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Making A Difference While Finding Balance In The Digital Age
Episode 1423rd November 2022 • Remote Leadership • Debra A. Dinnocenzo
00:00:00 00:45:27

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David Milliken and Debra Dinnocenzo discuss learning solutions for remote leaders and teams, with an emphasis on the value of immersive, practical, and engaging learning solutions. Discussion includes how immersive learning tools help leaders meet the challenges many leaders face in delivering value, while also providing the balance and flexibility teams want – and are increasingly demanding in the expanding remote/hybrid workplace. Hear insights about the best ways for leaders and teams to work and live well in the digital age, as well as success tips for leaders who must engage both on-site and remote team members while providing empathy and equity in leading teams.

 

About the Guest:

David Milliken is a Princeton-trained economist with decades of experience in the training and assessment industry. He is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Blueline Simulations. Over the past decade, Blueline has become synonymous with learning visuals, classroom simulations, and eSimulations. Blueline’s latest innovation, the ExperienceBUILDER™ digital design and delivery platform, is transforming the corporate learning landscape.

David has a passion for learning: for his own ongoing growth and for those whose lives his company touches. He has a commitment to giving his employees the flexibility to balance the demands of work with their personal and family lives, and he embraces this same commitment in his own life. David shares both his professional and personal journey that brought him to these commitments and to the success of his business.

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmilliken/

About the Host:

Debra A. Dinnocenzo is the president and founder of VirtualWorks!, a consulting and training firm that specializes in virtual work issues. Debra is a co-author of the recently released book, REMOTE LEADERSHIP – Successfully Leading Work-from-Anywhere and Hybrid Teams, as well as several other books on remote and virtual teams. 

Since publishing her first book on telecommuting in 1999, Debra has been a pioneer in the shift to virtual work and remote leadership. Few practitioners in the field have the depth of knowledge and hands-on experience Debra brings to her work. As a nationally recognized expert on the virtual workplace, has spoken widely on related topics, and developed and taught "Leadership in the Virtual Workplace," an online graduate-level course offered by Duquesne University. Previously, Debra was a teleworking executive and has worked from her home office for more than two decades.

 

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Transcripts

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Welcome to the remote leadership Podcast. I'm Deborah Dinnocenzo and I'll be your host and guide as we explore new challenges and proven keys to success for leaders and teams who must get results from a distance. For more than two decades, I've helped organizations and leaders successfully go virtual. Now that we're all on a trajectory toward the next normal of work from anywhere and hybrid teams, I'm excited to share with you the insights and expertise that 1000s of leaders and teams have acquired through my books, coaching, training, and presentations. Join me to learn tips, techniques and skills that leaders and teams in your organization can implement now to achieve effectiveness in our evolving remote workplace. Hello, everyone, and welcome to this episode of the remote leadership Podcast. Today, I am thrilled with a guest that's joining us to talk about making a difference while finding balance in the digital age. And my guest is David Milliken, CEO of Blueline simulations. David and I have known each other for a very long time. And David has a wide range of experience in the learning and development industry. He's worked for several consulting firms, including Deloitte and Touche before founding Blueline simulations. I was intrigued when we were talking about this podcast to review David's mission for Blueline. And I want to share that with you. It's a two part mission. The first is to make a difference for our customers by creating highly immersive and engaging learning experiences, which is something many in the Learning and Development fields are seeking to do now as we've become more remote and hybrid in our workplace. But the second part is while giving our employees the flexibility to balance the demands of work with their personal and family lives. And I'm interested in both aspects, since virtual works provides learning solutions for remote leaders and teams with a strong belief in the value of immersive, practical and engaging learning solutions. And our mission is to help people work and live well in the digital age. So have a particular interest in the second part of Bluelines mission. But let's start with welcoming David. David, I'm so glad that you're here. And could you just start with a quick overview of specifically what Blueline does and how it provides value to your customers?

David Milliken:

Sure. So awesome to be with you. You I appreciate that you conveniently left out how long ago we started working.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Tell a story, I can tell a story or two,

David Milliken:

you can tell us a bunch of stories, Philadelphia comes to mind more than

Debra Dinnocenzo:

we might have to leave that in before we finish.

David Milliken:

So Blueline, I'm celebrating our 20th year this year, we, for context, were a niche provider, we we serve our customers very passionately, we tend to serve half a dozen to a dozen at a given point in time, you would recognize every single name on our customer list, they represent the world's largest and most respected companies. We actually dropped our last name from our logo a few years back, we're still in theory, we like simulations. But when we did that, because our customers frankly, they dropped the simulations, but everybody just referred to us as Blueline. And actually what became Blueline, they said Blueline that and I just thought it was simpler and better. But immersive learning techniques and simulation specifically are still very much front and center and at the heart of what we do for our customers. And we deliver all manner of those Sims. So we do really sophisticated spreadsheet based Sims that teach leadership and context of business acumen. For example, we do military raid branching simulations to teach coaching using virtual reality. What we found that the sweet spot for time and this is usually what everybody wants to know what you know, where where do I get the most value for the short turnaround time that I have and the limited budget that I have, right? And how do I how do I get time and cost and quality which you know, it's really hard to get all three. And the quality by the way, when we think about it. It's measured through behavior change. Well, the sweet spot is scenario simulations. And because they're well for a lot of reasons, and we'll probably get into those later in the con recession, we glommed on to a couple of simple taglines that frame up my passion or why we love the scenario simulations. One is because context is everything. And you think about world and life and in learning specifically, context is everything. And the other is gray matters. Think about how the world is changing and what work is going to look and feel like in a post AI world. Right? The only thing that's really going to matter is how well we think. And scenario simulations do context incredibly well. And they play in the gray better than just about anything that you can create in a learning context. So the reason that I'm so passionate about this stuff and, and I'm still working my way to sort of our specialty, but there's a handful of things that as learning practitioners, we can do to maximize the impact of our designs. One is, we can design stuff that affects knowledge and behaviors in a way that it moves the needle on business metrics, we can train in close proximity to the need. So oftentimes, we'll train somebody, but they don't really need what we're teaching them for, for an extended period. And that really doesn't serve us, we can put it in context. And we can make it fun and engaging. And so we specialize in designing scenario simulations that do that do all four of those things by putting learners in realistic dilemmas and challenging them to play in the gray so that they can uncover and discover best practices while at the same time teasing out what are the common mistakes that they might, that they might face, or, or do in a safe environment. And so here's the punchline, you ask sort of how do we do it? We do it two ways. We do it synchronously through what we call team based discovery learning. And I have great passion for that we've been building this incredible learning and development platform, the first of its kind to actually do team based learning. There's all this stuff out there for asynchronous individualized learning, but team based learning was missing. So we've got seven years of investment in creating something that really makes a difference there. And then the second part is, because asynchronous is still, by far Wall Street's favorite thing, the the thing that CEOs love, because it's so cost effective is really the simple reason we're doing certain scenarios Sims asynchronously, that are both adaptive and prescriptive. So our designs will measure behavior change, and then they'll also personalize the content that gets served up in these courseware. And content curators like Coursera and Skillsoft.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah, so they have to be customized to each client or have you genericized. Somebody's

David Milliken:

question. No, we're still a, we build it for you. And with you, we're big fans of doing it with you, not to you. One of our great sort of passions is we care more about your outcomes than our processes, we upgrade processes, we care more about your outcomes. So, but But no, it's everything that we're doing right now is still very much ground up for our customers. We do since you asked have a product coming in the first part of next year. that'll that'll be part of that team based synchronous learning. Okay, scenario simulations for leadership. Sorry.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah, that's okay. So, so So I understand the value that your buyers would see that the organization see in this? Why do learners like this approach to learning? I mean, it's, it's really different. And do you see a different response among different generations of learners that are still in the workplace?

David Milliken:

So he asked a whole bunch of questions there.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

You know, I could do that.

David Milliken:

What's your podcast? Yes. The first part is sort of how do we know how do they respond? What do we see? That's different? It made me think of, so last week, we were doing a pilot and I'm allowed to actually say the name normally I wouldn't McDonald's Corporation for new franchisees. The only reason I'm allowed to say it is because they shouted out to us on LinkedIn because they were so thrilled. People were saying things like, how did franchisees do this before having gone through this experience? Well, you asked sort of what, what makes it different? Well, so everything we create, it's fun, really fun, right? Usually there's a competitive element, but it's real. We find it's very much self reflection focused, which people absolutely, you know, you love to get to know yourself and learn about yourself so that you can be better to the external world. It's true to life. That whole thing about it's in context that matters, and it's relevant to the learner. And it said, so the other thing is, you can create some experiences that don't feel very sad that can put people in situations where they're in front of folks in a certain way, or they're, they're portrayed. And we work really hard to make sure that been true to life and say, so those are, those are big ones for us,

Debra Dinnocenzo:

just briefly, because I did ask him a flurry of questions. And not necessarily in that situation. But in kind of across the board and your experience with the kind of new approach and the immersive learning and the team based and the asynchronous, is there a different response in terms of comfort level, and receptivity to it? among different groups, generationally speaking,

David Milliken:

yeah. So, truth be told, we've had really, and this sounds very sort of generic, but we've had really positive response from just about everybody, okay. And we often get a mix of now, I'm going to talk specifically to, everybody knows about elearning, everybody knows about a synchronous, and what we're really doing there is we're creating these really engaging scenarios. And we're making them adaptive so that the people, people get the scenario that's most relevant to them. And then we're personalizing the content that follows that's, that's fairly easy to love. And it sort of raises the bar and elearning space. But I will say that that only scratches the surface in terms of the impact that we're able to have the ones the thing that I love more than anything. And the thing that gets incredible responses across the generation gap, but but also, in particular, with the younger generations is the work that we're doing in the team based discovery. And there's a lot of good reasons for that. But perhaps one of the biggest is that I'm not as an individual, it's not just about me, as an individual, it's about us working as a team. And a couple of things happen. Because of that one, I feel safe, because I'm part of a team. I love learning as part of a team, because that's how I grew up. I love the fact that I'm playing my way through this experience with my team, which is sort of the other piece that's really critical. And then the last piece is I get a chance through these experiences, to see the world through and empathize with my teammates. And so all four of those things are seem to be really, really valued by learners across the spectrum, but especially by the younger groups of learners.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Okay, well, thank you for that. I was just curious about, you know, what you were seeing with that. And so, it sounds like this is a really great solution or set of solutions for for organizations and for leaders who continue to face the challenge of delivering value in all kinds of ways, while while also providing balance and flood, the flexibility that their teams increasingly want. And, you know, we're seeing that in a lot of different ways. And there's more demand for that. I just did a podcast recently on quiet quitting, which really is, you know, a reaction to lack of engagement. So, I'm curious about and I would appreciate if you could share with us your journey. And I'm thinking about the second part of your mission that brought you to the place of recognizing the importance of flexibility and balance because you mentioned that and the commitment to balance and how that how that became a key part of Bluelines mission. Sure.

David Milliken:

Well, this is a very personal story, and you know, that of course, but in 2002 I was at sort of a unique, personal and professional crossroads. I had suffered and recovered from cancer twice. I had two young children five and seven years old,

Debra Dinnocenzo:

both of them adorable as I recall. They still up there now they're handsome

David Milliken:

variable Out of those boys, at the end, had spent the five years five and a half years previous are so completely immersed in my work, to the point that early 2002, my wife, who been a teacher, but stopped teaching, when we started having children, sat me down and said, You're doing an awesome job in what you committed to do, which was to serve as the primary breadwinner while we're raising these children. But I need to let you know, the kids don't know who you are. They and it's coming back, and the teacher interviews and all that sort of stuff. So it wasn't just mom saying this, this was, although it would have been enough for her to tell me, but then the better part of this is, and my wife was my partner. And she's absolutely amazing, she said, and whatever we have to do in terms of sacrifice, so that you can have a life where you can make them a part of your, of what you do and who you are, will do will make whatever sacrifices are necessary. That obviously, that had a profound impact on me. And long story very short, within about three months, I had resigned the position that I was in, which was the resigning position that I was in, and you

Debra Dinnocenzo:

were making a lot of money and that

Unknown:

committed to

David Milliken:

and, and committed to found this company, it was actually called something solutions to so we had no idea what we were going to do our only mission so so I spun off, I had three partners, two investors, they valued the company at a million dollars in their investment. And we didn't even have a business plan we had no, they literally said, David, whatever you're going to do, we're we're with you kind of simple, let me tell you something, the only thing I'm absolutely certain I'm going to do is that I'm going to be done at four o'clock every single day, so that I can coach whatever team my kids are on. And I'm gonna do that for five years. And the rest of its gonna just sort of evolve and come together. Well, for the first two years, I was in a non compete in the learning industry. So I was actually back doing assessment centers, which is a tremendous passion of mine, and something that so we were doing assessment centers for a couple of years, I was exploring the marketplace. And long story short, what, what ended up happening was this tiny little company that was committed to ensuring that me, and my partners could have balance in their lives. And all along the way sort of both inspired some people to be part of our group, because of the thing that things that we believed, but also created this pretty great company. And so anyway, so that's, that's how you

Debra Dinnocenzo:

maintain that, because that's a, you know, it's a great thing to say, it's a hard thing to live, and, you know, you and I or similar personality types. And you know, when we get really invested in something and passionate about something, we tend to give it our all. So how have you helped a focus on that and lived it

David Milliken:

when you left out the part about how we demand that of others to? Well,

Unknown:

it's not just so so it's

David Milliken:

It wasn't an easy transition. For me, it was easy for me to decide that I was going to operate that way for myself. It wasn't an easy transition for me to also passionately believe that in my actions, not in my words and thoughts, but in my actions that that everybody else deserves that as well. And so I will say as a as a leader of a business, that's something that I've had to work at, and consistently sort of emphasize. We did make a decision a long, long time ago, like 14 years ago, to shift from having everybody in an office to everybody working from home. So we were way ahead of the COVID curve and all of that right. And I will tell you that. That shit made it easier for a couple of reasons. One was I had as a leader learn to manage outcomes and results and not be worried about people's time and what they were doing during the day. And all of that, which, which I believe is something that a lot of leaders really struggle with today. So producing the other thing is, it takes a village. So in order to make it possible to deliver really high at a really high level for our customers, we are so passionate all of us about making sure that our customers get more than what we promise every single time and in less time and all that sorts of so we're so extremely passionate about this. And at the same time, we're really passionate about making sure that each of us gets to do the things that matter in our lives. And so men, what does that look like? Well, here's an example last night, one of my key folks discovered that there was a challenge with calendars, and ran across this anomaly where we had a really important kickoff with a client today. And his role is front and center in that kickoff. And he committed and not discovered until 630. Last night that he was taking his kids, one of his kids class, whole classes on this field trip to an Animal Farm. Oh, and there's and then the, you know, the normal knees like will. So how else can take the kids on to the Animal Farm. But the answer ended up being you know what, I've got time last night and early this morning. For you to, for us to work together so that all this stuff that was in your head is in my head, so that I can kick this thing off in the right way. So the customer doesn't miss a beat. So they have a terrific experience. And you can once you hand it off to me go focus on that and not worry about a single thing except hurting 20 kids through an animal or having a zoo sorry, I'm getting those those words wrong. But

Debra Dinnocenzo:

what's interesting about that is that's really flexibility, right? We always think of flexibility as it has to be something we flex on let the team member do. But what you did was you flexed yourself as well as the as the leader and adapted to support that objective or that that desire of your team member to go to the go to take the kids to the animal farm today. So that's kind of a different twist on flexibility, if you think about it.

David Milliken:

Yeah, I mean, so if I don't do it, how can I expect anybody else to do it? Right. And that was why I said the village because more often than not, it's not me that solving that problem. It's their teammates that are stepping in and solving that problem. In this case, it was just such a high profile thing that was going on that I needed to be the one that was involved with it. But yeah, so it's it's a I think you said this at the top. It's a daily thing. It's a sort of constantly being mindful of it. It's constantly Holding, holding myself accountable to both model it and reinforce it. It's all of those things.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah. Yep. So what have you seen, and I think that's an important takeaway here that you can put it in your mission, you can say it's important, you can, you know, put it in your values, but living it, living it and keeping it front and center. And, you know, I think also reflecting on it to say, how are we doing it that not just what's our bottom line look like? But how, you know, how are we doing in living and working the way that we've committed to. And to your other point, I just want to reinforce also, the notion you've start, you started remote work with your team long before host the post COVID error, as you said, and I've been saying for a long time that remote work is going to be the best thing that ever happened to performance management, because it really does force leaders to think, what are the what are the deliverables? What do I expect if people are articulating that and then finding ways to monitor measure whatever, as opposed to that just they show up or other ways FaceTime? You know, that's just so passe. And so I think we're, we're seeing that now we're really seeing it, it's not easy for organizations and some leaders. So have you seen any shift in the demand for balance and flexibility. You've been living it, your organization's been doing it. But in the post COVID era, do you seen any shift for toward either more demand for that? I mean, we're seeing it obviously in organizations that aren't as advanced as Blueline has been just curious what you're seeing.

David Milliken:

So, I mean, yeah, I mean, have you heard of quiet quitting? I think he did a podcast on that. Just recently, yes. Yeah. I mean, what's that about, that's about people. Not feeling engaged, it's about people not getting both sides have their needs met the personal side and the professional side. So the thing I didn't get to or say is that the other advantage that those 15 years and you said it eloquently, it transformed the way we manage performance. But it also set the table for our employees to have a better work life balance. Because when you make that shift from tracking someone's hours to tracking the quality and productivity of their work, that frees you up as a leader, it frees them up as an employee. And it, frankly, it makes it it opens up a whole new set of opportunities in terms of this whole balance thing. And so yeah,

Debra Dinnocenzo:

I think that's really interesting. And I've been giving a lot of thought to what what is the role of the the organization, the role of leaders, versus personal responsibility for work life balance, I think we're still not clear about that. I think there's greater emphasis on engagement. And, but I'm not, I'm not really clear, if that is driven by desire for retention, which relates to bottom line, or a real caring, a real caring for people. And that's why quiet, quitting is happening. People don't feel engaged, they don't feel that their, their organization or their leader cares about them, their lack of empathy, all those things that you and I know are really important. It occurs to me how interesting it would be when people did their annual performance review, if one of the questions that the employee had to address was how am I doing on my work life balance, for leaders to hear how people are feeling about that we don't typically see that that's included in an annual review. And yet, you know, that's an important way to keep it in focus. But again, I'm not I'm not sure that we're clear about if organizations are clear about or people are clear about where the real responsibility lies for. for that. In your case, it sounds like you took on personal responsibility. You had a little, a little wake up call. And realized that your kids were going to grow up and not really know you. And

David Milliken:

I didn't give you the punch line on that direct just by the way, that five years of coaching every little league team, and all of that turned into more like seven. That's and by the time seven came along. They were like, Dad, don't you have anything else to do?

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Well, that happens. But you know, my sweet daughter, My sweet daughter, as you as you know, when she was in second grade, I was I was president of the parent teacher group. And I'd show up at school and she'd be like, Why me? And she'd tell people, you know, I ran the school just because I was president of the parent teacher organization. But she'd be so excited to see me. And then by eighth grade, I'd show up to you know, at school during the day for some meeting or something. And it would be like, Oh, why are you here? To go someplace? Yeah, yeah. So that's an important thing for people with young kids to realize. And I've said this in in keynotes about work life balance, there's only a limited amount of time that they really are interested and anxious to spend a lot of time with you. You need to leverage the heck out of that. The other important thing is, you know, I don't know if you remember this from when your boys were younger. But one of the things I cherished because I've been obviously working from home for a long time, like your way before everybody else started that. When they get home from school when they're little in elementary school, they're full of it for you know, like everything that happened that day and they want to tell you by like seven o'clock at night, if you say you know what happened today it was like nothing I mean, it's gone. So you know, we people that have the opportunity to see their kids when they first get home the little ones, or walk them home from the bus stop, or getting it just so much such a wealth of connection with those kids. And so I mean, you and I are on the other side of that now, right? Our kids are adults, and, but there are still a lot of people in the workplace, facing those challenges trying to excel in what they do, and excel at being great parents and great spouses. And it's a, it's a lot, it's a lot. And so I what I love about what you did was you made a personal commitment to that, to making sure that was front and center. And I'm not sure how you've maintained that. But other than keeping it front and center every day.

Unknown:

It's simply

David Milliken:

a matter of when you face each dilemma, and you're trying to problem solve the dilemma, trying to make that a part of the problem solving in this case, and in pretty much every case. It's it's not. It's how do we ensure that the client has this incredible experience? And then is there also a way for you to have this experience that you want or need to have to are taking advantage of a moment in time? And so I think it's it's but it's not easy, and we're alluding to something we're touching on? We're not really full on yet is the thing that actually is happening? So yeah, actually, what we've had, what's happened is we've created all this opportunity for better experience for employees. And, but it hinges on tremendous leadership. And so we've made and in order to be a tremendous leader and deserve that this often do it well, you have to change and grow and do all these things. And at the same time, we're asking people to take on these huge spans of control. So part of me wants to just say it look, the other side of this is, it's not easy. Leaving in this post COVID world, leaving in this hybrid world, is not easy. The dilemmas are

Unknown:

constant.

David Milliken:

And figuring out how to be able to

Unknown:

keep people engaged, help people feel like

David Milliken:

regardless of whether they're remote, or they're sitting beside you in the office, or some combination in between, that they're equal, and that you're looking out for their careers equally, and that you're looking out for opportunities for them equally, and all of that stuff. The thing that I don't think gets talked enough about is, yeah, we need to do these things. They're the right things to do. They create all these opportunities for our, our larger or larger employee base. And they make it possible for us to retain the brightest and best and most talented because those folks want to have their cake and eat it too. And so this all does that, but helping leaders to be able to do that. Well. And just as a side, and it's this is a little bit of a

Unknown:

commercial, that the use of the synchronous

David Milliken:

team driven discovery. Through our experience builder platform we've been doing a lot of the stuff that we've been doing is around transformation and change and making a significant day behavioral shift for leaders that are going through this right now. Because

Unknown:

it's tough, it's

Debra Dinnocenzo:

it's, it's difficult. And of course, we get a lot of questions about Okay, so like, what's the what's this remote workplace going to look alike? And you know, the answer is not sure it's evolving, and there's not one size fits all, and you have to figure it out. For each organization and sometimes each team and the demand on leaders right now and you're you're speaking to that, and you're providing them tools to make it better and easier for them. But the demand is inordinate right now, and you know, we talked to leaders about the importance of overcoming quiet quitting, by engaging people. And for us that means building trust and communicating with people and reaching out to them. And I have great empathy for leaders when I tell them these things, realizing how little time they really have to do that. And how many leaders, particularly your mid level leaders are feeling some of those own frustrations themselves. They, they don't get to make decisions, they have to implement decisions that they're told to implement. And in all of that, and I have a word I want to put out here as a trigger for people, in all of that, one of the things we're always reminding leaders to do, is to do a lot of seeking and to listen, it's great to ask questions, but to listen. And I think people need to listen to their inner voices as well, which is something that you did what it listens to your wife. But you also listened to yourself, and you said, you know, what's really important to me. And leaders have to do that, they have to also they have to take care of themselves, in addition to taking care of meeting the needs, the different needs of their team members. And, and you're right, it's not easy. But there are tools that can help with that. And being a skillful, a skilled leader is really one of the the, I think one of the ways to make it not so onerous. And, uh, you all are doing a lot of great work in that. So. So I'm curious, as we wrap up here, David, what words of wisdom you would you would give to leaders who are, who are being many of these challenges facing these challenges, hopefully meeting them through some of the tools like the ones that you offer, and that what virtual works offers. So what words of wisdom you would lead.

David Milliken:

So some of the things that we're trying to help folks to focus on, I'd actually I'd offer three words. One is empathy. Second is equity. And the third actually is two words, it's self care. And it goes to, we didn't talk about sort of the focus on mental health. But I think that's also I think, part of the reason why that's becoming so such a point of focus is because of all of these demands that are falling on these different levels. In particular, I mean, I have so much empathy for first and second level leaders, and the roles that they play for all the reasons you describe, and some of the things that we were talking about

Unknown:

that. So, to me,

David Milliken:

words of wisdom, get get as proactive as you can prioritize your people get proactive, prioritize your people make tight, it takes extra effort. So if if someone gave me the impression that leaving remotely, was going to free up your time, they completely misrepresented that to you, it's so much easier to manage somebody that's sitting next to you than it is, that's half a world away, or two hours away or down the street, but in their home. And the only way to do that well is to get really invested in knowing what's going on in their world in their lives, taking empathy, you know, or feeling empathy for that understanding and respecting them. Because that's the kind of stuff that creates trust and ensures that, that those really good people are going to stay with you and be loyal and all that sort of stuff. The second piece of the one I said was was equity. This is probably the number one thing that we're teaching in our leadership stuff right now. It's it's really tricky for leaders to they're faced with these dilemmas where they've got to think of the people that they don't see every day, just as proactively as they do the people that are sitting next to them when job assignments come up. And the easy thing to do is to give it to the person that's sitting right there. Because you know, you're right there, it's easy to keep up. And

Debra Dinnocenzo:

that's a natural, natural way of doing

David Milliken:

is to get a job or work to really reflect on the entire team and think in terms of where does this project or this opportunity belong and how do I and it doesn't matter whether they're remote, full time or whether they're here full time or whether they're in some sort of hybrid scenario. And so that's half of it is being able to sort of think about the equity the other half quite transparently. We scabbard is what we know leaders that are pretty good at. But there's a huge sensitivity out there from employees. And so there's plenty of employees that that are operating remotely, that are especially sensitive to the fact that they're getting equal treatment, and that they're getting opportunities. And so if someone, even deservedly so gets passed over for an opportunity or a promotion, and they're remote, it takes extra handling and to help that person to understand and appreciate that they were considered equally. Because otherwise, they're going to assume or think about the fact that it might have had something to do with the fact that they were not. So again, it's it's this is putting so much demand on leaders. And that's why the last piece is the I love people that put their people first but there is a we talked about all the time in terms of your health, right? You're no good if you don't have your health, right. That's so true here too. And in this case, it's not maybe so extreme as your health but but feeling good mentally feeling good about yourself. It's all those things. So empathy, equity and self care, those would be the three things and then get out there and be proactive with your folks.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Yeah, yeah, you know, the out of sight, out of mind fear that we talked about for the last two decades, when there were just a few people working remotely or telecommuting as we used to call it is just exacerbated. Now, with so many people working from a distance. That that's, that's a really important thing. And you mentioned just briefly, but I want to call it into focus, again, is the importance of prioritizing, and not just prioritizing everything that we have to do at work, but prioritizing what it means for for you and from a self care perspective. And being clear about that. And, and and evaluating that occasionally asking how am I doing at that is a way to keep focus on that as well. So

David Milliken:

I'll finish with a story. My sons are both big fans of meditating. And they've been working really hard to get them to meditate.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

David, Oh, that's great.

David Milliken:

Well, no, it hasn't started, I bought the app. So this is the punchline to the story. I bought the app. My wife and I committed to spend the day at the beach, and I was gonna work through this. This motivational speaker teaching me how to how to do all these breathing exercises and, and everything else. And no sooner had we got our umbrella up and put our chairs down and sat down in the waves, the waves are laughing and we're feeling really terrific. But this young couple, comes up, drops their pals, turns on the boombox to something I didn't recognize. And my wife looked over at me and she said, Maybe you should still practice, this would probably be great for you. It's gonna be another day before we get this. I got to reschedule that. So you're prioritizing his stuff and

Debra Dinnocenzo:

an important and important Absolutely. So. All right. Well, you'll have to keep me posted on your meditation progress. Yeah, that's the image of David Milliken meditating.

David Milliken:

Yeah, imagine that. Right.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

But this is good. This is good. So I mean, you know, no time like the present and better late than never right. So that's great. All right, David. Thank you. Thank you. This has been really tremendous. I've enjoyed this immensely. And appreciate all of the insights and value that you've brought to our listeners and how can people find you?

David Milliken:

Well, shoot me an email DM, Blueline Sam's dot com, or just pick up the phone and give me a call 813-810-1294 That's my direct line.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Get right to him and your website.

David Milliken:

www dot Blueline sims.com. You'll also get there at WWW dot Blueline. simulations.com.

Debra Dinnocenzo:

Okay, all right, good. Well, I hope people will be tracking you down. And I appreciate very much your time and sharing your story as well as the Blueline story. So and

David Milliken:

thanks for for inviting me, Deborah.

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