Kimberly Wiefling helps people achieve what seems impossible, but is merely difficult. She’s the author of the globally popular book “Scrappy Project Management – The 12 Predictable & Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces”, the founder of Wiefling Consulting, and cofounder of Silicon Valley Alliances.
Her latest book, “Turning Ideas Into Impact”, is an anthology with 15 other Silicon Valley consultants. A physicist by education, she worked at HP for 10 years, then 3 years in Silicon Valley startups. She’s worked with 50+ Japanese companies, and with people from over 50 different countries, helping organizations solve global problems profitably.
Kimberly has helped to start, run and grow many small businesses, including several that are still alive and profitable. Her superpower is turning managers into leaders and groups into true teams who can achieve “impossible” together. She’s been described as a “force of nature”, and is determined to use that force to make a significant positive impact on our world.
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Table of Contents
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Kimberly Wiefling: We completely pivoted our workSHOCKs to virtual, survived the pandemic, and transformed individuals, teams and organizations in unprecedented ways, especially our globalizing Japanese clients. One of our very conservative Japanese clients that we’d been working with on global leadership development programs that included achieving “impossible” projects launched a new website with “Possible Starts Here” as their new slogan.
Yeah, we think we had something to do with that! And another one of our clients, one of the top 5 biggest companies in Japan, that does business in over 100 countries, used to have over 20% of their people quitting every year. But only 1% of the graduates of our 3 day “How Not to be a Bosshole” program (NOT the ReAL name!!) quit every year, and only about 10% of the people reporting to our graduates quit. That means we’ve saved them over $5 MILLION DOLLARS in recruiting and retraining costs!! WOOOHOOO! EXCITING!!!
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Kimberly Wiefling: It’s been known for over 30 years what keeps employees “engaged”. Gallup research uses the “Gallup 12” to track employee engagement. The 12 questions are as simple as “Do I know what’s expected of me at work?” and “Do I have the tools and equipment to do my job?”
Sadly only about 40% of employees in the US say “YES” to these 2 questions. And the US has the HIGHEST levels of employee engagement in THE WORLD, and yet it is only 32% last time I checked. Seriously??!! This SUCKS! The BEST companies have over 70%. Engaging employees is SIMPLE, but it’s not EASY. BUT . . . the way to do it has been known for 20 years. The recent “Quiet Quitting” is just highlighting what has been a “pandemic of disengaged employees” for decades!!
Here is a two fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Kimberly Wiefling: The book was “The Knowing-Doing Gap” by Dr. Robert Sutton. It made abundantly clear to me that KNOWING HOW to do something changes NOTHING! DOING it is what is important to meaningful change! If knowing HOW were enough we’d all be RICH & THIN!!
TALK is often a substitute for ACTION. If you want to transform yourself, your team, your organization, Our World… Focus on ACTION!
I wrote Scrappy Project Management – The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces, and I gift that the most because it contains the essence of my wisdom, gained the hard way over many years of working with other humans.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Kimberly Wiefling: According to research by MIT on Global Teams, over 80% of global teams failed to achieve their goals. The causes? Completely predictable and largely avoidable!
- They failed to build trusting relationships.
- They couldn’t overcome communication barriers, and lacked ways to solve problems and make decisions.
- The didn’t have clear, shared, aligned goals and a vision for the future.
Whose job is it to ensure teams have the above? THE LEADER!!! This is a complete failure of leadership. It’s not rocket science! It’s MUCH more challenging because it’s a HUMAN issue! I help my clients fix these things that damage or destroy organizations.
2020, 2021, 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share?
Kimberly Wiefling: When the pandemic struck in 2020 ALL of my paying work was indefinitely postponed or CANCELLED. I’d been working globally, flying all over the world, and traveling about 50% time.
My colleagues and I embarked on a journey to virtualize ALL of our services. We offered “pandemic pricing” (FREE!) to our longterm clients in exchange for the opportunity to practice on them and get their feedback.
By 2021 our annual revenues matched our 2019 revenues, and without a single trip on an airplane! Now our clients see the value of the HYBRID approach – for example having over 120 executives and managers attend team project presentations for one of our breakthrough leadership programs vs the 20 who used to attend in person. They said they will NEVER go back to IN PERSON, and we have now launched a hybrid version of the 15 day leadership program we’d facilitated 18 times prior to the pandemic.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Kimberly Wiefling: My superpower is enabling people, teams and organizations to be able to achieve what SEEMS “Impossible”, but is MERELY difficult! I have a proven track record of this over the past 20+ years, and . . . it ain’t difficult! Yup, “impossible” just means you don’t know how to do it YET!!!
I can help YOU achieve “impossible”, too!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Kimberly Wiefling for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Kimberly Wiefling or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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