Building Effective Remote Teams with Saleem Siddiqui

April 10, 2020

Building Effective Remote Teams with Saleem Siddiqui

Building Effective Remote Teams with Saleem Siddiqui

Learn some of the keys to building, engaging and managing remote teams effectively.

Saleem Siddiqui is a software developer, agile practitioner, and coach. Through a career spanning a few tech boom and bust cycles, he's delivered software for healthcare, retail, government, and pharmaceutical sectors as parts of teams large and small. Lately, his focus has been organizational metamorphosis through microservice architecture -- using tiny pieces of software to cause large changes over time.

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Twitter: @s2il

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spk_1:   0:00
Episode 19 UN Building Effective Remote Teams With Salim City Welcome to Brave by design. I'm your host, LL Oracle, Ill. I'm an entrepreneur, coach and speaker. I love thinking, Bake. Exploring the power of personal development and sharing the best strategies from about leaders and pioneers and business to empower ambitious women and allies to bravely rise and thrive. Let's get started, Ladies and gentlemen, I am so excited to welcome you to this episode of Brave by design. As you know, we have been doing a series of special episodes circling and focused around Cove it 19 and how weakened best adapt how we can thrive in these really scary, uncertain, challenging times. And with that mission in mind, I'm really excited to talk to you about today's guest. His name is Saleem Siddiqui. He is a software engineer, agile practitioner and coach. Threw a career spanning ah, few tech boom and bust cycles. We have all been there. He's delivered software for healthcare, retail government in pharmaceutical sectors as parts of teams large and small. Lately, his focus has been organizational metamorphosis through micro service architecture, using tiny pieces of software to cause large changes over time, Salim and his family live in suburban Chicago in a home that is ruled by his too unruly cats. Isn't it always that way? Hey enjoys his work, a SP R that takes him around the world and often writes about his experiences occasionally in the third person. Salim. Welcome to break by design.

spk_0:   1:45
Well, thank you for having me, and it's good to see you.

spk_1:   1:48
It's good to see you, too. Um, I'd love to tell the audience I always like to talk a little bit about guests that I know. And one of the the way that we met was actually in Chicago in October. We were both at a women's empowerment event of run by chick tack on workplace harassment, And what I loved is that you were one of the very few if Onley male allies who came to that event, and it really stuck out to me because I I want to encourage men to attend these types of events and to really learn. And um, so thanks for doing that And thanks for being such a great ally to women.

spk_0:   2:28
Of course. I mean the only part that, if somewhere said about this is he said that that was the only person there who identified as male. I wish that wasn't the case, but I certainly was happy to be there and happy to make your acquaintance and, uh, would have been nice if he had met in person. I know we had a plan to do that in April, but

spk_1:   2:44
I know not happening now, so But it's good to see you

spk_0:   2:48
virtually for this.

spk_1:   2:50
Thank you. Good to see you as well. So what I wanted to talk with you about today is your expertise around working with and managing teams that are geographically distributed. I know that you have done this on the small groups and big groups and sort of share with us some of your experience and what you've learned along the way.

spk_0:   3:09
Yeah, sure. So first off, I want to preface this because you're having this in these really unprecedented times, As you said is, ah is to say that while these times are indeed unprecedented, the lessons that we have learned and the people who have been doing this for a while, have learned are applicable even in these times, for which, frankly, there is no pre existing playbook. I don't want to overstate the point sometimes, and I'm sure you're seeing this in your professional feeds. On your conversations. People are undermining the impact of this current, frankly, crisis and pandemic that we're in by saying, Oh, it is just like ex I mean at me, medical and pharmacological level people are equating it with various friends of flu, and that's just factually wrong. I'm not a medical practitioner, but there's ample evidence both statistical and medical out there are they just say that this is not like your regular seasonal flu. Challenging is, that is, and there are other people Maurin, my realm in the organizational transformation or simply soccer organizational level, were saying, Well, this is just like remote working that isn't true, that's that's that is minimizing the impact of this crisis. I don't want to. I want to lead by saying that I don't want to say that anybody, least of all I have a playbook that I'm just going

spk_1:   4:35
to reveal to your audience and every problem is

spk_0:   4:38
going to go away. I don't want to sound as facetious and nonchalance of that at all. However, to contract that as I said. There are things that we have learned collectively as a society, and especially in the tech sector, which I'm a part of that are indeed applicable with tweaks, with with humility where the playbook doesn't work, you, frankly, respectfully set it aside or toss it aside and start afresh. But you don't wanna unlearn lessons that have stood the test of time. So some things to your question that I have found valuable, um, the first thing that I would say it's prepare. Of course, we're having this conversation. End of March. That sounds like advice about holding that door when the horse has already

spk_1:   5:23

spk_0:   5:24
But obviously, but I think we're gonna put this crisis behind us. I'm full, open confidence and optimism and hopefully not unreasonable, often optimism. But based on events, as I'm learning about it that we will as a society we will put this behind us. We will come out. My fear, then, is my concern. If you will forget the lessons about this on and go back to status cool and we will not as organizations or as society, certainly the deck sector of the society. We will not invest in things that this crisis really should teach us to invest in to invest in, uh, location, independence and geographical independence when times are good. Um, what might that mean? That might mean think, such as just beefing up your infrastructure, your tech infrastructure. And that's one thing that I've seen are organizations that have done it well, have withstood not only your regular business disruptions but even cataclysmic events like this better than organizations for whom this becomes a calamity. So I'll give you one example of things that frankly surprised me. Um, an organization. Ah, a large bank. They recently I was on a another webinar with them and they in their defense and kind of given kudos to them. They were trying their best to keep employees secluded at home, working remotely,

spk_1:   6:47
whatever the

spk_0:   6:47
situation might be. But the part that really got to me was they had done it part of their for a large segment of their engineering task force. They had accomplished that, but they were just ruling it out for their call center. And that puzzled me because I would have thought call centers would already be

spk_1:   7:04
directly this

spk_0:   7:05
first, because that just makes common sense but it hadn't the soccer they were using to take inbound calls. Ah, and how the call get sequence and who gets what that was. Frankly, the software itself didn't allow geographical distribution or connecting to it from a direct,

spk_1:   7:21

spk_0:   7:22
different places. You have to be on the corporate network to connect to that. Which of the technologists, I can tell you that's just a contrived obstacle. There

spk_1:   7:29
is technology,

spk_0:   7:30
technological reason that has to be the case. You may have an economic reason, saying I will run my call center cheaply. If everybody commutes to one large building

spk_1:   7:40

spk_0:   7:40
I may be able to buy that. But then my next question to you, as a technology would be, What can you do if any kind of disaster, whether in that building or transportation leading to that building? Or as it turns out, society at large disrupts that. How will you run your call center? So, I mean, I don't wantto found two disparaging or kind of not appreciated over that company is doing. But those are the kind of things that I find sadly far too frequently. Is organizations not investing in Ah, what a night inside can become called common sense measures about making sure your workforce is in general productive, regardless off where did geographical location might be because you frankly cannot control it at all situation that they've learned anything at all from this crisis. That's the one thing we have humbly learned.

spk_1:   8:32
Yeah, and it's interesting. I mean, I hear what I hear you talking about is a lot about future proofing, the future of work where we're headed, and the companies that have invested in saying, You know what? We are going to think about where we're headed in 5 10 years, and we're going to start to invest in that infrastructure. And other companies who say no buts and seats get to the office and here we are, and it's like, Well, you've got no choice. So, Salim, what are those? Some of those things when we talk about infrastructure, what are some of the things that you would recommend that you think are good things for companies, maybe who are a little bit late to the game or who are already putting things together but want more to think about in this area? Um, what should they be thinking about?

spk_0:   9:20
Okay, So first of all there are There are things which require people to be, as you said, butts in seats people to be in a particular place. And of course, as this crisis unfolds, we're finding out the rial heroes in our society the healthcare people,

spk_1:   9:35
total first

spk_0:   9:35
responders. The lab researchers were working on vaccines. Now, obviously those jobs you cannot just make them location independent. Definitely not tomorrow. But maybe not even in here. So again, kind of putting humility first, I don't want to make a solution sound expansive or having Maur ah, applicability than it really deserves. So first thing that I would recommend is recognize which parts of your business absolutely fundamentally are tied to specific locations keeping being in locations. That could be the person who ah delivers meals in the afternoon. That could be the person if you were in the telecommunications sector. Who goes out and fixes a broken power liner until the communication line. Those jobs driving the truck that has the repair personnel and being one of those repair people, those jobs are not gonna become code and code location independent anytime soon. So first thing I would recommend to businesses is please isolate and do a reckoning. Do this in times of calm with jobs are mission critical and are geographically tied to a specific location or in some places as repair people traveling to areas which may be quarantined or who knows. I mean, you may not be able to get from point A to point B and you think creatively about that. You may be surprised how many jobs actually aren't in that critical location. I'm in I t. So I would say many jobs in I t are artificially tied. Two locations And, uh, I've been as part of the agile movement for closer to Well, it's been only officially dazzle moving about 19 years, but I adopted it in the middle of the last decade, and there's great things happening there. However, one thing that people really misunderstood there was this whole open office and Cole

spk_1:   11:30

spk_0:   11:31
we'll be in the same office. No walls, no cubicles. And there were good reasons. Um, without sounding too facetious. Imagine an office full of people with no cubicle rolls right now, that pretty much sounds dystopian

spk_1:   11:43
in the current moment. We That's

spk_0:   11:44
the last thing we need but many organizations that that's the way we work. Everybody shows up to work. We do our little stand up for our scrum routine in the morning. What are you going to do today? What did we do yesterday? What are blockers? And we're going to do this in a nice tight huddle, standing in a circle shoulder to shoulder. All of that sounds like a recipe for disaster

spk_1:   12:04
in the current tax. But if your entire

spk_0:   12:06
organization this opinion towards operating that way, what do you do differently? So one thing I would encourage organizations to answer your question is, please separate those tests that are literally tied to locations that

spk_1:   12:19
you are physically tied to the location

spk_0:   12:22
correct versus those that aren't. And I would say many jobs and 90 frankly, are not on then. So once you do that reckoning that that analysis, then you can go about doing things such as, Well, how do we make things? How did he take this on optionally when we can? So, um, my going joke is I say I tell teams. Hey, how about you do work from home? Thursday is just like you do know meeting Wednesdays and Then they asked me, What's that? No meeting Wednesday, and then it allows me to say you're not doing no

spk_1:   12:54
meeting with this. That's a little bit of

spk_0:   12:57
a joke, because obviously the other thing that we complain about her too many meetings. Right? So the first thing I say is institute A some pick a day. I usually like Wednesdays because the hump day, middle of the week and you can say no meetings on that day from people can get work done, right?

spk_1:   13:11

spk_0:   13:11
just like that. You can have remote work Thursdays. Now, just No, don't make that the same day. Because the remote work day we'll have a lot of meetings. In fact, you might want to preferentially put many off your recurring meetings on that remote day for people who in any way we're gonna be in meetings in his room like you and hire right now. Um, this is a great example. You and I are in different

spk_1:   13:33

spk_0:   13:33
and we're having this conversation. You're our audience is gonna be all over the world. None of this detracts from this information exchange that we're having. So why not adopt that as an organizational tenet? and do this regularly. One day, a week de jour. Let's make a rain. Ah, we'll work remotely on Thursday. Of course, it will vary my teens, very by organizations. But even having that organizational capacity and wherewithal to do that might set you up. It's little things I know offering, but sound like

spk_1:   14:02
Oh, no, that's building the infrastructure that we need to learn how to do it because of that. Go ahead, Salim.

spk_0:   14:11
I was going to say, When you do that, let's say a new organization again. Hard to do in these time because we're already old home bone. But in code and code, normal times. If Inauguration said we're gonna have work from home Thursdays. Well, the very first time you tried just gonna go pretty bad, I can tell you that because software won't work, your network will probably be slower than you anticipated. People will have unanticipated network connection challenges. They will realize how many of their tools that they use longer tools. I

spk_1:   14:40
just don't know what a long into the VPN

spk_0:   14:43
correct they will. They will have all those problems. But guess what? This will be worse on the first day less about on the next week and less bad three or four weeks down. That's how you flex your organizational muscles simply by doing it. The other thing that I would say you could go back and get back to your question about things to do is, um, we live in this very in one sense of high society where we're abandoning this notion of binaries, right? I'm gender fluidity, that thing in this time. We also think about when we talk about how society should be structured economically. Well, at least some of us for many of us, hopefully understanding. It's not just, for example, one extreme capitalism works another between socialism. There's a lot in the middle of become fluid in many dimensions. But I find surprisingly, in my work we have become. We are still very less fluid when it comes to location in defense. It's either you are color Kate ID or your distributed, and there's nothing in the middle. And that's one binder rethinking that. I would like to just dispel and dismantle. Let's call it becoming location fluid, so there's a lot in the middle. Ah, as I said, having one day remote working is one thing. You can also have teams where most of the team is co located, but a few members who can be, uh without, of course, disrupting service is and productivity the remote. And so that's it allows you to hire the best person. I mean things. I think about the positive impact to recruiting right now. How many people, Uh, maybe somebody in recruiting. Can you answer that more fully? I know I help out in the recruiting, but I can say occasionally we have to say no to a person because they're in different city and they currently cannot relocate. But I just think about how many wonderful people were unable to incorporate into our team simply because kind of inane insistence that you have to be in a certain zip code, right? I mean,

spk_1:   16:33
how made up

spk_0:   16:34
is that how contrived of that?

spk_1:   16:36
And I feel like we're going to see that change. If this, you know, we'll see what happens. But if this goes on for, you know, prolonged periods of time, I think we're going to see people be forced to make that shift. And I agree with you that I think it's it's an arbitrary, um, line we've drawn in the sand and it does really attract better talent. Now, let me ask you this. People are working from home right now. Some people, they're old pros at it. I've been running my own business, working from home since 2013. So to me, this is like it's like business as usual. What can you tell the people you know who are new to this? Do you have advice for if just for the person who's trying to, like, figure out how to structure their day? And I know on top of that, people have responsibilities. They have family at home. They may be worried about how to get groceries. They, you know, may have other things on their mind. And so with all due respect to those limitations that we currently have, what are some advice for people to be productive if they're not used to this environment?

spk_0:   17:42
Correct. First thing I would say, and I hope it doesn't sound fluffy itself care. And I know you and I are big proponents of that, and sometimes it gets brushed aside is yeah, that's just tree hugging talk or whatever, But I do want emphasize that, and I will take a very economic position, pretty cut and dried.

spk_1:   17:59

spk_0:   18:00
which is, if you are not taking care of yourself in times when you are working, what is hopefully a better setting for you than coming to work? I mean, that's the premise. I'll take that remote working is more personally appealing to be the work her to the employee than commuting to work

spk_1:   18:19
first. A lot of people it is,

spk_0:   18:21
Yeah. I mean, I assume that for the vast majority of people it is now, you're the kind of person who loves going to work and can't actually cannot work remotely world. And maybe this advice doesn't apply to you. But the point is, if you are unable to exercise self care and do what it need, what you need to do to take care of yourself first and foremost, then we have a big organizational problem because in a sense, we're already I'm gonna take an economic example. The Fed cuts interest rate when they cut it to zero. The next thing they only can do they can start giving people free money. That's obviously there's nowhere else to go. It's kind of the Kwan drum and organization would be if it made if the organization made the shift to remote work or flexible work. And then the employees either didn't do their part or didn't feel empowered enough to do their part to exercise self care. Well, then where do we go next? If you're stressed out at work, if you are unable to take care of other things, whether that's getting your dog walker to show up on time or picking up your kids from the school because that was part of responsibility because you're at home and you're not able to manage those other things, and that is causing you increased stress. Well, now that becomes a problem for your organization, because what else is the organization going to do if you can't manage that? So first thing self care like take care of those things, it might be as simple as finding time to do your laundry when

spk_1:   19:44
really, what s o for you? Because a lot of women talk about self care, and I and we don't hear men talk about it as much. So I would love to hear from your perspective what is self care. Look like,

spk_0:   19:58
um, So again, not being an expert, I can I can speak as more of a more or less of a consumer of what self care means to me.

spk_1:   20:05
Is it?

spk_0:   20:06
You need to put yourself in a head space. Assuming on apologies, this is mostly limited to people in the I T. Or in the information sector, where we work with our mind with our brains. Put yourself in the head space where you can work. If I could just distill it down, that's what it is now. For some people, it might mean that they need to go for a walk or a run in the morning. For others, it might mean I need to make climate home. I really feel obligated to make my kids breakfast. Otherwise, I'm just not gonna be in the headspace. Well, then, find time to do those things. Because if you show up, if your remote and I'm working with you and maybe I'm remote, or maybe I'm in the office and you and I show up on a remote meeting at nine, where we really have to get something done, but you're not in the head space where we can have a valuable conversation. We can't we can't be productive. And at that point it's actually defense worst because I don't know what else to give you. Organizationally, what else can be duty for you? Get you to that head space where you can not be productive so again to your question, without getting too technical. It's do whatever you need to do to find your mental equanimity that makes you want to work because

spk_1:   21:21
I'm in a zone.

spk_0:   21:23
Get into the zone. Exactly. That's probably best said. You want to do whatever it takes, and that's kind of very from person to person. But it's meditation or yoga or going on for a walk. Or maybe just getting up late because you're not commuting that day. So give yourself the luxury to get a plate if that gets you into. But

spk_1:   21:38

spk_0:   21:38
that and do that first. Ah, the second thing I would say for people who for whom this is all new. It's embraced it. It's novel. Many people I know home office can be called a luxury up. Maybe it's a privilege, but find your little spot. It could be a really you're comfy chair where you can just say it if you work on a laptop or whatever, but obviously good posture is

spk_1:   22:00
I was pretty important.

spk_0:   22:02
It's very important, and so do those things, like find your little niche and just set it aside for work. And I know it's hard when you're working from home. Those two things blend bleed into each other, your work life in your home life. But try to find some palpable, perhaps even physical separation. Sound little bit paradoxical. We ask you to work from home, but then we're asking you to make a work home office.

spk_1:   22:25
Now I agree. It's helpful. Yeah, it's helpful,

spk_0:   22:28
and it doesn't have to be a huge production. It can be a small space that you designate. This is where I'm gonna work. And physically, when I move away from that space, I'm not at work anymore. And give yourself the lunch break. Give yourself whatever that tea or coffee break or whatever you do at work. Allow yourself those little luxury, that few in a meeting, specially when you're in meetings remotely, they tend to get back to back, and you don't have those physical barriers that you haven't worked to act as natural separators, right? You're on office. If you're one meeting is in room and wing A and the others and we'll be everybody know. Then they will give you the 10 minutes That means it takes to go

spk_1:   23:07
get a

spk_0:   23:08
home. It's Yeah, it's not gonna happen. So you have to call out and say, Can you please have our meetings start at five past the hour and at five before the hour, and you have to a little bit kind of itself. Advocacy is a good thing. Part

spk_1:   23:21
of that

spk_0:   23:21
getting into that head space. Um and also, I would say, a little bit of regiment. Ah, regimen goes a long way. Eso again. There's a lot of jokes and means about their about working in pajamas or whatever, but I would say a t least try to make an effort you because you might be on video. Call it nothing else,

spk_1:   23:42

spk_0:   23:43
Just whatever. Whatever qualifies for a professional at higher, it will give you a little bit more meaning. I know sometimes it helps just mentally and also, frankly, it tells you that I'm dressing up for work and you again kind of called it off at five PM or

spk_1:   23:57

spk_0:   23:58
Whatever you're quitting, time it and then you can go back to reading your pajama than playing with.

spk_1:   24:02
You know, Salim, I can't agree with you more on that. It's funny because I always hear people say, Oh, you work from home so you must work in your pajamas and I'll say No, I get up every morning I get dressed, make breakfast. And then, exactly as you said, I sit in this very room we're looking at right now, and I do my work and I make a point of getting up every hour and walking around because otherwise we can sit here for four hours and that's not good. And when we're done, leave the room shut the laptop. Don't look at it again, but those routines are really important. And I know can seem fun for people to be like, Oh, I'm in my pajamas And yeah, maybe that'll be a fun for a couple of days, but get into the routine of No, this is my work mode because it really helps.

spk_0:   24:49
Yeah, so hopefully those tips how people get started, and after a while you will. People will warm up to it. It doesn't feel natural. It's gonna be different. Obviously, there's no water cooler conversations, the other parts of goingto work and actually interacting and more or less physically rubbing shoulders with each other. Lucas not allowed to do that anymore, but that the metaphorical water cooler or coffee break conversation where a lot of these great ideas come to fruition, that's not gonna happen automatically, right? And that's something leadership and leaders have to realize is, Well, it's so much of innovation happens accidentally, and those accidents happen when you create the spaces and the times for them so hard. If that's gonna happen when everybody is remote or most everybody's like everybody is remote. And so another thing that I would say organizationally is having, you know, you have hosted this. Those virtual happy hours and things

spk_1:   25:45
of that

spk_0:   25:45
nature again sound like silly and gimmicky. But I can't even begin to tell you how important that if for organizational innovation and I'm talking concrete stuff right, this is not touchy feely stuff. You need that time where we don't have a regular daily check in, we just shoot the breeze. And in the middle of that you tell me something you tried today and that gives me an idea and I run with it and I don't know, three weeks later we might have the seeds for a new organization initiative we have to create. The space is on the places for that to happen. And that's one of the challenges when you're working remotely that you have to be a little bit more intentional and deliberate about it, because again, does those spaces where we usually have those conversations are just not available.

spk_1:   26:27
There's no running into anyone in the hall, any of that stuff. And I love that being intentional about creating some sort of structured, unstructured time, I guess is the way to, and

spk_0:   26:39
we're we're social too, right? I mean, we have social needs. And if somebody has a birthday course, we can bring whatever sugary treat the otherwise would have done if in the office. But we can certainly have a virtual one, right? So I know you have again hosted this. I I actually have one later today about an employee colleague of mine is moving on to a different place.

spk_1:   27:00
We're having

spk_0:   27:00
a virtual happy hour later for the under

spk_1:   27:02
Friday. So those things

spk_0:   27:04
are great and they're necessary. Obviously, we're we are social animals we can forget are kind of evolutionary needs. We need the human touch.

spk_1:   27:12

spk_0:   27:13
well, we cannot have the physical touching these days. We certainly can have the virtual

spk_1:   27:17
and make a point to attend them if they're happening. If your companies trying to do that, please make a point to attend. I have been on plenty of calls with people where their kids have run in and it's okay, guys, if anyone's like worried about the kids showing up for saying hi, don't worry about it. Everyone's going through it. You know, Salim, I'm

spk_0:   27:37
I like to say is if every day is bring your kids to work day now.

spk_1:   27:40
Exactly. They see what they see. What? Mom and Dad. D'oh! You're so silly. Let me ask you this. Is there any difference or any advice like for small teams versus really large distributed teams? Are there different things that you would recommend based on the size? Or is it all kind of the same advice?

spk_0:   27:58
It is different. I mean, I would hope large teams like really large teams. Ah, funnily enough the team that I'm currently a part of his large and already distributed in three or four, I think four continents. And

spk_1:   28:11

spk_0:   28:11
that I can't even count So we actually while we were hit I mean, I don't want to undermine the problem, your face. But I would say we were better positioned than most people because much of our work was remote collaboration using kind of collaboration tools. Ah, and, uh, we just continued to use them. There were some VPN and remote access related issues. We solve that by and large within the first couple of days. Actually. Also, for a large team, I would say to your point, you should probably be doing it Maur preferentially or more aggressively with more intention and you ways because just a statistically, if you are a larger team, chances are just high that a either a significant member of that team or a significant support shin of that team would need to go quote unquote off line for any off a variety myriad number of reasons. And then how do you remain productive? So you should be probably doing it anyways. It's also high likelihood that if you're really a large team like hundreds of people, you're probably already to strip it of atrocities countries. So you probably already have to solve those problems just as your regular day job. So when something like this shows up, or even when you migrate towards revolved towards them or distributed model, your natural geographical makeup, hopefully is a is an asset there allows you rights for a smaller team. It can be more challenging because a smaller team probably have a lot more of the camaraderie as a zoo mortar that bills that keeps the team together. And I think it is. It just takes a little bit more intentional intentionality around it. I'm a big fan of diversity. Obviously, that's something that we

spk_1:   29:48
have a

spk_0:   29:48
passion about. And I would say one thing that I can tell a small team and you can have a high degree of diversity in a small team. Go for it in your formative phase, in the kind of the storming norming forming sense like when you're forming a team, go for high intentionally go for high diversity because that will expose the scenes in your team where you're the weakest when you have to go. And it's not an if when you have to go. Divers, um, a little bit blunt about it. If you all have a bunch of 20 something single people in the team, you're not gonna know when somebody has to stay home for the sick kid or a sick parent. You're just not going to know organizationally and well that I would say that's a human problem, too. But one might say, even before that or after that, As an aside, that's an elimination problem. If my team is so brittle that it can't even withstand somebody having to stay home for a day, well, then I've got an organization, right? I mean, that's the productivity problem. Regardless of what he may feel about that of human beings, we have to stay productive and kind of keep plugging along and not let the productivity grind to a halt. So I would say one of us is often the case. The general notion off aspire to make and try to make more diverse teams, gives you the resilience, even if you're a small five person team. Do you know that? Okay, if somebody has to stay home because effects how do we move? Keep moving. If somebody has to pick their kid up at 2 p.m. How do we have that five PM meeting? So you will have to solve those problems if you have a diverse team, If you're not diverse, you will never think about it and never solve it. And then your head for something like this and you have no answers.

spk_1:   31:32
I love how you're talking about this and that analogy made to the team the lack of diversity actually making a team very brittle and hard to adapt and hard to shift in that point about if you guy if he if it's the end of the world because one person can't show up or because one person has to leave early for, you know, family need or medical appointment, whatever it may be, what does that say about the organizational structure? Exactly. And the notion point

spk_0:   32:03
the notion I stay is it sometimes become Not much. Not frequently, I would say, but occasionally I see people Acree Cious Lee adopt a lot of power to AA lot off information that they have about the organization, specifics and business knowledge and subject matter expertise and then the jokingly and I actually used this line over lunches. If you're too important to fire, you're also too important to promote. Guess what? You're never gonna do anything higher, because if you have a created so much knowledge in your mind that you can never be let go of the team, you can't go to a different thing. So don't

spk_1:   32:41
you have

spk_0:   32:41
that position? It's easy for me to say, as a consultant, because my job is to coach others. But sometimes I go to organizations where one person is a key person and I try to sometimes with humor, but often with earnestness. Try to say, You know what? This is an organizational problem. What if this person wins the lottery? What if the

spk_1:   32:59
organization's hit by a bus right

spk_0:   33:01
back where I like to use positive metaphor

spk_1:   33:03
for the positive ones are better than getting hit by a bus. I apologize. Everyone. Yeah, I

spk_0:   33:08
like to make that an organizational challenge and for good reason, because they stick a lot better. Telling somebody that they won't get promoted or they shouldn't buy lottery tickets doesn't fly.

spk_1:   33:17
But telling the organizational

spk_0:   33:18
leaders that Joe or Jane over there has got all the knowledge based on the last 15 years of working closely with this key system. That's your revenue generating system. But outside of him or her, nobody knows anything,

spk_1:   33:30
right? That's an

spk_0:   33:31
organization problem. So literally to the point. How do we become a distributed team? I've seen situation where one person is the key information kind of found in

spk_1:   33:41
the lynch.

spk_0:   33:42
Exactly the linchpin. And I say, Well, Beston organization, risk of the highest magnitude.

spk_1:   33:47
What are

spk_0:   33:48
you going to do about that organization? So of course, when you are intentional about those things, when you have to become a more distributed team are more fluid. In this whole spectrum of located, worse is distributed. You find yourself already well provided for when you have addressed those other. This is kind of like insurance. We all have it. None of us have has it with the intention of using it.

spk_1:   34:10

spk_0:   34:11
so and again in software. In my world, there was things like disaster recovery that people do People plan for disaster. There is a hole branch of sock for ah, that's called chaos engineering, whose sole purpose is to introduce in a very deliberate way chaos into your system by bringing servers down by breaking that connection, that Cedric causing actual chaos to see how things work and then the weaknesses you find you fix them so our organizations are no different. We have to deliberately introduced some chaos and see how we respond and what it tells us humbly and with result fixed what it teaches.

spk_1:   34:46
You know, when you talk about someone who is over specialized and who is a keeper of all this information, it's funny because I always talk about that Salim from the other side of the lens when we know that one of the reasons the research shows us one of the reasons women do not rise and organizations is because they think they have to over specialize in being experts in their field. But to your point, when you are the expert, when you were the only one, you're not going anywhere.

spk_0:   35:16
You're not going anywhere, and that's that's gonna be from a career standpoint. As you said, it can be very limiting specially, I would imagine for women because, uh, I mean there's unfortunately, societal pressures and organizational pressure's on making women proved their expertise way beyond they ought to in an unfair way. And that has the inevitable side effect that the person in question the woman in question will specialize. Hyper, specialize. And then the side effect the pendulum things the other way. Well, now you're hyper specialized in X so you can't go

spk_1:   35:46
in. You can't do it. It's double it. You know, It's like you can't win this way. You can't win the other way. So it does also take that organizational change. Oh, my gosh, This is just flown by. I love talking to you. I'm so sad. I won't see you in April. I'm hoping that, you know, next time I'm in town, hopefully this summer

spk_0:   36:05
really taking a rain check on,

spk_1:   36:07
we'll take a rain. You're postponing. Yeah. Do you have a couple pieces of key takeaways? You want to leave the audience with about remote work?

spk_0:   36:17
So one thing again, we're talking in the current times, the current times are not business as usual. So I just want to say that this is unprecedented. Um, I'll address this to business leaders and organization leaders. If you have a playbook, please abandon that or a t least don't read off the I've had people tell me we can't allow people to work remotely because we don't have permissions. Um, the virus doesn't care about permissions. Neither should we. We need to think in a novel and creative ways, right? So that's a That's a plea to the organization leaders. Um, it's gonna feel weird. It's gonna feel weird in the current times and allow it to feel weird, allow it to kind of wash over you and then fashion and see what what new insides it gives you. It's not going to feel normal because it isn't normal. And, ah, the other thing again, I said that on the outside, I will say it again, really worth repeating. We will come out of this. We will go back to a better definition of normal. What we What would we have learned? Would we have learned to use this, uh, catastrophe to learn something new about ourselves and the organizations and the societies we create or will be just a You know what? It's behind us. Thank God it's over. And in a sense, it is about what kind of society is do we want to create, especially as technologists people in the thought hard. The people in the information tech sector

spk_1:   37:48

spk_0:   37:48
are we want to create the kind of society is where you want to live is determined by sense of community by human connection? Or is it more by obligation? You have to live in this zip code, and you have to goto working. That's supporting. Your kids must go to work there because you don't know any better. I would liketo, at least of the technology, has created a society which is more the former where you do create that bonds. We are social animals. You do need human touch, but it should be one words willful where we choose the connection they want to make, not obligated to get in a particular mode of transportation to go to a particular building toe work otherwise just will fall apart.

spk_1:   38:26
So those

spk_0:   38:26
are brittle societies, and I would hope that what we learnt collectively and kind of do a little bit of introspection is individual ever. What can I do to contribute towards creating a society where geography something that people, all people across the spectra, even across the economic spectra, can choose? People can choose to live in a certain place can choose to socialize the way and also can choose to contribute to economies and unlimited ways. And it will take a lot of doing. But I hope that ah, that we come out of this better in terms of a society in a technologically advanced society. Then we went into this.

spk_1:   39:04
I love it. Salim, how can people find you?

spk_0:   39:07
The best way to get in touch with me is to, ah licked. And so I'm on LinkedIn s city. Get s I B D I Q u. I just give me a link. I don't think I've ever rejected

spk_1:   39:22
a any

spk_0:   39:23
connection. There might be a few spam ones that I have but an actual human being who connects with me. I accept that that's the best way to get in touch with me. And ah, you can also send me an email. Siddiqi Darcy Lee. That s I d D i Q u i dot essay out if you have a female or just follow me on Twitter at s to Ohio. I'm not a very prolific tweeter. I will not tell you exactly what I need are

spk_1:   39:49
about to

spk_0:   39:50
eat But I do tweet occasionally, but those tree would be the best.

spk_1:   39:55
Awesome. And we will put links to all of those in this show Notes If you want to connect with Salim Thank you so much for joining us on this episode of Thank you. I want to thank you for joining me and remember to subscribe to your favorite app so you can stay up to date. And I would love your review. If you've enjoyed this episode, please leave a review and comment on apple podcasts. You can also keep in touch with me online. You confine me on Lincoln and I'm also on Instagram at force of Bad Ass Irie. All that information will be available in the show notes until next time. Stay brave.