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Welcome to the GDS Introverts Network



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Welcome to the GDS Introverts Network

  1. 1. Welcome to the GDS Introverts Network
  2. 2. GDSGDS Origins and aims of the network (Tara) What is an introvert? (Ben) What we’ve been doing Survey (Penny) New building (Tim) Interview practice (Jane) How to work well with introverts (Ben)
  3. 3. GDSGDS Why do we have an introvert’s network? How did it start?
  4. 4. GDSGDS 20 May 2016 “Hello People Board I’ve been thinking about how we could support introverts more. . . . helping teams to make sure everyone is heard (without making anyone uncomfortable). . . . Maybe an ‘introverts group’ would give people a chance to pair up or network in a quiet environment. . . . We could find out what does or doesn’t work well in people’s teams and meetings.”
  5. 5. How to make GDS a great place for introverts
  6. 6. GDSGDS Aims of the network Make GDS a great working environment for introverts by: making significant change in GDS providing a supportive environment for introverts showing that working in an introvert-friendly way can be effective
  7. 7. GDSGDS What we’re doing - current priorities Awareness and understanding of introversion Better working spaces Recruitment processes
  8. 8. GDSGDS Other plans and ideas Better ways of working More effective meetings and collaborating Tips for teams; workshops for delivery managers GDS culture - People Board Mentoring, buddying and networking Quiet lunchtime chats or social events How can we support each other?
  9. 9. GDSGDS Why does this matter?
  10. 10. GDS “This bias against introversion leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and happiness. It is the next great diversity issue of our time.” Susan Cain (author of Quiet)
  11. 11. GDSGDS To make government work better, the Cabinet Office will: 1. ensure the Civil Service gets the best people and gets the best from its people
  12. 12. GDSGDS Chris Ferguson Management Team Introverts Champion
  13. 13. What is introversion?
  14. 14. GDSGDS People who draw energy from reflection and quiet
  15. 15. GDSGDS People who are at their most productive, creative and alive when focusing on their inner world of ideas, memories and emotions
  16. 16. Common misconceptions
  17. 17. GDS Introverts are shy
  18. 18. GDS Introverts don’t like to be around people
  19. 19. GDS Introverts don’t like group work
  20. 20. GDS Introverts can ‘break out of their shell’ and become extroverts
  21. 21. GDS Introverts don’t make good leaders
  22. 22. GDS
  23. 23. Are you an introvert?
  24. 24. GDS Introverts Prefer solitude and quiet Recharge by spending time alone Tend to have a few close relationships
  25. 25. GDS Extroverts Confident and outgoing Get energy from social interaction Find solitude dull Have many friends, and can make new friends easily
  26. 26. GDS Ambiverts Qualities of both the introvert and the extrovert Comfortable with others, but also value solitude Equally at home in loud or quiet environments
  27. 27. What is the network doing?
  28. 28. Survey of GDS
  29. 29. GDSGDS Identify as: Introvert 78.2% Extrovert 14.3% Unsure 7.5%
  30. 30. GDSGDS More supportive environment Quiet working spaces Better ways of working Line manager training on supporting better ways of working
  31. 31. GDS Problems introverts are experiencing at GDS Difficulty concentrating 67% Stress 40%
  32. 32. GDS Support extroverts would like in working with introvert colleagues Ways of working: identifying ways for introverts to contribute in meetings, how teams can improve collaboration Better workspaces to allow for collaborative working
  33. 33. Working spaces
  34. 34. GDSGDS “People who draw energy from reflection and quiet…”
  35. 35. GDSGDS Welcome to White Chapel
  36. 36. GDSGDS Before the move Feedback on designs Visited building before move to discuss with Matt Withers
  37. 37. GDSGDS Matt listened to concerns and pointed out features which might help Designated quiet spaces Think Tanks Acoustic design of ceiling and lights Asked us to move in, see how it goes, then feed back
  38. 38. GDSGDS We moved in The office filled up And got louder and louder and louder Complaints on Slack got louder and louder People wandered through meetings People kept asking where everything was
  39. 39. GDSGDS Estates provided a Google Sheet for feedback But we had been asked to ‘move in and see how it goes’ So we invited members and others to contribute to some more formal feedback
  40. 40. GDSGDS Open meeting rooms “The open meeting ‘rooms’ (eg 608) suffer from noise from around them. And also, presumably, the other way round. (+1 +1 +1+1 +1 +1 +1+1+1)” “Some of the ‘project room’ spaces have two meeting room numbers (eg 604 and 605), so two simultaneous meetings side by side, which makes it even more difficult to hear or contribute (+1+1 +1 +1 +1 +1+1).”
  41. 41. GDSGDS Metal floors “The metal floors seem to add to the noise (+ 1 +1 +1 +1 +1+1 +1 +1 +1, +1, +1) especially when people scrape chairs across them in the kitchen areas!” “The metal floors make me feel like I can’t wear heeled shoes to work - because it makes SO much noise when I walk around in them. (Even on days when I have presentations and need to look smarter.) So I am always in flat soled shoes. I didn’t feel self conscious about the sound of my footwear when we worked in Aviation House, and I didn’t feel like I always had to wear my trainers (+1).”
  42. 42. GDSGDS No quiet spaces “The 'Using our spaces' guidelines now say the lounge areas are "for relaxing not formal meetings". Where's the line between formal and informal meetings? And can we at least say no meetings there at lunchtimes (12-2pm), so people can rest quietly and comfortably? Can we put up some ‘quiet’ signs? (+1 +1)”
  43. 43. GDSGDS All adds up to noise “Noise carries from bank to bank of desks which means that conversations from several banks away are a constant disturbance which I find tiring. Standups are bad for the people in the office and extremely bad for people dialling in.”
  44. 44. GDSGDS We compiled this into a clear report Submitted as part of ‘building retro’ in September https://goo.gl/xNxHv8
  45. 45. GDSGDS Progress We’ve been asked to send a representative to take part in the decisions about how to spend the budget for improving the building And anyone interested can attend the presentation on the building retro: Tomorrow (Tuesday 26th 10-11am in atrium)
  46. 46. Interview practice
  47. 47. Interviews are difficult
  48. 48. GDSGDS “Extroverts... prefer talking to listening...
  49. 49. GDSGDS “Introverts... listen more than they talk...
  50. 50. GDSGDS “Extroverts… rarely find themselves at a loss for words…”
  51. 51. GDSGDS “Introverts… feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation…”
  52. 52. GDSGDS
  53. 53. What did we do?
  54. 54. GDSGDS
  55. 55. How does it work?
  56. 56. GDSGDS
  57. 57. GDSGDS
  58. 58. How to work well with introverts
  59. 59. GDSGDS Respect and value the difference
  60. 60. GDSGDS Introvert strengths Calm Empathy Really listening Tenacity Focus Analytical thinking
  61. 61. GDS Have empathy for the fact that GDS can be an exhausting environment for introverts
  62. 62. GDSGDS Learn that quiet can be good
  63. 63. GDS Respect the headphones
  64. 64. GDSGDS Make time for reflection
  65. 65. GDSGDS
  66. 66. GDSGDS Manage the meeting
  67. 67. GDSGDS Structure the thinking
  68. 68. Easy Hard Low impact High impact Raise Awareness of Introversion Working Spaces Buddying and Mentoring Inclusive Comms
  69. 69. This is a image heading slide The Library
  70. 70. GDSGDS List of 9 Excellent Ted Talks For Introverts by Katherine Mackenzie- Smith http://katherinemackenziesmith.com/9-excellent-ted-talks-introverts/
  71. 71. Join us
  72. 72. GDSGDS Monthly meeting: Tuesday 3 October Slack: #introverts-network Google group: ‘GDS for introverts’ GDS wiki: ‘GDS Introverts Network’
  73. 73. Questions?
  74. 74. We’d like your feedback
  75. 75. Thanks! Ben Daniels @drystonecoding Tara Stockford Penny Newton Tim Leighton-Boyce Jane Eastwood


  • Hello, I’m Tara. I’m a performance analyst on GOV.UK, and I’m one of the Introverts Network leads, with Ben.
    Here’s what’s coming up today...
  • For me, it started with an idea last year, in May.
    Lots of things came together - I was inspired by a GOV.UK away day and the GDS coaching group, and the success of the Women’s Group and other diversity networks that were being set up.
    I was on a leadership training course - Myers-Briggs - “there are no right or wrong personality types”. Aware of how my preferences affect my competencies.
  • Then in September last year we had a GDS unconference, where anyone could run a session. Ben suggested a workshop about introverts, which was really popular.
    So that was our ‘Discovery’ phase - why it’s a problem, and what people wanted instead.
  • After that we grouped all the feedback and had a smaller workshop to agree our priorities, and then wrote some official objectives for the network.
  • These are our three main workstreams at the moment, and the workstream leads will be telling you about some of the things they’ve done.
  • The other main thing we’d like to improve is how we work at GDS.
    If you’d like to get involved with any of these, talk to us afterwards or come to our next monthly meeting on 3 October.
    (There’s also a Remote Working Group - see the GDS wiki.)
  • Single departmental plans describe the government's objectives for this Parliament.
  • Chris is a great champion - he chose us, and he really gets it.
    (He’s the Director for National, International and Research.)
  • This slide format is for headings or section breaks
  • Shyness and Introversion are different things
    Introverts just don’t like talking for the sake of it.
  • We have the same need for connection, it’s just that we also need and enjoy more solitude
    We prefer to interact one to one or in small groups

  • Not true

    Introverts prefer small groups to large

    But Introverts do have a tendency to shut down in larger groups of people when they feel like their voice isn’t being heard

    As one of my colleagues says “silence is not the same as consent”

  • Introversion is innate
    Introverts are happiest and most effective when they use their innate strengths
  • Mohandas Gandhi, (Revolutionary)
    Mother Teresa (Nun, Missionary)
    Bill Gates (Founder of Microsoft)
    Warren Buffett (Investor and philanthropist)
    Abraham Lincoln (US President, and Attorney)
    Rosa Parks (unintentionally started a revolution
    Mark Zuckerberg
    Albert Einstein (Physicist and Professor)
    Steven Spielberg (Director)
    Julian Assange
    Susan Cain (Author, Attorney)
    Meryl Streep, Actress
  • Ben to run Interactive session
  • This should be what most of your slides look like
  • Feedback on early designs was by individual members because the network had not been formed
    First formal contact as a network was when building nearing completion. I visited the building in June with Rob Rockstroh for a discussion with Matt Withers
  • https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1BrChIfZXMw3GDCqZwGCAjKhmFGneG48EdWyTB_dS9jc/edit#gid=0
  • I think second comment particularly interesting = an example of introverts feeling stressed and self conscious about their impact on others
  • In real life two of the solutions we had been offered don’t work: quiet areas and Think Tanks
    And the small holes in the ceiling may or may not improve the sound, but it turns out they are visually noisy and upset some people
  • https://goo.gl/xNxHv8
  • https://goo.gl/xNxHv8
  • Hello
    My name’s Jane. I’m the content lead on the Digital Marketplace.
    I’m going to talk to you about some work Tara and I have been doing to help people practise their interview skills.
  • Lots of people struggle with interviews for different reasons - this isn’t just a problem for introverts
    I find interviews really difficult
    And for me some of my characteristics that mean that I identify as an introvert are the same characteristics that make me struggle with interviews

  • These quotes are from Susan Cain’s book Quiet
    I’m cautious about implying that all introverts have the same characteristics
    But I’ve picked these out because they resonate with me
  • I think these things summarise why I find interviews difficult
  • I wanted to do something to help make it easier for people at GDS who struggle with interviews - whatever the reason
    When I joined the introverts network I found that other people had similar difficulties with interviews
    Tara was also passionate about doing something to help people who find interviewing hard and who might not be progressing as quickly as they could be as a result
    We decided to work on it together
  • So we decided to set up a practice network
  • We asked Arthi and Lynn in the People Team to help us to set up an interview practice network
  • So - how does it work?
  • There are instructions on the wiki
    They’re under ‘Working at the White Chapel Building > How to > then ‘Practise your interview skills’
    But basically it’s self-organising
  • There’s a list of practice questions you can use - which is linked to from the wiki
    But I won’t show you those, in case any of you want to practise and want the questions to be a surprise...
    So… go forth and practise
  • Procuring Training
    These are some simple things you can do today.
  • There isn’t a team at GDS that wouldn’t benefit from these skills
  • One of the commonest things people tell me is how draining GDS is as a place to work.
  • Don’t worry if someone is being quiet
    Don’t ask “is something wrong”.
    If they are an introvert they are doing their best work while they are quiet.
  • Perhaps headphones means someone needs some quiet to be effective
    Respect that.

    And working from home, disappearing into a think tank etc etc.
  • Send out an agenda in advance to give people time to think
    Build breaks into long meetings
    Two short meetings are better than one long meeting. It’s not failure to not do everything in the first meeting.
    If it’s important enough to have a meeting, it’s important to have another one the next day when people have had a chance to think and have fresh ideas.
  • Introverts have longer neural pathways and process info in a different way
  • Start ideas generation by getting people to write post-its in silence for 2 minutes (I’ve trained my team to do this automatically)

    Respectfully stop people who dominate the meeting
    Respectfully ask quiet people if there “Is anything you would like to add”
    Make some quiet and check in with everyone at the end of the discussion
  • Good for everyone and levels the playing field for introverts
    Helps everyone contribute and leads to better decisions
    This is how I lead introverts network and do my day job

    Lots of easy to use tools
    Retro format
    Plus/ Minus/ Interesting
    Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats
    Eisenhower Matrix
  • We’ve bought some books on Introversion
    Understanding introversion
    Working with introverts
    Succeeding as an introvert
  • Check out Ted Talks on Introverts
  • Join us to be part of a supportive community of like minded people
    To hear about talks and events including first informal chat with our SCS champion Chris Ferguson (early October)
    For a chance to develop in a supportive, introvert friendly environment
    And to contribute to the network -- we’ve got a lot more to do.
  • https://sites.google.com/a/digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk/gds/cross-gds-social/gds-introverts-network
  • Come and have a chat, or stick a post-it on the wall!
  • ×