gave you a really great titles for each of them. And so, to tee that up. And I think a lot of people when they think about career growth, it’s, you know, it’s like, you know, climbing the corporate ladder, right, or, you know, taking the elevator up to the top floor. If not, you do a really good job at exploring how career development can have a lot of different ways. It’s not always up right.


And what and I, I’m happy to kind of tee up a couple of the topics, but is there you kind of talk through chapters of what does development look like when it’s not necessarily? Yeah, what is your favorite? What’s the most common one that you’ve seen? And what’s the one that you’d like people to think about the most? And I realized I asked all three of those at once.


No problem, I’ll just answer all three together and backing up just a little bit. You’re so right, Allison, we have been brainwashed. And the cutest thing I would love to, like, get into our DNA and understand it. Because we’ve got these expectations about what career development supposed to look like. It’s based upon like, our parents generation, you know, when it was the whole cradle to grave sort of work life relationship. And, and so there’s part of me, there’s a period of time when I was doing this work that I thought maybe we just need to Nix the word career all together, because it’s such a trigger word, you know, it really hijacks the brain. And as you said, Take them right to, you know, the ladder, which, of course, is limited and limiting. And, you know, we’ve got all sorts of other factors that that just make, grow through promotion, not the most plentiful of options available. And so what we did in the book was, we figured if we were going to try to lose the ladder, we need to introduce something else. And the metaphor that we use was a climbing wall. Because it was more reflective of organizations today, and how growth really happens, certainly, there are some opportunities to go up. But there’s a lot more room laterally, there isn’t just that one path rung by rung by rung up to the top floor, if you had mentioned, there are a bazillion different ways to get from A to Z, up and down and over and around and back. But the thing that was most fascinating to me, and the huge Aha, I had, we decided, if we were going to put this in the book, we better go and actually have the experience of climbing on one of these walls. And so you can imagine, you know, we took pictures, one of which is a short rest are involved. But the big discovery right after I learned I had no upper body strength was you know, depending upon where you put your hands and your feet, at any given moment, you could challenge yourself, you could have a great view, you could be having fun, you could be building capacity and muscle without going anywhere. And so that is the one big aha for me. And the one big, huge really opportunity I think we all have in the workplace is we think we’ve got to go somewhere to grow. But the truth is, you know that one of the titles of the chapters, I think you were talking about was saying seat new view? Yes, truth is that if we’re deliberate, if we’re intentional, we can use the envelope of our current role for development, you know, we can develop in place, bring in the challenges, the opportunities, the connections, the experiences, whatever it might be, right there to create interest, to create greater capacity to build our ability to contribute, and ultimately to grow. So I’m really have all the options, I’m really enamored with this idea of using our current role for growth, rather than kind of waiting for someplace in the future where growth is going to come to us. Yeah,


that is a conversation that I’m often saying whether, especially, you know, I’ve got a young adult children who are saying, you know, it’s interesting, you know, I need it, I need a promotion, I need to be reviewed enough, just like, you know, honestly, you can do whatever you want, right from where you’re at. And it’ll earn you in that direction. So maybe, to try it from where you’re standing, as opposed to thinking you need to move somewhere.


Right. You know, you’re so right. And so frequently, especially young people, I think, although, you know, probably all of us, the grass always looks greener, always right. And, you know, folks who just kind of reflexively have decided they want to go into management, either, just because that’s the next one. But when they get there, it’s like, well, I don’t like people, what was the thinking? So being able to invite small bites of that, you know, maybe you’ve got someone who wants to go into leadership, they’re not ready. And so let them do orientation for your department, get a taste of it, see if that really does align with what they want to do, if it’s something that they’ve got capacity for, let them grow, you know, incrementally rather than in those scary leaps.


Right. And we’re just we’re in a very unique time in our life, I think, especially from like a worldwide like this conversation is relevant no matter where someone may be listening from. Why is why do you feel like it’s ever more important to focus on developing ourselves and career development?


Well, I yes, to your point. It’s always been important. You know, we know from our own experience and from the experiences of our organizations career development is the number one reason people come to a job number Reason number one reason they stay number one reason they give for leaving. So it’s always been in right now, I think the importance is amplified for a couple of reasons. If COVID has taught us nothing, we have learned that the world can change literally overnight, that all of the plans, all of everything that we’ve put in place, can overnight become irrelevant. And while I think we had kind of a, I don’t know, an intellectual understanding, now we’ve all been punched in the gut with it. And the idea of remaining relevant building the capacity for agility and flexibility is, is front and center for most people, you know, there’s research from the Institute for the future of work. And they suggest that 85% of the jobs we’re going to be doing in the year 2030 have not yet been invented. Yeah. blows my mind. I know. I know. And so with between that, and the COVID realization, people understand that the choices that they’re making to grow now have long term implications for their ability to, to contribute, to remain employed to keep food on the table for their family. So, you know, I think the relevance maintaining relevance piece is huge. And then the other reason that career development may be even more important today is just the connection. You know, but even before COVID, and the work from home migration, there was already a huge loneliness epidemic that we were experiencing. And so it’s only, you know, exacerbated that. And career conversations, you know, are really intimate, they’re probably the most intimate personal way managers and employees interact, when you’re dealing with people’s hopes and dreams and futures and all of that, and employees are craving connection right now. And a career conversation just fills that need.


I think one of one of my takeaways is that it’s not just a one and done conversation, I think you say, you know, it’s 1000 little conversations, move it, move it forward, you know, so don’t just think you’re, you know, to go in and knock on the door, ask for it and then be like, it’s coming. It’s a lot of little ones.


Yeah, exactly. And I like to think you know, about it is like time released, you know, the headache pills we take or a subscription model, you know, we used to pay for something once and then it was done. But now we’re paying for Netflix every month, right? Same thing with career development, we got to pay or do better spend some time with people all year long. Yeah,


that’s fantastic. We, so I always say to date and episode, but we are heading into the Thanksgiving week, and we’re coming towards your end. And we’ve had this you unique opportunity of people working from home and maybe even less focused on training and development and career trajectory. So why do you think it’s a really critical time right now for leaders to lean in and do some development reviews?


I’m so glad you asked about that, Allison, because I think this is going to be a really important focus for leaders this year. And I’ve talked to so many managers who just feel like they’re ready to throw in the towel, throw up their hands, it’s been, you know, hot mess of a year. All their plans went out the window back in March. I mean, why even have this conversation, but I keep hearing, and why even have this conversation is because exactly, she said it’s been an extraordinary year. And, you know, you look at essential workers who are playing Russian roulette, you know, every time they go to work the health care providers who are on the front line of this pandemic, the emotional labor that they’ve had to commit to.


You look at the innovation, there was a young man I was talking to the other day and early on in the pandemic. He worked from home all day long, and then he would sneak back into the office and he retooled the 3d printer to be able to make PPV personal protection equipment. Extraordinary stuff. If you think about the parents, you know the employees who went home and are working full time parenting, this is a year where folks are physically and emotionally and in many cases just spiritually exhausted. And so even if we didn’t reach the goals, we thought we were going to even if all those plans back, the beginning of the year became null and void come March, this is really a year to, to celebrate what has worked, and there are incredible, you know, advances innovation successes, that that deserve that kind of celebration, it’s a time to pause and extract as much learning as we can, you know, we’re gonna go through all of this stuff over the last seven months, let at least walk away smarter for it, you know, more insights. And this is really an opportunity, these reviews are an opportunity to reframe the year for folks to help lift spirits and put people in a position where they’re going to be better equipped for the challenges of the next year.


I think that those are some outstanding tips of how do you do it, even in a year that maybe you have to throw your plans out the door? So great strategies for doing that. How do you have a any thoughts on what the most effective way to do that doesn’t need to be face to face to be as effective? Do you think?


No, no, I mean, obviously, it’s lovely, when you can deal with all to eyeball with folks. But a lot of the leaders that I’ve been talking to they were saying, well, maybe I’ll just wait till we can get back together.


Don’t do it, is what I wanted you to say.


Now immediacy is much better. And if you’re both prepared, you know, if you ask the employee, some really focused questions to get them to, you know, kind of bring a brag sheet to it. If you as the leader, have done your own homework, and you’ve got a few nuggets that you can throw in there that you know, the employee isn’t going to share. You can send them some, you know, Starbucks credit, so they can go get a cup of coffee. So it kind of feels like that. There are a lot of things that you can do. But don’t wait folks need this now.


Thank you for being so direct on that. How about for maybe some of our listeners who, who we’re here today, to try to get mentorship and leadership from experts like yourself? And maybe their leadership? isn’t having a performance conversation? And isn’t having a development conversation? What? What encouragement in words, would you give them to help them move themselves forward?


Yeah, you know, it’s, it’s rough, because for so long, we’ve heard that employees need to own their development. But it is a partnership, you can’t do it by yourself. And so if you are manager, if your leader isn’t initiating it, don’t assume that it’s not that they’re, they’ve that they’re not interested. You know, I think that’s a lot of times what we just kind of relegated Well, they must not care. A lot of leaders don’t know how to do this, it feels awkward, they haven’t been trained, it’s not coming natural to them. And so as a result, they just don’t leave with these kinds of conversations. So you can do them a huge favor and service by taking initiative and going to them and saying, I’d really like to talk to you about what I’ve learned this year, or about the kind of growth that I’d like to, to engage in, in the coming year, you know, go to them with a, you know, kind of a an agenda. That’s non threatening. It’s not like you’re, you know, asking them to give you a promotion. But here’s what I’ve learned, here’s how I’d like to grow. Here’s what I’d like to see in terms of support for you. And it’s amazing when those kinds of requests are made, how many leaders are very willing to lean in and say yes,




I know that career development is baked into some cultures, right? And then sometimes we have to create that culture. And that brings it around. So what, how does someone create a culture that supports an authentic sustainable career development? concept?


Yeah. And so you know, the culture really is the cumulative effect of, of everyone’s behavior within it. So leaders, we can each contribute to a better a more sustainable and more effective culture. By thinking about a couple of different traits and qualities, I kind of call them cultural Hall hallmarks, you know, the cultures that really enable the kind of development we’ve been talking about. They tend to be transparent. You know, there’s A free flow of information about how people are doing and where the possibilities lie and why someone is promoted over someone else, you know, there’s not that curtain that leaves everybody like wondering what’s going on back there, but I won’t get. So there’s a transparency there. And another cultural Hallmark is that these organizations tend to have blurry boundaries. So you know, some organizations are so siloed, and you’ve got your divisions or your departments or your functions, and they all act as if they’re free freestanding units. And when you can blur the boundaries among and between groups, suddenly, there’s a lot more latitude for sharing resources for bringing maybe a challenge over here over there. So that you’ve got more opportunities, again, when you think about people developing enroll opportunities for people to do things that are outside of the normal bag of responsibilities. And, and a third one that I’ll just mention briefly, is these cultures tend to be patient. and patience is not something that, you know, I think that we’re all that great at these days, you know, organizations are evaluating month by month, quarter by quarter, and development doesn’t happen like that, you know, growth is messy, and learning is sometimes two steps forward, and then a step back. And so cultures that really embrace development, understand that, you know, experiments are going to fail, people are going to, to not things aren’t going to work out, we need to have a certain amount of risk. And we need to give folks the time that’s required to grow in the directions that they’re interested in, and that serve the organization.


Fantastic. Great, tips.


So you’re, you’re working on a new book these days? And can you share the title? Or is that not yet to be released?


I still wish I could. I don’t know what it is. No, we don’t know what it is yet.


Well, let’s talk about it. Maybe we could come up with something. I know that you’re working on some new research. And I would I personally would love to hear about it.


Oh, thank you so much for asking, yes, I’m really excited ATV press picked up on an article that I had written. And I thought it would make a good book. And as I’m having so much fun with it. So the premise kind of goes back to what we were talking about before, the idea that we’ve got this limited definition of what career development is, and that it’s all about promotions, and a lot of managers just avoid it altogether, because they can’t give people promotions. And so it just creates this whole, you know, downward spiral. But I contend that there are seven other I call them development dimensions, other things you can grow beyond your title in your position, that make up your career. So created this sort of bigger envelope. So you know, in addition to the climb up the ladder, which is a legitimate developmental dimension, there are things like competence, you can create greater competence throughout your career, you don’t have to be, you know, climbing up the ladder for that, you can grow your confidence through a variety of different ways or your connections. So anyway, there’s seven alternate development dimensions. So I know that they’re all viable. In fact, they’re more viable than the climb because they’re within a sphere of influence of the manager and the employee. But what I wasn’t sure of is, were they valuable to people. So yeah, they might be there. But do people even, you know, care. And so we just concluded a study of 750 people. And we asked them to take these eight dimensions, and to rank them in terms of what their level of interest was, what did they want to grow. And I was done. The number one area of greatest interest, the dimension of greatest interest is contribution. People want that they want to be able to give more to do more to align, you know, their work with their own purpose and find meaning. And the second was competence. And what was fascinating is, as we looked across agents, genders, level of the organization, and whether they were inside or outside the US, those two development dimensions, were number one or two for GL audience.


So leakers can go confidently into conversations knowing that employees are really interested in growing contribution and competence. And again, what leader is going to say now, I don’t know you or for you. I mean, it’s crazy. But the most amazing Part of the research and I still, you know, I just, every morning I wake up and kind of, you know, rub my eyes and look at it again to make sure I didn’t misunderstand it. The really stunning thing was that eight out of eight in terms of this ranking, whether somebody was in their 20s 30s 40s 5060, or above, whether they’re men or women, whether they were executives or individual contributors, whether they lived in the US or outside of the US, across the board, the last thing they were interested in was the climb, advancing through promotions and other positions. And so, you know, what this tells me, and I think that the hopeful mode message for leaders everywhere, is that you have the ability to help people grow in ways they actually want to grow. And some of the things that were holding us back, you know, the fear that we couldn’t give them something, it’s nonsense, we can absolutely give folks the growth that they still want and in the process serve the organization as well.


That is fascinating. And it almost a little bit, you know, kind of debunks almost what people what I think a lot of people think, right, in order to have a career development conversation, we have to talk about a promotion, or something, you know, higher and that’s fascinating. I, it gives me so much hope in humanity to know that contribution is number one, I know, YouTube, yeah. And contribution is something that we can allow and enable and encourage and enlighten in everyone, no matter where they are, or what skill set they have.




Exactly. That’s so beautiful. I love that. When is your new book due to the out?


It’ll be fall of next year.


Okay, so you’ve got a little bit more writing to do that is super exciting. And you don’t have a title yet. So I know, I’ll let you know as soon as we get one.


I tell you what, as soon as it’s ready, I would love I would love to reconnect on this conversation and maybe talk about your new book once right before it goes. Fast. That would be fantastic. I would love it. And Julie, what is the best way for people to either connect and or follow? follow you?


Thank you for asking. I’ve got a website. It’s a mouthful. It’s Julie winkled Giuliani calm. But I’m also on LinkedIn and Twitter at Julie Winkle Giuliani and I’d love to connect with your listeners.


Oh, fantastic. I so appreciate all of your insights. today. I am excited to see your new book. And for anyone who’s listening, I will have a link to the Amazon for this book. And again, super great eye candy. And I think it’s not only a leadership book, but it’s also for anyone who’s going to take their career seriously and making sure that it continues to move in the direction that you choose to have it move. So Julie, thank you so much. I appreciate your time today. I hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving.


Thank you


so much. You too Allison. Thanks.


Thank you.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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