Allison Seabeck never sought to be the President of a growing company. In her own words, "it wasn't my career aspirations to be a business leader. I in fact, stayed as far away from the business school as I possibly could in college." But she fell into it by being herself, which is to say building relationships, asking questions, seeking meaningful work and doing what she enjoys.
At 29, she became the President of Prosci, guiding the company through a period of rapid scaling and transformational growth. In this episode of Co-Creators in Conversation, Allison shares her lessons learned guiding company growth and change in a people-centered culture. Know-how she's now using as the Executive Director of the Warehouse Business Accelerator Program.
Allison reflects, "sometimes you have to break things or change things to be able to get from kind of where you have been performing to where you have the potential to perform...we spent a lot of energy with people helping to build and have a sense have ownership in the business through decision-making coaching and through teaching people about emotional intelligence and about how to have crucial and critical conversations."
During our conversation, Allison shares personal stories about the lessons she learned from missteps along the way. "I thought that people expected and needed the new leader to show up with a clear plan, a clear articulation of what our values are...I showed up with our strategy on a platter and unveiled it at this all-hands meeting...So what I thought was my job, to set vision to share what the values are, in fact, didn't work."
Allison astutely observes that leaders shifting from a startup to a scaleup "need to think differently, show up at their job differently. Participate in teams differently, collaborate and share information differently...And so a lot of those changes were about building out how are we going to work? How are we going to provide the same great quality service and product?"
There came a point in her journey as President of Prosci where Allison realized there was a misalignment between her passions and the company's needs. The process of recognizing and navigating the disconnect was anguishing but it was also the right thing to do.
In her own words, "I wasn't having as much fun. Because what what the company needed and what my passions and where I get enjoyment and where I think I add the most value was not no longer...[a] match."
We went on to talk about the way stress impacts our relationships. A particularly real and difficult challenge for many leaders.
Allison describes what she's learned, "low-grade anxiety...shows up is in how you react to and show up for others around you...[It's] vitally important to work through that in the productive positive ways. Acknowledge what's happening, to the extent that you're comfortable being vulnerable...make it a part of your job as the leader to put some attention on what what's happening under the surface."
This lesson learned impacts how she leads today. Allison knows effective leaders do the inner work by giving time and attention to "what's happening under the surface" personally and in relationships with others.
Our conversation concluded by exploring what co-creating means to her. "Co-creating is what solves our problems in our world, addresses challenges creates new opportunities. How we as a society move through the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years on this planet? Doesn't happen by one person deciding what's going to be it’s all, co-creation."
This episode of Co-Creators in Conversation is full of valuable insights and relatable stories. It is sure to provide practical inspiration to any leader navigating change and transformational growth.
Connect with Allison and the Warehouse