The Leader Learner Podcast

S02E19 Intentionally Close While Distant Episode (with Wayne Turmel)

May 29, 2023 Theresa Destrebecq & Vincent Musolino Season 2 Episode 19
The Leader Learner Podcast
S02E19 Intentionally Close While Distant Episode (with Wayne Turmel)
Show Notes


  • Share an experience when you felt great as part of a long-distance team, or a team in general.

Big Ideas:

  • Is virtual the right word?
  • Long distance, remote, or virtual - Are they interchangeable?
  • Long distance being more neutral
  • Virtual teams used to be for individuals meeting for a certain project, where not everyone worked for the same boss
  • Who's the hub for all the spokes?
  • Who owns the team? Compliance versus ownership
  • All teams have a culture, but no one person owns the culture, it's the responsibility of everyone on the team
  • Proximity allows us to "read" cues more easily 
  • Beyond 40-50 feet level of engagement drops
  • Distance and availability are both factors
  • Virtual reduces spontaneous interactions
  • Proximity bias - asking people who are closer
  • Us/them them in hybrid settings
  • Settling for lowest common denominator when accomodating remote?
  • What's the best experience for the team?
  • Long distance reveals the true team dynamics - especially the "bad" ones
  • Good leadership systems work across all types of disruptions
  • Leadership first, location second
  • Keeping hours of your manager when you are in a different time zone
  • Managing for activity versus productivity
  • If you have an empowered, trusted team, where they do that doesn't matter
  • There are some organizations where proximity matters
  • Can the work be done no matter where people are?
  • Every annoying policy was created because of one person or incident
  • Policies can create discrepancies
  • Pilot before policy
  • 2/3 of our workplace communication takes place in writing - we don't do it very well
  • What role does time (when we work) play in the culture we want?
  • Rather than having conversations with people, managers create policies
  • Managing to the exception
  • Do the rules of the company demonstrate trust?
  • What is the IT of culture?
  • Communication, collaboration and culture - the little things
  • Does everything have to be a meeting?
  • Shift in how our relationships have developed over time - more and more online
  • Having 1:1 conversations with teams, even online
  • Be wary of transactional communication because they don't build relationships
  • What works in person ? Translate that intentionally to online spaces


Wayne Turmel Bio:
For 25 years, Wayne Turmel has been obsessed with how people communicate—or don’t—at work. He is an internationally recognized expert in remote work and the evolving workplace who is the author of 15 books and has spoken around the world. He is best known for the Long Distance Workplace books: The Long Distance Team, Long Distance Teammate and The Long-Distance Leader. Originally from Canada, he now lives and works in Las Vegas. Marshall Goldsmith has called him “one of the unique voices in Leadership.”


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