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21st Century Work Life and leading remote teams

Brought to you by Virtual not Distant, the 21st Century Work Life podcast looks at leading remote teams, online collaboration and working in distributed organisations.

Join Pilar Orti, guests & co-hosts as they shine the spotlight on the most relevant themes and news relevant to the modern knowledge worker.

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Jul 12, 2018

In today’s busy episode we look at the networks and constellations that surround us in our work, the human kind and the virtual respectively. Some great guests and conversations come your way, as we connect with unique expertise in the remote working space.  

And special thanks to previous guest Gant Laborde for sending us some great new connections, as well his own podcast Building Infinite Red - we love to hear your feedback, so please connect with us over at Virtual Not Distant!

3.04 The Voice Behind the Book – David Burkus

It’s always a pleasure to talk with David Burkus, award-winning speaker, business school professor, and author of “ Friend of a Friend: Understanding the Hidden Networks that Will Transform Your Life and Your Career”. David is an old friend of this podcast, and joined us back in episode 137.

His latest book looks at the fundamental principles of network science, based on 50 years of experimental evidence, to analyse universal truths you can make use of in any setting. It’s definitely not yet another book about how to ‘do’ networking – but by better understanding the principles in play, you can enrich the way you connect with others and grow your social capital, whilst maintaining authenticity in your interpersonal relationships.

And as we keep saying, it’s not about the platform or the tool – but you can use various modes of technology to supplement your networking. Getting out of your comfort zone matters too – truly effective networking is always unscripted.

Finally, you need to know that David is a past master at networking a book launch, building a great marketing ecosystem and bonus product selection around the content, and being very clear about how people will benefit from it. (Sign up on the title link above, to observe this in action). And as he does point out, writing a book about networking is a great way to grow your network!

Make sure you check out David’s website for more information, and his TEDx talk, ‘How to Hack Networking’.


27.17 Satellite, Cluster and Nebula Teams: What do you mean by that?

And again it’s great to welcome another returning guest (from episodes 77 95 and 117!); our good friend from Virtual Team Talk Mark Kilby is an agile coach and author, and explains he needed better ways of describing different configurations of team set-up.

Satellite teams revolve around a central hub – like a main office, where most are colocated.

Clusters happen in larger organisations, with groups coalescing in different locations. Clusters may be near (perhaps even by floors in a building), or far distant from each other, perhaps by many time zones.

Nebulas are truly out in space – genuinely diffuse clouds of people, remote, collaborating and communicating completely virtually.

Mark and Joanna Rothman will explain more in their upcoming book “From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams”, and we’ll welcome then back to be future ‘voices behind the book’ to hear more.


33.19 Tools: Linoit is one of the simplest online planning tools, completely browser-based and no account necessary (though there is a mobile app). The beauty is in just being able to share a link and have everyone jump in and start collaborating. It’s very simple and frictionless to use.

It’s great for brainstorming, thought-dumping, idea capture – using virtual post-it notes, which you can move and pin and cluster at will, with intuitive drag-and-drop ease.

And it’s free – what’s not to like?

36.10 Oh no, my team’s gone remote... And I’m afraid we’ll lose visibility within the organisation!

Just as it’s important to stay visible to each other as you transition to an office-optional setting, you may also need to initiate and engineer opportunities for connection and collaboration between your team and the rest of the organisation, indeed, your wider industry and world. 

You can become more conscious of your networks and connections, and use the tools and opportunities you’re given, both to make your own team’s activities visible, but also to pick up on what else is going on, and further potential for collaboration.  How can you map your network, and see who is already connected to whom, formally or informally? As with much in the remote working world, intentionality is important.

It’s all about relationships and networking after all. Celebrate your accomplishments, intentionally bridge the distances, and keep your networks and constellations strong.