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Essential Tips for Effectively Managing Remote Workers with Yann Toutant

Yann Toutant is the CEO of Econocom Netherlands, a company that provides information technology and telecom systems management for business. He is also the president of the French Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands.

He recently founded Black Winch with the goal to coach, support, and advise scale-ups and help businesses grow. Also, this year he became the Country Manager of Toucan Toco, where he is in charge of the organizational structure and communication to grow the company’s presence in the Netherlands. Before Econocom, Black Winch, and Toucan Toco, Yann worked mainly on sales.

 

 

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Luis:

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another episode of The Distant Job Podcasts. This is your podcast about building and managing awesome remote teams and I am usual host, Luis. Today with me is Yann Toutant. Yann is the CEO of Econocom Netherlands and the president of the French Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands. He is a speaker, a startup coach, and a mediator. What he’s doing these days is helping companies and corporations go full digital. Welcome, Yann.

Yann:

Thank you. It’s a great way to introduce myself. I feel honored. Thank you for this great introduction, Luis.

Luis:

I hope I got all of that right. Thank you for being here.

Yann:

You do.

Luis:

It’s a pleasure to have you. I really want you to kick off with asking, so what Econocom does is making companies and corporations go fully digital, is that right?

Yann:

That’s correct, yes.

Luis:

This is kind of a radical idea. How did this come up and why do you feel this is really the most important thing for companies doing right now in the present day?

Yann:

I see two main drivers for companies to go digital. The first driver is to use as much as possible their data. Data is called the “new oil” of business, and if you go digital and if you have a very good digital strategy, what would be at the center of your strategy is to get the maximum of the datas that are, your datas in your organization. It sounds very simple, what I’m saying now, but it’s still the struggle of a lot of organizations how to benefit from the datas you have in your company to make new business models out of it. That’s one driver.

Yann:

The second driver is to be as much as possible, remote. If you organize yourself in a strong digital way, then you can offer your employees, your customers, your suppliers the possibility to work from anywhere, anytime, and to still have access to all the services of your company. To pick up remote work is of course very tightly connected to the digitization of your business.

Luis:

Yeah, I’ve heard more and more about this and I started hearing at the end of 2019 and now at the beginning of 2020, an expression that I like very much, and that’s bits versus atoms. Meaning that … so we’ve been in the economy and a society that’s driven primarily by atoms. By stuff. Stuff exist in limited quantity, it takes a lot of energy to transform the atoms of the basic materials in the atoms of the things that you want and you need to transport them around. Bits is nothing like that. In bits, we have some transfers that are so fast that are basically teleportation. We can produce as much as you like, we have and internet supply of bits, more or less, so it makes sense whenever you can replace some atoms for bits to do that replacement, right?

Yann:

Definitely.

Luis:

What is the thing that most excites you about this digital transformation going into this new year? I mean this podcast would be released somewhere along the lines of the end of February 2020 but right now, as we are recording, we are just starting the new year. What do you think 2020 will be when it comes to digitalization? What is exciting you?

Yann:

Well, I see awareness of the management of organizations about digitization. First of all, it’s awakening. Awakening of this very special date, 2020, the awakening of saying, guys, we … You know, I’m almost 50 and a lot of people I talk to have responsibilities in organizations are in their 50s, and we all like, “What we’re already in 2020, seriously? You remember the year 2000, you remember when we were afraid of computers that would not go through 1999 and up to 2000 because of this date.” Everybody was afraid that the whole economy would collapse because of computer issues. We are like, “Guys, it was 20 years ago. It’s 20 years ago, it’s like it’s yesterday.”

Yann:

So there is this awakening. I’m saying, now guys, we are in 2020. We are starting a new decade. The Y generation is now full in force in the labor markets, people who have no clue what is a world without internet, and the decision-makers are people who have known a world without internet and still think, “Ah, maybe internet is not worth it.” So this is very interesting moment of crossroads of two generations and I think 2020 is the symbol of this crossroad of two generation.

Luis:

Nice.

Yann:

What will be the main step in 2020 this year, and we can think about the decade, decade is quite long time frame but …

Luis:

Of course.

Yann:

[inaudible 00:05:52] years, is that the management of organization integrates now digitization in their own map, in their strategic road map, definitely. They put money in it, they put investment in it, they have the right people to run the show, and they go full force for it.

Yann:

So it’s first of all, it’s an awakening. An awakening of management teams to integrate digitization in their strategy. Second is the availability of talents, of people who are able to run the strategy. I’m talking about people in their 20s or their 30s and have this full potential to run a digital strategy. The third one is the fact that organization realize now that you can improve efficiency, you can improve productivity by having a full digitization of some processes.

Yann:

The Industrial Revolution that took place 100 years ago is now happening, but instead of replacing manpower, muscle power by steam power, we are about to replace brain power by artificial intelligence and digital power.

Luis:

Yeah.

Yann:

The same that happened a hundred years ago about jobs, individuals that have lost their work and their job because their muscle power has been replaced by steam power is now happening because brain power for very basic tasks is being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence.

Luis:

Oh yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that you mentioned the Industrial Revolution because I think that part of the problem is that we are still as a society, tied to the cultural norms and to the workplace norms of that Industrial Revolution, where the way … you know, because before the Industrial Revolution, there was actually remote work. People worked at their places, right?

Yann:

I agree with you.

Luis:

[inaudible 00:07:52] worked at his house, you know? The dentist worked at his house. They worked where they worked and it was only when the Industrial Revolution that everyone was gathered into the same building, like 30, 40 people, 100 people were gathered in the same building and they have to coordinate and now work there, right? Now today, we are again at this stage we’re a lot of people, not everyone, but a lot of people actually can work from their homes or from wherever, but what keeps us feeling the need to be all in the same place in that assembly line kind of way is really just the cultural norms around work that were established in the Industrial Revolution. It’s cultural more than practical.

Yann:

I can’t say the contrary. I’m happy to hear that from you. I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one thinking this way. I would reinforce your argument. This cultural thing that you mentioned of having people to be on the same location to work is mainly a management point. If you ask the people, if you ask the employee, if you ask the individuals, they are ready for it. If you ask the management, they are not. So it’s not about the people, it’s not about the employees. It’s about the management and the managers of today that are not ready to make the step to lose their leadership triggers, their leadership flag, by saying, “Look, I’m a leader, I have a corner office. I have 200 people on this work floor working for me.” That’s one of the main issue I meet when it’s about implementing remote work.

Luis:

How do you advice these people? How do you change their minds? Or maybe changing their minds is a bit strong, but what arguments do you make that it’s actually good for them and their companies to drop that.

Yann:

Well, I have plenty of arguments but the one that comes to my mind is to say, “Look, you already have a lot of remote work around you. You have your accountant, you have your lawyers, you have your many services that are being delivered by the company that are already remote. You pay a service to an accountant firm and this firm is working for you and you don’t see what they do.”

Luis:

[inaudible 00:10:19] done.

Yann:

Yeah, the work is done so mainly, the topic I’m trying to raise now is to say you trust these people, you pay some money for them, and you have them working remote for you. Now you can move closer to the leaders and to the management and say you have sales people and you give the responsibility to your sales people to work on the top line, so they have to bring the money in. But you never see them because if you see them, it’s bad because they are not at customers. So you don’t want to see them. If you see them, it’s bad news. It’s like a plane or a ship. If a plane is staying on the ground, if a ship is not sailing at sea, it costs money. If a sales guy is in the house, it costs money. If a sales guy is at customers, bring money. So you don’t want to see them.

Yann:

You trust your salespeople and you give them the trust to bring the top line, to bring millions in and you never see them. But for the rest of your organization, you want to see them at your office, you want to see them working.

Luis:

Yeah. So it’s a question of trust. Meaning that you don’t trust your people.

Yann:

You don’t trust that if you are not seeing them, they will not be working. Well, let me tell you something. If the people you have in your organization are not working when you don’t see them, well you don’t have the right people in your organization.

Luis:

Yeah. I would agree with that. It also comes down, I think that it also is worth pointing out that trust needs to be built, right? It’s a two-way street. It’s a two-way street. The leader needs to trust to get the most out of their people, but they also need to build that trust. To find out how they can trust people and that comes into usually looking at the output.

Luis:

One of the things that I really like when I was reading one of the articles that you wrote, people can find it on LinkedIn, was you wrote that at Econocom, you manage people based on output, not on input. And that in order for them to give you the output that you expect, you try to offer them the right ecosystem to do so. I would like to talk with you a bit more about how do you figure out what is the right ecosystem for any given company.

Yann:

I would mention … I would not mention ecosystem, I would mention the frame I provide to the people. What you say is very important. If you focus only on the outputs, then you will leave to the people the way to make it happen. You will leave them the possibility to deliver the output in their own way. Instead of what I was used to do as a manager before was to delegate tasks. So I was thinking the process with the other managers, I was thinking, okay, this is the process, this is what we have to do, this is the workflow, this is the different steps. Who’s going to do which step? Then you give steps and you distribute steps and tasks to people, because you think that as a manager, you know how it has to happen and you only need people to make it happen, using the process.

Yann:

I’ve changed my mind, with time and seniority, by saying no, I will define the output. What do I want? What do I need on this specific matter? Do I need a report, do I need a certain process, do I need a certain outcome, do I need a certain delivery for a customer? What do I need? What is really needed? Then this need is output, is something I ask the people to work on. If they prefer to do it from home, from a co-working space, from the customer itself, from the supplier location, from the office, fine. That’s your choice. What I just want is that you surprise me with the outcome. I give you an outcome, I expect this outcome to be this, please surprise me and over deliver and find a way to do it. Very often, surprisingly, I am positively surprised by the way people will have the journey to reach the outcome, and it’s complete different way than the way I would have thought myself.

Luis:

Nice.

Yann:

Yes, so that’s the good, I mean that’s the fear a lot of managers have at the start, to say okay, I give these people responsibility of this specific output and well, I hope and I cross finger that he will do it as good as I would do it.

Luis:

Yeah.

Yann:

But in fact the surprise is very often positive and you see people because they have access to different tools because they have a different view on the organization because they see things different, that’s from the top down but you see it from the inside, they will come with a complete different way of delivering the output and sometime the output is beyond your expectations.

Luis:

Yeah. If you want to cross a river, you tell your people to find a way to cross the river. You don’t tell them to build a bridge, right?

Yann:

Exactly, yeah. And maybe they will [inaudible 00:15:27] you a tunnel which is more efficient than a bridge on the long term.

Luis:

Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Exactly. I do want to get your impression about this strategy with more junior people, if you have any impression of that? Because what I found out, as a manager, I do try to give my people as much leeway as possible. I agree with you there. I do also ask them for feedback on my management style. In the past, the people that I have had more trouble managing are junior people and their feedback is usually that they feel a bit lost. They feel a bit they’re action-less. So what I find myself doing over time and I’m not saying it’s the right way, I’m still trying to figure out what is the best way, but when I’m dealing with more senior people, I do exactly what you described.

Luis:

When I’m dealing with more junior people, I tend to micromanage and guide them a bit more. I know that micromanaging is a very negative word these days, but I’m not meaning it in a negative manner but I’m meaning it, I’m saying instead of saying build a bridge or build a tunnel, I’d still say we need to cross the river and they’re saying, “Well, we think the most efficient way is to build a tunnel but we’re not really sure how to build a tunnel.” Then I feel like I need to go in and say, “Okay, so here are the six main steps you’d need to take to build this tunnel,” because I’ve built tunnels in the past, and you know, “Check with me after each step so I can figure out how things are going.” How do you feel is a good way to manage these more junior people that maybe aren’t ready to be so independent.

Yann:

The first answer I’d like to give is that it’s about the senior people that you mentioned also. We tend to do, as managers, we tend to do a mistake, which is the following one. Once we have delegated to someone an output and this person is successful on this output, we tend to believe that any output we will ask this person will be successful.

Luis:

Right.

Yann:

Yeah? Then of course, it will not be the case. In fact, in a delegation process that you explained, I like very much what you explained. You said to senior people, I will delegate the output but to junior people, I will go more into the steps the reach this output. I’d like to propose a different approach.

Luis:

Sure.

Yann:

This approach is to say that on any delegation that you are about to do, I invite you to always go back to the step approach because even if it’s a senior person, the senior person might be good on a specific topic but not on another topic. Then you have to help this person to go back to the steps even if this person is a senior person because this person has little experience on this specific matter.

Yann:

As managers, we have the tendency to believe that once we have been successful in delegating an output to someone without going through the steps, this person will be able to do anything we have in mind without going through the different steps.

Luis:

Yeah. Yeah that might be a bit unrealistic. I agree.

Yann:

Yeah. But that’s a mistake we often do as managers. “Can you solve that for me? Can you do this?” And the person [inaudible 00:18:49]. So now, going to the difference between a senior and a junior person, what I like to do myself with the juniors is to give them a playing field, that’s the frame that I was talking about, a playing field where they can make mistakes. But a playing field that is sure that the mistakes that they will do will not have impact on my business or I can recover. Basically, what I want is to allow them the right to make mistakes and to have the safety to make mistakes. I would prefer them to make mistakes and to learn by their mistakes instead of me telling them how to do.

Luis:

Yeah.

Yann:

The idea is to give them a frame where they can fail, but this failure will not have that much impact in my organization. Where a senior person will have a frame that is much larger and a failure on this frame has impact on my organization. So the difference I do between young people and senior people is the difference of frame and the difference of room to make mistake.

Luis:

Yeah, yeah. It’s risk management, in a way.

Yann:

It’s risk management, correct. Having said that, I prefer to leave again young people to go their own way and then if they feel lost, then they can come to me and I can help them. But I will not do it proactive. Why? Because young people, especially at my age, young people will have a complete different approach of certain topics because they master digital technology that I will not master any way in my life because I was not born with it. So my brain is not designed this way. My brain is not organized this way.

Yann:

I’ll just give you an example. I see my kids, I have kids over 18 and 16 years old. They watch Netflix and they have also their device so they are managing two devices at once and they get like 200 WhatsApp per hour, where if I get 200 WhatsApp a day, I’d drown in the middle of those data. I’m like, how can I address all this data? For them, it’s no more, it’s basic.

Yann:

I will never be able to address a matter as an internet native person will do, so I don’t even try. They will have a complete different approach. Who am I to tell someone of 20 years old how to do something? Because I don’t master the tools of doing it.

Luis:

Yeah, the tools of the generation, that’s a good point. I have a younger sister, she is almost half my age. She is 20 years old, and she does things in her phone that I think are impossible to do without a computer. I wouldn’t be able to do anything like that on a phone, like image editing and stuff like that, that I, “Wow, I can’t do that without a mouse and a keyboard. It’s impossible, how can you do that on a tiny touch screen?”

Yann:

Yeah.

Luis:

Yeah, for sure. Let’s talk a bit about how you manager your own team? What’s your typical day or typical week, and specifically the people that you have that work remotely?

Yann:

Yeah. I like to have moments in a week where I have contact with my people and it’s a dedicated moment. So I lock in my agenda every week a one-to-one with people so everybody knows that we will have a momentum together to work, to have deep work on specific topics.

Luis:

Got it.

Yann:

That’s a key moment. So working with remote people is to have, as we do now, is to have an interaction with them at least one hour and a half a week to interact with them. I want this interaction to be including a video call as we do now and to have … then we share a screen and we work on different topics by having screen sharing. We have a specific agenda that we come back on every week, so we have points, agenda points that we come back on. All this is logged, so we have a log of everything we discussed and we assigned task and we then we can move forward to the next step.

Yann:

The format is very important. It has to be a video call, we need to see each other. It has to be with good internet connection because then we share the screen and we work on specific topics, and we log everything we say so when we close the call we have a clear log of the what we have said and what the different actions and the deliverable out of this call.

Luis:

Do you have a notepad on your computer and you write as you speak? Do you take notes as you speak? Or do you record the call?

Yann:

It depends. Most of the time, we take note as we speak but very basic notes, but the way it is being logged is very important, what you ask now, because I’ve discovered by working with some of the companies I work with that the best is to create a log book that is visible from anyone in your organization. So the log book is very open and transparent and logged on a platform that is a platform that you can share with everyone. So all the log books are visible.

Luis:

Nice. Do you tend to have these meetings distribute through the week or do you have like to have one or two days exclusively for meetings?

Yann:

No, I distribute them for the week. They are fixing the agenda but sometimes they move according to business, business first, but they are distributed through the week. I don’t have the energy to be doing those calls like in a day, to do 10 of them following each other, back to back. I don’t have the energy for that. I would get … I did it in the past and I get less energized after the number three or four. It’s too much.

Luis:

Do you have a structure that you use for everyone or is it based on the person and the work they’re due on the points from the previous conversation?

Yann:

First of all, I ask the person to propose a structure themself so I see where they are good at. Then I’d have the structure according to what I want to discuss, but the structure is very important also, I mean to have structure in the meeting. That’s for the daily practice in between, we have tools like Trello where we work together on different projects. We use WhatsApp a lot, we use Slack, email as less as possible, and we keep the lines very short in between.

Yann:

My responsibility as manager working with remote people is to be very reactive on all the messages I receive. For that, I have a lot of tools that I use to be as fast as possible so it’s about recording voice memo, it’s about using dictation. In all the tools I use, I activate dictation so I can really quickly dictate an answer, dictate something.

Luis:

Nice. I haven’t tried that in a long time. Does it work well now? The last time I tried it years ago, it didn’t understand half of what I said.

Yann:

It’s amazing. I use dictation in WhatsApp, I use it in Google, Google Mail. I dictate almost my mails.

Luis:

Nice.

Yann:

I wrote a book recently. I did, out of 18 chapters, I did three chapters that are fully dictated, just to try [inaudible 00:26:09]. Dictation tools are … in every tools now, you have dictation [crosstalk 00:26:16]

Luis:

Now I feel bad. Something didn’t work in my end because whenever I have a guest with a book, I usually get the book and read it, but something failed there. What is your book’s name so I can-

Yann:

It’s not published yet. It’s not published yet, that’s why.

Luis:

Okay. Oh, okay. Now I feel better. Now I feel better about it. Yeah. Because I usually read … I mean I don’t think I’ve ever had a guest with a book on that I didn’t read the book. We try to do some research on our guests before just so I know where they’re coming from and what they’ve been working on and I didn’t find anything about a book. I wish you good luck in the publishing. Let me know when it’s out.

Yann:

Thank you.

Luis:

Do you have a title yet?

Yann:

Yes. As a Service, is the title.

Luis:

Okay, As a Service, cool. Looking forward to it. So after this intermission, please go on in explaining your week. You mentioned Trello and I really like Trello. I think it’s such an awesome tool. Do you use it, is that what you use to track the outputs of your team?

Yann:

Yes. Yeah.

Luis:

How do you usually assign goals? What is your approach to coming up with goals or to negotiating goals with the elements of your team and how do you try to track them?

Yann:

Yeah. The goals are defined together with the team. What I like to give is the big picture, and then according to the big picture, then I ask the team members to provide me their contribution to this big picture. Personally, what I do myself, my role is to define the vision of the company. Where do we want to be, where do we want to go, and how do we contribute to this work? Once this vision is being defined and agreed, and it’s being very often rethink, once this vision is set and agreed, I ask the people, “Okay, how can you contribute to reach this vision? To put this vision into motion? How do you contribute to that?”

Yann:

Of course, then it comes to targets. So if I give an example of a … the vision and the mission can be defined and sliced down into different targets and strategy, of course, it’s basic. But I like to ask the people what would be their contribution in terms of concrete impact, in terms of their contribution to this vision and mission. I like to ask them, “So this the vision, this is the mission, what will be your impact?” Then what I do, when I have the list, I ask the people to provide their contribution. When I have the list of all these contributions, I match it with my personal view on how to reach this target. And of course I would have wide spots. So people will problem me contributions that are things I didn’t think about but there are also things I’m thinking about that will not fulfilled by the list of the peoples, then I have a kind of list of remaining contributions to distribute.

Luis:

Nice. So you distribute those?

Yann:

Then I distribute those according to, I always ask the people, “What are you the best at?” Very often, I … let me focus on this because that’s very interesting.

Luis:

Of course.

Yann:

Most of the time, people, when I do assessment of people, I ask them to come back with a development plan. Basically, you do a 360 assessment of someone and it’s someone gets feedback from the peers, from the top management, people below them, partners, customers so you have all the people you interact with, up, down, left, right, you get how they see you on specific performance and specific skills and behaviors. Of course, you judge yourself also. What is interesting with a 360-degree, you put your own estimation and you get the estimation of your ecosystem around you. Very often, you see that you think you’re good at this and the ecosystem says no, and you think you are bad at this and the ecosystem says yes. That’s very interesting, to measure the gaps.

Yann:

When the people have this report, I ask them to come to be and say, “Look, based on this report, please provide me your development plan. Where do you want to work? Me as a manager, I would provide you resources. Money, coaching, feedback, whatever you need to help you to develop on the areas you choose to develop.” Guess what, everybody’s coming back ways, “I am bad there so I want to improve there. I am bad there, I want to improve there. I’m a wretch there so I want to improve there.” This is what I say, “Stop. I don’t want you to be average, I want you to be excited where you’re already good at. I don’t want you to improve this and this and this. No, I want you to be an expert in what you already master.”

Luis:

I really like that approach. I am a fan of … I think that you should lean on your strengths, not try to put your weaknesses up to average, right?

Yann:

Definitely.

Luis:

I completely agree with that. I completely agree with that.

Yann:

Definitely.

Luis:

Yeah.

Yann:

As a manager-

Luis:

[inaudible 00:31:25] weaknesses. I mean obviously it’s good if you have something that’s so weak that it’s going to actually cause you not to be able to tap on your strengths, yeah you should improve that a bit, but in general, it makes much more sense to invest in your strengths because those are the ones that are [inaudible 00:31:43] make a difference.

Yann:

Yeah, and I want people … you know, then it comes to energy management and to put people in a flow. You know, when you are in this flow, when you do things without realizing you do thing. You know, you don’t feel you work, you just feel you enjoy what you do.

Luis:

Yeah, exactly.

Yann:

Of course, if you ask people to be better at what they are good at, you will also get a wonderful flow of energy in your teams. A positive energy of contribution, of people who have this flow, this smile, this happiness. This is a great contributor to the energy of the company and to fulfilling your mission, instead of trying to have everybody working on the things that are not their favorite things.

Yann:

I went to this topic, this specific topic, because it’s about goal setting. When I’m back to my list of goals that I have to distribute to people, then I will think, “Okay, do I have to create content, for example?” To fulfill my mission [inaudible 00:32:43] I want to be a thought leader in this specific field. To be a thought leader in this specific field, I need to have a very good content management strategy to be able to produce white papers, to produce blogs, et cetera. So I need to produce content. This year, I need a lot of content. Okay. But nobody said, “We need to produce content.” So I have to match this goal with someone. Then I go in these evaluations and I see where do we have the people who have the most pleasure writing blogs, writing contents, et cetera. Then I will ask this person to take this responsibility because this is where this person is good at. That’s an example.

Luis:

Yeah. That makes total sense, thank you so much for sharing that strategy. Okay, so we’ve been going at this for a while, and I want to be respectful of your time. I want to finish with a couple of rapid-fire questions. Of course, you know, I ask them rapidly but you don’t need to answer them rapidly, feel free-

Yann:

Shoot. I’m ready. Shoot.

Luis:

Feel free to expand as much as you would like. If you have 100 euros to spend with each person working for you, what would you give them? There are a couple of rules. Number one, you can’t just give them the money. Number two, you can’t pick one thing for each person. You need to buy something in bulk to give to everyone. What would it be?

Yann:

I would give them a yoga lesson.

Luis:

Oh, nice. Why?

Yann:

To focus on their inner journey.

Luis:

Okay. All right, that’s … I’ve never had that. This is a nice new suggestion. What purchase for yourself has made your work life easier or more productive and the best year?

Yann:

Productivity tools in general, so apps that help me to increase my productivity [crosstalk 00:34:31]

Luis:

Any app in particular that you think has made a big difference?

Yann:

Yeah. Trello, for example. A training on Trello has really helped me to improve my productivity.

Luis:

Wow. Training?

Yann:

A training on Trello, yeah.

Luis:

Oh. Any trainor in particular or any web series in particular?

Yann:

Yeah, yeah. I can send … I don’t have them out of my mind but I can send them afterwards.

Luis:

Sure. Okay.

Yann:

So it’s about productivity tools and being productive on productivity tools. That’s the very important step.

Luis:

Yeah, important to … some people think that just getting tools automatically improves their productivity. There’s this expectancy that you get the tool … it’s so funny. If you bought tools to build a table, if you bought carpenter tools, you wouldn’t expect just to start with the tools and suddenly you can build a table. You would think that you need to learn how to use the tools. But somehow when it’s software, people expect to get the tool and they will know how to do all the work. It’s something very weird, right?

Yann:

Yeah, yeah. I had also a very interesting training which was to work with my assistant on productivity on Google environment when you are two people working on the same platform. Very interesting.

Luis:

Yeah. Maybe I should get that, because I actually think that the Google environment is very robust when it comes to just having everything in the same place, but I find it that it’s a bit hard to manage multiple people there, especially when it comes to finding stuff and to … what happens in the Google environment is people usually come to me asking, “Where is this thing?” And I’m like, “Ahh,” you know? It’s fine when there’s one person doing that every now and then but when it’s like 20 people, then suddenly your work stops being whatever your work is and starts being helping people find stuff on the Google environment.

Yann:

Library manager, yeah, yeah.

Luis:

Exactly.

Yann:

Yeah.

Luis:

Let’s talk a bit about books. What book or books have you gifted the most?

Yann:

Remote Work.

Luis:

Remote Work?

Yann:

Yeah.

Luis:

That is the book by Lisette?

Yann:

Yes, correct.

Luis:

Yeah, exactly. I’ve had Lisette in the podcast when she launched her book.

Yann:

Okay.

Luis:

Yeah. I really love that book. I actually have copies of that book to give.

Yann:

I have the same. I bought 50 of them and they are piled up and when I have someone, I just give a gift of Remote Work because I think it’s very inspiring and I think it’s only starting.

Luis:

It is. It is a great book. Thank you, Lisette, for writing that.

Yann:

Thank you.

Luis:

Okay. Final question. This one has a bit of a longer set-up but let’s say that you are hosting a dinner where there’s going to be a round table about the future of work and people attending are the top execs, hiring managers, CTOs, et cetera of big tech companies, and even smaller companies, tech companies in general. The thing here is that the dinner is on a Chinese restaurant so there are fortune cookies. You as the host get to pick the message inside a fortune cookie. What is the fortune cookie message for these people?

Yann:

Wow, that’s a tough question. Make sure that your people don’t have a work but a lifestyle.

Luis:

All right. Never heard that before.

Yann:

Make sure that their work is not in opposition with the dreams of their lives.

Luis:

Wow. Make sure that their work is not in opposition with the dreams of their lives. I love that. That’s a very good fortune cookie. Thank you. All right. That’s a wrap. Yann, thank you so much for being here. Before we close, please tell people where they can find you, continue the conversation with you, and how can companies that might be hearing this podcast get in touch with Econocom and how you can help them.

Yann:

Yes. The best to reach out is LinkedIn. You’ll find me easily on LinkedIn, my name is Yann, Y-A-N-N, and Toutant, T-O-U-T-A-N-T.

Luis:

Awesome.

Yann:

If you just look for this name on LinkedIn, you will find me easily. I’m the only one. I’m the only [crosstalk 00:38:56]

Luis:

I will also have the link in your … if people go to the podcast page, there will be a link to your LinkedIn on your guest book.

Yann:

Good. There’s another Yann Toutant, he’s in Canada. He’s a snowboarder, professional snowboarder, so you will quickly see the difference.

Luis:

Maybe not get in touch with that one, unless you really want to learn snowboarding then I guess you can.

Yann:

For the rest, yes, you will find all my articles, blogs, and podcast on LinkedIn, [inaudible 00:39:24] on LinkedIn. Happy to via messaging of LinkedIn to engage in a conversation.

Luis:

All right. Again, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for doing all the you do and helping promote remote work. It’s been a pleasure, and I’ll see you around.

Yann:

Thank you, Luis, for your … especially for the last questions.

Luis:

My pleasure.

Luis:

So we close another episode of the DistantJob Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please, you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That would be great, it’s how we reach more listeners and the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in these conversations that are a joy to have for me and I hope there is joy for you to listen to as well.

Luis:

You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners. Another thing that you might want to do is go to distantjob.com/blog/podcast, click on your favorite episode, any episode really, and subscribe. By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episode up so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form.

Luis:

Of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration and not just look to hire locally, not just look to hire in your country. Look around the whole world because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent. To help you with that, again, distantjob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who you need and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate, 40% faster than the industry standard. With that, I bid you adieu. See you next week on the next episode of DistantJob Podcast.

 

More ways to listen:

2020 is an awakening year for many companies who are realizing that the digitalization era has come to stay and working remotely too. Managers need to start embracing technology for their company and also learn how to lead their distributed teams efficiently through it.

In this podcast, Yann Toutant explains the need for companies to digitalize and advises managers on how to lead their teams by managing employees based on outputs.  He believes:

''If you focus only on the outputs, then you will leave to the people the way to make it happen. You will leave them the possibility to deliver the output in their own way.'' Click To Tweet

What you will learn:

  • The importance of having a digitalized company
  • How to manage and build trust in a remote team
  • Differences between managing juniors and seniors
  • How to define goals in a distributed team

Book recommendations:

Work together anywhere – Lisette Sutherland

This interview is part of the DistantJob podcast. To hear more from leaders and successful entrepreneurs on how to build and lead winning teams, check us out on Anchor.fm and on our website.

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss all of the other interesting episodes that we have coming up in the next few weeks!

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