Skip to content
All posts

3 Interesting Learnings From the Texas Water Development Board

Let’s jump into this week’s 3 Interesting Learnings from Joe's conversation with Darrell Tompkins, CIO, Texas Water Development Board.

1. The 3 P's of an Effective Team: People, Product, Profit 

When we talk about the effectiveness of our teams, we often think first about who we have assembled to develop and implement various services for our citizens. But can the metric be as simple as: Have we surprised and delighted our customers in such a way that they attribute happiness to the services, products and agencies we represent?

Darrell thinks so:

In the IT profession years ago, the attitude was, ‘You need us, we don’t need you.’ Truly excellent customer service is anticipating what the customer wants, and providing it without them ever having to ask for it. [2:50]

RelatedLeading Teams Toward Success Using People, Products, and Profits

Below is the summary if you’re interested in reading on:

This article lays out the basic principles of developing lifetime value, and why people must always go first before product and profit to build long-term success.

2. Rethinking Accountability: How to Re-Engineer Performance Management 

Does your agency still use a grading system to communicate performance metrics? If your team is anything like those included in a recent Gallup report, then only 20% of your employees feel “their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.”

As the workforce changes, have you found that traditional performance management systems are also being disrupted? What methods are you trying out to improve your organization? How do you think about the intersection of performance management and workforce challenges?

Throughout the podcast, Darrell identifies critical differences between correcting mistakes vs. adjusting attitudes within a team and how modeling expectations goes a long way in re-engineering a trusting and productive team.

You’ve got to identify and establish what you want your culture to be, and then you better be living and breathing it 110% of the time. You can’t get lazy, because it takes a good while to get that culture established that you want, but it doesn’t take very long to lose it. [12:45] 

RelatedIt’s Time to Overhaul Our Understanding of Accountability by Forbes

3. Win the Balancing Act Between Likability and Growth 

It’s a given that no one wants to work with someone who only points out the negative and beats down the team all day. When mistakes are made, what is your style of addressing them? Do you inspire your team through mistakes that will inevitably be made? Do you turn a blind eye to help balance your relational likability? Darrell shared his experiences with learning about the value of tone and timing to resolve issues in a way that your team not only understands you’re on their side but hypes them up to try a different solution:

You still have to have that conversation, you don’t just turn a blind eye to it. It’s a positive, motivational conversation, more of a “C’mon, guys- we’re better than this!” You’re still addressing it, but you’re doing it in the right way; the attitude is there, the effort is there, but a mistake happened- ok, what do we do to make sure that same mistake doesn’t happen again? [13:50]

I recently took a mini-course in understanding communication strategies through DISC personality profile types- can you guess which letter I am most like in how I communicate and process communication? :)

What I found most applicable was not the part about how I process things, but in reading over examples given about how all 4 personality profiles need different key pieces of information delivered in different manners to confidently communicate with one another and go about solving any given problem.

For example, my wife likes to tee up the details surrounding any given issue, while I have more of a bullet point/ jump-in-and-figure-it-out communication process. After taking the test, she knows I appreciate getting straight to the point when chatting with me, and then filling in the details if I ask. And I now am more aware that when I ask her where she wants to go for dinner, if she responds with “I don’t mind-” that is actually a decision she’s communicating to me- in that moment she actually doesn’t mind where we go.

How can identifying how different people on your team process information positively impact how your team relates to one another while working together toward a common goal?

If you’re interested in the exact DISC Assessment communication style, I’ve hyperlinked to the Dave Ramsey URL here.

Be sure to check out the full episode here:

Interview with Darrell Tompkins, CIO, Texas Water Development Board


on a personal note by joe toste:

It’s a sad week. My mom passed away from stage four colorectal cancer on Tuesday night. In conversations with friends and folks I meet on the road, it seems like cancer touches families everywhere.

One encouragement from my own tears and thoughts comes from Frederick Buechner’s book, Listening to Your Life (bold emphasize my own):

Listen to your life. All moments are key moments. I discovered that if you really keep your eye peeled to it and your ears open, if you really pay attention to it, even such a limited and limiting life as the one I was living on Rupert Mountain opened up onto extraordinary vistas. Taking your children to school and kissing your wife goodbye. Eating lunch with a friend. Trying to do a decent day's work. Hearing the rain patter against the window. There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not to recognize him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly. . . . If I were called upon to state in a few words the essence of everything I was trying to say both as a novelist and as a preacher, it would be something like this: 

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

Final days at Disneyland w/ my mom & sister

Love you. Thank you for the love and life you brought to this world.

2023 Live Podcast Tours

Orlando Live Podcast Tour (NCAA 1st Round)

Saturday, March 18th from 7am - 3pm EST

Learn more


Houston Live Podcast Tour (NCAA Final Four)

Wednesday, March 29th - All Day
Learn more