In this episode of the Leader Lounge Community podcast, we’ll talk with Jennifer Britton and travel around the globe to learn about technological innovation in remote and virtual work conversations and how to translate autonomy in the field into effective leadership. Technology and the environment in which we work have evolved over the past 30 years, but what hasn’t changed is effect leadership and communication practices. 

If you enjoyed this episode today, be sure to hit the follow button on the player (• • •) and share it with your friends and colleagues. ~ Big Love, April

00:12 – Introduction
00:57 – Leading with long-range radio in the 1990’s
02:09 – Jennifer shares her love of canoeing  
03:04 – Problem solving in remote situations pre-internet 
04:57 – The paradigm shift to the virtual space
06:45 – Working in a VUCA world 
10:10 – How teams can thrive during change and remain effective
14:18 – Using your skills of influence and coaching with teams 
16:42 –The power of routine to show up in a big way for others
22:40 – Removing barriers and boxes to tap into our human spirit
26:08 – Mindset shift and innovation
28:35 – How technology can radically transform mental models of the world

About Jennifer Britton

Jennifer Britton, MES, CHRP, CPT, PCC, is passionate about helping professionals, teams and organizations thrive in the areas of performance, teamwork and leadership, especially in the remote and virtual space. Building onto a dynamic global career as a Program Director and Manager with the United Nations and International agencies, Jennifer founded Potentials Realized in 2004, an award-winning performance improvement company, with special emphasis on coaching and mentoring skills, virtual facilitation and online learning. Jennifer is the author of five books and co-host of the Remote Pathways podcast, reflecting her almost three decades of experience in working in, and leading teams and organizations, in the global and remote space. Her company provides specialized support and consulting for programming in Group and Team Coaching, Leadership, Mentoring, and all things virtual and remote.

Thank you for tuning in to the Leader Lounge Community podcast. If you enjoyed this episode today, be sure to hit follow and share with your friends and community.

Links to additional resources

Jennifer Britton’s website: https://www.potentialsrealized.com

Read Jennifer Britton’s Remote Working Whitepaper: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/lgihiv0

Remote Pathways Podcast: https://www.remotepathways.com

Jennifer Britton’s Effective Virtual Conversations book: https://www.potentialsrealized.com/our-books.html

Jennifer Britton’s PlanDoTrack Workbook and Planner: https://www.plandotrack.com

Follow Leader Lounge Community on Spotify: http://leaderlounge.community

Follow Leader Lounge Community on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leader_lounge_community/

April Qureshi’s leadership website: https://aprilqureshi.com

April Qureshi on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/april-qureshi/

Read April’s books on Amazon: http://booksbyapril.ca

Book April to speak at your event: http://aprilspeaks.ca

April Qureshi’s Linktree: https://linktr.ee/aprilqureshi

Episode Transcription

April Qureshi (00:02):

Hello, and welcome to the leader lounge community where great leaders bridge the gap between people and performance. I’m your host, April Qureshi

April Qureshi (00:12):

Today, I’m speaking with Jennifer Britton, award-winning Canadian entrepreneur and founder of Potentials Realized Performance Improvement Company. And today Jennifer is gonna share with us her over 30 years experience in remote and virtual conversations and how that translates into effective leadership conversations in today’s a global marketplace. Welcome Jen.

Jennifer Britton (00:34):

Hey, it’s good to be with you. It’s so good to connect and thank you for having me today. Yeah,

April Qureshi (00:40):

You’re welcome. It’s great to be here. So Jen, you started out as a remote leader back in the 1990s when the primary communication tool was long range radio. So tell us about some of the challenges leading by remote radio and how you overcame them.

Jennifer Britton (00:57):

Well, great question. And I was so intrigued, you know, today’s conversation is all about innovation and compassion and how do we lead through crisis? How do we lead really at any time of the year, the day the generation? So my remote work has taken me back 30 years ago. I was a young female leader, tasked really thrust into a leadership position, much bigger than my age. And I was very privileged to be supported by an amazing team of global professionals. So I’ve always worked in very dynamic global environments and we were responsible for supporting field teams in a country in south America. Our connection in those days was long range radio, and our teams were anywhere from 12 hours to really five days travel over land, dug out canoe, army truck, et cetera. So when we’re talking about working in dynamic ever changing environments, that’s where I cut my teeth as a leader and learned probably everything that I’ve still been using for the last 30 years.

April Qureshi (01:58):

Wow. That sounds amazing. So you <laugh> dug out canoe, and I hope you didn’t have to dig the canoe out yourself, but you never know, right?

Jennifer Britton (02:09):

No. Well, you know, I’m a, canoeist here in Canada, but dugout canoes are not quite like our Cedar strip canoes and that’s the beauty, right? It’s still river travel. I actually as, as a young leader, as a graduate student, I was working with a team multinational team, Australians, Canadians ESE, and Costa Ricans. And we were working with a community in the very north Northwest of a country that it took us three days, boat trip up the Atlantic to get there. Wow. So again, when you’re talking innovation, when we’re talking, you know, complexity, how do we adapt what we know and we don’t know to create success. And I was with that community for about three months and, you know, very successful project, but everything from resourcing not being available, timelines, like you would expect it not to be available, transportation and modalities that you would not be used to.

Jennifer Britton (03:04):

How do you, you know, create a success and a win, win, win. So again, starting out as a young leader that starts for learning and problem solving has still followed me through the virtual remote space to today. And I’ve seen the dynamics of moving pre-internet to internet. When my emails from south America would sit on a server overnight in Trinidad, and then the next day they’d magically be released to one of my head offices here in Toronto and, and Australia. And so again, like I think of how much our world has changed. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, but the beauty is technology as we’re seeing even right in this moment in time is a way to connect us to even the playing field, to allow us to really access people and resourcing. And that reminds me of a story I wasn’t even gonna share, but I’m gonna put it back to you because like innovation, right? Like we, we, I am a real believer that we can harness technology to help us innovate, build our teams and really do, do our best work possible.

April Qureshi (04:09):

Well, yeah. And that’s a great segue because what’s happening now with this COVID crisis is that, you know, the whole way we operate is been blown apart and we’re, you know, and we’re in about eight, eighth week now. And I know that those first two or three weeks it was chaos right around the world. And like every day was a new challenge. And just when you thought you had something figured out the next day, it changed. And so how do we harness the power of groups and teams in a crisis so that we can keep those communication lines open and we can, you know, just have, have some innovation and bring that into the forefront as we move forward through this challenging time.

Jennifer Britton (04:57):

Yeah, well, no doubt. It is one of the most challenging times anyone has seen in our lifetime, in our generation. And it, and it requires a paradigm shift, right. If we really look at what’s played out in the last couple of months and I’ve seen this because I work with clients in Asia, I’ve seen this play out now over many months. And, having worked in disaster management as well for many years, you know, there’s a very human tool that we’re, we’re seeing in different places in different ways with that though. I think we need to take solace in the fact that as a team, as a group, when we connect in with others, we can always do better work than if we are doing it solo. And so I think one of the big shifts for many today has been how do I move what I used to do in person to the virtual space.

Jennifer Britton (05:47):

And actually when I set up and founded, potentials realized 16 years ago now last month, this month we’ve always been a virtual business. So for 16 years, I’ve been working with all sorts of organizations, big and small to help them virtualize even before this crisis ensued. But coming back to, you know, innovation now is the time that we really need to innovate and innovation of course, is creating something new. It maybe breaking apart some of the things we used to do so that we can create something new. And with teams and groups, a lot of that comes down to processes. How do we help you know, tap into the wisdom that we have in our organization, our teams, our groups, to really capitalize on strengths so that we can come up with new solutions and part of what I retain going back to those early days in the field, connecting in with my teams, you know, very much the, I think I was in post for about 18 months.

Jennifer Britton (06:45):

It seemed like a lot longer because literally every morning the radio would go on at 6:00 AM. It would run until the day ended. And whether it was hearing from a team about what they needed in terms of like logistical supplies or other, it was very much the lifeline. And I think we’re seeing like, people need the lifeline right now. We need to be communicating. We need to be over communicating and we need to do it in a way that is effective and based on contingencies, because we’ve seen VUCA, right? We’ve been talking about VUCA volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. We’ve been talking and writing about it for many years. In fact, I pulled out my 2017 book effective virtual conversations, and I was just looking at it the other day at the, at the intro. And I was like, oh wow. I was writing about VUCA, you know, three years ago as it related, but we’re now really seeing volatility.

Jennifer Britton (07:38):

So there’s been a lot of leadership research. We could also sort of spin into that to say like, how do we help people thrive? Not just show up, but how do we help people thrive and get comfortable in working in highly complex and uncertain environments? And for someone like me with my early part of my career, this is, this is what I had to learn over a decade. Now we have the world needing to learn in a very short window of time. So what are the things we can do from a team perspective, a leadership perspective. And I’m hoping that’s where we can maybe spend a bit of time today just looking at potential options, because it’s never a, it’s never a one size fits all, and you and I different parts of Canada. It’s good to see, you know, what’s outside our windows is also very different at the moment.

April Qureshi (08:24):

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. Yeah. And so what does it mean to thrive? Right. So we talk about being innovative and showing up in different ways, but what does it mean to thrive? Like how do we create community within our organizations, within our teams and our groups that allows people to thrive and recognizes that, you know, people are handling this in different ways, like someone like myself, like I just see the opportunities and there are days for sure where I’m like, oh my gosh, like, this is unbelievable. What’s happening. And I kind of get into that little chaos bubble, but, you know, so recognizing that people you know, overall have different ways of meeting together, but then too, like, you know, just day to day that people’s energies, people’s emotions are gonna be different. So how do we, how do we help people thrive in these types of spaces?

Jennifer Britton (09:22):

Yeah. Well, I think it’s multi-layered right. It’s not just a one size fits all. And like, all of our worlds are different, right? For those of us that are accustomed to working from home, we’ve mastered this piece, but now we have our kids who might also be taking the internet and needing some of the resourcing or, you know, I can’t work through lunch. I’ve gotta make sure there’s some lunch on the table. Other things like that, isolation, we were isolated here in my house for a couple of weeks, cuz I wasn’t well, and although it wasn’t, COVID like not being able to leave and go anywhere was, was a real mindset shift. So there’s a mindset shift that I think we need to have here as well as an acknowledgement that, you know, we’re all facing different things. So in my writing for years, I’ve been talking about what’s outside our little window, you know, what’s outside our window here as we’re talking today.

Jennifer Britton (10:10):

And this is where we know from team effectiveness that teams need both really super clear results as well as solid relationships in order to thrive in any context, let alone a crisis context or a pandemic context. So if we can really ensure that we’re leaning back into the basics of teams, helping people connect, helping people understand who’s who on the team. And do we have people in the best role because what we do in person may not necessarily translate into the remote space as we work. So there’s a couple of layers that have gotten collapsed in these last eight weeks. Like how do we work effectively? How do we work effectively in a remote space now? How do we work effectively when all these other things are going on? And so with that, I think we also wanna be very intentional in keeping those communication lines open while allowing people to get the work done.

Jennifer Britton (11:03):

And this is really where I do believe we need to go back to the basics, going back to the basics of what’s our vision. You know, how’s our vision changed is our why changing. What’s the horizon we’re moving towards because one of the, the values of really leading from vision in times of crisis is the vision will not change. If you have a, a shared vision, what will change is that immediate context front and those waves can be almost like whiplash, like literally when we’re leading through crisis. And I’ve had to do this many times in my career, the days seem like weeks, if not months mm-hmm <affirmative> and the decisions that you have to make from the time you roll out of bed to the time you drop an exhaustion can be unbelievable, but we need to remain anchored in it. And where the anchor point is often that vision, that bigger vision, the bigger, why, why are we doing this?

Jennifer Britton (11:54):

What’s getting us out of bed. What’s, you know, allowing us to come to our desktop or our laptop that really isn’t optimal in my little office to do the work that I need to do because either customers, stakeholders, or others are relying on it. So I think coming back to the basics is one of the most important things. When we have complexity all around us, let’s simplify and simplification does not mean simple. It actually just means more strategic and it means more focused. So I think I skirted your questionnaire a little bit, but it’s, it’s also about, you know, what are we, what are we asking people to look at? How do we help them do their best work? Are we even starting a conversation with like, what is our vision? Let’s go back to why we exist as an organization, whether we’re one person or we’re, you know, 10,000 people, what’s our purpose.

Jennifer Britton (12:45):

And from that, we can spell out our goals, our rules cuz really, I think where we’re seeing a lot of dissonance right now is rule clarity. If things weren’t clear before, they’re not clear now that’s for sure. So part of it may be getting very articulate in terms of what people need in order to thrive. And that could be resourcing. It could be support. So are we having people job shadow, maybe they don’t know how to do certain things in the remote space. Can we shadow? And it’s very easy in some respects to have people shadowing together. Do we need to totally, you know, put some of our goals and roles on hold, which is definitely something we’re seeing across organizations today as well.

April Qureshi (13:31):

Yeah. And that, that’s a great point because what what you’re saying is that how we, how we came together as a team in, you know, a physical space might be different than how we’re doing it online. And so maybe people who are struggling with the online or there may be people who are really stepping up and coming into themselves and showing up as leaders themselves within the team. So that’s a really interesting you know, it’s really interesting as a leader to be able to see people in a different, different way, like, like not just seeing how they were back then, but being open to the possibility that, you know, people are changing, people are growing and that others are gonna step up.

Jennifer Britton (14:18):

Yeah. And I’ll just throw in a little piece here because what we’ve seen over a couple of decades is remote leadership and like virtual leadership is slightly different than your face to face environment. We have to work through our team. We have to use the skill of influence. We have to use the skills of coaching, right? This is really why I became a coach years and years ago because I realized as my team size grew from those early years of being in a country that would take five, five days to traverse to ultimately my last team was 30 people, 26 nationalities, 10 countries. I would get out to see them twice a year. They were doing world changing work. And just because I wasn’t there didn’t mean that the problems weren’t there. So my rule really became one, as we’re seeing most remote leaders needing to shift into today, empowerer strategizer, you know, problem solver, liaison, and really, you know, those were my hats that I wore as a leader.

Jennifer Britton (15:15):

It was like, how can I help connect you in with what you need? And what that means is we now need to really empower the entire team. So that’s a whole paradigm back to that paradigm world word again, that’s a paradigm shift. And I think what we’re facing right now at this moment in time is, you know, organizations to look needing, to look at what is next, what is beyond this? What is beyond this short term, medium term and long term. And there may be organizations that for whatever reason, decide that they are gonna keep in a structure like this, which may mean significant sort of re not restructuring, but equipping people with tools, authority, responsibility, because when we work remote, we’re a much more autonomous, which can be a plus or it can be a struggle for others. So,

April Qureshi (16:07):

Yeah, it’s great. And so earlier you mentioned being anchored as leaders being anchored into that vision and the value system that we create as a community, as an organization. And so you know, another way that a leader can anchor in is through their own self-care. And so I’m curious what you do for yourself, you know, just to keep yourself supported and keep yourself together so that you can show up for people in this, in this really big way.

Jennifer Britton (16:42):

Well, it goes back to routine, right? And I think all of us are finding different routines. I’m a swimmer <laugh> and didn’t matter where I was in the world. I’d either find a swimming pool or at aerobic displays that sort of dates me as a leader. But I, I really came to find early in my career that I needed my one hour of Jenn-time regularly. You know, I was often a very visible leader in the context that I led within. So if I wasn’t on television, I would be seen very visibly and I needed that space to just be able to go and decompress over the years that those afternoon sort of quiet times have become like 5:00 AM, workout times. And I, until, you know, two months ago swam four to five times a week every morning before I would start my day.

Jennifer Britton (17:28):

So I’d actually get to my desk start calls maybe in the middle east or Asia around 4, 4:30 or 5:00 AM work for an hour or two jump in the pool, which is seven minutes drive. And be back here for 7:00 AM to see my son off to high school and start more calls. And that time, you know, to just be able to decompress, I think is so critical to allow us to think we know from neuroscience that our brains need breathing space. We often get our best ideas when we are doing something different. That’s not the heavy work and to the context now, you know, how are we creating those windows? Whether it’s in our home using, you know, luckily I have a treadmill that I didn’t like having in the home until this <laugh> cause it took up a lot of, until I got sick a few weeks ago, I was using it regularly, like translating my time.

Jennifer Britton (18:19):

And, actually my family said, mom, you need to go and get on your treadmill again. You’re getting better. So get back on your treadmill, cuz that time is really my time to get my day started. And I know there’s a lot of writing out about early morning routines, but routine is key in the remote space. It’s key for us. It’s key for our family members. It’s key to really keep things going because otherwise work will leak everywhere or life will leak everywhere as well. And I think we’re, we’re now seeing that in great volume. So for me, self-care, we’ve gotta be at our prime in order to show up and be able to give and serve others. That’s to me, what leaders do, you know, we serve others and there may be instances where we also need to step away as I’m sort of getting back on my feet physically, it’s been important to sort of say, what do I really need to focus on so that I can get better quicker so that I can be at my, at my peak.

Jennifer Britton (19:14):

And it’s made me reflect these last few weeks have actually made me reflected a couple of times in my early career when I was global, where I know my body, my body will go to a point and then it will hit a wall. And I I’ve tried to learn to get to it before, like it really hits the wall. But one reason why I set up potentials realized 15, 16 years ago is because in my last sort of health incident of life, I lost vision permanently in one of my eyes. I was, my body was so worn from the travel that it just a simple eye infection became a scar that I will continue to have until maybe one day technology will figure it out. But it meant that I had to pivot out of my career. I could have sat behind a desk.

Jennifer Britton (20:05):

I didn’t want to. I figured, you know, why, if I can’t do the work that I love on the ground, I’m gonna start my own company. And I’m so glad I did. But one reason why I’ve always been virtual is because it’s allowed me to have reach with literally quote unquote a disability. Although I don’t like to use that term. It’s just, I can’t see, well out one eye, which in north America that’s okay. And my former world of work, it was a liability to the people that I worked with. So with that again, innovate, how do we innovate? How do we recreate? I think life is always a series of like re inflection reimagination, and while it’s not easy and it does take a lot of energy and bravery like we can get there. We’re all a work in progress.

April Qureshi (20:54):

Yeah. And I love that about you Jen. So Jen and I have known each other for a couple years now and I love the way Jen just grabs hold of something and just launches right into it. But again, with an intention and with a vision attached to that. Jen, one thing that you said that really stood out for me was that how we show up in our morning routines or in our daily routines has an impact on our families. And you know, it’s interesting having the kids home, you know, I have teenagers at home as well and as leaders, you know our kids don’t see us in action so much, right. So if we’re at the office, they’re not seeing how we lead in action. So for me, what’s really standing out is that when we’re being a pro in our work world how can we take that into our lifestyle and you touched on this, right?

April Qureshi (21:49):

Like how can we bring that back home and show our children how how to be like holistic about how we approach work and how we approach our wellness. And and I think that comes to like you said, being compassionate, listening to our bodies and just knowing when we need to take a break. And I think that for me, that goes a long way because our kids, even, even though we don’t sometimes think that they’re listening, they’re listening and they’re watching everything that we do. And now, so now even more so that we’re all at home together. So I love that you shared that story. And I think it makes a big impact on, on at least my perspective of how you know, wellness plays into not just being at home and on the weekends, but you know, our whole lives really.

Jennifer Britton (22:40):

And I think that’s what sort of, part of this pandemic is doing, right? It is moved the barriers between what many have sort of kept as separate boxes. I have a work life. I have a family life. I have a commuting life. And now all of a sudden, all of these things are coming together. And I think that’s part of the friction too. So how do we, how do we explore it if we’ve lived our lives in different components? Or for those of us that have, you know, really approach life in that holistic fashion, how do we ensure that we are using these teachable moments? Right. Like, I think there’s so many great moments intentionally and I, you know, with my son, who’s now in grade nine one of our favourite, he said, he said to me the other day, he said, mom, you know, like, I’m just so happy that in the last few years we’ve done all these things that we’ve done, because I’d really sort of I’d had a mini health challenge that worked out a few years ago, but I’d had to go in for some major surgery.

Jennifer Britton (23:38):

And after that I came out of the surgery and I was like, okay, you know what? This feels like yet another chance yet another something. And let’s make sure we really use, you know, like use time. And so for the last three years as a family, it’s been like, okay, what have we said, we’re always gonna do and we haven’t done yet. Yeah. And so, you know, like I think I, I hadn’t realized how much that had rubbed off on everyone because it really, again took me back to my early years as a leader. When I worked globally every day was a new day. Every day was a blessing and every day really needed. It was like, I lived by Carpe Diem seized the day. That was something I woke up and thought, okay, whatever adventures today brings, bring ’em on because I know they will be there.

Jennifer Britton (24:23):

And so, you know, when you’re seizing life, like that boxes become barriers. I always say, you know, I never like to be boxed. My life has never been boxed. And so I wanna make sure that what we can bring in through work through recreation, through family, through learning, through music, through whatever we do, there’s so many different things that are possible. And again having returned back to this fantastic country that we live in, you know, there are so many privileges that we have every day that so many around the world don’t, and I’ve been very, you know, I’ve lived in all parts of the world and doesn’t matter, you know, like the human spirit is a human spirit. It doesn’t matter what our living conditions are. Like human beings will find ways to thrive. I do believe, and this is just one of many, you know, the pandemic is one of many things in front of us.

Jennifer Britton (25:19):

So how do we choose to react, right? It’s not to minimize the suffering and the impact that this is having on all of us, our family included. And it’s, it’s very much to say, okay, how do we move through the grieving process on multiple levels so that we can live again and whatever it looks like. And as leaders, our team members, our organizations, like they rely on us for those of us that are business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s critical that we get our work out into the world. And it’s critical that we use our skills to bring people together. So to sort of close the loop, you know, you started us off in an area that I spend most of my days in and conversation and, you know, communication, building community in different ways. This is a new type of community building that we’ve been doing in the last two months.

Jennifer Britton (26:08):

It does require the mindset shift. It does require some of us like letting go of certain ways of working so that we can allow people to thrive because we can’t do this in isolation. I like to write, you know, no person is an island islands are not distinct. They are usually connected deep underwater, and we are still connected, even if we are not physically together. So do the best innovate because we, we do need to innovate. I’d sort of taken some notes down. Like we gotta remember that innovation can be incremental. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, it can be disruptive. As we’re seeing right now, it can be adaptive or it can be radical. So really what is the, the type of innovation we wanna engage with and that’s never an easy place, but it’s a fun place if you can embrace, embrace the chaos, which is another mantra I lived by for many years, embrace it. Yeah. Don’t try to fight it because chaos is chaos. You’re gonna exhaust yourself, but if you can embrace it and learn to ride the waves, things will be okay. They might not be the way we think they will go, but they’ll be okay. And well, you know, find a way to make it work. So that’s a bit of a mindset to leave our listeners with today.

April Qureshi (27:25):

Yeah. So mindset and innovation. You said some key points about innovation there, so I know I’m gonna go back and listen to this again, cuz there was a lot of vital information in there. And just one more quick thing, do you think we’re gonna go back? Like, do you think our old habits and ways of interacting, like navigating those long commutes and unproductive meetings, do you think we’re gonna go back that way or do you think there’s gonna be a global shift here?

Jennifer Britton (27:50):

Well, it’s interesting. I’ve been part of a lot of different speaking panels on this recently. You know, there’s, there’s some that are saying there’s gonna be like a continued resurgence of nationalism localism, but I think, you know, as we’ve always said, and I have a master’s in environmental studies and you know, like I think of where we were like in the seventies and eighties and early nineties and thinking like, okay, there is a local, but there’s also a global connect. And that’s what technology allows us to do. I, I said I was gonna share another quick story, which I think really brings us to life. You know, people often ask me, why are you so passionate about technology? Like, you know, it’s not really, you’re not a young person. And I was like, no, but I’ve seen how technology can really radically transform options and ways of seeing the world.

Jennifer Britton (28:35):

And one of my favourite stories, again, going back to traversing this amazing country in south America, that was just just the human spirit in that country is so amazing. I was part of a funding trip, actually Canadian government had funded some, a computer system that was funded and powered by solar panels where a community in the very, very interior hinterland was connecting literally with the flick of a couple of solar panels, buy a satellite phone to the internet. So imagine a small community that was probably about 250 people, very and not quite in the Amazon, but really just north of the Amazon basin. And this community school was literally what they called a Benab, just thatch roof and, you know, supposed of course it’s a country that has wonderful weather all year long, but for the children they’d meet every day, but they had no resourcing.

Jennifer Britton (29:38):

There were no books, there was no chalkboard. There really wasn’t any desks for people to sit on. And this community had come together and said, we need access. We’ve heard of this thing called the internet. And we want access so that we can invest in our children. And so I was invited by the, the funding agency to traveling cause one of our teams was working there. It was a big day because all of a sudden this community via a satellite phone with a solar panel, you know, computer literally was able to connect into the internet from the heart of the jungle. It transformed that community in so many radical ways. And that was 1997, by 2004, I would regularly run into young professionals who were younger school children in those days in the capital city of that country. And it was fascinating to see how many options had been opened up by the connection of technology.

Jennifer Britton (30:43):

So if we really wanna think about innovation, right, I keep going back to this. We’re harnessing technology in a very minute level and while it’s never gonna be perfect, it is not perfect. And while it may open the doors to security issues at times, you know, we want to think about what it does allow us to do. And back to our topic of leading with compassion, leading with innovation that requires empathy. It requires human connection and that’s where we need technology. So again, where will we go? I think, I think many organizations are actually gonna find for economic cost human cost. Let’s see what we can do and maybe, and probably there’ll be a hybrid of sort. I think we do still need as much face to face connection as we can have. We get that virtually, but it’s, it’s really important that we do have time to connect and celebrate and mourn and do all the things that we need to do as organizations and as local communities with our global partners as well. So little story to wrap up our time today and April I’ve, I’ve enjoyed this. So anything else, any other place that we’re gonna go into?

April Qureshi (31:58):

Well, you know, just with that doorway into education you know, I just like, my mind is just going, oh wow. an amazing story there. That could be a whole other talk, but we’ll leave that for today. And Jen, thank you so much. So where can people find you

Jennifer Britton (32:14):

Well to the topic of remote work, I’m the co-host of the remote pathways podcast. You can find that whole body of work, it’s gonna be a series of books that I’ve actually got part in process. So go to remotepathways.com for those that are interested in connecting more under leadership or virtual conversations, find me at potentialsrealize.com as well. All of my books are available over at Amazon. And yeah, it was just a pleasure to be here with you and to be with those of you in the summit. So thank you for taking time outta your busy day to connect in with us in this, in this story time. And I hope there were some inspiring ideas that maybe might revolutionize certain ways of working for you and your team.

Speaker 4 (32:59):

Most definitely. And Jen, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your insights on designing and leading virtual conversations. Thank you so much.

Jennifer Britton (33:08):

Well, my pleasure April. It is so good to spend some time with you.

Speaker 4 (33:11):

You as well take care.

Speaker 1 (33:13):

Thank you for tuning in to the leader lounge community podcast. If you enjoyed this episode today, be sure to hit, follow and share with your friends and community. Until next time I’m April Qureshi. Bye for now.

Originally broadcast in May 2020 during the Lead From Within Global Leadership Summit at the onset of the global pandemic. My purpose for republishing is that the value of the conversations with leading experts from around the globe is still relevant and will continue to be a touchstone for empowering business and community leaders with innovation and compassion during challenging times.