Karen Tiede

The oldest child of a Marine Corps family, I lived in Germany, Quantico, England, South Africa, the Soviet Union, and Camp Lejeune before college. I bring 15+ years of corporate process design and improvement experience to my work with Red Tuxedo, a small business consulting practice. In the corporate world, I studied and practiced change management, training design and delivery, and quantitative evaluation of productivity and improvements.  Before writing about hiring, I wrote extensively about how to design and create massive software projects.

I have a particular gift for making sense out of complicated problems. Previous projects include:

  • Analyzing unstructured information about the staffing and volume of a major city’s parking ticket administration to develop a clear map of the data and personnel flow in the system, including an outline of the technology needed to fully automate the department. Because the complete system was estimated to cost $20 million, the work saved the department the $5 million originally budgeted and prevented the severe cost over-runs that would have been inevitable, had the contract been awarded based on the preliminary understanding of the magnitude of the work.
  • Arranging a year’s worth of a chatlist’s discussions into an indexed and searchable paper reference book that could be carried into dusty, cold and damp environments not safe for PCs.
  • Sorting and editing several years of help desk queries and answers into a wiki that was available for use by all corporate employees, any time of day. Being able to look up their own answers, instead of waiting for a reply from a help desk operating in US business hours, allowed employees around the world to solve problems and get back to productive work during their work day, rather than waiting for an answer that could be delayed by 12 or 14 hours.

Over the course of her corporate career, I studied how teams completed projects, documenting their processes, lessons learned and improvement suggestions, and worked with the global process improvement community to standardize and share results. I have also worked with artists, helping them to understand the components of their art and how individual elements can be optimized, contributing to more creativity.

Former co-workers have said,

  • Karen is able to balance what makes sense, with what needs to be done. I value her opinion and insight, which she is not shy about sharing. Karen does a good job of communicating ideas.
  • Karen’s strengths are in problem identification and follow through to resolution. She is able to work through large amounts of information (written and verbal) from many sources to identify issues and then works well with those affected to reach appropriate decisions.
  • Karen is an excellent communicator. She is able to grasp unique situations and coach people in the appropriate behaviors. She can empathize with most situations and work through the issues to get to the win-win. She has amazing patience.

Two business colleagues shared this reaction to meeting me:
“She’s sharp!” one said.
“No, she’s blunt!” the other replied.
They’re both right. There’s a place where those two words mean the same thing:
Working at the intersection

I was graduated from Duke University (chemistry and Russian) and have a masters in Landscape Design from the Conway School of Landscape Design in Conway, MA. I live in Moncure, NC, not far from the Jordan Lake dam. I am an exhibiting member of the Chatham Artists Guild and a member of the Team Nimbus community, a small business support center in Raleigh, NC.

Assessment Results

StrengthsFinder themes are:

  • Maximizer: transforming good systems into excellent systems
  • Strategic: seeing patterns and pathways where some people see only complexity
  • Input: collect information, strong need to understand information storage and retrieval systems
  • Intellection: like thinking
  • Command: able to take a stance and ask people to move in a certain direction
  • Empathy: ability to understand and hear unvoiced questions
    (Command and Empathy tied for fifth place on two separate assessments.)