"It's very zen, right?" asks Betina, who is the VP of Product Management for fitness tech company Peloton. "My work life is lots of lateral thinking, where there are no correct answers to problems a lot of the time. So it's very soothing to do something where you just start, follow the directions, and at the end, you have a chair."
We sat down with Betina to talk about her career as a product manager, how she's seen Peloton's Product Management team grow from four to 25, and what she's learned about tackling not-so-straightforward problems along the way.
Finding her niche: mixing people and problems in product management
Betina studied mechanical engineering in college and took a job after graduation as a consultant, excited by the opportunity to solve problems for different kinds of businesses. But she wanted to be more hands-on with her solutions than consulting allowed for, so in her free time, she learned how to code and later took a job as a mobile developer.
That was better, but still not quite right; she felt like she had more to offer. Her then-boss gave her an opportunity to be a product manager, and that was her Goldilocks moment.
"Product management is super fun—there are lots of different problems to solve," says Betina. "There's data problems and user testing problems and strategy. It's an opportunity to work with many different skills and tools, and I enjoy the challenge."
Betina joined Peloton in 2016 as the fourth member of their product management team. They covered many of Peloton's products, from the website, to the system used in showrooms, to the Peloton Bike itself. Her focus was on the Tread, Peloton's full-body workout offering. The team grew quickly, and two years in, her boss offered the opportunity to manage people.
Management was interesting to her, she explains, because it would give her an opportunity to learn how to make an impact through others. "You're no longer just solving problems yourself. You're thinking about how to help someone else solve problems and help them improve, while giving them ownership," she says.
She went from a Senior PM to a Director of Product Management and found she thrived in the role. A year later, when the VP of Product Management role opened up, Betina decided to throw her hat in the ring.
"I knew I had a lot of experience at Peloton and with the subject matter and team, and at the same time, I knew I hadn't been a VP before. I knew I was a good candidate and I knew I'd have to grow into it," says Betina. But she raised her hand and her manager gave her a shot, first with a smaller team-wide project to create a standardized system for planning, and then, when that went well, with the job itself.
Developing as a manager—and learning to "bottle the magic"
"Being a good manager is not the kind of thing that you do one day and then you are good [at it]. It's a practice and it's an effort that you make. And it's also something that you learn over time," reflects Betina. "It's not like many skills, where you could spend a few weekends studying and then you've learned something. Managing doesn't work that way. You can't practice giving performance reviews over the weekend."
(We wondered briefly if maybe you could, if there were a manager-marketed VR app that let you practice sitting at a conference table and walking an employee through their performance metrics. We call dibs on bringing it to market.)
As she's developing as a manager, Betina has been careful to frame her style of leadership and management in ways that felt authentic. "I would say, 'Hey, my job isn't to come in here and tell you what to do. Or even really to change the way we're doing things. It's to provide you with resources and help you grow,'" she says.
She also needed to determine what kind of values she wanted to encourage, and for her, it kept coming down to something simple: obsession with making the product good.
When the team was small, that obsession was easy to foster. With fewer product managers, each person's responsibility area was huge, and naturally created a sense of ownership that helped team members thrive. But as Peloton's offerings have expanded beyond a bike and into other areas, Betina notes that it can be harder to maintain that energy.
"You need to believe that 'the buck stops with you,' right? The nightmare scenario is a PM saying, 'Oh, I would change the product, but I can't because of the bureaucracy,'" she says. To address that, Betina actively ensures that her product team has all of the tools they need to fully own their work and focus on solving member needs.
She calls that "bottling the magic"—creating an environment where everyone is enabled to obsess over the pursuit of creating a good product. It's a hard task as the team keeps growing in size, but she's committed to keeping that magic and that energy there.
"One of Peloton's core values is 'operate with a bias for action,' which I very much agree with," says Betina. "If I see anyone on my team start to lose that feeling of being able to create change, I know I need to change the structure to make that person feel like they can do what's important to create a great product."
Failing — and learning from it
"I like being successful and doing things correctly," says Betina on behalf of…pretty much all of us. But then she gets vulnerable, on behalf of all of us, too: "But I've been in a lot of situations where I didn't have the answer to the question. I've sometimes failed publicly. It's not that fun to do. Figuring out a way to fail at something, learn from it, and do it better next time has been challenging."
For Betina, the path forward requires finding ways to maintain her confidence despite setbacks. She says she's learning from her manager, Tom, who she jokes might "genuinely not have an ego" and who has shown her that admitting when you don't have the answer can empower and strengthen the team.
But despite the pain that comes with growth, Betina's thrilled for the chance to be doing the growing. "Honestly, it's been a total privilege to work on the stuff that I get to work on with the people I get to work on it with. I genuinely love the product and I think it's really fun to work on something that our members are really excited about," she says.
She's looking forward to the future, too, which may see her team growing even further and taking on new products yet to be dreamt up. "The complexity will just continue to increase," she says. "So how do you continue to create that sense of possibility and excitement about what we can build?"
If you're interested in learning more about Peloton or checking out their open roles, click here.
💎Want to implement change in your team or organization? Watch the video to the end to do it successfully.
📼 To implement change you need to follow certain steps. Play this video to get three top tips on how to do it the best possible way. You'll hear from Kyle Lisboa, Support Operations Manager at Esri, who shares her experience with you!
📼Why implement change? Tip #1: Identify the reason. Think about the business reason for the change. If you understand why change is needed, it helps you explain it to others. Avoid making change for change's sake and implement solutions that solve problems.
📼Plan to implement change! Tip #2: Develop a plan. Create a detailed plan to help implement the change. If you create steps and timelines, this will guide the process. It also helps others understand how you are progressing towards the implementation and what the next steps are.
To Implement Change You Need Others - Tip #3: Seek Feedback
Gather feedback from those affected before, during, and after any changes are implemented. Allowing others to provide their feedback helps to create an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels part of the solution.
📨 Are you interested in joining Esri? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Kyle Lisboa
Kyle is an experienced Strategic Operations Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. She’s skilled in Arcgis Products, Databases, Management, Geography, and Cartography. If you are interested in a career at Esri, you can connect with her on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Esri
At Esri, they build cutting-edge geographic information system (GIS) technology that customers use to solve the world’s most complex challenges: slowing climate change, stamping out disease, designing a better city, fighting crime, and much more. Their ArcGIS software is helping communities around the globe respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by monitoring the surge, managing testing sites, aiding essential workers in finding childcare, mapping food and essentials, and keeping residents informed and safe.
Nearly 80% of workers want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, per a CNBC survey.
But how do prospective employees — and, for that matter, current ones — know whether an organization takes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) seriously?
Metrics can help.
What are DEI metrics?
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging metrics are measurements of how a company is doing against its stated DEIB goals. They help track progress, light up problems, synthesize momentum over time, prioritize investment, and allow a company and its employees to have accountability over DEIB intentions.
How can DEI metrics help my overall DEI strategy?
Creating a DEIB strategy is the first step in making your workplace more equitable. But having DEI metrics is a vital second step in ensuring that progress happens.
DEI metrics help a company actualize their strategy, live out their values, meet employee expectations, and make the workplace more fair for all employees.
10 examples of DEI metrics
1. Hiring: the diversity of your candidate pipeline.
How diverse is your applicant pool? Have your candidates self-identify and track what representation looks like in your candidate system.
2. Representation: the demographics of your current employees.
Many companies put pressure on their new hires to make up for gaps in their existing employee population — so make sure you’re benchmarking against data on what your current workforce is made up of.
3. Representation: the demographics of your leadership team.
People need to see that there is a path for success for people who look like them at your organization. What does the makeup of your board look like? Your directors? Your managers? And what does the promotion pipeline look like into those roles?
4. Representation: the demographics of your suppliers.
The money that you spend can significantly impact communities around you — so you should be measuring whether you’re doing that in a way that challenges bias and champions equitable treatment.
5. HR systems: pay equity.
Do all employees, regardless of gender or race, make the same amount of money if they’re doing the same job? If not, what’s your gender / race pay gap and how quickly are you closing it?
6. Employee experience: HR issues.
It’s important to track wins when it comes to DEIB, but it’s also vital to track times when your organization falls short. How many HR / People issues related to DEIB, including allegations of unfair treatment or bias, has your organization dealt with in the past year? What was the result of them? How quickly did issues get resolved? These metrics are key to know.
7. Employee experience: satisfaction with DEI progress.
When you send out employee satisfaction surveys, make sure you include questions on how employees perceive your current progress on DEI goals. They’re the ones most impacted by your strategy — and their opinion matters.
8. Employee engagement: participation in communication platforms.
How often do employees participate in Slack? What about by-channel participation? Looking at data on who talks to who and when can help highlight issues with inclusion or culture. Some companies are using AI-enabled text analysis tools to look for signs of frustration or for problematic language.
9. Employee participation: ERG membership.
Employee resource groups can be hugely helpful in creating community around different identities, interests, and demographics. They can also provide guidance on how to actualize your organization’s DEIB goals. (Which is part of the reason you should pay ERG leaders for their efforts, but that’s a topic for a different blog.)
10. Brand reputation: customer perception.
We’ve talked about key groups for whom DEIB metrics matter — prospective employees, current employees, leadership — but they matter to your customers, too. Whether you add a DEIB component to your existing NPS process, conduct 1:1 customer interviews, or get feedback some other way, it’s important to see whether your customer base is seeing progress on your DEIB goals, too.
Have you ever been so exhausted that you quit your job?
You may have been experiencing burnout.
Burnout is characterized by overwhelming exhaustion, detachment from your work, and a sense of ineffectiveness.
And while anyone can experience burnout, if you have ADHD, you may be more susceptible to it.
Before you get to the point where quitting feels like your only option, there are steps you can take to set healthy boundaries and start feeling more like yourself again. Read on to learn how you can recognize burnout in yourself, and what to do if you’re experiencing it!
How Does ADHD Burnout Feel?
There are some clear signs that you’re burning out, but ADHD can make the descent to burnout harder to detect. These warning signs include:
- Lack of motivation - not wanting to do the things you need to do or the things you love.
- Exhaustion - feeling overly tired both mentally and physically.
- Irritability and mental fatigue - feeling short-tempered, mean, or like you snap easily.
- Physical discomfort - body aches, low energy levels, and general pain.
- Negative outlook - the tendency to find something wrong with nearly everything.
- Emotional dysregulation - feeling weepy, sad, or unable to smile or connect with others.
Generally, burnout starts with taking on too much. Exhaustion creeps in, and you feel like every day is working against you because you are constantly overwhelmed. You may start to feel like the entire world is spinning out of control, or like no matter what you do you can’t keep up (or catch up).
If this resonates with you, you might be on the road to ADHD burnout.
Why People with ADHD Can Be More Susceptible to Burnout
So why does ADHD make some folks more susceptible to burnout? There are a few common ADHD traits that often result in behaviors correlated with burnout (taking on too much, working too long, etc.):
- Hyperfocus - ADHD is not exclusively about attention deficits. In fact, hyperfocus is the opposite – a deep, intense concentration to the point of being oblivious to your surroundings. Per WebMD, hyperfocus is a state of highly-focused attention that lasts for an extended period of time. You concentrate on something so hard that you lose track of everything else going on around you. When hyperfocus sets in at work, it can be hard to unplug or be aware of the people and environment around you.
- Time Tracking - Losing track of time is one thing, but if you find yourself losing track of hours without realizing it, that could be related to burnout. People with ADHD perceive time not as a sequence of events the way others usually do, but as a diffuse collection of events viscerally connected to the people, activities, and emotions that fill them.
- Difficulty Prioritizing - Do you take on too much and then struggle to prioritize it? When someone asks for help, does everything often go to the wayside so you can jump in? Or maybe the daunting anticipation of the tasks ahead prevents you from starting. Per ADDitude, ADHD impacts your temporal processing abilities, which can affect executive functioning.
Combating ADHD Burnout
If you think you may be suffering from ADHD burnout, there are a few ways to take back control. Here are three tips for combating ADHD burnout:
Reserve Your Yeses - Pump the brakes when you recognize the early signs of ADHD burnout. Start reserving your yeses right away. Say no, and practice not apologizing. It is okay to say, "I have a lot on my plate right now and cannot take that on. Thanks for thinking of me." Saying no is nothing to apologize for, and it should be celebrated! You are working to protect your energy above all else.
Practice Over-Estimating - If you think you could knock something out in a day, give yourself a week. Overestimate on time and allow yourself the grace to have a little more time than usual to complete projects. Slowing down when starting a new job or role will help you produce high-quality work and prevent ADHD burnout.
Drop the Mask - Be honest with your employer and friends. Let them know that although you seem to keep up internally, you struggle. Identifying ADHD burnout from the outside can be extremely difficult. Your honesty and transparency will position you to determine if your environment is supportive and inclusive.
How to Support Colleagues Dealing with ADHD Burnout
The experiences above may not resonate with you personally, but perhaps you’ve noticed other people you work with describe or experience them.
If you’re a manager, there are several ways you can support colleagues with ADHD (as well as neurodivergent employees more generally) to help prevent burnout. Ask for clarity on when they have felt the most supported at work. Discovery questions like, “how did you feel at that time?” or “how was the pace of that project?” can help you to understand their actual capacity.Download this free guide if you’re looking for more ways to support your neurodivergent coworkers. Work with your DEIB and HR team to develop new neurodivergent inclusivity standards to help you stay ahead of the ADHD burnout cycle.
💎Worried about bias in the workplace? Watch the video to the end to find out how to reduce it!
📼Avoiding bias in the workplace requires a lot of effort. Play this video to get three top tips that will help you. You'll hear from Ben Lopez, Talent Acquisition Manager for EMEA at Workiva, who shares advice on how to create a more fair, equitable environment where everyone feels welcome and has a seat at the table.
📼Acknowledging bias in the workplace is the starting point. Tip #1: Recognize Bias. Take the time to recognize your own bias. Both conscious and unconscious. And look out for bias within teams and among peers. Work together to understand how you can all avoid each of those biases that you may encounter.
📼Avoid sneaky bias in the workplace! Tip #2: Rely on a structured process. Whether it's about interviewing, promotions, or performance reviews, relying on a consistent, fair, and objective process will help guard against bias. Document the process to keep both you and your peers accountable. And when it comes to interviewing, work with your peers and other participants to define clear questions and objectives to cover with each candidate.
Reduce Bias In The Workplace By Knowing Different People - Tip #3: Widen Your Network
Don't always engage with the same people. Widen your internal network, and interact with different teams, and different departments. Get to know those with different life experiences, different academic backgrounds, and different work experiences. Understanding those who are different from us allows us to be more empathetic and create an environment where we all feel a sense of belonging.
📨 Are you interested in joining Workiva? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ben Lopez
With a robust background in recruitment, Ben is an agile and well-networked talent acquisition leader. He’s been recruiting high-caliber talent around the globe for 15 years, spanning SaaS software, professional services, oil & gas, and healthcare across four continents. If you are interested in a career at Workiva, you can connect with Ben Lopez on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Workiva
Workiva was founded to transform the way people manage and report business data with various collaborators, data sources, documents, and spreadsheets. Today, people all over the world use their platform to seamlessly orchestrate data among their systems and applications for transparent and trusted connected reporting and compliance. At Workiva, they are innovative in everything they do—from how they build their software, to how they serve their customers, to how they treat their employees.