Remote Leadership Education with Max Klau

Max Klau is a Harvard Graduate in Leadership Education and currently operates as Chief Program Officer at New Politics Leadership Academy. He’s a published author of the book Race and Social Change: A Quest, A Study, A Call to Action and holds more than 15 years of work experience in the field of leadership development.

Follow our guest on their social media:

Luis:

Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to another episode of the Distant Job podcast. I am Luis, your host. In this podcast, it’s all about building and leading remote teams.

Luis:

Today with me, I have Max Klau. Max, welcome to the podcast.

Dr. Max Klau:

Hi. Thanks for having me.

Luis:

Yeah, it’s a pleasure.

Luis:

Dr. Max Klau is the Chief Program Officer at the New Politics Leadership Academy. This is an academy and institution that engages service members from the US, to engage in a political life. Prior to joining the Academy, he served as the Vice President of Leadership Development at City Year, an education-focused AmeriCorps program that engages more than 3000 people per year, across almost 30 US cities. He’s a Harvard graduate who served abroad, and he is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Leadership Association. He is also the 2017 author of the book, Race and Social Change: A Quest, A Study, A Call to Action.

Luis:

That was a mouthful. Did I miss anything important?

Dr. Max Klau:

That’s great, thank you.

Luis:

Okay. There’s a lot of stuff to talk about, here. I want to know, because … The New Politics Leadership Academy, it has a mission to get servant leaders, to get into American politics, and so improve American politics.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yes.

Luis:

The interesting thing to me, and the thing that got us in touch is that not only do you work with these people in physical locations, but you also start virtual cohorts, where you engage with people through the Internet.

Luis:

I guess that my first question is, why? Why did you decide that this was a valuable option to present to people?

Dr. Max Klau:

Sure. Well, to step back a little bit about New Politics Leadership Academy. We’re a non-partisan, non-profit, our mission is to revitalize American democracy by recruiting, developing, and electing servant leaders who put community and country over self.

Dr. Max Klau:

We think our politics is really in a broken place, and we think a key reason is because there isn’t enough servant leadership. There’s not enough who put the country first, there’s a lot of partisanship and corruption right now. But, we know there’s a lot of folks out there who have made that still counter-cultural life decision to serve the country. For us, that means either military Veterans, or alumni of national service programs, like AmeriCorps, or Peace Corps. These are programs here in America that people spend a year, two years. Certainly, in the military, sometimes a whole career. Engaged in an experience that is fundamentally about working alongside people from different backgrounds, different political persuasions, accomplishing a mission, and really putting the country first. We want more of them to get into politics. That’s where our remote work comes in.

Dr. Max Klau:

We created a program that we call, Answering the Call, and it’s a five-session, small group reflection, slash leadership development experience. The idea is it’s not a technical training, it’s not a how-to. We start by saying, “You have served in the past. Do you feel called to step up and serve through politics at this moment?” We know there’s a lot of these folks, military Veterans, AmeriCorps alumni, Peace Corps alumni, who are looking at the state of our politics and wondering, is it time for me to step up, in this new way?

Dr. Max Klau:

We created this program, and we run it twice a year, often in about 20 different cities. But we also, every time we run it, offer four or five virtual cohorts. We probably have 40 or 50 people who are engaging us in this experience, remotely. I’ll pause there, that’s a lot of details. But, that’s the background, and what the nature of this program is. Make sense?

Luis:

Makes sense, that makes sense. Why did you decide that it was important to have those virtual cohorts? I mean, you’re in a lot of places, physically.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah. We’re in a lot of places, but it’s a big country. Even being in 20 cities, there’s just a lot of folks who are in places where they couldn’t get to an in-person program, and we want to make sure that, wherever they are, they have the chance to engage in this kind of leadership development experience.

Luis:

What are the core components of this experience, this virtual cohort?

Dr. Max Klau:

Every group is led by a facilitator that we train. At it’s most basic, there’s a workbook that has just a sequence of reflection questions, of simple but powerful questions. What’s your mission? What’s your shadow mission? We ask people to confront the dark side of themselves. What values led you to serve?

Luis:

What’s an example of a shadow mission? I’m interested.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah. We’re definitely a little unusual, to bring this in politics. Our idea is that light and shadow always coexist, so if you have a mission, which is always this noble, inspiring statement. My mission is to practice courage and compassion in honoring, and helping others to honor the sacred interdependence of our world. We invite everybody whose thinking about politics to craft their own mission.

Dr. Max Klau:

Then, we say your shadow mission is the choice you are making when you choose not to align your life with your mission. We say you have to get really clear about what that is. For me, a shadow mission would be to practice cowardice and disconnection, in dismissing, and helping others to dismiss the sacred interdependence of our world.

Luis:

Got it.

Dr. Max Klau:

We’re getting very clear about the choice in front of us, of what it means to lead with your mission, or to not.

Luis:

Yeah, that’s a really interesting point. I mean, I think that shame is underrated, and underused these days. It’s nice to visualize the negatives of when you screw up, when you’re not up to the level that you should be. That helps a lot. But, it seems that people shy away from that a bit, when they’re talking about personal development.

Dr. Max Klau:

I mean, it’s deeply uncomfortable work to do. When people really engage in it, and look at the words they’ve written out, and realize that is them, that’s a part of them. Sometimes, they’re like, “I show up that way, more often than I would like.” That’s an important insight.

Luis:

Yeah.

Dr. Max Klau:

We’re inviting people to think about politics. Politics power always has, and always will have a really strong dark side, that can seduce people to be in it for self-interest, or ego, or lots of reasons that are not ideal for politics. We think if people are engaged in this work within themselves, if they are confronting the shadow within themselves, they’ll be able to live in that space, and not be seduced by the dark side of the power, if they step up into these positions.

Luis:

Yeah. This isn’t a novel use of the power of the Internet, as far as politics is concerned. I mean, I’m not from the US, but my life has been characterized by engaging with the US, and with people from the US, and with clients from the US for the past 15 years, so I care a lot about what happens in your country.

Luis:

Over the past few years, the Internet has been characterized as a negative force, when it comes to politics, and to influence in politics. But, initiatives like yours tell a different story. I guess, what’s the thing that most excites you right now, in this interconnected, virtual world, that allows for remote work? In my case, for helping companies tap into resources all over the world. And in your case, to reach to people all over the country. What’s the thing that most excites you right now, about this interconnected world we live in?

Dr. Max Klau:

That’s a great question. Our work is really about doing some deep, personal reflection work. We’re really clear, this is not a simple training, it’s not knowledge transfer or skill building. We really want to invite people to connect with their deepest … What are your core values, what’s your deepest sense of mission? When you reflect on your life, do you feel like you’re living with integrity?

Dr. Max Klau:

We can’t tell people the answers to those questions, we can just hold a space and invite them to do that work. Certainly, in my work, we started doing this in person. It was a question of, can we do this powerfully, remotely? It’s been really exciting to see how deep these conversations go, how real the community is when you’re doing this stuff remotely, just how vulnerable people are willing to be in these spaces.

Dr. Max Klau:

It’s funny, the first time I ran a virtual Answering the Call, I showed up with a little bit of energy of like, “Hey, I’m sorry this isn’t in person.” Everybody was like, “This is really a powerful conversation for me, please stop apologizing for this.” I’d really seen how powerful it is, to be able to create these experiences for people who are all over the country, and able to connect.

Dr. Max Klau:

I do think sometimes the Internet to just reinforce our partisanship, and our living in our bubbles. This is a particular use that really invites people to connect across boundaries, in real ways.

Luis:

Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great point. How long have you been running this virtual cohort?

Dr. Max Klau:

We’ve been doing this work for about years, at the Academy.

Luis:

Okay, so three years? The audio cut a bit, but I think I heard that right.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yes.

Luis:

Yeah. In those last two to three years, what have you changed your mind the most about, regarding just running stuff through the Internet, and developing work, and helping people work on their leadership skills through the Internet? What has changed your mind the most?

Dr. Max Klau:

Well, what’s exciting is in just three years, we’ve started to see how the seeds planted in these conversations, have started to flower.

Dr. Max Klau:

We did a virtual program, there was one woman. I really think it was the first time in her adult life where she said out loud, “I’ve wanted to be a politician since I was five years old.” She was a military Veteran, Latina woman. Now, she’s running for Congress. She definitely traces the conversations that happened in this Answering the Call, and saying it out loud, and actually reconnecting with this clarity she had in childhood and had lost touch with.

Dr. Max Klau:

These folks are starting to step up, and run at the highest levels. It’s really amazing to see, that a virtual conversation, people staring at a screen and having these conversations, it really helps people find their path in ways that matter. That’s been really exciting.

Luis:

Well, good to know. I agree, it is really exciting.

Luis:

You told me before we started recording that a lot of your day is spent on Zoom calls, because a lot of your team is all over the country. How do you manage that? It’s obviously very different from just arriving at the place and having your team all around you, all within a short walk’s length. What does your typical workday look like? What about your typical week? How do you manage yourself, how do you batch your calls, how do you keep in touch with everyone? What’s your cadence there?

Dr. Max Klau:

Oh, that’s interesting. You know, we have a regular cycle of calls. We have a team meeting, for the whole team, every week. Something that we do that’s unique is we have a session called the Organizational Journey, where every other week we have … It’s a Zoom call.

Luis:

Yeah.

Dr. Max Klau:

Really just a reflection, slash leadership development space, where we … Just as we think it’s important for political, people who are thinking about becoming a political candidate, or are political candidates, to be doing inner work … We talk about politics as a dual journey, involving both outer change and inner change.

Dr. Max Klau:

The outer change is you’ve got to find a seat to run for, raise money, find volunteers, knock on doors, there’s a whole lot of work you have to do. But, there’s also the inner work of making sure you’re clear about your values, and living and leading with integrity. Part of our approach is we make sure that folks interested in politics have time to step away from focusing on the outer stuff, to turn inwards. We’re really committed to having integrity with that, so we do that for ourselves.

Dr. Max Klau:

Every other week, the whole team has an hour call, where we do a little bit of … An example is, what does courage mean to us? It’s one of our core values, and we have a chance to reflect. We push ourselves to ask, are we living our mission, and are we living our shadow, those kinds of conversations.

Luis:

Yeah.

Dr. Max Klau:

Then, we have what’s called a Spark session, where one member of the team … It can be anybody from our Founder, Executive Director, to the assistant who just started two weeks ago. Everybody has a chance to bring a question that is alive for them, about our work, to the group. Then, we just have space to just discuss. We’re clear, this is not about deliverables, or making an action plan, or solving the problem, we are just making sure that we’re being reflective on this journey. So, that happens every other week, and is really powerful in creating a sense of connection, and community, and shared understanding of our work.

Luis:

Let’s say that you answer that question, that someone else brings. The Chief Program Officer has answered your question. How do you make other people feel at ease, to adding their thoughts to the pool? Because there’s a certain authority that comes with your position, or with some positions in the teams. That’s the biggest block that I find, in these kinds of meetings.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah.

Luis:

As soon as someone with any kind of authority gives their answer, the rest of the people tend to just agree, feel sometimes even a bit constrained in sharing their thoughts. How do you prevent this from happening?

Dr. Max Klau:

I facilitate those calls, and I’m very conscious that my work is holding a space, I’m very conscious of holding back.

Luis:

Yeah.

Dr. Max Klau:

Letting other folks speak. It also helps a lot that our Founder, an amazing woman, Emily Cherniak, she understands this stuff, and is very open to make sure … to her holding back, letting the conversation happen, allowing people to have difficult, uncomfortable conversations. If there’s a person in charge who is not able to sit with people exploring uncomfortable issues, it gets hard to do. She’s really fantastic at that. So, part of it is having a leadership team that understands that we really need to, in this space, this is not a management space, it’s really a learning space. So, we’ll all participate with that humility, and sense of shared power in that space.

Dr. Max Klau:

I do think there’s an element of, we’re trying to help politicians, we have to deliver, we have to do things with excellence, we’re really into execution. There’re times where we’re really focused on doing that, and we hold these spaces that we’re all aware are just very, deliberately about something different, about learning, about slowing down, about exploring the things that are important but not urgent. I think we all, at this point, there’s just power in having the space to have these conversations that would just never be on anybody’s to-do list.

Luis:

Yeah.

Dr. Max Klau:

It’s the stuff that somebody’s going to be focused on, for their urgent work.

Luis:

Are these calls, are you keep track of what comes up in any way? Or, are they just exercises in conversation? Meaning, at the end of the call, do you actually have anything written, anything that you can then further modulate, into part of the written culture of the company? Or, is it really just … By just, I don’t mean to dismiss it.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah, I understand.

Luis:

It’s important, but is it exclusively … I guess that’s the best word. Is it exclusively an exercise that has its full effect, just as it’s done?

Dr. Max Klau:

I keep track of who has presented, because we want to make sure we pass it around, and everybody gets a turn, and we don’t keep going back to the same person.

Dr. Max Klau:

The theory is there is power in surfacing the complexity of an issue, and then trusting that whoever brought that question will sift through that complexity, and the ake with them what is most helpful to them. There’s a little bit, at the end, of just, hey, the person who brought the question, what’s one key idea you’re going to take from this conversation?

Dr. Max Klau:

But we’re very clear, we don’t end this with here’s the projects we’re going to start, here’s the deliverables that need to happen. Now, it might be that something comes up in that space, and then in another space people say, based on that conversation, now that we’re in our team meeting, here’s something concrete that we need to move forward with. But, we really protect the sacredness of that learning space, and recognize that there’s going to be other places for us to execute, in a different kind of way.

Luis:

All right, fair enough.

Luis:

Hey there, it’s Luis, welcome to the intermission of the Distant Job podcast. If you’re listening to this podcast, there’s a very big chance that you’re interested in building a great remote team, and to build a great remote team, you need great remote employees. That’s where DistantJob comes in.

Luis:

Here’s how it works. You tell us the kind of position that you need to fill. We talk to you, we try to figure out not only what are the exact requirements that person should have, but also we try to figure out who would be a perfect fit for your company culture, because we really believe that matters. Then, once we have an exact picture of what we’re looking for, we’re off to the races. Our recruiters tap into their global network, and we filter people very well so that you don’t waste your time interviewing people that are never going to be of interest to you, we make sure, because we are techies, and our recruiters are techies, as well, so when people get to you, they are all pre-selected, and you just have to decided between the cream of the crop.

Luis:

Once you make your selection, we handle all the paperwork, we handle HR for you, we handle payments, and you get a full-time, remote employee that’s among the best in the world, and managed entirely by you, by your processes, and following your culture. If this sounds good, visit us at www.DistantJob.com. And without further ado, let’s get back with the show. Thank you for listening.

Luis:

That’s an interesting exercise. I actually read an article, I think it was on Fast Company, that you wrote, where you described the process. I’m going to link that in the show notes, because I think it’s an interesting exercise, and people should try it.

Luis:

I want to talk for a few minutes about the way that people structure and organize themselves. On your book on Race, you develop the thesis about the fractal organization of people, I guess you could call it. You tied it to the way that organizations today are developing into flatter structures, that run on connection, and the power of the shared network.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah.

Luis:

Now, the irony of this is that the biggest network, that’s the Internet, it allows us to connect to people that are farther away and more diverse than ever, but the pushback that I get from a lot of people who I talk to is that, as the tree grows bigger, the branches grow weaker.

Luis:

The connections aren’t as strong, when it’s not a tight-knit group meeting physically. That’s a lot of the pushback I get against remote work. How do you feel can you strengthen these connections, without physical presence? How do you strengthen them, through the screen?

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah. First, thanks for doing your reading, that’s exciting to hear you’ve gotten into the details of these things.

Dr. Max Klau:

That idea of the world is becoming more interconnected, and how do we have to lead in a world that is more connected, it really informs us in a powerful way. I would say that the key paradigm shift that informs the way we think about this the shift from leader as Hero, to leader as Host. That idea comes from Margaret Wheatley, who is one of my favorite leadership theorists.

Dr. Max Klau:

A lot of us operate, really, in an implicit kind of way, with an understanding that the leader needs to behavior like a hero. Which means the leader has the answers, the leader tells people what to do, the leader solves the problems, the leader provides direction and control. And frankly, the leader is done developing, the leader has nothing more to learn. This is leader is Hero, and it’s a really powerful paradigm that has, frankly, been operating in human culture since the dawn of time.

Dr. Max Klau:

But, there’s another paradigm that we’re really clear about, and that’s leader as Host. Leader as Host is very different thing. The host doesn’t necessarily have the answers, but invites people to explore meaningful questions. The host invites participation, the host creates a space, but doesn’t fill the space. And the host is transparent that he or she also is still on their own learning journey, and can show up with that kind of vulnerability, that I haven’t figured this out, either.

Dr. Max Klau:

A lot of this comes from studies of leadership. In our current moment, where the problems we face are so complex, the idea that there’s one person that can show up and solve things is really problematic. We need to get better at connecting, and listening to each other.

Luis:

Yes.

Dr. Max Klau:

We’ve really built a focus on what does it mean to create a space, and then hold that space as a host. That’s a very different paradigm from other ways of thinking about leadership.

Luis:

Yeah, and actually I think that’s the part where leaders could really use the education. Because what I’ve found is that a lot of leaders, that are good leaders in the sense that they can make things happen, that they’re good at developing systems and stuff like that, get a little bit brittle when they feel that, well, if I’m not the guy with the answers, why will people listen to me?

Luis:

How do you advise people to work on themselves, to get a bit away from this? To shift to this paradigm of, I don’t have to have all the answers, I just need to be the best person at helping people help me figure out the answers?

Dr. Max Klau:

I mean, a big part of it is modeling it. We have facilitators … This is the approach we take for facilitators who lead these Answering the Call programs. So, we have a way of really helping people, training them on this.

Dr. Max Klau:

First, it’s just helpful to have this paradigm, to have this language for hero versus host. Then, to understand, what are the ways we can create space, and how do we hold a space in a powerful way? I do think there’s a whole set of skills, competencies, knowledge, around leading as a host, that we train people on.

Dr. Max Klau:

But, one idea that informs us is … A lot of my background is in adaptive leadership, which is a particular model by a professor named Ronald Heifetz, who teaches at the Kennedy School of Government. One key idea that’s really important to me is differentiating between authority and leadership. Authority is a formal position of power. That’s the boss, that’s the teacher, that’s the CEO, the Principal. But, leadership, anybody in a system can exercise leadership.

Dr. Max Klau:

One reason I love that is because a lot of the moral exemplars that we revere, like a Gandhi, or a Martin Luther King, or a Malala, these were folks who did not have formal authority, and exercised tremendous leadership. It’s important to have a way of understanding leadership that honors that. We find it helpful to, really … How does one hold one’s authority in ways that invite others to step up and exercise leadership?

Dr. Max Klau:

I’m conscious of being a Chief Program Officer, and our Founder … what does it mean to hold authority in ways that genuinely empowers people? I do think we have a way of talking about it, thinking about it, that ensures that we do it. It’s not adjudicating responsibility, we’re still in charge of things, we have to hold people accountable.

Luis:

Right.

Dr. Max Klau:

It’s not giving that up, but it is about using our authority in ways that are genuinely empowering.

Luis:

What are some of these ways, of empowering people through your authority?

Dr. Max Klau:

Part of it is very genuinely honoring that other people have really vital insights, and really believing that. Some people, deep down they think nobody else knows the answers as well as they do. I really think we try and show up with genuine humility.

Dr. Max Klau:

For me, I believe it personally, and also as a leadership scholar, it’s just more and more clear, that the folks at the front lines who are not necessarily the senior folks, but they have a really frontline view of a whole bunch of complexity, that is hard to see from a position of authority.

Luis:

Yeah.

Dr. Max Klau:

So, really honoring that, and that we need that perspective, we need to listen, and not just instruct.

Dr. Max Klau:

Then, this whole idea of, let’s create a space, let’s hold spaces that we all understand, this is not going to be downloading information from on high, this is a space for everybody to just speak up, and share their perspective.

Luis:

Is this something that can be learned? I’m thinking about leaders. Leadership training is a relatively new thing, in a widespread manner. There has been leadership manuals forever, and there have been books that leaders have studied forever, but really it wasn’t until a few years ago. You didn’t really have such a thing as a leadership course.

Dr. Max Klau:

Right.

Luis:

You studied to be a leader, on your own. Even if you succeeded, and I would say most of the times, when you succeeded, you brought some scars, and baggage, and right? Some of those biases, some of those scars, are baggage that’s lack of humility. This happens. That doesn’t mean that the person is a bad leader, it can mean that the person is a good leader, with some flaws that prevent that from being a better leader, right?

Luis:

How can these values be incorporated? How can that paradigm shift happen when you’re trying to make better leaders?

Dr. Max Klau:

That’s a great question.

Dr. Max Klau:

One key element of our approach, and I briefly mentioned it, is we talk about leadership as a dual journey, that there’s the inner work and the outer work.

Luis:

Yeah.

Dr. Max Klau:

We’re applying this to politics. Frankly, I think I applies to any role one has in life, that there’s work to be done, impact. People go into this because they want to create change, help people, improve communities, that sort of thing. It’s important to be focused on that. But, the truth is, for everybody leadership requires personal growth, and everybody, at some point, hits the limits of what they can do with their current level of inner development. Then, you have to grow beyond that. If you want to expand, and enhance your impact, then you have to grow beyond that.

Dr. Max Klau:

Part of what we’ve done is framing that for people. We have a leadership development model called The Flame, that has nested flames of … Briefly explained, imagine a torch, and the handle of the torch is organizational culture and values, so it’s the context. Then, the outer level of the flame is the do, so that’s action. The in that is what you know, and that’s about knowledge, and skills, and competencies. Then, the inner level of the flame is the be, and that’s about who you are.

Dr. Max Klau:

A lot of this Answering the Call, and the journey stuff we do, is trying to help people focus on that be level, that innermost level of the flame. There’s really a lot of power, I’ve found, in illuminating for people, giving them a model that helps them understand the interconnectedness of impact in the world around us, and our own personal growth. When people see how connected that is, they understand that there is value in consistently stepping away from the work and the world around us, to turn inwards, and pay attention to our own development.

Dr. Max Klau:

That’s a big paradigm shift. The turning inwards, and the accepting that one has growth to do is, is a big paradigm shift.

Luis:

Yeah, got it. Got it. The journey never ends, right?

Dr. Max Klau:

Correct.

Luis:

It feels like you’ve reached the end of the journey, but you’re really just stopped at a little bend with some shade, right?

Dr. Max Klau:

To push on that, people advance because they have demonstrated their skill at solving problems, and fixing things, and taking control. Then, eventually you get to this point where the problems are so complex, you really do have to open up and start leading in a different way, and inviting participating, and holding space, leading as a host instead of a hero. I do think this is just the direction the world is heading, we have to get good at this.

Luis:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Tell me a bit about leading from values, about value-based leadership?

Luis:

Now, values are tough to arrive to, personally. Every now and then, I try to figure out my values, and it’s a tough call.

Dr. Max Klau:

Work.

Luis:

They are quite easy to talk about, though, once you have them, but they’re hard to transmit, and they’re hard to model. How can you best transmit and model your values, from the other side of the screen?

Luis:

I know that you help people find their values, but then how can you help them communicate them, and model them, when this is all we have? A Zoom window.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah. The first thing is honoring what you just said, which is its hard. Giving people a space to do that work is the first thing, and just saying “This takes some time, it doesn’t take five minutes.” Sometimes it takes hours, sometimes it takes weeks for people to really feel like they have … I call it inner archeology. Just sifted through the dusts to get to, this is the essence.

Dr. Max Klau:

The first part is just inviting people into that work, and holding a space for them to do that work, with the humility that we can’t give them their values. We can just help them get clear about what is already there, right?

Dr. Max Klau:

Then, I think values are important for anybody in any position, but we’re talking politics here. Politics has to be about values, people have to know what are your values, how did you come to embrace those values. Then, do you lead with integrity to those values? That is absolutely reasonable questions to ask of a politician. We just think … Part of the reason we focus on this inner work, and this reflection work, is because we saw a lot of politicians who were actually pretty good at the technical stuff, they could raise money, and they could organize volunteers. But you’d say, who are you, and why are you doing this? And they just didn’t have a good answer, because they hadn’t done the work. We are helping them do the work.

Dr. Max Klau:

Then, there’s a process called public narrative, developed by a guy named Marshall Ganz, also at the Kennedy School, of telling your story. It’s got the story of self, the story of us, the story of now. There’s a particular way of telling the story, that is powerful in politics. We actually do that remotely, too. We have a follow-up program to Answering the Call, called Foundations, where we challenge people to craft their public narrative, and they actually share it virtually. Once again, it’s amazing how powerful the communal experience is, finding  virtually.

Luis:

Nice. Okay. It’s been a while, I want to be respectful of your time. I want to start winding down with a couple of rapid fire questions. The questions are rapid fire, but the answers don’t have to be, feel free to expand as much as you care to.

Luis:

If you had $100 to buy a tool in bulk … A tool in bulk can be hardware, it can be software, but at the tune of $100 per person, to give to every person working remotely with you, what would you give them?

Dr. Max Klau:

Okay, I did not see that question coming, at all. That’s fascinating.

Dr. Max Klau:

It would be great if everybody had a great computer microphone, sometimes you can’t hear people so well, that sort of thing. That’s the first thing that comes to mind.

Luis:

Well, that’s good advice. That’s good advice, I agree.

Dr. Max Klau:

 $100, but gosh, I’m not really sure what else to say.

Luis:

You can get a really good microphone for $100.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Luis:

Yeah. What about yourself? What purchase has made your worklife easier, or more productive in the past year?

Dr. Max Klau:

I kind of love Zoom. I do have to say, I’ve used other platforms. We’re talking on Zoom right now, and just the ability to see people, the ease of use. I definitely feel like it has made our Answering the Call work effective, because it’s such an easy to use way to stay connected with everybody. That’s my favorite product right now.

Luis:

Nice. Apart from your own, what book or books have you gifted the most?

Dr. Max Klau:

I have three books that changed my life. Leadership Without Easy Answers, by Ronald Heifetz.

Luis:

Okay.

Dr. Max Klau:

Leadership and the New Science, by Margaret Wheatley, and The Hero with 1000 Faces, by Joseph Campbell. My whole life is basically built around those three books.

Luis:

You know, I keep hearing about the Campbell book, and I’ve never heard it. I should really get to it, because it’s, it has a high degree of coating, from all sorts of people.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah, yeah. I found Campbell at this late … I had a few years of not knowing what I was doing, and really kind of struggling, and then I found his stuff. I was like, oh, he explained everything I was going through.

Luis:

Yeah.

Dr. Max Klau:

It’s just really powerful. I feel like anybody whose serious about human transformation, you end up getting to Joseph Campbell, and The Hero’s Journey. Powerful stuff, I recommend it.

Luis:

Got it, got it.

Luis:

Okay, final question. This is … Let’s say that you’re hosting a dinner in a Chinese restaurant, for the top people in Silicon Valley tech companies. These are entrepreneurs, these are CEOs, CTOs, people that are going to be responsible for the future of work. I ask this question, usually because the podcast is usually more focused about remote work, but in your case, I really want to explore the power of connection. Let’s say that these people are going out to dinner to have a round table about how they can leverage tech to improve connection between people, so they can better educate them, they can better be politically active, over the Internet.

Luis:

It’s a Chinese restaurant, so guess what? You, as the host, get to write the fortune cookie message. What message is inside the fortune cookies?

Dr. Max Klau:

You know, the first thing that comes to mind is, what’s your shadow mission? I sure would like all those folks, who do the work of both mission and shadow, and have this consciousness that we need to be aware of this dark part of the self.

Dr. Max Klau:

I don’t know if the fortune cookie is the best way to-

Luis:

Deliver that.

Dr. Max Klau:

Deliver that, but if I could gather those folks together, that is definitely the work I’d love to do with them, is invite them to do their own mission and shadow, and have a conversation about how we make sure we’re leading from the light in tech, and conscious of not bringing the dark in.

Luis:

Yeah, yeah. Beware of the dark side.

Dr. Max Klau:

Exactly, exactly.

Luis:

Yeah. There are some movies about that, I think?

Dr. Max Klau:

There is, indeed, we’ve watched a lot of Star Wars. Star Wars was based on Joseph Campbell.

Luis:

Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Max Klau:

 Star Wars language.

Luis:

There we go. Hey, Max, thank you so much for doing this. This was a pleasure.

Luis:

If people want to continue the conversation with you, if people want to learn more about The New Politics Academy, if people want … I know you run on donations, so if people want to donate, where can they find you, where can they learn more about the Academy? Let us know.

Dr. Max Klau:

Yeah, go to NewPoliticsAcademy.org, and you can find everything about our Answering the Call programs, and all the other things that we offer, and you can donate there. Also, MaxKlau.com, M-A-X-K-L-A-U.com. That’s my personal website, if you want to learn more about my book, and that sort of thing.

Luis:

Got it. Thank you so much, it was a pleasure talking to you.

Dr. Max Klau:

Really a pleasure.

Luis:

Yeah. Well, see you.

Luis:

So, we close another episode of the Distant Job 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. The more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can in touch, and convince to participate in these conversations, that are a joy to have for me, and I hope they’re a 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.

Luis:

Now, 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 subscribe, 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:

And, 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 candidates, 40% faster than the industry standard.

Luis:

With that, I bid you adieu. See you next week, on the next episode of the Distant Job podcast.

More ways to listen:

In this podcast episode, educational leader Max Klau shares how remote educational programs at the New Politics Leadership Academy empower national servants to take place in American politics.

Max Klau explains the possibilities of teaching critical thinking in order to develop leadership skills through remote education platforms. Our guest talks about the program “Answering the Call”, which recruits and trains military veterans and national service alumni who consider politics as a way to continue serving their country. “Answering the Call” has both local and virtual offers, giving the opportunity of remote leadership education to hundreds of people in America.

Recommended books

 

Articles:

  • “It’s About Leadership: How New Politics Seeks to Transform American Politics” by Max Klau