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Day in the Life of a Leader with Tiffany M. DiTullio, Chief Administrative Officer at Salinas Valley Health & Blue Zones Project of Monterey

Updated: Apr 13

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In this week's article:

Meet Tiffany M. DiTullio of Salinas Valley Health and Blue Zones! Learn about Tiffany's:

“Question Behind the Question” strategy for problem-solving

🔥 How she recognizes, celebrates, and empowers her team, and

📣 The importance of leading with respect

First, a few metrics:

Time as Chief Administrative Officer at SVH: 14 years

Total management experience: 26 years

Currently managing: 34 employees

Tiffany's leadership style:

How do you get ready for the day?

I am a planner, and mom, so I pre-plan life! Lunch is prepped the night before, coffee pot loaded and ready, often breakfast to go is prepped too. I always look at my calendar for the next day so I can logistically be prepared - attire, drive time, etc. I rise early to get a workout in daily, which I consider my "me time".

How do you approach problem-solving?

I try to approach problems as opportunities, which lends me to ask thoughtful questions about the "why". A great leader I worked with shared a book, QBQ - The Question Behind the Question. This approach teaches you to approach an issue with a "what/how" mentality, versus a "why/who" mentality. Removing the blame allows people to approach with a more action seeking and solutions strategy. My colleagues would say I use, "Help me understand...." often.

What's an example of a challenge you're facing right now?

Life-work balance is a struggle for me. As a leader I want to be available to my team, which sometimes means they trump my to-do list. My role as a leader is to ensure they have the tools they need to be successful, and if I can help with that, it will be the priority. As a result, sometimes I will work longer than I should and the cycle begins...unless, I have an accountability partner. I will schedule an after work hike or meet up with family to friends to help keep me accountable to a healthy balance.

How do you motivate your team to perform well?

People who are accountable, empowered and operate with integrity work very well with me. I like to empower members of the team to take ownership, be accountable to the expectation and reinforce that it is ok to make a mistake. I recognize the small and big milestone accomplishments , and work to show them how their contribution impacts the big picture. Collectively we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and life chapters. I make myself available, as a thought partner and also like to talk things through then ask the colleague what they think the answer is - because usually, they know it! This process reinforces that they have what it takes to operate independently and be successful.

Who are your leadership role models?

I find that my leadership style is a mix of some of my favorite things from my prior leaders. My father, Mike, taught me to listen for the act of truly hearing, versus listening to respond. Bob, one of my first leaders was thoughtful with communication, he taught me how to modify my approach based on the given situation. Kim, he taught me how to empower the team and focus on the BIG picture. Adrienne taught me the value of being available and accessible to the team. Roy, my bonus dad, has taught me how to be mindful and strategic. My mom showed me the value of engaging and giving back. I am sure there are more!

What advice would you give someone new to leadership?

Find someone you respect and value, and ask them for mentorship. Ask a lot of questions, and always come from a place of curiosity (Help me understand). Most important, know (and respect) your team - make the time.

What's a particular anecdote that stands out in your career?

In my first Management role I remember saying to my dad, "I like people and people like me, how hard can it be?", speaking to how I thought I would be successful in my new role. He told me it is not about liking or being liked by people, it is about earning and giving respect. Management is about creating a culture where people want to give and do their best, where their passion aligns with the work and they feel valued. Six months later he checked in and I told him he was right - it is hard! It is also rewarding when you have a great team, and I do!

Is there someone you'd like us to feature in an upcoming edition of Day in the Life of a Leader? Contact us below and let us know!

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