In this episode in my ALLIES series we are going to talk about the E in ALLIES, Elevate.
I would like to introduce you to two people who will share their story with you about the impact of ally actions. Today I am joined by Lori Borg and her ally and husband Steve Borg.
Lori Borg has spent nearly 25 years working alongside Microsoft, has built and sold two companies, has been a seller, a Sales Leader, a founder, CMO, CRO, CGO and CEO. She was a Global Head of the Microsoft Alliance for one of the worlds largest technology firms (Cognizant). Lori’s first company, Northwest Cadence, was Microsoft’s first Gold DevOps partner in the US (Northwest Cadence), her second was Microsoft’s largest Azure partner in the US (10th Magnitude), and today Lori is serving as the Chief Growth Officer at MCA Connect.
I would also like to introduce you to her ally, Steve Borg , who started his career in the Microsoft ecosystem as an early MVP on Visual Studio Team System (Microsoft developer platform). Steve is an entrepreneur who co-founded a small .NET training and consulting company, and quickly became know for his public speaking, writing, and thought leadership in the DevOps / Developer community. Steve was the co-founder of Northwest Cadence alongside Lori and today Steve leads the product team at Microsoft who is building Microsoft’s first medical imaging platform on Azure.
Both of these individuals have led impressive businesses and held executive roles. But we are going to play Monday morning quarterback and take you back a few years back when Lori was the CEO of her own company and Steve took intentional action to make sure her position was elevated and valued.
When you elevate someone you are providing them opportunities to be more visible. That can be as easy as amplifying their voice and making sure they receive credit for their ideas or looking for new projects or opportunities for the individual to demonstrate leadership and become more visible. It is about elevating them and their position. You might think a CEO does not need an ally in this respect but you will hear otherwise.
There are several ally actions you can take without anyone’s permission. Actions like advocating, listening and lifting others up (to learn more see my blog posts on those). However, when you act as an ally and elevate someone, I consider this to be proactive allyship. That means that you must have their position as you are taking intentional action to put them in the spotlight, give them more responsibility, visibility and a higher level of inclusion. This requires that the person you are supporting and empowering agrees that they want this level of attention. If you have not already discussed your potential actions with the individual, it could have the opposite impact of what you intended. They could feel overwhelmed, and underprepared. That would not be the situation you want to put them in. But when you do have permission to elevate them, their work and/or their position, acting in this way could be a game changing move.
As you listen to the full interview below, consider how you might take action to elevate those around you who may not be getting the credit, the visibility or the support they need to breakthrough in their role.