Victoria Pelletier is the Vice President of Talent & Transformation at IBM.
As a senior executive, Victoria Pelletier has over 20 years of “corporate and board experience in strategy, operations, growth initiatives, M&A and business and talent culture and development.”
Additionally, Victoria Pelletier is a published author and a sought-after public speaker. She also appears regularly on national television and radio.
Victoria Pelletier is also a “visionary leader with a passion for innovation, creativity and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.”
Thanks to her leadership success, Victoria Pelletier has received the 2020 Mentor of the Year Award from Women in Communications & Technology. She has also won the 2019 HSBC Diversity & Inclusion in Innovation Award.
Victoria Pelletier says that her company stands out because they “put the ‘I’ in Innovation.” The company has a “rich history of cultivating innovation in homes, communities, and the global community.”
In her leadership role at Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Victoria Pelletier “discovered that I am in an organization that embraces it fully.”
Likewise, Victoria Pelletier found that the company “provides the bandwidth for every member of our team to embrace and model best practices in DE&I also.”
Victoria Pelletier adds that “If you want to thrive, you must seek and maintain balance.”
We put the “I” in Innovation. Victoria Pelletier
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Victoria Pelletier: We put the “I” in Innovation.
My company has a rich history of cultivating innovation in homes, communities, and the global community.
We’ve innovated through products, services and corporate and community initiatives. Consider Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), for example.
In my leadership role in DE&I, I’ve discovered that I am in an organization that embraces it fully and provides the bandwidth for every member of our team to embrace and model best practices in DE&I also.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Victoria Pelletier: I alluded to this earlier in the interview. If you want to thrive, you must seek and sustain balance.
If your body is tired and weak, your work will be too. If you neglect your relationships, your output in the workspace will suffer.
If you are more interested in personal gain rather than advancing the vision of the organization — if, as they say, you have no skin in the game — you might as well pack up your (virtual) office now.
Balance, choice and compromise is what it’s all about.
Don’t evaluate it independently, ask a trusted mentor to provide feedback and challenge you directly.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Victoria Pelletier: Professionally, I’ve spent more time watching leaders who I aspired to be NOTHING like, so instead, they inspired me to grow, to take risks, and to encourage and develop others.
I am grateful for all of them. Yes, sounds sad, but it’s true.
Some of the people who help us the most are the ones who’ve taught us the least. “I’ll never handle a similar situation like that person” has become rote for me.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?
Victoria Pelletier: Ah, this one’s easy. Leaders need to function at the strategic level, not the tactical level, if they want the organization to thrive amid changing seasons and currents.
Maybe you started on the sales floor and love the energy of sales.
But if you’ve progress to become a sales manager, you’re now tasked with coaching and developing a sales team instead of leading all the sales opportunities yourself.
Can you work at the tactical level from time to time? Absolutely. Does leadership put you in a position to stay there? Probably not.
Delegating gives the leader the opportunity to focus on vision and strategy.
Leaders need to function at the strategic level, not the tactical level, if they want the organization to thrive amid changing seasons and currents.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?
Victoria Pelletier: Leaders know that they are accountable to all stakeholders. That hyper-awareness of accountability makes many leaders micromanagers.
When we want the work product to meet our exacting standards, we run the risk of getting overinvolved in those we’ve tasked with producing the deliverables.
The anecdote? Develop and coach your team well and help them to grow.
If you don’t trust the people working for you, that’s also a reflection of YOUR leadership and you need to look critically in the mirror.
We also “do it ourselves” because we become efficient.
How often is it easier to do it yourself than train someone to do it for you?
It may be efficient to do it yourself, but the latter approach is the sustainable one that allows for growth and succession in the organization.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?
Victoria Pelletier: Looking back, I started to address the delegation challenges earlier in our conversation. Pivots come after moments of insight.
When you discover that you micromanage, for example, you can start down the path of remediation.
Pivots become more timely and more effective when we have trusted colleagues and mentors evaluating our leadership and employee and business results.
Always have a few people in your corner who are willing to tell you what you need to hear even if you don’t want to hear it — radical candor is what I call it and lean heavily into across all facets of my life.
When you discover that you micromanage, for example, you can start down the path of remediation. Victoria Pelletier
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Victoria Pelletier: Well, this takes us back to the introduction doesn’t it? My childhood was tragic and challenging.
I am sure that other young people are in the same predicament right now.
I think those of us who were wounded in the past make the best healers.
I would love to tap into the resiliency and drive of wounded souls and leverage their strength to inspire others who are encountering the wounds right now.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Victoria Pelletier: Find me on the social platform of your choice!
My personal website
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!