This course is thoughtful and practical. Edmond and Jean do a great job of explaining why lack of alignment is a root cause of not being productive as an engineer. They also provide a framework for how to build alignment, as well as concrete tools to do so. I have already been able to apply this iteratively to my work relationships and it is making a positive difference. It's helped me approach my work relationships more strategically and be more explicit about building alliances and discover what matters to people.
The workshop had a lot of valuable insights about effective communication and some tools specifically for getting to the root of what motivates people. Techniques like asking powerful questions have helped me in interpersonal relationships. I can imagine how it could add value to my team at work—I want all of them to take it!
This is not your typical training program! Others seem to be a long list of tactics divorced from real life. This workshop series shared useful tactics contextualized in self-awareness, with concrete actions our current and emerging engineering leaders could incorporate into their day-to-day work.
As a tech lead, I have struggled with deciding what to spend my time on. I have often felt that every minute not spent writing or reviewing code is an inappropriate use of time. I have tried to make sure that my plans are as perfect as possible before sharing them to reduce the amount of feedback. This often backfired.
The leadership program has helped me to reach clarity on my role. I realized that I can bring more value to my team by focusing my energy on what I’m good at; for example, setting and communicating strategy. It also helped me to realize the value of understanding and acknowledging what is important to other people before creating a plan.
I've spent a lot of time in various trainings and coaching sessions (including the first year of an Harvard Business School MBA!) I felt Jean and Edmond did a great job of pulling out specific, high impact communication techniques and creating a safe environment to practice them in. I'd highly recommend going to their workshop with a friend, coworker, or cofounder.
I work with a team that is extremely diverse in their level of experience and communication styles and struggled to find a leadership style that serves them all well. The Co Leadership workshop taught us better ways to communicate one-on-one and to align on values. By far the largest impact the workshop had was that it empowered a new group of people at Medium to change and improve things within the organization.
The workshop really showed me how simple questions and prompts can help you clear the air and dig deeper into how a person is feeling or what they are thinking. I believe it will help me grow my relationship with my coworkers and really gain a lot of insight into the health of our team.
I've done a lot of reading around leadership and related skills building, but I still learned some completely new tools here. Specifically, my skills at asking open-ended questions experienced a *major*, immediate leveling-up. We talk about 'aligning values' a lot but I honestly had meager-to-no ideas on what that can look like in practice. Now, I get to the heart of why a team member prefers one solution or approach over another much more quickly, whether it's in the context of a technical, product, or organizational discussion. Conversations both flow better and feel better — you're learning more about each other and building relationships for the long run, not just simply solving the exact problem right in front of you.
Like playing a piano, the concepts taught in the class are simple, such as "use the word 'what' and 'notice something'". However, mastery of the concepts take practice and a good coach. Edmond and Jean are fantastic at helping us take our conversations to the next level.
The workshop had a strong positive effect on Medium’s informal engineering leaders to date, leading to more open and honest discussion about our current challenges. In the company all-hands meeting after the last session, there was a noticeable uptick in how lively and healthy the questions to executives were. The group is well prepared to address and help fix the company’s hardest cultural barriers after the workshop!
My initial skepticism was regarding how much impact the workshop would make on our day-to-day work. But the workshop had an unexpected result — our group continued to facilitate difficult conversations and we felt empowered to take appropriate actions within the company. After the workshop, we set up a Slack channel with the group to discuss matters in a safe space. We even took it a step further and encouraged each other to ask some serious questions at our all-hands. Thanks for facilitating and educating our group!
I’m not yet an eng lead but have already started working towards that goal. This workshop helped me build a stronger relationship with other emerging leaders at Medium. I also realized that the group was feeling the same tensions as me thus being valid. Since then I’ve started to raise more tensions, not just the one I have but also those collectively felt. I’ve also learned the importance of building a good strong alliance with your team helps everyone in the long run.
I went into the Foundations workshop open to the experience, and excited to add to skills learned from previous training as a personal coach years ago, and wasn't disappointed. I found the setting to be particularly helpful — surrounded by colleagues with whom I interact daily, rather than strangers trying to invent a context. I loved the exercises on identifying our superpowers, and igniting them, and have already designed alliances with multiple colleagues.
I’ve known for a while that people tend to see me as more even keeled and steady. But hearing everyone’s stories of how that affected them made me view this strength in a different light. Seeing how motivated and confident people were after hearing positive feedback about their strengths made me want to focus on giving more positive feedback.
This summer I’ll be managing a Code2040 intern and I feel more confident in my ability to listen, mentor, and build a successful relationship using the tools I learned in Jean and Edmond’s workshop.
I was concerned that the workshop would not be a good use of my time. However, I was wrong. I learned skills at the workshop that I will use throughout life, at both work and at home. The biggest impact of the learnings for me was that I learned to communicate better with those closest to me and build a deeper bond with them by understanding what's important to them.
I was concerned that the workshop would be too nebulous to be immediately useful. That was not the case. The communication tools I learned and practiced during the workshop were immediately useful in my personal life, and have already helped me have more meaningful conversations at work.
I thought bringing a partner would be a huge hurdle, but it turned out to be a huge benefit. We started out the day with simple exercises, but as we went into the afternoon, it was helpful to practice with someone with whom we had shared context.
This workshop reinforced and clarified great techniques for having challenging conversations.
My biggest concern was that I'll come out of the workshop with yet another theory of communication. The workshop ended up being very experiential with a lot of exercises that showed me how to use the tools in the real world. In its essence, the workshop wasn't even so much about work, it was about paying attention to people in our lives — our colleagues, our friends, our family. I learned how to use conversations to bring people closer, to understand where they are coming from, and to share your story.
My biggest concern going into this workshop was that the material would end up being not practically applicable. The workshop did a great job of making sure that we were able to practice and get a feel for how to use different skills, and also gave enough time for discussion of how to apply them in real-life situations.
One of the biggest struggles I have in my workplace relationships is dealing with others who don't immediately see eye to eye with me. This workshop definitely showed me how to deal with those situations and gave me a good set of tools to use to build alignment.
The biggest concern was that it could be too much out of my comfort zone because of a language barrier and being an introvert who hadn't been to similar workshops.
The impact from the leadership experience has been very positive because it taught me the importance of alignment with our peers and communication skills that encourage people to open up. I've been learning what is important to everyone from our team and I can feel that the team is more energetic than before... People around me and myself all feel happier because we open up to each other more.
My biggest concern was that it would be a seminar where I'd be given a lot of pointers that work “in theory” without any practical demonstrations how these pointers could actually work.
I think the experience gave me insight based on the discussions of communication techniques and then the follow on demonstrations of these techniques. It gave me understanding of some things I can do and how it may change the relationship I have with people at work for the better.
I liked how the workshop helped me understand how to be more direct and transparent about communication. Sometimes once you hear the advice you think 'wow of course, that was obvious.' These things always feel much more difficult in the moment though and it really helps to have a framework for thinking about effective communication.
The workshop gave me some new perspective and I've already used aspects of what we talked about to improve some of my relationships with coworkers. I'd recommend that to anyone.
Edmond and Jean came across as well-planned, cohesive co-presenters. They both have the ability to break complex conversations to simple, first-principles based approach. It was an insightful day which provided the right amount of actionable tools for the attendees to build upon. I highly recommend them!
Prior to taking the course, I struggled with "Implicit versus Explicit expectations" within my organization. At the time, I didn't know how to define it; I just knew our small but growing team wasn't firing on all cylinders and was struggling to meet my expectations at times. Defining "implicit versus explicit expectations" has been the single biggest "aha" moment I've had in quite some time.
As engineers, we hide behind backlogs, kanban boards, daily stand-ups, sprint planning, status reports, etc. and delude ourselves into thinking we are communicating and leading our teams and organizations. These tools all serve a valuable purpose, but effective communication does not begin (or end) here.
Building and maintaining alignment within our teams, departments and organizations is a vital part of effective and healthy communication. Taking the time to build these alliances, to truly understand motivations of stakeholders and to explicitly state shared goals and understandings is how we can all start to communicate and lead more effectively and makes all the other tools we as an industry rely upon that much more useful.
Edmond and Jean provide short and to-the-point videos of the tools and methods that are very easy to understand. In the course you have the ability to practice these in experiential sessions with other like-minded participants. The tools have a profound impact on how I communicate and align with people, that really helps in any relationship.
Being an engineer and more focused on technical aspects, I have always seen relationships as something that happens coincidentally. In the course, I learned an easy-to-understand but highly powerful framework that helps me have very meaningful and impactful conversations. I now know how to intentionally create shared alignment with people and make sure we move towards the same goal.
What's clear to me now is that when you look at people or leaders or role models who communicate really well, who build alignment with their teams — now I understand that there is something I can do to become one of those people. There is something I can actually do to design my relationships. I'm more in control. That is clear to me now. It's terrific. I love it.
The biggest advantage this workshop has over others is the emphasis on "co-leadership". By bringing a partner with you, we're able to apply the tools & frameworks we learn while they're still fresh, on actual problems where we can go deep because we feel comfortable going into the details of the situation.
I've been to other workshops where people are uncomfortable sharing full details of the situation, and we end up creating a hypothetical solution for a hypothetical problem, and neither of us really know how to apply it to real life. Edmond & Jean's workshop allows us to tackle real problems with the coworkers or partners we bring, which in turn lets us further continue towards our solution after the workshop.
The workshop gave me great tools to be more aware of my own work-needs and work-goals. This will also be helpful for me to understand the work-needs and work-goals of the people that I mentor or lead.
The workshop taught me useful framework and language that I will continually use for healthy and happy relationships with my colleagues. With those tools, it feels less awkward to approach people and talk about expectations and assumptions. It fosters communication that otherwise may not have happened and helps the team to work even effectively.
The leadership experience opened my eyes to not only think about the current work but many other important things about people and our team.
It makes me feel more confident and comfortable in communicating and building good relationships with peers.
I have tried for years to be a change agent alone on my own. Those days are over. I'm trying to find alignment with other people — finding people who are motivated to change something with me and finding small teams to work on change. I definitely spent too much energy alone. It has been a big relief for me to learn that I can strategically form alliances around the changes I want to see.
I really enjoyed participating in this program. The interactive case driven nature taught me broadly applicable strategies for cross and within-team interactions. At the same time I also learnt concrete scripts that I could use to collaborate with co-workers to better align on shared goals.
Edmond co-led a workshop for the Engineering Managers at Quip during a very formative period for our team. We learned useful skills for quickly getting to someone's true motivations and individual values and were immediately able to apply them to our day-to-day responsibilities as coaches. In a few hours, we built relationships and learned more about each other than I would have thought possible during the normal course of work. I can't recommend this experience enough!
[The] workshop was phenomenal. Just phenomenal. Not one minute was wasted, and all the takeaways are being used in our company today. We spent time diving into coaching tactics and walked away with techniques that we could use in our daily routines...By the end of the workshop, we were closer as a team, more confident as a group, better listeners, and ready to have more meaningful conversations with our reports or with anyone who has a relationship with us.
I'm most excited about having a common framework for dealing with awkward or tough situations. It's almost like an interface or an API for relationships. It's the greatest thing. I'm not a hugely extroverted person, so having this kind of tool is invaluable. It's just super super good.
After the course, I feel that just like software, communication and keeping working relationships healthy are also skills you want to develop. You have problems, you have designs, and you have to maintain it. Otherwise, it will create all kinds of problems. Before, I used to think if you can talk, you can communicate, but that's not true. Just because you can write doesn't mean you can write code. There's a gap there that has to be filled — this is something that needs work, and you have to learn how to do it and practice. I think that's my biggest understanding after the whole course.
In just a few weeks, Edmond and Jean transformed fifteen Quip engineers into empowered leaders. After going through the program, the engineers spearheaded initiatives to improve team processes around new hire onboarding, product review, and code deployment. I also notice that my reports who went through the program are more comfortable broaching difficult topics with their teammates to build alignment. Even months later, I see the engineers self-organize at lunch to support one another as they propose solutions to the challenges facing our team. Edmond and Jean helped our engineers build a close community, discover a shared vocabulary for approaching interpersonal challenges, and practice wielding their influence to improve our team’s culture.
Going through the Co Leadership training with my coworkers was a powerful experience. We make up so many stories constantly about each other and operate based on those assumptions and stories without questioning them. The program helped to direct the dialog toward clearing any assumptions and misunderstandings rather than getting people's guards up to defend their actions. By the end of the program, we not only developed deeper understanding and relationships with each other, but also gained vocabulary and skill sets to identify and resolve some of the hardest challenges in our working relationships.
For each of my reports in the Co Leadership program this year, we designed strong alliances that enabled us to more deeply understand one another from a professional and personal perspective. The program helped each of them to take a step back and examine their career ambitions and how they might work toward them more intentionally — and, as their manager, I felt more empowered to help them to evaluate their progress toward those goals. At the end of the program, the team undertook initiatives that turned ideas into concrete action with a thoughtful group-architected proposal. We've been able to realize significant improvements to our engineering and product organization as a result.
Our engineering team invited Jean and Edmond to run a half-day leadership experience at our offsite, and we had a very positive experience. They helped us learn some of the basics of leadership and made everyone more aware of communicating clearly and also discovering the needs and priorities of other team members. We're a highly distributed team and sometimes echo chambers form in some of the regions. We learned how to create alliances across the ocean and listen better to each other, especially when collaborating from far away. The fact that Jean and Edmond are engineers themselves, helped tremendously keep the conversation real - no fluff, no theoretical gimmicks that sound interesting, but aren't necessarily applicable. We learned pure tooling that can be used by any engineer straight away.
The Engineering Leadership program provided our team with frameworks and a shared language with which to have more effective conversations and working relationships. As an example, I now use the “Designing an Alliance” conversational framework whenever I start working on a project with someone. The framework guides us to learn invaluable things about each other's expectations, goals, and preferences that would have otherwise never been made explicit.
I've been to many professional development trainings but none of them provided as many actionable frameworks as Edmond and Jean shared today. Armed with these tools, I feel more confident in my ability to get unstuck when I'm at an impasse with a key stakeholder.