Lisa Condon and Debra Dinnocenzo discuss the emerging focus on purpose and values as important priorities for leaders and team members in the digital age. Beyond work/life balance to work/life boundaries, Lisa offers suggestions for applying boundaries that contribute to a better sense of balance, priorities, and purpose. Listen for the rationale for including a well-being notice in your email signature that conveys how to convey respect for your time and the time of others.

Well Being Notice: Receiving this email outside of normal working hours? Managing work and life responsibilities is unique for everyone. I have sent this email at a time that works for me. Please respond at a time that works for you.

TO REQUEST THE CHECKLIST LISA MENTIONS, EMAIL: info@virtualworkswell.com

About the Guest:

For decades, Lisa has cultivated her leadership and inclination to help others succeed by partnering with individuals and businesses for strategic solutions and inspirational development. A Business Coach, Thought Partner, and Life Strategist; Lisa is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Scrum Master, Certified Scrum Product Owner, and PMP. Also, she is an international best-selling author and award-winning business strategist. Lisa uses a combination of theory and practices from the Project Management Institute, Six Sigma, Scrum, EQi, Strength Finders, and Disc to guide Business Owners and Executives on building out a sustainable strategic plan aligned with their Values.

Lisa sits on the International Governing Board for Delta Phi Epsilon as International President and is a member of the National Speakers Association. She also serves as a National Legacy Leader for Polka Dot Powerhouse. Her proudest achievement is being a mommy to her fur babies and wife to her amazing husband, Nate.

Connect with Lisa:

https://www.facebook.com/lisacondonspark

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisacondon/

https://www.instagram.com/lisacondonspark/

https://www.LisaCondon.com

About the Host:

Since publishing her first book on telecommuting in 1999, Debra has been a pioneer in the shift to virtual work and remote leadership. Few practitioners in the field have the depth of knowledge and hands-on experience that distinguishes Debra in the hybrid workplace and remote leadership space. As a nationally recognized expert in remote workplace and distance leadership, Debra has spoken widely on related topics, and developed and taught “Leadership in the Virtual Workplace,” an online graduate-level course.

Debra A. Dinnocenzo is president and founder of VirtualWorks!, a consulting, coaching, and training firm that specializes in virtual work issues. Debra is a dynamic keynote speaker, innovative educator, impactful coach, seasoned executive, and successful author. 

Debra is the co-author of the recently released book, REMOTE LEADERSHIP – Successfully Leading Work-from-Anywhere and Hybrid Teams, as well as several other books on remote and virtual teams. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/debradinnocenzo/

https://dinnocenzospeaks.com/

https://virtualworkswell.com/

Schedule a call with Debra HERE

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Transcript
Debra Dinnocenzo:

Hello, everyone, and welcome to this episode of the remote leadership podcast. I am particularly excited today to have a guest with me who I've had a conversation with before we had a delightful conversation with some really interesting information. And so I'd like to welcome Lisa Condon. Lisa, thank you. Thank you for being here today. Oh,

Lisa Condon:

Dr. Debra, I'm so excited to be here. And I agree we had an amazing conversation before and looking forward to continuing that. Yes. So Lisa, let's

Debra Dinnocenzo:

start with what you do. And and then that will kind of lead into why I think what you do is so interesting, and relevant for leaders and teams in the digital age. Absolutely.

Lisa Condon:

Thank you. So I'm a business consultant and strategist. And a lot of the work that I do is based in the foundational work of value system. So by leaning into that, and looking at a value system, whether it's an entrepreneur, a corporation, or somebody that's truly pivoting in their business life, starting with that foundation, and then building a strategic plan around that, and then ultimately being a thought partner in their journey. Okay,

Debra Dinnocenzo:

so I know you do coaching, and so you work with leaders and team members and entrepreneurs. And so, you know, I think it's really interesting, and a lot of the work that I've been doing, particularly with mid level managers, I think there is this kind of growing sense of questioning about how people what they're doing, why they're doing it, is this is this the right use of their life energies, a reflection of, and I'm seeing this in a lot of places, in a lot of levels in the organization, but particularly, it seems to be hitting the mid management level, that level were, you know, in times past, I don't want to date myself here. But in times past, people would be at that level and looking for the next step, the career path, kind of growth to, you know, where they're going, and people are doing this reflection thing, which sounds like ties into with the work you do with value. So if you'd speak to that, and I'm just really curious about this dynamic I'm seeing, you

Lisa Condon:

know, I'm seeing that too. And I think even the pandemic exacerbated that as well, where people really went inward. And we're really trying to figure out their why and their purpose. And especially in the mid level manager, because I agree with you, I think, for the longest time, we would step into a career path and look at the succession planning and the trajectory of where we wanted to get to. And now people really value different things. They don't necessarily value that propel upward, some do. But really, and truly, some are starting to look at what does freedom look like? What does happiness look like? What does it adventure adventure is another big one that comes up. And so the values work really does play into this when people are really searching for that why, and starting there. And as you figure out your core values, ultimately, there's a difference between what you prioritize, and what your core values are. And in the business world, we often prioritize anything that we have to react to. And rather than setting a proactive approach to the business that we're in, or the business or the company that we work within. So again, and I think with mid level managers, it's, it's tough, because typically you have a team that you're trying to lead, and you have a boss or multiple bosses that you are answering to and you're really in this space of being pulled in two different directions. And usually that work is not the same. So that mid level manager is really and truly having to bring out all of these different competencies and you can't be great at all of it. So it's not an easy place to be.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah. So you know, priorities is an interesting thing. I talked about focus a lot, which I think stands for follow one one course until successful. And of course, people have to follow many one courses, right and there's a book a lot of people are reading now the one thing what is the one thing you need to do? Well, it's the one thing and multiple areas but what is the one thing that I need to do now that would make everything else easier, but people and their priorities now I think I think what we're you and I are running into as their priorities. They're more conscious of their priorities that have expanded to include the things that you've mentioned. You know, their well being their adventure their family. their personal time. And, you know, I have for years because I've been in the virtual workplace space for more than two decades, people have wondered when they work remotely? When do they stop looking at email? When do they stop responding to now, of course, 20 years later, with all this technology, people can be, you know, get all this information right in the palm of their hand, which wasn't the case, you know, 20 some years ago, and they they just are not clear about and so that's an organizational thing. In organist, I do my work with organizations, I suggest that leaders need to not send emails at, you know, 7pm or 10pm, then you have worse timezone issues and things like that. And in my work life practice, and I want to talk to you because, uh, you and I've talked before about your work life practice, and I love what you're doing. But in my work life practice, I actually get to a point in my coaching, or in my group training, where I say to people, if you are waiting for your organization to provide work life balance, you will be dead before that happens. That is not the purview, even though organizations are more conscious now. And we have wellness programs, and they leaders understand the connection between people's sense of well being, and productivity and performance. So share with us a little bit about what the work you're doing in the work work life space, because it's still a challenge, a huge challenge. It's a greater challenge right now, I think, than it ever has been.

Lisa Condon:

I think it is two and, and I'll I'll speak to this, because, you know, as we've talked, I actually don't even believe in the term work life balance, because I don't know that we will ever find an actual balance. But I do believe in work life boundaries, and boundaries can ebb and flow and expand and contract, which is why I prefer that terminology. And I think you're right, I think companies, while they inherently understand that there is a connection between between productivity and well being, how to execute it, how to force people to not do certain things at it, read emails, whatever that the case may be. And you don't have leaders that lead by example. And I think all of that plays into it. And so it's funny, I actually just pulled up an email. So one of my clients are under her signature in her email, she actually just started putting a well being notice there. This just started yesterday. And I thought how apropos right before we are having this conversation, and she says, receiving this email outside of normal working hours, managing work and life responsibilities is unique for everyone. I have sent this email at a time that works for me, please respond at a time that works for you. Oh, wonderful. Oh, and why I love that is again, that speaks to the work life boundaries, because I may have had to leave my office for a period of time yesterday. And what works for me is seven, eight o'clock at night. That doesn't mean it works for somebody else. But there's something additional to that is just because I've adjusted my expectations and how I look at boundaries doesn't mean that others have. And so as that change management is happening within an organization, there is some resistance to that. Now, it happens over time, and slowly, but surely it gets there. But there's always work to be done, always work to be done by one person at a time. That's all we can

Debra Dinnocenzo:

do. That is true. And if you would send me a copy of that, I'd love to put it in the show notes. Because I would love to encourage people and leaders to do more of that include that kind of thing. Because people you know, I believe most people really want to do well. They want to do what the organization needs, they just are not clear where those boundaries are. Do they have to respond? You know, at 10 o'clock at night, or can they turn it off at you know, eight o'clock or whatever I used to also and I still do remind people you know, and it's just if you're on the organ transplant team at the hospital, or you perhaps are the you know, the managing director of a nuclear power plant, you might want to keep your phone on all the time. Because those are time urgent things. deaths could occur. Most of what people communicate about most organizations customer service groups are a little bit different. They have to be really responsive, depending on the situation, but there are very few things that if it were, it makes that much difference if you respond at 10pm, or at 8am, the next day, and but you're right, you know, leaders do not lead by example. And I get, I totally get the whole thing about, you know, I'm thinking about it. And I need to get this out now. And I've been just using more scheduling of emails, so they're not going out at two in the morning, which is a lot of times when I'm working, because I'm productive, then. So people don't number one, think I'm crazy. And number two, if I were leading a big team in a corporate environment, that would just that would be a bad, bad message. And I wouldn't want people feeling like they had to respond late at night. So yeah, if you sent that we'll include it in the show notes as an example. And people can start, copy and paste that into their signature block. So yeah, that would be great. So if boundaries are, it seems like, it is hard to have boundaries, as an individual, if you're trying to do that in the context of an organization. And you know, a lot of the things I'm citing are examples of when people are not face to face in their remote. And there's even less clarity around those kinds of expectations. There really

Lisa Condon:

is and, and I think that's oftentimes a conversation to make sure that you're having, whether it's the corporate world, and you're having it with your immediate supervisor, or whether it's an entrepreneur and you're having it with your accountability partner, setting up what what does that look like? And that goes back truly to values in my mind. Because if you're prioritizing your core values, then that already gives you some natural boundaries from which to say, No, or which to say not now, I can fit it in at this time. But it also starts with small habits. So if you have a home office, when do you walk out the door? And do you shut the door to your office, so you can't look at it and see the piles on your desk, or whatever that might look like? Or do you have your notifications on your phone turn to silent or to go out or to stop at a certain time, these are habits to get into. And one of the things that I see people try is to do it all at once. And if you try to do it all at once, it is very difficult, because that is a lot of change coming at you. And you just start reverting back to old ways. But if you try to incorporate one thing, and see what time that gives you back, and what you do with that time, isn't really productive and the way you want to be productive, then you'll want more of that. So but again, it's all that change management that comes with it and different habits and even different ways of looking at things and it changes the conversation. So sometimes there's I have a checklist that I do give to people around this, just to say these are some things to try and pick the one that really stands out to you. And don't pick the hardest one first. Because get some success around that for yourself and then go from there.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

So silencing silencing your cell phone at a certain time, having the discipline to not respond, having a way to leave your workspace not everybody, you know, has a fixed world office and in their home where they work. And so is there a way to, you know, close it, even if it's, I used to encourage people have a little sign office open office closed, and look that if your if your workspace is in a corner in a room, hopefully not a bedroom, but you know, a lot of people live in different environments and have, you know, everything in one big space. So you have to have, you know, traditions and processes by which you shut it off in your head. And so that you can focus on other things. Because the truth is, you know, there's an endless amount of stuff to be done for everybody. It's just, and the other thing I always remind people, particularly in corporate environments, if as we say here in Pittsburgh, if you get run over by a beer truck, you go don't show up tomorrow, the organization will not go to hell, they will carry forth without you. And so and I also think it's important and maybe you have some some insights about this, that people should not struggle by by themselves, not just do their own thing in their own mind about this stuff, but negotiate this with their manager and and share and disclose this is a struggle. I need help with this and Because the manager needs to recognize if this is an issue, this is a potential retention challenge down the road. We're ready to jump. So your thoughts about that? Yeah.

Lisa Condon:

So I agree with you. And I think there is a fear around being vulnerable with your supervisor, in particular in the corporate world. Now, do I think that softening up, and people are starting to bring their full self to work to have those full conversations? I do. But being vulnerable, is a very frightening thing. And this crosses the board. I mean, this crosses the board into things like meeting accessibility things, whether it's, you know, I actually have a hearing issue. So if I worked in corporate world, I would absolutely act act to ask for an accommodation for that. And that would be frightening. Because what's the stigma that comes along with it. And I think that even goes to saying, I'm really struggling with, I'm coming in at six in the morning, I'm leaving my office at eight o'clock at night, and I'm exhausted, and I am feeling overworked. And I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere, that's a really vulnerable thing to say. But this is exactly what those conversations should be about. So hopefully, leaders within an organization are having one on one meetings with their direct reports. I mean, that, to me is a really big thing. And I'm hoping that they are building out development plans, which include some of these conversations and asking the questions of how are things going? Do you feel like you're on the right track? Are you doing brutal prioritization within your work, and making sure that you're not taking on too much? You know, and I, and again, going back to even the strategic planning, companies always have a strategic plan for the company. But what's the strategic plan for the individual? What are they going to be working on now? Next, and later? And how do you define what that looks like? So you're not working on six projects at one time. And it's all of that plays into that conversation. So to me, it's really about planning together, being thoughtful together, and it is a conversation, it is not a, this is what I'm going to do, or from the leaders perspective, this is what you will do. It's truly, truly that camaraderie, I think and building that relationship. And again, the vulnerability, that that's huge. And it's really scary. So again, starting with just a little bit of, can you help me, or I'm looking at my schedule, and I feel like I'm not going to be able to get everything done for you in the timeframe, you want it? Can we talk about what we can move off my plate, those are places to start, because they're really tangible. If you're working on something, then it can evolve beyond that.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah, that makes me chuckle because I was thinking about a time that I felt that way, when I was in, in an executive position in a corporate environment. So I, you know, went to my my executive VP and said, You know, it's not humanly possible to do all of this. It's just not. So let's talk about I know, it's proactive about that. And so I left the meeting, realizing that, you know, we can't sort of like kids with like food on their plate, we just, like moved everything around on the plate, we didn't take anything off. I was not real motivated by that. So you're talking about a couple of things that I think are really important. And I've mentioned this on some recent podcasts, because of some research that I've just done. We're remote leaders, especially proactive, reaching out is critically important. It's one of the differentiators of really highly effective remote leaders versus just okay, remote leaders, and proactively reaching out in a way to really check in with people to see how they're doing. We were better at that during COVID actual, that we were concerned about people because remember, we were all living through a collective near death experience. And so we were concerned about people. And we need to be as concerned about how people are are doing how they are personally doing. And it's important, I think, for leaders to say, okay, so enough about werkstoffe How are you doing? How are you? Because that opens that channel for people to be able to share. And, and disclosure is important both ways. I encourage leaders to empathize and to say, You know what, I'm struggling with that too. So let's see what we can do about that together. The other rub for leaders is right Now, and I'm seeing this in a lot of organizations as well, there's, you know, there's too much work for people to do, and there's no money to hire more people and, and it's hard in that environment to say, I have got to have another body, or I'm gonna lose three, three on my team. And so being clear, again, about priorities being planful, proactively reaching out when leaders Pro are proactive, and they demonstrate that, that, that models for their, their team members, that they can be proactive and come back with him. But you know, very few people want to say, you know, I can't do all this, because who wants to look like they're failing, or they're incompetent, or they're, you know, it's just, it's a hard thing. So, permission, you know, a lot of organizations giving permission to fail. That's how we learn and permission to, to say, I need help, which is such a challenge. And so, you know, the other thing that you were talking about, I just jotted down the word hearing, conveying that leaders care about people, much of this comes back to truly hearing and one of the big reasons that we see in the research around why people are leaving organizations is they don't feel cared for, they don't feel appreciated. So at a very human level, we have to get beyond the bottom line, to these kinds of things that really make a difference in productivity and retention, people's well being. And these things are vitally important. So I love how you start with values. And because organizations have values to write, they do usually posted on a poster on which, you know, that kind of thing gets lost to in the remote environment. And so keeping organizational values visible and dynamic and alive and connecting personal values with that. I wonder how many leaders sit down, talk with their teams and say, you know, one value at a time over six weeks, let's talk about what that means to you personally. I don't know. I think that'd be a good strategy, though.

Lisa Condon:

I do too. And, and I don't think leaders do that, you know, some organizations do things like values and practice. So they might have awards around that. But even things like on your intranet, I mean, let's face it, most organizations have an intranet that their employees can go to for resources. And the ones that have their mission and vision, I like to call them purpose and promise. But those statements along with their values listed right there first and forefront on the homepage, it's a reminder, because employees are constantly going there. So I think trying to find ways to do that. And then bringing it into your teams, what I also encourage teams to do is to actually come up with the values of their team. And you can even break that down into if you have a 50 person department, and you know, the values of the department, then how do you break it down into the verticals within that team? And, and turning it around and tying those back into the strategy? And, again, that's where you can find some really interesting gaps are misalignment, where we're talking that our values are x. But our strategy is saying why? Well, no wonder the strategy isn't working, because we're actually not executing on the foundation of our values. So how do we do it differently? How do we execute differently? Or are we really not being honest with ourselves about what our values are? So though, and what wonderful conversations you can have from that, which then turns typically into innovative thinking, and, and then how you service your clientele, how you work together as a team, how you have buy in, within the organization, it all changes, it just gets elevated, every time you're able to just, I'm going to use an old terminology, you know, peel the layer of the onion back and get to expose more and more. It just makes everybody including the organization emerge differently and usually better than what they were before because they're now more cohesive.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah. And if you know, if we were talking with a group of senior leaders, I know the some of the pushback or even mid level leaders would be you know, there's there's just no time for that. We're just we can't keep up with what we have to do now. And, and you know, I always say think about the car consequences of not doing it if you don't do this, because it is way more painful, when you have an open position and you've got to go figure out first of all, you're going to be allowed to keep that position. And then you have to, you have to post for it, and then you have to interview for it. And think of all the time that that takes, and the cost of, of bringing of onboarding a new person, even if they're within the organization, it's just, it's crazy making, not to do some of these things, and to be proactive about them. So So what would be as we wrap up here, that kind of the big takeaways on, you know, the things that I'm coming away with are the, the why, at so many levels there, you know, the personal why, and, and people I think really are, but are really kind of leaning into that more, which is wonderful. And the organization, why and the team why and more of that kind of thing, and values and aligning values as much as possible. So what would be the kind of the key messages that you would want people to remember, as you know, they only remember a few things, right? Or conversations? Yeah,

Lisa Condon:

I think there's three. The first is the values, but with the values, you have to do the work, don't make an assumption that you know what your own core personal values are. Because it's amazing how many times I take people through a values exercise, and it comes out different than what they assume. Because again, we all lean into our priorities and react. And that's not always the core values. So I would say values work is number one. Number two, give yourself a why statement, build it and write it for yourself, what and at the varying levels that even you're talking about Debra, so your personal why you're working at an organization or why you started your own company, there's a line statement there. And when you're in times of recession, or times of big change or times a pandemic, hopefully that doesn't happen again, you can go back to your why, which allows you to simplify. And then I think the third thing is boundaries, boundaries is truly important. And understanding what boundaries actually means to you, and how you can live and lean into your boundaries. And understanding too, that sometimes it is necessary to expand those boundaries and spend a little more time in the office or spend a little more time at home, depending on what's happening. But being able to speak about them, say know when you need to, and adjust them when you need to. I think those are really the three big takeaways, Debra,

Debra Dinnocenzo:

okay, great. Thank you. That's a great way for us to wrap up. The only other thing if people want to reach out to you, Lisa, how do they find you? Sure.

Lisa Condon:

So they can go to my website, which is very easy. Lisa condon.com. And there's ways to reach me on there. And there's a lot of information about what we've been talking about out there as well. And they can also send me a message through there, and I will get back to them. I'm also on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, all the socials that are out there, and you'll find me under Lisa Condon.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Okay, excellent. And we have all of that in the show notes as well. So people can reference that there's, this has been wonderful. And and these are such important messages. And I think the biggest takeaway I would on building on your three things values, why and boundaries is you have to do the work, you have to schedule time to think about those things work on those things, not just let me know, well, okay, that was interesting and move on, schedule time to do it. Because it's important, it will not happen spontaneously. Right? Although some people have a crisis, and then you know, that's a gigantic, you know, slap up the side of the head by the universe. And that's a wake up call for people. But my sense is people are not waiting for Wake Up Calls. They are what they want to wake themselves up sooner and, and have a better quality of life and be better in their roles within organizations or as the leader of their entrepreneurial organization. So I think we've given some people some tools. Thank you for that information. And this is been wonderful. So thanks again for everyone for listening. And Lisa, thank you for your insights. And

Lisa Condon:

thank you for having me. I appreciate the conversation.