Taylor White is a very creative and driven individual. His goal is to create a lasting legacy in every area, product, or endeavor he works on. He wants to be able to look back at the world and see the impact he has made on others lives. He focuses on filmography, software development, and hopes to apply these skills to areas ripe for digital revolution.
Taylor White, a Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute alumni, speaks about leadership and development in the healthcare field.
S: Hello everyone this is Stephen Knitter from cohort 5 of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute we are thankful to have Taylor White, a graduate of cohort 1 of the institute join us today. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself Taylor?
T: Sure so my name is Taylor White I am a software developer at epic. Uh which is a healthcare software company, and I grew up in, Cincinnati Ohio and graduated from Miami, with a degree in computer science in 2014.
S: Okay got ya. Well uh, so how do you think the software industry that you're working in how do you think that influences, your work and leadership style?
T: I think it, requires us to be very very, quick on our feet. So what happens in the healthcare industry, um you know we really software that's got a bug there you know literally in certain situations are lives that are at risk right, and so we may have a plan that we, are intending to go down for the next 2 weeks we, we call that, Agile development process where we check in every two weeks and we go through and try and adjust our plans but you know, you never know what's gonna happen if someone finds some kind of major issue in the software the night before, you wake up the next morning or you get you know paged in the middle of the night you need to come in, and sort of change what the plan is for the foreseeable future because you need to fix this bug and get it back out to our customers right away so I think it, it causes us to be pretty flexible and just sort of deal with a certain amount of uncertainty in terms how we approach our day to day…
T: Getting our job
S: So you really gotta be like prepared for the, for the unpredictable basically really be adaptable in everything you do and that’s, you’ve kind of taken that head on.
T: Yeah I think that’s something that just everybody within the company has really, really just sort of get use to as they start to uh take on more and more responsibility in the company. Um.. This is sort of a good example of the other day at work, I got, actually my boss got a call around one in the morning on a Friday night…
T: That someone in the healthcare industry, and I don't this may or may not make it into the podcast. But um had hacked a paging vendor on the west coast and so they were using a website to broadcast pages that were sent out uh you know any page that gets sent out unencrypted across uh over the air, and so we had nurses who were paging about various patients and various medications and, and various requests that are going throughout the hospital that they send over their st pagers, um and so you know we had to figure out what can we do if we need to turn off paging across the entire company how do protect ourselves and protect our customers from this vulnerability right and so that something like this happens not often, it's occasionally but we do have some of these things where the stakes are a lot higher in the healthcare industry as opposed to, you know say consumer like Apple device.
S: Right, that's, that's pretty cool. Well moving onto the next question. When it comes to leadership what qualities do you think new workers tend to lack?
T: That's an interesting question, that's a, that’s a good question. I think often times newer employees and um and people that maybe haven't been exposed to ah a leadership role, often times are a little bit more focused in their own area of expertise. Um so you know when I sort of gained a decent amount of responsibility on our application, I think the first incentive that people have is, well like how does this relate to my role or um what can I do, to help. And often times there may somebody else who has a different experience that you can leverage um and really have a better outcome for, for the company as a whole. And I think that's something that a lot of people really struggle with at first because they don't want to you know pawn off work, or delegate off work because they're not use to doing that or they may not know that they can rely on others um or they may not have an understanding that there's someone else across the company that has a better understanding um with regards to whatever the subject is at hand. And ultimately you know you want solve the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible, um and if you have sort of this tunnel vision that's focused on to your past experiences rather than reaching out to somebody else that may be better equipped to answer those questions. Then you really, you're really sort of letting the whole company down right because you want to be able to, to solve these problems more quickly.
S: Ah yeah I was just gonna say I think what you're saying is, is really true. Like they, some of the newer workers, from what I can, from what I can gauge is that they don't have the vision yet to put all the pieces together, they're not aware of it, they're not going after it, they're kind of just thinking I need to push myself forward without kind of thinking, hey I'm here for everyone we're all here for the same things, same reasons. Um they're kind of looking out through their technical roles, and not really looking how all the pieces can fit together.
T: Right. Yeah. I think a lot of times what it really comes down to is, uh, you have somewhat of like a limited scope maybe you're focusing on one specific area, and, you're presented with a problem and your intuition especially when your. You know our company has a lot of very intelligent people they want to figure out how this problem works, and that's not a bad intuition it's just, you know if you're taking on an area of leadership there's only so much work you can do over a period of time, and if you don't have a strong team that you can rely on then your not gonna be able to effectively manage all the issues that come up because it's not possible for one person to do…
T: ...So you need to have those people that you can rely on and the ability to delegate out to others, in order to be successful in terms of solving issues in the rapid pace they need to be solved.
S: Very cool, so what are some effective ways that you do, or what are some effective ways that you use to motivate your teams?
T: Sure so we...a lot of it comes down to some of like the culture that we try to inspire like on our team uh and culture varies a ton from one team to the next it’s just a matter of some of like the internal processes that you guys do and so what we've done um is a lot of cool meetings where in, in our agile development process at the end of every 2 weeks we have somebody who worked who is working on a project go up and talk to the rest of the team on on what they've worked on and show off some of the cool work. And I think that's something that has really made everybody sort of work harder and and work toward the goal of you know getting their project shown to the rest of the other forty developers on our team. Um so I think that's created like a nice culture for us. We also have a little bit of a friendly competition - we have uh what we will call QA notices when there are bugs that come in through reported by our users whether those be nurses, nurse hands, transporters, housekeeper, etcetera and we have to fix those as we’re working on these enhancements and sort of visionary um steps towards a better product and no one really wants to work on bug fixes but we do have incentives I uh you know implemented some cool incentives to to work on those and so we have a, a trophy it’s just this big lifter body builder trophy called the QA Note Crusher so at the end of every two weeks we pass this trophy around across the team you know it's. Is it me it's not like you get to keep the trophy or anything but it’s sort of a like an honorary tool for people to be proud of their work and you know emphasize that they've really done a lot for our team, in order to um progress us towards a better place. And so I think a lot of those um certain my new process changes where it creates a culture people want to be a part of and want to work harder makes, makes our group successful.
S: Yeah it's a really good idea. I really like that you guys do that trophy even though it gets passed around a lot, you guys at least share that together and kind of brings you together.
T: Yeah I think it’s worked out really well.
S: Nice. In, in your experience, how do you, how do leaders make sure that meetings are effective?
T: I'm going through that process right now. (laughter). There’s a couple of things that you have to do. So, a lot of times what you’re gonna see when you go and start working is, there are gonna be meetings that are scheduled regularly, and at some point they had a purpose so processes get invented and they have a purpose in that they do their job and so the problem that they're solving, may have been solved now. Um so you have these meetings just carry on and they’re goals become unclear and people don't really know why they're going to them, it's almost like a chore in taking that away from their, their normal day to day work. And at Epic we've done a great job I think of really keeping those kind of meetings, um, from invading our day to day jobs and so making sure that every meeting that’s on anyone's calendar has concrete goals and not getting stuck in, stuck in that rut of like a routine meeting there doesn't have, um, goals that are still relevant to the team. So, making sure that there goals that everybody has. A lot of, lot of our meetings we go around the room you say, you know what is it that I'm trying to get out of this meeting, why am I at this meeting. And we specifically say it to everybody else in the room, so if we have topics that aren't on the agenda for the meeting,or, um, the meeting doesn't have a purpose and people will say I don’t really know why I'm here and will makes sure that everyone is on the same page as to what the goal of the meeting is. That's one piece is making sure we have a, goals of the meetings prior to even going into, to them making sure that if there's anything on that, anyone that’s at the meeting has goals that, and you’re not on the agenda we need to make sure that we we touch on those at the meeting.
S: Right yeah.
T: And the second thing making making sure people do the prep work, right. A lot of times, someone will say, okay you’ve got these follow ups let’s schedule a meeting. And we don’t check in like a day before or uh the culture of not doing the work prior to the meeting, then the meeting becomes meaningless, right? So I think you have to make sure that the ex, there’s an expectation as to what happens before the meeting and what the goal are, and both of those things are what makes it effective.
S: Yeah. I mean it was frustrating for me over the summer, um, I was on a few different project teams during my internship. So I remember that one of those project teams were very ineffective, they didn't really have the action items that you, I would assume you should have at the end of some meetings. They, a lot of people didn’t show up and like you said there, there really should be something implemented where you need to know why you're there, you need to kind of build that team on that common goal.
S: So going off of that also, how, how have you implemented what you learned in the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute in your career?
T: That is a, that is a good question. Um. You know one thing I thought was very interesting when I first started working at the Epic. You guys had that, that 7 habits of highly effective leaders right.
T: Have you read that book?
S: Oh yeah. We read it last year.
T: Okay. Very cool. So the first day that I started at Epic, they gave us 3 things, 4 depending on your role and one of those was, “The 7 habits of highly effective people” and then when I became a manager of the company they, you go through a few training classes and also give us, um, they gave us one of the books that we read at the Lockheed Martin Leadership, um, program and I it was very very interesting because a lot of the stuff that they are teaching us as we go through some of these programs within the company. I think that I already sort of learned and, um, there's the, there’s an article that was in one of the Harvard, Harvard Business Review books that we had read through the Lockheed Martin Leadership, um, Institute. You know, what's the difference between a manager and a leader and I think that it’s one of the things that I most rely on, I most, um, look back here as I, um, I learned through Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute um, but it really just, it’s just, some of the readings and and the goal of a continuous learning it something that I often think about. Um, I've had a, I've had to have a lot a crucial conversations. (laughter). You have gone through that piece of the pie yet this far (Steve: Oh yeah). Um, (laughs) I think I’ve, I’ve learned I learned a lot doing that. I find crucial conversations difficult, um and, so I, I, I sort of knew that I found this difficult going, you know coming out of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute and something else that I knew I was a little bit weaker on was just, um, effective communication and communicating quickly. Um, as we did a lot of these big projects, as well as putting on events at, in college. I, I found that, that was something that I knew I struggled with and so going into the real world with and understanding of what I need to improve upon to, to really be better in my career, I think has been very advantageous to me and I've learned a lot about it and I'm not, I’m still not creative that’s it that's not really, you can be better at communicating that I understand that some of my my strengths and weaknesses, whether that comes from Strengthsfinder 2.0 or just going through some of the, the challenges that we had to go through as part of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute. I. I do think that I started off in a much better place than many of my peers did. Um, and I also think that, to some extent, um, sort of at a, a culture of continuous learning and, and I read a lot of those books that we, we still have. I still have them all here, I brought them all to Madison, Wisconsin. So.
T: Um I think that has been, the culture and just the understanding of my strengths and weaknesses has been something that has been pretty valuable. I also just think it's very interesting that, the few, the 2 books that I've been given here, um, from my company are things that we’ve already had.
S: Well uh thank you so much for your time Taylor, um I'm really glad that we got to talk to you and get a lot of insight from you.
T: My name is Taylor white and thank you for listening for insight.
Filetype: MP3 - Size: 11.83MB - Duration: 16:31 m (100 kbps 44100 Hz)