Episode 11 | Lessons from a remote freelancer with Soizic Pénicaud

Episode 11 August 16, 2023 00:37:07
Episode 11 | Lessons from a remote freelancer with Soizic Pénicaud
Remote Culture Club with Alix Dunn
Episode 11 | Lessons from a remote freelancer with Soizic Pénicaud

Aug 16 2023 | 00:37:07


Show Notes

This week, digital rights researcher, consultant, and facilitator Soizic Pénicaud joins us to share remote wisdom from an organisational outsider.

Whether you’re a freelancer building your own remote practice or a team leader looking for a fresh take, listen in for Soizic’s guidance on managing calendars, information overload, and the benefits of treating full-time staffers like consultants.

After you listen, find Soizic and say hello on Twitter or LinkedIn.


For more, check out our website or follow Alix on Twitter.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:06 Sometimes people try to pull you in too fast and give you too much information and try to integrate you too much. And so in, in some projects I've been, you know, offered to take part in all the rituals in all the team meetings, you know, to attend everything. Uh, be because people were just really open to me working with them and they wanted to introduce me to everyone, uh, and show me everything about the organization. And I think what's really paradoxical is that it came from the right intention of trying to give me as much information as possible and making me feel included. Speaker 2 00:00:45 Welcome to the Remote Culture Club podcast. On this show we inspire and equip leaders to build remote culture that works. I'm your host Alex Dunn, and even though I've been leading remote organizations for over 10 years, I'm always learning more. It's really nice to have you here. And without further ado, welcome to the show. Speaker 2 00:01:11 On this episode we have Swazi Ko, who is a French consultant, um, working in the digital rights community. She and I have been in touch for about a year talking all things, uh, sort of nerding out about facilitation and, uh, remote work environments. And I wanted to have her on to talk about how it feels as an external consultant coming into the remote world that organizations create. 'cause I think that external perspective can help us better understand how to create on-ramps and more inviting environments to help people more effectively integrate into the work we're doing. Um, and then we end up talking about sort of as an external person sort of managing facilitation and what good facilitation looks like in remote settings and just generally sort of how she manages her remote world, given she's not in any particular organization. So if you are a freelancer who works with lots of different organizations and doesn't feel like you have a remote home or an organization trying to make changes and wanna see the perspective of an outsider, this is a great episode for you. So without further ado, Swazi Ko. Speaker 2 00:02:24 Hi everybody. I'm here with Swazi Ko, who is a, actually I'll let her introduce herself, but to me she has been a conversation partner over the last two years or so on topics related to facilitation and sort of bringing groups together in all kinds of different ways, particularly on issues of digital rights and other sort of socio-technical topics. We've been chatting in the weeds about what it's like to be an external person that sort of comes in and engages with all kinds of teams and organizations and sort of stitches together relationships and projects and sort of is on the outside a lot of the time. And so I wanted to bring Swazi on so we could talk about how remote culture is different when you're outside of a sort of mothership, <laugh> organization. And also how that perspective sort of shows us interesting things that might be relevant when you're thinking about or reflecting on your team's practices. So sort of using that external vantage point to our benefit and hearing from Swazi and also us in conversation. 'cause I'm also frequently in that role to what we learn about remote culture and sort of how you might be able to sort of take steps to do something with that information. So that's the gist of what we're gonna talk about today. But Swazi, do you wanna give a little flavor of the work that you do and introduce yourself? Speaker 1 00:03:52 Sure. Thank you very much for, for having me. So my name is Swazi. I've been, uh, freelancing for about a little over and a year and a half now. I used to work for the, the French government. Oh yeah, I'm French. And based in France. I used to work for the French government doing policy project management and facilitation work on the, our national data policy. And now I'm, I'm freelancing doing, um, research consulting and facilitation as well on, as Alex you mentioned, uh, digital rights, tech and human rights, social and political impacts of tech and whatnot. And I've been mostly working with foundations, nonprofits, and a little bit in the public sector as well still, uh, both in France and internationally. So that's about it. Speaker 2 00:04:47 Nice. Okay. I feel like I wanna start sort of centering it on your experience Azi in terms of sort of how you make a remote office for yourself. So you're sort of switching <laugh> between organizational systems and sort of meeting people and sort of kind of going to where they are in the context of particular projects. But I'm kind of wondering, can you reflect a little bit on, as someone who works across a lot of projects and organizations, sort of what does your home base look like and sort of how do you organize yourself and, um, your remote culture work life? Speaker 1 00:05:22 Yes. So <laugh>, I'm not sure I'm, I'm I'm a great example for this. Uh, I'd say I'm still figuring it out. No, but what I, what I mean is it, it took me a while to kind of understand what I liked and what I didn't like about, uh, the position I'm in right now. I think one key aspect is that I don't have any of the team rituals I used to have anymore. And so the structure I have to build is really a structure I have to build for myself and it can't really rely on those collective moments that I used to have that would kind of pace my week. Uh, so I'd say, but what I really like is the, the, the freedom that I, I, I can find in really having my, my whole week to myself kind of. Uh, and so what does my home base look like? Speaker 1 00:06:10 I have a desk in a, in a corner in, in my apartment, uh, that I actually don't use that much because I like working in environments where there are people. So I go to coffee shops, I go to libraries. I sometimes try and work with friends here in Paris who may do, you know, PhDs or, um, other freelance work. And then in terms of how, how I organize my week, some rituals I, I usually have for myself are trying to, basically I have, um, I have a work calendar with a lot of to-do lists and kind of, this is a, a lot of details to tell me if I'm, if I'm going too much into it, but no, I love it. What I found difficult at, at some point is I started having all these projects at the same time and not knowing what my week was gonna look like. Speaker 1 00:06:58 So I, I basically went on notion and I created a calendar with very detailed to-do lists and little tags. And uh, what I do about every Friday or every Monday morning is I look at my calendar and I move my little tags around until every one of my day starts to look like I know what I'm gonna be doing. Uh, and I try to keep it to, you know, one or two projects a day maximum so that I avoid context switching. But I have to say that my system still needs a lot of honing, you know, I, I I hear from people who say, oh, every morning I wake up, I listen to a podcast, I get really inspired. I think I'm a much more, at least still now, like chaotic person. I, I wake up and I don't know <laugh>, I just, I look at my calendar and I'm like, okay, let's, let's, let's get that done, I guess. Um, so yeah, it's, it's a work in progress. Speaker 2 00:07:49 That's really interesting. The point about feeling disconnected from team rhythms and ritual and then sort of having to create them for yourself. I think that's a really helpful way of thinking about it, that you have to anchor your own rhythm and something that means something to you because you actually, the choppiness of working across so many projects means it's not possible to get that rhythm. I think that actually happens also for people that work in larger organizations and sort of work across teams. Um, we've heard this before that people struggle to sort of feel like the pace and the, uh, context switching and the sort of self managing the self, that, that becomes much harder when you're kind of pulled in lots of different directions at random <laugh> times by lots of different, uh, people that you work with. It's really interesting. Do you wanna say a little bit about sort of how you, so when you take on a new project and you start working with a new organization, what does that onboarding process generally look like? When you think about who is this organization, how do they work, what is their remote work practices, sort of what, what does that process look like for you? Speaker 1 00:08:59 So one, one important thing I think is that it really depends on the, the type of work I'm asked to do. You know, if it's, if it's people, um, ask me to do some like a, like strategy research or if it's people asking me to do project management, I think things will look very different. The the amount, or at least in my opinion, I'd be curious to hear what you think, but the amount of information I'll need or the type of information I'll need from the organization will vary. Uh, sometimes, you know, people actually, the organization itself expects me to kind of stay peripheral to what they're doing, and other times they are really looking to pulling me in. And so this is, so I think my, my, my first answer would be it, it depends. Um, but then in general the, the things I always strive to understand are, you know, where is this, what's this organization's strategy or direction? Speaker 1 00:10:06 Just because I'm trying to understand how my work fits into a broader picture. And then the second thing I try to understand is what's in it for the person or the people I'm directly working with? I think these two things can already be very different. And the another element is that I don't necessarily think all of this happens in the first week, especially the what's in it for the people, because this, this, uh, will be, you know, usually like understood through more informal conversations or after we've built a, a sense of familiarity even though some people are really upfront about what they need as well. But yeah, so I think in the, in the first week it's, it's mostly asking a lot of questions. Also if, if the organizations has some strategy documentation or, or you know, past work that I can have a look at, uh, that's really interesting. Speaker 1 00:11:02 And then one thing I, I haven't mentioned is in, is in terms of, of tools and, and rituals. And here again, it really depends on the, the kind of position I'm expected to or, or that I wanted to take with this organization. For some, for some it's just, you know, what kind of what, what video call tool do you use? And then I just, I just hop on that. Others have, you know, shown me around their whole documentation, uh, software or like, they integrate me to their slack or meta most channels and stuff. And it's also, for me, what I try to, to understand is how do they use these tools? Uh, how do they talk to one another? Not necessarily how do they talk to me, but yeah, how do they use these tools to communicate? Uh, but then, and I think we'll get to that, the, the question is also, also what am I expected? How am I expected to fit into all these ritual habits and culture? Um, because I think that's a, that's a really, um, that's a tough question to, to, uh, answer as well. Speaker 2 00:12:06 Are there any, is there anything people have done that have made it easier or more difficult for you to kind of slot in, in the way that makes sense for what you're trying to do and also makes it easy for you to kind of orient within what is, 'cause remote is not, it's not an office space where you can step in and say, oh, this is so and so and this is so and so, and here's where the coffee machine is and we're gonna work with you for a few weeks. And like there is, there isn't <laugh> that immediate sort of transparency and scaffolding and structure to sort of step into. And I'm wondering if you could say a little bit about, maybe compare an example where it's been really good <laugh>, um, and easy and then maybe an example where it's been harder. Yeah, Speaker 1 00:12:45 So one example that's that's really been puzzling me is an example where, so my, my, I'm, I'm gonna, I'm gonna frame this thought in my head please. I think a counterintuitive thing is that sometimes people try to pull you in too fast and give you too much information and try to integrate you too much. And so in, in some projects I've been, you know, offered to take part in all the rituals in all the team meetings, you know, to attend everything and be, because people were just really open to me working with them and they wanted to introduce me to everyone, uh, and show me everything about the organization. And I think what's really paradoxical is that it came from the right intention of trying to give me as much information as possible and making me feel included. And maybe in, in some contexts it works, but what I found difficult is, is that it was too much information for me. Speaker 1 00:13:45 And also it was impossible for me to do the work that was expected of me as a non full-time person in the organization and take part in all the rituals as well. And so one thing I've been reflecting on is, you know, do I just have to accept the fact that I, as an outside person, I will never be an inside person and that's okay. And, you know, I can be an inside person with maybe two people from the organization that I work closely with who coordinate the work that I do with the rest of the organization and the rest of the organization I'll learn less about and that, and that's okay as well. And I think what's, what's worked well, at least in the way I like to work is as I said, having, you know, one or two people that are my point of contact that I can maybe have rituals with and that will also, you know, give me news from the rest of the organization and kind of be sheltered from the bigger yeah, the maybe other teams or or other rituals. Speaker 1 00:14:48 At least that's, that's what I found works for me. Me, it's more coordination on the side of the, the organization itself. Uh, but it's, it's very comfortable for me even though I don't get, and I think also I'm, I'm, I'm still trying to understand how I can get a full picture with, as you said, no coffee machine, no, not seeing the offices, but what the thing I'm, I'm wondering the most about is can you really do these things as efficiently, uh, remotely and, but also is it necessary to do these things, uh, to feel included? And I'm, I'm not sure. Speaker 2 00:15:22 Yeah, that's really interesting. I mean, I think you use an interesting word, shelter because I think that there's a part of this that is selectively choosing the aspects of your day-to-day sort of remote space with someone. And I think you, you also reference the idea that sometimes it's more difficult to be selective about what you pull people into because it requires thought, it requires intention, it requires planning, it requires being able to sort of see how overwhelming it would be for someone meant to work on a small aspect of work to be in the sort of machinery of an organization and all that goes along with that. And I think sometimes people, one, don't put the energy in to make those choices of what to shelter and sort of how to share and curate. And two, don't understand or think from the perspective of the person coming in about how much it takes <laugh> to participate in an organization in that way. Speaker 2 00:16:26 Like I don't think people realize it. I think it actually, aside from external people, I think it's also part of the fatigue that comes with remote work is that you don't necessarily really internalize how much of your week ends up being things that are peripheral to the core work that you're doing, even if you're full-time. So sometimes people, they end up spending, you know, 30% of their time on standing team meetings, um, reading organization-wide materials, checking email that has nothing to do with their work, um, being asked for process related requests to sort of keep all the sort of boxes ticked and all that stuff. And I think that, that, because you're remote, it makes it easier, I think to like not see that or that isn't as visible. And I think that's part of the exhaustion that we see in remote spaces is because there's just this huge layer of work that kind of goes unacknowledged. Like everybody talks about it as like difficult, but I don't think people really grapple with how much it takes to participate in an organization in that way. Speaker 1 00:17:32 No, absolutely. One, one thing I i, I wanted to mention as well is freelancing. The, the thing freelancing allows me and or enables me to do is to, because it forces me to do it, is to be very intentional about how I'll communicate with teams and also about the synchronous moments together, because I'm not, because by definition they're not reachable by me. I I can't reach them all the time and they can't reach me all the time. And so we have to take away this sense of never ending availability or like permanent availability because my position gives me the, the, yeah, makes it impossible to do so. But, uh, it's, it's almost a blessing in disguise because then, you know, when we have meetings they have to be planned weeks in advance so everybody's available and sometimes they're, you know, they're short, so we have to make the most of it. And so I've really had to think about how, for instance, you know, for feedback, how do we first collaborate on Google Docs or on any mutual like, um, collaborative documents that will circulate and, you know, just spend the meeting discussing things and making decisions. And I think this being forced to be intentional and conscious about everyone's time just because of our, uh, relationship with one another has, has really been helpful in this, uh, in this world where, you know, you're only theoretically just the slack message away, but everybody's actually, uh, hating it secretly. Speaker 2 00:19:11 Yeah, secretly and not so secretly sometimes <laugh>. I think that's a really insightful to think of the missed opportunity of treating your full-time people and sort of taking them for granted and not curating with the intent that you do for an external person actually doing that for people on your team. <laugh> like the, the presumption that everybody needs to be in everything or the, the presumption that with, even without looking at the totality of someone's work on top of those organizational commitments, not actually taking the time to say, is your role even possible because we're essentially asking you to do all of this and then all this other stuff. I think there's a sort of a negligence that happens where people say, oh, you're full-time, you can handle it, or you can push back or you can structure your work or you can work with your manager to sort of let us know what you need to make that possible. Speaker 2 00:20:10 But there's a, it's, it's really put on individuals to sort of be resilient in the face of that, seeing things from a much potentially higher leadership role than they can from their vantage point, because maybe they don't have access also to certain information to sort of see how they slot in or could slot in differently based on their capacity and what they wanna be doing. And I think it's just, yeah, I think it's just really insightful to, like, maybe one takeaway is if you were to treat your people that are there every day with the same care and intention of how you include them in information and meetings and rituals, uh, as you do an external person, um, what would you change? And if you sort of use that lens, are you all of a sudden seeing maybe there's been a sort of imprecision, I guess, <laugh> of creating roles for people that are actually possible to fulfill? Speaker 1 00:21:04 Sorry, you froze a little bit, but No, yeah, I, I completely agree. And you know, uh, you, I'm gonna reference some emails you've been sending from the remote culture club, but one thing that particularly struck me at the time was some reflection on what would you do if you can't have meetings for, with your team for a month? How would you define the criteria for success and how would you able to keep on doing the work, uh, without talking to your other teammates? And for me, I always apply this with my freelance work and with working with outside organizations. Uh, but it's, it's, it's really helpful and, and um, just because I think focusing the outcomes and, and pulling that from facilitation practice and applying it to any kind of job has really helped me also with framing a project as in, as an outside person and trying to get everybody's expectations very clear, uh, so that we can keep moving forward. Speaker 2 00:22:11 I think there is something, something to that, and I wanna sort of pick up this thread on facilitation 'cause I think we're both facilitation nerds and I'm wondering, do you wanna talk a little bit more about sort of outcome orientation and sort of how you see that connecting to making it easier to work or collaborate remotely? And then I would love to talk about how you sort of step into a facilitation role when you're external. So you're sort of outside of people's systems and remote space, but you have to sort of step in and hold space for them. Speaker 1 00:22:41 Yeah, absolutely. Um, so I think I, as I, as I was mentioning, the, the focus on outcomes has been really important for me and trying to really, and, and this ties into what I said at the beginning about what's in it for the organization and what's in it for the person I'm talking to. What I, what I find a lot of the time is that, you know, people come to you with a scope, with a brief, but you actually have to work with them trying to refine what they're really looking for. Because for instance, if they're, if they're looking for some strategic research or, uh, if they're trying to do a project, I mean, you have to think about, you know, what's the strategy gonna be used for? And also when, what will make me consider or will, what will make the organization consider this a success? 'cause you know, otherwise you can keep building up and building work, building up and, and doing the work and it's never ending work and sometimes you may be completely off base. And so what I've, what I found really useful pulling from facilitation is really trying to make this super clear. Uh, I'm gonna try and find a, a concrete example for this. Speaker 2 00:24:10 I really like this a lot and it's actually something that I notice I do a lot as well without really thinking about it anymore 'cause it's so connected. But this idea that when people write briefs or they write proposals or they write, there's something about the formality of the language. Sometimes it's in strategies, sometimes it's in plans where people stop actually communicating directly about what they're trying to achieve. And it means that when you try and actually do the thing, it's really difficult to align around the actual objective <laugh> because people write in a way that isn't, I mean, I'm, I would love to hear an example of where this has happened to you, but I find frequently that in the proposal writing process, so when I say when I'm working with a potential partner and they want me to facilitate an event, um, I have a standard process where we put together a proposal and the, the sort of anchor of the whole proposal is around really tightly articulated objectives <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:25:04 And what's really funny is that I sometimes I think based on conversation, that that's actually the most powerful part of the proposal is sort of listening to them and talking to them and sort of getting a sense of like, not, we wanna hold an event with this many people that come from this background that are working on this issue, or here's the catchy phrase that we're using about this community or whatever. But like, oh, you wanna enrich relationships between people that don't know each other very well and really spend time getting those people to know each other as an objective and just being very specific. And then when you're through the whole project, you can always return to these tightly articulated objectives that sort of really communicate clearly what you're trying to do. And it helps you prioritize and it helps you get clear. It also helps you be realistic about what's possible to do. Speaker 2 00:25:50 Yeah. And it also gives a lot of space for people to buy into those objectives, change those objectives, get specific. So I hear you that like in the same way that, and then also it translates into really nice agendas because then in the agenda, when you communicate what you're gonna cover and you're gonna facilitate, you get to say we're here to do this. Which gets people ready, gets people in the head space doesn't get people wondering, did we actually do what we were trying to do? Like what is this? We're just getting to know each other, that's not useful. And it's like, actually that's one of our core objectives. <laugh>, um, makes it a lot easier to sort of anchor the space. I'll stop. I'm wondering if you have examples to share or if that sort of is what you're saying. Yeah, Speaker 1 00:26:35 Yeah. Building on this. Uh, so first of all, I completely agree with you and I would even go as far as to say building alignment within the organization that I work with is one of the main wins of the, of the work. You know, when you ask people concretely, what would success look like for this work? Uh, you get two very different answers and then you can just put these two people in front of one another and say, look, totally, you have very different objectives. We need to like find some, find a way. Either pick one or, you know, find a middle ground. Uh, I think that's really interesting what you said about managing expectations as well. And so are important and outcomes are what I use to manage expectations. I use outcomes and I use storytelling as well. And this ex explaining very clearly, you know, we have this much time, this is what we'll be able to do, this is what I'm expected, well this is what, what what we can expect from, uh, from, uh, from the work. Speaker 1 00:27:38 And I have a, a concrete example on this is last time I was facilitating a, a workshop as part of, of strategy work. And you know, I think for, for I call, we called it a, a workshop, but really it was a presentation with discussion, uh, type thing because, you know, to do the work efficiently or at least to, to go very far into the work and doing strategy with everybody, we had gathered there, I think we would've need maybe two or three times the time we had been allotted. But because of the constraints of the organization, you know, we could only get people in the room for about an hour. And so I think part of my job was to say, let's set aside what we could have done with three to four hours and let's say, okay, we have one hour. How, what can we get from this one hour? Speaker 1 00:28:29 And then being very clear that, you know, we're not gonna end up deciding anything. Uh, this is a place for discussion. Uh, and and this really helps set reasonable expectations, I think, and kinda yeah, ensure that people don't leave disappointed because they had this grand idea in their head about what was gonna happen. But instead of demanding more, more, I just ask myself, what can I do with less? And how can I do it with less? And then I communicate it clearly. And I think this can be applied to any organization, even internally, right? Uh, just not being over ambitious and also knowing how what you're doing right now fits in with the last step and the next step and repeating that over and over again as you actually have taught me Speaker 2 00:29:18 <laugh>. Yeah, I think that's a really powerful way of thinking about it. I really like that. What can we do with less? 'cause I think, um, I was reading something recently about, um, the fact that burnout is not caused from just overwork. It's actually caused by a disconnect between the amount of work you're doing and the output and outcome you're having. So if you feel like you're trying to do this really big thing and you keep working and working and working and working and feel like you're not getting any closer to that thing, that's when burnout happens. And I think there's something about the way that we project our ambition onto meetings and collaborations and projects rather than say with what we have given the orientation and the direction we wanna go in, what can we achieve with this? Um, and I think that reality check has a completely sort of transformative effect on levels of confidence and traction and momentum and sort of feeling connected to the work. 'cause I think just if you keep doing that where you say we're gonna do all these things and then you only do this, it's that separation and that sort of difference between the two that is really, um, soul-sucking, <laugh> and really, I think bad for teams over time. Speaker 1 00:30:39 And one, one last thing I I wanted to, to mention on this, on this topic of doing facilitation from the outside, you know, we, the, the two of us in new you have talked about a lot, a lot about preparing these meetings and these moments where people get together, you know, listening for echoes and, and speaking to people to understand the mindset they will go into the, the meeting in, for instance, I have found that as an outside person it is even more difficult to do because you don't, for instance, have these informal moments at the coffee machine where you could ask someone their thoughts on this upcoming meeting and you usually rely on someone from the organization who will be a proxy for the rest of the people. You don't need to. And in, in, I I'm sure that in great settings, uh, you can have access to a lot of people beforehand. Speaker 1 00:31:34 Uh, but sometimes that's not the case. And, um, a recent example I had with this is I actually asked a lot of questions to the, the person I was working with on, you know, what, how are people dealing with this project? I was, I was doing project management and uh, we needed to get more information from actually the future users of the, uh, was a tech tool. And the person I was working with, you know, said some things about the, the mindset of the people. But when we came in, my fellow consultants and I, we realized that people were actually so tired of having the same meeting of, of ev everybody asking them for information. And, you know, it was difficult because I realized maybe I could have done something else to, to, to learn this information, but the information I had been given contradicted what I was seeing. Speaker 1 00:32:25 The point I wanna, I wanna make here is that I think as, as an outside person, you have to also accept the fact that you can only put out what you are given in and you can make a lot of effort to get the maximum positive input or quality input that you can. But when you don't have it, this is where I think of myself as a facilitator. Every time when you don't have it, you are not a savior, you are not, uh, you don't have divinity powers or like you don't have, can't read into the future and you can't read into people's minds. And you have to accept the fact that your output will only be as good as the, the input you're given. But what you can do to mitigate this, and what we did in this meeting is by again, framing the meeting and explaining why we were doing it and what we, what it was gonna be used for. Speaker 1 00:33:21 It kinda just un highlighted for the participants how it was still important for us. Um, so I think you have to play with these two things of accepting that you are not the protagonist of the story either because you're still surrounded with people, but by making this explicit you can mitigate some of the harmful effects. And I think like if, um, if I, if I had to, I feel like in this conversation what has perspired as well is this idea of making things explicit, which I think in the workplace we don't do as much as we could just because we're so, you know, deep into our organization that we don't question how we do things anymore. And so we wrap everything up into this very formal institutional language or because, you know, because of power dynamics or personal dynamics, we don't dare to say things anymore. And I feel like as an outside person, actually what we can bring is making, you know, being the naming the elephant in the room and just saying these things very clearly and not being afraid to disrupt things a little bit more. Um, which I also think could be a new mindset in any internal organizations. Speaker 2 00:34:39 Yeah, I think that's absolutely right and I think it's a really good note to end on. 'cause I think it's, that to me is the main value of an external person. 'cause I think as you were describing, finding these proxy people that can tell you what's really going on, that the level of self-awareness that requires both for those individuals and also for them to sort of see, uh, it's a bit like the David Foster Wallace, um, commencement speech he gave at Kenyon College where he talks about we're all swimming in water and if you say <laugh>, um, what's water? You know, the fish is, you know, doesn't know what, what it, what it's constituted of because it doesn't think of it. It's like air. Um, and I think it's quite difficult to get a read quickly on what's actually happening in an organizational culture and in a remote space without those people. But at the same time, we can't always find those people. Um, we can't also take responsibility for an organization's whole way of working and being when we're sort of trying to have targeted, um, interventions and be helpful in a specific way. And I think that's something I think about a lot, um, is the role, uh, that has been explicitly defined for me and, and delivering on that without feeling bad when I can't transform an organization in like a four month project. <laugh>. Yeah, it's hard though. Speaker 0 00:36:01 It's Speaker 2 00:36:02 Cool. Okay, well Swazi thank you. This was amazing. This is exactly the kind of conversation I wanted to have. 'cause I think, I love the way you think about facilitation. I love the way you think about, um, the way people come together to do complex things. Um, and it's always a pleasure to chat. So thanks so much. Um, and uh, if people wanna find you, where would they Speaker 1 00:36:23 Go? I am still on Twitter at Great <laugh>. I'm at, so Pinco I'm also on, uh, Mastodon. My <inaudible> address is on Twitter and yeah, and I think that's the, the quickest way to find me right now. Speaker 2 00:36:39 Cool. We will link to that in the show notes, um, so people can find you. Um, but thanks so much. This was awesome. Um, and I will see you soon. Thank you. Speaker 1 00:36:47 See you soon.

Other Episodes

Episode 2

October 04, 2023 00:05:22
Episode Cover

Episode 15 | How ‘metawork’ can help your team thrive

In remote work, small decisions can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your team: how you document your work, how you share...


Episode 12

August 30, 2023 00:54:24
Episode Cover

Episode 12 | Notion-powered remote teamwork with Tem

From Slack to Zoom to Google Doc comments, we have many ways of communicating at work. With so many channels at our disposal, why...


Episode 5

May 03, 2023 00:30:53
Episode Cover

Episode 5 | Boundaries & work-life balance with Mehan Jayasuriya

Boundaries, they’re not just for your in-laws… In this week’s episode, Alix talks to Mehan Jayasuriya, Senior Program Officer at the Mozilla Foundation, about...