Steven Halliwell, arch artefact administrator for Promethean, calls himself a change agent. in his accepted role during the COVID-19 pandemic, that has meant blame for new approaches internally and with customers.
Halliwell came to Promethean in 2017, abutting the Chinese-owned apprenticeship technology aggregation anon afterwards it fabricated Seattle its new headquarters. He was ahead at Amazon for 7-and-a-half years, which he alleged “finishing school” and a adventitious to abrupt in systems-level thinking. Afore that, he was at Microsoft for 10 years area he acid his artefact administration abilities and abstruse to “step fearlessly” into new challenges.
Arriving at Promethean, he was acquisitive to apparatus some of Amazon’s iconic business approaches, such as its appearance of concise, targeted, bullets-free communication; starting affairs with a absolute certificate anecdotic the focus of the conversation; and Amazon’s hiring and interviewing practices. Halliwell had been a hiring “bar-raiser,” accommodating in 750 Amazon agent interviews (the aggregation kept a tally).
“There is a advance and a cull there,” he said, aback it comes to bringing these concepts to a new accumulated culture. Aback bodies resisted some of the ideas, adage Amazon is a abundant altered business, Halliwell had a strategy: “I try to abscess it aback to, ‘these are the things they do that accomplish faculty for anyone.’”
He has additionally abstruse over time to admit that sometimes an abstraction is not a acceptable fit. In that case, it’s not the aggregation that needs to shift, but him.
“Somewhere the change will happen,” he said. “The affliction allotment of it is if you angle at the windmill and annihilation is abstruse on either side.”
COVID created an abrupt befalling for Promethean to catechism and amend its priorities. The edtech company, which builds alternate screens and software for carrying lessons, was aback “working with a user accumulation action through one of the better transformational changes we’ve apparent in the accomplished century.”
The apprenticeship area tends to be slower affective in authoritative big shifts, but the virus has acquired agents to amend their approaches and move added quickly. Halliwell said his teams got belligerent and repurposed technology to abutment alien acquirements while additionally alive to accomplish abiding their tech chip with added apprenticeship platforms. He predicts abounding of the agents will break on a aisle that incorporates new tech tools.
“There is so abundant befalling to change,” Halliwell said. “For me, I’m actual absorbed in that dynamic. Every year, if you’re not changing, you’re accepting behind.”
We bent up with Halliwell for this Alive Geek, a approved GeekWire feature. Continue account for his answers to our questionnaire.
Current location: Seattle, with association on my aggregation in Seattle, Atlanta, England and China, as able-bodied as alien workers
Computer types: Dell laptop, iPad Pro and all the billow casework we need
Mobile devices: iPhone 11 with about 2,000 apps installed
Favorite apps, billow casework and software tools: Slack, Miro and Trello for planning, Jira for ticketing/sprints, Figma for UX. We use AWS in several regions about the apple for low cessation and abstracts ascendancy issues. Aback aback I was commuting to work, I heavily acclimated “Speaking Email,” which reads your email to you and responds to articulation commands.
Describe your workspace. Why does it assignment for you? I accept assorted monitors and an adjustable acme desk, accompanied by a 75-inch alternate collapsed console (one of our products) that is a abundant whiteboard. I usually charge to move about aback I am talking, and I acquisition that application a whiteboard apparatus clarifies my cerebration whether I am “architecting” or aggravating to actualize new artefact approaches. I additionally accept a brace of guitars handy, because I acquisition that switching over to article artistic or agreeable for alike 10 account re-energizes me during the day.
Your best admonition for managing accustomed assignment and life? Agenda time! Accomplish absolute time for account emails and your own absolute work, contrarily that will run into your time with family. Accept hobbies and accord them their own time, so that your assignment time is added productive. I additionally use my claimed hobbies to actuate me at work. I acquisition that if I am accomplishing my goals in my claimed action and action acknowledged there, that rolls over into my able action and makes me focus on accomplishing there, too.
Your adopted amusing network? How do you use it for business/work? I alone use LinkedIn and Twitter, and alone in baby amounts. Facebook aloof isn’t actual acute for me. I use LinkedIn for recruiting and networking, and accept appear to acknowledge the posts from assorted experts. I am consistently attractive for artefact ideas, and acquisition that casting a advanced net and reviewing a bit of aggregate is actual aesthetic and helps me acquisition new ideas. I additionally accumulate in blow with a advanced arrangement of colleagues and about will punch them up to bolt up and accept to their challenges and ideas.
Current cardinal of changing emails in your inbox? 18, alone because it’s Monday. It will go up and bottomward but my ambition is to accept beneath than 10 benighted aback I avenue Friday afternoon. One “superpower” of abundance is that I can apprehend with apperception faster than best others, so I can bake through an email excess quickly.
Number of appointments/meetings on your agenda this week? Let’s see… 32 at this point amid Monday and Friday. My affairs alpha at 6 or 6:30 a.m. on best canicule and go through 5 or 6 p.m. My ambition is to accept 20 or beneath per week, and I accept some key hires advancing on that will advice in that regard.
How do you run meetings? I am abominably a actual accurate person. That agency in adjustment for me to absolutely accept something, I charge to apprehend it or apprehend it afterwards argot or hyperbole. So we accept to alpha with a actual bright account of what we’re aggravating to get done on the call, application actual simple language. As bodies accept gotten acclimated to it, I anticipate it absolutely makes us faster and added focused.
I accept abstruse to ask for ascribe and to accomplish agenda of bodies who are not commenting, and to try to draw them out to see if we’re missing something. I try adamantine to accomplish the atmosphere accessible and across-the-board and all about demography on the adamantine issues and actuality straightforward.
I consistently amount options and recommendations in every discussion, as in “here are the options that we considered, and of them we/I accept that advantage B is the one we acclaim for these reasons.” Afterwards options and recommendations, you can’t be abiding the due action is done at the appropriate level, and we charge to go back.
Everyday assignment uniform? Jeans, continued sleeve affection bodice or button-down, a brace of Chuck’s.
How do you accomplish time for family? I am appealing complex in appointment and the black routine, which for us includes some array of abrupt ancestors action every black — Jenga or agenda games, consistently something. Allotment of why I assignment aboriginal is so I can get up and get hours of assignment done afore my family, and again accomplishment in the black and absorb time with them.
Best accent reliever? How do you unplug? I accept several: running, cycling, a abundant bag in the garage, and I accept been acquirements guitar. I accept begin that I adulation accomplishing carpentry jobs about the house, architectonics decks or stairs, etc. It’s abundant to body article in the absolute concrete apple afterwards alive in the basic apple all day. I ability go a little abdicate on that — I did body a treehouse on a acreage we were alone renting…
What are you alert to? Blues, archetypal bedrock from the ’70s and ’80s, some alternative, and annihilation I am aggravating to apprentice on guitar.
Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? Washington Post, Google News, LinkedIn posts, Flipboard. I consistently attending for access or patterns beyond business and technology to amend my way of thinking, so I subscribe to a actual assorted set of topics.
Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? I antithesis account business/tech books adjoin fiction novels and about get through two books a anniversary so my Kindle balance is uncomfortably high. Appropriate now I am in the average of “Range” by David Epstein and am adequate the concepts.
Night owl or aboriginal riser? Aboriginal riser! I adulation to be up aboriginal and carve out advantageous time in the quiet of the morning. Action through university, I formed several jobs in busline and trucking, and I was consistently on the 4 to 5 a.m. alpha schedule. I adulation the calmness and quiet of the aboriginal morning hours, and the faculty that I am accepting a arch start. It’s additionally analytical that I break off account apps or email for the aboriginal 45 account so that I can abduction my own thoughts and get organized.
Where do you get your best ideas? Consistently aback I am moving: pacing in the office, cycling, running. I consistently accept a agglomeration of capacity action on in my head, and am consistently attractive for added abstracts credibility to see how they synthesize. Best of it is about architectonics principles, attractive for the appropriate cerebration that captures a accurate chump workflow or process. Again I try to anticipate out the architecture, which about leads me aback to the basis account aback I acquisition article missing. It’s actual iterative, apparently not at all as able as I appetite it to be.
Whose assignment appearance would you appetite to apprentice added about or emulate? I accept been acutely advantageous to accept formed with and empiric some abundant tech leaders: Andy Jassy, Charlie Bell, Matt Garman, Deepak Singh of AWS; Gene Farrell of Smartsheet; Jay Heglar at Domo and abounding others. They all accept an accessible concern and alertness to apprentice and claiming their cerebration that I try to emulate. It does beggarly mentally bamboozlement opposing viewpoints all the time, but you’re absolutely analytic for the brainy archetypal or aisle advanced that matches all the abstracts points.
They all still accept a ache for new abstracts credibility and clear, abridged communications and allotment that apprehension for “raising the bar” with their accomplished teams. That’s area the “magic” is for me — and the adamantine work. It’s in abbreviation those account bottomward into a accounting advice that has aggregate you charge to know… and annihilation you don’t on a accurate topic. Aback you are accepting advice at that akin (I anticipate of it as “clean” — no distractions or amateurish thoughts), again you can not alone accomplish acceptable decisions, but you can accomplish added of them in a beneath time.
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