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Adventures in Businessing

Adventures in Businessing (AIB) is the culmination of over 60 years in organizational leadership experience between three best friends and business partners. Discover the how working together should work.
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Oct 15, 2021

Show Notes:

  • [0:00:58] Intro | Timely Topics
    • Brief Discovering Purpose Recap
  • [00:03:03] Thoughts on Values
    • Values are guardrails.
      • "Stay between these lines."
    • Values can be deceptively easy.
    • Values force you to make tough decisions.
  • [00:05:51] The Right Number of Values?
    • What's too many?
    • What's not enough?
    • An exercise in comparing and contrasting other company's values
    • Some well intentioned core values could actually be red flags...
      • Avoid the generic and indescript.
      • Value being memorable.
    • Nailing down your core values take time, and could rightfully be a slow process.
    • "Is this a value or a purpose?"
    • Values should have specificity.
  • [00:15:47] Making Values Meaningful to Your Team
    • Using values as a motivator and empowering decision maker for the organization and projects.
    • Keep it short, sweet, and meaningful.
    • If you only have one value...that's probably your purpose, and not your value.
  • [00:20:00] How to Discover Your Values
    • Sit down, converse, write down the things that are important to the organization.
      • Don't wait till you have 20-25 people to determine your values.
    • Try putting your values in priority order.
  • [00:30:19] Closing Thoughts
    • Minimal, memorable, meaningful.

Oct 8, 2021

Show Notes:

  • [0:00:47] Intro | Timely Topics
    • Culture Recap
  • [0:03:18] Purpose...is it something you discover, or decide on?
    • Disagreements and opinions ensue!
    • What is THE why?
    • Purposes should align.
    • A manufactured purpose might not fare so well in the long run.
  • [0:12:52] The Infinite Game, The Why
    • From purpose to a just cause.
      • The just cause has to be personal and meaningful.
    • Purpose should be authentic.
  • [0:15:25] Helping Leaders & Organization Find Purpose
    • Purpose, mission, and vision are the same...or are they?
  • [0:17:17] Reviewing Purpose Statements
    • Can you match the statement to the organization?
    • *send us your purpose statements and we'll read and review them on the show!*
  • [0:20:01] You Have to Think About the Purpose of Your Customers
    • Do their purposes align with your own?
  • [0:22:44] On Starting a New Company to Solve a Problem
    • The Lululemon story.
  • [0:24:12) Your Purpose Can be as Inspiring as it Needs to be
    • Critiquing the Lululemon & Patagonia purpose statements.
    • Specificity helps!
  • [0:28:45] Final Thoughts | Takeaways
    • "Purpose statements give you permissions to say no."
    • If you don't have a defined purpose, ask your employees what it is, and work off of that.

Oct 1, 2021

Show Notes:

  • [0:00:53] Intro | Timely Topics
    • Previous Episode & Series Recap
  • [0:02:36] Bridging the Gap from Uncertainty to Culture
    • The norms and stardards, i.e. the default state of behavior in your organization.
      • When you have these figured out, you can answer the question, "What do I do when I don't know what to do?"
  • [0:04:49] "Now we're going to talk about Culture."
    • What is your company culture?
      • It's a BIG umbrella!
      • The textbook definition, the assumed, the implicit and explicit.
      • "Your culture is a combination of who you are, what you value, and how you behave."
    • Creating a great company culture.
    • You don't control all of your company culture.
      • You have leverage and input, but you can't dictate the culture.
      • It's just as much what your team brings to the table.
    • True or False: You can't know what your culture is in the early days, because people make up your culture?
      • There's a weird irony to unpack.
    • Each new hire brings something to your culture.
      • Culture fits & culture adds
      • Diversity
  • [0:13:17] The Contradiction/s of Culture?
    • Expand to do more, be more, say more.
    • What's the cultural focus?
    • Sometimes we hang on to the wrong things.
    • It's far to easy to use "culture fit" as a way to discriminate, both consciously and subconsciouslt.
      • Stop it!
  • [0:17:16] Examples of Things That Make up Your Culture
    • How do you approach work?
    • What is your stand on work/life balance?
    • How do team members interact with one another?
    • What is your management/leadership philosophy?
    • Challenge: Poll your team.
      • Ask them, "What do you think our culture is?"
    • If you have someone on your team you hope doesn't contribute to your culture...oops, too late, they already have!
  • [0:22:31] How Does Your Culture Get Conveyed to a New Hire?
    • Making sure that we convey the culture we know about to other people.
    • Don't be a smoke and mirrors company when it comes to your culture.
    • There's who you are, and who you want to be.
  • [0:25:38] Wrap-Up, Takeaways, Parting Words
    • You likely don't have one company culture.
    • Next episode: Purpose...what's yours?
      • Why are we here?
      • Why does it matter?

Sep 24, 2021

Show Notes:

  • [0:00:00] Intro | Timely Topics
    • The Uncertain Edition?
    • Recap on Uncertainty to Action & Unknown-unknowns
  • [0:02:30] How Do You Lead & Navigate Through Change?
    • Acknowledging the different types and areas of uncertainty in your business:
      • 1) The uncertainty you may feel as an owner/manager.
      • 2) The uncertainty that your team might feel from lack of clarity and/or communication.
        • "How do you handle the uncertainty you feel, and how much of that do you share with the team?"
        • "How do you ensure the team has the clarity they need?"
    • Living with chronic uncertainty can negatively impact anyone, literally rewiring our brains.
      • This kind of stress will change the way a person thinks.
      • When you convey your own uncertainty, you have to prevent simply piling on and multiplying fear.
    • Transparency is always something to aim for, but some uncertainty is better held amongst the leadership.
      • But this is usually a very small list of things.
      • Assume the best from all parties involved.
      • Transparency regarding uncertainty is always a balance.
    • Maybe don't impulsively share uncertainty.
      • Ruminate and consider it the unknown before sharing.
      • Your team will see how leadership responds to uncertainty and typically emulate that.
  • [0:09:06] You want an organization and culture where others can voice their uncertainty without repercussion or criticism.
    • Even as a leader, you may think you see everything...but you don't.
      • Ensure your culture is an open one.
      • Survey your team to determine where their uncertainties are.
        • Ask the question.
    • Adoption of change looks different for everyone.
    • Don't underestimate the impact of change on your team.
      • "People don't struggle with the change, they struggle with the transition."
        • "With all transition, there has to be a time to mourn the loss. That's what people struggle with."
        • "Organizations don't always give the appropriate time for our teams to mourn and truly transition, that's why people fear change."
        • "You as a leader have often had the time to process, whereas your team is just hit with one thing after the other in a transition."
      • Listen to the feedback for uncertainty that you may have created in announcing change or transition.
        • Always do your best to address the why.
        • Allow your team to have input in how their day-to-day may change.
          • When we have input, we're more likely to be okay and internalize it.
      • See the change from your team's perspective.
        • Intentional empathy can work wonders for your organization.
    • Have your culture and values in place ahead of change and any transition.
    • Involve the team in solutioning.
      • It makes change so much smoother and easier in the long run.
  • [0:19:54] Presenting Change
    • Consider presenting change as "here are my thoughts and suggestions, think about it, and let's discuss in a few days to a week".
      • Offer your input as flexible ideas that the team can influence and even improve upon.
      • It's a lot easier to accept something that may be possible, but not necessarily a last-minute directive or mandate.
    • Lead the conversation with the uncertainty and challenge so that everyone is immediately looking to confront this as a team.
    • Time-box your idea and solution/s.
      • Experiment.
        • Nobody mourns the loss of an experiment.
        • You have to follow through and weigh the results of the experiment.
        • Failed experiments are their own successes if we learned something.
    • Ultimately you're trying to build resilience.
      • You want a culture that is versed in experiments and can bounce back from failures with positive lessons and takeaways.
  • [0:27:37] Parting Words
    • "Business is change, there is nothing else."
      • Whether we like it or not.
      • Figuring out how best to change, and how to roll with the punches is vital.
      • Remember, how you transition through change is what matters.
      • Experiment, iterate, and move forward.
      • You're either helping your team become more resilient, or more brittle.

Sep 17, 2021

Show Notes:

  • [0:00:57] Intro | Timely Topics
    • Radio voices are a go.
    • Wear sunscreen!
    • A brief recap of the previous episode.
  • [00:03:00] Leaving Behind Analysis Paralysis
    • Punished by choice, leaving uncertainty to chance, and overconfidence
      • All of them exhibit a lack of knowledge/experience/data.
    • Gaining information when under the thumb of uncertainty.
      • Iterative action/s through uncertainty.
        • Understanding pieces at a time.
    • "Put one foot in front of the other...and soon..."
      • You can't overestimate the value of action.
    • The scientific method is your friend!
      • You make observations and you ask questions. That's the start.
        • "What does this uncertainty/opportunity afford to us as a company?"
        • "Then what?" *what's next?*
        • "So what?" *measuring worth & magnitude*
  • [00:12:20] Important Aspects of Moving from Uncertainty to Action
    • "Where is the opportunity in the uncertainty?"
      • Using the trend of distributed work culture as an example.
    • Forming a testable explanation to get you to the next stage.
    • "What are the limiters to growth?"
    • "What are the things that good organizations do continually?"
    • Financial capability can undoubtedly fuel growth, but ultimately people (and their experience/talent) are the finite resource that limits growth.
    • You HAVE to make a prediction.
      • You want to come out of your experiment with more knowledge than you had going into the hypothesis.
      • Informing the prediction.
        • Expected outcomes vs the reality.
    • Control your variables...as best as you can.
      • An example using seasonal discounts/sales.
      • Isolate individual actions.
    • Results HAVE to be repeatable.
      • Because you will have to repeat your results, likely sooner than later.
    • Moving from one experiment to another too quickly is dangerous.
      • One at a time is best if possible.
    • Iterate, and repeat the processes.
      • Insert new variables, new predictions.
    • Patience is so very important.
      • We often give up on things too quickly.
        • Stop it.
  • [00:24:50] Wrapping Up with Parting Words & Takeaways
    • Things to keep in mind:
      • A failed experiment: a hypothesis PROVEN WRONG is a SUCCESS as long as you learned a lesson!
      • Everything moves you toward success.
      • To quote Adam Savage of Mythbusters, "Failure is always an option."
        • The truth is that failure doesn't have to be negative.
      • When you're dealing with uncertainty, decisions are riskier than experiments.
        • It's ok to be uncertain, but it's also ok to be certain...as long as you're right.
          • This is why it's a lot safer to admit when you're uncertain and create experiments than it is to double down on your pride/ego with decisions that come from false certainty.
          • Commitments are dangerous in experiments.
      • Action is okay, but experimental action is the best way forward.

Sep 10, 2021

Show Notes:

  • [0:00:49] Intro | Timely Topics
    • We’re all surrounded by uncertainty in these trying times. 
    • Dealing with uncertainty in your business & your life
    • How we respond to universal uncertainty is unique to each of us. 
  • [0:05:25] Identifying Uncertainty in Your Business 
    • We wrongfully attribute uncertainty to risk. 
    • We often lack the information to reasonably define uncertainty as risk.
    • Using Slack as an example.
    • Certain people are excited by uncertanty.
    • It’s very important to be able to react to the unknown things that pop up. 
    • You can address some uncertainty simply by not being too certain of your plans. 
    • Keep an eye and ear attuned to your marketplace. 

  • [0:13:50] Everyone Handles Uncertainty Differently, and That’s Okay
    • Uncertainty may entice, excite, and compel some to action. 
    • Some of the best things can come from uncertainty and learning to act in the face of it. 
  • [0:15:35] Leadership is Not the Absence of Uncertainty
    • There are 3 Responses to Uncertainty:
      • Denial
      • Overconfidence
      • Or Analysis Paralysis
    • Huge Companies Have Crumbled Being Unready for Unknown-Unknowns
  • [0:17:30] If you don’t have any uncertainty...you may have larger problems.
    • The further you move from this moment, the greater the uncertainty.
    • The pandemic proved we were all a little too certain.
    • Knowing your values forms an archor point to combat uncertainty.
    • Your response to uncertanty will uncover things about you and your company culture.
  • [0:26:35] Parting Words
    • Remember, if you've identified it, then it's a risk, not an uncertanty.
    • When planning and identifying uncertanty, opportunity often presents itself.
      • If we're somewhat aware and prepared, we're then able to pivet more readily, and shift into the next thing we're supposed to become.
        • It's not easy to accomplish, but it's worth the investment.

Sep 3, 2021

Show Notes:

 

  • [0:00:00] Intro | Brief Recap

 

  • A Look Back on ‘Humanizing Your Team’
  • Final Part of the Series on Distributed/Remote Work

 

  • [0:02:50] Work/Life Balance vs Work/Life Integration

 

  • Work/Life Balance is a Scam”?
  • When we think about work/life balance, we tend to think of it as: 
    • “I go to work to provide for the life I want to live, and I’m trying to intentionally keep those two things separate.”
      • We argue that what we’re looking for is not necessarily “Work/Life Balance”, but rather Work/Life Integration.
  • Instead of segmenting your life into work, play, downtime, etc.-- it’s the complete package we should embrace. 
    • A huge part of this integration is catalyzed in being happy with your work and feeling fulfilled with what your work asks of you from a creative and productive standpoint.
    • This integration will naturally look different for everyone. 
    • Does your life need separation from your workplace, coworkers, and to-dos? 
      • Or is it that your work just needs to better align with your non-work activities, responsibilities, and needs?
  • Work/Life Balance is about drawing lines in the sand, whereas Work/Life Integration is about flexibility and freedom. 
    • Even with integration, boundaries are important, necessary, and generally appreciated by all.
  • The more you can remove “putting out fires”, synchronous communication, and  immediacy from your work, the easier it will be to have a sincere and stable Work/Life Integration.
    • All of which assists greatly in combating and preventing burnout. 

 

  • [0:17:57] Work/Life Integration Still Requires Intention, Strategy, and Planning

 

  • Incessant roadblocks, waiting for others, and spending your time “task hopping” isn’t an integration issue...it’s a strategy and planning issue.
    • Plan ahead, think of the resources you need, gather those things, then build/create, etc. 
      • Need feedback? Don’t wait, hand it off and move on. 

 

  • [0:21:41] Things We Do to Ensure Quality Work/Life Integration

 

  • If you’re privileged enough, having a dedicated space is a great boon. 
    • If you can’t do that, coffee shops and local libraries are solid alternatives. 
  • Determine what is essential in your life.
    • Essentialism can help!
    • Then determine what you ‘need’.
      • Followed by what you ‘want’. 
    • What does your ideal life look like?
      • It comes from a place of privilege, admittedly, but it’s worth considering nonetheless. 
      • This isn’t something you ask and consider once. 
        • Ask yourself often for alignment.

 

  • [0:30:33] Parting Words

 

  • Topic Takeaways and Last Minute Tips
    • Protect your schedule.
    • It’s okay to have bad days, weeks, months, etc. 
      • Don’t dwell in it.
      • It’s ok to feel unprepared. 
        • But the time to start creating the life that you want is TODAY! 
Aug 26, 2021

Show Notes:

  • [0:01:12] Intro
    • Brief Recap on the Last Episode of AIB
  • [0:02:05] “How to not turn your coworkers into your crazy Facebook uncle.”
    • In a polarized world where everything is extreme, our society has a habit of pitting us against each other on most topics and issues. 
    • We evolved to be able to read body language and in-person communication.
      • But now we need to adapt to modern technologies and to the landscape of changing industries, and distributed workforces. 
    • Unlike Facebook, you can’t just turn off your coworkers. 
      • How we humanize each other goes a long way toward creating a healthy and safe work environment. 
    • [0:06:03] Things we can do to humanize our perceptions of others and eliminate our own biases:
      • Give people spaces to discuss things that aren’t work-related. 
      • Find out where you all have common ground.
      • Avoiding apathy out of anger, frustration, or as a symptom of poor communication. 
  • [0:12:06] Things you can do to ensure broader interaction between coworkers:
    • Personality Profile Workshops & Team Discussion 
      • Enneagram
      • Strength’s Finders
      • Etc
    • All-Team Video Calls
      • Cross-departmental discussion encouraged. 
      • Don’t mandate or assume you’ll have every person on the team for every call.
    • “Off-site” Events
      • Company Retreat/Summit
      • Sporting Event
      • Etc 
    • Any & All Common Ground Interactions
      • Experiment. 
        • Find what works for your teams and company culture. 
    • Friendly Unmandated Coworking Calls
    • Automated Check-ins Unrelated to Work
      • E.g. “What’s something you saw recently that you found interesting?”, or, “Have you read any good books you’d recommend of late?”
    • Regularly Recorded and Publicly Shared Shoutouts
      • Hearing someone praise your work, or the work of others makes it really hard not to like them. :)
  • [0:25:50] Parting Words & Last Minute Insights
    • Take the time to get to know your coworkers, beyond just their roles and opinions, political or otherwise. 
    • You don’t have to be friends with everyone you work with, but there is no harm in liking everyone you work with. 
      • And that is more on you than it is on them, so put forth that effort to get to know them. 
        • At the end of the day, the choice is yours.

Aug 19, 2021

Show Notes:

 

  • [0:00:54] Intro 

 

  • You have found it!
  • Jeremy messes up Kevin’s ‘flow’.
  • Very Brief Last Episode Summary

 

  • [0:2:23] Decisions We’ve Made to Set Up for Success for Distributed Work

 

  • Rule #1: Experiment!
    • Rule #2: Test what works for you, throw away the rest. 
  • Categorizing our decisions by clarity, connection, and collaboration.
  • How transitioning to distributed, at first, brought teamwide clarity to a halt.
    • Being colocated for so long was our crutch, the one that made us think we were better at clarity than what we actually were.
    • Looking back, we also confused in-office distraction and being “busy” for solid communication and real progress.
      • Which is certainly less than ideal. 
  • If Slack communication is the main way you run your business (like ours was), you may find clarity, quality communication, and work/life balance to be suffering. 
  • Distributed isn’t isolated to software. 
    • Jeremy elaborates on his time with bankers and his remote experience regarding his own work in distributed banking. 

 

  • [0:09:52] Your location does matter.

 

    • Whether that be from your home office, kitchen table, porch, coffee shop, etc. 
    • You probably don’t need a “private space”, but you definitely need a “dedicated space”, or spaces.
    • Long term distributed success justifies routine and normalcy, strengthened by your own personal dedicated workspaces. 
  • Some of the business owner tips and tricks to enable a successful transition to distributed work.
    • Thoughts on automatic check-ins.
      • High-fives & Shoutouts
    • Heartbeats and Cycle Kick-offs
    • Friendly nudges.
    • Leading by example.
    • You don’t actually need long recurring meeting to build clarity. 
      • How you’re probably doing meetings wrong. 
      • You might just need an internal organization specific podcast.
        • How a weekly internal podcast improved clarity and communication. 
    • If a piece of information is important, you should be communicating the same information across all your channels (at relatively the same time), be that via message board, email, podcasts, etc. 
      • If you’re tired, and sick, or bored of saying the same thing over and over, keep in mind that you’re just at the point of the entire team having absorbed and registered that information.
    • Infrequent coworking calls-- consider them.
    • Personality tests and discussions.
    • A place for water cooler discussions and hobby chats.
      • It might go without saying, but coworking call, water cooler & hobby talk should always be treated as optional, not mandatory.
    • Have some back-up plans so that poor internet connection and other obstructions don’t ruin your work day. 
    • Good camera, lighting, etc.-- all welcome additions. 
    • If you don’t have a private workspace: a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.
    • Find the right space for your team, whether that’s Slack, Basecamp, whatever-- experiment and find what works for you...not all of them will. 
    • Consider any special needs of individual employees. 
      • Vision, hearing challenges as an example. 
    • Don’t expect to go into distributed work high performing. 
      • There will absolutely be a challenging (though ultimately rewarding) transition time. 
        • Give yourself and your team/s plenty of grace. 

 

  • [0:30:37] Parting Words

 

  • Patience is the key!
  • Create a framework for solid communication.
Aug 5, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:00:00] Episode Summary | Intro
  • [0:02:25] Remote Work: Pros/Cons

 

  • How we’ve done it, and how you can learn from our mistakes. 
  • There are options. 
    • The pandemic has made a huge portion of people realize their jobs can be done from home. 
      • Not everyone is going back to the office, and for valid reasons.
  •  The pros far outweigh the cons. 
  • Comfort and convenience go a long way toward being productive. 

 

  • [0:06:40] Why We Chose Distributed

 

    • We started as a completely co-located business. 
      • Think 1/3rd....or 1/10th of Silicon Valley and you have the right idea.
    • In late 2019 we decided it was time for a shift. 
      • Being pre-pandemic, the thing that made us kick-off a new normal was quite simply that our office became less desirable. 
        • And inconvenient parking (aka no parking) led to distributed considerations...seriously. 
      • We were always remote friendly, but more people started working off-site: from local coffee shops, gastro-pubs, their homes. 
      • We misunderstood business for productivity. 
      • Being co-located was actually instigating poor communication. 
    • Jeremy’s 15+ years of Distributed Work Experience
      • How his experience encouraged a dramatic change in where and how we conducted business. 
    • We also brought on a new team through an acquisition, which only further exemplified the need for this change. 
    • We chose distributed over hybrid for a reason. 
      • We did attempt a hybrid approach for a brief time, but we were slowly learning that even it wasn’t the best People First fit for our business.
  • [0:18:34] ...and then the pandemic happened.
    • Converting processes, communication, and our approach to clarity and collaboration had to be rethought and reconsidered from almost every angle. 
      • And we continue to refine and iterate even now. 
    • There was a huge mental shift for James and Kevin in how they had to think about what they were doing, and how to lead a distributed team-- simply how to make it work. 
    • The dangers of the hybrid space stem from communication issues. 
      • The people not co-located often pay for this by not receiving the clarity and collaboration that co-located team members were. 
        • The answer was moving to 100% distributed. 
          • Which we’ll unpack in the next episode of Adventures in Businessing. 

 

  • [0:24:31] Closing Thoughts, and one additional thing to NOT do if you plan to shift to distributed work. 

 

  • Don’t jump the gun, and try to plan out a timeline for what going distributed could/would look like, and how it might affect individuals, and teams, for better and worse. 
Jul 29, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:00:00] Episode Summary | Intro

 

  • Jeremy tries out new greetings…

 

  • [0:02:16] Managing Up & Why it Works

 

  • Challenging...and comes with many landmines.
    • Do it right and your life is easier.
    • Do it poorly and it could make your work and culture really suffer.
  • You can’t control whether someone is a good or bad manager, but you can put your best foot forward.
    • You have very real restrictions in how you can deal with a manager, and how you interact with them. 
  • Managers aren’t perfect, and are oftentimes someone who was in a similar role to you, but was good enough at their job to be moved up (sometimes against their will or desired growth path).
    • This however does not mean that they’ll inherently be a good manager. 
  • Rarely is a manager ever actually ‘out to get you’, but poor communication and misunderstandings can make it feel like the opposite. 
    • Over communicate.
      • Don’t assume you’re on the same page and that you have the same goals or high level view of the work and tasks at hand. 

 

  • [0:09:55] Healthy Ways to Communicate  

 

  • Force Clarity 
  • Ask Questions 
    • Also ask good questions. ;)
  • Understand How You’ll be Measured
    • How will you know you’ve done a good job?
    • How do you know when you’re excelling or falling behind expectations?
      • Try to avoid unwritten/undiscussed expectations from both parties.  
    • Share what success looks like to you. 
      • Make efforts to humanize yourself and your manager by finding that common ground.
    • Don’t be afraid to negotiate priorities when you’ve developed a good rapport with your manager. 
  • Recurring check-ins are great refreshers and reminders of what’s on your plate. 
    • Which helps measuring workload. 

 

  • [0:19:57] Be to Solution...with caveats. 

 

  • Figure out ways to remove stress and not be the source of stress for your manager. 
  • If you bring an issue to your manager, attempt to bring a solution, or a series of solutions. 
    • When you come with a solution you give your manager options, which provides the potential for them to lead well. 
      • You also shape how you’re known. You can be known as the person for solutions, or for problems.
        • You have to decide which you want to be known for. (This all assuming you don’t work for, or belong to, a toxic culture.)
  • Some situations can be fixed.
    • But you might be able to course correct and salvage what’s there. 
    • If you can’t manage up, it might be time to think about transitioning out. 

 

  • [0:26:15] Parting Words

 

  • Just like peer relationships, managing up is never done. 
    • It’s an ongoing process, and it’s an uneven relationship with a “balance of power” to keep in mind to make sure you’re handling that relationship in a productive manner. 

Subscribe/Follow us on Ciircles.com for more helpful advice, best practices, and tips that cover all kinds of solutions to workplace tensions and challenges.

Jul 22, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:00:39] Episode Summary | Intro

 

  • Jeremy gets “folksy”. 
  • All relationships take work and conscious effort to make them affective. 
    • This applies to work, family, and friends.
    • You’re managing relationships, even when you’re not. 

 

  • [0:06:06] Diving Into Managing Relationships Well

 

  • Communication Mistakes
    • We often go in NOT assuming the best. 
      • Whether you’re sick, maybe you slept poorly, etc. 
      • We’ve found that very-very rarely does anyone actually have any ill intent going into their interactions. 
      • Assume the best!
      • With the advent of social media dominance, the world at large right now needs to come together and acknowledge there are MANY more individuals with you than against you. 
        • And those people want peace, kindness, equality, and much more for themselves and others. 
  • If you are going to manage your relationships well, you’re going to have to listen. 
    • Listening is a skill that takes effort, and it’s not one people come by naturally. 
    • Listening isn’t, and shouldn’t be used as, a gateway to counter points, attacks, and conversational dominance.
      • The goal is to listen twice as much as you talk. 
  • Questions are key. 
    • To great benefit, asking the right questions after engaged listening can unlock a lot of mutual understanding and trust. 
      • But questions shouldn’t come veiled with “gotcha” scenarios painted in, and should never be used to set someone up for failure. 

 

  • [0:13:25] Other Thoughts on Managing Relationships

 

  • Relationships aren’t one and done, they’re ongoing. 
    • Intention and ongoing effort are required. 
    • Some relationships come easier than others, and sometimes that’s a good thing. 
      • Though we do have to be careful about spending all our time and efforts on what comes easy, while letting other relationships slip up. 
  • Respond, don’t react. 
    • Teaching yourself to think about your response is always worth the investment.
  • The best relationships work when you don’t have the walled off facade in the way.
    • Measure this for yourself and context is important. 
      • But there is something to say for being honest and sharing your feelings in earnest. 
        • Otherwise bitterness becomes the poison you drink...assuming the other person will get sick.
  • Sometimes you just have to be humble and apologize. 
    • Too often work relationships fall apart because of one person or the other refusing to be wrong or accept the blame.
      • Some of this can be from a toxic work culture, but a lot of it can be prevented. 

 

  • On that note, if you come from a toxic work culture, let us know! 
  • We want to help you get out of that, or improve that situation; and we have a network of amazing professionals who just might be able to help.

 

  • Be a person and place that is safe to fail around. 
    • We can’t improve without failing.
      • Help others navigate failure and acknowledge efforts of others with grace and humility. 

 

  • [0:23:57] Sometimes we make mistakes when we should know better…

 

  • It’s easy to just pile on, try offering support.
    • We all need allies, not enemies. So put that supportive energy out in to the world and help others rather than ridicule.
  • Unspoken expectations are the landmines of all relationships.
    • Assume the best, but don’t assume others know your expectations of them. 
    • Communicating expectations is so very important; the sooner the better!

 

  • [0:28:45] Parting Words 

 

  • Spend time thinking and being intentional about your relationships in your life today, and the ones you wish could be better. 
    • Then ask how you can improve yourself to meet those relationship goals.
Jul 16, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:01:05] Episode Summary | Intro

 

 

  • [0:03:16] Managing Yourself

 

  • Applicable to Everyone, Even if You’re Not Actively in a Leadership Position
  • If you don’t have a culture of people who can/will self manage...you’ll notice it quickly. 
  • In distributed work you have to focus on objectives over time tracking. 
    • Activity can be disguised as progress, but oftentimes it’s anything but. 

 

  • [0:07:12] Things we do to Manage Ourselves

 

  • Incrementally enhancing the mundane has a positive ripple effect. 
    • Improving sleep is a prime example. 
  • Start every day with a loose list of things you can accomplish, that which if completed will ensure you feel successful. 
    • Identify your Essential Three:
      • What are the three things that are imperative to move forward today?
    • Try to make sure the thing you do not want to do is on that list, attempt it first; the goal is that hopefully you can then snowball through the rest of the day on easy mode. 
  • Get your mind engaged without focusing on work. 
    • Whether through exercise, meditation, spiritual and/or philosophical studies.
    • Be wary: you can’t have multiple focuses and still be focused.

 

  • [0:17:29] The Crucial Piece in Self Management is Finding Time to Unplug

 

  • Self-care is 100% vital.
    • Schedule, prioritize, and protect your time for self-care. 
    • Be flexible and don’t punish yourself when things don’t go according to plan. 
      • You will have bad days, and if you can accept that, you can bounce back from it with greater success.

 

  • [0:22:05] Preventing “Bad Days” as Much as Possible

 

  • What are the distractions that could get in your way, the things that could steal you away from a good day?
    • We all have our own triggers, but being mindful of them can help you avoid distractions on a daily basis.
  • We can underestimate the impact of minor disruptions. 
    • Rarely are you responsible for putting out every fire.
  • Be flexible, but stick to your schedule overall. 

 

  • [0:27:42] Parting Words & Advice

 

  • There’s always more work to be done than there is time. 
  • When you’re managing relationships, the most important one for you to be managing is yourself.
  • Next Time on AIB
Jul 8, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:01:00] Episode Summary | Intro

 

  • Most “Excitingest” Episode Ever?
    • The Work Between the Work, Vacations, Etc. 
    • The Most Neglected Topic in Business
  • Margins
    • Lots of managers and leaders don’t like to talk about pausing. 
    • We believe in margins so much that we’ve dedicated a third of our schedule to margins. 
    • Without an emphasis on Margin, Burnout is a very real danger. 

 

  • [0:05:10] It Doesn’t Always Take Active Work to Make Progress

 

  • Margin can facilitate progress.
  • We think of progress as linear, but that’s just not realistic. 
    • Progress has fits and starts. 

 

  • [0:07:59] Active Rest-- What is it? Why is it Necessary?

 

  • You should be scheduling active rest into your calendar. 
  • You tend to lose focus on the importance of margin with age. 
    • Which emphasizes the need to make margins intentional. 
  • If you don’t fill your calendar, someone else will steal that time from you, and fill that time for you. 
    • Memorialize and protect your intentional disconnects. 
  • Is boredom the missing item in your workday toolkit?
    • You have to find incremental ways to schedule margin into your schedule. 
      • You won’t come out the gate a detox/disconnect professional. 
        • Regardless, you have to treat margin like it’s business, to keep it secure and sacred from the infinite things that could or would detract from it.

 

  • [0:14:25] If Possible...

 

  • Try a Week Out of Office Per Quarter
  • Start Each Day With a Plan 
    • Set aside planned time for others, whether that’s morning or afternoon. 
      • Bookend your day with margin. 
    • Be present with your thoughts. 
  • Attempt ‘Boredom & Margin Interval Training’
    • You start with a lot of work time, and then gradually increase the margin and thought work time. 
    • The time away from active work makes you better and faster when it’s time to run. 

 

  • [0:19:50] People Who Have no Margin Are Stressed 

 

  • Having no margin will have an unintentional negative run-off on others.
  • Everyone needs different amounts and types of margin.
  • A lot of us think we need less margin than we actually do. 
    • Challenge: build in more margin into your schedule, and be retrospective about the effects.

 

  • [0:22:43] How We Use Margin Intentionally in Our Business

 

  • A tool for reflection.
  • A tool to acknowledge what’s important today. 
    • The world changes so fast, and what was important mere weeks ago, may not be important today.
  • Margin can be the gateway to progress, and therefore margin IS sometimes the work itself. 
  • Margin is a very real world tortoise and hare scenario. 
    • Don’t let the modern world trick you and your organization into being burnt out hares. 
  • Group Margin
    • How we plan and execute margin together. 

 

  • [0:29:30] Parting Words

 

Jul 1, 2021

Show Notes

  • [0:00:49] Episode Summary | Intro
    • The Topic That Keeps us Moving & Out of Bed in the Morning
      • Being Motivated by Progress!

 

  • [0:03:27] Progress is Essential, but...

 

  • We sometimes forget that being busy or active doesn't always go hand-in-hand with moving the needle forward. 
  • It’s easy to not plan your productive time well. 
    • It takes a lot of planning to do ‘deep work’ well. 

 

  • [0:05:15] The Secret SuperPowers of a Good Manager

 

  • Facilitating & Tracking Real Progress
  • Real progress has nothing to do with looking busy.
  • Being aware of putting your big rocks in first. 
  • Rewiring How You Perceive Busy vs Productive
    • It’s a fundamental, though rewarding, shift.

 

  • [0:08:52] What is Progress?

 

  • Is it strictly movement over time?
    • Instead let’s consider: The right amount of better over the right amount of time. 
      • You know when you’ve taken too much time for too little better.
      • You know when you’ve scheduled too much better for too short a time. 
      • The sweet spot is always the right amount of better over the right amount of time. 
      • Time is a real constraint that can free us up in ways that make us more productive.
  • Progress Doesn’t Mean Much Without Time Constraints

 

  • [0:13:07] The Impact of Not Defining Constraints or the Right Amount of Better

 

  • Lots of activity is a false security blanket.
  • It’s hard to stay passionate about something over a long period of time if you aren’t making the necessary progress. 
    • Working on things that never ship is a good example of this type of burnout. 
    • Poorly scoped work also results in this kind of burnout. 
    • When you do not have steady progress, everyone loses motivation. 
  • Most people are quite bad about predicting or estimating how long something will take to accomplish. 
    • Don’t beat yourself up about that though, and while it’ll never be perfect, it gets better with time.
  • As your company changes, how you do the work will change as well.
  • Invisible progress is a very real thing, let’s be mindful of it.
  • Focused effort will lead to results. 

 

  • [0:21:10] How to Help Your Team Establish Progress

 

  • The Ingredients of Progress:
    • Clarity
    • Collaboration
  • Progress is impossible to determine without clarity. 
  • Your team cannot make decisions without clarity, and decisions by the team are necessary to make progress. 
    • Clarity also means checking in frequently to ensure everyone is still operating under the same parameters. 
    • Clarity enables your team to make better decisions. 
  • The Importance of Planning
    • Slowing down to speed up ensures better results in the end. 
  • All Leaders are CROs: Chief Reminding Officers
    • Constantly be reestablishing the clarity aspect. 
  • Do you have a proper collaborative workflow?
    • Does everyone know where the hand-off points are?

 

  • [0:30:38] Parting Words

 

  • Next Episode: The Work In Between the Work
Jun 24, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:00:55] Episode Summary | Intro

 

  • Why Every Podcast NEEDS Intro Music
  • Last Episode Communication Recap

 

  • [0:03:13] Kicking off a New Topic

 

  • Making Progress
    • Helping our teams make progress.
    • Establishing a work cadence. 
    • Promoting progress and not business. 
  • The Necessity of Work Cadence
    • We’ve lost seasonality.
      • The modern world lacks cadence and sets your team up for failure and unfair expectations.
      • Black Friday in recent years is a perfect example of this. 
    • We don’t recognize how people’s creativity and work output is seasonal.
      • You can’t be “at an 11” all the time. 
    • Don’t let anyone feel guilty for taking time off. 
      • Not just vacation, but allow your people to switch up what they are working on. 

 

  • [0:08:36] Creating Seasons to Break-up the Work

 

  • This even applies to a given day’s worth of work.

 

  • [0:10:00] Learning From Past Mistakes

 

  • The work shouldn’t inherently dictate the season. 
  • Your “fires” shouldn’t determine and set the standard and expectations for the season. 
  • Consider checking email ONCE a day. 
  • Your team can’t work at the same speed 365 days a year. 
    • We’re literally evolved, as a species, around seasons.

 

  •  [0:12:10] What We’ve Done to Establish Cadence Within Our Company

 

  • Ask yourself, “What is the pulse of the team?”
    • Where are the hills and valleys?
  • Breaking up work into cycles.
    • Then establishing a down time in-between cycles. 
    • Try to ensure your cycles match or work around the cadence of common holiday and vacation times.
      • It’ll never be perfect or match the needs of each and every team member, but it will make a difference as a whole. 
      • Allow PTO/vacation during a cycle, and take that into account when considering expected cycle output. 
        • Don’t punish the team for PTO being utilized.
    • Cycles allow you to pause and celebrate wins with intention. 
      • We STILL do a poor job of celebrating wins...and you probably will too, but don’t settle for it. 
    • Regular stopping points allow you to more easily course correct. 
  • We create a very loose plan for the year as a whole. 
    • We also reevaluate that plan after every cycle concludes (but before the next begins). 
  • Our calendar can be scary to the average business owner…
    • ...but here’s why it shouldn’t be. 
      • On putting people over profits. 
        • Happy people do better work. 
        • How do we create sustainability AND keep people with the company?

 

 

  • Problems are solved in the silence. 
    • In the quiet between the work is generally when problems are solved in more creative ways. 
    • Margins (pauses) make doing the work more productive. 
  • Looking back at the dreadful state of our work lives without cycles and natural stopping points. 

 

  • [0:27:13] What’s Next?

 

  • Planning definitely for the whole year is overwhelming and loses clarity over time. 
    • Asking “what’s next?” after each cycle is liberating and creates so much more shared understanding in the end. 
      • Additionally, it works wonders in the ability to pivot, which is vital in your organizational toolkit.

 

  • [0:29:45] Saying You’re Not Working During Downtime is Very MIsleading

 

    • Downtime is a time for reflection, pivoting, preparation, and learning.
  • [0:30:49] Cycles Are Iterative
    • You’ll have to dial it in with what works best for your organization. 
      • What works best for your company can/will change year to year.
        • Maybe you need more downtime, or longer cycles. 
          • But keep your focus as one that is people first. 

 

  • [0:31:34] Parting Words

 

  • Stop and think. 
    • Analyze if you could have accomplished more, had the team been given more thoughtfulness, freedom, and room to pivot. 
  • Next Episode
    • The Difference Between Progress and Productivity, or Activity
Jun 17, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:00:55] Episode Summary | Intro

 

  • Last Episode’s Recap 
    • Communication Pros & Cons
    • Being Thoughtful with Your Chosen Communication Style

 

  • [0:03:22] The Right Time for Synchronous Communication

 

  • Don’t let “synchronous communication is bad” be a takeaway here. 

 

  • [0:04:37] Ways to Build Connection Asynchronously

 

  • A remote team spread across different time zones is your biggest obstacle toward connection.
    • Tips on Established Async Connection:
      • Have asynchronous communication around things that are not work related. 
      • Consider an internal company podcast to heighten clarity and connection. 
        • When shared, provide a way for team members to discuss the podcast publicly with the team at large; message board format recommended. 
    • The more synchronous your company communication, the more you take away one of the major benefits of working from home: working at the optimal time, enhancing work/life balance. 

 

  • [0:10:30] Effective Communication: My Four Filters

 

  • https://chrislema.com/effective-communication-my-four-filters/
  • Timing, Setting, Audience, Unintended Consequences
    • Financial Updates & Transparency
      • Real time or async?
  • Think About Who You’re Communicating With
    • You don’t need to distract or call attention to everyone if a topic is specific to one team or team member. 
  • Go Into Your Meetings with a Clear Agenda & Time Box
    • Most meetings lack clarity and produce very little. 
    • Capture outcomes!
    • Lacking clarity of what to do next is one of the biggest reasons people hate meetings. 
    • Have a mediator who facilitates the meeting and the clock. 
      • Let it be known who the facilitator is. 
      • Make the facilitator responsible for capturing takeaways, ideas, questions, and next actions. 
    • Mine for conflict. 
      • That’s where the gems come out of. 
      • Don’t let someone sit on the sidelines when you know they have a difference of opinion.

 

  • [0:19:03] Best Practices and Standards

 

  • Establish when to expect a response.
  • Automatic check-ins.
    • Creating a space for ‘What Work’.
      • A documented history of what you did in a given year. 
    • Favorite check-ins.
  • Make sure you take time to reset for the day. 
    • The ability to ‘not’ helps you gain perspective and clarity. 
      • Don’t let all your reactions be emotional reactions. 
      • Stepping away from the computer, even for a short time, works wonders. 
  • Learn how to read individual personalities in text based communication.
    • Not everyone communicates equally. 
    • If you don’t know how to read someone’s text based communication attempts, there’s a lot of room left for interpretation.
      • If you’re not sure...ASK! 
      • Assume the best. 

 

  • [0:27:32] Parting Words

 

  • Make time for one-off real time conversations.
    • Even, and maybe especially, not regarding work.
  • In a non-pandemic world, face-to-face communication is still very important. 

 

  • We want to hear your communications tips too!

 

Jun 10, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:01:01] Episode Summary & Intro 

 

  • Machoman, Koolaid Man, or Wolfman Jack?

 

  • [0:02:04] Communication Round 2

 

  • Brief Recap of the Last Episode
  • Real Time Communication vs Asynchronous 
    • We started collocated, in-office and transitioned to remote work.
  • Benefits of Synchronous Communication
    • While is it so alluring to maintain?
    • Let’s be honest, real time communication is easier. 
      • But is it better?
  • There’s an Idea That Moving Fast is Superior to Being Methodical & Intentional
    • That idea is wrong, and here’s why.
    • Fast often equals “move quickly...and break things”.
  • Communicating Asynchronously is Something You Have to Learn
    • A skill like any other. 
  • We Often Confuse Activity with Progress
    • The truth is, you can be active but not get anything done. 
  • Asynchronous Communication Tends to be More Thoughtful, More Crafted
    • Be reading something, you get to sit down and really process communication.

 

  • [0:10:58] Asynchronous Communication as a Tool to Level the Playing Field  

 

  • How asynchronous communication benefits those who process communication atypically: neuro divergence, or otherwise on the spectrum. 
  • Not a speed typist? Asynchronous communication is a massive boon. 
    • Here’s why. 

 

  • [0:13:33] How Can We Set Guardrails & Best Practices for Asynchronous Expectations?

 

  • It takes practice. 
    • Not just writing but reading asynchronously. 
  • It requires mutual respect.
  • There should be shared understanding on a general timeframe of when you should hear a response. 
    • But sometimes just commenting that you’re still processing the last response and formulating your answer is key.
  • Silence is seen as approval, for better and worse. 

 

  • [0:17:20] There is a Cost to Real TIme

 

  • A one hour real time conversation isn’t “just a hour”, it’s four hours of business time taken.
    • When you move it asynchronous, it doesn’t take a hour of everyone’s time; it’s more thoughtful, and can allow those involved to come to solutions even quicker with little practice and training. 
    • Real time is expensive. 
  • We’re not saying you should never have real time conversations.
    • We are saying you should make sure they’re worth it. 
      • You want to combat the “this meeting could have been an email” notion.

 

  • [0:19:01] Should we be All Asynchronous All the Time?

 

  • The cost of asynchronous is a breakdown in real human connection. 
    • Left unchecked, this leads to work becoming soulless and transactional.
    • Connection is a fundamental piece.
  • It’s not one or the other. 
    • It’s about identifying the proper communication method for a given topic, task, idea, etc. 
    • It’s not ‘either or’, it’s ‘yes and’.
  • There is something to be said for asynchronous communication making it too easy not to intentionally document things. 
    • This is less than great. Be mindful of what needs to be documented. 

 

  • [0:22:55] Additional Challenges

 

  • Real time communication has the potential to steal the party’s best time to get ‘deep work’ done. 
    • Ask your team members when their preferred times to do deep work is, and schedule meetings around this time, not during it. 
    • Don’t steal productive time from team members...unless the meeting is innately conducive to (and dependent on) their role specific productivity.

 

  • [0:26:59] Be Thoughtful About Your Communication

 

  • Consider the following for your meetings and communication in general:
    • What is the best way to go about this particular communication?
      • (Synchronous or asynchronous?)
    • What's the best time?
    • What is the subject matter?
    • What do we need to get out of it?
    • Who needs to be here and why?
  • Communication is the hardest thing to do correctly and effectively in your business. 
    • But it’s also the most important thing to figure out today. 
  • Next Time on AIB
    • How to Do it All Better!
Jun 3, 2021

Show Notes:

 

  • [0:00:50] Episode Summary | Intro

 

  • THE Jeremy Moore?
  • 2nd Vaccine Preparation & Anxieties
  • Last Episode Recap
    • Building and Developing Your Team

 

  • [0:04:35] Getting Philosophical About Communication

 

  • Why Communication Isn’t ‘One-Size-Fits-All’
  • Dangers of Treating Distributed Communication Like You’re Collocated
    • How this is applicable to all areas of your life. 
    • “It started with pagers.”
  • Always On, “As Soon as Possible” Culture is a Problem
    • Activity is not to be confused with progress. 
    • If you’re always available, when can you ever hope to do ‘deep work’?
    • Anxiety induced by not being available, or forgetting your phone. 

 

  • [0:14:08] Story Time: Communication Awareness

 

  • Developing Our Own Communication Tool
    • The justification, the goal, the whys and what-ifs.
  • Permissions to Interrupt
    • Is it healthy, or reasonable?
  • Not Having Little ‘Red Dot’ Notifications Waiting for You is Liberating
    • It takes time to reset your expectations and definition of work vs busy work. 
  • You’re More Than a Response Machine
    • Responding to notifications can feel productive, but it can kill creativity and progress by way of context switching. 

 

  • [0:20:09] Maybe There’s a Better Way Than Always On

 

  • Training and Retraining Around Communication Expectations
    • We have been conditioned to get notifications and respond immediately.
    • The list of items that require immediate attention in your organization is MUCH smaller than you’re willing to admit. 
    • Retraining “I need to know right now” is the major hurdle. 
    • The vast majority of “need to know” items can be saved for when you explicitly choose to engage with your email, phone, etc. 
  • Be Willing to Shift Your Understanding of Urgent & Important
    • You’re probably thinking: “But what if we have an emergency?”
      • Here’s why it’s probably NOT an emergency. 

 

  • [0:24:50] We Tend to “Solve” Management Problems with Software

 

  • The Bigger Problem: 
    • How and when you do, or do not, communicate with team members.
  • Don’t Be Selfish
  • Putting Out Little Fires Prevents You From Accomplishing the Meaningful

 

  • [0:29:03] There Are Emergencies

 

  • But they’re so much fewer than you think they are. 
  • Document and define emergencies, which details on how and when to respond. 
    • Clarity on what is actually an emergency is very important, but use emergencies sparingly. 
  • Don’t let tools dictate how you run your business. 
    • Slack is a perfect example of this. 
      • Why James won’t log into Slack anymore. 

 

  • [0:32:49] Closing Thoughts

 

  • “We all need more margin.” 
  • “Slower and more intentional is usually better.”
  • Next Time on AIB  
May 27, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:00:48] Episode Summary | Intro

 

  • Standing Energy
  • What Happens In Between F.I.T.ness Check-ups?

 

  • [0:02:10] Recap of Last Episode’s Quarterly F.I.T.ness Check-in

 

  • If you’re only having conversations every three months, or annually, something is wrong. 

 

  • [0:03:46] People Want Regular Feedback

 

  • Team Members Want Clarity & Shared Understanding
    • Even if they’re low maintenance, and keep their head down, working hard...they still want and need the feedback. 
  • Why Weekly vs Less Frequently
    • Generally, the more frequently you meet, the shorter your meetings will be overall. 
    • If you schedule weekly, and you have to miss one, you’re not losing alot, whereas if you miss a monthly, you could be letting major agenda topics slide by for too long. 
  • Don’t Make Your 1:1s All About Task LIsts & Project Management
  • Stick to Your Time Frame
    • Don’t be afraid to push agenda items off to the following week’s 1:1.
    • It’s not the end of the world if you can’t meet for one week. 
  • Don’t Make it so Clinical That it’s Not Meaningful

 

  • [0:11:45] On Misfit Pairings of Employee & Role

 

    • It’s so important to have and stick to an agenda for 1:1s.
  • [0:13:20] Manager’s Guide to 1 on 1s
    • https://ciircles.com/1on1/
    • 1:1s are about establishing connection with your direct report: 
      • Establishing Empathy 
      • Understanding Goals 
      • Laying Growth Path 
      • Providing Clarity
      • ...not just about the tasks & projects. 
    • Invest Time and Energy in Your Team
      • It’s Worth It

 

  • [0:16:28] The Hard Truths

 

  • It’s hard, it takes time, but it’s your job as a manager and/or leader.
  • Do it right and you have allies in the business, do it wrong (or not at all) and you have opponents. 

 

  • [0:17:58] Is There an Ideal Number of Direct Reports?

 

  • 20% of your time should ideally be spent on nurturing your communication and connection with your team members. 

 

  • [0:19:28] Don’t Let Your 1:1s be Manager Driven

 

  • Let Your Team Members Set the Agenda
  • You Will Have to Train Team Members on How the 1:1 Works
    • Communicate and Enforce What the 1:1 is For, The Purpose & Goal
      • Some will take to this really quickly, for others it will take time and experience. 
  • 1:1s Are a Great Way to Practice Collaboration
  • Active Listening & Taking Notes is Powerful for You and the Employee’s Rapport
    • Actually caring, and listening is a very good thing.

 

  • [0:26:12] Think About the Best Manager You Ever Had

 

  • Odds are that one of the things that made them the best was that they genuinely cared about and believed in you.
  • You May be a Diamond in the Rough
    • Let’s be honest, there are those who establish routine communication and good rapport so well, so regularly, that they may not need an explicit weekly 1:1.
  • Be the Manager Who Remembers Your Team Members’ Children’s Names

 

  • [0:28:33] Parting Words | Recap

 

May 20, 2021

Show Notes

  • [0:00:42] Episode Summary | Intro 
  • Music to Get You Going
  • Brief F.I.T.ness Recap
  • [0:04:00] Measuring F.I.T.ness
  • Organizations Change, Businesses Change, People Change
    • You Have to Evaluate That
  • Recommendation: Quarterly F.I.T.ness Check-ins
  • Catch Issues or Tensions Before They Fester
  • Check-ins Directly Combat Ambiguity
    • “With my team, one thing I always say is: if anything in this meeting is surprising to you, then I (the manager) haven’t done a good job.” - Jeremy
  • Your Check-ups are a Confirmation of Alignment or Misalignment
    • They should not be where you identify proper or improper alignment for the first time.
  • Everyone Either Has or Knows of a Review Horror Story
    • Be the cure, not the symptom. 
    • Don’t be nearsighted in your reviews.
      • Let team members know they aren’t being evaluated solely by this one quarterly check-up. 
  • Frequency is a Delicate Balance for F.I.T.ness
    • Regular check-ups not being about money/salary help enforce empathy, and strengthen your goal as a manager to make your team members better at their jobs.
  • [0:14:23] The Evaluation
  • Keep it Short, Keep it Simple
    • On Scoring 1-5
      • The phrasing is more important than the number.
  • You Want Challenge
    • Boredom is the enemy of challenge.
    • Caution: too much challenge can cause burnout or defeatism.
  • You Want Success Over Failure
    • But when failure occurs, you want individuals to have the liberty to fail forward. 
  • Identify Trends
    • Recurring instances of over or under achieving are worth acting on. 
      • Has there been a dip in motivation or progress?
      • Why is this person excelling so far beyond that of their expectation?
      • Is this person in the right role?
  • It Begins and Ends with Clarity

 

  • [0:24:02] Words to the Wise
  • Tricky Instances to Be Aware of
  • Elaborating on ‘The Middle is the Best’
    • You want to be in the middle in the evaluation scoring.
  • [0:28:25] Parting Words
  • Identify Tensions & Note Your Wins 
    • Encourage others to canonize and share their wins! 
      • Especially during the F.I.T.ness check-ups.
  • Next Time on AIB
    • “What Do You Do Between the Check-ups?“
      • Spoiler: 1on1s (Stay Tuned)
May 19, 2021

Show Notes

  • [0:00:47] Episode Summary | Intro
  • F.I.T.ness Overview
    • Faculty
    • Initiative
    • Temperament
  •  A Place for Alliteration 
  • [0:04:45] Understanding Why Team Members May Be Unhappy in Their Role 
  • They may be in the wrong place, doing the wrong work, or have the wrong temperament for the type of work they’re doing. 
    • You have to be flexible as an organization, hopefully without differing straight to letting the employee go.
    • Though it’s important to acknowledge not every individual will be a fit for your culture and organization.
  • [0:08:00] Does X Person Have the F. I. and T. to be on Your Team?
  • Analyzing & Measuring Faculty, Initiative, and Temperament
    • Determining F.I.T. May Mean Something Different to You and Your Organization
  • For Our Company, We’ve Found Temperament to be the Most Important Measurement 
    • You Have to Determine What’s the Right Temperament Your Team
    • Temperament is the Hardest to Teach...and Change
      • It’s Also the Most Sensitive Topic
  • [0:16:26] Recommendation: Hire Slow, Fire Slow
  • Take Time to Determine F.I.T. 
    • You Can Train Over Most F.I.T. Challenges
      • You Should Be Trying to Help Team Members Through the Obstacles
      • What Do They Have Going on in Their Lives, How Can You Help?
        • Even if we don’t want to admit it, personal life can and will bleed into work.
        • Empathy and communication are key.
        • You HAVE to ask questions about connection, collaboration, and clarity.
  • [0:20:24] How Do We Measure & What Does F.I.T.ness Look Like in Practice?
  • Recommended (Recurring) Quarterly Check-in
    • But keep the conversation going in between quarterly check-ins. 
  • F.I.T.ness Changes 
    • It changes, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for worse.
    • F.I.T.ness is never static.
  • Confirm F.I.T. on the front end: during hiring and onboarding. 
  • [0:25:34] Closing Thoughts
  • F.I.T. Operates with the ‘C’s and ‘P’s, Not in A Vacuum 
    • Clarity
    • Collaboration
    • Connection
    • Passion
    • Purpose
    • Progress
  • If you don’t take the time to figure out your ideal F.I.T., you’ll end up putting square pegs in round holes. 
    • This ultimately hurts the new hire, and the team at large.
      • The ripple effect here doesn’t stop when you let someone go. 
  • By acknowledging and keeping up with F.I.T. you can minimize the repercussions of not getting it right...because you’re not going to always get it right. 
  • Companies & Culture Change Over TIme
    • What’s F.I.T. Today May Not be F.I.T. Tomorrow
May 6, 2021

Show Notes

  • [0:00:43] Episode Summary | Intro
    • Regional Seasonal Allergy Woes
    • Last Episode Recap
      • Takeaways on Motivational Drivers
  • [0:03:25] What Are the Cornerstones of Motivation?
    • Deep Diving on The 3 ‘C’s:
      • Connection
      • Clarity
      • Collaboration
        • How they all work off of and benefit from one another. 
        • Collaboration as an accountability tool. 
    • Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, identifying the cornerstones you’re lacking will allow you to intentionally focus on and develop them.
  •  [0:13:27] Practical Breakdown of How the 3 ‘C’s Actually Interact with Each Other
    • Each overlapped ‘C’ (on the venn diagram of fulfillment) creates a ‘P’ (Passion, Purpose, Progress)
      • Clarity + Collaboration = Progress
      • Collaboration + Connection = Passion
      • Connection + Clarity = Purpose
        • What you’re doing has to matter...to YOU. 
        • You have to love what you’re doing. 
        • What you’re doing has to make an impact you can quantify. 
  • [0:21:45] “Does a Tree Falling in the Forest Make a Sound if No One is There to Hear?”
    • Measure AND Celebrate Your Wins
      • Don’t jump into “the next” before acknowledging what just was. 
      • Nobody can feel Progress if you simply move right onto the next thing. 
  • [0:23:25] Lifecycle of a Business Related to the 3 ‘C’s
    • In the early days you don’t need everything. 
      • It helps to start strong in one or two ‘C’s.
      • You WILL need them all over time, by the individual and as an organization. 
        • Like anything living, it ebbs and flows, and it has to be nurtured. 
  • [0:25:25] How Switching From In-office to Distributed can Shift Your Clarity, Connection and Collaboration 
    • When we first went distributed, our Clarity shrank and suffered FAST.
      • Now that remote work is the norm for us, Connection is the prime challenge. 
        • Focus on those challenges; those tensions will reveal creative ways to approach them head on with confidence. 
    • Recommended Quarterly Check-in Review
      • Regularly ask your team things like: 
        • “Where can we grow as a team?” 
        • “What does our team need to be more successful?” 
        • “How can we improve things for you?”  
  • [0:28:44] Parting Words
    • Food for Thought Until the Next Episode
    • Next Time we’ll Start in on a New Series Topic:
      • “What makes great teams & team members?”
      • “How do you protect your business by having the right people in the right roles for your organization?”
May 6, 2021

Show Notes

 

  • [0:00:56] Episode Summary | Intro

 

    • Previous Episode Recap
      • Difference Between Engagement & Fulfillment

 

  • [0:03:00] Drivers of Fulfillment:

 

    • Unpacking the 3 ‘P’s
      • Passion:
        • ‘I love the work that I do.’
      • Purpose:
        • ‘The work that I do matters.’
      • Progress:
        • ‘I’m having an impact on the work that matters.’

 

  • Progress is NOT to be Confused with Productivity

 

    • Which ‘P’ Means the Most to You?
    • How to Assist Employees (and Anyone) with Passion, Purpose, and Progress

 

  • [0:12:18] Ways in Which We Help Our Team See Progress Now

 

    • Coming to terms with your business or management mistakes by failing forward. 
    • Be a Cheerleader!
    • Course correcting too soon or too often can prove catastrophic to the goal of fulfillment. 
    • Letting employees drive their own progress.
    • Do you need all 3 drivers to be fulfilled?

 

  • [0:17:03] The 3 ‘P’s & Symbiotic Professional Relationships

 

    • How/why James & Kevin have succeeded as business partners thru Passion, Progress, and Purpose.
    • Clarifying your business & personal Passion, Purpose, and Progress can (and will) yield positive results & shared understanding.

 

  • [0:21:36] You Can’t Simply Define Fulfillment Broadly for All

 

    • It’s Different for Everyone
      • What drives you might not drive anyone else. 

 

  • [0:22:29] Analyzing the 3 ‘P’s in Your Employee 1:1s & Reviews/Assessments

 

    • Your employees don’t have to be at an 11 out of 10 on Passion, Purpose, and Progress.
      • It’s a shifting scale, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

 

  • [0:25:41] How Do We Impact & Help Your Team See Your Passion, Purpose, and Progress?

 

  • Next episode:
    • The Three ‘C’s
      • Clarity
      • Collaboration
      • Connection
    • Clarity + Collaboration = Progress
    • Collaboration + Connection = Passion
    • Connection + Clarity = Purpose
May 6, 2021

Show Notes

  • [0:00:57] Episode Summary | Intro
    • Jeremy’s Banjo Aspirations
    • Last Episode Recap
      • Fulfillment Theory Quickstart Guide
  • [0:03:42] The Ultimate Goal
    • Helping Our Teams Find Fulfillment
    • Employee Engagement
      • It Changes With the Season
      • “You can have engagement without fulfillment, but you can only have fulfillment through being engaged.”
      • When Time Tracking Breaks Down
        • Time tracking is what most businesses monitor toward engagement, but it’s the opposite of what employees want and need to feel engaged.
    •  Engagement is More Than the Work You Can See
      • Why Common Attempts at Engagement Fall Flat
      • Burnout Awareness
      • Engagement Gimmicks & Initiatives 
      • Sustainability
    • Getting Engagement Wrong
      • Early Failings of Our Own Business
      • Fun Doesn’t Directly Translate to Fulfilled
        • Fulfillment HAS to be Purposeful
      • Fulfillment & Engagement 
        • Two terms that are too often mistakenly used to explain the same thing.
          • You can be active and busy and not be fulfilled. 
          • Engagement is an output of fulfillment. 
  • [0:15:16] What is Fulfillment & How Do We Track That?
    • The Components of Fulfillment
      • The 3 ‘P’s
        • Passion:
          • ‘Do I love the work that I’m doing?’
        • Purpose:
          • ‘Do I feel like the work that I do matters?’
        • Progress:
          • ‘Do I feel like the work I am doing is making an impact?’
  • [0:21:32] Issues & Challenges with Progress...and Fulfillment
    • Hindsight is 20/20 
      • How We’ve Failed Certain Employees in the Past
        • Robbing Individuals of Progress
    • You’re not helpless when you know what drives your team. 
    • How these things can be applied to your personal life and relationship as well.
  • [0:27:12] Paying it Forward with AIB
    • We’ve made a lot of mistakes in order to get here. 
      • Learn from us to hopefully not make those same mistakes. 
      • Celebrate wins, but when you fail, fail forward by learning from it. 
  • [0:29:45] Parting Words & Next Time on AIB
    • Diving into Motivational Drivers of Fulfillment
      • Why They’re Powerful
      • And Why They Really Work
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