Dealing with ambiguity with Shirin Bradfield
The Head of Growth and Self-Service at Optimal Workshop talks leadership insights, career growth, impostor syndrome, and how to manage the struggles of being in a fast-paced company.
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Nobody knows what you do. Everyone wants something.
As someone who coaches people who lead cross-functional growth teams, I get a behind-the-scenes look at both their successes and failures. One of the main causes of failure? A lack of role clarity.It’s not unusual for a growth role to lack definition. Stepping into a growth role can feel like jumping out of a plane. There’s a lot of free falling, uncertainty, and adrenaline. Sure, it’s a rush, but it's also really scary.
To make things even more interesting, you’re taking the leap solo. The people around you can’t help much because they’ve never had your role before.
Luckily for Shirin, she had the right skills to survive the jump. This is why I was so excited to chat with Shirin Bradfield, Head of Growth and Self-Service at Optimal Workshop - a New Zealand based UX research platform. Her story is one of invention and iteration. And even now, she still finds dealing with the ambiguity “one of the most fun parts of the job.”
Shirin joined OW as a growth marketer with a one-line job description: “increase our revenue.” Today, she is Head of Growth and Self Service. Clearly, a lack of role clarity didn’t hold her back.
Shirin and I covered a lot of territory, from her journey through multiple transitions at Optimal Workshop to her real-world tips for dealing with common struggles around career growth, imposter syndrome, staying grounded in a fast-moving role.
She shared some great concepts that can be applied to any growth role:
Why she doesn’t expect to feel like she’s “made it” (and that’s a good thing)
How reclaiming the things that bring you joy can help you reset and refocus
Why she sees imposter syndrome as a strength rather than a weakness
The slightly sneaky way experiments helped her expand her role
The #1 most important soft skill for folks in growth roles
The three types of work she does to impact growth
Things to Listen for:
[00:22] Introducing Shirin Bradfield and her background
[08:23] Transitioning into a new role
[17:54] Her work as Head of Growth and Self-Service
[25:54] Soft skills that are beneficial in the growth space and a role like Shirin’s
[37:50] Discussing Impostor Syndrome
[41:01] On adapting to unknowns
[42:45] On professional goals and career growth
[49:05] Resetting focus and managing fulfillment
[51:26] Connect with Shirin