Daphne Jones has 30+ years of experience in general management and executive level roles at IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Hospira, and General Electric.
Below, Daphne shares 5 key insights from her new book, Win When They Say You Won’t: Break Through Barriers and Keep Leveling Up Your Success. Listen to the audio version—read by Daphne herself—in the Next Big Idea App.
1. Winning is the end goal, but it begins in your mind.
We’ve all had moments when we’ve thrived, and moments when we’ve survived. Understanding why we thrived and why we survived can be done using the SHIP Model (strategic, hands on executor, influential, people/relationship) to discover what type of leader you are. This can help you create a bold vision for yourself. What do you want to be? Imagine a bold vision that defines you and puts your self-disbelief and other doubts into a virtual box on a virtual shelf that you won’t be able to reach for in the foreseeable future.
Thinking with a growth mindset, instead of a fixed mindset, allows you to be open to more possibilities, to believe that what you want is possible to achieve. Learn that impossibility is just someone’s opinion. Inevitable is the word to use to describe your destiny. Think of it as just a matter of time. Unless you leap, you will never reach your goal.
2. Humans are like products, but how should we behave?
Think of yourself like a product. When you approach opportunities or challenges like a well-run business with products and services would, you’ll have more consistent results. Whether they are soft drinks, computers, streaming services or software apps, understand how to think like a product. Plan your approach loosely based on how a product acts in the market to sustain its value and customer satisfaction.
Here’s how to think about it: just like a product, you have a market that consumes or uses the solutions you provide. Just as a soda may quench thirst, you deliver revenue to your company as a salesperson, or you develop talent as an HR leader. Your market may be the CEO, your boss, your business partners, external clients, family, community.
“Plan your approach loosely based on how a product acts in the market to sustain its value and customer satisfaction.”
Also, just like a product, you have competition. There is someone inside or outside the organization that wants your job or wants to take your place in the market. Just like a product you have a value, and that value is represented by price, or in your case, compensation. As the value of a product goes up, so does the price. As the value of you goes up, so should the compensation; the reverse is also true. If your price exceeds your value, your compensation will be reduced, or slashed to zero if you get fired or the product is taken off the shelf and discontinued.
You, just like a product, have to remain relevant and continuously add value to the market otherwise, you will not be desired or utilized. Like Janet Jackson asks in her song, “What have you done for me lately?” Just like an app, or other products, you have to continually improve, and become a new version of yourself to avoid irrelevancy. Just as the IOS system is at version 16, you can also become version 2.0 or 3.0.
3. Inside every product there is a product manager.
Now think of yourself more like the product manager of your product – you. Create a systematic way to be accountable for your career, your vision, your objectives and how you show up in the career marketplace. Learn to manage your career as strategically as the product manager who tracks how an Apple’s iWatch performs in the market. Just like that Apple product manager, you’ll learn to answer the questions: How should you show up in the market? What will the market need from you in the future? Is the market satisfied with what you’re contributing? Is there someone in your market or your network that is not satisfied with you? What should you do about it? How can you raise your game? How can you gain more market share and be even more valuable to your employer?
Don’t wait to be told what to do but proactively lead yourself. Call your own plays. Decide where you want to go. Design and execute your risk adjusted plan to improve yourself.
4. Mindset is necessary, but it’s not sufficient to win.
Once your winning mindset is in place, you need the tools to win: EDIT (Envision, Design, Iterate, Transform). EDIT means change and, as discussed, the first thing you change is your mindset. Changing or editing your mindset will change your expectations, behaviors, and outcomes to winning ones.
“Don’t wait to be told what to do but proactively lead yourself.”
EDIT is the professional development lifecycle tool used to develop or maintain apps; it’s a systems development lifecycle. These four steps will enable you to achieve a higher version of yourself, define your win and use EDIT to achieve it. You can repeat the cycle (hence the term lifecycle), to reach subsequent wins, over and over, for life. This way you will become a continuously winning machine.
E stands for Envision: Identify what’s working and not working in your life and develop a bold vision based on what you believe you want to be, not merely based on what you are doing today.
D stands for Design: Create prioritized, bodacious objectives and break them down into small steps. Then design a plan of action of how to achieve those steps, taking into account possible headwinds and tailwinds.
I stands for Iterate: Implement the plan you design and use feedback to measure your results. Use your feedback to decide what your next move will be. Will you pivot by modifying your assumptions and plan of action, or will you persevere and continue with your plan? All without giving up on your objective. Draw on key stakeholders to help keep you on the right path, getting you closer to your win.
T is for Transform: Get your win, and begin to adjust to your new success in healthy ways. Transform yourself and be in a position to help others. No matter how large or small, you have grown, and so too can others around you. Now, start thinking about and getting ready to envision your next win.
5. How we define and think about problems is sometimes the problem.
Learn to look at negative/critical feedback, the results of your experiments, or even unexpected life events, as data or information from which to recalibrate and redesign some of your plan. Iterate and learn how to pivot or persevere in order to measure your outcomes and compare that against what you expected, and then tweak your plan.
In the middle of writing this book, about 18 months ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had to make a decision if I was going to quit, or if I was going to pivot or persevere. I decided that my purpose was greater than the emotional or physical pain of cancer, and that other people could be inspired to win with my story. I had to define the problem not as though it were about me, but rather that it was really about each of you.
“I had to make a decision if I was going to quit, or if I was going to pivot or persevere.”
See these things as challenges. For companies that lose market share, or lose a great employee, they don’t cry or quit. You may cry about your setback but then resurface and use the situation or loss as information, take the feedback strategically, and not personally. Play the long game, don’t just focus on a short term play. Tap into your business or personal resources such as stakeholders, business tools like OKR (objectives & key results), SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), and POA (plan of action), and the health of your foundational Five F’s (faith, family, finances, fitness, furthering career) to decide how to respond to where you are in your plan’s execution and what is the best action required to move the needle. After all, no one can control everything that happens to them, but each of us has the ability to choose how we will respond.
Finally, although not everyone is a gardener, most people have a collection of assets they have designed, built, honed and sought to protect, as one would do in an actual floral garden. Your business, relationships, family, skills, performance, quality and culture, if not well maintained, can result in weeds that can stunt the growth and life of your flowers. Take a metaphorical look at gardens, flowers, and weeds, and look at the various personal or professional weeds that could be slowly suffocating the beautiful flowers in your garden.
To listen to the audio version read by author Daphne Jones, download the Next Big Idea App today: