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ET Project \ Podcasts

ET-003: Kevin Eikenberry – Rules for Successful Long-distance Leadership

With Kevin Eikenberry

ET-003: Kevin Eikenberry – Rules for Successful Long-distance Leadership

and your host Wayne Brown on August 2, 2022

Episode notes: A conversation with Kevin Eikenberry

Want to become a Remarkable Leader? Then Kevin Eikenberry is someone you should probably listen to and follow. From his group’s 6 guiding principles to the 13 leadership competencies and 19 long-distance rules, Leaders are at the heart of everything he focuses on.

During these times of uncertainty and hybrid work, Kevin has sound advice for everyone on the ways of finding a balance between the needs of the Organization and the needs of the employees.

Leaders, help is at hand. Join me for the conversation I have with Kevin Eikenberry to discuss multiple topics around the subject of;

RULE FOR THE LONG-DISTANCE LEADER!

Today’s Guest: KEVIN EIKENBERRY

In today’s episode, our guest is the father of remarkable leadership Mr. Kevin Eikenberry. A best-selling author, speaker, facilitator, and coach.

Kevin is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group and the Co-Founder of the Remote Leadership Institute. He has spent 30 years helping organizations and leaders from over 50 countries become more effective.

The Global Gurus organization ranks Kevin as 22nd on their list of the world’s most influential thinkers on leadership.

♦ kevineikenberry.com

♦ remoteleadershipinstitute.com

♦ https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevineikenberry/

Kevin Eikenberry’s book – The Long-distance Leader

His other books include Remarkable Leadership, From Bud to Boss, and his latest The Long-Distance Teammate. Keep a watch out for his new book that is due for release in February 2023 titled, The Long-distance Team

The long-distance leader is filled with actions that all leaders need to be aware of, considering, and actioning. Kevin outlines.

  • 13 competencies for remarkable leadership
  • 19 rules of leadership engagement.
  • 2 models that matter.
    • The Remote Leadership model
    • The 3 O’s model

♦ The Long-Distance Leader

What You’ll Learn

Kevin Eikenberry is the real deal having supported leaders and organizations in more than 50 countries, his story is compelling.

And with 12 books building on that knowledge and experience, he has plenty of insights to share that are worth taking note of. From Remarkable Leadership to long-distance leadership and Long-distance teammates, there is something to suit you regardless of your direction and journey.

Learn about,

  • 13 competencies of remarkable leadership
  • Use technology as a tool, not as a barrier or an excuse
  • Three-O’s Model of Leadership – Outcomes, Others, Ourselves

Final words of wisdom from Kevin: 

“The future of work is flexible. And so, for us as leaders, we often are finding ourselves struggling, thinking we’re supposed to have all the answers. And when it’s as uncertain as it is now, figuring out what those answers are can be pretty darn challenging.

So, my advice to all of you is, don’t try to have all the answers. Talk with your team, and find out what they think. This isn’t meant to say, “Oh, we’ve got to do or bow to their desires,” but rather to start a conversation or a dialogue that helps us all better understand the wants and needs of both the outcomes for the organization and the needs of others as well.

And so, for us as leaders to be even more effective, we have to be more flexible as well. But that starts with us knowing, understanding, and building greater connections and trust with our team, and that all starts by asking them for their input.”

Episode Topic: Rules for Successful Long-Distance Leadership

Wayne Brown:

Hello. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and it’s great to be here and welcoming you back to our show, The ET project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world, whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET. In today’s episode, our guest is the father of Remarkable Leadership, Mr. Kevin Eikenberry. A bestselling author, speaker facilitator, and coach, Kevin is the chief potential officer of the Kevin Eikenberry group and the co-founder of the Remote Leadership Institute. He’s spent 30 years helping organizations and leaders from over 50 countries become more effective. The Global Gurus organization ranks Kevin 22nd on their list of the world’s most influential thinkers on leadership. His books include Remarkable Leadership, From Bud to Boss, The Long-Distance Leader, and his latest, The Long-Distance Teammate. So with that, I welcome you all to sit back and enjoy as you listen to Kevin Eikenberry and I discuss rules for successful long-distance leadership.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to The ET project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor Wayne Brown, as we unpack an exciting future together.

Wayne Brown:

Welcome, Kevin Eikenberry. Thank you for taking the time out of your extremely busy schedule to join us on The ET project. It’s a great privilege. I’m excited to hear what we end up talking about today.

Kevin Eikenberry:

Yeah, me too. I’m glad to be here. Thanks for reaching out and having me. I’m looking forward to our conversation.

Wayne Brown:

Great. I normally start by asking, any fun facts that you’d like to about yourself?

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, there are plenty of facts. I don’t know how fun they are, but I will share something that is probably unusual. How about that?

Wayne Brown:

Very good.

Kevin Eikenberry:

So, Wayne, I grew up on a farm. And so prior to my father’s passing and then after my father’s passing, I have a very strange hobby. I collect antique tractors. Yes, the full-size ones, but I also now am collecting the toys as well. So, I have more of the toys than I do the real ones, but I have 13 full-size antique tractors, all but two of which are older than I am.

Wayne Brown:

And incredible in itself. Do you restore them, or they sit there and they take up space-

Kevin Eikenberry:

I don’t have time to restore them.

Wayne Brown:

They’re like a-

Kevin Eikenberry:

And I don’t have all of the skills to do all of that. At least, not to the level that I would want, Wayne. So, the short answer is some of them that I purchased with my father with the intention of us restoring them are not fully done, but more than less are restored. Some of which were purchased nearly a decade-

Wayne Brown:

Okay. Fascinating. And what period of time have you been collecting for?

Kevin Eikenberry:

I think I bought my first tractor… Well, I know I bought my first tractor 23 years ago. I don’t own that one anymore, and much of the collection was created in conjunction with my father. He passed 15 years ago, but I guess since he passed I’ve bought three more, and some other toys as well.

Wayne Brown:

Excellent. I’d love to dive deeper on that at a different time, but-

Kevin Eikenberry:

That’s for a different podcast, Wayne, as it turns out-

Wayne Brown:

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Another question, Kevin, is anything in particular exciting you at the moment? A little bit-

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, lots of things are exciting me. I think that as we look at what the future of work holds for us, which I think is more uncertain than perhaps it’s been, certainly in our lifetimes. It took about 80 years between when people first started saying, “Hey, we ought to have a 40-hour work week,” they started talking about that in the 1850s and ’60s. Work then was like six or seven days a week, 12 hours a day, generally speaking. And it took until basically the Great Depression in the United States before we codified the 8:00 to 5:00, 9:00 to 5:00, 48 hours, five days a week kind of thing. And the future of work is far more flexible than that for most people.

Kevin Eikenberry:

And so it’s been 80 years-ish since that Depression time, right? And so, if you want to think about it that way. But the next shift of what it’s going to look like and how it’s going to look is far more uncertain, and we’ll reach it far more quickly as it turns out. And so I’m excited about what that means for organizations, what that means for leaders, what it means for our business. I’m certainly excited about that. I’m excited about a lot of stuff that we’re doing in our business, but I would say as we just think about what are the implications for how work is done, where work is done, by whom is it done, when is it done, all those questions have huge implications for us as leaders. For us as individuals who do work, but also for us as leaders, for ourselves, for our teams, and for our organizations.

Wayne Brown:

Yeah, particularly with the uncertainty around the world today and just exactly what that looks like. So, yeah, I fully agree. You mentioned 80 years, and you’re not that old, so I’m not going to suggest that your career-

Kevin Eikenberry:

Thank you. Thank you.

Wayne Brown:

But is there anything within your career lifetime that is particularly interesting, you think, for our listeners who are executive talents, that would be worth sharing? Is there some memorable moments or challenging moments that you would like to share about your career?

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, there certainly could be plenty of things. I had the great fortune of having a conversation last week on the phone with one of the folks who was my leader, my boss, my coach, when I was at Chevron forever ago. And he wasn’t my first or my last boss, but one of several really, highly effective leaders that I had the chance to work with. And we had this really wonderful conversation, and it reminded me of the fact that wherever we are in our careers, we should be looking for mentors. Now I was fortunate to have several great bosses who were my official coach, if you will, and as my supervisor. Maybe we haven’t all had that, but whatever our situation is, one of the ways we can learn as a leader is by observing the leaders around us.

Kevin Eikenberry:

And I think I was, in retrospect, relatively good at that, doing that, and I would encourage others to do the same. If you’re listening to this podcast, you are self-selected as being someone who cares about your growth. I mean, you’re not listening to this if you’re just trying to get by, right? Which means you’re also probably a reader, and probably someone who goes to workshops and all that. And all of that stuff is fantastic as a way to build our leadership skills, but we should not forget the value of observing the leaders around us, both in terms of what they’re doing well and what they’re not. And if they can become a mentor and we can learn from them more tangibly, great. But even if we can’t, that chance to always put that leadership lens on and pay attention to what people are doing as leaders is a really valuable thing for us.

Wayne Brown:

Yeah, it’s a great insight. I’m a big believer in that myself, whether it’s a coach, whether it’s a mentor, whatever you call it. There’s a modern terminology about having a personal board of directors these days, and I like the analogy that that paints. And filling that with people that you can draw experience from is certainly critical for the growth, I believe. Yeah. Let’s transition, if it’s okay with you, over to the area that you seem prolific about, and that’s writing books. I lost count as I was going through, doing some background research. I think it’s 12, 13 books, or something phenomenal.

Kevin Eikenberry:

Yeah, something like that.

Wayne Brown:

Yeah. Incredible. And the original book was the Remarkable Leader, or that was the beginning of the journey, if I was correct-

Kevin Eikenberry:

Yeah. Remarkable Leadership was the first book that I did with a major publisher, and it’s probably the book that shifted my thought leadership, or how people saw me in the world, I suppose. So it wasn’t the first book. It was the first book with a major publisher. And yeah, that’s a fair place to start, for sure.

Wayne Brown:

Right. And again, correct me if I’m wrong, but that was around 2007-ish.

Kevin Eikenberry:

Yep, 2007. That’s right.

Wayne Brown:

And if you look back at premise of the book, you had something like 13 leadership rules, if that’s the right terminology-

Kevin Eikenberry:

Yeah. Competencies, 13 competencies-

Wayne Brown:

Competencies-

Kevin Eikenberry:

… we felt in our work were, it’s not everything, but it was a set of competencies that we feel like highly effective or remarkable leaders need to become more efficient at. And that’s the context of the book, is, “Here’s a model. Here are 13 competencies that are broadly applicable, regardless of industry, level of leader, time as a leader, et cetera, that apply.”

Wayne Brown:

Right. And they sound very applicable today. I’m just wondering, in your mind, have they stood the test of time, or is there anything you would change if you could update the book?

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, I mean, obviously I’ve learned… Hopefully I’ve learned a lot in 15 years so that I probably could write a better book. But in terms of the model or the 13 competencies, I think they definitely stand the test of time. Here’s the thing about leadership, it’s timeless. Context is changing, like where we’re working, when we’re working. The kinds of technologies, the globalization of the workplace that’s happened in the last 15 years. And yet, people have been leading other people and working together for a long time. So the principles of leadership, they’re principles. They’re not changing, right?

Wayne Brown:

Yeah.

Kevin Eikenberry:

Nuances are changing, and there are some things that are important that have taken on greater importance perhaps, but the principles haven’t changed. So I think in that regard, the book stands the test of time. I can have a long conversation about, there are things that people say, well, not in there, like, “You don’t have anything in there about strategic thinking. You don’t have things in there about your values,” right? And at the time, I was very much focused on competencies. And you could perhaps argue that we could have added some stuff around strategic thought and strategic thinking, but at some point you get into things like knowing your business. Which, while true, is not something that makes sense for me to write about in that kind of book, because everyone’s business is different, right?

Wayne Brown:

Right, right. Yeah, very interesting. And then if we fast forward to just prior the pandemic, I think a couple of years prior, you introduced, or released, a new book called The Long-Distance Leader. And it seems very fortuitous that you preempted the pandemic almost by talking about remote and virtual leading. The book, how has it held up with the pandemic?

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, again, I mean, we wrote the book, and when we wrote Long-distance Leader we thought a lot about, “We don’t want to use names of platforms very much and that sort of stuff,” because when that book came out, Zoom was a fringe thing, as an example. Skype would’ve been the thing you might have talked about as an example. So we were conscious to not include that kind of stuff, because we didn’t want it to seem outdated. But I think the concepts have absolutely held up four years in, since the release of the book. Obviously, we didn’t know we were going to have a pandemic. We did know that remote work was growing fast then, we didn’t know it was going to go into hyper speed, right? During a pandemic, and reach a new level moving forward because of that. But no, I think the ideas in it, the principles we discuss in it, definitely hold up.

Wayne Brown:

Very sound.

Kevin Eikenberry:

Yeah.

Wayne Brown:

Yeah. And I will come to the rules. You have like 19 rules, and we’re not going to cover all of them for sure, but there’s a couple I’d like to cover. But one thing you define is the difference between remote and virtual leadership. I’m just wondering if you’d like to elaborate on that a little bit for me, please?

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, I mean, we consciously used the word long-distance rather than using the word remote or using the word virtual, because those things aren’t exactly the same. And now, of course, we could add the word hybrid and we could add the word flexible, and we could add digitally focused. And there’s all these sorts of words that people are using, and I think the biggest thing to recognize is, if we’re truly virtual, there’s no home base, right? I’m in our office today. My team is spread out across the United States. There will be one other person that’s here today, so I would say that we’re more remote or hybrid. We’re not truly virtual because there is a place, that there are a couple of people that come here once a week, that show up here for part of their work week. So I wouldn’t say that we’re fully virtual, as opposed to an organization where there’s no home base, there’s no place that anyone goes to. And quite honestly, I don’t remember if that’s how we defined it in the book, so you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong.

Wayne Brown:

That’s fine. I just thought it was an interesting distinction to make between the two. Because, as you said, maybe today, it would be defined a little bit different because the rules have changed a little bit in the last couple years, particularly with the pandemic. And not only the pandemic, but technology changing as rapidly, right? So, nothing is static anymore in our life. All right. So if I then come to the rules, there was 19 rules, but I’d like to zoom in on rule number four, which is talking about the remote leadership model. And then rule number five, which is the Three-Os Model. Now, do I need to give you some refresher-

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, I’ve got to make sure I can see them here so I know what I said. So rule number four is use technology as a tool, not as a barrier or an excuse, and I think that we’ve learned a lot about that in the time since 2018. All of us have. But we have to just think of technology, or the technologies, the platforms that we have, as tools. Well, we’ve gotten past the fact that not everyone had access to them, right? If you have an organization where you needed to or chose to send people home, you’ve gotten past the barrier part. And if it’s a tool, then we have to help everybody, number one, have access to the tool. They’ve got that figured out. Then we have to help everyone understand how to use the tool, when to use the tool, and how organizationally we’re going to apply that tool, right? So just because I happen to like one of the technologies better than you doesn’t mean that’s the one I need to choose all the time because I like it better. We probably need to come to some agreements as an organization, as a team, more fundamentally, about how and when we’re going to use each of these tools. And that’s a conversation we can have as a leader with individual team members, as well as with the team.

Wayne Brown:

And the challenge today is that the tools are being changed so regularly. If we went back to when the book was written, there was no Slack. There was no-

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, there was. We were using Slack-

Wayne Brown:

Oh, really?

Kevin Eikenberry:

… but it certainly wasn’t being used by as many people as now. But your point is right, so let me make a comment about that specifically. One of the mistakes that people make is they’re continuing to look for the new tool as opposed to learning how to use the tool they got. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t new features or new tools that might not be necessary or useful to your organization, but I would say jumping without having fully utilized the one you’ve got first is a mistake, because it’s creating change that may not even be necessary, right? So let’s get past the 80/20 rule, which is that only 20% of the people use more than a small amount of any of the X ability of a tool we have. So let’s get functionally more effective with the tools we have before we start looking for the next shiny object. That’s that’s my take on that.

Wayne Brown:

No, agree.

Kevin Eikenberry:

In my experience, there’s so much that most of us could be doing with the tools we have that we’re not touching.

Wayne Brown:

For sure. And there’s probably so much in tools that we don’t need anyway, to-

Kevin Eikenberry:

Exactly. There’s lots of stuff we don’t need, right?

Wayne Brown:

Exactly.

Kevin Eikenberry:

Or that we have another way of getting at it. That’s part of that learning process too. Yes, Microsoft Teams can do this. Does that serve us? Well, it doesn’t. Okay, cool. Fine. I mean, now we can ignore it. That’s fine.

Wayne Brown:

Precisely.

Kevin Eikenberry:

But we should ask ourselves these questions and figure that out. “Is this functionality better than what we’ve got over here?” Right? When we first implemented Slack, which was… I don’t remember when, but it was before that book. We had people on our team that were like, “Why do we need this? We have email.” And at some level, if you think back to when you never were using any tool like that, you can see their point. So, we quickly came to the decision, like, “We are going to do it, and we’re going to talk about when organizationally we’re going to use which tool and for what purposes.” And whether it was Slack or whether it was some other chatting tool, or whether it was implementing Microsoft Teams, it doesn’t matter which the tool was. It’s having that conversation about, “When and how are we going to use this tool?” is the most important.

Wayne Brown:

Yeah. Understood. So the next rule, whether it’s rule number five or not, I’m not sure now, but-

Kevin Eikenberry:

It is, though. I looked. It is number five.

Wayne Brown:

The Three-Os Model, could you explain that, the construct around how that works a little bit.

Kevin Eikenberry:

Absolutely. So we call it the Three-O Model of Leadership, Wayne. And it says leadership’s about these three things. It’s about outcomes. Leadership is absolutely about reaching valuable outcomes, goals, objectives, strategies, whatever you want to call them. Where are we headed? What’s the result that we’re after? And as leaders, we have a responsibility for either setting those objectives, those outcomes, or leading the team towards them, right? But we’re not doing it by ourselves, we’re doing it with and through others. So the second O is others. It’s the team, it’s the folks doing it. Again, we’re not doing this alone. So I often say that leadership is about reaching valuable outcomes with and through others. And yet there’s a third O, and that’s ourselves.

Wayne Brown:

Absolutely.

Kevin Eikenberry:

That’s who we are and what we bring as a leader, how we support the other two Os and all the rest of it. It’s not about us, and yet we’re absolutely, inextricably a part of it. And so that’s the model at a very high level. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to say a little bit more about how I think it applies to us all right now.

Wayne Brown:

Please.

Kevin Eikenberry:

And then if you think about those first two Os that I described, outcomes and others, and maybe in your organization you’re talking a lot about this or struggling with this, but certainly we know a lot of organizations are. And you read it in the media, the popular press, the business press, et cetera. There are organizations saying, have said, “Hey, in order for us to get the outcomes we need, you all need to come to the office,” right? And then we’ve got the others piece, which say, “We don’t want to come to the office, or collectively there’s going to be this great resignation as we rethink about what work looks like for us and means to us.”

Kevin Eikenberry:

And so it feels like, and the media likes to think about these two things, outcomes and others, as being at odds. And if we as leaders or organizations think about them that way, we’re going to make mistakes. The right answer is to look for, understand, the tension currently between outcomes and others. And understand the needs and the wants of the organization for outcomes and the needs and the wants of the others or the team as well, and find the balance between them. It’s not about us versus them. It’s about having a conversation about, “How can we make both of these things work?” Deal with the tension, if you will. Find the balance is, I think, a better way to think about it. And to me, that’s been the model that we’ve been using in the conversation I’ve been having with organizations and leaders literally around the world for the last year or so, using the Three-O Model as part of that conversation.

Wayne Brown:

Yeah. It’s a great construct, and very visual and easy to apply in that way. How do you see organizations today? Are they making any inroads in this great debate, this great discussion around what the organization wants versus what the others wants?

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, yeah, I think history will tell us. I mean, the future will tell us and history, when we look back at history. But I will say this, that there are certainly organizations that are succeeding with it. And the ones that are, are having an ongoing conversation. They’re not just going into the bubble and saying, “Here’s what the business needs.” They’re saying, “How do we create a new construct for work that takes advantage of the wants and needs of the team, as well as acknowledges and can accelerate the wants and needs of the organization or the outcomes?” And so the organizations that are winning today, and I think history will tell us the same is true, are the ones that have done this. Had this conversation as an ongoing conversation, and done it collaboratively. And the bigger our organization the harder that is to do. But the more that we try to codify it with policy that says, “Here it is, period,” the harder it’s going to be, right? So we like to think about, there’s a macro culture, but there’s also a microculture. So for you as an individual leader, whatever level you’re at, you have some ability, I think, unless your organization is so much of a command-and-control, policy-based organization, you have a lot of room to think about this balance within your teams even. And use whatever degrees of freedom you have to do that. It will be to your advantage.

Wayne Brown:

Yeah, very nice. I’m conscious, I don’t want to hold up too much time, so if we can move maybe onto the latest book, which is The Long-Distance Teammate. I haven’t had the chance to read it. So, confession upfront-

Kevin Eikenberry:

That’s okay.

Wayne Brown:

… but is this book now shifting focus a little bit from the leader to the team area? Or what’s the different dynamic?

Kevin Eikenberry:

It’s really about the teammate. In fact, a spoiler alert, the next book is already in the can. It’s called The Long-distance Team, and it’s all about designing our teams and our cultures for the future of work. And that one comes out in February, late February of next year. But The Long-Distance Teammate is about the individual contributor and what do they need to do in a long distance, right? In a virtual, remote, hybrid manner. If they’re not working with all of their teammates face-to-face every day, then what do they need to do to be more effective? Both to be a contributor to the team, as well as to build their own visibility and career path, moving forward. Because a lot of people’s concern, and in some cases, well-founded, is that, “If I’m not in the office and I’m not seen, am I ever going to get promoted? Am I going to be seen as the person who cares more about my life than about my work?” Right? “And so I’m not seen as as committed because I’m not in the office.” So the last bit of the book is a career sort of book in that regard, but the larger share of the book is, “How do I become a more effective, productive, valuable part of a team if I don’t interact face-to-face in proximity with all of those people every day?”

Wayne Brown:

And it’s a valid concern, right? I mean, losing the visibility, the interpersonal connection in an office environment where people can observe you is a major consideration for overcoming, trying to overcome-

Kevin Eikenberry:

Even more true if you now have a hybrid work environment, where some of your colleagues are in the office and see the boss more frequently, or every day, than you do. It becomes an even bigger concern than if everyone is out, right? A little less so then, but it’s real. And we actually tackle it in a chapter about ethical visibility. How do we create that visibility in an ethical way that is not just self-serving, but serving the team and the organization, so that we’re not seen as that guy or gal that everyone rolls their eyes at every time they speak up or say something, right? So, it’s a valid piece. It’s not the overall purpose of the book, but we felt like it was an important thing to talk about in the book.

Wayne Brown:

And I’m wondering, from a leader’s perspective, how does the leader maintain that level of balance in assessment of his team or her team in this environment as well?

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, there’s a couple of things that I would say off the bat. Number one is that we as leaders need to be much more focused on accomplishment rather than activity. So many leaders were struggling when they sent people home because, “How do I know what they’re doing if I can’t see them?” Well, you didn’t know what they were doing when you could see them, unless you were looking over their shoulder. So that was a fallacy to start with, but it’s because everyone said, “Well, they look busy, so they must be busy.” It’s not about busy or activity, it’s about accomplishment. And so we ought to be making sure that we have ways to measure work, accomplishment, and output. And if we’re thinking about it that way, that’s one thing that helps. But the second thing is we have to make sure we’re working as leaders to overcome the proximity bias of, “I see this person, so I’m going to offer this opportunity to them,” and some of it’s subconscious, right?

Kevin Eikenberry:

Like, “Oh, I need to delegate this. I’ll give it to George, because he’s down the hall,” and I don’t even think about Josephine who’s at home, right? So there’s a proximity bias thing we have to overcome. And what I would say is one of the things that I’ve been doing for a very long time. So there are, I think, 14 members of our team. I have what I call the rule of four, that I hope to have an interaction with at least four members of my team every day. That might be on a web call, that might be on a phone call, that might be something on a Slack message, that goes beyond just the work. Something where there’s a connection that’s being extended. We’re talking about more than just the work, and a true interaction and not just a transaction of business. So, my goal is to have that with four people every day. And as long as I’m making sure that that’s not with the same four, then that’s a conscious way to make sure that I’m staying connected with everybody on the team. Which helps me know what they’re doing, but it also helps them know that I care.

Wayne Brown:

And how do you find the response from your team? Do you find they normally respond to it or… Again, probably the wrong person to ask-

Kevin Eikenberry:

So most of them have heard me say that, because they’ve been on some sort of session where they’ve heard me say that Kevin has the rule of four, which of course only makes sure that I… It holds me accountable for doing it, right?

Wayne Brown:

Yeah.

Kevin Eikenberry:

No, I think as long as people know and understand that you’re not doing it to check up on them, right? And as long as you can do it in a way that, for the most part, doesn’t become an interruption for them, right? My hope is that in the interaction that I’m having with people, that will happen. Rather than saying, “Oh, I haven’t talked to Chuck today, I’m going to send Chuck a Slack and ask him how he’s doing.” No, I’m going to try and integrate it into the work. So I think that if you ask them, they would say, “For all of Kevin’s flaws, that’s one of the things he does pretty well.”

Wayne Brown:

Okay. Very nice. We’re coming towards the end, so just a couple more questions if that’s okay.

Kevin Eikenberry:

Yeah.

Wayne Brown:

Anything you’re working on at the moment? Apart from the new book, of course, anything you’re focused on at the moment that is of interest, that you would like to share?

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, we’re spending a lot of time helping clients with everything related to their decision to return to office, or deal with the fact that they’ve returned and it’s either not working as well as they wanted, or, “How do we help them succeed now that they’ve done that?” Whatever return to office means, right? Everybody’s back one day a week, or whatever that is. It could be any number of things. We’re not in a position of prescribing that, but rather to help people come to the decisions that are going to make the best results for outcomes and others in their organizations. And so we’re spending a lot of time doing that. I’m actually writing slides for a webinar. We’re going to be delivering on that topic next week, but we’re spending a lot of time helping clients with that, on both the decision and the implementation. So, that’s a big area of focus right now.

Wayne Brown:

Great. And in terms of, where would people find you? Do you have a preferred site where people should go to understand what you’re doing and-

Kevin Eikenberry:

Well, certainly people can go to kevineikenberry.com, K-E-V-I-N-E-I-K-E-N-B-E-R-R-Y.com, and you can get a sense of all the stuff that we’re up to there. Will be a link there to take you to remoteleadershipinstitute.com, which gets at some of the very specific stuff, Wayne, that we’ve been talking about today. And in those places, you’ll find all sorts of free resources. Blogs, all sorts of content that might be useful to you, as well as getting a sense of our products and services. But if you want to just start by being connected with me, probably as easy as any would be just go to LinkedIn. Find me on LinkedIn and connect with me there. Let me know that you’re joining, and you can either do the whole, “I’m going to follow,” or you can do the connect. And if you want to do the connect, just let me know, “Hey, I heard you on the ET podcast,” and I’d be pleased and thrilled to hear from you and do what I can to be of assistance to you, moving forward.

Wayne Brown:

Great. We’ll put the links in the show notes, of course. Final question, any final takeaways that you’d like to leave with the group?

Kevin Eikenberry:

The future of work is flexible. And so for us as leaders, we often are finding ourselves struggling, thinking we’re supposed to have all the answers. And when it’s as uncertain as it is now, figuring out what those answers are can be pretty darn challenging. So my advice to all of you is, don’t try to have all the answers. Talk with your team, find out what they think. This isn’t meant to say, “Oh, we’ve got to do or bow to their desires,” but rather to start a conversation or a dialogue that helps us all better understand the wants and needs of both the outcomes for the organization and the needs of others as well. And so for us as leaders to be even more effective, we have to be more flexible as well. But that starts with us knowing, understanding, building greater connection and trust with our team, and that all starts by asking them for their input.

Wayne Brown:

Excellent. Kevin Eikenberry, one of the world’s leading, foremost experts in leadership. Thank you very much. It’s been a great pleasure, and I truly look forward to connecting later to see how the journey turns out. I think it will be-

Kevin Eikenberry:

All right. Well, I look forward to that. Thanks again for having me. And all the very best to all of you out there leading, because nothing positive happens in the world unless someone leads. And so I thank you all from a distance for the work that you’re all doing.

Wayne Brown:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for joining us on The ET project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time. Check out our site for free videos, eBooks, webinars, and blogs at coachingforcompanies.com.

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