Sunday , August 9 2020

The CEOs of Zillow, Icertis and Axiom provide advice on culture and adapting to remote work in the COVID-19 era

Rich Barton, CEO of the Zillow Group; Elena Donio, CEO of Axiom; and Icertis CEO Samir Bodas. (Company photos)

Managing a company through the COVID 19 crisis is not easy as the global pandemic is changing the way companies do business and the way people do their jobs. Promoting morality and maintaining culture are of the utmost importance as people adapt to work from home.

CEO of the Zillow Group Rich Barton, Icertis CEO Samir Bodas and Axiom CEO Elena Donio participated in an interactive virtual event with GeekWire on Thursday to discuss the best leadership practices and lessons from the past few months. Read on to learn the highlights of the conversation and watch the video below for the full discussion.

(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuhMa1qGmlA (/ embed)

On the way to remote work:

Barton: “My biggest advantage is how amazing all of these tools are for a dynamic work environment. I meet more new people and feel closer to my team than ever before. There are some challenges, but this is a really interesting opportunity to rethink everything about how we work, where we work, who we work with, why we work, and how much satisfaction and productivity we get from our work … it will be completely different in 3 to 5 years. "

Bodas: “We see an enormous increase in productivity, but the joy of working together is missing. The energy we get from collecting, brainstorming and these social interactions is significant. "

The executives of the GeekWire 200 startups offer advice on how to manage the COVID 19 crisis

Donio: "We try to get rid of paperwork and encourage employees to work the way they would at their desk in the office." So open a line and work, ask questions, poke back and forth. We tried to rethink the use of Zoom and other organic collaboration tools versus planned, orchestrated, and calendered collaboration. "

Dealing with customers and customers in a crisis:

Barton: “Our customers want to move and we are here to help them do it safely. Our job as a manager is not just to keep ringing our hands and grabbing the handkerchief. Here you will find solutions for getting started and moving and doing it safely and electronically. "

Bodas: “We have a global business with airlines, hotels, manufacturers, food packaging companies and others as customers. You realize that you are sitting in a bubble. How can you help people who are not in this bubble and help them recover and make their lives and businesses more productive? "

Donio: “It starts with empathy and humanity. What we talk a lot about at Axiom is to show yourself and be amazing listeners to understand what customers can expect and how we can immerse to help them in a way that gives them a high quality experience with efficiency that they're so desperate for. ”

To preserve the culture:

Bodas: "This is the time to double your values. People should recognize that it is important to live your values, especially if you feel you cannot afford them. Here you go back and live them and show that these values ​​mean something. So if you make good use of this culture because you are remote and it is different, you will fill it out again. "

Donio: "You start with purpose and mission and what you do. That is where strategy comes from. Ultimately, the behaviors that characterize your culture must lead to that mission and purpose being accomplished.

Other general tips and advice:

Barton: "The leadership continues to steer the boat even when it is foggy. It is easy to be lazy and not to make decisions. Leadership is courage, intelligence, mind and heart. Organizations that can be successful in such times are those who learn, with eyes – robots or humans – who look out of every part of the organization and give back what they see to the captains who control the ship, so you know how to put the brakes on it or accelerate .

Companies are too stuck in a particular mindset and have a hard time changing. Change is difficult; doing something else is difficult. But the big organizations accept this change and emerge strengthened by change. "

Bodas: "Encourage managers to simply call employees and ask how they are doing. It takes spontaneity to walk around an office in person and look past a desk to ask how people are doing. And don't worry about the dog barking or the child appearing for meetings. We had an employee whose daughter had fallen asleep on his lap during a meeting. These are precious moments when everyone realizes that we are there together. "

Donio: “I wish we had started our polls earlier instead of waiting a little while things settled. We would have recognized more quickly that people's experiences are so different. Some are at the peak of productivity, they were made for that moment. Others have problems with homeschooling and childcare. And some are deeply lonely. It would have helped us to help others faster if we had asked earlier and contacted us earlier. "

Barton: "The most important thing we can do in this new sitting and talking with our screen world is to give people space to live their lives outside of it. People find it very difficult to get up and go to the bathroom. Another tip I learned from Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg: Start the meetings five minutes late. This gives people time to do their human things for five minutes and just breathe before they come to the next call. And I do them for one-on-one conversations while walking, I don't do them on video. "

About Johnnie Roberts

Johnnie Roberts is a 23 years old college student. Technology-loving Johnnie is a blogger about this topic.

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