This episode urges some caution in adopting wholesale hybrid and remote working practices and encourages you to be intentional in your leadership and management decisions to enable Fulfilling Performance for all team members.
I hope that you can use it to provoke a discussion about the transformation that is taking place and I look forward to hearing what resonates with you.
This episode of CAREER-VIEW MIRROR is brought to you by Aquilae. Aquilae's mission is to Enable Fullfilling Performance in the auto finance and mobility industry. We use our very own Fulfilling Performance Paradigm to help you identify what steps you need to take to Enable Fulfilling Performance in your business. Contact me directly if you’d like to know more. My email is Andy@Aquilae.co.uk
For details of our forthcoming guests follow us on Instagram @careerviewmirror
Episode recorded on 23 July 2022
I am sitting in lovely Siesta Key Florida.Sherene Redelinghuys:
I'm coming from Bangkok in ThailandDaniel van Treeck:
Prague in the Czech Republic.Osman:
Cairo in EgyptHolger Drott:
Auckland, New ZealandShannon Faulkner:
Welcome to Career-view Mirror, the automotive podcast that goes behind the scenes with key players in the industry looking back over their careers so far, sharing insights to help you with your own journey. I'm your host, Andy Follows Hello, listeners, and welcome to this episode of Career-view Mirror which is another of our side mirror episodes diving into a specific topic. I am coming to you from my home office in in the UK and this is where I've recorded many of our podcasts from. And I've worked from this office for the last five and a half years since we set up Aquilae. Back at the end of 2016. I've been working from home My first experience was 1997 when I was a field based corporate sales manager for Rover Cars. And I worked out of my spare bedroom in Bracknell, also in the southeast of the UK. So I'm no stranger to working from home and I really enjoy it. And last month we had my wife and I took a trip to Valencia, I was able to work from there, I ran three of our Virtual Academy sessions for leadership groups that were taking place around the world, they were just as successful as they would have been had I been here or any other office for that matter. When COVID caused organisations to rethink their working practices, I was absolutely delighted, I saw it as a highly positive and long overdue development. My grandfather, both my grandparents, actually my both my grandfather's worked in mills in the north of England, and clearly you had to be there, if you're working in your in a mill, one was a felt Hatter, and one managed all the electric side of operating looms, and, and so on in these factories, and they clearly had to be there. If you if you weren't at your loom, you weren't producing that was the philosophy. And fast forward a few decades from the time when my grandfather's were working in cotton mills or hat factories. And along comes Peter Drucker who's known as the founder of modern management, and who coined the term knowledge worker back in the 19, late 50s, early 60s, and I became aware of that in the early 90s. And it frustrated me that we treated knowledge workers, We subjected them to the same leadership practices that came from that industrial age when we put people in factories, and they had to be by their loom in order to be productive. That idea that if you weren't at your desk, if you're not at your desk, where I can see you, you aren't producing and then the invisible hand of COVID came along didn't it and it moved that thinking forward, what, 10 years, 15 years into the future, that's how long it might have taken us to get to where we are, we might never have got to where we are right now had it not been such a drastic change a global pandemic. And I celebrated this epiphany in the way that leaders looked at people that they, they have to send them home with laptops, and they found that the work got done, money got made, customers got served. It was all a bit of a revelation. And I thought that was wonderful. I celebrated it and the new freedom for knowledge workers finally getting given the trust and autonomy that we need, and deserve. Maybe you can sense there's a but coming Well, here it is. My son started at university in autumn 2019. And by spring 2020 He had been sent home to complete the rest of his year from here watching lectures on a laptop and not doing any practicals. And he's a scientist. So that was a big loss. He didn't mind watching lectures on a laptop, he found he could watch them at 1.75 speed and get through them in almost half the time. So that went down. Well. My friend's daughter had a similar experience. She was also sent home at the same time and there was no question at the time amongst me and my friends that or anyone I spoke to that this was this was not good. They were being disadvantaged by being at home and not being at university, with their peers learning together and getting the full experience. Then it came to their third year when they were doing placements. And for my friend's daughter, the experience was mard, she was working with a blue chip organisation, she secured herself a fantastic opportunity. But that meant mostly sitting on the edge of her bed with a laptop, doing her placement. And, again, there was no question that that's not good. That's less than we'd have liked for her. For my son, his placement was at Wasps, which is a premiership rugby team in the UK, and for them, in spite of the pandemic, it was it was almost business as usual. They have to test they had to test for COVID every day. But there was they came together, and they trained together, just as they would have done, and they played their matches, albeit not in front of a crowd. It seems from those two scenarios that where learning is concerned, most of us would agree that it's better done physically, we considered it disadvantageous, that the students were kept away from their universities, or placements. And it was unthinkable that professional sports team trained virtually. So why is it okay for teams who work together in business? To do that to work remotely separated from each other choosing when and where they work? Do we think that what people need at university is no longer relevant on their first day in a corporate role? Do we think that teams in our organisations can achieve their collective goals without needing to connect and train together like sports teams, I absolutely understand the benefits that we're getting in terms of flexibility for individuals, I'm concerned about what we're losing. By not being together. By not working together. We've made great strides forward in acknowledging that knowledge workers can be autonomous and responsible and deliver great results from home or elsewhere. It's swung too far now. And we're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And once again, it's the younger members of our organisations of our society who are suffering the most. And they may not even know what it is they're missing, because they've never had it, they've never experienced it. It's fine if you're very mature in your role, very experienced, you've been at the company for years, you've got a network, you know exactly what you're doing. You're loving, not having to commute you're loving, being able to have more time to do things at home. And I understand all that. If you're new into the organisation, you're new into the world of work, when you come off a teams call or a zoom call. And you're suddenly just back in your bedroom. And it's often a bedroom. Because if you're young, you don't have lots of spare space in your, in your flat or your house. So you you're often just sitting in a bedroom, completely plunged back into isolation. There's no one to lean across to and say, get a little micro lesson if you like, if you're stuck on something, you just need 30 seconds of a colleague's time to explain how something works or why we do something, the opportunity to that to do that is much harder, you're not going to set up a meeting with someone to ask them a simple question that you would historically have just leant across and asked them. And you have no idea what other people are doing around you. I interview a lot of people as you know, and if you listen to the episodes, you'll know that one of the emerging trends, themes, if you like that comes out of those conversations with people who have achieved a lot is a curiosity about the departments around them. What people are doing wandering over asking them why they're doing it, how it works. Can I help Can I have a go with it? What are you struggling with? All that stuff that happens organically when you're working together in the same space. That doesn't happen if you are working virtually. So we've got those micro lessons we've got the stuff we learn almost by osmosis. We know we learn so much from watching other people, one of the abiding memories I have from my time at Alphabet in the early 2000s was sitting at my desk after hours, you know, it's probably around six o'clock in the evening. And our Managing Director Richard Schooling, came out of his office. And he's walking through. And he came and sat down next to one of the more junior team members. And he was sat at that team members desk alongside him, showing him certain things on our system, how it worked, and how calculations were done. And that struck me and stayed with me 20 years later. So think of that what was going on there? Would that have happened if that young man had been working from home? Unlikely. And would I have witnessed that leadership behaviour of the most senior person in the organisation, sitting down with the most junior person in the organisation and showing them how to do it would I have seen that model leadership moment, if you like that leadership moment being modelled by Richard Schooling, if I had been working at home, that would, that's just one tiny, you know, split second example, if you like, of a lesson that I saw from being from being in an office environment, and I'm, how many of those happen in a day. And we also see are not to behave, of course, from from watching people. But when we, when we shut down that virtual call, and we're back in isolation, we don't see what's going on around us. And we don't benefit from the energy of other people in the room, either. I'm not sure whether you've ever been to a gym. But I confess, if I go to a public gym, and there are people in there working out, there's a good chance I'll work out a little bit harder than I would in my own home. Because there's a sense of wanting to make an effort because there's there's people around, but there's also an energy, a common energy in the gym, that you feel you can tap into and a motivation. There's all those people motivated, you can feed off that energy. And that's the same in a workplace, which is buzzing. So that's another thing that we're we're missing out on. And then what happens is, I think, I've got no measure, nothing to compare myself with. So I might think I'm working really hard. And I get to my check point, or my annual review, and I I, I tell my boss I've done, you know, I think I've done really well. And I'm completely oblivious that some of my fellow teammates are working harder, faster, achieving more than I am. So there's this sense, this lack of awareness, risk that people don't actually understand where they're sitting, how they're doing, how their contribution measures up to those of to that of their colleagues. So many, many things I think we're missing out on by not being in the in the office together, at the same time working and mostly younger people, less experienced people who are really missing out the most. And I think we might be forgetting how much of being at work is about learning from each other, being motivated by each other, supporting each other, and so on. So how can I as a leader, be very intentional about how I lead my team, to make sure that we're mitigating the potential risks of our new way of working, whilst maximising the autonomy, the flexibility and the opportunity for individuals. My thinking on how to tackle this leverages Aquilae's own paradigm relating to the four fundamental factors that along with appropriate effort contribute to enabling fulfilling performance for an individual team or an organisation. I explained our fulfilling performance paradigm, where it's derived from and how to apply it in Episode 60 to 62. What I'm about to say will make a lot more sense. If you've listened to those short side mirrors, they total 40 minutes across all three of them. So 40 minutes in total. Obviously, we're not going to go back to how we were. So if this idea resonates with you that we may be overlooking some significant benefits of working from an office. What can you do to mitigate the potential losses? Step one, consider team members as individuals and view their needs through the lens of the fulfilling performance paradigm. Their blend of current needs will be unique to them. For example, if they've been in the business 20 years, they have different needs than someone who's new into the organisation. So treat them as individuals, step one. Step two, identify those elements of fulfilling performance that require or benefit from being together in the same physical space so those elements that require us to be together in the same physical space in order to flourish. And step three, be intentional about creating opportunities for team members to spend physical time together with the express intention of addressing those needs. It's not enough to say everyone has to do one or two weeks to one or two days a week in the office, if the right people aren't in the office together, or they're spending their time in the office on virtual calls to people who are not in the office, that's not going to be effective at addressing the needs that you've identified. And as a final note, some people may not be as keen on this as others, people don't necessarily stand to benefit equally from the decisions you make. But teams are not created for the benefit of individuals. We bring people together to work in teams so that as my guest, Alan Harris, recently reminded us the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. I hope this has provided some food for thought and given you some next steps to support you to be more intentional about how you make the most of hybrid working without sacrificing all the benefits of people working closely together. As usual, I'll be interested to hear what resonates with you. Thanks for listening. You've been listening to Episode 74 of Career-view Mirror with me, Andy follows this episode shares some thoughts on our new way of working and urges some caution and intentionality about our leadership decisions to make sure that we create environments that enable fulfilling performance for all team members. We publish these episodes to celebrate my guests careers, listen to their stories, and learn from their experiences. This episode of Career-view Mirror is brought to you by Aquilae. Aquilae's mission is to enable fulfilling performance in the auto finance and mobility industry. We use our very own fulfilling performance paradigm to help you identify what steps you need to take to enable fulfilling performance in your business. Contact me directly. If you'd like to know more, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, folks, if you know people who would benefit from hearing these stories, please show them how to find us. Thanks for listening.Osman:
No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard working you are, you're never going to be able to do it on your own. It's just not possible.Paul Harris:
You know, at the end of the day, you're steering your own destiny. So if it's not happening for you, and you're seeing what you want out there, then go out there and connect.Sherene Redelinghuys:
Don't rely on others. You you have to do it yourself. You have to take control.Rupert Pontin:
If you've got an idea if you've got a thought about something that might be successful. If you've got a passion to do something yourself but you just haven't quite got there, do it.Tom Stepanchak:
Take a risk. Take a chance stick your neck out what's the worst that can happen? You fall down okay, you pick yourself up and you try again.