On this week’s episode of Inside Outside Innovation, we sit down with Manbir Kaur, Author of the new book Get Your Next Promotion. Manbir and I explore what it takes for leaders to navigate today’s changing work environment, the power of a growth mindset, and how you can set yourself up for success in the new year.
Inside Outside Innovation is a podcast to help new innovators navigate what’s next. Each week, we’ll give you a front row seat into what it takes to learn, grow, and thrive in today’s world of accelerating change and uncertainty. Join us as we explore, engage, and experiment with the best and the brightest innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneering businesses. It’s time to get started.
Interview Transcript with Manbir Kaur
Brian Ardinger: Welcome to another episode of Inside Outside Innovation. I’m Brian Ardinger, and as always, we have another amazing guest. Today we have Manbir Kaur. She’s a techno banking, corporate professional turned executive coach and author of the new book Get Your Next Promotion. Welcome to the show.
Brian Ardinger: I’m excited to have you as well. We were introduced by a mutual friend and she said that we needed to connect because you’ve helped many folks in your practice kind of navigate this new world of work. And we thought it’d be good to get you on the show. One of the key areas we’re focusing on in 2021 for the show is some of the tools and techniques and mindset that individuals can use to become more innovation competent. And so, let’s start there. Let’s talk about innovation and how you got involved in your practice on coaching folks around this topic of innovation.
Manbir Kaur: I started my career as you said in banking, moved to the FinTech world. And in the FinTech world, basically, I got exposed to the word innovation because as you know, tech world needs innovation all the time. And 10 years back, I moved to coaching. I got intrigued towards human behaviors, human mindset. Behaviors and mindset are two things which I really, really got attracted to. And that’s how, you know, I transitioned to coaching side.
So now it’s been 25 years of working with people, including corporate and coaching. How I got involved into this is basically as that I got intrigued by human behaviors. And when we talk about human behavior, every day is new. Every day, especially in the world, every day is new. So, we need to innovate daily what’s happening in our own life. How do we have conversations? How do we do stuff with other people. So that’s what, you know, for me, innovation starts from there.
Brian Ardinger: I agree. And everybody I think is facing it obviously more and more 2020 gave everybody a kick to the gut when it comes to innovation. I think people realize that it’s part of the core competency that they’ve got to start building. So, you have a book, called Get Your Next Promotion and give me an overview of the book and what can our audience expect to get from it from reading that?
Manbir Kaur: So, this is my second book, Brian, which launched in this year 2020. You know what happens is basically individuals, especially high-performing individuals, high-potential individuals, leaders, they get stuck at mid-level. And their point of view is I’m not getting promoted because other person who’s not that capable is getting promoted because of politics because of something is happening there, which I’m not understanding. I’m performing at my best, but still are not getting promoted.
So that’s individual standpoint of view, but organizations have another point of view. They are looking for leadership pipeline. They’re looking for right individuals. And they feel people are good performers, but they’re not good leaders to execute things, to have strategies, to have innovation, to have the right mindset at that level, which they are expecting.
And I found that there is a huge scar between these two perspectives. So, I wrote this book, get your next promotion to bridge this gap. To help people understand that, you know, organizations are looking for right people and you have the capabilities, you have high potential. What else you can do to basically bridge that gap?
Because career is no more a ladder now, right. We can’t expect, you know, manager, senior manager, director, blah, blah, blah. No, that doesn’t exist. And after pandemic, that word is not going to exist now. Right. Or it is going to be flatter. So, coming back to the book, the book bridges the gap of expectations from organization standpoint, that, you know, what are they expecting for senior positions and that this book also, you know, it’s not only my perspective of things. It’s not only my research. The book has 10 stories of 10 CEOs across the board. They bring in their life journeys, they bring in their learnings. It’s basically, you know, I mean, one coach and 10 mentors helping you to bridge that gap.
Brian Ardinger: Through your research and through your coaching practice, what are some of the skillsets and mindsets that tend to get the people promoted to a leadership position or what stands out nowadays, specifically around, you know, the changes that we’re seeing?
Manbir Kaur: That’s a good question, Brian. What helps people get a promotion? At certain level, especially at mid-level, people get promoted because of the good work they have been doing. You know, they have been rated five by five, four of five and or something like that. And they have been getting promotions.
After a certain level, it’s more of a mindset. It’s more of an attitude, which we can call it leadership skills in some way, but I prefer to call it, you know, kind of a leadership mindset. We have the words like agility, innovation, whatever, basically it all relates to the mindset. How do I come across as a leader? How do I take people along? What kind of conversations am I having?
Do people trust me? Do I come across as an authentic leader? All these things to actually help you getting promoted and even your visibility. You might be thinking, yes, yes, yes. You know, I’m doing this. But do clients see me as a stakeholder. That, you know, Manbir is doing all these things. What’s your perception in the organization? Your perception, your branding, your conversations, your emotional intelligence, how people perceive you, your trust, authenticity, all these things help you and over and above the work you have been doing.
Brian Ardinger: I think that’s one of the key focuses as we get into more of an innovative world is the fact that it’s not just about your ability to execute on what you’ve done in the past, but really to explore and open to navigating whatever is new from there.
Manbir Kaur: And one more point, you know, as you said, it’s not only execution, you know, as you said, and aligning that strategy to your team also. That is also a big point when you get promoted to that level, which you are looking at you know, from mid-level to senior level. So, aligning your team to that bigger picture. And for that again, you need, a mindset.
Brian Ardinger: That’s a great point. So obviously getting a promotion that, there’s a lot of individual skills and mindset that’s required, but you mentioned it’s really a team sport. Let’s talk a little bit about how innovation is a team sport and where do companies and individuals fall down when it comes to that?
Manbir Kaur: Well, innovation happens when people across functions collaborate to find new solutions. So now when you do that, we need knowledge and an ownership from multiple stakeholders. It’s not one person job, right? We need necessity buy-in from multiple parties. He may also need some funding for innovation.
So, in real sense, in the real world it’s really a team, team across multiple functions team across multiple levels. And for that, we need a big word called trust. Right? So, there’s a big trust we need to have. I am afraid that if I give some ideas or share some ideas. Or bring my point of view and I’m getting blamed. If I do the work in the other bit, which is not that so-called safe way, I have a fear that I’ll get blamed and would definitely want to play safe. Isn’t it? Right.
So, innovation strongly require the acceptance of failure risk, which of course, you know, is easier when it’s team. Because if I fail as an individual, my mind always will tell me play safe. If I know we are together, we are in this together. Then it becomes deaf on my mind, right.
It all runs from the mind. Right. And to the second part of your question, what stops all this is basically I feel that, you know, one is definitely trust. And second one is teams are not aligned to vibe. This point is very close to my heart, actually. Every organization has a vibe, right? Has a purpose by whatever word we use, basically, you know why you exist.
If we don’t align that vibe to all the levels, you missed on that caliber. You are only using one part of the brain in that particular circumstance; you are not using the whole individual. That individual is not bringing in the whole energy to the work. You know, if I know that why my organization exists, innovation is definitely better.
Sponsor Voice: You know that funding launching and growing a startup is ripe with opportunity. But there are legal pitfalls too. Intellectual property considerations, data, privacy regulations, and corporate governance issues just to name a few. To ease your way, Husch Blackwell has created a startup diagnostic tool to help you stay focused from formation to exit strategy. Feeling uncertain about the legal issues facing your early-stage company? Get started at startupdiagnostictool.paperform.co. Back to our show.
Brian Ardinger: That’s an interesting question. So, do you believe, or have you seen the instance of innovation driven by the top down versus bottom up. And how can, I guess, you get that alignment? How can you develop that vibe so that you can realign?
Manbir Kaur: It’s definitely top down. So, if my management is not, you know, showing not imbibing that innovation culture, you know, they are not asking open-ended question. They are not giving psychological safe space. They’re not establishing that trust. Definitely not going to happen.
Brian Ardinger: If you are an individual in an organization, you don’t feel that vibe, what can you do as an individual within the organization to realign or to move the organization in a more innovative fashion?
Manbir Kaur: If you are a leader at that level, that you can have that kind of impact creating culture with you and your team. Start creating that environment which is a trusting environment. If you are a C-suite leader, if you have, if you can create that kind of impact, have innovation in your performance review process formally.
And what I mean to say is, you know, reward innovation in one way, because until innovation is part of your performance review. People say, I’m not getting a reward for that. Why I’m doing this, why what’s happening. Again, the story is the same, you know, if I would try to play safe because ultimately if I need to climb up the ladder, I need to increase my salary.
So, you need to create that environment and that culture. So that starts from trust, respecting, creating psychological, safe space. Those are the things which you need to really, really imbibe and talk about it. Have those conversations, which are, I call it, you know, not I call it, you know, Judith Glaser is a neuroscientist, was a neuroscientist, and the founder of something called Conversational Intelligence.
And she talked about trust really, really in deep way. She says it takes 0.07 seconds, for us in any conversation to establish statement in the mind that I am going to trust this person or not. And then another thing she brings in you know with her love is the environment, the conversation.
If your conversation is, you know, something like, no, I did, I said this. You didn’t do it. It’s I and you. What I hear as a human being, I and you. If you bring in more of we, more of inclusion in the conversation. That’s how trust building starts. These are the basic pillars. I would say the foundation of innovation. That’s how you can start as a leader.
Brian Ardinger: Absolutely. The last core topic I want to talk about is we’re heading into 2021. A lot of people are thinking about goal setting and how they can set themselves up for success in the new year. What are your thoughts on how people get goal setting wrong, or what are your thoughts on how can people better prepare themselves for heading into 2021?
Manbir Kaur: So, I think that’s something which is really being talked about in this particular phase, end of December and early January. I get a lot of articles and a lot of information on goals setting. I feel that goal setting is a very good idea. And you should align your goals to your inner being. I’m not making it philosophical here. Don’t want to do that.
So why I’m saying that, you know, because every human being is different. We bring a unique identity. We bring our unique strengths. Know that what are your strengths. Align your goals to those strengths. Why I’m saying it? Because most of the times our goals are driven from the outside, not from the inside.
My peer who did MBA with me, has reached this level. Okay. I should be doing this. So that becomes an external goal. Of course, haven’t had that impression, but check with yourself. Is it really your goal? So, the first thing, what I’m pointing out is the goal has to be your own goal. It has to come from inside aligning to your stance.
Every time you set goal, have accompanying goal of learning always. What are you going to learn? Not only reaching that, it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey. So, what are you learning? So, how I do with my clients is that not only set goals, but also have kind of a few words in which you are going to imbibe in this journey. Maybe thought agiles, domination, bold. I’m just throwing out some words here. But what I’m trying to say is it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey also. Enjoy the journey, be accountable for your goals. Enjoy it.
Brian Ardinger: I think that’s great advice. And, you know, especially nowadays where it again, I think a lot of times we can get wrapped up on what’s that end goal or what’s that core, final thing. And 2020 proved that we don’t always know exactly how we’re going to get there or what that end destination is going to be. But persevering and being adaptable to the changes in the environment is key. What else is going on in your world? Anything new or exciting that you want to talk about
Manbir Kaur: 2020 has united us all right. So, in all parts of the world, we are going through similar pain, similar issues. Some people are talking about failure. Right. You know, so that we have failed. 2020 has failed us. I think that’s something, you know, if we can talk for a couple of minutes that yes, a lot of plans, maybe your plans Brian, also right, might have derailed.
My book was supposed to launch, I was supposed to travel a lot for my book launch in different cities. Nothing happened. So yes, 2020 has certainly derailed that plan. You might have failed in different other ways, but that’s okay. That failure is an experience. It’s an opportunity. So, I would like to, you know, talk about that is failure is an opportunity.
May never, this thing happened, and all of us look back and reflect that how can I know. Let me reframe here. What are the gifts here? What can I learn here? That’s something that is very important. Every situation the security in growth mindset we say that every circumstance can turn into a gift or an opportunity.
So that’s what I would like to say. Whenever there is a circumstance which are not according to your plan, and so-called failure, take it as an experience and as an opportunity, and see what you can learn and how can you move forward rather than being a victim of the situation.
For More Information
Brian Ardinger: Well, I love that concept of a learning journey. And obviously I learned quite a bit here and we can continue the conversation and look forward to doing so in the future. If people want to find out more about yourself or about your book, what’s the best way to do that.
Manbir Kaur: My website is ManbirKaur.Com and LinkedIn is also a good way to connect with me. My books are available on Amazon, across the world.
Brian Ardinger: Well, thank you very much for being on Inside Outside Innovation. Look forward to continuing the conversation and thank you again for sharing your thoughts on how we can get better in 2021. Really do appreciate it.
Manbir Kaur: Thank you, Brian. It was lovely talking to you. Thank you so much.
Brian Ardinger: That’s it for another episode of Inside Outside Innovation. If you want to learn more about our team, our content, our services, check out InsideOutside.io or follow us on Twitter @theIOpodcast or @Ardinger. Until next time, go out and innovate.
FREE INNOVATION NEWSLETTER
Get the latest episodes of the Inside Outside Innovation podcast, in addition to thought leadership in the form of blogs, innovation resources, videos, and invitations to exclusive events. SUBSCRIBE HERE