Teena Piccione 0:00
When people see a vision, they’re going to run to it every time when people see that you can do something than have an outcome, they’re going to run to it, because they want to make sure that what they’re doing has an impact.

Anne Bibb

Welcome to Unexpected Journey, the show where each week top professionals share work wisdom, and life lessons about their careers, and what they have learned about human experience in the workplace. I’m your host, Anne Bibb. This week, we have Teena Piccione. She is with Google, and joined Google in 2019. As managing director to lead the telco media and entertainment, gaming industry, sales and customer engineering teams. Last year and 2022, she moved to Google’s core division, supporting their corporate engineering team.

Anne Bibb 0:50
Before we begin, don’t forget to subscribe and leave your comments below. Now, let’s get started.

Anne Bibb 0:59
Welcome, Teena, I am so excited to have you we’ve got so much to talk about.

Teena Piccione 1:03
Thank you, I’m excited to this is going to be the best part of my day. Heck, the week and year, let’s go for it.

Anne Bibb 1:11
Wow, no pressure. So one of the big questions that I had for you, because we’ve talked quite a few times we we’ve but one of the things that I’ve held back and I’ve held on to for this particular conversation is what is a global transformation operations executive like this are a lot of big words.

Teena Piccione 1:39
Oh, my goodness, there are a lot of big words. And you know, what it boils down to, to be honest, is how do you do the right thing at the right time and make it effortless and seamless for everyone? And if you think about it, all companies, including Google, have a lot of tech debt. So how do we eliminate the tech debt without bankrupting any of the companies that we work for? Because think about it, it costs a lot to get rid of tech debt. But there’s a lot that tech that tech debt also cost us. So when you think about it, that’s part of it. But then you look at all the processes and procedures. And then you look at all the people and you’ve got to say what are we doing that we could do better and more efficient? How do we then transform our internal systems and our internal processes and everything we’re doing so outlook outwardly, it becomes seamless. And our customers are thrilled with everything we’re providing and doing?

Anne Bibb 2:38
What is tech debt? Tech debt.

Teena Piccione 2:42
So if you think about it, you have servers that are at the end of life are you have applications that only a few people utilize, and you’re not getting the benefit of it. But the cost is compounding year after year of people having to continuously support a technology that should have been sunsetted are long gone. And if you think about it, you’ve got companies like AT and T been around 100 years, their Tet tech debt is going to add up as they go, the longer the company’s been in business, if they’re not changing out and staying on the cutting or bleeding edge of technology, their technology is going to become obsolete, and not even supported by any of the core functionalities. So you’ll have even Microsoft or AWS or Google not supportive of a platform or not supportive of a type of hardware. And so you have to change it in order to continuously have that support.

Anne Bibb 3:44
So we have these huge companies. You’ve mentioned a few of them Google, at&t, and AWS, that are basically the foundation of so many companies from a technology perspective. And they’re having to stay in the forefront of what is happening from a technology perspective. What, what happens if they don’t do that?

Teena Piccione 4:15
And great question. If they don’t, not only do they fall behind, but all the companies they serve. So that’s why it’s that continuous re innovation, it’s that continuous, ensuring they’re on the cutting edge and looking at the technology that’s around the bend before it actually comes out and making sure they’re first in line trying it at Google we call it dog fooding. We eat our own dog food. We try it ourselves. I prefer to say we drink our own champagne, but I didn’t come up with it. So dog food it is but it’s making sure that we’re actually utilizing our own tools and making them effective and efficient for everyone else.

Speaker 1 4:54
Well, you kind of mentioned that earlier about making the job effortless. So When you’re doing that, and you’re utilizing your own tools, what is the what is the baseline? What is the measurement of saying we have, in fact, made the job effortless? By utilization of our tools?

Teena Piccione 5:16
Great point, you know, when you look at it, you look at it from how long does it take to access tools? How long does it take to actually do your job? How long does it take to do contracts? How long does it take to go in and do expense reports or do HR type performing roles, all of these things have a cost, and there’s a cost to performing the job that we’re being asked to do. And if we can make it effortless, and anticipate what’s needed, then you can get ahead. I mean, if you think right now, the whole industry is talking about chatbots. We do love chat bots, when they make our lives easier. Now, there are times like if you have an IVR system, which is when you call in to you know, Delta, United American, whomever, and you’re on hold forever, and you’re sitting there desperately trying to press zero or to the bank, and it says, you know, do you want to customer service. Instead, let me tell you what your accounts doing. And you’re like, I don’t want an account, I want to talk to a human that takes time out of people’s day. So how do we then get things to where it’s fast and efficient, and people can get their job done effortlessly? That’s the difference.

Anne Bibb 6:32
That’s actually a really good call out because everybody is talking about chatbots. And so how do you decide when to work? On what? Yeah,

Teena Piccione 6:46
that’s a great, great question. And this is where companies, I don’t care who they are, across the board struggle with this one thing? How do you prioritize what’s most important?

Anne Bibb 6:58
I mean, because clearly,

Teena Piccione 7:01
everything important,

Anne Bibb 7:03
everything’s important. And everybody’s working on something, but not only when do you work on it? But when do you share it with the world?

Teena Piccione 7:12
And when do you shut it down? I think that’s the other thing, because we tend to never want to shut down anything. Right? And I think when you start it is a new start on any of these journeys. It’s looking at what the business impact, what’s your return on investment? How is it going to help an enable a customer? What benefits? Is it marketing? Is it branding? Is it a true cost? Effective benefit? Is it cost coming back? Are you making money? What’s the return on investment as to how you prioritize? Then you look at it from another lens? Do you have enough people to work on it? I mean, that has to come into play, right? Are Are we now trying to overload one person to do 200 hours a week of which they cannot possibly do, and then we’re delayed in releasing it. So that also has to come into it. And then you think about that. At companies sometimes tend not to focus on one thing, but they have shiny object syndrome is what I call it. Every time they turn around. It’s like, oh, let’s go do that. Oh, that’s the latest thing. Let’s go look at that, instead of being strategically and laser focused on what the priorities are for the company. And then putting your people working on those highest priorities, and then releasing it becomes have you done everything to ensure that product is safe? There is no risk? Have you made sure that from a UX perspective and design perspective, it’s appealing to the entire audiences, no matter what background, ensuring you have a diverse lens that you’re looking at it for? Have you tried it and tried it in every type of platform that can possibly be imagined? Whether it’s on a Chromebook, whether it’s on a Mac, have you tried it on every mobile device there is and don’t forget, we have so many mobile devices nowadays, you’ve got to try it right, you’ve got to try it on the pixel, then you have to try it on an iPhone, then you turn around on the Sony. So all of those have to be covered before something’s released. So what used to be simplistic 20 years ago, has now become incredibly complex. As we go to release things to market to ensure you’ve hit and checked every one of those boxes.

Anne Bibb 9:30
What I find interesting is that we’re talking about from in this is I don’t think this is unique to Google. But I do find it interesting to talk about it because of what Google does and who they are. You’re talking about building and creating things to make other people’s jobs effortless. But the number of employees that you have and the employee experience that is impacted In order to impact other employee experiences in other organizations, it’s really mind blowing to think about that.

Teena Piccione 10:11
It really is. And that goes back to what’s the return on investment? What is the cost and that it’s going to take and the benefit on the way out. And I think a lot of times, we sometimes don’t do the math, to understand what that looks like. Because there is always a cost. There is nothing in this world that I can tell you that’s free except air. And if it’s purified, even that costs money. So how do we make sure that as we look at it, that we are ensuring the best outcome all the way around? So it’s a question that’s going to stay out there for years to come? That I wish we could solve it in two seconds, but it’s just going to be one that’s going to take time?

Anne Bibb 10:54
I know that’s something that is a big passion of yours, though, is the employee experience and how that ties into what you’re able to deliver? Do you have any specific examples of how you’ve been able to impact the employee experience of your team? And how that has translated into something that you’ve been able to turn out?

Teena Piccione 11:14
Yeah, great question. Listen, I love when I look at it. I love working with people, and I love my teams, and being able to ensure their experience as just as seamless as I possibly can be. And that their thinking through that lens is entirely critical to everything we do. So if you’ve looked at it, we have to have that diversity, background, diverse thought, diversity of product, what does that look like? Are we looking across at every single person to say yes, that would meet their needs? Yes, that would meet their needs, yes, that would meet their needs and remove our blind spots. We all come with blind spots and biases. I don’t care who we are, we just have them. So have we had somebody else take a look at it to make sure that we are looking at it through the different lens. And then with the team, how do we get them excited about delivering something that may just be used internally, that’s a big piece of it, getting them excited about saying, You were created to be extraordinary, what you’re delivering will be extraordinary, here’s how it’s going to impact others, and give them that vision. Because when people see a vision, they’re going to run to it every time when people see that you can do something than have an outcome, they’re going to run to it. Because they want to make sure that what they’re doing has an impact. And that’s what I think when you look across anything, that’s what you look at I have been involved in incredible products throughout my career. And there isn’t a one that doesn’t have an impact somewhere. And I think that’s what’s important. Where’s that impact? And how do you put it into a story to where everybody gets excited by it? And then goes and deliver most of mine. It’s funny, when I do a project I Project Phoenix is my favorite I say it’s rising out of the ashes. How do we take what everybody else looked at and said, I don’t think that can work, and make it to where everybody wants to work on it. And I think that’s really the key. I like to say that my team is not only the best place to work, but I want everybody to join me because that’s where we’re going to have fun and make a difference.

Anne Bibb 13:28
So a lot of organizations right now are looking at cost cutting measures in order to come in on time and on budget. And part of how they’re doing that is utilizing contractors, or outsourcing. And that’s absolutely fine. How do you determine which roles can be utilized for contracting and outsourcing?

Teena Piccione 13:57
Yeah, great question. A lot of times when you look at the contracting it is, do they have the core strain to be able to do development, because a lot of times coding is one that you can outsource. When you look at the project management or product management of it. That usually is best retained internally, from my perspective, because when you think about it, they’re going to know all the company values, what the company is trying to do when the release dates are, how to be able to go in and make sure it hits the release schedule to be done in enough time with all of the different capacity issues and to release management schedules. When you look at a lot of the developers that absolutely you can outsource some of the development some needs to stay in house if it’s proprietary. So all those decisions have to be made along the way and testing. Can it be tested externally? And do you have a problem if a contractor is going to be testing it Again, it goes back to that privacy, security, how it’s been viewed and looked at. And I’ve used contractors, my entire career at every single position, I think they do play a very relevant role to be able to getting products out, and to be able to augment in a staff when such cost cutting measures are underway.

Anne Bibb 15:21
What we were talking about earlier on the product side, there’s a lot of the Chatbot question and AI and AI is really walking the line right now, so many, you know, there’s this group I, our second episode with, with Liz from high operator, and we had the conversation about where AI and automation are going. And some people are just terrified at what is happening, some people are thrilled and so excited. Where are you on the spectrum of AI?

Teena Piccione 15:59
So I’ll give you a couple of thoughts. And, you know, I’ve worked on AI at at&t, I’ve worked on it at Fidelity Investments, RTI, and now at Google. And if you think about it, and this was back big data in 2012, let’s go back a bit. We’ll go for history for a minute. People were saying even back then, is it creepy or exciting? And think about it in context of now. So I’m gonna get a relevant example. Everybody out there is going to be shaking their heads going, Oh, yeah. So when you pull up to target and you walk in, and your little target app comes out and says, Your target circle gives you $40 of rewards. Everybody is all in and thrilled. They’re like, yes, it knows I’m here, I’m getting discounts, everything is all fantastic. But what happens if you’re driving past target, to get to the store on the other side? And that phone goes off and says, We’re glad you’re here and target, then you think, Man, that is creepy? They know where I’m at? They’re tracking me? What is wrong with these people? So is it helpful? Or is it hurtful? That’s really how that question comes to be. If you think about it, when you go into a store, it’s very helpful. If you pass by a store and it goes off, it becomes creepy. And I think that’s the fine line that we walk as we continuously are looking at AI from an effortless perspective on how do we make our lives easy and effortless, meaning I don’t have to think of passwords, they just automatically can pop up because I have a minute password keeper are, I don’t have to worry about when I go into a store and have all the coupons that we use to clip, I can just clip them all ahead of time. And they know by my phone number, everything that’s needed. So it becomes effortless, it becomes creepy. When you think about is that thing listening? Is it watching? What’s it doing? What does it do with the data? And I think that’s where it becomes what are the privacy policies? What is the intent of the app that you’re utilizing? What’s the intent? What’s been put out in the marketplace?

Anne Bibb 18:24
And so there’s a couple things I want to get clarity on here for a couple of people because you’re talking about. And I want to clarify the difference between monitoring and artificial intelligence? Correct? Because I think that the reason that people find it creepy, what you’re explaining is I was driving by so it’s watching me and I feel like Big Brother is monitoring me. So because it knew where I was. So is that monitoring, but versus what you just said about like the coupon thing. It’s knows what I constantly use. So it’s aggregating data and predicting what I’m going to do. Like, what, what is it? Is it monitoring? Or is it what is it doing?

Teena Piccione 19:07
I’ll give you both. So when you think about it, it’s geofencing. So each store geofences. And as you walk into a store, it can geofence if you have accepted the privacy policy for that store, that you give them the right to be able to as you enter in their geofence, meaning the perimeter around the store that they have with their Wi Fi, that you’re giving them that permission. That’s why it comes so intent on what is the permission. What are you authorizing a company to do? What are you authorizing the permission to track? Have you given permission to maps to monitor your location? Are you giving permission the lives 360 to look at where your family is, have you given permission Then for that to occur, it all goes back to privacy policies. It all goes back to are you opted in? To do this? You know, I must admit, people used to send me these all the time, because I used to say, did you really read your privacy policy? And everybody’s like, No, it was 30 pages. It was 30 pages. But in that 30 pages told you exactly what they would be doing. So you can’t just turn around and be mad at the company, if you didn’t take the time to read those 30 pages. And I think that’s where any company and every company should have a more simplistic privacy policy, that’s probably shorter, easier to consume, to where we can all look at it and say, Oh, I understand here’s what they’re going to do weird when I think that would make it a little easier for all of us.

Anne Bibb 20:58
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, No, it’s 30 pages. Like we just click click, click, yes, fine. Accept Terms and Conditions don’t even open it, it’s just going through. Like it has become just automatic for people at this point, to just accept terms and conditions, they don’t even read them.

Teena Piccione 21:24
And now as you look at all of the privacy policies, and all the new policies coming out of Europe, that’s going to hit the US. It is now forcing companies to say we’re going to put that out there in clear terms to make sure you understand what we’re doing with your data, what we’re doing with any of the information they’re giving us and where it is. But we as consumers, we also have to read it. We also have to agree to it or not agree to it, we also have to say, check the box. Yes, you can track me across all the different apps or all the different things are nope, not going to happen. Thank you. So that becomes an onus on the consumer that we’ve never had in the past, right? I mean, think about it, we went from telephones that were hardwired in to we go to mobile devices, which aren’t that old, by the way. And then we turn around to all of the devices that makes our lives more effortless, whether you’ve got a watch on your arm, the Fitbit, exercise trackers, then you want to share your information with your friends, there’s another privacy policy for that. So as you go, it just gets more complicated and complex. I would love to see it a lot simpler to be honest. Because I think consumers would be much more aware.

Anne Bibb 22:46
You know, it’s funny, you say it’s not that old. I actually remember so many movies from the 80s and 90s, where we’ve got these big old, clunky mobile phones that you have to pull the antenna. Did those antennas actually even do anything? I mean, I

Teena Piccione 23:02
you know, I think there are times when I had broken mine, and they still work just fine. Just

Anne Bibb 23:08
I remember when I was a little little girl, and my dad had one of those mobile phones in the car. Oh, yeah, it was plugged into the car. In like through the

Anne Bibb 23:23
through the what was the

Teena Piccione 23:25
console in the middle, right to new? Through? Oh, yeah, no. And those were, I mean, that was fancy.

Anne Bibb 23:36
And then, oh, you’ve got mail, taking the phone and going and hiding in the closet,

Teena Piccione 23:41
right? And you’d all listen for that. Right? I mean, you’d listen for the noise when it would connect. And you would be like, This is so exciting. We’re connecting so and party lines. Oh, absolutely. All have that. And if you think of where we come from, to now become almost gone back to the party lines. If you think about it in a very weird way. Yeah. We all want to be connected, right? You want to be connected with everything and everybody

Anne Bibb 24:09
hates it. Like what’s that new App that everybody can jump on? It’s kind of like a party line that everybody talks to each other. That’s, you know what, you’re right. That is so odd.

Teena Piccione 24:24
We’ve gone back that’s why I love history. It repeats itself in some different form, or flavor no matter what you do. That is very funny. So and we think about even you know, like 360 It’s an app that can track members of your household, our friends and tell them when they leave and go somewhere. I mean, how odd is that? Right? Are you know Fitbit are even the Apple Watch. It can then help you and tell everybody else have you closed your little rings or not? And they can send little you know, remind Just go close your rings. I don’t want anybody to know if I’ve exercised or not. I mean, I’m just putting it out there. If I have time to do it, I am well blessed. But I don’t need anybody reminded me of what I haven’t done.

Anne Bibb 25:12
All right, I don’t need I don’t need anyone to know if I’ve gotten up out of this chair today or not. I’m just telling you right now, I have not.

Teena Piccione 25:22
But I think that’s where, you know, when you look at it, again, it goes from the past. And we’re repeating itself. And again, it’s helpful at times. And then other times we think, wow, that’s kind of creepy.

Anne Bibb 25:34
You know, and when people are getting scared of what AI should do, the way that I’ve looked at it is it’s, it’s there to make things easier and effortless, right? It’s, it’s supposed to be taking away, let’s use the coupon example, right? I don’t want to go look, and aggregate all of the things that I usually get, I actually like it whenever I get that little Kroger notification that a specific coupon is available, because they know that that is what I buy.

Teena Piccione 26:14
Exactly. I mean, you know, it used to be in the past, you’d wait on the Sunday paper, go through all the coupons, and then you lose half of them or they expire. Now it makes it effortless. And even the grocery list, if you think about it, if you go to Chick fil A, you can click past orders. And just order like that same with Starbucks, same with all of these are making it effortless from an AI technology perspective. And we’d love to consume them. And that’s why I said that’s when it’s helpful. And then other times, we have to work to make sure it’s not too creepy, and get that privacy policy a little easier for people to consume to understand what they’re giving up and what they’re getting access to.

Anne Bibb 26:56
Yeah, and I think that that’s, that’s the hard part, that and that, and letting everybody know, all of the things that they have accepted in the past, like, what I would love just a singular place to be able to go and say, I know all of these apps have access to my camera. And all of these acts have access to this. And can I just mass an unsubscribe? Right?

Teena Piccione 27:25
I mean, wouldn’t that be great. And instead, if you hit unsubscribe, you must have to do it 500 times, and then you’re still getting notifications because they changed the URL it’s coming from.

Anne Bibb 27:35
Exactly. So going a little bit in a different area. We’ve mentioned a few times Fidelity Investment at GE, Google, you’ve just been all over the place. And I love that for you. And I love that for our our viewers, because there are so many people right now that are considering pivoting their complete career journey. And so I would love for you to share a little bit about how you went from, I actually think it even started out a little bit in a different area. And explain to everybody kind of what happened and how you’ve taken this windy road, and maybe even give a little advice to some people.

Teena Piccione 28:28
Absolutely. One thing I always say you have to keep inventing and staying on the cutting edge. So when you look at it, this is where my fun start. So I actually started singing with the Atlanta Ballet and the Robert Chuck around sing at Disney and realize that I couldn’t afford what I liked based on the money I was making. And so pivoted the career because my neighbor said at the time, hey, I’m trying to figure out the software and I’m trying to write a manual for our company, can you help me, I would love to getting in there and understanding what was wrong with the software and then helping her code it to actually be correct. And so that started me in a different complete trajectory of what I love doing and how to do it and turn that into an 18 year journey at a TNT which was fascinating and fun, culminated in the Big Data Center of Excellence. Every two years and AT and T I switched roles. My entire career has been about constant learning, constant pivoting and constantly ensuring I was one step ahead of everyone else. And on that journey, what did I need to do to keep that curious learning as part of my framework of everything I do. When I pivoted to Fidelity Investments, it was again very strategic. I wanted a role in the financial services. I wanted to be able to learn and understand that sector. When I went into RTI International, it’s a nonprofit. And wanted to understand what it was like working with the federal government, whether it was like working with USAID what it was like working in 73 countries? How did that work? And how to get those teams together? And even at Google, how do you strategically take all the learnings and be able to apply them to an entirely different career at Google? When I went into sales, I had not done sales in the past from the purest sense. So how do you make sure that you’re articulating and being able to utilize every past journey you’ve had to making sure that it’s completing where you are, and you’re succeeding, and exceeding every expectation, part of its learning, I go back every six months and go get nanodegrees. I want to know more than everybody around me and make sure everything I’m learning is cutting edge. I go back to colleges to speak, and I go back to colleges to learn, I want to know what everybody is studying and why they’re studying it. And then when you look at it, you’re creating your path. How do you look at what you want to do, and make a career out of it? So taking all your past skills? How do you articulate that into the current position in front of you. It’s an art, but it’s worth every moment of it. And it takes time and practice. And I think we far too often put ourselves last. I mean, when’s the last time anybody updated the resume, it should be updated every week, you should be interviewing inside and outside your company every year, keep up those interviewing skills, you never know when your dream job is going to dump in your lap, and you better be ready to interview for it. So I think is, even in this crazy time, or lots of companies have done layoffs, and people have had to make pivots and life changes and life choices and career changes, keeping up with what’s relevant, what’s next on the horizon, and ensuring you have the education background and skills that’s going to put you at the forefront no matter what the job description or anything else is.

Anne Bibb 32:09
I love that. So Tina, how, actually let me start with why would somebody want to reach out to you? And how would they reach out to you?

Teena Piccione 32:20
Great questions, ping me through LinkedIn. I love that. And I do answer everybody’s emails, and maybe on the weekends, if I get really busy during the week, or an odd hours, don’t expect that you have to answer me back at two in the morning if I happen to be up answering all of my LinkedIn at once. So that’s one way. And I welcome the opportunity. I mean, I take on about 30 mentor -uh, people that I mentor a year. I also like I said, go to colleges. So I may call you. If I’m driving to an event or coming home from an event. I fit people in all the way along the way. Just because I think I’m passionate and purposeful and encouraging others because I want to make sure the world is a better place. And if I’m not out there helping influence that. Nobody else won’t do it. So reach out to me anytime I’ll get back to you and figure out how we can have a quick connection and what’s next on your journey.

Anne Bibb 33:20
I you know what, if anybody is embracing the unexpected journey, like Tina absolutely does, she lives it, she embraces it, she lives it. I am so grateful that you joined today’s.

Teena Piccione 33:34
This is, like I said been the exact most fun I’ve had and getting to know you and your unexpected journey. It’s just a blessing. So I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity and the fun I’ve had.

Anne Bibb 33:49
Thank you. And thank you for joining us as well. We look forward to seeing everybody again next week. As we wrap the episode up, we would like to take this time to thank you for joining us this week on unexpected journey. Our guest information will be linked in the episode description along with a link to our company website, remote evolution.com and our hosts website and bibb.com. Please don’t forget to like subscribe and share on your favorite podcast app and on our YouTube channel so that you never miss an episode and we can continue to bring them to you. Let us know your thoughts on what we discussed in the comment section. And once again, thank you for joining us. We hope to see you again next week for another episode of unexpected journey.


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