Status Go: Ep. 224 – Building a Dream Team | Aleta Jeffress and Alina Walters


In the latest episode of “Status Go,” host Jeff Ton dives into the fascinating world of building a dream team. Joined by industry experts Aleta Jeffress, and Alina Walters, they discuss the essential ingredients for creating a successful and high-performing team. From assessing individual strengths and weaknesses to the power of discernment in interviews, they share powerful insights on finding and retaining top talent. With candid discussions on adapting to the changing work environment, leveraging technology, and inspiring team members to make a meaningful impact, this episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to build their own dream team.

About Aleta Jeffress

Aleta Jeffress is the Senior Vice President of Consulting Services and Denver Metro Lead for CGI.  She has over 20 years as a successful CIO, executive business leader and technologist building relationships between business and technology to enable digital transformation and market growth. She drives innovative strategies for business and IT leadership, and has developed teams for Cybersecurity and Project Management Offices from the ground up. She currently drives business development, operations and delivery for commercial and public sector organizations in Colorado and five other states.  Her career began in startup software companies where she started in a call center environment and moved through private and public sector organizations in the areas of software quality, product development, security, and ultimately leadership.  Aleta is based just south of Denver, CO, is active in several community organizations and enjoys being outside with her family.

About Alina Walters

Future-Ready Focused Leader, Strategic Influencer, Win-Win Transformation Seeker

With 20+ years of IT business management experience in both the private and public sectors, Alina is a proven leader focused on developing trusting relationships, empowering staff, and building a culture of respect, collaboration, and mutually rewarding successes. Alina began working with the City of Lakewood in 2014 as the IT Department’s Business Transformation Manager and was appointed to CIO in May 2021. She is passionate about people and technology and is committed to exploring and delivering future-ready solutions for the city that ultimately benefit the community. In her free time, you can find Alina exploring the great outdoors – usually on a “forced-family fun” adventure – with her husband, son, and adorably stubborn dog, Tazer.

Episode Highlights

[00:00:00]: Opening Thoughts

[00:02:36]: Alina and Aleta’s career journeys

[00:07:58]: What is a Dream Team?

[00:10:57]: Where to start building a Dream Team

[00:15:02]: When Money is Not the Answer

[00:22:41]: Hiring Members of the Dream Team

[00:27:32]: Handling Perceived Inequities

[00:32:54]: Generations in the Workplace and our Call to Action

[00:36:31]: We want your feedback!


Episode Transcript

Aleta Jeffress [00:00:00]:

As a leader, establishing the vision and making sure that everybody understands how they tie into that vision. And that is what keeps a lot of people engaged, keeps them looking toward the next thing because they know they’re making a difference in the end.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:00:21]:

Technology is transforming how we think, how we lead, and how we win. From InterVision, this is Status Go, the show helping IT leaders move beyond the status quo, master their craft and propel their IT vision.

Jeff Ton [00:00:39]:

Welcome to Status. Go. I’m your host, Jeff Ton. Before we dive into our episode today, I have a favor to ask of you. If you enjoy the Status Go podcast, whether you are a frequent listener or this is your first time joining us, tell a friend, send them a link, or post on social media. Let others know about us. We appreciate it.

When I ask CIOs and senior IT leaders across the country, what issue is top of mind for them? Undoubtedly, I hear some variation of attracting and retaining talent. Is cybersecurity still a top priority? Of course. Do they spend time thinking about how best to introduce AI into their organizations? Certainly. But what do they worry most about? Filling the gaps in their team and creating an environment that keeps their team intact. When you dig beneath the surface, what they really want to do is build a dream team, despite the constraints their organization may place on them.

Today I am thrilled to welcome Aleta Jeffers and Alina Walters to Status Go. Aleta is the senior vice president of consulting services and metro lead for CGI, one of the largest IT and business consulting firms in the world. She’s been a guest a couple of times here on Status Go, so her voice may sound familiar to you.

Alina is the CIO for the city of Lakewood, Colorado, the fifth largest city in the state. She has worked in the government sector as a practitioner and as a consultant. This is her first appearance on Status Go, though many of you may have caught her and Aleta on a recent Digital Dialogue on LinkedIn Live.

Aleta. Alina. Welcome to Status. Go.

Alina Walters [00:02:31]:

Thank you. It’s so good to be here.

Aleta Jeffress [00:02:34]:

Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Ton [00:02:36]:

I’m so excited, Aleta, to have you back. And Alina, I’m excited for your first time here on the show. I really enjoyed the Digital Dialogue that the two of you did for the Institute for Digital Transformation. It was a great conversation about digital transformation using a garden metaphor, which was pretty cool.

Before we dive into this topic of building a dream team, I would love for you to share a little bit about your background, a little bit about your career journey. And Alina, I want to put you on the spot since you’re a newbie to the Status Go podcast and have you go first.

Alina Walters [00:03:16]:

Sure. Thank you so much again. Thank you. It’s so good to be here with you, Aleta and Jeff. I’m excited to talk about really such an important topic, right? And that is, how do you create an environment where you attract and retain the best of the best? It’s something that I think influenced my career from the beginning. That is, where did I want to be, where did I want to work and why! And for me, what was most important from the beginning, which was working for an insurance company. So I work for an insurance company. I was out there working with salespeople and just kind of boots on the ground, really learning the basics of customer service and customer interactions. And what I loved about that job was the culture and the people.

And from there I was continually drawn to those types of environments where I felt that my talents were appreciated and leveraged and that I was allowed to grow in the direction that I wanted to grow and something that I try to have in our culture at the city of Lakewood as well.

So, from insurance, I went to a company called Micromedics, where I started getting into product management and marketing. And from there my career grew into more of the technology field.

So, I worked in the federal government as a consultant. I worked for now city government; I worked in the private sector. And all along the way, the current undercurrent was technology. And what is it that you can do with technology? So, I’ve seen technology, I suppose, being used in a variety of ways, and I love it. So that’s what brought me to where I am today.

Jeff Ton [00:05:25]:

That’s excellent. That’s a nice career journey. It gives you perspectives from a lot of different industries and experiences to bring to bear on the challenges of being CIO there at Lakewood.

Aleta, how about you? What’s your journey been like?

Aleta Jeffress [00:05:44]:

Well, it’s been very broad. There’s a lot that I’ve been fortunate to be able to do. And I started my career actually in software companies and so started in a call center. And I firmly believe everyone should have a customer service job or a call center job when they begin their career because it really provides a basis, I think, that everything else can build on. And I was fortunate because even in my first job, it was such a great culture and a culture of learning.

So, I had a lot of opportunity. I was able to learn not only support aspects but, again, like Alina, kind of moved into product and quality and training and consulting, and that really laid the groundwork. So as I moved on to additional software companies in a number of verticals, I had the opportunity to learn about a lot of different things. So banking or automotive or ISO 9000, when that was all the rage, right? I mean, lots of different experiences around that.

So that ultimately also led me to the public sector. So, I went from working in software companies and startups to being a contractor for the federal government and working for DoD, which, again a whole different fascinating process and a fascinating place to be. But that led to state government, Department of Revenue and then local government where I was the CIO for the city of Aurora, which then led me to my current role which supports government.

That’s a large part of my portfolio that I manage. So I really feel like along the way, being able to put together teams to achieve objectives is something that’s just it is so much based in the culture of the organization and the ability to impact that culture and impact that organization and bring in people that, you know, have the potential and have the ability to really not only move your company forward, but you have the ability to impact them in just such a key way for the rest of their career. Hopefully. So that’s really important. That’s one of the many facets that I really enjoy. So look forward to talking more about it.

Jeff Ton [00:07:58]:

Absolutely. And that’s a great segue to this concept of attracting and retaining talent, yes, but really building that Dream Team, that high-performing team that gets along well, accomplishes their goals and has fun doing it, right? To me, that’s the definition of a Dream Team.

What else would you add to that definition of Dream Team? Aleta or Alina. Either one.

Alina Walters [00:08:28]:

I think a desire to grow, a curiosity. I’m interested in working with people who continuously want to explore what’s possible and who are continuously challenging the status quo. I love accomplishing a goal and then building off of that goal. To me, there’s never an end, it’s a journey. And a Dream Team, I believe, is made up of people who are constantly moving forward.

Aleta Jeffress [00:09:05]:

I think that’s very true. I would add to that that when I look for people or when I consider people who would be part of my Dream Team, and of course, Alina is one of those people, but that team would consist of people who have a really great sense of know. Because I really feel like that’s something that sometimes is very hard to teach. But if you have someone who’s experienced and they’re able to make their way through a situation, maybe they don’t know the answer, but they can certainly find out. Right, but they can maneuver through that. Then you can teach them the skill set or the industry or whatever.

I also think that having people who are okay with conflict also drives a really good team and a really good team dynamic. I know I had teams when I worked for the federal government that I would put them in a room, and I’m like, okay, you guys can fight all you want in the room. You need to come out with the united front. But that was great because they really brought a lot of different things to the table, and it was a lot of very intense but very productive conversation. And I think sometimes, if people shy too much away from that, then you might not be getting the whole benefit of the team. And what’s the outside-the-box idea that someone can come up with to meet the goal?

Alina Walters [00:10:30]:

I love that the healthy discourse, it’s so important and it’s based on trust. And so, I guess another aspect of a dream team is one where everybody trusts one another and feels valued, and therefore their contribution isn’t argumentative. It’s a healthy discourse again to move forward. I agree 100%.

Jeff Ton [00:10:57]:

Yeah. It’s not all kumbaya, right? There are going to be times when there is that healthy conflict, that healthy tension, and having a team that is okay with that and able to move past some of that conflict and some of that tension is vital for the growth of your team.

When you think about building this dream team, where do you start? How do you do this? How do you map out what you want, and what you need, and how do you get the people?

Aleta Jeffress [00:11:33]:

When I think about it – maybe because seldom do you get to create a team from scratch, right? Normally by the time you’re managing people, you’re walking into a situation where there’s a team already there usually. And so, for me, I like to walk into that and determine where is everybody’s strengths and weaknesses. And I know that sounds kind of cliche, but you do have to evaluate what’s the team trying to achieve, to Alina’s point. And then, who do I have on my team? It’s like a sports analogy, right? If you’re going to have a baseball team, you need to make sure you have somebody who can play all the positions. You need to make sure that you have a solid pitcher, or you have a solid catcher, right? So, making sure that you have those people in place and that they can produce for you, or that they’re in the culture that will allow them to excel, I think that’s one of the first things.

And then over time, you can kind of up the ante right, for the expectations of that team. And so, if you do that, I have found that normally every twelve to 18 months, you can do that, right? You can kind of upskill or upscale your team because that naturally, then the people who aren’t willing to do that or aren’t capable of doing that will kind of naturally fall out. They’ll either look for a different role or look for a different opportunity. And then, you can continue to make sure that your team becomes higher and higher performing. But with each one of those leveling up, so to speak, each one of those twelve to 18 month increments, that’s where you’re going to have some of that discourse, right? And maybe some of that conflict, because that’s what you have to go through to really achieve change.

So really evaluating the people, ensuring that they are empowered and enabled to do what they need to be able to do. And then as you continue to just kind of raise the bar, you’ll be swapping people in and out in order to be able to really meet those objectives.

Alina Walters [00:13:31]:

Yeah, absolutely. So, my son got my husband and me hooked on a show called SWAT. It’s a remake of an older show. It’s awesome. It’s so much fun to watch together. But they have this fun saying that we always laugh about, ”Stay liquid, fill the gaps.” And I think that’s exactly what Aleta is talking about, right? And what you started with in the beginning. Jeff, how do you fill the, you know?

When I took over as CIO a couple of years ago for the city, that’s what I was looking at. Are we liquid? Can we fill in the gaps? And what will it take for us to be able to just adapt enough, right? To where everyone’s growing, but we’re adapting to the constant demands that are coming our way from all of the different departments that we support. So, I think that’s something that I always think about when I’m building, rebuilding, adjusting, growing, developing the team. Are we liquid? Because if you’re not, then you’re limiting yourself, and everyone’s abilities are siloed and restricted, and you’re not benefiting, you’re not thinking out of the box and growing. That’s a different perspective, I suppose, but that’s how I come at it.

Jeff Ton [00:15:02]:

I love always going to pop culture television shows for wisdom because there are some of those sayings that really just ring true. Right? And I love that visual of filling in the gaps, being liquid, and filling in the gaps.

One of the challenges that I know the three of us have talked about in our conversations, especially in the public sector, but I think other organizations may be feeling this as well, and that’s salary pressures. How do you deal with it when you’re in? Maybe you’re not paying the top dollar in the market. Maybe you’re not able to compete with West Coast and East Coast hiring. How are you able to attract the people to your organization and then keep them there when salary may not be the top item that you can give?

Alina Walters [00:16:01]:

I love this. I know. You know, Aleta having been right, let’s say the City of Aurora and now CGI, very different perspectives. And I’m in a city so very, very limited in many ways, but I don’t see it as being so. So, I love this question because I believe, again, going back to the Building a Dream Team, you’re building a dream team with those people who want to be there for the right reasons. So of course, salary is going to be one of them, always. And benefits, and it’s a whole package, but it can’t be the sole ingredient.

So, I’m looking for those people who want to make the city a better place, who want to have a direct effect on how we’re moving forward, who want to leave a legacy and be boots on the ground. And oh, by the way, there’s also a great package of benefits and salary. There will always be someone who can pay more. Always. Is that extra 5, 10, 20, 50,000 worth it? That’s always my question. So that’s kind of how I look at it. It has to be for the right reasons. I’m looking for the right person. And of course, I want them to have the best package possible, just like I want to have a good salary, have good benefits, all that stuff. But I’m not here for that reason, right?

Aleta Jeffress [00:17:45]:

I would agree, especially in the public sector, but even in the private sector, it’s a great point. Always somebody is willing to pay more or buy you that car or that house, right? During COVID, there were some crazy incentives that happened to kind of pull people into different jobs. But I think establishing as a leader, establishing the vision, and making sure that everybody understands how they tie into that vision. So that could be what draws people in. It could be some cool project or some new technology, right, that they really want to have the experience with.

But long term, making sure that you are, as a leader, continuing to share. Here’s the vision, here’s where we’re trying to go, and here is how you as an employee can impact that. And that is what keeps a lot of people engaged, keeps them looking toward the next thing because they know they’re making a difference. In the end, by and large, I think that’s what most people really want to make sure that they can do. Whatever sliver of work that means for them. It’s still this is how they’re really tying into the ultimate result. And you have to repeat vision, right? Every single week, every single month, whatever it is. Right? It’s just constant. But people have to know where they fit and how they’re going to impact. So, I think that’s really one of the keys to keeping people on your team.

Alina Walters [00:19:12]:

I 100% agree with Aleta, and when we interview new candidates and what we talk about even in our meetings, is just that. What is it that we’re working for? And I have three principles that I always talk about. Would you like to be part of a team that is community and employee-centric, that’s focused on building a future-ready Lakewood, and that wants to build on us being a utility provider, an excellent center of utility provider services, and being a business value provider? And that’s exciting, right?

Because it speaks to always moving forward, to be great at these principles. And we tie all of our goals and everything to these principles. And having that unity is what starts to then create the culture everybody knows and understands. Hey, this is how I fit in, and this is what we’re working towards. So, you don’t have to talk about a project; you don’t have to talk about a task. You’re talking about something bigger and greater. And that’s your contribution. You’re contributing by being to our team, you’re contributing to building a future-ready Lakewood. And that’s what I think is exciting and important.

Aleta Jeffress [00:20:33]:

I love…I if I could add one more thing to that. Jeff, I know you’re trying to ask the next…

Jeff Ton [00:20:37]:

No, you go ahead. This is a great conversation…

Aleta Jeffress [00:20:40]:

For quite a long time…one thing that I really started, and I don’t know that I was intentional about it at first, but over the course of my career, I’ve managed a lot of people. And when you go to holiday parties and things like that right? And you get to meet everybody’s significant other. And what I’ve really found is when those significant others come up to me and say, I’m so glad to meet you because my husband or my wife just has such great things to say about you, which is just wonderful. Right? That’s one of the best things ever.

But when I really kind of thought about that to the next level, I look at it like, well, what if my team’s significant others were doing my review? What would that look like? Right? That gives you a whole different perspective. And not that you’re trying to manage to somebody’s spouse. Right. But you know, that what that person says when they go home. That’s the feedback that’s real. Really good, really bad. That’s the feedback that’s real. So to me, if I’m getting that kind of feedback from my employees’ significant others, that means that I’ve done my job.

Alina Walters [00:22:00]:

Yeah, I love that. That’s such an excellent perspective. And I love the idea of the multifaceted look at what makes a place of employment great. To kind of add on to that, I have this note on my desk that says, “Be the destination that your employees want to come to in the morning.” Right? And that, I think, is related to when they go home. They’re excited about the day that they had. It might have been hard, but they know they contributed to something great, and they want to come back in the morning and get out of the car and come back in.

Jeff Ton [00:22:41]:

Yeah, I love that. I love all of what you both are saying about this. From communicating the vision repeatedly, always engaging with the vision, talking about something larger than yourself when you’re helping build the community of Lakewood. And I love, Aleta, your comment about what would the spouse say on a review. I might be scared of some of those.

Aleta Jeffress [00:23:11]:

I don’t know.

Jeff Ton [00:23:14]:

When you’re thinking about the hiring process, and especially in the time that we’re just kind of probably coming out a little bit of when it was so uber-competitive to get resources, and if you didn’t make an offer today, the resource was gone tomorrow. How do you balance this concept of trying to make sure that the values fit…that it’s cultural fit or cultural add to your team, and taking that time to be careful about the hiring with the fact that, hey, if you don’t make the offer, they might be gone, how do you balance now?

Aleta Jeffress [00:24:01]:

I’ll speak to…I consider, and Alina knows this, but I consider one of my superpowers that of discernment. And I think, Jeff, maybe we’ve even talked a little bit about this. So, to me, it’s really important that when you interview that person that you’re asking the type of questions that fulfill that. For me, it’s like I need to ask the type of questions that I know I’m going to get their thought process or how do they go from point A to point B, right? Not where do you want to be in five years on all those kinds of questions, but more conversational.

So, I’m trying to peel back at least maybe one layer in that interview time. You don’t typically have a lot of time to figure that out, but really honing in on what do I really want to know? What really fits into my culture and what really fits into my organization and really ask questions that are based around that so that you can get that type of feedback regardless of the role, regardless of how long they’ve done business analysis or whatever it is.

To me, it’s more about finding out more about that person. And of course, now there’s more HR rules around that than there used to be. But I still think you can be pretty conversational and figure that out. Because I’ve had interviews where I know that I’ve interviewed somebody, and the more I’ve talked with them and the more I’ve listened to them, I’m thinking, well, you’re not really a great fit for the role that I posted, like the role that you’re interviewing for. But I have this role over here where I think you would be fabulous. And so then kind of redirecting the conversation to see if somebody is interested in maybe not what they applied for, but something else. And you have to work on that. Right? Not everybody has that, but you can certainly learn that. And I think that that’s something that’s really important.

Alina Walters [00:25:56]:

I agree, and I do some of the same. Right. I ask the how, how did you and why to really gain an understanding, as Aleta said, of the thought behind the decision-making or what drives somebody. And it has to be a win-win. So, in interviews that I attend, it’s really two part, and they’re usually mixed together. It’s okay, what are your skills? How do they apply? What’s your experience? But really the bigger part is the conversation. And I don’t have specific questions for that. I just enter into a conversation and see where it goes. And that, I think, leaves both the candidate and our team feeling more comfortable with whatever those next steps are. Yeah, because once they’re hired. That’s what you do. You have conversations you’re not going back to where did you work? How many years of Excel do you have? Or any of that stuff? All that can be learned or forgotten. It’s how you have a conversation. Can they come to the table and have that healthy discourse? Can they contribute to a team of one voice and move the department forward while also growing? What’s the win-win?

Jeff Ton [00:27:32]:

Communication and collaboration, right? You’ve got to be able to work on this team.

One of the challenges that we sometimes face, especially in IT, in technology departments, is sometimes the perceived inequity between roles. And what I mean by that is we were talking earlier about salaries. Sometimes IT professionals get paid a little higher than those not in IT, but also in some of the freedoms and responsibilities that come with the roles. There are many IT roles that can work from home. There are other IT roles that have to be in the office. And when you take a broader step, and you look outside the department, there’s a lot of roles that also would have to be in the office, and maybe IT is working from home. How do you coach and counsel your team to handle those kinds of inequities between each other and outside the team?

Alina Walters [00:28:38]:

That’s a great question, and COVID certainly introduced a lot of challenges with that, as well as opportunities for me. I look at our organization as a whole. So, our city organization has a culture, and we need to be a part of that culture. So first and foremost, we have to contribute to that city culture in a way that is respectful of all of the other people that we work with and for the constituents that we support. So coming into the city, you have to know and understand that. And I’m thrilled that we have a hybrid work environment where there is flexibility to find balance. And I do think it will vary from potentially person to person from a performance perspective, from a role perspective, from a variety of perspectives. So, I always talk to the person about their situation. And it’s never a comparison. It’s really a question of, is this working…again for us as the city, as the department, and for you as the individual? Where’s the win-win and how can we make that?

Jeff Ton [00:30:01]:

Yeah. Aleta, anything that you want to add to that from what Alina was saying about these perceived inequities inter-department and…

Aleta Jeffress [00:30:16]:

You know, I think that it all to kind of her point. A lot of it depends on the person. And if you think generation, well, that’s not the right word…the generations treat that differently. Right? So, one of the TikToks that my daughter sent me was all about people getting the email that, oh no, now they have to come back into the office, right? And the boomer is all excited because he gets to use a printer, and he’s all suited up, so excited, right? And then the Gen X person is kind of like, “Oh, jeez if I have to come in, I’ll follow the policy and I’ll do it twice a week.” And the millennials are like, “What? Can’t we do this all from home? What in the world are we doing?” And the Gen Z people just don’t even respond. They just get a new job.

They’re just like, not only do I think that people are motivated differently, so maybe somebody doesn’t mind coming into the office because there is value in the water cooler conversation or there’s value in talking to your friends. So, if you’ve worked for a long time, you have those relationships. But yet some people are like, if I’m an hour away or 90 minutes away, or I’ve moved during COVID, and so now my situation is completely different, well, maybe that’s more important to them, figuring out where do they belong in the team and how can you really make sure that maybe that’s a big reward for them.

So, tying into their whole experience at your company, that’s just another factor, right, as far as how they’re going to provide value. I actually had a conversation last night with somebody who said they got a request from someone who wanted to take a year-long cruise and wanted to know if it would be okay if they worked from the boat for a year. That might be a whole other conversation, but it is hard. But I think every job is different, and so every response to that job has to be different.

So, it just depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes people can come in and get that work done, and sometimes they can’t. And for me, for my team, it really depends on the project. Some of my customers are back in the office two to three days a week. Some of my customers have said we’re never going back into the office, so therefore everybody’s remote as long as we do business with them. So, it’s like anything else, really. You just have to adapt to how you’re going to deliver and how you’re going to be successful with both your clients and your people.

Jeff Ton [00:32:54]:

Yeah. The generations in the workplace and this whole concept of return to office and the impact that that has on our teams and on people that might have moved or that we hired to begin with that didn’t even live in the area, is another challenge to building this dream team.

And as usual, our time just flew by, and we are running up on time. So, I do want to, first of all, say, I want to have you two back, and we continue this conversation because I think we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.

But before we go, I have a question that I like to ask all of our guests. And Aleta, you’re familiar with this question, being a guest several times on the show already. We’re all about action, and we want to leave our listeners with some specific calls to action.

So, Alina, I’ll pick on you first. What are one or two things that our listeners should go do tomorrow because they listen to our conversation today?

Alina Walters [00:34:01]:

Well, I’m going to steal one of Aleta’s suggestions that I incorporated in my work and leadership, and that is to meet with each of your staff on their work anniversary and just have a conversation with them. They’ll know it’s coming up. It’s an opportunity for them to see you in different circumstances, right? You’re not meeting to speak about a subject or a project or anything. So schedule those meetings. They’re great. I love them. Sometimes I go for a walk. Sometimes we sit in my office. Sometimes we meet on teams. It doesn’t matter. It’s a celebration, number one, of their year of service. It’s an opportunity for them to talk about their goals and an opportunity for you to ask them, what more can you do to help them be successful and therefore help your team be successful.

So that is my one big recommendation, and thank you, Aleta, for that.

Aleta Jeffress [00:35:10]:

You’re welcome.

Jeff Ton [00:35:11]:

All right. Now, Aleta, the pressure is on. You have to come up with a different one.

Aleta Jeffress [00:35:16]:

So one of the other questions that I have asked my team members in the past is if I were to give you $100,000 or $250,000 or whatever amount is appropriate for your organization, if I were to give you X amount of money toward the work, the work culture, the work you’re doing, whatever, what would you do with that money? And when you ask that question, what you’re getting is that person innately, like most of us would do, would be, man, if I had $250,000, I would focus on recruiting. I would focus on governance. I would focus on new hardware, whatever it is because that’s a pain point for them. But they might not come out and tell you what’s a pain point. But if you give them the opportunity to kind of vaguely fix it, you’ll find out where the pain points are in your team. And so that’s something that I think is really easy. It’s easy to ask, and if you don’t let people know it’s coming, they’re going to give you their first response right off the top of their head, here’s what I’m going to do. So I think that can be really valuable if you’re looking for pain points in your team or your organization.

Jeff Ton [00:36:31]:

I love that both of your action recommendations really boil down to talk to your team. Talk to the people as people. And I love the idea of talking to them on an annual basis on their anniversary because it’s kind of a celebration milestone. And I love the question of, hey, if you had $100,000 to spend, what would you spend it on? Work related. And it can’t be a tricked-out Foosball table. It’s got to be something a little more tangible than that.

Well, Alina, Aleta, thank you so much for taking time out to be with us today. I know you both are incredibly busy, and it means a lot to me that you’re able to sit down with us and talk to our listeners, and I know it means a lot to them as well. So, thank you very much.

Alina Walters [00:37:29]:

Thank you, Jeff. Thank you, Aleta. I look forward to next time.

Aleta Jeffress [00:37:33]:

Thanks, Alina. Happy to be here. Thank you.

Jeff Ton [00:37:38]:

We would love your feedback on this conversation. As I mentioned, I would love to have Aleta and Alina come back and talk further about this. So, if you have feedback, if you have questions that you would like us to address the next time, please send them to us here at Status Go. We would love to hear from you. Send your thoughts via LinkedIn, either comments or messages.

If you do want to learn more, visit, and we’ll be sure that the show notes will provide links and contact information for both Aleta and Alina. And if you’re interested in continuing the discussion, look for The Status Go podcast group on LinkedIn. This is Jeff Ton for Aleta Jeffress and Alina Walters; thank you very much for listening.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:38:29]:

You’ve been listening to the Status Go podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes or get more information at If you’d like to contribute to the conversation, find InterVision on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.