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The Back Story – Shannon Gilliam

The Back Story monthly interview features ADAPTOVATE employees from around the world. Each month we ask them 10 questions. Our team is the greatest asset we have, and it’s a privilege to share just a little bit more about who they are.

This month we feature Shannon Gilliam, a Consultant in Los Angeles.

Shannon Gilliam

1 First up – how long have you worked with us?

1 year

2 Why did you join us? Were you in the industry previously, or looking for a new career direction?

My last position was eliminated and I saw an amazing opportunity at ADAPTOVATE to grow and share the advantages of working in Agile ways with the business side of organizations.

3 How has your previous experience and career helped define where you are now? Would you have done things differently?

The common theme throughout my working career has been people. Starting in customer service out of college I was given the opportunity to both work with clients directly and lead a team. Working in project management in the construction industry helped me appreciate frameworks and adaptability.

Successfully dealing with tough situations and personalities in these roles helped develop my skills in negotiating outcomes without caving to the demands of others, as well as continuing to nurture those relationships. Learning about Agile let me combine my passion of people and organization that serves those people.

4 How do you balance your work life with your ‘real’ life – do you have a good balance and how important is it to you?

With COVID-19 it is definitely difficult to strike a balance as life seems so stifled and there’s always work available. I try to listen to how I’m feeling (physically and mentally) to determine when they are out of step and try to adjust my day to day to keep energised and happy. Working with great people (both in ADAPTOVATE and clients) definitely helps.

5 With so many of our team remote working, we always like to ask how do you have your home office/desk set up? Organised or chaos? Any top tips?

I just moved my office space, so I’m currently in new relationship happiness. I like a tidy workspace as it helps my mind focus on the task at hand. And if my space is clean at the end of the day/week then it’s much easier for me to move from work time to family time.

6 Do you play music during your Agile workshops with clients? What do you recommend on your latest playlist?

I sometimes play music if the participants are working on something and there is a lot of quiet on the call. The reason is I want people to be reminded we’re all there together. I love the 80s and so I tend to put on some upbeat tunes from then to keep the energy up.

7 How do you think technology has best helped humanity and do you have any concerns about our future?

I think the world has realized that when used well it can provide flexibility and connection in a remote situation. It has also proved out that most people can be productive and contributors to an organization without direct physical supervision. I worry that remote workers allow themselves to be victims of over-connection and fail to create the boundaries necessary for a good work/life blend.

8 Strategic Foresight allows companies to detect changes early and ensure action is taken quickly. Which companies have you seen able to change and adapt quickly? (and hopefully using Agile methods to do so)

I think that a lot of businesses and organizations were caught on their laurels with the introduction of the pandemic. Those that had a more flexible business mindset were able to respond more quickly and effectively. Watching our local restaurants pivot their offerings, creating outdoor eating spaces and rethinking how they could operate was inspiring.

Watching our local government support these endeavors instead of sticking to old policies was equally inspiring. The pandemic has introduced agility to so many even if they don’t know that is the right word. I’m really excited to be able to have the opportunity to reach these organizations who now realize it’s value and help them harness the potential with frameworks that support this way of operating.

9 What does success mean to you personally?

Success for me is defined in my personal mission: My mission is to enrich the lives of others, to be fair and ethical, to feel like I’ve earned what I’ve received, to continue to learn and grow and not lose myself in the journey. If I can end each day feeling like I’ve met this mission than I feel successful each day.

10 Finally – you’ve time travelled back to your 10- year old self – what advice would you give?

Be kind – you’ll never regret being kind. Be true to yourself. Never compare how you feel on the inside to how others look on the outside. Success is defined by you – not others.

11 Special 11th Question – How have you found working through life and work during COVID?

There have been the blessings of spending more time with my family – including my daughter who is currently in college. There have been the struggles of spending more time with my family.

I love my house. I’m sick of my house. I feel extremely fortunate to not only have a job, but am able to do work I love remotely. I’m constantly challenged to keep my mental state in a good place and I’m grateful to be aware that I have responsibility and control of that.

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