Async Leadership is the Future of All Work w/ Liam Martin @ Running Remote
Async is the future of how all teams work. Whether remotely, hybrid, or in an office. Data will tell us what are team is doing asynchronously but we'll need to start asking how our team is doing.
Here's the recap...In today's episode, I sat down with one of the foremost experts in async communication, Liam Martin. Liam is a fellow remote OG and writing the book about async (stay tuned)! This episode continued the series on how individual leaders working at remote companies not embracing the best practices of the future of work can do so within their individual teams. So today's focus was on how leaders can implement async leadership & communication with their direct reports. We talked a lot about writing, data, and the need for radical transparency.
If you're a team leader or company leader thinking async makes a whole of sense and want to move away from pointless Zoom calls this episode is for you.
It's all about writing ✍️
Nothing new here as if you listened to any of our episodes last season this was one of the foundational points across async conversations. Writing is at the heart of the future of the remote. I won't bore you with continuing on the general theme but focus on how writing is at the heart of async leadership.
First, is the idea of killing off those 'Have time for a quick chat, or I have a question do you have a minute?" A point Liam brought up was if you're asked a question 3 times it means you need a document. This was one of the first lessons I learned in my work career from my first boss. Creating a document around a feature, policy, procedure, or similar moves conversations from real-time to async. The team can now leave comments/feedback on the document which allows async updates to procedures and Q&As going async.
Second, writing will also allow your work meetings to go async. Since most work meetings are information sharing 1:many. You read a document you read (word by word) while the team falls asleep, asks themselves why you didn't send them the document instead, and perhaps picks up one thing discussed. Your team can now receive the document, read it, and take the time to reply or ask the questions they have asynchronously. So you were able to share the info needed with your team and you're team understood what was shared and had the ability to share feedback/questions. And you saved 30-60 mins of time per employee.
Finally, something we didn't really discuss in the episode but productivity in remote will simply be based on contribution. Produce X by Y time and you were productive. This requires that those deliverables must be written so clearly that it leaves little room for confusion or questions. And if there is, when handing over the task that's the time to clarify. But with very well-written deliverable requirements your team will be able to complete what's needed.
It's all about Data 📊
This is the anchor of asynchronous. Success and failure are all based on the metrics.
We started off talking about happiness & engagement surveys. Having your team share how they're feeling is crucially important. Whether as an emoji, numerical score, or anything in between. You as a leader must always have a finger on the pulse of your team for any burnout, frustration, and similar. These pulse surveys are helpful in getting that in a remote environment. Since you don't see your team's faces and body language as you did in the office. Now to make these work, you as the leader must be transparent. Everyone is not an 8/10 every day. Some days you're a 2 and that's ok. So as the leader, you need to share when and why you're a 2. You didn't sleep, the kids were bothering you, or whatever it may be. This creates an environment of trust and honesty where your team sees you being open and will follow suit. If you aren't honest and transparent your team won't be either.
Another point discussed is productivity. We spoke above about work being based on contribution and deliverables. Daily standups via Slack are a great way to measure productivity. Yesterday I completed this. Today I'm aiming to do that. If on a daily basis tasks are being checked off no further engagement is needed. If tasks aren't checked off and slipping then more synchronous effort is needed. The same goes for larger projects.
When data 📊 turns into strategy 💡
Liam shared a great example of how async data can help formulate post-mortem strategies. He and his team had been organizing the latest Running Remote event for a couple of years. Within the last 6 months, things just got crazy. So much to do, so little time, and not enough hands on deck. After seeing a continuous dip in employee engagement surveys combined with tasks and deliverables not getting done on time he realized they needed to hire an operations person. They tried to hire quickly as already being behind the 🎱 they didn't hire the right person. And that only caused more trouble.
So what they learned for future conferences is they will need to hire an Ops person to manage the final 6+ months of event coordination. So they should start looking to hire at least 6 months prior to that. Taking the time to hire the right person will help the team complete tasks on time, prevent burnout, and ensure a more successful event. These async findings go into the document on how to organize and plan future events. And it was all done asynchronously.
Scott - [02:53 - 02:55]
Hey, Liam, how's it going today?
Liam - [02:55 - 03:43]
Pretty good. It is a warm one here in Montreal, Canada, but so far so good. And I am so excited to be able to talk on a podcast where I don't have to explain every single term, about remote work or, you know, the next two hours. I hope that we can kind of get into this and go super deep on a lot of the subjects that have been kind of just almost at the, there, there are these, these large macro economic methodologies that I think are just about to turn into macro economic methodologies. And I'm very excited about seeing, how we can break that down in this podcast, if that makes any sense.
Scott - [03:43 - 04:54]
Yeah. And that's awesome. So before we dive into the topic of the day, again, I like to try to start up some episodes off with a non topical question, kind of get the conversation started. So I've been thinking recently of no, the various news that's going on about the economy, the recession, what everything looks like, what direction, what we're going to go through. We'll have on rowboat on one side, do we see it as like those companies who have the desire to get back to the office? Like, is this going to be their opportunity to say, "Hey, like most companies aren't hiring, we're hiring, you want a job you're coming back into the office?" Like, are we going to start kind of turning around and going in the wrong way, or is it going to be like the total opposite where companies are going to be like, we're very focused on spending? We're very focused on expenses. Hey, let's cut out our office. Let's forget about all these office hybrid type things. Let's maximize that the cost savings, maybe going in the incorrect direction of let's start hiring sounded like south America, Eastern Europe, but we can pay somebody maybe potentially half or a third of what we're going to pay for somebody in the U S what, what direction do you think we're going to be going into the next year, two years? Things like that.
Liam - [04:54 - 06:58]
So this is the softball question that we're starting out with. No, this is, this is really good. so really interesting, cause I think about that all the time too. And I think there's a couple, there's a couple of forces that are currently happening as we speak. a couple of weeks ago, the leaked emails with Ilan saying stop, pretending to work, go back to the office is or get fired. I think was actually a turning point for where we started to lose the PR war on back to the office versus working remotely. So I think we're now actually on the backstep, to be completely honest with you, as opposed to that being the cool, innovative option, and it's almost entirely focused on the employee and then the employer wants people to go back to the office. Yep. So the current economic conditions, and I'm always kind of keeping my ear to the pavement on hiring. as of right now, I have not really seen those, those income requirements change. So we hire probably about 10 people a month on average, which is a pretty good representative sample to be able to see where the market is going. And we haven't really seen a change of people saying, oh, I'll, you know, please give me a job. basically that, because I think a lot of the people that we hire are more people that have four or five options available to them. Sure. But those options have probably gone from four or five to two to three, which is interesting. And I think that inside of that top tier of talent, so I'm like, let's just actually focus on engineers because it's a really good metric to measure for. I think that you're probably going to lose 50% of those engineers could probably be forced back to an office.
Liam - [06:58 - 08:36]
And I think the other 50% of those engineers will say, no, I'm going to stick to my guns here. I want to be able to work remotely. I know that I'm the best in the world. And there are eight other, you know, employers that want to be able to hire me because there's just such a huge demand. So that won't stop on that end. But your average customer support agent will unfortunately probably be forced back to the office against their will. And again, that's the most popular job in the world, a customer support agent, right? So it's a very interesting kind of, I think that's actually the most important job category to follow, to understand where remote work is going, because that is someone that can do that job from there, from home, from a computer, wherever they want to follow the world. And I think the other side of this too, is you might very well see a further flattening of the global market where they're saying, well, listen, we figured out this remote work thing. We couldn't hire customer support agents in Moldova before, but we can now because we understand how to actually manage people remotely. So you're probably going to see a big expansion in those markets. maybe not a big expansion, but I would probably put it as 50% of those people will be forced back to the office against their will. and inside of the people that are being forced back to the office, I think that there will be a lot more quote, unquote outsourcing even though I don't necessarily like to use that term. because I think actually like someone from Kiev as an example is just as smart as someone from San Francisco, they just live in your car.
Liam - [08:36 - 08:56]
So I don't necessarily like that term, outsourcing, but I think you're going to see probably a minority of those people, pop up, which is probably going to be good for those countries overall and the distribution of labor and money throughout the entire planet, I think is, is never bad for everybody. So that's, that's kind of my perspective. Where do you think it's going to go?
Scott - [08:56 - 10:29]
I think it's a good question. I probably sit on your side as well. I don't think companies are going to be able to force people back in the office again, I think Pandora's box is opened and I think people will hold out for as long as they possibly can. and there will be those companies. I mean, how does a company even maybe like a Facebook or an that's kind of resisted for a long time and finally gotten in, okay, they're going in, they're doing all these things to kind of support remote work. How do they possibly pull back? And I think like, especially the company, like that was probably working on a ten-year plan, like understanding that the is only going to last for a certain amount of time. Once the recession turns over, people are going to go right back to wanting to work remotely. So sure. Are we going to be able to keep them in the office? No, it seems today here in Israel or yesterday, there were 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID. So again, this seems like this is not going away for a while. No, we were kind of quiet since the beginning of the year, but again, it seems to be taking up. So this seems like it's going to be a cyclical thing. that's not going in, it's not going away for a while. So yes, it may not have the same impact as the first couple of waves do, but with that, with all these pieces, again, I don't think people are getting forced back to the office. I definitely believe, and I've been saying for two-plus years that we were getting in the grand scheme is kind of leveling the playing field where we'll get to that point where it's a front-end developer with eight years of experience in this full, this stack of whatever it is we're going to pay them for the value that they bring into the company.
Scott - [10:29 - 11:09]
So let's just call it $80,000. And that person was Moldova in San Francisco. What happened to you? I think in the short term, what it's going to mean is you're probably not gonna be able to attract those people in San Francisco because the cost of living there is obviously still, still too high. But I think over the long run, the costs are going to have to come down in San Francisco as the costs kind of move up in Moldova where have you, and then you're going to kind of get to that leveling the playing field. So I definitely agree. I think that, whether it happens a year or two, but I think definitely long-term work enough, flatten the curve. We're going to get to that point where a developer or a customer support person, but this amount of experience is going to get paid this regardless of where they sit in the world. And I think that's a good thing.
Liam - [11:09 - 12:46]
And, That's an inevitability to me and whether that happens in five years or 15 years, it will happen probably within those two estimates. And that's a really exciting time in history because you'll be able to say, well, it doesn't matter whether I'm in San Francisco, geography will no longer be an important factor. And I would probably say in the next six months, just to think strategically for us, sure. We're actually going to try to increase our hiring because we know that that talent pool has, you know, they, they want to go get those jobs or there's going to be a lot more demand for jobs in the short term. So we're recognizing as well, if you want to think very tactically about it, lock someone in at 80 and you know, a year ago, maybe I'd have to pay them one 20, but now I can pay them 80 and that, and then obviously adding your five, 10% raise. Sure. You're on top of that. So that's a huge advantage for us where we can say, yeah, we'll save a couple million dollars, very, very easily that we can put directly into other sources. So I think it's, and I think a lot of other people are thinking that way as well. I think that there's going to be a very serious winter in terms of remote work. there's a company that, remote first capital is I'm a LP in remote first capital, which is the form that Andreas has built, from, from a bunch of different sources, but just sold, there just to have their very first acquisition, and incredibly exciting to be able to see where they're going. It was a team of 10 people all remote.
Liam - [12:46 - 13:40]
And I think, you can just look it up on Crunchbase, pri.co I ended up getting acquired and it was a really good acquisition for everybody involved, but I think that a lot of the other companies have recognized now probably we're out of time today, but you needed to get your round done basically a month ago. Yeah. If you were going to survive this winter and now expect 18 months of not raising money. Sure. And remote first companies, I think you probably were getting a lot of this. You could write down remote on a napkin and hand it to a VC in June of 2020 and get $20 million. It was absolutely insane. And it was just, it blew my mind because the six months previous to that, they would say, oh, don't you have a cute little lifestyle business.
Liam - [13:41 - 14:19]
Right? And then just automatically remote was adopted. So I think we're going to have to correct for that. Just exponential explosion of capitalization. And within the next 18 months, at least for me, I'm interested in the long haul. So I really want to do more investments in some other remote tech stack companies during this 18 month period where I'm cash, you know, cash heavy. I have cash to spend. I have dry powder because I think that after we come out of this, we're going to see remote work, really succeed and succeed in a way that is voluntary and not necessarily a complaint.
Scott - [14:19 - 15:50]
Yeah. I completely agree. At one point in before we actually get back and get onto topic today, I remember as he said in early 2020, I mentored however many remote first startups. And I remember saying to them, they're all like VC backed. I'm like, you could probably count on two hands. How many remote companies had more than 250 employees? So they're building tools for remote companies. So if you're a SAS business, that's VC backed, you have to get in enterprise sales, blah, blah, blah. This, this is how many customers, potential customers you have, right. You're never going to make it. And what I always tell them, I said, the best thing that you could do is replace the word remote with distributed. Because now if you distributed one that you can sell to Coca-Cola and IBM who have offices all over the world, and you're just trying to connect those people versus, okay, we're remote first. But then when the pandemic hit, it's like, okay, now switch back, throw the mode, Roberta remote on there and you're running, but, to, to get them to the topic. So the last episode, and I hope the next couple of episodes might desire for the focus of the episodes. Again, each grouping of episodes has a specific topic. So I really wanted to come from the perspective of, I believe there are three types of remote companies. You have your OG companies. Your Automattics, your InVisions, Gitlabs, Buffers. Who've been doing this a long time. They've been doing it the right way and kudos to them. They're going to continue doing it the right way. Yep. Group number two went remote during the pandemic and went all in saying, yes, this is the future. We want to do this.
Scott - [15:50 - 17:16]
We're going to do everything the right way. We're going to async at four-day work weeks. And great. And you kind of fall of the third category, which for me is probably the largest that went remote because they had to where they thought maybe it's a future, but they haven't yet embraced. The best that remote in the future of work has to offer. They haven't yet embraced, embraced async. They hadn't embraced four-day work. We can have embraced team engagement and found all those different pieces. So I wanted to focus on this group and leaders who are leading a specific team, one team, two teams who were kind of very focused. Yes. I love remote. I love the future of work. I want to do this the best way. How, as a leader with my own team, can I implement the best practices for the future of work? Even though the company around me may not. And I think probably an anchor point around that is async, I've been having a lot of conversations with my team internally is we're kind of a tool to help support async, aligns, I think very well into a book that you've been working on around. How do you do a sync? How do you launch it? What are steps one, step two, step three? So we'd really love to kind of dive into that topic of your leader at this company. Your company's not embracing async, they're still kind of doing meetings and maybe we'll start here. Like what's how do you do it? How do you start? Where do you start? You go all the end, you kind of use tools to kind of go in and piece mail. Okay. We're going to do somewhat sync in the kind of mix of sync and async or like start started.
Liam - [17:18 - 18:59]
So first off, before we even kind of get into that, I think that asynchronous management is actually much scary, much less scary term than remote work or work from home for a lot of companies. So if your employer is resistant about people going back to the office, I think number one, it's because they actually didn't understand the methodology in order to actually bring people out of the office, which is at least for me. And I think you share this same sentiment as well is asynchronous management because we all kind of figured it out before the pandemic. I mean, there were companies that I remember we did a panel at the very first running remote conference, not very first, the second, running remote conference, which was a panel on asynchronous management and work. And that was the first time that really anyone in the community, we pulled the audience, how many people, and these are people that like flew all over planet earth to be able to come to this place and learn about asynchronous management. And about 50% of people didn't know what the term was. And those were theoretically the experts that are, that are in the room. So it was a relatively new methodology. But I think it's almost kind of come up as like Buffer's doing this and WordPress is doing that and the lab is doing this. And there wasn't necessarily a crystallization of that term until the last couple of years, which is incredibly exciting and a big advantage to you as an employee inside of an organization, because then you can say, well, no, it's not remote work. Yeah. Asynchronous management, is only going to increase the productivity of everyone that's in the organization.
Liam - [18:59 - 20:59]
And more importantly, asynchronous management can be deployed inside of an office or outside of an office. It doesn't necessarily matter. It's, it's effectively agnostic towards that process. So it's a really great thing to sit people down with and say, forget about remote work. Let's talk about asynchronous management, which is kind of like a Trojan horse to be able to work yourself in to say, well, now we actually have the methodology that it doesn't really matter where I'm sitting. If I'm sitting in this office, or if I'm sitting in a coffee shop, I can still actually be just as productive. but in terms of like tactics, I would say, well, there's, there are three fundamental overlappings. kind of just basically processes that we really look at is, deliberate communication, democratizing workflows, and detailed metrics. So first one deliberate over-communication inside asynchronous organizations, you have very precise ways of communicating with other people, whereas, in an office environment, that's synchronous, your communication is not documented. Number one. but also is quite messy. So I might kind of sit with you at lunch and come up with an idea about how to do and you feature for a particular product. Yeah. This is really interesting collaborative communication, but the documentation of that communication isn't available anywhere. So you can't actually go back and actually take a look at that information and say, oh, well, this feature actually came out of this lunch meeting that Scott and Liam had. And it's two years later and this feature is a complete disaster. where did it actually come from? So with synchronous asynchronous communication, you can actually have that documentation in place. But then also the way that we communicate is very specific, meaning mostly everything is through text.
Liam - [20:59 - 22:46]
Some is through video. but fundamentally it is information that can be recorded and consumed when it's most advantageous to everyone inside of the organization to consume it. Yeah. And so that is a really powerful first tenant. The second one is democratized workflows, which is process documentation. Most people probably have at least some version of that. If you're just starting, what I would suggest that people do is, and I have actually all of these email@example.com slash book URL, awesome is a how to do my job. So we have about 40 different templates, like how to do my job as the chief design officer, how to do my job as the CTO, and their internal ones that we've collected or written ourselves. And it's a five-page document. You can link out to other sources, but you need to keep it under five pages. So it's very concise. And what I challenge people to do is spend an afternoon in your organization to write that singular document. And that's it. And then take that singular document, give it to someone that's not inside of your department. So if you're in marketing, send it to engineering as an example and ask them, do you understand how my job works? Right. Do you understand what I do in this job? And could you theoretically do it from a layman's perspective? Yeah. And the vast majority of the time, about 80% of the time, the answer is no. And so then you ask, well, what else do I need to do to be more perfect in my process? And you go iteratively to the point in which effectively someone that doesn't know what you are not an expert at your particular field, can at least understand how to actually do what you do in your job.
Liam - [22:46 - 24:32]
And this creates an environment where if all of a sudden I get hit by a bus, or if I want to take the next year and a half off to write a book about asynchronous work, I can do that because I can then take that document, delegate that to the people that directly report to me and they can take on those types of responsibilities. And the third one is detailed metrics. So the vast majority of management, and this is a thing that I think is really interesting when I was doing research for the book and interviewing all of these asynchronous organizations. I discovered that their managerial layer is on average 50% thinner than their on-premise counterparts. So there are 50% fewer managers in asynchronous organizations than there are in synchronous organizations. That means there are more people working on difficult problems than there were people managing people, working on difficult problems, which provides you a massive tactical advantage in the marketplace. Because the more time people spend solving hard problems, the faster you're going to innovate as an organization. And the reason why those managers are no longer needed inside of that work structure is because the metrics are automated. So all of the metrics are effectively quantifiable longitudinal. And you say, how many leads am I getting to the website? you know, how many lines of it's a bad metric, but how many lines of code am I writing? what's my, what's my net promoter score as a customer support agent, whatever metrics you need to identify. And it's really critical. And we talk in the book about how to actually choose proper metrics, because that's a critical part of this entire formula. But once you have those things in place, then you automate them.
Liam - [24:32 - 26:01]
So you create an environment in which everyone has access to those metrics. We personally are calling this, radical transparency inside of the organization. So everyone has access to everyone else's metrics. So everyone knows what I'm doing, what, you know, the CTO is doing, what the frontline engineer is doing. And then we, from that point, have a very clear understanding of the entire business in a snapshot. And the vast majority of management is really just playing this game telephone saying, oh, well, this is what Herman did. And then, you know, they send that to their manager and their manager's manager. And then finally the boss, inside of asynchronous organizations, that's all automated and, and very easy to be able to consume. So communicating effectively building processes so that you actually have redundancy inside of the system. So at any point, people are no longer owning a position, but they inhabit the position. And I've heard that multiple times instead of asynchronous organizations. So I am not the COO of the company. I currently inhabit the position of CMOs of the company. And at any point, I could leave that position and I need to be prepared at any moment to be able to leave that organization. And if I don't have that capability, then that's a real big black hole inside of the organization and then detailed metrics. So automating all those metrics and making everything as radically transparent as humanly possible. So everyone has the same informational advantage as a CEO.
Liam- [26:02 - 27:14]
the other thing that's really interesting is this is evolving constantly, right? Like how Big is the asynchronous community? I probably would say when I first started researching the book Yeah. Companies that are above 50 employees, maybe under a thousand, I would probably say, and probably were around that same range right now where maybe we've cracked a thousand. So it's a very, very small community of companies, but those companies are doing extraordinarily amazing things. And growing at rates that are, that completely outstripped any synchronous organizations, the, the head of remote from target lab, Darren Murph, He Said, this is really more of a model T versus horse and buggy moment. So the biggest population of horses on planet earth was in 1915 during the first world war, which also just happened to be the year that the first Model T rolled off the production line.
Liam - [27:15 - 27:31]
In 1915, the vast majority of people were still running around with horses, but within five years, everything shifted. Right. And so it's, and because we just had a better methodology to be able to get people around. And I think this is a better methodology to be able to build businesses.
Scott - [27:31 - 28:47]
So many questions here. All right. Let, let me focus on the easy one first, you think there's going to be a moment that's that trigger from synchronous asynchronous for a long time, every company knew the metrics of the data around remote work. Remote work works. People are happier. You can build a thousand plus people, companies, you could raise hundreds of millions of dollars, blah, blah, blah. Everybody knew it, but very few companies did it. Then it took the pandemic to kind of give it that push for everyone to say, okay, yeah, this is as good or even better than we expected. I think we certainly know the same thing with async right. The companies have been doing it. They've been doing it well, the data's there. It's proven it works fantastic. Is it going to be another jerk moment? Like a push? Okay. Something happens where now you're forced to now support async or are companies going to kind of come along and say, okay, now we had this feeling about remote work when we were synchronous when we were in the office based in, okay. Worked out pretty well. We see the same thing around asynchronous. We know in theory that it's going to work out well, you know what, let's embrace this let's embrace, embrace the best of the future work as an offer. What would you say? What side do you fall on here?
Liam - [28:47 - 29:03]
So I think, and I'll take a very tech broey example here, I think. And I'm, I've been, working in the tech field long enough to recognize the transition from on-premise to cloud computing. From a server perspective. So do you remember when AWS was really out there and everyone could just basically spin something up for very, very small amounts of money? And so I think that that's what we're currently seeing inside of remote, the young upstarts, the organizations that are very small are starting for remote from day one. Yeah. Not all of them have really even understood asynchronous management because it's such a new methodology that is really frustrating to me because that was actually one of the big issues that I had and motivations for writing the book, which was the first couple months of the pandemic. I was getting phone calls from people that were totally like out of my league, like governments that are like, we have 500,000 employees, we just moved the bureau. What do, what do we do? And I'm like, yeah, I don't know, 150 people is the number of people that I currently am in control of. So I have no idea. And, you know, they're literally saying you're the first person that would pick up the phone to be able to help us. So ran a really kind of crazy moment, but I think we're going to see those young upstarts increase at a massive pace. Yeah. There was a really great statistic out of YC pre-pandemic. I think it was 50% of people wanting to start a company in San Francisco and post-pandemic. the number one was remote at 48%. So it was a complete shift recognizing that that was, that's basically like a AWS versus on-premise, argument. So we're going to start to see that and proliferate, and I think we're just going to move up the org chart where even today there are still companies that are resistant towards cloud computing as an example because it isn't safe because it's not secure.
Liam - [30:52 - 32:28]
But I think as we've seen the proliferation of SaaS and, and in cloud computing and all that kind of stuff, we're probably going to see the same adoption curve, probably be quite useful for me to actually look at that adoption curve and kind of just connect my own mindset to that. But that's how I would generally see it is your McKinseys, your Deloitte, your KPMGs, you're very, very large corporations. They will go remote in some contexts. But the biggest barriers that I actually see for the vast majority of those companies outside of the management methodology, which they haven't really figured out, which isn't that big of a problem actually for these types of companies, because they're so large that they already have like process documentation built way better than any other company, but the big issue will be security. and, and that's kind of the biggest current barrier that I see from a techno technology stack perspective saying how can I work legally and securely when I manage tax returns for people? Yeah. as an example, which is just, you know, it like if you, that means that you have to be PCI compliant, you basically have to have bank-level security for everything inside of your organization. And, it's very, very difficult to do when you have a distributed set of computers all over the planet earth, but we've figured out how to do it with cloud computing very efficiently. And I think we will figure out how to do it for anyone that's listening right now. Definitely get into remote work security. I think that that is probably the next trillion-dollar company to be able to be built.
Scott - [32:28 - 33:28]
I like that idea. Yeah. It's definitely one of the hot areas. so I also believe, I think that you've kind of touched on those points of larger companies have a lot of structure kind of documentation of what a, a team meeting looks like, what a one-on-one looks like, what it consists of, but there's probably less of like the format. So, I know at least in the unbeliever, it's going to be, again, those individual manner managers are going to be like, I can do the async right. I have to ask these questions. I have to talk about these points, but there is no specific guidance on how they're being asked and what format and things like that. And I think you're going to have those individual leaders going, can be like, okay, I can do this asynchronously. So with that in mind, what do, what do managers now do they've, they've listened to this podcast. They want to do it. How do you take, let's say a team meeting? How do you take a one-on-one that you've done synchronously? How do you take it asynchronously? Like what tools do you use? What types of tools? Like what format let's kind of break this down a little bit. Okay.
Liam - [33:28 - 34:44]
Yeah. If we want to get super specific and again, it, so in me researching the book, everyone does this differently and I think there are no current best practices, but I can tell you what I do, which is for a lot of your big team meetings, we're currently doing actually our forced, async week. So one week a month, there are no meetings whatsoever. Yeah. The only meeting that you can have is what we call an emergency meeting, emergency tier meeting, which is we're getting hacked. you know, something absolutely crazy like that. That absolutely has to be answered very, very quickly. And we might have one of those instances once a year. so we've ever had to trigger that before during a remote week, but, and this is also by the way, a really good way to start people off is I'd say, don't go remote. Like, don't just say, okay, I'm sorry. Async just, doesn't say today, we're going to go async and that's it. Yep. Say let's do an async week. You pull people, you see, do you want more of that? Do you want less of that? What were your problems? You know, and, and in every survey that I've currently overseeing, they want more of it. They love asynchronous management because it's just like, oh, I'm not getting bothered. I can actually get deep work Done.
Liam - [34:45 - 36:33]
Yeah. So, in terms of large meetings, we run something which I've pulled from a couple of other companies, which I'm calling silent meetings. So that means we write down issues that we want to be able to discuss. we pull a lot of this from EOS entrepreneur operating system. So identify what the problem is. Why is this, identify the issue? Why is this a problem? And then provide a proposed solution. If we don't have those three components inside of an issue, then we don't necessarily, we don't discuss it. And we respond to those issues asynchronously. So we write out comments and I'll see a hundred comments on a particular issue sometimes of a team of eight. So there'll be a very, very excited exchange between those companies or sorry between those individuals. And then when you come to a conclusion, you take that conclusion and you put it to the top of the ticket. So you just pop it right back. We use a sauna. As an example, you can use any type of project management tool that you're there was in the market right now. And then you clear the ticket. And if we have less than three issues before a meeting, we don't do the meetings synchronously. Now the interesting thing that's popped up is the only issues that stay on the issue list have nothing to do with the nuts and bolts of the company. They're almost entirely EEQ issues. Lectures. Scott has got a problem with Liam and Liam doesn't think that it's, you know, that Scott has an issue with him and we need to be able to resolve it, or there's some type of soft issue inside of the organization. And that's actually where I suggest that managers apply almost all of their energy.
Liam - [36:33 - 38:14]
So forget about what your metrics are. And if you truly are just saying, well, I'm not going to talk about the metrics. And first of all, kind of managers, brains explode when they think, oh, well, I'm not supposed to, like, I'm not responsible for measuring where they're currently at. It's not that you're not responsible. It's that spending time on working on how to make that individual more productive yeah. Is a much better application of your time then monitoring whether or not they're productive. So basically offset the, the measurement of whether or not someone is doing a good job, because I can figure that out in an instant, right? And you need to be able to build a framework in order to identify that in an instant, but then once you're saying, Hey, okay, we've got a really aggressive target this quarter. We've got to be able to ship this particular type of feature, identify everything that we need to be able to figure out, to be able to ship this particular type of feature, you know, basically your mark, all of your resources and then boom, you're off to the races. And then as quickly as they come up, try to remove these barriers. And the vast majority of the time, those barriers are not, I don't have enough resources. It's, my dog died last week and my kids are having a real difficult time with this. How can you, as a manager possibly open up, possibly solve that problem, you know, get a new dog, is it, go to better health.com and, and, you know, get a psychologist in to be able to help your kids through this process? anything that reduces that particular autonomous node, anxiety. Yeah. because they are human beings.
Liam - [38:14 - 40:03]
Optimizes the organization in a huge way. And if you apply your time to that, as opposed to whether or not someone is doing a good job or a bad job, you automatically actually ended up having people, be a lot more successful inside of the organization. And the other thing too, that's quite interesting is everyone knows whether they're doing a good job or a bad job. Yeah. Right. Like you, you know, Hey, like, and we, we identify in terms of our goals, we say, okay, well, I want to get 2000 people to the next running remote conference as an example, chance of success, 30%. Right? Yeah. Based off of all of these variables, and just clearly identifying that and then also providing the managerial layer and the process, basically the metrics layer, the clarity to be able to say, well, should we target a thousand people because that will have an 80% success rate versus 2000 people at a 30% success rate. But if we build our, if we build our target for 2000 people, here are the pros and cons of that particular situation. So again, getting into the metrics is actually really critically important and having high level 40,000 foot discussions is really important to be able to identify, well, maybe we actually want this person to go for 2000 and that person has a 70% chance of failure, but because they're targeting in 2000, you know, 2000 people coming to the conferences, a thousand, we're probably going to end up with 1500 and we're, we're okay with taking that loss, having a net loss on that particular year, to be able to say, we can do 2000 the next year. So those, I mean, again, I have like one and a half chapters on how to choose your metrics.
Liam - [40:03 - 40:55]
Cause it's so critical inside of asynchronous organizations to be able to set those things up. But those are the types of the conversations that I think, are really important to have. because if you come back with everyone, not hitting their goals, that's not useful. and, and it's just, it's important to be able to measure outcome up that the projected outcomes versus what you think you can theoretically do, and actually measuring the increase that asynchronous management will give you. Because if you just set your targets 30% higher, once you moved to an asynchronous organization, then you're not going to necessarily see it because you'll see the same success rate for all of your targets, but that's not really a fair justification for, for your targets. You need to have basically the targets remain the same and then just reorganize through asynchronous management.
Scott - [40:55 - 42:02]
No, I like that. very much in line with how I run, my team one-on-ones. I do the work portion asynchronously, I think, as you've mentioned, going over metrics, talking about metrics for me, it doesn't need to be synchronous know, looking at data. They can look at the data themselves to walk through the data points. what they've done this week. they can share with me, what they've done this week. It should be done asynchronously. I try to focus my synchronous time on how they're doing as a person, right. Relationship building. If I noticed there's something off, getting, trying to dive into his conversations like you have to find out, okay, their dog died. Okay. Now, what can I do to help improve that situation or fix that situation? Oh, career development, personal development. How do I help them grow as an individual as if we're going to do things like that? So I love that point. You've mentioned metrics a few times before I go into my next question. Let's, let's dive in a little bit deeper. I'm sure for sharing some of those metrics, like a better a must that again, if someone's going to launch in asynchronous or shift to asynchronous management, what are like the metrics that somebody needs to be relying on?
Liam - [42:02 - 44:04]
And again, I think that these are really, by the way, a great question to ask, because I think it's, there's a lot of variation. I can actually tell you our top metrics as an organization, but it's probably going to be pretty boring for you to be completely honest. so the first one is a, and I'm logging in right now into my actual dashboard. so the first one is money. how much money we're making as an example, not in this example is a very specific metric it's loading right now. And, so we have MRR from self-serve revenue. We have MRR from sales, lead revenue. We have expansion MRR. So how many more seats we have in this organization? We have churn and we have net, monthly recurring revenue. so those are the core metrics that we have. And then underneath that, we have departmental metrics. So marketing has unique web visitors, trial rates trials. And then we have a link to the marketing document, which has probably about 40 metrics that are inside of those three core metrics. So what do I need to know as a person on a weekly basis, that is the co-founder of this company? I need to know the unique website visitors, trial rates, and trials. And then if there's a big red flag on one of those, then I can tunnel into the marketing metrics document and look at the 40 metrics there and figure out what changed if there's a difference in trials. Right? So I don't need to know everything all the time, but I do need to identify the unique pieces of information cross-departmentally for everyone to identify. then I have like in growth, we have onboarding rate onboarding trials, overall activation rate, total new customers, our, our, our ARPC, our expansion rate, in sales, we've got sales, qualified leads, revenue, inbound deals to SDRs inbound deals to AEs and all of these numbers.
Liam - [44:04 - 45:47]
I don't want to kind of actually a product is a really good one. So the core metric that we have for product is NPS, and that's probably very different from other companies, but we've just identified it from a product perspective. The net promoter score is by far the overall north star for us as an organization, particularly because if customers don't like us, then they're going to turn more, right. Or they're not going to buy our product or whatever it might be. So identifying all of these metrics, is really important. And it may not be MPS for you as an example, from a product perspective, it may be activation rate, or it may be, you know, weekly active users, that type of a thing that might be a really important metric, but you actually need to study the pros and cons of every single one of those instances because weekly active users or monthly active users, you know, are you, is your marketing department doing a really good job at getting more customers in the door? So your monthly active users are going up into the right, but it's only because your marketing is investing so much more. What's the stickiness rate. Like what's the adoption rate of those monthly active users is a really important metric to be able to take into consideration. So it's not just like a one size fits all, unfortunately, but I would say money, is probably the most important thing that you need to be able to do. And also too, when I'm talking about radical transparency, we try as much as humanly possible to provide everyone in the organization, the same informational advantage of the CEO of the company. So that can be very scary to a lot of CEOs.
Liam - [45:47 - 47:36]
Like how much money do we have in the bank? how much net profit do we, you know, do we take off the top, because that goes to the co-founders of the company, right? And maybe they'll say, well, I don't think that we should take 10% of the profits and it should be for the co-founders. I think we should reinvest that back inside of the business as an example, right? All of these things that can be open and honest discussions, we try to make as open as humanly possible. The only thing that we hold back on as an organization ourselves is HR related issues. But there are companies like buffer as an example that open everything up. So they know what everyone else makes, and they know exactly how to allow you to be able to make more inside of your organization. Again, there's like various definitions or not. There are various flavors of async and you can go very, very far, as an organization, but it, but for me, I'm actually really big on people saying, and the goal of the book is can I get you like 10% more async yup. Cause that's going to be a huge win. I think for everyone's going to be a lot less stressed out, particularly as it comes to the managerial tier, because that's the part that I found the most interesting in my analysis was basically asynchronous organizations don't have as much management because they have self autonomous individuals inside of those organizations that are just as intelligent as the managers that are managing them. They can make those critical decisions without necessarily having a manager review those decisions for them. And I think that that's such an interesting insight. That's backed up with quantitative data that I was able to discover.
Liam - [47:36 - 49:36]
And I think anyone you speak to anyone in any company, and if they said, Hey, would you like less management? The answer honestly, 90% of the time would be, yes, they're probably looking for more leadership, which is something that I talk about a lot in the book, which is, I think that asynchronous organizations should evolve from management to leaders and leadership is how are you feeling? You know, how can I help you today? you know, effectively being almost a psychologist, for your team as opposed to how are your metrics doing? And that is something that, we're, we're really on the cusp fallen because as we see this transition occur back to your first original point with regards to remote work, just going absolutely crazy right now. And that pushed back to the office. I think we're going to see a 6 to 12 month period of people going back to the office, becoming very frustrated with that process, particularly as it applies to hybrid because I think the phenomenon of distance bias is going to work its way into these, these hybrid organizations where you're going to have your remote workers completely disenfranchised from that process and move somewhere else and recognizing that they need a better methodology. And to me, the answer to a successful hybrid organization is asynchronous management. Just, it is the perfect solution to those problems because then there are no undocumented conversations inside of the organization. So your remote team members can actually get access to that information and say, well, Scott, you, you've really been kind of shitting on me, Right About, you know, how I'm doing as a, as a team member, you know, behind closed doors. And maybe I am doing a bad job, but let's just sit down and talk about it, right?
Liam - [49:36 - 50:03]
Like let's have a one-on-one where we can really kind of hash this out because it just all comes back to those ETQ issues that if you can address those as quickly as possible, I have a, I have a personal saying to life, which is the secret to life is being comfortable, having uncomfortable conversations. And when you remove a lot of the boring conversations that can effectively be solved through software, you can focus your energy on the conversations that really need to be had.
Scott - [50:03 - 51:31]
Yeah, absolutely love that. So I want to still push it off a question to have, I wanted to, again, point to this more. So I really liked that idea of asynchronous leadership is really how are you? How's everything going? How's your family, how's this outside the other. So taking a step back, you had the old school mentality where you're in the office or looking at hybrid or forcing back in your office. I, as the leader of the manager, I can see you. Are you smiling? Are you happy? I can get a sense of in theory, how are you doing in a remote environment where it may have been synchronous? Maybe you're doing it like a daily stand-up every day, you're doing kind of synchronous team meetings, where again, I can potentially see you through a video call. You now kind of shift towards the asynchronous, by default leadership. How do you get to those modes? How do you create those moments? Because in theory, right, if you're going to do the work portion, like I do, it's still kind of on a weekly basis that Monday at 3:00 PM or whatever is, so it's still that pre-scheduled pre kind of organized event. But now when you're talking about like, how are you, how are you doing? Like, is that also kind of, I want to call it robotic or okay. Tuesday, is it like between this hour? I send everyone a message in slack, Hey, how you doing? Or what, or what, how is this going to evolve? Because it's probably going to be multiple iterations. But again, for someone who is now taking the asynchronous leadership opportunity, especially remotely, because again, maybe if they're going hybrid, they're backing off again, they can kind of see them. What can leaders be doing in there?
Liam - [51:34 - 53:22]
So I think one of the biggest ways to be able to do it, it goes back to my, my discussion or my argument towards, detailed metrics. So, and I have seen this in multiple organizations. we do it where we send out a how are you feeling? How, how did you feel about week's work last week? You know, were you stressed out? Yeah. Did you have more anxiety than you had the previous week? Right? Like how are you currently feeling? Yeah. And then I can come in as a manager and I can immediately identify, oh, I need to actually direct my sync time towards a particular individual, as opposed to these other individuals that are just humming along and they're doing just fine. Right. I mean, I can tell you, and I, I have this survey data, like everyone in the organization. Right. Does it, even though I don't have any direct reports, sorry. I do not report to anyone. I was very, very stressed out, before the running remote conference. Yeah. I had a significant amount of stress and I was probably, you know, out of 10, I was around like two to three for the 46 weeks before the conference started. And it was just a lot of w there was more work than people to be able to solve for those problems. And that was an issue actually, when I did a self audit and I discussed, I brought in the team to be able to discuss this. I said, wow, we really under, we did not understand the amount of work that was needed in those last two months in terms of preparation. And it actually boiled down to, we had, we tried to hire for an operations person and we failed twice.
Liam - [53:22 - 55:08]
So we hired, we hired someone and within two months they ended up leaving and they had to completely restart the process every time someone else was hired. And so that was actually the core issue. And that core issue probably cost us six figures versus worth of losses, right. To be able to really kind of look back at that and figure out why is everyone's super stressed. Let's actually like understand this so that we can use that information to be able to say, we should never pursue this unless we have an operations person. Yep. 26 weeks out before the event starts, we need that operations person. And we need to know that that person is solid, or we need to be able to pull back on the breadth of the event. So now we've built that actually into our strategic documents. When we launch another event is we have like a little checklist, for everybody. And it just came from us understanding our own internal, our own internal EMPS, right? Just like, how are, how am I doing as an individual and how can I help? And that information again is provided to the employee. And then by permission is provided to the direct report. So the manager effectively, but that is really a tool to be able to help them. And a lot of the times there is, there's a major issue of trust. That's involved in that. So, if I put down that I'm an eight every single week. Yeah. Well, number one, that's BS. No, one's an eight every single week, but then, you know, if I have the trust to be able to say I'm a four or I'm a two this week, and here's why number one, that comes from the top down.
Liam - [55:08 - 56:52]
So I'm just really open to me saying I'm super stressed out. Yeah. Because if you know, we don't pull this off. If we don't launch this feature in the next month, we're really behind in terms of our product or load plan. But, that gives other people permission inside of the organization to feel that sense of openness. And if you don't do that, then you're going to just have random terminations. That was the other interesting statistic that I found in studying these asynchronous organizations is the average EMPS was a 70 for those organizations and the standard across all industries is 36. Wow. So it's far outweighed everyone. Else's I mean, when you kind of boil that down to dollars and cents, your retention is probably 50% higher in those organizations. And the biggest cost to any company is people quitting. That is the biggest singular cost to any organization is okay. Someone quit and now we've got to retrain someone new, but the other advantage inside of asynchronous organizations is if you've done it properly, they are not owning that position. They're inhabiting that position. So they'll be able to walk away from that position literally within the day. I mean, it never really happens that perfectly, but that's the goal. And then you can say, all right, well, here's a, here's Scott, Scott's going to be replacing Liam. And here are all the processes. And, you know, Liam and Scott can happen onboarding week, and then Scott's off to the races, you know, radically, but it's much, it's much easier inside of asynchronous organizations. The secret is once.
Scott - [56:52 - 58:20]
Yeah, absolutely. I think what you just said is absolute gold. and I'm happy to hear because this is how I run my teams. And it's great to hear kind ofthe alignment, that number one, it's leading from the front. And I've said this across multitudes of these episodes where we have a daily standup nor kind of asked like the regular questions, like, what are you doing today? Blah, blah, blah. But one of the questions in there is how are you feeling today with like emojis? And when I'm, when I'm having a tough day, I put a sad face and I'll include like a note, no, I didn't get sleep or this, like my kid was doing like this morning or so on and so forth to, as you said, create that environment of trust and transparency, where people on the team feel okay, where we can share and be honest. And I've emphasized that and emphasize, and I think the biggest piece around that, it's when you see something and I use that as a red flags, right? If somebody has a sad face, like that tells me immediately, Hey, I need to reach out to this person now and see why they have a sad face, the same thing. If they have kind of like a neutral face for like three, four days in a row, it's a flag for me. Hey, reach out. And the biggest piece is out of it. What comes out of it? Like they share, Hey, I've been having trouble sleeping the last couple of nights. Okay, great. You know what? Take a half-day. go rest. No problem. Again, specialty working async, come back later or do this, or kind of reprioritize and making, taking action so they can see the results that you're actually taking them seriously.
Scott - [58:20 - 59:07]
They're not just giving you feedback and okay. Yeah. Thanks for sharing. And nothing really happened. So it's really taking on the action in giving something to them and kind of in return. And I, I'm happy to see within my team that it's gotten to the point where there's such, I want to call it a relationship or when somebody puts like a sad face, like even before I get a chance to reply, like two or three, our other few three people will throw a comment in there. Like, Hey, how's everything going? Let me know if you need anything and creating that environment for yes. If you have a cup, if you have a hard day, you had something to like, share it again. That's the best thing you could do. And as a leader, I'm going to share it from the front. So you know what I'm feeling. And if I have a great day as bad days, like you're always going to know it and you do the same and have that trust and builds like that team. So I absolutely gold. you know, we do it to come to similar, like a daily pulse survey with no, the daily check-ins with that thing.
Liam - [59:07 - 59:51]
And again, it's something critical, Quite also valuable by the way, to be able to instrument that. So yeah, if you can have that, and again, there are various definitions of the kind of doing it, but sure. If you can pull that into your HR software, you can literally instrument against like, oh, that person has been pers has been over the last six months has been getting more, sad faces as an example, and degrading as an organization. I know I had an issue, about three years ago that I shared with my team. And then we'll get back to your question, which was, my father had had a pretty serious stroke and I was his primary caregiver.
Liam - [59:51 - 01:01:41]
During that time and he refused to be able to get a nurse, but he was in between the point in which he really needed a nurse. And because I was there, I was kind of his quasi nurse, but that really shouldn't have been my job. And I should have actually applied, like I should have hired him a nurse against his wishes. And that was creating a lot of issues and tension, for myself and anxiety for myself, because I knew that I was not able to apply the right amount of time inside of the organization that I needed to do in order to basically like provide, like give the company as much as I needed to. I was giving the organization less than what I took. And there are lots of people that give more than what they take. Right. But at that point I was giving less than what I took and I recognize that. And I shared that with everyone inside of the organization. And the way that we actually came to a conclusion on that was, I ended up hiring, a, like a professional caregiver to be able to help him to get through that critical part. But I hadn't, it was almost kind of like a come to Jesus moment where, when I came to everyone and documented that it felt a lot more real to me, because a lot of the times of those issues kind of just float around in your own head and you don't recognize the impact that that's having on your overall output and productivity. for me, I saw arguably probably a 20% drop in my overall output and quality of work. And that over, particularly as the CFO of the company that creates some very serious problems down the chain where people are saying, I can't get information from Liam. Speaker: 1 - [01:01:41 - 01:01:54]
Sure. you know, I need to do this meeting with Liam and Liam is an actually alert and doesn't really know what the hell he's supposed to be talking about in this particular meeting is not prepared properly. so definitely important to be able to share that stuff. And I love that you're doing it to, Yeah.
Scott - [01:01:54 - 01:03:34]
so just one more question on the cognitive of time spoken about a couple of times, the idea of, documenting processes, ideas, putting as much down in documentation, when we're in a remote environment, now let's go back. And when you're in an office environment, it seemingly was theoretically easy to do. Cause you're, if you're, we're having a lunch together where we're having a coffee together and we came up with an idea, Hey, we should try this or do this, or think about that, had discussion that we'd go back to the desk because it was just right words in the ether. Right. And there nothing, there's nothing tangible to it. So you put, you created a document can maybe shared it. Great. Now, when you were kind of the virtual conversations where let's say you're going back and forth in slack or in video or some kind of format, or just maybe call it slack to start with, at what point do you take a step back from the conversation in slack and say, okay, let's create a document around this cause where we may be collaborating. And this idea that it's, it's, it's in there, it's in slack, it's searchable. In theory, you can reference it back in slack. If you needed to maybe like at what point do you say, okay, a document is needed and this raises like a, a recall challenge, what the right word is that my team has been collaborating about and thinking about where is as my async meetings, I'll do a Google slide presentation about whatever topic I'm talking about. I'll use cloud app to create a video of me walking through the document and kind of adding context and so on and so forth. Both of those items go into slack, into a thread and there's been questions around, okay, well, when we have feedback based on where do we put it, right?
Scott - [01:03:34 - 01:04:07]
Did we put it right in the video, in the cloud? I video in the comment section, do we add it to the document? Do we put it in slack now? How do you, especially with tools that have totally, maybe disjoined is there like a best practice? How do you make sure that you go from idea to documentation, to conversation, collaborations, to decision-making all again, so it's easily clear when you have to reference it back. Oh, okay. Here was the idea here was the conversation in the video or what format he was, the conversation points. Maybe share some thoughts around that.
Liam - [01:04:07 - 01:05:40]
Sure. Okay. Well, there's a, there's a couple of different kind of questions that you asked there. The first one is when do you actually turn a process? When do you actually build a process document? And I generally have a rule, which is three times. So the first time that I do something, I do it for myself. The second time that I do something, I think to myself, maybe we should turn this into a process document. I E changing the DNS records. I literally built a process document yesterday, on that particular issue. Cause there hadn't been one built. Yeah. So changing DNS records, which is basically like a way to be able to point towards the website. so the second time that I did it, I thought, okay, maybe I should actually process this out. And then last week I had to change DNS records again. And I thought, okay, now I'll build this into a process. I literally just turned on, CloudApp. Yup. Recorded the session said, Hey, this is how I'm doing it. built out some process documents. I keep it under one page. So for me, the text version of that process should be under one page because if it turns into two pages that actually not many people really consume it to be completely honest with you. And I also attach a video to every single process document that I'm doing, knowing that they may watch the video for a more clear view of how to actually do the thing that I'm telling them to do. But, more importantly, that's something that maybe people would just consume the first time. And then the second time they do the process, they don't necessarily get it. So you have that.
Liam - [01:05:40 - 01:07:19]
And then, we have an internal Wiki that we use, which is a little bit more of a time commitment. If you're doing something like Google docs, that's probably a very easy place to start. There's another great tool on the market called trainee wall, which will also provide you even quiz like processes inside. It's a paid, account. I think it costs like $2 per user per month or something like that, but that's quite useful. And the big part is actually the reason why we went with our Wiki and internal Wiki is the debates. So you can have discussions. So if you go to like Wikipedia right now, you'll have the actual Wikipedia entry. And then if you can go to the tab, that is the discussion about this particular entry and you have multiple stakeholders that come in and discuss like, no, Trump is six foot three, not six foot two as an example. And you can debate those and people vote on them. Yep. And then you have this somewhat organic system where if you want to change a process, you can do it, very quickly and easily. You do need to be able to. And, we've, we're having debates about this right now, which is a process document, actually having an expiry date. So the process, like let's say the process exists for two years and if it has not been edited at all in those two years, it needs to come up for audit and review, meaning you need to actually like, what is this process? Are we using it? Number one, if we're not using it, like get rid of it, right? Like just archive it somewhere. or is it really important that maybe we, oh, it's super important, but we only use it every three years.
Liam - [01:07:19 - 01:08:46]
Those are certain examples in which we should keep it, but trying to keep those process documents as usable as humanly possible is really critical. Once you actually get into the nuts and bolts of this because long term, the actual usability of this document is absolutely critical towards your successes in the synchronous organization. Yeah. There are companies now asynchronous organizations that talk a lot about responding with a link. And this also builds into the culture of that organization. Meaning I ask a question to say, I'm a new employee. I ask a question to Scott. Scott responds with a link, which is really training me to say, I shouldn't have actually asked this question in the first place. I should have gone into the Wiki and spent the three minutes, Googling it to be able to figure out the answer to that problem. And then maybe there's something more in depth than I need to discuss. So instead of talking to Scott who might've built that process, I'll go into the debate section of that particular entry and discuss that. But, it's responding with a link is really critical and it's, it's almost the entire, when I look at adoption, people that have successfully adopted process documentation inside of their organizations from an asynchronous perspective and those that have tried and failed, it's really responding with a link. And then also making sure that people at the top of the organization, do this, not just the people at the sure.
Scott - [01:08:46 - 01:08:54]
That's awesome. Any last questions you have or things you want to share?
Liam - [01:08:54 - 01:09:10]
Well, you know, I think that we're, I'm really interested to see whether or not, and again, this is my own bias because I've been studying this subject for the last well for a couple of years, but really intently for the book for the past year and a half. It's my belief is that within the next 10 years, we'll be talking more about asynchronous work than necessarily remote work. And I think right now that sounds like a very weird to approach the problem, but I'd love to be able to get your perspectives on it. Which is, are we going to be like, is it about asynchronous work or is it about remote work? where do you see the market going over the next couple of years?
Scott - [01:09:38 - 01:11:05]
Yeah. Async, for me, is at the heart of many things that are coming in the future. I love these days outside of Oakland, how we can start a conversation with how the recession may impact remote work is no longer a benefit that you can offer somebody to entice them to come join your company. That should be a sale. So now companies are thinking rethinking, okay, what are the new things that we can offer them, benefits this, that, and the other. And it seems to me in the last year or the big kind of winner, and so far has been the four day work week. the four day work week, I think as a first step, I think it's a great idea. Ultimately, I think we're going to get to how kind of remote work started. I remember back 10 and a half years ago. At Invision, when you had a job description and you couldn't have like added bonus remote work experience, right. Cause back then it didn't, nobody had it now outside of automatic. And, you know, maybe one or two other companies that didn't exist. The most successful people were freelancers people who are used to prioritizing time, getting stuff done, nobody looking over the shoulder. And I see kind of coming back back to that point where really the future it's no more, not even like the days at the end of where Salesforce was trying to go. Like there's no more work schedule, right? I need you Liam to do this specific task by that specific time, what you would do between here and there. I could care less. I just need this at that time. And whether that leads to people, working for multiple, multiple companies and multiple jobs, I had a couple episodes on this specific topic.
Scott - [01:11:05 - 01:12:20]
I believe that's where the future is going, but even if we kind of take a step back for four day work week, and this is something that I've been speaking about internally and with other teams, it's a great idea, but if you're not running async by default four day work week is never going to work. Because if you're sitting in meetings, synchronous meetings, half the time, three to two days at a week, you don't have time to get it done. So I think so much of the future of where we're going requires asynchronous to be in place and to be working well for me, I think that's definitely the future. Again, remote, that's going to move on company's already doing remote. People are doing hybrid, are going to go through multiple iterations of higher hybrid landing on one end version where it's like a benefit and it's people can use it, how they want it, but companies will have to work in a remote first operating system and how they operate, which will obviously be async at heart. so for me, I think async is at a heart of where the future of work is going to be. certainly the next alcohol, even five years, I believe I probably even a little bit less. and there'll be a lot of those things that come beyond that, or again, require async to be in place first. So again, four day work week, no schedules, what we move them from beyond that. I think again, async has to be implemented for, so I think by far that's certainly where the future is.
Liam - [01:12:20 - 01:14:33]
So I have another kind of follow-up to that, which is in the book. I talk a lot about how I think that asynchronous work is going to produce the rise of the introverted leader and the leader. That's not the, I reference, get lab versus, Sid and Dimitri from get lab versus out of Neumann from WeWork and that charismatic leader that you've actually, if you watch Adam Newman give a talk is so good. Like he is the definition of a matchstick man, right? Like he's, he's, he's hustling people left right and center. And he was able to build this massive, massive company on vaporware really. And, and I, I picked on him particularly because I thought that was the very definition of charismatic, extroverted leader that can produce these amazing returns inside of an organization versus the, and I don't necessarily, I put myself in this camp as well, the introverted person, the wallflower that can't really have very good synchronous debates or discussions because I just don't have that skillset as an individual in comparison to people that are really good at, at synchronous discussions. Yeah. I'm much better at actually like sitting down thinking about something for 10 minutes after it's, you know, after I've read it and then responding. Right. And I think that long-term what this creates as a feedback loop is more people to provide better ideas inside of the organization, meaning the ideas are adopted, not because they're the best ideas, but because the most charismatic leader, the charismatic individual was the one that proposed them. Yeah. Which is like counterintuitive to your longterm success. But, there are still a lot of Adam Newman's that are out there. I'm sure you've met a lot of those Scott and textual.
Liam - [01:14:33 - 01:16:37]
Like we meet a lot of those people that are just like, wow, that how the hell did that guy raise 150 million, $200 million, right. It's cause he, he can, you've got the gift of gab. He can communicate effectively in that way. And $200 million can absolutely at least I think make up for the competitor that's raised $20 million because he's just not effective enough to be able to communicate that with other people. So I'm thinking almost specifically inside of the tech world, but how do you overcome that? Or more specifically, do we overcome that or are we going to see more synchronous organizations that, because those founders and leaders are really, really good at synchronous charismatic communication, they're recognizing this is their strong suit and they don't want to necessarily do that. Another perfect example, which is actually much less kind of, problematic than the Adam Newman example is Netflix. Right? Netflix is very publicly stated. We're going back to the office. Collaboration can only happen in the office. And that's one of the most successful companies over the last two decades in terms of stock price returns for their shareholders. And they say that they've built their entire business off of synchronous collaboration as opposed to asynchronous collaboration. So my, like I'm thinking to myself, are we living in this kind of, nerd ecosystem, right? Like this introverted nerd ecosystem of like, oh, you know what, I just don't want to necessarily talk to people. I just want to build a product and or service. And that's the core of what I really want to do. Or, and that is a model that will succeed or are we just fooling ourselves? Basically, that's kind of the hard question that I ask myself quite a bit, which is, are we just fooling ourselves with this stuff? Or is there more to it than, than we necessarily see right now?
Scott - [01:16:43 - 01:16:49]
Interesting. So maybe we'll have you back for another podcast. Well, specifically go into this topic area.
Liam - [01:16:49 - 01:17:52]
Yeah. You can have me back every week. this is a very interesting, I love talking about like what the heck is going to be happening next because obviously nobody knows what's going to be happening next. And if you would told me that in, you know, June, July of 2022, we'd be sitting at 35% of the U S workforce working remotely and the position that we're currently in. I mean back a couple of years ago, I would've thought you'd been crazy. Yeah. It's very exciting to be able to see where we're at. And, the book for me is definitely one of those things that trying to get the head around this methodology to hopefully move ourselves forward to say, it's not about remote work. It's about how you manage people. That's the difference whether they're in an office or not. And I think that that's the piece that everyone didn't figure out during the pandemic, unfortunately. So I'm hopeful that this book moves. It Moves Forward a little bit further.
Scott - [01:17:52 - 01:18:01]
Awesome. So for people listening who want to learn more about you about the book, the running remote, what's the best way to find you and get ahold of you get ahold of a book, all the good stuff.
Liam - [01:18:01 - 01:18:41]
Yeah. So, runningremote.com that's where I have all of those documents, how to do my job times 40 people. just go check out the book there. If you want to buy a copy, go to Amazon, go anywhere else. and if you're interested in buying books for your organization, just contact us through running road.com/book, and we'll be able to set you up. And then more importantly than that, if, if you can't afford the book or to go to the conference, which I understand are both costs that sure everyone has to incur go to our YouTube channel, youtube.com/runningremote. And we put all of our talks up there for free. So if you want to get a master's class on remote work, it's all available there.
Scott - [01:18:41 - 01:18:54]
Amazing. I'll put all the links in the show notes, and Liam, thank you so much for all the wisdom, especially on how to get asynchronous, off the ground, and appreciate the conversation. And, yeah. Thanks for joining.