Transcript: How to Create A Remote Team Strategy

Please excuse our typos, this transcript was transcribed by

Mitch Simon 0:10
Welcome to another episode of team anywhere where CEOs, leaders and experts at building teams, companies, organizations, and amazing cultures

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 0:22
share how to lead from anywhere in the world. I’m your co host on the east coast. juden Bianca Mathis,

Mitch Simon 0:27
and I’m your co host on the West Coast. Mitch Simon. And we invite you to join us team anywhere.

Today on Team anywhere we speak to Tara Rathore, CEO and strategic advisor at strategy for real. Tara shares with us how to create strategy in today’s remote world. How to utilize the mindset of taking a company on an adventure? What are the keys to preparing for and leading a successful remote strategy off site and a secret high tech tool that she uses to keep her teams engaged? Her mantra, which I think we all need to adopt, is to be open to ambiguity, something we all need in these times.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 1:21
Welcome to another episode of team anywhere with Ginni Bianco, Mathis on the east coast. And Mitch Simon leske.

Mitch Simon 1:36
Do we have today

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 1:37
Yes, today we are thrilled to have Tara Rathore with us to talk about remote teams, and specifically with a lens of strategic planning since she is an expert in strategic planning, and working with executives, as an executive coach, and as a consultant with expertise in change management and entrepreneurship. And she is a CEO of her own company strategy for real, which he’ll be telling us about CEO of a trusted of the trusted advisory chief executive group. And she sits on two boards so she can share a lot about what’s happening out there these days. Welcome, Tara.

Tara Rethore 2:25
Thank you, Jenny. Thank you, Mitch, it’s really fun to be here. I’m so excited,

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 2:29

Mitch Simon 2:30
thanks, doesn’t tear have a book coming out or something, or something like that, I’m like that we got to get out, you got to plug that.

Tara Rethore 2:40
I’m so excited about it. Um, I have a new book, it’s coming out, I hope at the end of the year, the name of it is charting the course it’s CEO tools to align strategy and operations. And it’s been a labor of love, and truly a labor. But it’s also very, very exciting, because it’s superduper, Platt practical and has tools that you can use pick up, really take them right off the page and use them in your work. So I’m very excited about that. I could talk all day long about that topic of our conversation today.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 3:12
Oh, that’s wonderful. No, I’m excited about seeing it. So thanks for sharing that. And tell us a little bit about yourself and and, and your journey. And what brings you to strategy for real.

Tara Rethore 3:25
Sounds good. Jeannie, as you said, I’m CEO strategy for real. I work with CEOs, executives and board members to help them take strategy off the page and really put it into action. I have come from, for many of my clients, I’ve been where they are, or I’ve sat where they sit. And so that mix of corporate experience, as well as consulting to folks all over the world really helps me to identify and to relate to what they’re dealing with as well as to take things and ensure that it kind of makes sense on the ground. I know what it’s like, for example, to be sitting there at that operational level where you’re asked to translate what the corporation’s asked you to do into something that makes sense. And it’s not always easy to just hear the strategy, understand it and then hit go. And everybody’s on board and you know what you’re doing. And so that perspective has really informed how I speak with CEOs, how I work with executives, and what kinds of things we do together to make sure that the strategy is is in fact actionable.

Mitch Simon 4:39
We’d like to take this brief interruption to thank our sponsors and they get back to our program. We’d like to thank Marymount University Arlington, Virginia School of Business and Technology, innovative solutions upskilling for the what’s next oyster organizational development dedicated to higher performance, business success and leveraging teams moister and we jungo a strategic people process consulting firm at we Jo So Tara, I’m interested in how you are helping companies do strategy remotely these days, because we’re all used to and I remember in February being in a room for two days with, with a great amount of people and really getting a lot of energy and a lot of momentum. And that momentum carried us through pretty much all the entire year. How do you do it when people are not in the same room?

Tara Rethore 5:34
It’s an excellent question. And a huge challenge. To be quite frank, strategic thinking is one of the things that is very difficult. In a virtual world, it benefits greatly from that energy, as you described in that in person interaction. So acknowledging that first off is really important, because you can’t simply take what you were going to do in the room and stick it on zoom, or Google meats, or any of the other teams or any of the other tools that we’re using right now it doesn’t, it’s not a just plug and play, make it happen, you won’t achieve as easily what you get in the room. The second thing, so there’s a little bit of more than that, get over it, you know, let it go, man, you’re not gonna be able to do it the same way.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 6:23
Put it on the table.

Tara Rethore 6:24
Yeah, kind of Yeah, it’s like, let’s accept the fact that this is not going to be the same. So what is it we’re really trying to do, and then get creative, I can give you a couple of examples. There are many, many different ways you can do this. A couple of key principles, for example, is to keep it simple. I know that sounds very basic, but it’s true in this case. And what that looks like is, rather than doing a two day intensive strategic thinking, planning, retreat, or meeting, break it down. Those are exhausting. Even when you’re in person, they’re simultaneously energizing. When you’re trying to do that on video, the exhaustion typically outweighs the energy. Just think of having spent yourselves probably, you know, a long time a half day or full day on zoom, even if they’re not all the same topic, it’s exhausting get to the end of the day, it’s exhausting. So the first thing is to break it down into bite sized chunks. The second thing is to really focus on the outcomes, what is it you’re trying to achieve? And then characterize the work which pieces of this strategic thinking and strategic planning most benefits from that interpersonal interaction, because not everything you’re doing in a strategic thinking strategic planning session has to be in person, it just makes sense. If you’re on meeting Anyway, why not do it in person, right? So just as you might use breakout groups or smaller sessions, in an in person thing, you can do those also virtually, however, maybe you’re not doing them all on the same day? Or maybe you’re not doing it with the same group of people. The other thing is to think through carefully and I’ve been doing this with clients, what’s the work that you can do? How do you prepare in advance? What can you be doing to save the conversation in advance, because when you come together, you want to be focusing not on sharing information, but on processing that information and defining clear outcomes. So yes, yes. So what’s the desired outcome, and who’s needed to ensure that you have a chance at reaching that desired outcome? Right. And though to the people who put in the room, there’s been a couple of different ways we’ve done that I’ve seen in person meetings where it’s been safer and people have come together for a smaller group of people have come together, socially distanced wearing masks, you know, really observing all the safety protocols to ensure that they’re doing the right things for their themselves and their people. And assuring that you’ve got at least on call the subject matter expert, because you can’t just pop down the hall to pick up Joe Sam or Sally who happens to be really, really well not, you know, knowledgeable about that thing that we just can’t put our finger on or that piece of the business that’s really, you know, troubling out. So you need to have a few you need to be mindful and thinking ahead a little bit about who might be the subject matter experts that you meet, to have on hand. And you may not want them in the room for the entire conversation that may not be safe. So that’s one thing is you can do that and you can bring them folks in as needed.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 9:43
That’s, that’s interesting. Yeah, I like that. It also

Tara Rethore 9:47
it’s also really nice for the for the client to have some folks who are comfortable and not comfortable being in the office and with other people for all kinds of reasons, right? And it allows you to kind of bridge that Interestingly, I found that hybrid strategic conversations can work. And what I mean by hybrid, in this case is the idea that you have some folks in the room and some folks out of the room, most of the time, when you’re trying to do an in person retreat, the last thing you want is somebody on the phone on a Squawk Box in the middle of the table, it’s a disembodied voice that comes out of nowhere, right? It doesn’t work, it’s hard on the person on the phone. And it’s really hard on the people in the room. What’s interesting is video actually makes that more doable. It’s that connection, I think that you can have, and also seeing that visual of a person that’s really there, and you need to make sure that that person has their camera on because if they have their camera off, it’s the same as having a disembodied voice on the phone, it’s no different. So that can help to ensure that that person is engaged through the entire conversation. And it also makes it harder for people to have sidebar conversations, which often happens, yes, a group in the room and a group that’s not or a person that’s not. So that can really help. Again, though, you need to be mindful of the fact that people that it’s exhausting to be on video. So again, shorter, bite sized chunks are really important, and then space it out. So you could have a strategic planning week, for example, where you have, you know, a couple of hours each day where you’re working on very specific aspects of your strategic plan. And you have pre work, and you have homework, so that you allow people to have some individual work or some smaller team works. And then you also have buddy work. It’s easy, you can work on the phone, or you can work by video in smaller groups way more easily than you can in a big group. So it gives you and you don’t have to keep them all connected at the same time, for example, using zoom, right breakout rooms, but you can also do by the way, that works quite well. But it doesn’t relieve the it doesn’t relieve the challenge and the exhaustion factor if you don’t include a break. The other thing are, you know, so if you’re using so that’s I think those are more specific to strategic thinking. You really need to be mindful of all the tools around Okay, how do you make a virtual meeting more effective, what what helps walking meetings, like sending everybody outside for lunch, making sure that you incorporate some teaming things, possibly, here’s an idea that one of my clients did this for a wasn’t a strategic planning meeting, it was one of their usual kind of all hands meeting, they gathered pre pandemic, they would gather monthly, in their offices to share a lunch, and they celebrate success and do all kinds of fun things. One of the things they did after the pandemic, when they’re still all at home, is the CEO sent lunch to every associate. He just had it delivered to the house. No, yep. And so everybody had lunch together. And they could, you know, talk about what they were eating. Right. You know, like, as you go get Did you have the do to help people? Right, all those kinds of conversations they could still have. Right, right, but they weren’t in the room. And let’s face it, most of the time, you’re not reaching across the table and put your fork in somebody else’s plate. So you want to talk about it through video is okay, we’re Right,

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 13:38
right. Um, boy, you shared a lot of very interesting things. And I’m sure that’s the magic that you bring to the to the sessions. And hopefully it’s in your book is something that you said about breaking it up into chunks. Now that’s an art. All right, that’s an art and a science. Because for those of us that are I’m going to have two days and I got to make this happen in two days. That’s a different mindset. Yours, you’ve sat back and you said, How can I chunk this and make each session each chunk lead to something that combines then towards strategic plan using all these different efforts?

Mitch Simon 14:31
So I’m and I gosh, that was the same question I was thinking Jenny is for Tara, is it sounds like that, in this post COVID era, you’re spending a lot of time just thinking about the mechanics of how a strategic planning process or a quarterly process or a monthly process will go and I’m just wondering How do you think about like, do you sit down a month ahead of time ago? Hmm, let me think about this. And what are you thinking about? Tara?

Tara Rethore 15:09
Honestly, Mitch, I, I really am a strategic person, because the first thing I think about is okay, what does success look like? What are we trying to achieve? So I start with the end. And then I think about, who do I need to have in the conversation because I dictate some of the other pieces. And then I think about what are the key aspects of this, that we really need to understand or resolve to be successful? And I think about what might get in the way. Hmm. And those are the two things that helped me. And sometimes it’s the who, by the way, who might get in the way, the grant and naysayers You know, sometimes you really want those guys in the room, right? Because they really challenge you to think about how you’re presenting things, how you’re talking about things and whether or not it really makes sense. I love to dream, I’m really good at dreaming. When you’re taking strategy off the page and putting into action. It’s also got to really work. So the dream has to become reality, right? That’s the core of what I’m trying to do. So I like having the people that are like, Yeah, right, Tara, that’s lovely. It would be awesome. And yet, because they helped me think about, well, what what would it take? Right? And that’s a question that I ask, often, what would it take? For you to say yes to this? What would it take? For this to work? What would it take for this strategic thinking, exercise adventure, to be successful for this group? And the answer is different every time. So you’re right, Mitch, I spend a heck of a lot more time thinking up front. And yet at the same time, it’s not different. All that said, this is not Yes, it is. Thank you, Jenny, magic, that would be awesome. If I were truly that magical. It’s not magic, it’s it is very thoughtful at the same time. For me, what can be very challenging, is that I also really think on my feet a lot. And I take what’s happening in the room. And that’s why I think for a lot of people brainstorming strategic thinking, those are really hard to do virtually, because it’s harder to kind of read the room. It’s just harder. And so when I’m doing this, you know, when I do it in person, and I just, we just plow through, I always preface things with Okay, so I have an agenda. And I think I know about how much time we’re going to spend on each topic. The reality is, it all moves. And everyone looks exactly like that. No worries, we’ll get to where we want to be by the time we’re done. Right, we’ll get somewhere we’ll achieve our objectives. When you’re thinking about it, and you’re chunking it up, what may or may not be true, because you have a finite amount of time, in a very different way. So when I chunk it up, I also try to then order it in a way that lets me pivot, or jump, or switch or toggle between different things, because sometimes the group’s not ready to talk about something I think comes next. Yeah, because the thing that’s getting in their way, is the thing I think, and we’re going to talk about tomorrow, next week, whatever the schedule is, and so it’s it’s really about looking at the whole planning it back, and then figuring out how does that work, and then you’re getting the right people in the room. And believe me, it’s it’s happened where he kind of say, you know, what we need Joe, Sam or Sally in that conversation. And clearly, that’s where we need to be. And I’ve done two things, I’ve hopped off the phone and said, let’s see if we can get them on the phone. And then I’ve also said, Let’s, let’s table that for a second. And task someone specific to go find Joe, Sam or Sally and bring it up at the next time. And then the key thing is there to you have a decision to take as a leader of this conversation. Do you carry on with the next thing? Or do you shut it down and early people always like that, by the way, get back time and regroup. And you have to be willing to do that. And that’s that’s the real challenge. And for some people doing it in person, especially if you flown in for the event, no matter who you are the person in the room, the facilitator, the leader, whoever, you want to make sure you’re getting everything done, you still need to be able to kind of understand that you may have to regroup.

Mitch Simon 19:50
Let me hear you got going right now, like into this. This is something that I found. And I was just wondering, oh no, actually, here’s my question. Question. You said adventure. And I want to know, you know, this strategy thing or this adventure. What do you mean by adventure because I never, you know, most people think a strategy work is Are you kidding me? But you said adventure. So what did you mean by that?

Tara Rethore 20:15
Well, Mitch, it’s I mean, aside from the fact that it’s kind of my life’s work, I love this stuff. It’s okay. You know, it’s crazy. The chat and if you walk in thinking, this is going to be an adventure thinking your mindset if you walk in going, Oh, God, we’re doing the strategic planning and we’re retreat. I mean, the word retreat?

Unknown Speaker 20:35

Tara Rethore 20:37
I mean, retreat. Really. I get there’s another meeting get away. blabbity blah, but retreat? No, it’s so much more fun to go on an adventure. So if you switch it and think about it, hey, this is an adventure and in this COVID world in this virtual world, holy cow. It’s a really interesting adventure. Not one a lot of us expected and Yes, right. And

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 20:59
we can keep using that as an analogy saying, remember when it did and what you had to do? And And boy, I have all these ideas, and you probably already do it. Tara’s on on using beginning with that word adventure, before you even start the strategy meeting.

Tara Rethore 21:19
I know, I know. It’s so funny and funny, because all these kids shows, you know, their, their tunes kind of pop in my head, I guess, you know, and they’re not even little anymore. But still, there’s some from their childhood that just, you know, I still have the song in my head. And yet you think about what that song does for you that little ditty. Usually it’s the opening line at them. I mean, they get all excited because we’re going on a trip. Yes.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 21:46
Well, you are so right.

Mitch Simon 21:53
Okay, so Tara, I’m using that, you know, the next strategy retreat for me is an adventure. Adventure. I just think of adventure to Disneyland, which is close by but shut down.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 22:04
Yeah. But whatever, whatever

Tara Rethore 22:05
your, your version of adventure, whatever your version of thing that really makes you excited. I mean, if you’re working with a bicycle maker, or with Rei, I mean, good lord, that’s easy. When you’re working with, you know, oil companies, then what do you talk about? Well, there is everybody. Yeah, exactly. You know, what, what are you gonna do with that? How do you make that real for them by relating it to what they they think about? I love

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 22:38
your point about, and I can see how you’re combining your executive coaching techniques, your facilitation techniques, I mean, you do need to be your game needs to be sharp, right? Because you’re asking credibly powerful questions. Well, where do you want to go? What does that look like? What is that, you know, just beautiful kinds of things. Um, you don’t just say, Oh, I’m going to do strategic planning offline or online. Yeah, that is that’s marvelous.

Tara Rethore 23:10
The other the other challenge, Jen and Mitch, that you may have figured out, when I do it, any kind of in person thing, even if I’m in theory, giving just a talk, I usually have flip charts around, right. And I have them all over the room. Right, right. There are some technology tools that you can use that sort of simulate the sticky note thing. Virtual. Yeah, yeah, it honestly not the same. Not the same. So what I’ve started doing is using just I have paper in front of me, and I take it and I’m writing notes, and doing the normal things that I’m doing and quickly writing and whatnot. And then, you know, I just, you know, hold them up to the screen and say, Okay, guys, this is what I’m seeing. And I encourage the other guys to do that as well. They’re also active engaged, they get to drop their eyes from the screen. We don’t blink as much when we’re looking at the screens. And you know that it’s just really hard on your brain. It’s exhausting in her eyes. So it helps them because it gives them a reason to look away. And interesting. So doing that is helpful. And then the other thing is trying to you know, have them all take pictures of what they’ve written and send it back. And then whether it’s to me or it’s just someone else’s sort of synthesizing what happened. You need to literally get a picture of what’s going on in the room. And it’s again, it’s super challenging because you’re not you’re not capturing that live in quite the same way. That said, the guy’s lizard brain Brian Toronto, you guys might want to have a minute to talk with you. He is a terrific graphic facilitator there plenty of holes.

Unknown Speaker 24:53

Tara Rethore 24:54
he’s figured out he in his got his folks have figured out how to have graphic facilitation happening. Virtually. So the graphic facilitator is listening and doing all their magic thing and sitting there with the board behind them. Drawing. Yes, me What an awesome time to think about hiring a graphic facilitator, yes, because they really can add value to what you’re doing, capturing those notes. And of course, graphic facilitation is very different from or even graphic recording is very different from what I do on a flip chart, even though yes, I do have, you know, little stick figures and people and, you know, pictures, I use them wherever I can, you know, doesn’t require a lot of artistic ability, mind you. But that’s another really interesting idea. I think that that could just catapult that tool.

Mitch Simon 25:44
I love that, you know, so the most, most high tech tool right now is paper and a pen adapt. I love that. I agree. I’m gonna buy some, Where can I buy that actually download that. I’ve another question for you, Tara. Have you found that? Because we’re now virtual, for some or part or all of it? Have you found that when you go to think about your strategic planning or when you go to think about any meeting preparation, that we’re sometimes in a better place to think? Because we have, you know, first of all, we’re not, we’re not in our cars. So we have a lot more time in our offices to think about preparation. And then we have like an improv, I do a lot of improv, we now have an obstacle, right? The obstacles used to be the obstacle was we just got to get to find a date to put everybody in the same room right? Now we have the obstacle of, well, we can’t really get people to focus on something for 10 hours, they’re at their houses. So it kind of spurs more creative thinking on how to really think about what am I trying to do here? How do we engage? What are the different steps? I mean, I know you use the word adventure, I almost look at it as a production. And I’m wondering if you look at it as a new type of production. Or performance, let’s say when you’re when you’re planning for your next adventure.

Tara Rethore 27:21
My next adventure, you know, that’s a really interesting idea, Mitch, I hadn’t thought about it in that way. And yet, I do often think about when I’m walking into a room, very theater, like, you know, okay, the lights are up lights come on, right? They come up in the theater, and you’re on. Yeah, no matter what, right? And whether you’re feeling it or not, you’re on right, you’re on. And so in some respects, I guess I do think of it as a performance. And with improv, you know, you feed off your crowd as well. I, I hadn’t thought about it in that way. What I do, think about a lot. And always have, I’ve traveled all over the world. I’ve worked with clients all over the world. And the technology is always different, right? So even back in the day, you know, we had literal slides, remember those? The old, you know, and some people would do them and create slide decks out of them with the projector, remember? Yeah. Okay, that’s a little before my time, but still, okay. It was there. And if we always had a contingency, we always had a backup plan. Because you just couldn’t count on anything, couldn’t count on it printing? Yeah, it just can’t count anything. So

Mitch Simon 28:32
usually, it was usually the light bulb, the light bulb, was using a light bulb that was in your dead because of the light bulb.

Tara Rethore 28:42
I also so I had that as part of my always part of my mentality as I think about, okay, if this doesn’t work, then I’ll try this, make sure I have it on my computer, not just on Joe’s computer. And, you know, however you want to do it. So I do think that the other piece of it, though, is the nature, the nature of those things is different now. And I think one of the good things is I think we’re all a little more tolerant, we’re tolerant of the fact that can’t see some of the lightnings not great, or, you know, maybe you catch a glimpse of their bedroom in the background. Or, you know, in my case, I was really excited. We were recording at this time because my kids are in school. And if my son, my youngest is in band class, it’s a little challenging, you know, to be heard, it’s a percussionist. So, you know, we all have those things, right. And how many of us have seen somebody’s dog pop into the picture? I’ve learned to kind of play with that right and allow that and so it metric played into my planning quite as concretely beyond an acceptance and a recognition that more than likely something else. Expected what’s gonna happen? roll with it? And we’ll figure it out. I just

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 30:08
that part I think is a good thing. I do too is the whole humanity and authenticity part of of it. I like to pivot a bit and and talk about these leadership roundtables, executive roundtables that you conduct. And what can you share with us from given everything we’ve talked about from how are the people showing up right to these virtual roundtables? All the way to what’s on their minds? What are they talking about? Um, and how the whole remote thing is like this overlay on all of that, that that’s a loaded question. Take it from wherever point you.

Tara Rethore 30:52
First of all, I love leading executive roundtables or peer roundtables. I, it’s it’s a lot of fun. It gives me wonderful food for thought around not just what’s on their minds, but also, how does that shape my business. So interestingly enough, here I am the leader, the organizer of the roundtable, and yet I get wonderful tips as well, I learn a lot and get really great insights from the CEOs and the executives that I work with on that, about how to improve my own business and my own techniques and approaches. So it’s, it’s such a huge win for all of us. How is it working? It is, as you mentioned, Jenny, it’s virtual right now, in person would be awesome, but virtuals working amazingly well. And I’ve structured them differently. So mine are short, kind of did that whole bite sized chunk kind of approach, standing meetings sort of thing, so that people have on the calendar, and they show up. And they do show up, they make time because one of the things I’ve learned is that they really, really, really value not only their peer insights, but making the time to think differently about their business, that’s, you know, huge value. The other thing they’ve learned very quickly is that in this world, nurturing Connections is a very different proposition than it is when you can see somebody in the elevator or run into them on the golf course, or go to lunch or grab this or grab that together. They have to be much more deliberate and mindful. So having that time on their calendar, where they are nurturing a connection is incredibly valuable and incredibly helpful to them. So so that’s that they are, that’s how they’re showing up. They’re showing up with a lot of enthusiasm. I think some of them showed up initially, like, oh, what the heck, I need to do something. And now guess what there space on my calendar because it kind of went blank. I’m not traveling, right? They are, they increasingly show up with questions and with challenges, and they are showing up as people. They are really showing up as people they are not. Their title is not entering the room first. And that’s a beautiful thing. And you would think it’d be we think it’d be almost automatic because it’s appear Roundtable. Yeah, have a title right you it by definition. That’s what we’re doing. Right? You have kind of the same titles. And yet, there’s less posturing. It’s really, it’s really quite interesting. They’re they’re allowing themselves to be a little bit vulnerable, and talk about what’s on their minds. That was the other question you’re asked what is? What are those things? Yeah, what’s on their mind is similar to what’s on a lot of people’s mind, I’ve discovered. And that’s changed just as the where we are the stage of the crisis has changed. And my folks are from different places. So they’re not all geographically in the same area, they’re spread out a bit. So the situation is different depending on where they are. They, in the early days of the pandemic, for example, it was very, how do I get my people say, if you know, what are you doing to ensure this is happening? How are you getting materials and supplies quickly and effectively to your people? What benefits are you switching? How are you making this happen? There was a lot of very tangible things happening, you know, like the questions they were asking was much less strategic and in the sense of where are we headed, big picture to the we need to serve our customers. We need to keep our people safe. How do we do both of those? While everybody’s at home and suddenly now being teachers and caregivers and employees and blah, blah, blah, okay, how do we do that? And then it become Okay, now how do I lead? I’ve gotten everybody home. I’ve gotten them with the tools that they need.

They’re working, they’re showing up how do I lead Okay, now, what do I expect? For my team, how do I help my team lead better? How do I help them do better? Okay, shoot, we’re losing our connection. I haven’t seen Joe, Sam or Sally in, you know, weeks. How do I get connected? Okay, where, you know, how do I do that? And now we’re thinking about is that as the summer went on, and it kept coming back to you know, there was initially What’s our return to work plan? And then it came back to something that I’ve been talking about for quite a while. The idea that this is this is unlikely to go away. Yes, right there there is, sadly, no magic here. And now it’s about Okay, what one of the big questions that we’ve just been talking about was, what are the things that most benefit from our being together? So there’s, there’s joint work, and then there’s work that really benefits from being together in person. And we talked about earlier strategic thinking day one of those, it’s not only strategic thinking, and it’s not only those kinds of things, but how do we make it possible to be together for those bits? How do we create an environment that allows us to get access to the water cooler? When there is no water cooler? Right? You know, so really starting to think through that. And, in addition, they’re talking about what are the good things? What have we learned? What have we learned about ourselves? What have we learned about our business? What have we learned about our culture that we want to preserve as we move forward? The other piece that they’re looking at is like, Okay, so we’re budgeting for next year, a lot of folks are in that mode right now, budgeting for next year. How do you budget when just about everything’s in flux? You know, the idea of take a look at last year, yeah, right? increase it by X percent, decrease it by X percent not working so well. Right, what is what are we really need to be thinking about?

Mitch Simon 37:04
Okay, we have one final question. And because we’re running out of time here, I got Not really. And so our question is really, how have you grown? or How are you growing through these times? You know, what reflections of personal insights Have you had that other leaders, you know, might resonate with?

Tara Rethore 37:25
You know, I have learned so I’m a strategist, we’ve already established that. inherent in strategy is ambiguity. I am probably the comfort with ambiguity is a is a proven science base competence that people can or cannot have, and you can learn to develop, I’m probably off the charts. Usually, in terms of my comfort with ambiguity, I’m usually super comfortable with that. I have learned that

Unknown Speaker 37:52
it’s challenging this ambiguity.

Tara Rethore 37:57
It’s really hard when it pervades everything in my life. It’s not just work. I’ve also learned that boundaries are really important. Now, I’ve worked remotely lead remotely for years. Yes, I have my own business and been doing that a long time. And I have a home office. I also though lead dispersed teams all the time, I was responsible for people in different countries, not just you know, across this country. So I’m comfortable leading remotely and yet, with every day now being for me, take your family to work day. It’s, it’s really different. I love that. Yeah, take your family to work day. That’s every day. And I I treat my office as a bunker. And I learned that that’s not healthy. And it’s not helpful. And so I’ve been learning how to restructure that. And I do that in part out of courtesy for the fact that they’re, you know, multiple people in my house trying to study and work together. So I don’t want to be in their space, either. You know, I want to be respectful of what they’re doing. At the same time, I can’t hang out in my office all the time. It’s not a good thing. So how do I fix that good weather helps, but it doesn’t have to be the only reason. And I didn’t always sit completely in my office. So why am I suddenly keeping in my office all the time? So what do I need to do to make that work? And I, I know, talking to others, that that’s a common challenge. Whatever space you’re in, even if it’s a corner, literally a corner of some random room in the basement, which is my husband’s office with no windows.

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 39:43
That’s where he’s delegated. Yeah,

Tara Rethore 39:44
gotta come out of the hole, or the man cave or the wife cave or the women cave or the whoever cave, the student cave. Every once in a while you have to surface

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 39:56
and something that Tara does is is What we did recently is we took a walk, I masked walk with our coffees in hand standing six feet apart, and we walked around this entire neighborhood and got tons of business done. And it was fabulous.

Tara Rethore 40:17
And you know what, Jimmy? I’ve since started doing that, where we’re both on the phone, but outside. Ah,

Mitch Simon 40:25
right. That’s a great idea.

Tara Rethore 40:26
Yeah. And you match on the west coast, you have good weather and much every day longer period than then we do. I suspect, I’m going to be shivering on some of my walking calls in the next few months. But I’m okay with that. If my guess. I don’t know, I’m not crying or, you know, dying over here. I’m just simply cold. I’ll walk faster.

Mitch Simon 40:50
So tell us your so your books coming out. You’re saying when in December.

Tara Rethore 40:54
I think it’s the end of the year, worst case early January. Some of it depends on the printing and when that happens, but it is charting the course SEO tools to align strategy and operations. And, you know, if people want to reach out to me, I’m happy to let them know when when it becomes available. I’m super excited about it. It’s Yeah, that yeah, that’s another whole adventure. We could we could have a whole podcast on that one next time.

Mitch Simon 41:17
How can people reach you or find out more about the book,

Tara Rethore 41:21
you always find me on my website, www dot strategy for real calm. Use the number for the left or the word for it works the same. And you’re also welcome to just reach out on on LinkedIn.

Mitch Simon 41:36
Okay, great. And that’s terrorists. Restore. Did I get that right?

Tara Rethore 41:41
You got it. Right.

Mitch Simon 41:42
Okay. r e t h o r e. Great. Well, thank you so much. This has been so insightful because I know everyone is going through the process of how do I really plan for what’s coming up in a world of complete ambiguity?

Ginny Bianco-Mathis 41:57
Yeah, Wonder adventure it that’s go on the adventure. Thank you.

Mitch Simon 42:03
Thank you, God. Thank you. And thank you, our listeners for listening to another episode of team anywhere

Transcribed by