Kristie Grinnell, SVP and CIO of DXC Technology, is an award-winning global executive known for her success in leading large-scale strategic transformations while remaining a calm, decisive, and supportive presence for her team, even when the heat is on. She has that unique ability \u2014 something we see among the top CIOs and digital leaders \u2014 to balance high emotional intelligence (EQ) and hard business results.\n\nFor Grinnell, the two are inextricably linked. As she told me in a recent episode of the Tech Whisperers podcast, \u201cPeople are what drive everything \u2014 every decision that we make. You can\u2019t drive transformation without people.\u201d During that episode, she opened up her leadership playbook and explored how she leads with H.E.A.R.T.: Humility, Empathy, Adaptability, Resiliency, Transparency.\n\nGrinnell\u2019s career trajectory shows just how essential these five attributes have become for today\u2019s high-performing IT leaders. Technical expertise may open the door in our profession, but successful technology executives know how to bring out the best in everyone around them by making it safe for them to push outside their comfort zones and achieve more than they even thought possible. As one of Grinnell\u2019s recently promoted direct reports told me, \u201cKristie pulls it out of you and inspires you. I\u2019ve learned so much from her.\u201d\n\nGrinnell and I spent some more time after the podcast talking about what she\u2019s doing to lead a culture of transformation at DXC and how emerging IT leaders can cultivate a growth mindset. What follows is that conversation, edited for length and clarity.\n\nDan Roberts: What does \u201cleading with values\u201d mean to you, and how do you make your values more than just words on a poster?\n\nKristie Grinnell: Leading with values, that is my moral compass and my decision compass in everything I do. And that\u2019s why I always have to find a company that is aligned. My personal values and my corporate values have to be aligned or I\u2019m just not going to be successful there.\n\nComing into DXC, we have very clear set of values. [President and CEO] Mike Salvino sends all of us on the leadership team a card that has our values on it, and I use it in every meeting that I have with the team. It\u2019s the first slide that we show to remind people that it\u2019s not about what you do, it\u2019s about how you do it, how you show up, how you have a conversation. How you deliver is just as important as what you deliver. And that is something that I try to instill every day in my team.\n\nValues need to be reinforced and sustained when you are trying to change culture. How do get people engaged and excited about it? \n\nFor me, it\u2019s about being even more intentional to show that I\u2019m leading with these values and that it\u2019s not just words on paper. What actions and what behaviors can I drive?\n\nWe\u2019re in the middle of culture week at DXC, and we\u2019ve given everyone a \u201cchange the culture\u201d placemat, which asks things like, \u2018Do you have a bias for action to move us forward to deliver?\u2019 \u2018Do you inspire your colleagues?\u2019 The one that\u2019s right in the middle is so important to me. It\u2019s a little smiley face, and next to it says, \u2018Laugh\/smile.\u2019 We have to be able to have some fun in the way that we work. We\u2019re all people, we work way too long, and I want to work at a place where I enjoy working with the people that I do, where I\u2019m having fun working while I\u2019m adding value.\n\nWe\u2019re doing some great things as part of culture week. My organizational change and communications leader, Natasa Vanderveen, pulled together an amazing program that we started yesterday, Gaming with Grinnell. For an hour at the beginning of the day, we invited everyone on my team to play games. They had to guess pixelated images. They had to guess a phrase from emojis. We did a little scavenger hunt. It just brought people together to laugh and smile and get to know each other. We got to learn about people\u2019s families. We got to learn about their vacations. We got to learn about some of their favorite things. It just helps you connect in a different way.\n\nWhen people are dealing with change, fight-or-flight often kicks in. How do you build that muscle for change in your team, knowing there will be resistance? \n\nWhen I came in and I did my listening tour over the first couple of months, I asked employees if they knew what transformation journey we were on, and most of them couldn\u2019t answer that question. Yet our CEO has taken pains to deliver this very clear transformation journey that we\u2019re on. He\u2019s said, \u2018Here are the five steps we need to take to do this, we\u2019re going to build a foundation and then we\u2019re going to grow, and then we\u2019re going to accelerate.\u2019 He talks about it in our earnings calls, in investor days, and in our town halls. He\u2019ll pop into meetings and talk about it there.\n\nHaving that as a guide and a roadmap for all of us \u2014 it\u2019s pretty clear if you pay attention. So, we\u2019re taking the five steps and we\u2019re showing them at every meeting. We have five goals that are completely aligned to each one of those steps, and we made sure that every single employee in IT knows, this is what you\u2019re doing. This is how you are adding value to each one of these steps. Because if they can\u2019t make that connection, then they\u2019re not going to know if what they\u2019re doing is driving value or not.\n\nSo, we have values, a transformation journey guide, and goals that every person has now said, \u2018This is what I\u2019m going to do this year to add value, to drive this transformation journey.\u2019 We bring it up in every meeting. We review it in performance reviews. We make sure that we\u2019re going to deliver status on that to show that we\u2019re making progress.\n\nThese are the little things that you can do to build that muscle memory, so it\u2019s not like I\u2019m doing IT for IT\u2019s sake; I\u2019m doing IT to drive this amazing transformation journey for DXC.\n\nYou are very intentional when it comes to developing your people. Can you talk about your goal around \u201cproactivity with a growth mindset\u201d? \n\nEverything we do should be thinking about the growth of DXC. Everybody has to put that growth mindset on of, am I doing something that\u2019s going to enable the next thing \u2014 whether it\u2019s growing organically in our current customer base, growing a new product offering, or going into a new customer market \u2014 are we putting those building blocks in place to get there?\n\nSo you always have to think, am I giving people the tools to do their job, and then, am I giving people the ability to grow DXC in the way that we want to grow?\n\nIf we can get people thinking that way across the organization, then the sky is the limit, because we are a people-based organization. We don\u2019t make products and widgets. We have really smart people who can do amazing things. We just need to get them all in the boat, rowing in the same direction.\n\nHow do you encourage up-and-coming IT leaders to become growth-oriented, strategic anticipators rather than order takers?\n\nOne thing that we do is have people think about it as if this were your own business. Is this the decision that you would make? If you have one dollar, would you spend it on this technology?\n\nWe need to recognize that we have that role, that power in IT. We should all be thinking that this is our ability to grow the business. Where am I going to put that dollar to get the most bang for my buck? I\u2019m not just over here in IT and have to deliver to my budget. If I can give some of that back to go invest in something else, and it\u2019s going make us grow, look what value IT just added.\n\nOr I might need to invest it in IT because that\u2019s going to give us a new capability that helps us grow in a different way. So really thinking about, how do I run IT as a business and how do I think about that return on investment of every single dollar we spend is important.\n\nTo grow, you often have to go outside your comfort zone. You like to say, \u201cIn the uncomfortable we learn the most.\u201d How do you push through those uncomfortable moments?\n\nI learned this through my own experience. I was at a company where I didn\u2019t align with the values, and I quit. I have never resigned from a position without having another role, and I was super nervous, but I bet on myself. The former CIO that I had worked for told me there was a CIO role opening and that I should apply for it. I thought, I\u2019m not going to apply for a CIO role! Are you crazy? No way. And he said, \u2018You can do this. Put your name in the hat.\u2019 So I said, \u2018I\u2019ll do it for you, but I don\u2019t know that I want this. I don\u2019t know that I can do it.\u2019\n\nI went through the whole interview process. I got the job. Even up until that first day, that first month, I thought, what am I doing here? I\u2019m going to fail.\n\nAnd then, I started calling on my mentors. I talked to my husband about it. I said, I think I bit off more than I can chew. There are some big problems here. And he said, \u2018You can do it. Trust your gut.\u2019\n\nSo I trusted my gut and put this plan in place. I started asking people, listening about what we needed. And I started to say, \u2018I think maybe we could do this. I think maybe we could do that.\u2019 The more uncomfortable I got, the bigger the problems I saw, the more I had to dig deep and really say, \u2018What\u2019s your gut telling you?\u2019\n\nListening to everybody around me \u2014 mentors, team members, other leaders \u2014 I bet on myself again, and I put this plan in place, and then we had a successful transformation from there on out. But it\u2019s because I was uncomfortable that I had to dig deep. I didn\u2019t even know what was in me. And now I\u2019m in another CIO role for a Fortune 200 company leading a large-scale transformation again, and I\u2019m like, I\u2019ve got this.\n\nTo hear more from Grinnell, tune in to our Tech Whisperers podcast conversation for an in-depth look at how she\u2019s applying each of the H.E.A.R.T. leadership practices.