Hot Topic Friday: Sept. 27

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Happy Friday! Here are my Sept. 27 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing culture or leadership. 

Hot Topic 1: Greta Thunberg: ‘How Dare You!’ 

Source: CBC 

What It’s About: This CBC article covers the United Nations speech made by 16-year-old climate change activist, Greta Thunberg, as she opened the Climate Action Summit. It was an angry condemnation of world leaders for failing to take strong measures to combat climate change. "How dare you?" she said. A little over a year ago, Greta was a single voice teenage protestor, and amazingly this past Friday, millions of young people took to the streets worldwide to demand emergency action on climate change. According to this report: “Thunberg, visibly emotional, said in shaky but stern remarks at the opening of the summit that the generations that have polluted the most have burdened her and her generation with the extreme impacts of climate change. ‘This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you,’ she said. ‘You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.’”  Whatever your perspective is on climate change, I believe a powerful parallel story is Greta symbolizing emerging NEW power. How did Greta almost single handedly mobilize millions in such a short time period, in spite of triggering a swell of hate mongers and vicious trolls? 

Why It’s Important: Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms recently wrote an important book called “New Power.” According to the authors, “New power is made by many, it is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It operates like a current and, like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is to channel it. Old power is held by few. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It operates like a currency. Once gained, it is hoarded and the powerful have a lot of it to spend. New power behaviors: Sharing, affiliating, funding, producing, and shaping. The old power behaviors are complying and consuming.” Old ideas related to so called “change management” are becoming outmoded and even ineffective. They are rooted in old power models which are enabled by what people or organizations own, know, or control that nobody else does. And Heimans and Timm’s point out that once old power models lose that, they lose their advantage. And in addition to the obvious importance of the climate change issue itself, the massive spark initiated by Thunberg is a story unto itself. A lot of people are threatened by Thunberg and her crowd. Why? So much to rethink and do differently! 

Hot Topic 2: Creative Ways of Leading and Connecting Remote Teams 

Source: Inc. 

Note: After last week’s Hot Topics on WFH and WFA, readers asked about tips for leading remote teams. This may help. 

What It’s About: Vlada Bortnik, CEO and co-founder of Marco Polo, outlines some cool things their company does. Marco Polo has team members in Canada, India, and 11 different states across the U.S. “To optimize collaboration and keep up momentum, we established overlapping collaboration hours. For us, it's 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pacific. Having core collaboration hours can make it hard to hire from outside North America, but it's still possible to make a different continent work… So we have daily standup meetings as a whole company followed by team standups. We avoid private communication channels. We welcome lots of work and non-work chatter throughout the day over various channels like our Joya Teamily group (Teamily =’Team"+"Family’), Favorites Friday, Game of Thrones, Joya Kids, Joya Pets, Coffee, Home Improvement, etc. Since we're remote, we invest even more heavily in our company culture than we might if we were in one location. Our meetings always start with celebrations or appreciations, and we hold company retreats multiple times per year so that we get time together.” 

Why It’s Important: Leaders of remote teams need to create new ways of connecting people. Distance and time zones are not excuses for lack of teamwork and personal connection. In fact, Marco Polo is an application that contributes to this. It’s important for modern leaders to know how they might use a combination of platforms and apps designed for remote teams. Slack, Zoom, Asana, Peakon, and AppearIn are great examples. There is no one perfect solution to meet every need, but when used in combination, these tools work well for maximizing productive teamwork. Leaders and IT groups need to introduce and support these options. And by the way, this is another statement about the importance of investing in culture!

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon N.V. 

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[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino].

And finally! Here’s Cecil’s Bleat of the Week!

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“We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.” - Malcolm Gladwell.

Bye for now!

— Lorne Rubis

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Garrett Rubis