Culture and Process - Why One Without The Other Is Obsolete

Knowledge / Inspiration

Culture and Process - Why One Without The Other Is Obsolete

Enabling the Team
UXDX USA 2022

Friction can occur even when teams have the same intended outcome. How do you make change happen when a project seems to be tied down with weights in terms of pushing forward and the obstacles as big as everest.
This panel will provide a candid discussion with peers who will share what has worked for them for building great culture and process and why the two together are key to progress.

Marcus Andrews
Hi, everybody, I'm Marcus Andrews. I'm a Director of Product Marketing at Pendo. And super excited to talk today about culture and process. I personally excited for this one. Because you know, as in product marketing, I sit with product team a lot, and a little bit on the outside. And when I look in, I think I see a lot of like, I don't know, chaos sometimes and like tension. And it's a little like, it can be kind of crazy, right? So I am excited for this one, because I think culture and process are two things that can really help like, studies ship. And so it's really exciting for me to learn from our panel today about how they do it, and how they think about it. You know, product teams are extremely cross functional. You have all these competing asks from different teams be leadership, or engineering or customers. And you have to influence you don't necessarily have authority. It's sort of like, you know, a lot of teams can be chaotic, but it's almost like product teams are like built to be chaotic. They're like, they're like structured like designed for this.
And it's really interesting, right? Because when you get it right, and when that chaos goes well, it can actually be like a good thing. You know, it can be a pressure cooker, that creates beautiful stuff and can also explode. And I've seen both in, you know, my time working with product teams. I'm sure our panelists have as well. But I don't know how to deal with this. I don't know how to manage this. This is why I'm the moderator and not on the panel. And we have some really smart folks who are gonna help us like navigate this, I think that we can learn from. So we've got a bunch of questions, I think we're gonna have time for audience questions, too. So if you have things that you hear while we're talking or areas you want to dive deeper into, just save them for the end, and we'll get your questions answered. So okay, so I don't know if everybody's been introduced. But we've got Pamela Bettina, and Luna here. So Pamela, I'm gonna start with you, you know, when you think about the environment that like product teams are in kind of what I was talking about, and this like, you know, tension or chaos or conflict that exists? Like, is that an accurate description? Is it a bad thing? Is it a good thing? Like, what is it about? How do you feel about this? Like, you know, how do you define it?

Pamela Mead
So it can be, of course, good and bad as you describe it as chaotic. Quite frankly, I think when we talked earlier, I was challenging, that it's conflict or how to think about conflict. And I'm not a perennially optimistic person. But I do try to figure out how to turn chaos into something productive. And so I think conflict, especially between interdisciplinary teams to me is can be turned into what I call creative tension. Because I really, really believe that the most amazing innovative solutions, or even the best problem solving happens in some level of constraint. And if the teams trust each other, if they really can figure out how to work together from a product design engineering perspective, then you can really solve problems magically. And the tension can be turned into something super positive. It doesn't mean it sounds stressful, or that's exhausting words can be frustrating, but it doesn't have to be conflict. And I think my common sense when you use the word conflict is always said it has to be some kind of compromise it somehow lesser than if you had to adjust your way. But I think that's unrealistic. I think we have to always solve problems and constraints. And I'm very much a believer in the power of constraints to help us create better solutions. So I tried to turn it into something positive. And really sum up particularly focusing on this message of one team. And bringing that back, because I think we've already talked about this waterfall version of agile, I think it's, but I've seen most of the time. And so figuring out how we can really work together in something that creates that magic is how I think about it.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah, I think that the cross functional nature like Rory to was talking earlier about how teams are becoming more cross functional. And that's maybe the future is you've got these roles that have a foot in lots of different disciplines, product managers is probably the easiest one to see that they have to understand design and business and engineering and marketing and but yeah, there's tension there, right? Like because then it's you know, I think from my perspective, there's always a lot of tension. Well, not always like actually don't see it too much. But, you know, sometimes you can see tension between product managers and product marketers because they're like the swim lanes aren't defined or it's Gray, but ultimately, it's good because it's like good creative tension. Between remember when anything to add there like anything that you've seen, like in a positive way when this conflict happens with this tension happens in cross functional team

Betina Evancha
And I want to call out the comment about trust. Right? I think that is so, so important. And it enables that difference between teams that spiral and teams that come together more closely. That's the key. So, great comment.

Mamuna Oladipo
I second everything. I think that it's interesting because the tension is where the creativity just does come up. And oftentimes, what I like to see is when you do have some of that, those blurred lanes, you have engineers who can act like product designers that act like products, product that acts like engineers, whatever it may be, but they feel like, you know, I have the impetus to make that change, I see a thing and then take ownership. So I love to see that in those moments.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah. And if it bubbles up into a bad thing, and the team, like what do you do? Or like I mean, so it's a good thing, right. But sure, there's some tension there. So when if it does bubble up into a bad thing, how do you address that as the leader of a product team?

Mamuna Oladipo
I mean, I think it's a honest conversation. I think, you know, as a leader, it's important to have trust with your team so that they know that you mean everything in good intention. So it's not that you're calling them out for doing anything wrong. But it may be a boundary or something they need to be more mindful of. It's just a teachable moment.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah. Cool. All right. So there is a lot of things in the world right now that is making all of this harder to write, you know, one of them is a big shift to remote, which we've gotten sort of back and forth on the Shopify, totally remote. You guys don't have offices, right? So how do you build culture and help build an environment of trust? And in cross functional relationships when you don't have a physical office? You don't have that mingling. Like, how do you think about that?

Mamuna Oladipo
Yeah, it's an interesting one. So you know, in the beginning, so before, at the beginning of COVID, I was at Shopify was at Kickstarter, and it was a scramble, because everyone was trying to figure out what tools to use, how do you find this ability? How do you build trust, where's communication take place? What's too much, and all those fun things I'm sure that we've all been through the past couple years. But what I found is Shopify is that sometimes when you kind of let go of trying to control too much, there's a natural pace and cadence that builds upon teams, of course, you have to help support them. But in a lot of instances, you'll see teams want to build together that so then you start to say, okay, what are some things that we can do to help connect the dots and a lot of it comes down to, like, foundationally, does a team trust one another? Do they have some cadence of communication, you know, I could, as a leader say, you know, I want all my teams to work nine to five. But for global company, that is not logical, right? And so you have to let the teams who have people in the media or in Southeast Asia, wherever it may be, understand what works well for them, and find the right cadence of work. So a lot of it is trusting your team, to trust themselves to make good decisions. And when it starts to veer off the rails, you can start to help them in those instances. But I think once you do you start to trust them, you find that you get to see the creativity come up a bit more than you would in other instances.

Marcus Andrews
I mean, it's kind of counterintuitive, right? Because like, alright, Shopify is big company, you know, a lot of employees. And I think a lot of leaders probably think, as the company grows, you sort of need to lock down more, but you're like, letting go more, you're letting more things happen. Is that accurate? And then like, how does leadership feel comfortable with that? It's gonna be a little scary.

Mamuna Oladipo
Trust. I mean, that is accurate. And, you know, honestly, once as a company scales, I don't think it's realistic to try to control everything. Because you don't know all the edge cases you don't know, different circumstances, but the teams do and they know what they need. And so a lot of times, it's how you're plugged in as a leader to support those teams is the best way. So you're more of a supporting role at times. You can come in with a guidance and you can come up with recommendations but it's not a like a highly structured environment that they have to follow.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah, they like trust, they know what they need, I think is a good that's a great point. Like yes, of course, right? They do know what they need that makes sense but it's hard. Anything to add there and Pamela about like your own experience in remote or like scaling a company, I mean, how do you do agree with that? Do you have you had to do that in your own jobs and experiences leaders?

Pamela Mead
I mean, of course, were all remote. We have always had some level of remoteness because we are a global company. We have quite a few offices. So there's always somebody remote in some way shape from another. I think we've adapted quite I'd well to the tools, but we hold quite a strong belief in colocation. We have been, our offices have been open for about a year and a half, very informal. And we've been coming and going as people want it to have, for some people, it's essential because they had moved to Berlin, and we've been in lockdown. And we're living in really small apartments, and they were really suffering from depression, etc. And so having that kind of flexibility has worked really well. But we also discovering really, that there is certainly for myself, and especially, I think in the product space, there is a level of just creativity, but also expediency that happens in communication, I have not been able to figure out how to replicate using a mural board or a zoom call or yet another zoom call. So we're going to be going, encouraging people to come back and at least three days a week, just to be able to start to facilitate more of that, that exchange, and I do believe it works faster and more efficiently in some instances. So I know it's very conflicting, maybe also not everybody shares that perspective, but I've certainly for me, it's been Zoom is soul destroying. I've just, I mean, it's amazing that it works. And having the option to like, you know, work from home day that I find, but as my extroverted side, really grace from those really informal meetings, and I talk to people in the office that I just, I would never get on a zoom call or slack for so. And that was exchanges of most valuable ones.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think we can all agree that we're all zoomed out. And it's like, it is taxing, but also it's, you know, what I hear I think is like flexibility is an approach and like doing what's right for you? And like trying to, there's no right answer for any of this. So I think like understanding it, and then, you know, listening to people doing what's right for your audience. Pamela, let's see with you like one thing we're starting to talk about a little bit already. And I think one thing in the most innovative environments and product teams, any team is that people feel safe to like, fail, and, you know, try things that don't work or, you know, sound dumb, whatever it is. A lot of that is you can't have that unless you have psychological safety unless people feel real comfortable. Having the ability to mess up and fail, like culturally or maybe from a system standpoint, like how do you build that? Like, how do you help instill that environment or culture create that safety?

Pamela Mead
Yeah, I was prepping a bit for the questions. I was trying to remember what I used to call this, but I am not convinced people really want to fail. But I think we are trying to, but I think it is the thing that we will be talking about it because you do make either mistakes or you do things that don't work the way you've intended to. We do retrospectives, quite regularly, not consistently, but to really try to reflect on what worked what didn't work and adapt. And I'm a little bit late to retrospectives. But I've really seen some great opportunities and conversations come up with that, in the sum up is a very much believes in open feedback and radical candor. We're not very good at practicing it. But as a leader, I think really reinforcing that. And listening and understanding and encouraging people, maybe to look at it from different perspectives, I think has worked quite well for me and the teams that I've been working with, but I think it's always, it's because people actually try something for a particular reason, understanding what they were trying to accomplish, sometimes provides an opening to also make suggestions are built on what may have ended up not working in a way that becomes much more constructive.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah. And I think you're talking a little bit about like, you know, some modelling some behaviour to from leadership, which I always think helps a ton, right? Like when you see your leader show that it's okay for them not to be vulnerable and authentic, right, like and or fail. Like, I think that helps people to, anything to add on to that, like anything that you think helps build that safety and trust.

Betina Evancha
Yes, I think another way to think about it is to kind of reframe that the option is not to fail or not to fail, it's to fail quickly and in a smaller way as you can or to fail in a big, slow, expensive way. Right. So when we think about it as trying to avoid failure, or optimize for perfection, we'd make lots of those big, slow, expensive mistakes. And that's what I've been trying to emphasize with my team.

Mamuna Oladipo
Yeah, I mean, I would echo the modelling. I think that was the big one for me, especially at the bigining a pandemic, when, you know, I personally was moving very quickly trying to fix things for my team and help them get settled. And I just feel like, I didn't know what it meant to lead in this remote space and how to support my team, like through this transition. And I just started being very open with the team, like, you know, we're all doing this for the first time, we're going to make mistakes, I would just openly talk about the mistakes, I would make my thoughts on them, you know, what I learned from them? How I was going to apply those learnings going forward. And people were like, wow, you know, I should do that, too. You know, and I think creating that space where people like, well, if she does it, then maybe I can do it, and then it passes down to the next person. So modelling worked really well for me.

Marcus Andrews
Yes. And I mean, the pandemic helps with that, in a way at least for me, too, because, like, I mean, you like I'm on a call with my team and there's, you know, my screaming one year old because something happened, right? And it's just like, hey, this is how it is, you know, like, this is real life and I think pandemic brought some of that into, like real life a little bit more into our work world too. But alright, so, Matina, I think you're a peloton. VP of product at peloton, you guys have had, you know, it's been a roller coaster year for everybody. But not everybody has had a, you know, Sex in the City reboot, like their product features and effects in the city reboot? I don't think so. Probably not too many products. But you know, for a year like, or a couple of years, I think like everyone's had, but in your experience, like how does culture help you through that? How does you know what works? What doesn't work? Like how do you build? How do you keep the team strong and focused? And, you know, feeling together with like culture as a tool, if that makes sense?

Betina Evancha
Absolutely. It's a great question. I'm very much kind of working through this now. Yeah, extremely topical. I think the good news at peloton has been that our culture historically has been pretty strong. A great sense of ownership focus on the member collaboration, trust. So we started from a good place. And then you've got all of this external noise. Right? Coming from the market coming from I don't know, your friends at a cocktail party, coming from outside of the company and outside of your team. And one of my first approaches as a leader was entirely wrong, which was to say, stop paying attention to that, you know, just focus. And it's sort of like telling someone to calm down is actually work, I think that after having realized that this was not a good plan, I kind of brought my team together. And we spent some time brainstorming and thinking through this, and where we got to was how do we create the environment for focus inside of the team and create, you know, the counter to that notice. So that means being much more transparent than we had been in the past and talking a lot about failures, big and small, honestly, and openly, making sure that we were talking about not only our strategy, but also our path towards the strategy.

Betina Evancha
So it's not, you know, a big bang of zero to strategy. bringing people along the path, I think helps build trust, and help them feel like they are part of it. And then also just really empowering people, when you've got folks who have high ownership who trust each other who work really hard, they see a problem, they want to solve it. Right? So how can we help them do that and kind of pull apart feelings that you've started to get at bigger companies kind of naturally, unless you resist them.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah, I love that. I think yeah, exactly. Like your natural reaction when there's all this noise might be to get Okay, we got to try and block it out right. But I think if you sometimes if you address it, you like take the wind out of it, you know, you take the power away from it, right? This is like, we're gonna address it, we're gonna talk about it. And it's not we can't, we can talk about it, but we're still going to focus or create this environment for it.

Betina Evancha
Yes. And we are not our stuff. No one is there stuff, right?

Marcus Andrews
Yeah. I mean, what you know, regardless of the what's going on in the world, that's good advice. Right. Like and have to keep that approach because we're building generational companies right? It's not like it this couple of years doesn't matter in the big picture. Mamuna how, alright, so a lot of people are stressed out, you know, people are burnt out. They were juggling kids at home and health, like how do you create a culture that supports people, you know, on your team, but also is innovative and is meeting their goals and is pushing and is, you know, challenging people? Like how do you balance those two things? Are they at odds like I don't know. How do you think about that?

Mamuna Oladipo
Yeah. So when I transitioned out of into Shopify, I was completely burned out like I was done and so the awareness there for me like really hit home during the pandemic? Because I, you know, I was like, Yeah, I can do it, I can do it. I just kept taking things on. And so now I can, like, see the signs in people. But the biggest thing for me is awareness. You know, and I was telling the team, I'm like, listen, if you're not here, like, it's not like you can't get done. So it doesn't matter how hard you push yourself how hard you push your team, if they're burned out, you're getting nothing out of them. And so it's just consistently telling people that they have to find that balance for themselves, you know, we talk a lot about work life balance, balance is different for everyone. You know, a person can sleep eight hours, a person can sleep four hours, they can both feel the same, you know, it just depends on the individual.

Mamuna Oladipo
So it's really about helping your teams take a moment to pause and understand what is the right pace for them. And again, it's the individual teams that are going to understand how they operate and how they work. You know, sometimes I'll see some of my teams in Eastern State staying up late to stay with their AIPAC team. And I'm, like, you know, you're working long hours, do you really want to do that, but for them, they have a plan in mind. And I say, okay, we're gonna work late today. But we're not going to work late on another day and the day early and another day, so you have to encourage folks to, I have some workaholics on my team, and it's just kind of buddying up with them. And teaching them to see the signs of burnout to find those balances, but it's constantly communicating, it's modelling it. So you know, I'm juggling being a parent, I'm juggling all of the different things that pop up, it helps people understand that it's okay. You know, and it's okay, if you have to take that moment, something happens, don't freak out. Let's talk about it. I think psychological safety also plays a part in that, because they trust that you trust them to manage your time as adults. So there's like a base foundation of psychological safety, and then you can kind of build on top of that.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah, yeah, I think one point you made in there, which is really hard is that like, you could see someone, you could see some behavior that is like, unhealthy, like new would be unhealthy for you. Right? Like, and but you put your, you got to take your personal hat off and be like, okay, maybe it's just they are going to work. And because they have to finish this project, otherwise, it's going to, you know, bug them and bother them and make it worse for them. And like, that's just not how you would approach it. But like, what you're talking about, I mean, it's really hard, I think like, but um, that makes a lot of sense to me. Anybody you want to build on that, like how to manage that, like, you know, how you like high performing team versus burnout and, you know, taking care of themselves. So anything that's worked for you?

Pamela Mead
We definitely encourage people taking care of themselves, I think I've seen it go a little bit, almost is a leader have to be careful to also watch, like, when is it actually being a bit abused? So there's a bit of a fine line between that which I think just happens even nationally, with the blending of, you know, home life with everything else. And for some people, I know, it's I've gone out of my way to really make sure that they can not feel stressed, because I mean, in Germany, the Ketos closed and you know, what do you do is suddenly have two little kids at home. To your point, we can’t put more stress on people there because they can't do anything you know, about that kind of situation. So we've been really making sure that people feel teams feel comfortable with that. And I know the high performers will make up for it. I think it's then watching out for who could be it should be a high performer, but seems to be sliding a little bit. And this is where as leaders, we just have to pay attention to it individually, and just see how we can support them or what's missing, or are they frustrated? Or are they not clear? But what's preventing them from being a high performer?

Betina Evancha
Yeah, I think that it's really important to be able to have that individual conversation with people and say, you know, I saw you in this meeting, you seemed frustrated is something happening? How can we work through that maybe you seem burned out or the opposite, right? We're looking for this outcome from you. It seems like we're not getting there. How can we problem solve? And I think that kind of leveraging radical candour being willing to work with people one on one can really help at least with your directs It's hard with the larger team, of course.

Marcus Andrews
That's a great point too, I think and if someone is you know, doing their best they're struggling or they you know, need some help and you as a leader see that and you like pointed out and think it is very cool. You know, as an individual because it just you really do feel like someone cares about you then it's like, oh, I didn't even say anything they just noticed and want to help me out. Okay, so we are just a world of uncertainty right now. In general, it's great and so much fun, but you know, pandemics, economic challenges, like whatever we'll deal with next. Do you have like rituals or like, you know, my example is like I love our Monday morning stand up every week with my team. It's just something that we do. There's sometimes there's an agenda. Sometimes there's not. It's just this ritual that like, feels good and brings us together. Do you have rituals or like systems or processes that you swear by that helps keep you grounded in, you know, times of uncertainty or decision or we can start with you?

Betina Evancha
Yeah, it's a great question. I think when we had some of the recent reorganizations, one of the things that we realized was that, how we modelled as a cross functional team kind of product and engineering and design was affecting how the teams were treating each other, right? And so one of the things that we started doing was just, every week, we all spend time together, and we hash it out anything that needs hashing out, and the kind of improvement there has been so marked, because when we talk to kind of individual teams about strategies or where they're going, there's more alignment and more context. And that helps also inspire the folks on the teams to also treat each other with that trust, and directness and respect.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah, I'm gonna how about you any rituals or processes that you?

Mamuna Oladipo
So I am very sporadic. So, you know, yes, I think that a lot of times, you just kind of go through the weekend, you see when your team needs a little pick me up. And so it's maybe let's have breakfast together, let's have lunch together and like getting folks who are available, but because of the time zone differences, it can be hard to do a stand up at the start of the day, because it's at random time. So a lot of times just finding some quick moments to, you know, whoever's available, let's hop in and chat for 15 minutes about nothing about something. And Shopify also does this concept of bursts, where we travel to locations as a small team or as a big team. And we work on things together. And that puts us in a space together where we can kind of have those creative whiteboarding sessions that we can go off, you know, a couple of weeks later and continue to work off of that. But it just varies depending on the team.

Marcus Andrews
Oh, yeah, that's interesting. The whiteboarding sessions I'm remote and was hired and my job remote. There's also pandemic right, but like man, whiteboarding sessions I really miss you know, in my career was cool, but it's just not the same as like getting a room with the right people and having good. So let's go about do you have any systems or processes really swear by.

Pamela Mead
I'm really mixed on regular meetings, sort of part of keeping the community together globally has been rich, do some regular check ins, either with my leads, or product things or brand things or research things on a regular basis. They seem to go in waves, I know not doing them causes a problem. But doing them is sometimes also really like pulling teeth. And so it's, we're just now going through with a bit of a refresh of what works, what doesn't work, and just finding these moments for people to come together and exchange. We've just recently shortened the time for some of these meetings and created a little bit of a tighter, sort of one page or a stand up format, almost, that seems to work really well. And that people really engage and spend the time and it's just enough of that sharing. That is that is happening. But I think for me, it's always like having to invent something new in order to keep it fresh.

Marcus Andrews
Yeah, yeah. I mean, really refreshing it sort of spring cleaning, if you will, of those systems and like ruthless, really important, right? Because you can get in the rhythm of doing something and then it just becomes a thing that, oh, no one actually likes us meeting. It just time with a calendar that we don't like. So it's yeah, it's good to check in with the team on that. Okay, that's all my questions, I think. Does anybody have I don't know exactly how we do this. But I believe there's a mic that we have around. There it is. Cool. Does anybody have any questions for the panel? Anything they heard that they want to dig into a little bit, can't really see but if you have one, raise your hand and we'll get you the mic.

Marcus Andrews
So cool to see all of you. This is amazing. I haven't had a talk in person and so on. Sorry, to just say that, but I'm talking a little bit about that. It's great, isn't it? We all got masks on so but boy, it's fun.

Listeners
So I thank you so much for this panel. I really enjoy it one question, even though we're all excited to get back into person and you know, collaborate together. Is there any process or any sort of positive tension or detention that this whole pandemic has taught you that you want to carry over into an in person role but you don't want to lose if so what are those things that you've learned that are new for your team?

Betina Evancha
Wow, I have very strong feelings about this as an introvert who manages mostly extroverts. So I would say there's documentation, right? That kind of open floorplans with a ton of people in them are really overwhelming for a lot of us. And so one of the things that was kind of a good result of the everyone having to work from home was that folks who needed to do heads down work and worked best that way, found that they had the time and the space and the quiet in some scenarios. I know, this is a mixed experience for everybody. And so one of the things that I've been thinking about a lot as a, again, a manager of some folks who work really closely with hardware and need to touch it and watch people exercise. And folks who work with software, where there's this move towards remote is to think about how to help people frame that up for themselves. It is, again, one of these trust exercises, I want folks who have really high ownership to know how they work best and then go do that. Right? And so we've been thinking about how do we frame it in terms of guidelines or principles, rather than kind of you have to be in a certain number of days or something like that, in our case.

Pamela Mead
I would agree with that, certainly the flexibility feels really different. I mean, I've always worked in companies where there's never a hard rule that you couldn't work from home when needed to. But I think now there's a lot more your understanding of what is it that you need to do, and then it doesn't really change the perception of efficiency under, you know, impact. So I think getting that balance, right between making sure that there's enough of us in the office at the same time to benefit from being in the office, versus having that flexibility to adapt to the moment in time or to what you need to be doing. I think that, to me is a pretty significant shift that I think we will preserve as we go forward.

Mamuna Oladipo
Yes, thing I'd add is communication. And how you scale communication, you know, pre pandemic, you're always in office, or we were in offices, and you could have a quick meeting who walked by a desk. And my assumption, my thought now is that even for folks who are going back in the office, you probably won't all be in the office at the same time regularly. So you're going to have to think about how you have some people in meeting space in meeting rooms, and then some zoom or some other space. And all now we understand like what that feels like if you're in a room and then you maybe you're on the Zoom and how uncomfortable or how challenging is to hear person across the room or whatever it may be. I think we're going to be more empathetic to that experience. And how we scale our communications across teams.

Marcus Andrews
That was mine, too. And you took the words on around that was like as someone who's, you know, hiring remote and like wants to work remote at a company that there's you know, an officer's not always empathy for the remote person on Zoom, who can't hear what's going on in the meeting, right. But now there is because we've all had to do it. So it's a great one. We've probably got time for one more question. Anybody out there have another one for the panel.

**Listeners **
First of all, thank you so much for all the great conversation in the panel sessions. I have a question about one once in the remote situation, how do you communicate with your direct report team in the one on one in the remote?

Mamuna Oladipo
So, you know, for me, it again comes down to that psychological safety and trust. And so being remote, you're not you don't see them, you can't see the like how their hands are maybe sitting or what's going on around them. And so the first thing I always do is check in with folks to see what's going on around them what's going on in their teams, like what's top of mind for them. And sometimes it has nothing to do with work. Sometimes it's something personal and making space for them to share openly because the more they trust you, the more I think the harder the person works, if they trust the person that they're working for, believes and wants to see them supported. And so it's taking the time to address those things first, and then it's diving into the normal. And at the end for me, it's always saving time to check back into their goals. So how we tracking against any of the goals that we've set forward? How are they feeling about it? What are they excited and how can I support them? Is there a manager or leader?

Marcus Andrews
Yeah, I think that's a great point around like it's not it might not always be related to work, right? Like I mean, often times it isn't and like I think especially like, you know, younger millennials or like Gen Z to come back to that earlier conversation, they really want to bring their whole self to work, you know, and like that. And that's a good thing if they want if they want to bring their whole self to work. So, you know, embracing that and being, figuring out how to have those conversations, right, in a positive way, or whatever I think is important.

Betina Evancha
I used to dislike chit chat in the office setting, but it is so important to have kind of room for not even really small talk, just talk that isn't work centric in a remote environment. So agreed. 100%.

Marcus Andrews
Absolutely. May have time for one more before we get the hook. Anybody else? All right over here.

**Listeners **
I just had a quick question. You guys were talking about the kind of importance of kind of sensing when something's off with your kind of direct reports. And I think that's really powerful of showing that you have that kind of, I guess, emotional intelligence or that, that observation to know them enough I guess. My question is, what strategies do you use to allow people to open up and show you kind of when something's off, I mean, obviously, you can kind of tell if someone's maybe frustrated or something, but do you have any stories on how you've been able to kind of use that as a tool to get people to be even be vulnerable to you, if they haven't yet before.

Mamuna Oladipo
I use the one on ones as my baseline. So I get a sense of where they are, how they react to things like he could tell it what irritates a person, or what frustrates a person, if they're constantly blocked on a certain thing, and you can kind of coach them through or if it's a personal thing, you know, maybe they have something going on at home, like I had an individual who had a sick spouse. And they didn't want to say it, they just wanted to kind of work through it. And then in our one on one randomly, I asked, you know, what they had planned for the weekend. And it slipped out that they were going to the hospital with their spouse. And I was like, oh, you know, let's talk about that. If you're comfortable, and they just let it all out, you know, and from there, it was, you know, like small messages, like, hey, you know, I need 10 minutes to go do this thing, or I'm gonna make it up at this time. And for them, like they worked harder in the time that they were present, because they knew that, you know, I knew it was going on, they didn't have to hide it. But they felt supported through the through the process, which made it easier for them.

Betina Evancha
And it does, really, it depends on the person and kind of where they are, right? It sounds like that person, maybe it took them a minute to be ready to talk about it at work. So I think that they're the kind of simpler tool that I use is just, you know, asking a question and waiting. And if you count in your head, if they don't come out with it, can we just patients, being sensitive to what people are need at the moment is really important.

Pamela Mead
I try to do and so I've talked about this tomorrow a little bit, but we're very distributed. And but I said, but in these meetings, we're just talking about what we're once a month we bring different with all the design community together. I try to reinforce that anybody can meet with me any time and people believe that because I make a while I don't interview most of the designers anymore, I make a point of meeting every designer who joins the company, at least at one point for 30 minutes, so I can get to know them a little bit. And so they believe me when I tell them, if you need to talk to me and you killed my schedule, and you want to cry, send me a Slack message. And I've always make time and I always will do make time over configure that. And I think that's the way in which, you know, I because I can't see everything we are the biggest organization that I can invite them in to come talk to me and people do trust that they can and find it valuable. So it's reinforcing the messages and creating the easy space for them to come and talk to me about anything.

Marcus Andrews
I would say, to build on all of that, like I had a manager who was very cool and collected and would never get frustrated, never get frustrated, even when things were extremely frustrating. It felt like it made me feel like then I did not have you know, I couldn't do that too. Right? So like, now my manager, you know, he gets frustrated when things are frustrating. And he keeps it real and he's like this is you know, when he will show that emotion I think and then that gives me the permission to do it too. You know, so I think it's modelling and like, knowing that you have the permission to be real and talk about things I think helps do so. All right, we are out of time. Let's hear it for the panel. This was really good you guys. Thank you so much.