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Stop Interrupting People

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by Joshua Kerievsky, founder and CEO of Industrial Logic, and author of “Refactoring to Patterns” and “Joy of Agility

While I was sitting in a meeting in the boardroom of a fast-growing company, I was pained to hear someone constantly interrupt somebody else. The person doing the interrupting was a male executive and the person being interrupted was a female director. After apparently tiring of being interrupted by her colleague, the woman remained quiet for the remainder of the meeting.

After the meeting, I asked her privately about being interrupted by the executive. She smiled and said, “Oh, yes, that happens all the time around here.”

Recently, a female colleague of mine interviewed a male candidate. He man-terrupted her so frequently during the interview that she decided to tally the number of interruptions. Over the course of thirty minutes, he interrupted her ten times! Now, we know that lags in internet connections can sometimes account for interruptions, but ten interruptions during one thirty-minute Zoom call is hard to reconcile. Needless to say, we didn’t hire this individual.

Interrupting women is the norm in the business world, and it’s a disgrace. Women who are routinely interrupted eventually remain silent, and silence is deadly when it comes to fixing problems, adding value, and innovating. A tremendous amount of value is lost when people are constantly interrupted. And it leads to churn, as those people eventually seek new employment.

 

*Excerpted from “Joy of Agility: How to Solve Problems and Succeed Sooner” copyright © 2023 by Joshua Kerievsky. Reprinted with permission from Matt Holt Books, an imprint of BenBella Books, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Joshua Kerievsky

Joshua Kerievsky is founder and CEO of Industrial Logic, one of the oldest agile consultancies in the world. Since 1996, Joshua and his global team of experts have helped people across many industries leverage modern management and development methods. Joshua is an international speaker, and author of bestselling and award-winning book “Refactoring to Patterns“, as well as his forthcoming book, “Joy of Agility“.