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Episode 020: A Conversation on Remote Work with Neil Miller

A Conversation on Remote Work with Neil Miller

Join Sarah Noll Wilson and Neil Miller as they explore the future of work, and both the opportunities and challenges presented by remote and hybrid work.

About Our Guest

Neil Miller is the Director of The Digital Workplace. He has talked with over 200 of the best thinkers and leaders in the world about how to rebuild work for the digital age by redefining productivity, collaboration, leadership, technology, and culture.

He’s a prolific thought stealer and curator of the most amazing list of check-in questions in the world.

Episode Transcript

Sarah Noll Wilson 0:02
Welcome to this week’s episode of Conversations on Conversations, where each week we explore a topic to help us have stronger, more meaningful conversations with ourselves and with other people. I’m your host, Sarah Noll Wilson, and joining me this week is Neil Miller, and we will be talking about all things remote, hybrid, digital workplace, and in a really ironic, fun twist of fate, we tried to record this last week and we- I was having, when I say “we,” I was having some technical issues, so we’re excited to be back. But a little bit about Neil before I bring him on. Neil Miller is the director of The Digital Workplace. He has talked with over 200 of the best thinkers and leaders in the world about how to rebuild work for the digital age by redefining productivity, collaboration, leadership, technology, and culture. He’s a prolific thought stealer, and curator of the most amazing list of check in questions in the world. Welcome. Hi, Neil, welcome to the show.

Neil Miller 1:01
Thanks, Sarah. Glad to be here.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:03
What, what else would you want people to know about you?

Neil Miller 1:07
Oh, man, just, I’m, just don’t take me too seriously. Like I said, like, I steal other people’s thoughts. I try to, I talk with a lot of people and say like, that’s interesting, and then I play around with it and try something else. And I think and we’re all in this place of like, trying to figure out what this means, about how to do digital work, and so the things that we say today, I reserve the right to change my mind on and say differently next year.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:33
I love that disclaimer. And I think that should apply to everything is what we know now, and where I’m at now, this is what I believe in, and I mean- Yep. Now the thing, the thing that people should know about you and your work and your journey, is you have, you have worked in the space from a remote perspective, from a digital perspective, you’ve been exploring these topics before all of us sort of got thrown into it in the last two years. So take us back a little bit and talk us through your journey of where you started, to where you are now, before we dig into all of the fun stuff of figuring out how do we redefine work now.

Unknown Speaker 2:09
So my journey starts in India, actually, I went there in 2010, and was just way in over my head, obviously anyone would be. They were trying to figure out how to do business, how to do work, and really enjoyed the experience a lot, but was also in like a stressful place to figure out okay, well, how are we gonna make this work, I ended up working with some of the software companies that were based in Chennai, and really enjoyed that work, had a lot of fun, but I had young kids, and were really missing the grandparent effect, and were looking forward to bringing that back into our lives. And so we decided to move back to my home in Indiana. And so pretty much just said to all the companies I was working with, I was like, hey, it’s been fun, I’m packing up, leaving. See you later. But a few of them said, well, let’s try to make this work, let’s see if we can extend this a little bit longer. So that was my first experience into remote work, was trying to maintain those relationships, and the work I was doing for those companies from the US while they were all in India. So it was, it wasn’t even a distributed company, it was still very much an office company. It was just, which is familiar for a lot of people. I think that’s how a lot of companies get into this, or used to get into it, was they just had one person that moved away they didn’t want to lose, so they tried to figure out how to make it work.

Sarah Noll Wilson 3:27
Yeah, no, that’s it. I mean, it’s a really great point, and there’s so many areas that I hope that we’ll have time to explore because, you know, if we would have been talking about this three years ago, the percentage of people impacted by thinking about how do I not only just set up a company for remote work or for hybrid work, you know, how do I lead it? And then as team members, how do I work within it, would have been much smaller. And obviously we all know that over the last couple of years many of us were put into a situation to figure it out much faster. What, you know, as you think about, well, let me let me start here, you know, because when you were talking about working in a place that was largely office centered, when I think about my last organization that I worked for, it was the same sort of situation, we had a small group of people who were, you know, in the field, you know, they’re the field people, the salespeople, all of that. And one of the things that was a constant struggle then, was just that idea of how do we include people? How do we make sure that communication was accessible and equitable? You know, I don’t think that I thought of it as an equity thing back at the time, but I understand it now, that when we have groups of people who don’t have, you know, full access to the information, whether it’s formal or informal, that creates inequities. And so, you know, I’m curious, what have you observed from your perspective, of the shift of where were we pre-pandemic, what were some of the, you know, obviously the big shifts we saw during the pandemic, and were what are the things you’re observing now? I know that’s a really big question.

Neil Miller 5:06
No, no, it’s great to point out that like, salespeople have been like, the original remote employees for a long time. Field sales. Like they were just, they’re on the on the go and out there and they don’t have access. They’re not in those meetings, they’re not there, and if they maybe get a memo later on, that summarizes what happened. Like that’s, that’s it. So, so to bring it back to the other use case, I would say, is also one for talent, before, was similar to what I talked about, like, somebody moves away, you don’t, you don’t want to replace them, or you feel like you can’t replace them, so you’re going to make some accommodations for those things. But in both those situations, for the most part, the office, that nucleus in the office, the people there, could pretty much just say like, hey, you know, we’ll try to send something here or there, maybe we’ll get something out. But in a lot of ways, it was still like, this is a perk, this is a good thing you get to do, so you got to deal with the bad stuff that comes along with that. And I, that’s where I see the big difference in how companies are responding now, we’re talking 2022, is that there are still many executives that still have that mindset, which says that if you’re going to work from home, you, you’re the one that needs to accommodate. Because the rest of us are doing, we want to be back in the office, we all love it, we’re all going to be better together, we’re all going to be doing all this stuff. And if you want that, and if you want to- there’s always this tinge of like, you’re, you know, you’re being a little bit lazy. Like if you really wanted to advance your career, you’d come back to the office, if you really want to do all these things. So there’s that side, I hear that from people, and then there’s the other side which says no, like, we do need to figure out how to be, like you mentioned, equitable to everybody and realize this is not just a perk, this is how we want to work. This is if we want the best talent out there, we have to change our systems, we have to change the way that we work and rebuild, the way we do collaboration, the way we do leadership, and to push forward. So that’s the key difference I see right now, is that difference in perspective of is remote work just like, oh, this is what, you know, is what the kids want now, we got to accommodate for those damn millennials. It’s like, oh, like we’re the ones making the decisions now, so trying to figure out the best one to bent.

Sarah Noll Wilson 7:23
Yeah, well, and you and I have had countless conversations just about the fact that work hasn’t worked for a lot of people for a really long time, right, how its structured, the limitation of autonomy, right, over your time. You know, even I think about, I think from my own journey, you know, one of the things that was one of the biggest surprises to me, and when I moved from working for an organization to working for myself, that I wasn’t prepared for, was how different freedom felt from flexibility. And I, and I would say that I worked for, I was fortunate enough that the team that I worked for, so I can’t speak because it wasn’t organization wide, right. But my team and my leadership, we got to a point where it was, well, being able to have freedom and autonomy from a standpoint of where you’re working isn’t a privilege, but it’s almost a right, it’s becoming a right to sort of, you know, own where you want to work, not in the degree that we are now, is still very predominantly in an office space. But oh, hey, I have an appointment in the morning, it’s just faster, and it’s more it’ll be more efficient for me to stay home, and work. But, and so I had an incredible amount of flexibility, and I didn’t realize how different it would feel to have freedom. Real, true freedom of where did I want to work, when did I want to work, and I understand that not every end industry can offer that. But that’s something I’ve been working on of, how can I give that to my colleagues as much as possible, right? And so I’m just curious to hear your thoughts or your reflections on what comes up for you as I share that?

Unknown Speaker 9:04
Yeah. That’s huge, I think the flexibility piece, like you mentioned, was often given as a- something you’ve earned as you prove that, you know, Sarah’s still going to get her work done, we’re still going to move forward on our projects, even if she isn’t here, and that’s not something you prove like, one week, like it takes many years to build up that kind of trust in the typical office setting, to do that, and so to move into a place now where it’s like, as soon as you hire somebody, and they’re apart from you, and you’re not checking in on them every hour to figure out what’s going on, you kind of have to start with that trust. And that’s not an easy thing to do for people who are not used to that. The freedom element I feel like, is a big one too, because I feel like most people are not ready for the responsibility that comes with being on your own. You’ve I’m sure experienced this, like, as soon as you had that first day when you’re by yourself, it’s like, what do you do? Well, like, whatever you think you should do. It’s hard. And when most of us have not worked at our own personal productivity systems, most of us don’t know the best kind of collaboration techniques to prioritize what we need to do, to talk about, to keep people in the loop, to figure out what is a distraction, how to handle internal distractions, how to handle external distractions, I mean, it’s easy in the office to say, like, I didn’t get my work done because all of these coworkers are coming around and everyone else was was bothering me, but it’s tough when you’re home all day long, and there’s nobody else home, and you still get distracted, and you’re still going off to YouTube and stuff, like that’s on you. And to figure out how to overcome those things. So yeah, I love those topics, of freedom and flexibility.

Sarah Noll Wilson 10:53
There’s, so you brought up two things that I want to, I want to explore separately, but the first was that idea of you, you have to start from a place of trust. And this is something that we certainly we see and we hear in a number of the clients that we work with, right? There’s sort of the spectrum of some people who are in positions of leadership, who will say things like, oh, people just don’t want to work, or they’re not as, you know, productive or effective. And, and that’s a, it’s a really great point you bring up, that in the past, it was earned, you know, so that there wasn’t, but we really do have to start off from that standpoint. And so what, you know, what are the things, when you think about being a leader in this space, I want to, I want to look at it in a couple of different ways, but where do you feel like are some of the watch outs or traps that leaders fall into or can fall into, and then what are some of the things they maybe need to think about doing differently? Because I mean, one of- we are, it is a substantial change, like, it is a significant change for so many of the people that we’re working with, because they’re used to I’m eval- and they don’t even realize that they were evaluating productivity based off of being visibly present. And now, it’s requiring even them to show up differently, and it’s requiring them to lose some things in the process. And we’ll talk about that a little bit later, but, yeah, so let’s start first with what are just some of those consistent traps or watch outs or pitfalls, however you want to say it, that you you see leaders commonly falling into?

Neil Miller 12:30
I think the biggest one is this is the way it worked for me, therefore this is the right path. Which, I mean, it’s, it’s human nature, it’s what we kind of we all do. But this is what you see, you see big time executives getting on and saying, I don’t see how this is going to work. I don’t see how you’re going to advance in your career if you’re going to work from home, it’s just not going to happen. Because it didn’t happen for them. And because that’s the way they built their career, I mean, how many CEOs could you name before the pandemic that had ever decided they were going to take a season and work remotely? I didn’t know any, because that was kind of a sign that says, hey, I’m taking an alternative path. And if you’re not in the office, you’re not in those internal conversations, you don’t get to politic around, and you don’t get those big assignments and the big jobs out there. So I think the big thing leaders need to look at now is- I was reading something about anthropology, I like cultural anthropology type stuff. And I came

across this quote that said, like, when the world is stable, and things are not changing very much, then learning what your ancestors did is the best approach, like, whatever worked for them is likely what’s going to happen. Whenever the world is unstable, and it is changing quite a lot, then you have a different problem, you have to figure out what you need to unlearn, that your ancestors did, and how you need to reapply that. And that’s true anytime you’re around raising children or looking at society, but it’s also true in the work world. And if you’re a manager right now, looking forward, like yeah, maybe back in the 70s, 80s, like, you could look around at people and say, look, I know how to be successful, this is the track, get on it, you’re going to be fine. Looking at the track now, like, you cannot give that kind of advice to the people that work with you, because the world of work is changing so much. And there’s no way in 2030 it’s going to look like it does now. So trying to drop a lot of those specifics about this is how you be successful and figuring out what you need to unlearn and what you need to relearn, coming up, I think that’s, that’s the biggest trap and the mindset for, for most leaders to get out. I think when it comes down to like, day to day interactions, the productivity question is the best one. I love it whenever people- their first question to me is like, well, how do I make sure that my people are doing things and being productive? It’s like, yes, that’s exactly what I wanted you to ask, because my question is, how did you know they were doing it before?

Sarah Noll Wilson 14:53
Right. Exactly, I do the same thing like, well, so tell me how you measured it before? Well, I mean, you know, uhh.

Neil Miller 15:00
KPIs, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and we don’t know. Mostly it was because you just looked up and people were chatting or had their heads down and typing something, that was the, that was the metric for things, people were being productive. It’s like, well, that was a pretty bad metric, so let’s come up with something else. And then that pushes the discussion to say like, okay, maybe we can actually judge productivity not based on what time you showed up. If you, were you five minutes late today? Therefore, you’re a bad worker. No, like, did you actually get something done today, and how are we met- how are we, you know, judging that, how, what kind of metrics that we have around that. And then that just opens up a whole new world to say like, that there are many ways to judge productivity, and we’re probably using terrible ones right now. And if we can just improve those slightly, man, how much better would that be, not just for your business, for people’s lives, and how we do work, so. Those are some of the easy drafts.

Sarah Noll Wilson 15:56
No, I, no, I appreciate that. Let’s, so let’s go, let’s- I want to go back to the first one from that standpoint of when things are stable, because I think that’s a really, that’s a really interesting frame to think about our perspective of, hey, when things are stable, like yeah, keep doing what you’re doing. We, I think we are in the biggest disruption. I mean, certainly we’re in the biggest disruption I’ve ever experienced in my career, and, you know, it might not be in my lifetime, because who knows what’s going to happen, but we are, I mean somebody was like I’m kind of done being in historical moments, like, I just need a breath. But, you know, two things that came up for me, as I was hearing you talk, one is, you know, one of the things we are huge proponents of, is adopting and embracing experimentator’s mindset, like, embracing experimentation, because the world is adapting and adjusting so quickly, and, and, and all of our norms got ripped out, if you will. And so that’s one piece of it, is that the changes just, it was always inevitable, but the pace and the rate, and now it’s not even just change, it’s the uncertainty, it’s the complexity, and then, and then you add on to the fact of- well, I had another thought, and I’m gonna see if I can catch her.

Neil Miller 17:10
It always comes back at some point,

Sarah Noll Wilson 17:12
It always, it will, it will come back, and it’ll either make sense and be brilliant, or it’ll just come back and we’ll just say, hi, there you are. But, you know, but also, you know, so thinking about that from the standpoint of the fact that, again, I mean, I do say this lovingly and from a place of hard truth, work hasn’t worked for a lot of people for a really long time. And we have been given this gift, I think it’s a strange, like, strange way to say it, but we’ve been given this gift to rethink and think about work differently. And that connects to that second point you were making from the standpoint of, you know, productivity and engagement. And you know, when you were mentioning earlier, most of us have never had the opportunity, or the time, or the privilege to really understand and explore when am I at my best. Because we know we all have different circadian rhythms, we all have different times when we’re more productive, right? Some people are very much morning people, I can crank out, you know, if I am just wired and it’s nine o’clock at night, the amount of emails and work I can get done between 9:00 and 11:30 is remarkable, and really rethinking these rules, because that’s one of the things that, you know, when things, when we’ve done things a certain way for so long, it’s really easy for us to see them as the only way, or the rule, instead of just a possibility. And so I’m a big proponent when I’m talking to people of like, well, is that a rule, or is that just a possibility, and you know, how do we rethink this? When you think about, with everything that you’ve- I mean, because this is your world. You think about this every day, you’re talking about it, you’re researching, you’re connecting with people, you’re working with companies. What, for you, what would you love to see the future of work look like?

Neil Miller 19:10
Man, that’s a big question, and something I have given a lot of thought to. And like, I see all these things like remote work, discussions about four day workweeks, hybrid work, these are all like stepping stones for me, like, where are we actually going towards, what’s a more, like, what’s the ideal future that we’re trying to get to? Because if we don’t think about it, the future we’re going to is faster, better, cheaper, like, just more, more, more, more, more, more, more. If we look back to like, people who talked about- I did a lot of research into length of work weeks in the past, and the idea that the five day workweek is something we created, like, it wasn’t just set in stone, like it’s only been there for about seven years or so, it used to be very typical that it was a six day work week for workers. And this even is like, the six day workweek came from the Industrial Revolution, and we had to figure out, like, how to bring people in, and time them on their work, and all these these types of things, it’s like, okay, people back then, when they kind of were making changes and realized working people for seven days straight was not good. Not because these people were necessarily just good hearted folks, but they were making mistakes, they were sleeping on the job, because they were exhausted, and it was just bad for business to work people seven days a week, so they went down to six. And then Henry Ford comes in. And he has a complicated history, but he moves things down to five, because he felt like that was also better. There were less mistakes, and people could focus in more. And that’s when we were doing more manufacturing jobs. Today, a lot of people are in knowledge positions, and knowledge positions is not the same as just going out there and working for eight hours with your hands. Most people probably only have about three or four hours of really great productive work that they’re doing a day, and the rest is just kind of filler that falls in. So for me, if we step back and look at like, what is the ideal future that we want to get to? I mean, we can, we’ll have different perspectives, but I think we’d all agree, like, working less would be great. Like, I would love to see a future where, like, we just don’t have to work as much, and people still had all their needs met. And we could all kind of be in a place where, yeah, there’s still going to be things to do, we’re humans, we love to solve problems. We’re always about that, but like, doing less of that for your survival, would be a much better place. So when I think about like, where all these conversations are leading towards, that’s what it is for me. It’s like, how can we still do great things, still enjoy what we do, but really trying to decouple it from the need for survival, the need for tracking hours, those types of things. So that’s my heart in it.

Sarah Noll Wilson 21:57
You know, I appreciate that language. And, you know, in that point you made of, if we, if we, if we aren’t clear, at least have and take in some time to imagine what we’re moving towards. You know, one, we might miss an opportunity to move towards it much, much more quickly and much more intentionally, and, you know, or it just becomes a variations on the themes we’re experiencing right now. I mean, I, I, sometimes I joke, and it’s not joking, I talk to my team and I go, how do we, how do we get down to like, two and a half days?

Neil Miller 22:30
Yeah, for sure.

Sarah Noll Wilson 22:31
Like, how do we, you know, or, or, or to be much more, I don’t want to say seasonal, but there are times when there’re busy times, and there are times when they’re slow, and there’s quiet times, and that, you know, I mean, I’m glad that there’s the 40 hour work week, because it’s to your point, it was better than the sixth or the seven day, but that’s still a social construct. And, you know, and one of the things that I think about, and I don’t remember if I, if I had shared this story with you before, or not. And I can’t remember if I’ve talked, I don’t think I’ve talked about this on the show, but, you know, one, every research ever done for the last 30 years on engagement, basically fundamentally hasn’t changed. You know, Gallup, and all of their surveys are, you know, whatever, 25% is actively disengaged, this much- you know, I mean, I forget what the numbers are, but they basically haven’t, haven’t shifted. And one of the things I was really interested in when I was getting my master’s, was rethinking and just starting to play with, well, how can we think differently about work? And how can we think differently about productivity and challenge the norms? And I was fortunate- well, at the time I was fortunate, and then it ended up not being fortunate, but at the time, I was fortunate that they let me run an experiment. Now I was managing a team that was responsible for processing licensing contracts, so it was very routine, it was very numbers driven, right, we had so many contracts that needed to be reviewed a day, and we had all of those ROIs that we had to hit. And what I was interested in, was if we, if we set a stretch goal of you know, if they were supposed to complete 15 contracts a day, let’s say the goal was 17 or 18. But whenever they finished it, they could leave for the day, regardless of how early they got it done. And what- no surprise, what we found is that the vast majority of people were actually able to hit that number. They were, you know, right, they, the focus was much higher, the distractions were much lower, because what was on the line was their time, their time with their family, time to run errands, time to do whatever. And, and team members loved it. Because I, like, I love that I have something to work for that’s actually really meaningful for me. And, and they felt good, and, right, you know, but unfortunately, it got pulled because, you know, leadership was like, well, if they can do that much in six hours, they should be able to do-

Neil Miller 24:47
That’s the question, yeah, yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson 24:47
-but I was like no, you’re missing the point. And how do we- and again, I know this isn’t, this isn’t going to be possible for every industry, and, you know, I think that’s some of the criticism I hear, too, is like, well, we can’t do this over here. Well, you know, our world is, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s not about like, equality isn’t about saying, right, like, it’s, you know, like, it’s- we aren’t gonna all be working in the same way, so I understand there are some industries that might not be able to function in this way. But as you talk about being like, our- so much of our workforce is knowledge workers, right? It’s moving to the creative and design, and, and that- it takes a different kind of energy. It takes a kind of different thinking, and what does it look like to really shift to a place of just output, based off of what you’re creating, versus the hours you’ve worked? You know, there’s something I keep trying to experiment with, you know, for the team. I mean, it’s not, I can’t play in that room by those rules yet, just because when you’re the founder, you have a lot to manage. But my goal is always like, I don’t want you to work more than 32 hours. And if there’s weeks where you’re working less because you’re able to get it all, then great. I don’t need you to clock in, I don’t- I trust you. And the work is getting done, therefore- vand I just, I just can’t help but wonder, you know, we see the results of the companies that are moving to four day work weeks, and just for people listening, I’m personally I’m not pro four 10 hour days. Because, again, to your point, what research consistently shows it’s like three and a half hours that were truly productive. And we’re just filling the rest of the time with BS meetings, or tasks, or whatever the case is. But what would be possible, not just for work, but just for our world, if we had more time to be in community together, if we had more time to recover, if we had more time to, I don’t know, contribute to the community in a different way. And I really appreciate your language of decoupling from our survival. Because right now, you have to, I mean, you largely have to work in order to survive. That’s how our system is set up.

Neil Miller 26:57
Yeah. And that’s a big shift to make, like, I don’t know, I always, I’m definitely like, a nerd in many ways. And so I like sci fi, and so I think back to like, Star Trek. And if you, if you catch some of the reasons why these people are going off on these crazy adventures in space, and exploring things, they’re not doing it for a monetary value, they’re not going out there and trying to figure out what they can mine, what they can do. If you, if you catch some of the things they say, especially like in The Next Generation episodes, it’s because they said, hey, we’ve we fixed everything at home. Like, we did it all, like, we stopped, we reached a peak in our society, and we said, like, we we’re great, let’s start combining our assets to try to actually build things. And if you look just at our planet, and all the other problems we’re facing, like, so much of it just comes from this insatiable need for more. And like, what if that insatiable need for more shifted from money, into time. Instead of like, I got to have as much time as I want, so I can just do the things that I want to do, and do stuff, and we can put, and like, money becomes like, oh, yeah, sure. We can throw that in. We can build spaceships, we can travel around, do whatever we want. But yeah, to say like, that, that’s really what we should be valuing more, is the time we get, and people still do cool stuff, like you saw during the pandemic, you saw during lots of other things. Like, if you just give people space and say, hey, here, your needs are met, like, go out. No, some people are just gonna sit around, do nothing cool. That’s fine. But a lot of people are still gonna like, say, well, I gotta solve something, I gotta do something. I’m going to try something new, explore something new. So I’m a little excited about that.

Sarah Noll Wilson 28:37
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, and it makes me- yeah, just think about and wonder about, you know, what are we missing? What are we missing because there’s such a culture of grind and hustle, what are we missing because of, right? I mean this- this gets into a much bigger conversation about capitalism, all of that, but, but again, I go back to we, we have been gifted this opportunity to start to rethink and to reimagine, and to create something new and different. And, you know, and I’m speaking from my experience, there are times when it can be easy to maybe question whether it’s worth it, or wonder can we still be successful if we do it differently. Those are things that come up for me of, well, shoot, are we going to be as sustainable as we could be if people aren’t working as many hours? And then I just go back to nope, like, a company for humans, from my perspective, is a company for humans, and that means time for rest, and time for, you know, being able to think and explore, and to create. When you think about- so, you know, we talked a little bit about some of the traps, it- let’s just look at the world we’re in right now. Right? And so, so stepping back from the, I think the vision that we would both have of just like, how do we work less, or how do we work and have more time for more important things, but the reality is now that this is our structure, and so many organizations have moved to hybrid, because it’s almost, I mean, it’s a non negotiable in a lot of industries, because workers are demanding it, which I’m here for, what are some of the best practices? Like, what are the things that are non-negotiables as we think about moving to a more distributed workforce, whether that’s hybrid, whether that’s virtual. So I’ll just, I’ll pause there for a second, what are what are some of the things that are just like, and I am curious to get down to behaviors of like, leaders, because I know we have a lot of people who listen to the show, who are in those positions, whether it’s from an HR perspective or leading function. So what are the non negotiables that a leader needs to be thinking about?

Neil Miller 30:46
I will start off say, hybrid is the hardest option of all to choose. It is the most- I would, like, if you just go in for like, I just want my business to keep going, like, call everyone back in the office, that’s gonna be much easier. And if people don’t want to do it, fine, let them go, find the people who want to work in the office, and just roll with that. You have this other side of completely distributed virtual work, which if you look back at companies who have really succeeded in this, I would say that they all, most of them got their start, maybe 10 years ago, 2010, 2012 or so is when you start to see the founding of some of these large thousand-plus person companies that are completely distributed. And when I say completely distributed, they still use physical space from time to time, whether it be on a flexible arrangement, or they still get together, like, they were, they were hosting, like, you know, offsites, once or twice a year, they’re still meeting together. So don’t hear that as like, they’re never together, they’re always just at home. But those companies have been working on that model and reached a level of maturity, I would say that they have playbooks out there, you can follow them, it takes a lot of adjustment to get to, but that’s like a model out there. Hybrid is new, like, no one’s tried to do both these at the same time, for the same people. You know that there have been flexible work arrangements for some people, some people may be working part time or some other things, but it’s, it’s been largely like, hey, at the office is the center, if you want to get back, you got to be at the nucleus, you got to be here, and know where things are. To try to do that and also have all these digital tools that you’re using around is really tough. So I would say, if you really want hybrid to be sustainable, you have to find a way to move the office out of the nucleus position, and start to look at all these digital tools that you have, whether it be collaboration, project management, your kind of core systems, make those the central source of truth, and everything else happens around them. And then you add your office back in as a feature as just something else, that’s like, by the way, we also have an office we can use, you know, we can get together for meetings, we can figure out what’s better to do in person, team building and certain forms of cooperation, it does benefit from that extra layer of being in person, but not seeing it as the default nucleus, and seeing it as, hey, this is, this is a feature we get to use when we need it. Not the assumption that that’s where this central source of truth is. I think that that’s the core thing, that if if companies really want to pursue this and do it well, the other option is you do hybrid for a couple years, people get upset, they get frustrated, the- in office people continue to do their own thing, and then people outside the office are left behind. And then people get mad and everyone’s, somebody finally is gonna say, all right, enough of this. No, no more letting the kids run the show, the adults are back in here, we’re getting back, come back to the office, we’re doing that. That’s, like, what’s going to happen with a lot of companies over the next couple of years, they’re not going to do it well, and then hybrid, and remote, and digital is gonna get blamed for it. And then they’re just gonna call everyone back and force them there.

Sarah Noll Wilson 34:05
Yeah, I can definitely see that happening. And I, you know, that, that shift of even the language, and the visual of where’s the nucleolus, what’s the core, you know, where does the core business operate from? Because as long as it’s from the physical office, it’s always going to be like it was back when, you know, I was talking earlier of well, how do we, how do we adapt what we’re doing to include the few people, or whatever the case was in a combination? It’s always an accom- yeah, it’s always an accommodation. And, instead of, and I, yeah, I really I love that reframe of, it’s almost like think of yourself as a, you know, remote first, and then, and build the systems and structures from that place. And then- I really appreciate that reframe, and I’m with you, I think that what I see, is the companies that are surviving or thriving in this environment, even though it is still a lot of things that are new for them to figure out ,and figure out how they communicate, are ones that made a more abrupt step away from the physical office, than the ones that are no, this is who we are, and we’re just gonna do it this, you know, for this long, or this long. And, you know, I, and there’s a lot of- and it’s almost, it’s like living in two different worlds, but it’s being managed by people who largely only knew one world, and so the preference and the priority won’t be for the digital space. But and it’s such a missed opportunity, you know, and I, and I smiled a little bit when you said “and digital will get blamed when it doesn’t work,” and it’s like, it totally will instead of our inability to, to adapt and to trust to try new things.

Neil Miller 35:46
I already see that and things as I hate, remotes not working, like, people were excited about it before, but it’s just not sustainable. We can’t do it, and saying like, remote’s the problem. Remote’s not the problem, it’s just the way that you’ve set up your business, your collaboration practices, the way you interact with each other, the way you measure productivity, like, all that’s based in the office, and yeah, if that’s still your nucleus, and you’re trying to work from outside, it’s not gonna work.

Yeah. Yeah. Who are the companies you think do it really well? You had, you alluded to it, and you had said, like, there’s some playbooks. Who are the companies you think do it really well?

I mean, several, several come to mind. Zapier has been there from the beginning. GitLab has been there from the beginning. Doist- I was just at a conference this last week, and a lot of these companies were there that have sizable teams, and again, you’re not talking about like, 20 person startup type thing, we’re talking about, like thousand plus. Automattic, the people who make WordPress, they’ve been distributed. That, no, this brings up an interesting point, is that most of those companies did not start with a mission to advance the cause of distributed work. They started, like, Automattic was started because people were building WordPress as an open source project, and by nature, open source means a lot of people contributing it from all over the world. And so they just started this thing and figured out all these ways to collaborate and move on. And they said, let’s make a company out of this, and it just was not practical to say, everyone who’s been working on this, we’re gonna hire you and bring you into the office. So they just kept the way it was, and it was working. Zapier is, it was a side hustle that people were doing, these four guys in Missouri, and they were doing something else, but it just kind of evolved. And by the time they just started hiring people, but they didn’t quit their other jobs that were going on, and again, they get to about 10 people there, around the country, and then they want to focus only on this, and it’s like, well, it doesn’t make sense to start a new office. Like that’s, that’s the way a lot of these companies got started. And specifically, that, that open-source nature of a lot of these things, and that dreamy nature of a lot of these things, like, has impacted the conversations around remote work, because now these are the thought leaders, you know, Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic, you know, huge believer in open-source, which affects everything else he does too, like, it affects the, his views about transparency, and it affects his views about how to treat people fairly, and affects his view about culture, and people, the people he works with. So it’s kind of nice, the fact that the people leading the conversations about these topics, like, had- just by default also have this other values that they’re bringing in, which just is about the value of work, and the value of looking at different people, and seeing things as as an open source, and we’re all in a big project together. So that’s a great thing, I think.

Sarah Noll Wilson 38:33
Yeah, yeah, no, I appreciate you sharing those. I know, I’d been following GitLab for a while, and then that’s a massive company, that is, you know, so whenever people are like, oh, well, that doesn’t work when you’re more than- well, no, I mean, because I understand I’m a company of, you know, three plus contractors, that’s not scal- I mean, that’s not the same as say, we have 500 or 800 or 1500 team members. One of the things that I’ve observed is, in the shift, is interactions and communications have become so much more transactional. Even more so, right, because we were missing the moments of seeing each other on the way to the break room, or stopping by and asking, and, and, you know, and so I feel like that’s a lot of the work that we’ve been doing with leaders, is we were always doing the work of how do we be more intentional in building stronger relationships, it’s just become, I feel like, even more critical now because, because there’s this over, I don’t want to say an over reliance on technology, but just again, the adapting to it, is, it’s become so much more transactional, instead of building in these moments of building relationships. And, and, and I would, and I would argue that companies are being led by people who may not actually be very skilled at building relationships, you know, they’re kind of getting the job done, or they’re good at setting the strategy, but, but building that kind of intimacy, if you will. And so I’m curious, you know, what do you, what do you see, organizations that do it really well, because one of the number one things that we hear is, well, we don’t want our culture to get affected, you know, or it’s just harder to build relationships. And I always say, like, it’s different to build relationships, but you probably weren’t that great at it before, you just had way more opportunities to do it, and now that you don’t have those, you have to be even more intentional about it. So I’m curious to get your thoughts from a standpoint of culture, and building relationships in a digital world. What works really well?

Neil Miller 40:29
I think that intentionality piece comes up a lot. Because a lot of people had outsourced their culture to the physical space. Just said, like, hey, throw these people in there. We don’t need to do anything. You guys just get together and have fun. And it kind of works, like-

Sarah Noll Wilson 40:46

Neil Miller 40:46
Yeah. Sometimes it works. Like just-

Sarah Noll Wilson 40:49
Sometimes for some people. Let’s be really specific.

Neil Miller 40:51
Yes, that’s true, that’s true. And so we said, like, we had this culture in the office, like, yeah, a few people had some positive feelings about what was going on, you weren’t doing anything, like maybe you paid for drinks every once a while, but that’s about the extent of what you were doing to encourage culture. So on one side, yeah, it’s about being intentional. It’s about figuring out what happens. I work with a lot with people in India, so we don’t physically see each other a lot. It’s very rare that that happens, but I know that, and so I think about, okay, what are the reasons why I need to get together- this, this kind of goes into this idea of fidelity of communication. So like, right now you and I are talking, we can hear each other’s tone of voice, we can also see each other on the screen. Pretty high fidelity, I would say, like a lot of signals going into this, it would be more if we were in the same room, and we could kind of bounce off each other’s energy, I would see immediate feedback, there’s no latency, those types of things. But then you go down the spectrum, now you’re dealing with like,

you know, an email is pretty much just text, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation, a lot of other things that are going to be there. Whenever you’re thinking about the nature of these kind of synchronous formats that we have, where we have to be together at the same time, that means that we had to schedule this, we actually had to schedule this twice, so there’s a lot of effort that goes into those things, we have to think about it a lot, I have to clear my schedule, we have to work on it, I have to be prepared to come to it, there’s a lot more energy that comes to these things. So I would say if you’re leading a team, you’re gonna think about your budget of money, but also think about your budget of time. We’ve talked about time a lot. So if you’re leading a team, Sarah, and you only get, over the course of the next month, you’re gonna have one hour together, like, what do you want to do with that one hour? What will be most important for you? That’s a real question.

Sarah Noll Wilson 42:47
Were you asking me that question to actually answer?

Neil Miller 42:48
For real. Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson 42:48
No, I was, I was writing it down. When I think about my team-

Neil Miller 42:55
Are you gonna do status updates?

Sarah Noll Wilson 43:00
Like, I might. My heart says no, but then I know that there may be status update time. I mean, if I only got to talk to my team members, boy, we’d hope and would want to just know how are you doing, but I say that, I say that in this uncomfortable laugh of- ah, man, I don’t know, like I might, I might be pull- right, I mean, I can see the pull to the transactional of just, you know, I was just having this conversation with one of my colleagues who’s a, she’s a, she’s a contractor, and team- she was former team member, and I said, you know, we only see you once a week, because she’s in Germany. And I said, and the challenge is, is that when we’re only meeting once a week when we’re doing our status updates, is we miss the opportunity to hear what’s going on in your life, we miss the opportunity to. I was like so we just, we need to schedule some regular virtual lunches a week, and we can still have that time. Because I- that’s important to me, and it’s important to us in a relationship. But it always is truncated when we only have an hour together.

Neil Miller 44:03
Yeah, you gotta, you have to prioritize that time that you get together. Do the thing that only in person can do. Do the thing that only live video can do. And really, like, if you ask me, like, I’m meeting my team in India, we see each other maybe once a quarter, like, we are eating food together, we are getting together, and like, because that is something you definitely cannot do digitally. And relationship building, man if you talk about like, hiring in person time to do something, it is much better than anything else you could do. So prioritizing those things and saying like, okay, once a week we’re gonna get on and just play games together, or just chat, or just have- use these check in questions, and just kind of get to know each other a little bit better, because that’s the only thing- that’s what this in person synchronous time does best. Now, status updates, it’s decent at, but so is our other asynchronous lower fidelity forms, like doing a form, or doing a post in a channel, or just putting all that information somewhere else, like, that gets the job done. Like, it does it fine, for the most part, if you want to have a deeper discussion about it, you may need to get into it more. But so when it comes to like, the idea of, of culture, and how do you build that, is you have to take advantage of these, these forms. And don’t put people in a situation where, man, they were on Zoom meetings all day long, and here’s one more, to do some culture pit. No one’s gonna want to come to that. But if I look at my schedule, and I only have like, four or five meetings set there every week that are recurring, and one of those is the gametime I get with my team, then yeah, for sure. Like, I’m gonna look forward to that. You’re excited about that.

Sarah Noll Wilson 45:43
It’s a I, that I think that’s, that’s a really great gift that you just gave me, and also, hopefully, for our audiences to think more intentionally about, what- do the thing that only in person can do. And, you know, and I felt this yesterday, I had, I was joking with my husband, I said, I feel like I’ve been on videos, just talking, all day long. And then was getting together with a friend and I just was, can we just go for a walk and do a phone call? I don’t, I don’t want to be sitting here in this spot anymore.

Neil Miller 46:16
It’s exhausting.

Sarah Noll Wilson 46:17
You know, yeah, and also from, you know, one of the things that we think about, talk about, from a learning perspective, and a memory perspective, is that one of the challenges of being in a remote setting, is that if my environment isn’t changing, the stimulus around me isn’t changing, which makes it harder for us to retain, and remember, when did that happen, right, versus if we are, you know, in a, excuse me, in a physical space, it’s like, oh, yeah, no, I remember you brought in brownies, and I have this, like, sensoral memory. And so how can we, how can we try to create some of that, and, and that idea of, you know, like, we were talking, when you are together with your, your colleagues, because I’ll hear this from some clients as well, you know, when we do get in person, it’s so, it’s so energetic, and it’s so magical. And so we would want that all the time, and it’s like, well, no, part of the reason why it is so magical, is because you don’t have it. And so now it’s special, and because it’s special, it’s memorable, and, or it can be memorable, and it can be, you know, I think about, you know, even my, my team, for example, we’re all going down to a conference together in New Orleans, and we’re renting this amazing Airbnb house, and, and yes, we’re there to work, and we’re also there to really spend good time together. So it is, where are we going to eat? What are the things we want to do? How do we want to be really intentional with our time together, that isn’t just oh, we’re gonna be at this conference, speaking and meeting people, but being really intentional.

And you all come back to the room, and you’re just working on emails all the time, like, you’ve missed out, like, that was all, so you had this, this chance to be together, and to go out, and do things, and to stay up late, and, you know, have fun, and, yeah.

Yeah. What- one of the things we’ll do for people who are listening, because one, one of the things I really appreciate about the work that Neil has done, is just created such a library of depth of resources, of recommendations, because that point you made, of if I’m on calls every single day, then it makes it harder, and so, so that’s another area we see people struggling with, is that shift to asynchronistic communication, and collaboration, and, and how it’s important to figure out where can we get more efficient, that’s not just another meeting, that’s not just another space on the calendar, right? And so that we can free that up so that when we are together, we’re more more present, and we’re not exhausted. So we’ll, we’ll share, we’ll be sure to share the link to your website. And and the other thing is, if you’re listening to this and you’re, you’re thinking, hmm, we’re like, where are we at on our journey? Can you just talk a little bit about the five levels that you’ve created through your research of identifying where you are as an organization, because that was incredibly helpful for me as I think about where we are on our journey, and also where, where we can go. So I’d love to have you share that with the audience.

Neil Miller 49:10
Yeah. This is a great example of thought stealing, this was this came from Matt Mullenweg, we talked about, from the CEO of Automattic, he used it to talk about, like, some distributed work principles of different layers that you go through. And so I adopted or adapted that into just the full out digital work. Like, when it comes to building a digital workplace, which means the workplace that doesn’t have the office at the center, like, what does that look like? And recognizing it’s not just the shift you make overnight, it’s a process, and it’s a level thing. So yeah, we came with these, these five levels and did an assessment about it. The assessment’s not like, super scientific, it’s just a couple of benchmarks from other companies that we’ve interviewed and talked to, recognizing where they are in their journey, the types of things they’re focused on, how they measure their productivity, how do they think about leadership, how do they think about culture, and saying, okay, if you can answer these questions in this way, you’re probably at these different levels. And like we said, like, level one is just you’re, you’re still very office centric. Level two is, like, what we like to call a holding pattern, where you’ve, you’ve taken off the planes in the air, but you’re just circling around waiting to land again, or trying to figure out, hey, this is a little bit uncomfortable trying to figure out where to go next. And then when you, as you realize, you think, well, we don’t have to go down, we could go up. So then that opens up a level three and four, level three is more just saying, you know, this is actually nice, like, we could actually do some things with this, these tools that we have, and they could make work better. So starting to see a few of those advantages. Level four is when you’re really trying to re-optimize, you really start to rebuild all your systems around values like time, and values like intentionality, and values

like treating people like humans, is when you can really look back and realize that, okay, we have this paid time off request. But like, the old system, was not working that well just to give people two weeks off a year, and to measure that in that way. And so to push that to another level and say, okay, what would it look like if we extended that? What if we didn’t track that at all, and a lot of companies started giving an unlimited PTO. So that’s kind of like saying that we’re valuing time, take as much time as you want out there. But that doesn’t work for everybody, because a lot of people then start taking time off altogether, right? They’re just like in the midst of it. So what does it look like to then experiment into this level five you talked about, too, this experimentation phase, and say, what if we did- I know people who are doing mandatory time off and saying, like, hey, once a, once a season, you need to be off for a week, or we’re all taking time off this week. Because if I’m taking time off, I’m thinking man, Sarah’s getting all this work done, it’s gonna be- when I get back in the office, there’s gonna be a lot of stuff piled up for me. Well, if we both took the same week off, then that would be nice, because we didn’t worry about that. Again, like you said, lots of industries can’t do this exactly the same way. But yeah, like you said, experiment with it, but I will say experiment with a solid foundation. You don’t just want to jump into these things, and throw things at people, and say, hey, this is what, you know, GitLab’s doing, we should do the exact same thing. Like, may not be ready for it. You may need to set some foundations, make sure people feel safe, make sure people feel secure where they are. And then say, hey, let’s, there’s this cool new thing, it’s just, like, one level up from what we’re doing. Let’s try it for a quarter, or for six months, and see what happens. So yeah, that’s kind of going through those levels.

Sarah Noll Wilson 52:33
No, that’s beautiful. And you know, and again, well, that that’s all on your website. And I definitely encourage people to, to just take the assessment as a place of, even just exploring of, oh, okay, that’s interesting, I hadn’t thought about that. Because I think, I think one of the things that, that I see, and when I experience myself, is sometimes if you don’t see what could be possible, it’s hard to even imagine what it could look like. And, you know, I mean, I feel like there’s, we’re constantly having moments of oh, that’s- a little, sometimes it’s a little bit of like, oh, duh, like, that makes so much sense, but because we’ve never experienced it before, or seen it, or heard about it, it’s hard for us to imagine the possibilities. And, boy, we have, again, we have such an opportunity, we just have such an opportunity, I really hope, I really hope that in 2030, work does look different, and that it isn’t just sliding back to more of the same. And even if it’s not collectively, that we have enough of a momentum and movement going, and, and it’s not, you know, it’s not always going to be comfortable. I mean, that’s the thing with experimenting, is sometimes it takes energy, and I, and I appreciate your point of make sure you have a good foundation, because if, if we’re already shaky, and we keep, like, shaking it up more, we do need a little bit of stability to say, okay, where are we going to? And, and not from a, you know, we always joke with people when we talk about experimenting, we’re not talking about, you know, scientific standards here, but just, let’s try this for a couple of months, and let’s see, and then let’s adjust, and, and you know, we’re constantly going well, let’s just try this, and then let’s see. And if we rotate too far, then we adjust. And that’s what we do. But we don’t, we don’t adjust right away, we give it some space.

Neil Miller 54:12
Definitely. I just think- encourage people to just remember this is hard. This is not easy to make this transition, especially when it comes to, we’ve talked a lot about how we collaborate together. Like, I’m throwing terms at you like fidelity and asynchronous versus synchronous, and where’s that going? What kind of context is going with that? And what kind of access do people have to that things? Like, we’re not used to that, I’m just used people in the office who’s just like, hey, I just say what I want to say, and people who around me get it, like, that’s fine. It takes a lot of work now, like, with my team, whenever I want to tell them something very important. I’m typing out a lot of stuff. I’m creating a Loom video to talk through it, to share it. I’m sending that ahead of time. I’m maybe scheduling a calendar meeting to discuss that, I’m asking them to put their comments on the document before the meeting, so that we’re using that meeting time to get in deep. And then on documenting that meeting afterwards, talking about decisions, putting that up into more of a very durable wiki type thing, like, this is, this is not easy stuff. This is not what we’re used to, but it is kind of required to work at, at a great level. So don’t be discouraged if it’s like, this, like, I thought was gonna be fun and easy, and we all have these lovely nomad lives. Like, it’s, it still takes a lot of work, and it’s a lot of muscles we’re not used to working.

Right, right. I mean, the habits, it will feel, it will, it will feel laborious, because we aren’t used to working in that way. That’s why when we’re working with, you know, people building relationships, virtually is, it’s going to feel inauthentic. And it’s gonna, it may feel inauthentic, and it may feel like it’s going to take more time, just because it isn’t the norm, but, you know, again, staying anchored to the bigger purpose, of but long term, what can I gain us? And how do we stay anchored to that, but- and pace it, because it can’t, I mean, especially now, as humans, we’re so fatigued from decision fatigue, and uncertainty, and so, so pace yourself. And that can be tricky, too, when you might have people who are like, let’s, let’s get there, and other people are just like, well, let’s, let’s slow down. Neil, I want to be really thoughtful of your time. Before we, before we wrap up, I want to ask you the question we ask everyone, which is, you know, as we think about this idea of having conversations, and I so appreciate this conversation, but about, about you personally, what is the conversation you’ve had with yourself, or with someone else, that transformed you?

When I think about that question, my first thoughts go back to my days in India. And I was actually like, in between roles and jobs. I’d been fired, twice for, like, the first time in my life, it was, like, very upsetting for me trying to figure out what had happened, and tried to do something new, and try to do something on my own. Which it also had never crossed my mind to try something like that. And that conversation, which is familiar to what we’re talking about now, just like, what, what’s likely to happen, like, what’s the worst that’s gonna happen? Like, what does this look like? Do other people do this? Yeah. Is it work for them? Yeah. Is it possible? Yeah. If you fail, are you still okay? Yeah. So like, being willing to, like, step out of all those doubts, and that kind of bubble of doubt that surrounds most of us in our work lives, and experiment. And just to say, like, what happens if I step out of this, and it’s not that bad? It’s not as hard as you think it’s going to be. And so that, that conversation I had with myself, you know, 12 years ago, was very formative for me to be like, I’m much less afraid of what the future will hold, and what will happen, than I used to be. So I always remember that conversation.

Sarah Noll Wilson 57:55
No, I love that. Thank you, Neil. Appreciate that. And thanks for coming by a second time.

Neil Miller 58:00
Yeah, let’s do it again next week, huh?

Sarah Noll Wilson 58:03
Yeah. 8:30. Same time, same channel. Yeah. For, for people who are listening to this, and who want to connect with you, and who want to learn about, you know, the work that you do, or how you might be able to support their journey, what’s the best way for people to connect with you?

Neil Miller 58:18
So The Digital Workplace dot com is where all of our resources are. Neil Miller on LinkedIn, Twitter is not too hard to find. Yeah, those places are where you can find me.

Sarah Noll Wilson 58:29
Yeah, perfect. And we will, again, put those all in the show notes. Neil, thank you so much. I always leave our conversations expanded, and thinking differently, and excited to be on this journey with you to rethink what work looks like in the future, so thank you.

Neil Miller 58:47
Me too, Sarah. It’s always nice to connect with you, I really appreciate your work, and how you are moving forward the cause of work where you are, and I’m just cheering you on from my home in Indiana, too.

Sarah Noll Wilson 58:58
Thank you. Our guest this week has been Neil Miller. One of the things that I’m really taking away from, is that part of the conversation, near the end, when we’re talking about how to spend time, and he offered that, that perspective of do the thing that only in person can do when you have that opportunity, because I think there’s definitely a huge opportunity for us, in our work, and even in supporting our clients, to think differently about that. And we want to hear from you, so if there are things that resonated, or things you have questions about, please reach out to us at podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com, or you can find me on social media, where my DMs are always open. And if you’d like to find out more about our work, and how we can help support your team to have conversations that matter, check us out and Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. And if you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of my latest book, “Don’t Feed the Elephants!” wherever books are sold, we have an audio book, will be coming soon. And if you’d like to support the show, which we certainly appreciate all the supporters we have through listening and downloads, but if you want to go a step further, consider becoming a patron, you can visit patreon dot com slash conversations on conversations, where not only your financial support will sustain this podcast and the incredible team that makes it possible, but you’ll get access to some pretty great swag, and additional insight, and access to information. And if you haven’t already done so, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show. You can do this on iTunes, Spotify, or other podcast platforms. This helps us in getting the word out and continuing to bring on amazing guests like Neil. And I want to just give a huge shout out to the team that makes this podcast possible, you get to see and hear my voice, but there’s a whole team behind me. To our producer, Nick Wilson, sound editor, Drew Noll, transcriptionist, Olivia Reinert, marketing consultant, Kaitlyn Summitt-Nelson, and the rest of the SNoWco. crew, thank you. And a final thank you to our guest, Neil Miller. I always enjoy the conversations that I’m able to have with him, and leave with new perspectives and imagining new possibilities. This has been Conversations on Conversations. Thank you all so much for listening, and please remember that when we can change the conversations we have with ourselves and with each other, we can change the world. So please take care, and don’t forget to rest, and rehydrate, and we’ll see you again next week.

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Sarah Noll Wilson is on a mission to help leaders build and rebuild teams. She aims to empower leaders to understand and honor the beautiful complexity of the humans they serve. Through her work as an Executive Coach, an in-demand Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Contributor to Harvard Business Review, and Bestselling Author of “Don’t Feed the Elephants”, Sarah helps leaders close the gap between what they intend to do and the actual impact they make. She hosts the podcast “Conversations on Conversations”, is certified in Co-Active Coaching and Conversational Intelligence, and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities. In addition to her work with organizations, Sarah is a passionate advocate for mental health.

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