As the real and the virtual world start blending more than ever, we brush more and more with a kind of “uncanny valley” effect in communications. We have high fidelity video, but it feels odd not being able to move around in a room, not being able to have individual conversations in a call. Peter Lee is the man trying to solve that problem, and he’s taping into many insights from his career as a facilitation coach in order to do so.
Luis Magalhaes: Greetings, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the DistantJob podcast, the podcast about building and leading remote teams who win I am your host Luis and my guest today is Peter Lee. Peter is an agile coach based in Sydney and an expert at helping teams facilitate their meetings and follow agile philosophies and in fact he has written a lot in his blog about that, about this philosophy, about these tools and strategies, but he is also a software developer and that’s the main point of our conversation is that he is developing video facilitator. You can find more information at videofacilitator.com and I will have link in the show notes and you will find that Peter is someone that really is building something that he believes in an innovation that the thing is essential to the future of managing distributed teams. The conversation was extremely pleasant.
Luis Magalhaes: Peter is a really great speaker and I barely had to prompt anything out of it, so I think you’ll enjoy be warned though. There were some grumblings on my zoom recording. I don’t know why. I don’t know what happened. Maybe in the future I can count on Peter to develop a recording function for video facilitators so that I can use that and grumblings won’t affect the quality of the podcast. But in the meantime, dear listeners, you are stuck with my meager attempts to reduce the problem by using my less than stellar admittedly audio editing skills. I think that despite that I did a decent job and the first chat is audible without much suffering and as you approach the midway point of the interview, grumblings essentially decide to go away curse someone else. The silver lining here is that this only really effected my side of the conversation. So the important stuff, the good stuff, which is what Peter is saying comes out without any distractions at all. And that’s pretty cool. So without further Ado, ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy my conversation with Peter Lee.
Luis Magalhaes: So welcome Peter. Thank you so much for coming.
Peter Lee: Thanks for inviting me Luis.
Luis Magalhaes: So I want to go through some agile software coaching stuff? But really what I need you to ask you about is about video facilitator. You are developing, this is what actually developing it’s that you are the lead developer, am I right.
Peter Lee: So I’m actually more the product manager. But I’m working, doing some development and I’m also got some guys that getting to help me build it.
Luis Magalhaes: Okay. But this is your child, right?
Peter Lee: Yes it is. Yes.
Luis Magalhaes: Tell me about the day when you realized that we needed to go beyond zoom and other existing tools. What was the same situation that told you that? Oh my God, this is something that we really need. And I guess facilitator for people. I jumped ahead a bit. So describe it a bit just say how it differs from zoom which is my number one tool for my work day.
Peter Lee: So the big difference I guess between this and those is that it’s participant lead, so I focus on mobility of participants and it’s both direction. And then the facilitation controls that are actually missing from tools like zoom and hangouts and et cetera. And I’ve been using hangouts and zoom as well and they’re just not quite natural environments.
Peter Lee: I guess the way that I ended up coming up with this as an idea was kind of by, I’m working in a construction materials company that’s nationally distributed in Australia. So we’ve got people everywhere and Australia’s quite a big country so it’s not very easy to fly people around all the time. So, I was actually doing a session on culture. I had intended that we were going to get into the room and we’d break up into small groups and talk about culture and what it meant ways and then come up with a team culture code kind of thing or a team social contract. And I ended up with this team and there was one or two people in different locations and three or four and one and then one person alone in different areas. And it got to that point where we wanted to break up into small groups and it wasn’t possible.
Peter Lee: So we are having a big [inaudible 00:05:07] meeting, which is not the most engaging. People aren’t really contributing because it’s quite hard to do that in a remote environment. Yeah. That’s kind of when I was thinking it’s got to be easier than that. And that digital experience be easier or better than the in the room experience. So that kind of got me thinking and it was in the back of my head for a bit. The more I talked to people about it the more kind of resonant with them. And the first people I mentioned it to was they were actually quite excited and they were like, yeah, why can’t we? So yeah, that kind of started it. It was about November last year, so not too long ago.
Luis Magalhaes: So what amazes me is that I’ve been using tools like this for years. I mean literally for at the very, I think using zoom ever since it was first revealed. And even before that, that was using hangouts. So I’m certainly an early adapter. And up until like a month ago when I talked to Judy Lee, I had never realized that this is really an antique way to talk to multiple teams, multiple people. Because when you have several people in the room, they can talk amongst themselves without disrupting the overall meeting. Even if you don’t split them into different rooms.
Luis Magalhaes: Like if we’re at the large table I can turn to you and you are by my side, I can have a quiet conversation with you without disrupting the overall flow. Of course, while being respectful and all that here everyone speaks on the same level. So we can’t have cross conversations on the zoom call and I can’t believe it just took me so long to realize that. So I guess that’s why I want to get is why do you figure that mobility is so important in the meeting? What is the magic sauce that it brings to a meeting.
Peter Lee: I guess. So everyone talks about co location in the agile space as being mandatory. I don’t really agree with that I actually think remote teams work, they need to have a lot of high level of empathy with each other, what that kind of co-location does is it allows you to have a lot more fluid, natural kind of conversations with each other. So like you said, we might decide that actually we need to step out of the room for a second and have a conversation about the topic and we could do that easily in real life when digital experience, it’s really hard to do that.
Peter Lee: So I’d find myself trying to ring in agile, bazaar, multiple sprint reviews all at the same time environment that comes in less. And I found that I would have to pre create 15 meeting codes, So that I could PowerPoint presentation so that people could pre load it. And then there’s all these work arounds that you just have to do. And it was like, well, why do you need them? And there’s not a real answer to why, I think we just kind of got used to the pain of video conferencing the way it is now and just accepted it. It was always going to be a lesser experience.
Luis Magalhaes: So how do you figure that, and again, I’m sold on this, but I believe, it needs a bit more clarification, especially to guardians. And so how do you figure that it’s so much better to have people in a different room versus just getting people turns to talk?
Peter Lee: Well you get a much higher engaged conversation. So we know like in small groups you get higher engagement, higher activity, better conversations and then by bringing those groups together at certain points to debrief, we get to a far better, more innovative outcome quicker. Agile kind of workshops around that type of model. Breakout, liberating structures, for example, has something like a one, two, four, O, we can’t do that in remote environment at the moment. But that’s kind of one of the things I’d be hoping to be able to solve for with this tool, which is pretty close to, I think. Good.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah. So you touched on liberating structures. And that’s actually very interesting because it was actually, it’s so did Judy Lee introduced me to liberating structures and it was exactly that concept that was like, that made me ask her, wow, that sounds like a great structure, but it looks, it sounds like it would be a thing with zoom or google hang out, is that a new tool that allows me to do, and that’s how she pointed me to you. So that’s exactly the yards of this conversation. I want to move on to other things, but I want to spend a bit more time on your actual tool, on the actual software that you’re developing because I think it’s interesting and it really has the potential to be a game changer. So take us through some use case scenarios. Let’s say that you’re conducting, I know you conduct workshops, so let’s say that you’re conducting your most basic workshop. How would you manage it in video facilitator?
Peter Lee: So I guess, let’s say we were doing that one, two, four, O structure. So I had an intent to break up into rooms. What you do in video facilitator, you don’t join the main lobby for the workshop. And at that point in time you can actually gauge for how many people are there in the room. So if they happen to be 10 people, I could immediately choose to create five sub lube rooms or break out rooms and they would appear immediately in real time. So everyone kind of gets them. And at that point, rather than me as the facilitator going, hey, Jane and Bob, you’re going to room A you two are going into room B and trying to work it out. That way I can actually ask the team members to self-direct into whichever team the area that happened to want to go to.
Peter Lee: So it’s a lot more, I trust you as an individual to kind of go to where you’re going to add the most value, that type of structure. So at that point I’d set a timer on the main lobby for three minutes and then I would send well I’d actually first get people to bring out their ideas as a single individual and then I’d ask them to move into a different room, find a room with two people in it. There’s actually indicators that tell you how many people are in each of the rooms as well. So you can pretty easily know that are there’s a room with three and there’s a room with one. So I’m going to move to the room with one. At the end of the timer on the main lobby, it’ll actually prompt everyone to come back to the main room.
Peter Lee: So everyone can choose to do that. It’s actually a soft prompt because we’re actually, what we’re doing is allowing you to choose not to come back. If you happen to have a really high engaged conversation, you can do that. That said, there’s also the ability for anyone in the group to prompt everyone else back to the main room and that’s a forced prompt. So that could be, there’s an emergency kind of notification that you need to tell people. Or in this case actually we really need to move on and you can click this button and you’ve got 30 seconds to finish up your conversation before you join the main room. So at that point, I guess I would create a couple more rooms, so two more rooms and suggest that they group up into a group of six and a group of four.
Peter Lee: And again, let them kind of drive with it. They’re going to go had figured that out, set another timer and at the end of the time we’re bringing them back again to the main room. So that’s I guess the basic functionality where you’d be able to start facilitating these kinds of structures a little bit better. There’s obviously stuff that I haven’t built yet. Like could you start round robining conversations where the system actually does it for you rather than currently you have to look through the whole list of everyone that’s there, point to them, call them up by name, make sure they know they cut me up, all that type of stuff. Just, yeah, they’re just kind of a little bit more painful than they could be I think.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah. But definitely from what I’ve looked, and again, I haven’t tried the software. You don’t give us an option to test it just yet. But I can definitely see the potential there. And even if you, and I understand that this is not an easy feature, but if you ever had the opportunity to record, then there’s also in terms of interactive content, let’s say I used to do video gaming podcasts and if you suddenly have the setup of video facilitator, but with the ability to record both the overall room and the video room, you could conduct the whole game show virtually. So that’s super, that would be super nice. But then to your point about people’s self-directing, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the concept of filter bubbles, but it’s basically agile by the way.
Peter Lee: I have not.
Luis Magalhaes: So the idea of filter bubbles is that people tend to gravitate towards people with the same opinions and the same ideas. And that’s the whole problem over the last couple of years with the Algorithms for Twitter and for Facebook, is that they bunch you up with people that share your same thinking. And so you’re not, you’re hardly exposed to new ideas. So when you let people self-direct choose who they go into the room with, doesn’t this bring up a danger of siloing similar people with similar ideas.
Peter Lee: Yeah. I guess in the space of open spaces and the principle of you go where you add the most value and we kind of respect that. It’s a good thing. I do agree with you actually though. And some of the things that really excite me are more in the, how would you use AI to start making that in the digital experience even better than the in the room experience. And some of the things would be how do we improve inclusion and diversity and things like that. And you can be doing allocation by smart demographics. Once you start having that information of who’s in the digital experience rather than what they do kind of now, which is nothing, it’s got to like all offline, the facilitator just happens. Has to know before the session who’s going to fit in which areas versus, maybe as people are joining the system actually starts going, hey, we’ve got five females and 10 males and an awesome kind of mix would be a one female and two males and this one should be two females and one male.
Peter Lee: And like some of that stuff I think will be really interesting. Like how could you promote inclusion and diversity by making the system smarter? Yeah. And just doing some of that top of exciting stuff.
Luis Magalhaes: Yeah. Well, it sounds good. Hey Peter Looking forward to seeing you build that. So, while we’re still on the topics of meetings, I really want to know, tell me about what was the lesson that you learned the hard way when facilitating when conducting this kind of workshops?
Peter Lee: I guess the most obvious is that once you hit a number of people, more than seven, if you leave them all in the same room talking, there’s just people that won’t contribute, not because they don’t want to, but maybe because they’re not as extroverted as other people and you really hampers your ability to kind of come up with the best kind of ideas and really innovate the types of things you’re looking at. So those big groups is always really I guess the other thing is as a facilitator accepting that I don’t know the right answer. And how do I increase the engagement and the ability for the people in participating to really drive where i want them to go. And that’s where a lot of the controls in the base build, everyone can do everything. Because we’re trying to encourage that rather than the facilitator telling you you’re only allowed to do this. It’s actually, hey, by basis. It’s everyone’s doing this, the facilitators, just the person a little bit more skill at noticing situations and calling up what’s going on. But those are probably the two big groups really hard to actually have a really high empowered conversation. And then as the facilitator accepting the fact that I don’t really know the answer and we don’t have the right context of the people in that group actually.
Luis Magalhaes: So shifting the topic a bit but remaining on agile, a big part of my time and energy is really spent communicating the value proposition of changing to a distributed environment or to remote environment. I mean I talk to companies that are just the nature of this and shops business is that we are, we want people to use this as an entry, as an entry in to remote. So established companies wanting to upgrade their workforce. But not necessarily finding the best way to do it when they are all located. They talked to us and we helped them drive their recruitment efforts worldwide. And the value proposition of change is not that easy. The positives are very easy to transmit. You got the broader recruitment pool, you can get more skilled people. They are working remotely, there are more productive, they are happier.
Luis Magalhaes: All of this there’s other studies about, but what companies really fear is their overhead and granted there is some additional overhead in remote of course, but they really fear this and the fear that things might go wrong that that people will slack or that people won’t be able to develop a good relationship with the team and so on and so on. And those are a bit fuzzier to refute. There’s not as much study about how those myths are myths versus how the remote stuff is good. So this long winded introduction, just as a way of asking that, I know that there will be an agile summit in Sydney like next month. Right. And you will be talking about change about how to align leadership with change something in that region.
Peter Lee: Yeah that’s right.
Luis Magalhaes: So how do you push against these myths when you’re talking to the leadership of the company and you want them to understand that yes, remote works and actually it even works with agile. How do you start pushing it against those fears?
Peter Lee: So I guess there is really huge benefits around it and I think it’s remote working is hearing in multiple ways and it’s not just people that are 100% remote. So a lot of I don’t know whether this is happening in Portugal, but in Australia there’s a big focus on flexible working being more family friendly. There’s a law around you’re not allowed to discriminate against people just because they’ve got kids. And I’ve got three kids and I really value the ability to work from home.
Peter Lee: What that means is there’s no guarantee that your whole workforce is in the work office anyway. And for the company that I’m in at the moment, it’s not possible to fly people around Australia all the time. So it’s just a reality for them that remote working is a mechanism of having an effective workforce. I guess the way I talk about it is the inability to gauge remote workforces is usually about the people in the room, not having empathy for the people remote and actually really bringing them on and the journey and helping them be aligned around what’s actually happening. A lot of the situations I’ve seen where the local team would have a conversation then make some decisions and they would just never tell the person who’s remote then.
Peter Lee: But I’ve worked in a team where actually as part of our working a social contract, we had a couple of remote people and actually we talked about the problems they had and we set in the social contract things like we always over communicate what we’re doing. Because we wanted to make sure that they knew what had been talked about, they knew we had to sometimes make decisions in the room and they were okay with that, but they needed to be informed of that and that working environment I think can definitely work. I guess when I look at how video facilitator would work for those broader groups. Imagine you had a team of 30 and you were able to get into that video facilitator lobby. You would introduce the problem that you’re trying to solve and we could easily go, let’s break up into our three teams in different breakout rooms and you guys talk about how you’re going to achieve something on this greater good. Along solving this problem that we’ve got as a team, they could elect to create another subgroups if they needed to at that point in time. and I.
Luis Magalhaes: So you can set breakout rooms inside of breakout rooms.
Peter Lee: Not at the moment, but you can have, you can add breakout rooms that will just add the number that are available. So the person could say, we’ve currently got three. Let’s make another two. And you can actually add topics to them as well. So people would know that it’s for team A talking about X problem. And then you can bring everyone back when you needed to actually debrief on how you are all aligned around the problem of the company. So they’re the things that I think just don’t work yet with remote teams because it’s so hard to have those realignment things in a nice fluid way. So people often give up on them or you have a really good facilitator and they have to have lots of work arounds and pre-work to make it actually work.
Luis Magalhaes: Why do you think is that, why do you think they give up? Is it just too much work or is it just the information isn’t there? Or a mixture of the two? I mean, personally, what I feel is that there is so much information, we’re still all figuring this out, that people go get overwhelmed. They don’t have I mean I often point people to Lisette Sutherland’s book because I think it’s really one of the primary resources. But if you just try to start to research by yourself on how to make a distributed team work, how to implement distributed team in your company, you just get so much info and sometimes even conflicting info and that it gets overwhelming. But what is your intuition on this?
Peter Lee: My, well, especially in the agile space. So because I’m working in that space for a while, the big challenges that at some point in time everyone said agile means co located, there’s an agile principle around it right. And co-location is actually more effective than mark and I agree to some degree. But it does affect people. The things like my personal circumstances the person whose niche skill that we need isn’t in your[inaudible 00:26:36], you actually need to hire them from somewhere else, got no choice. So some of those things I think haven’t really comfortable. Agile space and people,[inaudible 00:26:54] I’ve read the values, I have read the principles, I have signed up and all I’m going to talk from now is it must be coding.
Luis Magalhaes: Something that you’ve mentioned twice now is that really doing remote work and also doing agile and remote requires a lot of empathy. So I guess my question is what are some strategies or tactics that companies can use to build that required empathy with the remote employees?
Peter Lee: I guess at the moment, culture codes are the way of kind of establishing what’s expected behaviorally from people in a company. That’s probably the main thing. So that was the first one that most a lot of people have seen is that the Netflix one, where actually, it’s not the first one. This one was Zappos, but Netflix create one that everyone knows about. And that kind of changed the dolls to say culture isn’t just something that happens. We can actually establish what we want the culture to be. And by making sure that we actually reinforce and live by that we get a higher and power company and it doesn’t mean that culture is for everyone.
Peter Lee: But you know, it would mean that you could make a company that really believes remote should work because we believe in that empathy and the diversity and that inclusion side of things. So at Boral where I’m working at the moment, we’ve got diversity inclusion as two key behaviors and they actually talk about the things that we expected people, at the team level I really kind of focused on teams need to spend the time to build themselves as a team. And what the team really has is the empathy to be able to feel like we win together, we lose together. And more importantly, if you need help, I’ve got the empathy to actually support you rather than just saying, oh, well it’s that remote person’s problem. Too Bad. And that’s often what I feel happens at the moment. People just blame the person that’s not in the room because it’s easy. So.
Luis Magalhaes: It is remote person is to blame always.
Peter Lee: Yeah. So I think, spending the time to talk about things. So what I often do I’ll do a session, a workshop which is just around the room, Robin session, which is tell me about the best team you’ve ever worked on. What does that feel like? Sound like and every team member gets to talk, including, the remote people. So everyone kind of knows. And then we talk about what would that mean for this team if we wanted this team to be the best team ever.
Peter Lee: And part of that, I would also get the remote workers to really talk about the pains they have with actually making the remote working experience. Actually work for them once part of it and able to build that empathy around that teams can actually create really good working models that actually work. So as an example, that team that I actually had that remote workers in, we had a rule which was, be considerate of everyone’s time and what that meant was remote workers had the veto on whether a meeting could go on at that time or not. Because often what I’ve seen it is for the remote workers. So they’re getting meetings at 4:00 AM in the morning, seven, eight, right, during dinner time and all these things and they just deal with it. And that’s not okay to me. That perfect working environment is one where everyone in the team feels engaged and actually valued the same way.
Luis Magalhaes: Well, it will, that’s particularly important for people. Like for example, like me living in Portugal, I mean, you know, where do I comment. We have basically seven meals a day. So, [inaudible 00:31:14]I want to drill down a bit into the concept of winning, making sure that the team knows that they are winning together and losing together. How do you fortify that mentality, what are some actions that you can take in leadership that can make people really realize, oh, okay, we’re all in this together.
Peter Lee: So I’ve particularly looked towards objectives and key results in this space. So I know the pretty popular in Silicon Valley and I’m actually noticing quite a few companies in Australia starting to use them, when they used correctly and not as a tool to beat people up. They’re really about setting what does success look like for the team so that they’re actually able to know that, hey, this is our objective as a team and we’re not really talking about each individual as an OKR. But it’s the team as an OKR, which we’re all contributing to. You might have individual OKR or not. But you know, everyone knows that the North Star for the team actually looks like this. And often that OKR is about how do we shift away from an output model to an outcome based model. So you need to make sure that the thing that they’re talking about doing is, for example, if I was playing football, I know the objective is to kick more goals than are scored against us.
Peter Lee: And a key result is we’ve got more goals scored for than against and that helps the team then go, hey, if we’re actually losing at the moment, maybe the defenders actually should be attacking a bit more and be not playing in the roles that they typically would because with that and that’s really what you want from a team is they all know we’re losing or they all know where winning together. So if we’re winning together, maybe we should play a bit more defensive. That’s the type of thing that you want from your team, irrespective of whether they are co located or distributed.
Luis Magalhaes: Got It. So you talked about culture a bit and actually this was a failure on my end. During the introduction, I should have also mentioned your medium blog. Is this what we call that something in medium is, it’s called the blog. I don’t know.
Peter Lee: Yeah.
Luis Magalhaes: So you’re write in medium and I’ve looked at quite a few of your articles and congratulations because they are really useful actually. They are some of the most useful that I’ve read in the especially when researching agile practices, so you talked about culture and I remember that in one of your articles you explain the concept of having a culture code.
Peter Lee: Yes.
Luis Magalhaes: And correct me if I’m wrong, but so again, I go back to the concept of introducing companies that are completely co located to remote work. I feel that if remote work is going to work, the culture needs to change because as you pointed out, culture is the you need to have a remote first or remote centric culture. So I guess I would like it if you could quickly explain to the listeners the concept of a culture code and how it relates to the company values and if it’s a way that can be used to make such a company change their culture in a way that could embrace remote.
Peter Lee: Yeah. Okay. So the culture code is kind of that bridge between the real values of the company. So what actually is believed in and it might not be a good thing and the actions that people take and what you really want to use the culture code for is to really articulate what’s expected of people behaviorally. And to be able to use that to start reinforcing those behaviors that you expect. More importantly using it to not hire people that don’t fit the culture that you want. And that includes not promoting leadership positions that actually aren’t suitable. Like they’re not going to actually drive the right behaviors across the entire company. So if you want to remote first company and you’re promoting people that don’t really believe in remote first you’ve kind of just undermined your entire initiative.
Peter Lee: So you really need to be able to look at that and say, hey, is this person actually doing those things? And, it’s a mirror, right? You can hold it up and go, am I doing these things? And we ask our leaders that very question actually, how well do you think you’re living this culture code? So I guess in terms of where a company’s values come in, a lot of company’s values are, they look good, but they don’t really tell you much. And in a large corporate often it means like they’ll have something like we have excellence. But what excellence means to you and what it means to me could be quite different. And actually if you think about it, depending on the department you’re in or the type of work you’re in or the line of business that looks quite different.
Peter Lee: So in bottle I’m in the digital space, what excellence looks for us is quite different to. The guys we have in the mines and quarry sites that are actually breaking rock, excellence looks like to them. Like everyone goes home alive every day without injury. Not have those risks as much in a digital space. So really what the aim of the culture code is, is to bring out to life what those expected behaviors are that those company values you might have expect. So yeah, I guess what I would normally do is I use a technique called the miracle question, which is a solution oriented coaching technique. And it’s about asking people to imagine the actions and the things that would be happening in this kind of end state place that they would wish to be. And so if I was looking for remote first company and the leaders really believe that, I would actually be asking them, well what do you expect to see three years from now, five years from now when we are this amazing remote first company. And that would be really unique to that company. And that’s the kind of basis for building that culture code.
Luis Magalhaes: See what I like about this concept of yours and I maybe you didn’t envision it like that this, and in fact you probably didn’t, but to me it feels a bit like a virus that you insert in the system. So that it changes the culture in a way that conforms to what we wanted to become.
Peter Lee: Yeah. Yup.
Luis Magalhaes: So that could be really, really, useful. So I know it’s late there and I want to be respectful of your time. I could go on easily for another hour but I think you do need to sleep. So I guess that I’m going to skip a couple of questions that I wanted to ask and you know, got you. I want to get to give you some more general questions. To end the episode on, so what is the book that you have gifted the most and then it can be work related. It doesn’t need to be work related, but that’s what I’m aiming at here.
Peter Lee: Yeah, so I guess the book that I would give them the list is the art of action by Stephen Bungay. It’s surprisingly from what I found, not a very well read book, although it’s actually the basis for how Spotify operate. And it’s actually, how do you apply a mission command model that the military used and developed a long time ago and it’s used in all the special forces teams and things like that nowadays in a business context. So how do you actually systematically apply rules and approaches in the leadership space to enable highly autonomous, empowered teams to kind of just get the job done? And I think a lot of those things are what I kind of encourage many leaders to think about at the moment.
Peter Lee: One of the things we talk a lot about at the moment is reframing problems. Away from the detail, in order to allow the teams to actually do the right things that they need to. And whenever a leader tries to go into too much detail, bad things happen because they started to make decisions around things that they don’t know. And we were particular to make sure that people notice those issues.
Luis Magalhaes: So that was the art of action. Did I get that correct?
Peter Lee: That’s right.
Luis Magalhaes: So it was very interesting. And I never heard about it. Actually it’s nice. I’m adding it to my to read list. So next question is actually, I don’t know the conversion rate for Australian dollars. Is that what you use in Australia? Is it dollars? I have no idea.
Peter Lee: Yeah.
Luis Magalhaes: But let’s see. I guess you’re familiar with US dollars, right? So let’s say that you had 100 US dollars to spend on each of the people that you work remotely with. You could buy something for them, for all the people that you work remotely with, what would you buy?
Peter Lee: Well, that’s a tough one. I think if I had to, I would probably get the collaborations, superpower cards just because I think they’re really good at making it really obvious through action, in a video conferencing format, what that would different things like thumbs up, thumbs down.
Peter Lee: I can’t hear you. I’m going to disconnect and I’m going to come back. All those type of things, which I think just add a lot of additional flavor and context to a remote kind of workshop. I’m actually thinking of adding that type of theme straight into the video facilitator tool. So you’d be able to load icons and you know the idea would be you could actually do quick folks on stuff or you know, anyone could say, hey I need a bit more detail on this and you’d be able to know pretty quickly and easily
Luis Magalhaes: Well this is now officially the most recommended gift on this podcast. So there are a lot of people that give it to me[inaudible 00:42:22]. All right. I guess that’s my final question is the same question that I ask everyone in the podcast so far. It’s probably a spoiler if you, in case you, you’ve listened to any episode, but let’s say that you’re hosting a dinner for the top Silicon Valley exec at the Chinese restaurant. Since you are the host, you get to choose what are, what goes inside the fortune cookie and well they are discussing remote work. They are discussing the future of work in their big companies. So what message are they cracking up? What is the message that comes inside the fortune cookies.
Peter Lee: Wow. All right.
Luis Magalhaes: You thought the other one was hard but this is the one that stumps people.
Peter Lee: Yeah. And now you know, I haven’t listened to the podcast just yet.
Luis Magalhaes: But that doesn’t, that’s absolutely fine. I’m the one interviewing and I haven’t read all of your work. Even I got you a good deal of it. But you know, no hard feelings yet.
Peter Lee: I guess. I’m just trying to think what would be in a fortune cookie. I was thinking remote that thing which I was saying that digital experience should be better than the real life ones. But I’m thinking of how would that be termed in a fortune cookie, so it’s not so direct then am like.
Luis Magalhaes: You are getting in character. I love it.
Peter Lee: You would be kind of like I don’t know. The world distant would be better can be better than the world today together or something. I don’t know.[inaudible 00:44:10]
Luis Magalhaes: Okay. Well, I like the concept and I think, and you used distant which is my brand, so, hey, I’ll go with that. Thank you so much. I had a great time and look. Please tell the listeners how they can continue the conversation with you. What is exciting going on in your career, how can they learn more about this incredible tool that you’re developing and how they can get in touch with you if they need a coach?
Peter Lee: Yeah. So I’ve got a website up called www.videofacilitator.com. So not the most creative of names, but it’s got a whole bunch of information there. I’m actually intending to run an open Beta soon once I am able to get the platform stable enough. So it’s in pilot at the moment, which if you do want to try it up it’s a closed pilot so people can register interest and then I might reach out and let you give you the details of how to use the tool. As you kind of mentioned, I’ve got a medium blog that I write on, so it’s out of my Twitter handle, which is innovativePete. I couldn’t, there’s too many Peter Lee, so something and I didn’t want put that[inaudible 00:45:28] so, well I picked something else.
Luis Magalhaes: [inaudible 00:45:33] could be good too.
Peter Lee: You can tell I’m not very creative in term of names but yeah, so what I do with the medium blog is look, I believe in sharing as much as I can. The things that I’m finding useful. So I write about a whole bunch of topics around culture, agile getting started with teams. And it’s a range of kind of concepts but hope usually with practical elements to it. Also got the bit which the model that I use, which I developed, to align leaders around what we’re doing in that transformational space. So kind of what you mentioned before, like creating clarity and focus in large enterprise. So all of that’s actually up there available for people to use so they can contact me through that. And obviously find me on Linkedin. I don’t exactly know what my Linkedin id is, but Italy in Sydney and working at Boral at the moment. So yeah,
Luis Magalhaes: I’ll put it in the show notes, the links to all of this. And I really want to stress going to the blog because again, I conduct a lot of research when researching for several guests on the podcast and you really have some quality stuff there. So thank you. Thank you so much for this, for taking the time. I know it’s late there Peter. It was awesome talking to you.
Peter Lee: [inaudible 00:47:04] Thanks a lot. See you.
Luis Magalhaes: And that ladies and gentlemen was my conversation with Peter Lee, who is working on videofacilatator.com. You can find more links about him and his work on the show notes. Now, if you enjoyed the podcast, please share it on social media this is the best way to spread it around. Also reviews on items of your podcast service of choice also helps. At the end of the day, the more popular the podcast is, the more cool people I will be able to convince to be on and you’ll be able to interview, and I have a lot of fun of with this. I want to keep doing it and I hope that you want to keep listening. Of course,
Luis Magalhaes: DistantJob is not only about podcasts. In fact, this one DistantJob is mostly about finding great people around the world that will work for you remotely. So if you are looking to find great, incredible talent for your team, or if you’re building a team from scratch, visit DistantJob.com? Remember when you want to find the best, you need to think differently. You need to think globally. You need to think remote. You need to think DistantJob. See you next week.
For further inquiries regarding podcasts, eBooks, blog posts, or general information about remote recruitment don’t hesitate to send us an email at [email protected]
Peter Lee is an Agile Coach based in Sydney. He is a prolific writer, sharing his Agile strategies and facilitation philosophy, and is currently hard at work building Video Facilitator, the next generation of video software to use in distributed teams.
Welcome to the DistantJob Podcast, a show where we interview the most successful remote leaders, picking their brains on how to build and lead remote teams who win.
In this episode, we talk about why he Peter feels that something is missing to allow for true online collaboration, and how Peter believes that Video Facilitator is the missing link that will let us have really effective online meetings. That’s just the beginning though – we then go on to discuss the dangers of siloing and creating filter bubbles in a team, how to build real empathy among distributed employees, and how developing a culture code is the key to reframing and acting upon your company’s values.
Peter’s Medium Blog: https://medium.com/@innovativepete
The Art of Action: https://amzn.to/2G8qFWs
Collaboration Supercards: https://www.collaborationsuperpowers.com/supercards/
As always, if you enjoy the podcast, we humbly ask that you leave a review on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice – and if you could share it, that would be even better!
Need that one incredible employee to bolster your team? Get in touch at and we’ll find you who you need.