Spousal Support?

June 8, 2021

I’ve noticed an interesting new trend in the last few weeks: the spouses of members are urging them to reach out to CG Councils for help.

This potentially solves a very difficult problem that I’ve written about:

              When we need help the most, we are least likely to ask.

It’s frustrating, but knowing that you should ask for help when you most need it, does nothing to actually help you in that moment. To make matters worse, when we need help the most, we are typically unsure about our question – there are often multiple questions and conflicting feelings, which only decreases our already low willingness to ask.

For example, one member, I will call her Melanie, is going through some really tough challenges at work. Her old boss, the former CEO, demoted her, then was he himself fired, and now Melanie is onboarding a new CEO, who frankly may not know what they’re doing. Further, there is real dissension on the Board. 

Melanie didn’t know her question and, as per above, wasn’t sure what she wanted to do – i.e., if she should ask for help to stay, start preparing to leave, or what. It seemed easier to do nothing and just hope things would get better.

But, fortunately she had previously told her husband Bill about CG Councils – including that we urge members to ask for help even when they do not know their question. And so Bill urged her to reach out to me for help last week.

I told my husband at dinner about the latest troubles, and he immediately said that it’s time to ask for help and call Phil.

Her immediate response was “No”, but then she thought about it and said, “Ok, you are right. I’ll call CG Councils for help.”

That is great spousal support. 

Just in the last week, several others have reached out with similar stories.

Denean, a VP of Product, had built a great product team over the last year and made a huge impact, but last Friday his CEO wrote to him and told him he was doing a bad job. This CEO has had a habit of sending mail bombs like this. But still Denean was humiliated, angry, embarrassed, and certainly did not want to reach out for help. Most of us don’t when in Denean’s shoes.

He did, however, tell his husband, Adam, about what had happened.

And like Bill with Melanie, Adam urged Denean to call me. And like Melanie, Denean didn’t want to do that at first, but Bill was firm and reminded Denean of the importance of asking for help when it’s most needed.

On Monday, I received a text from Denean asking if we could talk.

W h a t  i s  h a p p e n n i n g ?

Can you see me jumping for joy over here?

We now have at least *one* solution to this intractable problem of not asking for help when it’s most needed.

So, let’s build this solution into your CG Councils membership. 

Here’s my plan.

All members should join the “spousal support program” — i.e., tell your spouses and partners about CG Councils and our ethic of asking for help, and then ask them to urge you to reach out for help when you really need it (and are least likely to ask). 

Of course, this new program would also benefit your spouses and partners themselves – because often just the act of asking for help brings relief. And if your stress levels go down, then so will theirs.

And that indeed would be true spousal support.


P.S. Don’t miss the upcoming second session with the fabulous Cy Wakeman. Click on the link below to send an email to Britany to register.

Upcoming Talks

  • No EgoPart 2 – Fri, June 11 @1pm ET  
    Cy Wakeman, Best-selling Author and CEO
    Talk Type: Leadership Development, Culture
    Audience/Roles: All Roles

    Best-selling author of No Ego and other books, Cy joined us in April for a fun, enlightening, and provocative session with live case studies from members. 

    Members loved it so much that they asked for more. 

    So, come to this follow-up session with your “burning questions” about drama in your workplace. 

    What do we mean by “drama”? 

    We’re talking specifically about drama that keeps you up at night, that derails teams, and businesses. Hard emails. Bad meetings. Difficult relationships. 

    Wakeman’s philosophy offers a new lens through which employees and executives alike, can sharpen their focus on personal accountability, and ditch the drama.

    This will be an action-oriented session, geared towards helping members with their org “drama” questions. Come with your questions. Cy will answer live. We’ll get to as many as we can in the hour. 

    Note: No recording…Given the sensitivity of many of the questions, it will not be recorded. You’ve got to be live with us.
  • Clubhouse and the Audio Revolution – Wed, June 23 @3pm ET
    Jonathan Ehrlich, Partner, Foundation Capital
    Talk Type: In the Moment
    Audience/Roles: All Roles
     Two things to know about Jonathan Ehrlich:
    1) he co-led the seed round in Clubhouse and was thus the first venture capitalist to spot its potential;
    2) he’s a Councils alum with an interesting career arc.Join us for an informal conversation with Jonathan about Clubhouse, the future of audio, and Jonathan’s career journey from a mostly offline retailer in Canada to relocating to Silicon Valley and reinventing himself.—
    —Jonathan Ehrlich is a Partner at Foundation Capital who invests in early early-stage consumer, marketplace, commerce, and SaaS startups and technologies. He joined Foundation Capital in 2013 as a partner after spending nine months with the firm as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Before joining Foundation Capital, Jonathan spent 17 years as an operator during which he founded three companies, built a $100M+ revenue business, and ran marketing for Facebook. He is the first institutional investor in Clubhouse and currently sits on the board of Bulletin and Chord. His Foundation and personal investments include Shelf Engine, Mainstreet, Truepill, Hooked, WayUp, League, Front, and Flexport. When not working, he can be found on his bike or chasing his four kids around.

Recent Talks and Activity Recordings

  • No Ego
    Cy Wakeman, Best-selling Author and CEO
    Talk Type: Leadership Development, Culture
    Audience/Roles: All Roles
     This spring keynote was a GREAT session. Members loved it. I collected live case studies from members, which I anonymously shared with Cy to get her reaction on what was to be done. You gotta watch to see her great answers.

    Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher, global thought-leader, and New York Times best-selling author who is recognized for cultivating a counter-intuitive, reality-based approach to leadership. Backed by over 20 years of unparalleled experience, Wakeman’s philosophy offers a new lens through which employees and executives alike, can shift their attention inward, sharpen their focus on personal accountability, and uncover their natural state of innovation simply by ditching the drama.Deemed “the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace,” Wakeman has helped companies such as Google, Facebook, Viacom, Uber, NBC Universal, NASA, Pfizer, Johns Hopkins, Stanford Health Care, Keurig Dr. Pepper, AMC Theatres, White Castle, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and countless others learn to navigate our rapidly changing world using good mental processes to harness energy wasted in workplace drama and reinvest that effort into achieving profound business results.
  • JTBD in Large Distributed Environments
    Jay Haynes, Founder & CEO, thrv.com
    Talk Type: Product; Skill Builder/Practitioner
    Audience/Roles: All Roles

    Jobs To Be Done has proven to be an effective methodology for building much better holistic end-to-end products and customer experiences.

    *But* CG Council member companies with large distributed environments are finding it difficult to apply JTBD in effective ways.

    Jay Haynes, CEO of thrv, and a global expert on JTBD will come and speak to the Councils community on this specific challenge of using the methodology in large, complex technology environments.
  • Groundwork: Get Better at Making Better Products
    Vidya Dinamani and Heather Samarin, co-Authors of Groundwork
    Talk Type: Product
    Audience/Roles: All Roles

    Product leaders are all too familiar with the one to two-year period it typically takes to train and coach PMs. Product leaders hire smart people and then work with them individually, guiding them through how to think about product management, and watching them develop. Vidya Dinamani and Heather Samarin wanted a much faster way to help cultivate efficient and effective product managers that consistently create products that delight customers, regardless of the industry, the environment, and the development methodology that the team employed. They took years of experience as product executives and working with hundreds of teams as product coaches to create a framework to Get Better at Making Better Products.

    The design philosophy and methodology behind Groundwork was created to help product leaders be confident that their teams were committed to solving the right customer problems, minimizing costly rework by using individualized needs, and leveraging actionable personas in big and small product decisions. Vidya and Heather want Groundwork to help product teams have a much higher chance of success in the market—and help every product manager shine.

    Join Vidya and Heather as they share the background, principles, and methodology behind the Groundwork to help you, and your team, get better at making better products. 
  • Making the Case for Empowering Your People
    Marty Cagan, Partner, Silicon Valley Product Group
    Talk Type: Product, Leadership Development, Culture
    Audience/Roles: All Roles

    From Marty: “I have long been interested in the difference between how the best companies work, and the rest. Working with both types of organizations for so many years, there are many differences ranging from culture to process to staffing to roles to techniques. But at its core, strong product companies empower their people, and most of the rest do not. My focus over the past few years has been tackling this issue head-on, which means the product leadership. In this talk, we’ll discuss why this model consistently yields better results, and what’s necessary to transform to work like the best.”

    Marty’s Bio: Marty Cagan is the founding partner of the Silicon Valley Product Group, which he created to pursue his interests in helping others create successful products through his writing, speaking, advising and coaching. Before starting SVPG, Marty served as an executive responsible for defining and building products for some of the most successful companies in the world, including Hewlett-Packard, Netscape Communications, and eBay.As part of his work with SVPG, Marty advises tech companies of all sizes and stages, stretching far beyond Silicon Valley. Marty is the author of the industry-leading book for product teams, INSPIRED: How To Create Tech Products Customers Love, and the upcoming book EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products. Marty is an invited speaker at major conferences and top companies across the globe.
  • See talks from the last month and beyond here.​

About the Author

Phyl Terry

Phyl Terry, Founder and CEO of Collaborative Gain, Inc., launched the company’s flagship leadership program – The Councils – in 2002 with a fellow group of Internet pioneers from Amazon, Google, and others. Thousands of leaders from the Internet world have come together in the last 15 years to learn the art of asking for help and to support each other to build better, more customer-centric products, services, and companies.

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