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How do you foster critical skill development in the next generation of IT leaders?

Every two weeks, we have a Retro to go through real scenarios, topics or challenges that the team encountered. As a group, we write down what worked well, what we should have done better, and what we should start doing next. That becomes a running catalog of the things we learn from each other and the experiences we have. Then every Friday, we follow that up with a simulation to role-play a scenario. We've found it to be very effective because you get to practice in the comfort of your peers. It is awkward at first. When we started these simulations, people were uncomfortable. But once they realized that it’s just practicing in the safety of the inner circle and that no one's being judged on their performance, it really helped people get comfortable in dealing with those situations. It's an ongoing thing that we do to practice their communication. What we are really coaching them on is how to steer the conversation so that the other person’s answer is “yes.” Narrow it down to a point where it's hard for them to say no to you. Maybe you have an angry customer, or a customer who's just not going to support you. How do you work through that situation? Which techniques would you use? 

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Every two weeks, we have a Retro to go through real scenarios, topics or challenges that the team encountered. As a group, we write down what worked well, what we should have done better, and what we should start doing next. That becomes a running catalog of the things we learn from each other and the experiences we have. Then every Friday, we follow that up with a simulation to role-play a scenario. We've found it to be very effective because you get to practice in the comfort of your peers. It is awkward at first. When we started these simulations, people were uncomfortable. But once they realized that it’s just practicing in the safety of the inner circle and that no one's being judged on their performance, it really helped people get comfortable in dealing with those situations. It's an ongoing thing that we do to practice their communication. What we are really coaching them on is how to steer the conversation so that the other person’s answer is “yes.” Narrow it down to a point where it's hard for them to say no to you. Maybe you have an angry customer, or a customer who's just not going to support you. How do you work through that situation? Which techniques would you use? 
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