Key Takeaways from Remote Connect 2022

Begin with Curiosity: How a Mindset of Curiosity Can Help Us Survive and Thrive in the New World of Work

April 13th, 2022, by Angelina Penkova

The fatigue of online events has definitely taken a toll on my attention span but last week’s Remote Connect Conference was a pleasant surprise. Great insights on the topics of working remotely, work-life integration, culture, and leadership. In addition to the amazing speaker lineup, the production quality made it really enjoyable to watch, with inspiring footage from multiple global locations and high quality moderation. 

Among the many tracks and presentations, the keynotes by authors and thought leaders Arianna Huffington, Priya Parker and Adam Grant stood out for me with lots of insights on how to build and sustain cultures of wellbeing, connection, trust, and kindness  in a remote setting. 

The theme of CURIOSITY remained as a key highlight for me after the event. Learning to observe, listen, test, collect information, and critically discern the needs of organizations and people can help us stay relevant, be humble, and grow consciously together with our teams. 

Check out some key takeaways from this year's conference and join the conversation.

Key takeaways from Adam Grant’s interview “Unlearning, rethinking, and other new critical skills for leaders”:

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist and bestselling author who explores the science of motivation, generosity, original thinking, and rethinking. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 5 books that have sold millions of copies and been translated into 45 languages: Think Again, Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves

Image courtesy: Remote Connect 2022

Here are the main highlights from Adam's talk at Remote Connect

  • As #leaders, we need to think less like preachers, prosecutors and politicians, and more like scientists. Embracing the scientific mode means we don’t let our ideas become our identity. A good scientist is humble about what they don’t know and is curious to seek new knowledge.  
  • The most under-utilized group of people in organizations are the #culture carriers. These are the people who go above and beyond to live the organization’s mission and to breathe its values. They are the embodiment of the company’s culture. However, most CEOs have no clue who these people are. Culture carriers should be protected; these people actually do a second job - unrecognized and unrewarded. Culture carriers should also be empowered in critical moments when culture is shaped - leading recruiting efforts, actively being engaged in onboarding, speaking at all-hands etc. 
  • Finding the #stories about times when our culture was at its best helps us discover the culture carriers in our organization and remind ourselves who we aspire to be. We can rewrite our #mission and #values around those stories. 
  • It’s possible to build a culture of #kindness but it’s important to distinguish between politeness and kindness. Politeness is about making people feel good today; kindness is about doing what’s best for them tomorrow. Kindness doesn’t mean being nice to each other all the time but helping each other. This means that instead of constant cheerleading, we are honest with each other, we care, and we add value to others еven if it means giving someone tough love.
  • It’s not enough to just ask people to share their #feedback because they are uncertain how you are going to take it. What works much better is to demonstrate #openness and to talk about some of the things you are bad at, some of the weaknesses you are working on, and your development goals. In this way people feel safe to share not only criticisms but also compliments up the hierarchy. Sharing feedback that relates to the company’s mission or values should always be preceded with clarifying one’s motives: “I really care about this and I want to put it on your radar...I am not here to judge or attack…I care about our relationship…”. Feedback is not so much about the message but more about the reason behind the message.

Key takeaways from Arianna Huffington’s interview “Fostering well-being at work”: 

Arianna Huffington’s personal wake-up call came in the form of a broken cheekbone and a nasty gash over her eye — the result of a fall brought on by exhaustion and lack of sleep. As the president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group — one of the fastest growing media companies in the world — she is celebrated as one of the world’s most influential women. Arianna is the author of  "Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder" and "The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time"

Image courtesy: Remote Connect 2022

Here are the main highlights from Arianna's talk at Remote Connect

  • In a remote setting where we are all dispersed, we have to be more deliberate about creating connections and #belonging. Make sure to start meetings with something personal instead of jumping directly to work conversations. 
  • When #onboarding a new employee, managers could consider doing an entry interview and ask “What’s important to you outside of work and how can we support you?” That allows people to bring their whole selves to work and to have cultural permission. 
  • Instead of work-life #balance, we should strive for life-work #integration where work is seen as part of our overall life experience together with time to recharge, finding joy in relationships, hobbies etc. 
  • To make #wellbeing initiatives more effective and accessible, we should break them down into micro steps (tiny habits) and integrate them into the actual daily workflow of employees. 
  • A culture fueled by #burnout inevitably affects business results. The world recognizes that now and we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to redefine how we work and live, and to leave behind notions of success that are not sustainable. 

Key takeaways from Priya Parker’s interview “Gathering in the new world of work”:

Priya Parker is helping us take a deeper look at how anyone can create collective meaning in modern life, one gathering at a time. She is a facilitator, strategic advisor, acclaimed author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters and the host of the New York Times podcast, Together Apart.  

Image courtesy: Remote Connect 2022

Here are the main highlights from Priya's talk at Remote Connect

  • The pandemic has made us “see” #gatherings. Before that, we were meeting on autopilot. When gathering was taken from us, we were able to actually see it and ask fundamental questions such as “When should we meet, for what should we meet, how should we meet, and who decides?”.
  • The biggest mistake we made before and we are still making now is that we assume the purpose of the #meeting is obvious and shared, and we skip too quickly to the form. Only when we know the need of the group which is gathering, then we can decide whether it can be in-person, hybrid, virtual or asynchronous. The simplest way to change a culture of ineffective meetings is to ask “What’s the purpose of this meeting?” for every single meeting.
  • Gathering is a tool and it doesn’t fix everything. We should gather with #intention, and gather artfully, which often means gathering less. 
  • Part of the role of the host (the gatherer) is to create a temporary alternative world to allow people to feel #safe enough to take risks so they can do the work they were invited to do together.
  • The beginning of the gathering is crucial for setting the expectations and norms. In the first five minutes, try to ask a question that creates a #shared #experience where everyone doesn’t have to be the same. Part of the magic of gathering is helping people have a shared experience grounded in specificity without assuming that we all have to be the same. 

What are your key takeaways?

Which of these tips and insights resonate with you and you are willing to adopt?