“Leading Through Changing Circumstances” (Podcast Episode Summary)

It’s been an eventful week as Covid-19 dominates the news, and we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. A lot of leaders are coping with changing circumstances, and we recently sat down with Loïc Houssier, DocuSign’s VP of Engineering, to talk about how to manages during change in our most recent episode of Decisive Moments.

When we first had him on the show, Loïc revealed the diversity of his experiences over 10+ years in management. Whether it be from leading a team working on submarines in France to heading engineering services at Docusign in the U.S. From startup life to working in large organizations. From project and program management to a more technical side. Loïc brings a perspective that is varied and unique.

In part two of our discussion with Loïc, host David Isaac Murray digs a little deeper into understanding how changes throughout Loïc’s career have challenged him, what new challenges he is facing now, and advice he would give to budding new engineering managers. We’ve put together for you the cliff notes version of the episode. Check out some of the highlights from the discussion, below. You can also listen to the episode in its entirety here.

Thoughts on reorgs?

Loic from DocuSign: If you’re not accepting the change of the organization then it means that you’re too rooted in your habits. You should be comfortable with change and leaders should embrace having new ways to work.

How do you manage and sustain growth?

Loic: I use a framework detailed in the book Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption by Geoffrey A. Moore. The book outlines four zones: Transformation, Performance, Incubation, and Productivity. To over simplify it, an idea moves around between these different zones until all of the company supports that initiative to make sure that the project becomes a new revenue stream. It becomes a way of thinking and a way of organizing your company in order to manage and sustain growth.

What was your experience transitioning to a GM model?

Loic: On paper, the organization of it all made sense. For me, it was the best option for the company. On a personal level, though, I wondered what it meant for me. Did it mean that I was getting demoted, and how would it affect the trajectory of my career? So in the beginning, it was really hard. But then my analytical mind kicked in and I set my emotions aside. I realized that it wasn't a binary change and that I could work within the new org and learn from the experience.

What were your expectations of the GM model?

Loic: I expected that the model would give us total autonomy. I thought the GM had business units and he was in charge of the revenue and that was generated by the product so we would be free to make the right decisions for that role. The reality, though, was that we needed to balance what was the local optimum for the team and the global optimum for the company. So it was hard to accept that for the sake of consistency and for sake of the company, that our autonomy was not 100%. As a result, we had to manage expectations and ensure that we were fully aligned.

As a leader, how do you deal with emotions, rationalization, and compartmentalizing?

Loic: I believe it has a lot to do with timing. There are times when I share my emotions. For example, maybe I feel bummed out because I disagreed with a big technical decision that was made. I don’t need to show my emotions, but I feel them and so I acknowledge them. But now that it’s said, I accept it and move on. So there’s a time to share concerns and feelings and then there’s a point to move on, compartmentalize, and look to the future. There’s a process and this process is for everyone.

It was a great pleasure to have DocuSign’s VP of Engineering, Loïc Houssier, with us again! We’ll be back next week with another new episode of Decisive Moments.

Can’t wait until next week? Then join in on the conversation! Tell us what you think about reorgs. How does your company manage and sustain growth? Do you have experience with a GM model? We’d love to hear about it! Let your voice be heard in the comments, below, or share your thoughts and opinions with us on Twitter.
‍ This podcast was produced by the mentorship platform Plato. Visit us at Platohq.com.

‍_Written by Ashley R. Bentley_

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