Change at Work

Resilience and Remote Work: Reflections on the Inaugural Change@Work Conference

Authenticity, generosity, and community are critical in a crisis.

After a day of inspiring talks on resilience, remote work, and leading through uncertainty, the NOBL team reflects on some of the key themes from the conference, including:

  • Community counteracts fear. In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to come together (virtually!) to share, support each other, and generate solutions.
  • Be generous. Whether through your personal strengths, donations, or simply the gift of time, contributing what you can to help others will help everyone get through hard times.
  • Embrace authenticity and openness. It’s easy—especially in an era of social distancing—to hold back from others. But as leaders, we must use this opportunity to be imperfect, to be transparent, and to create a safe space for others to come together.

Read the Transcript

Bud Caddell:

The core themes from the day. There’s so many things that came up. Please, more than even hearing from me, I would love people in the chat box to share with us what are the big themes, especially if you’re around for a lot of the day, that really stuck with you. I think what we’re looking at, things that stood out to me and other NOBLers jump in, was that this isn’t one pandemic, it’s two and it’s a pandemic of fear and that’s when, that’s why humanity has to come first in this. And I feel so much better than I did yesterday morning, than I did the morning before and that doesn’t change the outside world, but this was an incredible opportunity for a lot of amazing people to come together. Both the ones that we saw on screen and the ones that were sharing in the comments and the ones that were sharing online. I feel like an incredible sense of community from that. And that’s something that was really missing.

San Francisco here has been under quarantine or isolation, it feels like two weeks now. It’s probably not been that long at all, but just incredible. So many things around resilience. So many tools and techniques now that I have that I didn’t have before. I love the idea when it comes to leadership, and again, I want to repeat what we talked about this morning. Leadership isn’t a person, it’s a set of behaviors and that’s something that we can, we should see more often and more places and we can create the conditions for it. What are some other NOBLers, what are you seeing in the comments? I’ve been running the screen all day. I’m too afraid to click the comment box for fear of like wrecking the entire thing.

Lucy Blair Chung:

I’m seeing a lot of stuff about generosity and being generous and giving. And I think that really resonates for me, not only with all of you who tuned in with being generous with your time and generous with your contributions, but the speakers, you know everyone who called in has a whole host of other things that they could be doing, should be doing, need to do and to spend a half hour with all of us, it’s just, it’s an act. It’s a gift and it’s an act of generosity.

Bud Caddell:

Yeah. Yeah. Kristin is slapping me, telling me, people are talking about the importance of honesty, humility, transparency and authenticity. This is such a wild moment and a scary one. And I do think it’s important to confront yourself first and hearing from Dr. Mark Goulston, the two Marks are like my favorite people on the planet. I mean, I loved all of our speakers too, but that was a really insightful conversation as well.

Sarah Dickinson:

I think community, but that’s the other big theme that’s coming up here is, someone just wrote, “Thank you for bringing together a group of strangers, leaving us with a strong global community.” I think throughout the day just getting different perspectives, especially in the chat from literally all over the world. I think that has been a strong sense of community that has been bought throughout the day. That’s been a source of solace for many people.

Bud Caddell:

Yeah. Kristin, were you able to hop on or are you about to run a room? I think she’s about to run a room.

Kristin Demafeliz:

No, I can chime in. One of the things that-

Bud Caddell:

Before you do that, you have to get an amazing shout out. We have to shower you with a lot of praise and attention right now for everyone who’s on. Kristin from day one of this project, from this wild idea of let’s try to put on a full day virtual conference, jumped in and organize a Trello board, told us what our tasks were every day, was running scrum every single day, was putting in a massive amount of time. By the way, with the background radiation of a pandemic around us. Kristin is going to be one of those people in my life that I’m always going to be jealous of the time we got to spend together and work together and I just am so incredibly grateful for the work and the humanity in the work. So thank you.

Lucy Blair Chung:

Thank you Kristin.

Kristin Demafeliz:

Thank you and big kudos to the whole team for making this happen and for this incredible vision that came alive because of all of us working together and being such a great team leading with compassion and kindness. So kudos goes out to everybody and to everyone who’s attended and been so enthusiastic and kind throughout this whole day.

Bud Caddell:

Yeah, and to folks who stuck around friends and family, thank you to Jess, my partner who put up with me being heads down all week while she kept… She would routinely walk in and say like, “Here’s a horrible thing I read on the internet about what’s happening in the world today.” And I was like working on the conference. Our fans, support staff, Hans, Craighton, everyone who’s helped us as a part of the team, the whole team here, the internet when it works. Apologies for any Zoom snafus. We ran into some challenges there, but everyone was pretty resilient. Resilient was the word of the day. To Kaylin on our team as well who spent the day capturing notes, capturing some more synthesis. I know I’m missing people, but there’s just an incredible staff and support staff here and partners that we have that have made this possible.

Craighton, I’m sorry, Craighton was visual recorder. You’re going to see some amazing drawings coming out of this that’s going to be all patched up, which is to say like, what’s next? One, all of this content will be packaged up and we’ll make sure everyone who subscribed on the site, will receive that information. We’ll put it up on our academy site, most likely with videos, materials, with quotes, and then we don’t know what’s next. When people signed up for this, they signed up in droves in such a way that was astounding to us and also a clear signal that it’s not about us, it’s about the need in the world and the uncertainty that we’re all trying to navigate and we were unsure what to do next and we’d love your ideas. I don’t want to do this again in 10 business days, but I think there’s a way for us to do something together in a way to build real community now that we need it most.

So you will receive some kind of update from us about that. But we’re more open to your ideas. We held a meeting yesterday literally going, what’s next after this? And all of us were like, “We should get Friday done first.” So, we’d love your ideas. Again, you can always find us, if you found any of this stuff valuable, you can always find us on our academy website academy.nobl.io. That’s probably where the material will end up but we will definitely email everyone. Our email as well, the NOBL email you can certainly sign up for and we’ll share all of these links. But if you’ve already signed up on changeatwork.nobl.io, you’ll get all of these things. I’m not even going to talk about this slide really. You know who we are. We know who you are now. It’s an incredible moment that we got to share together.

The last thing I’ll leave you with before we break out, please stay for the breakouts because I certainly need to decompress with folks. NOBL’s a funny name for a company. When we were thinking about what to call it, NOBL was almost called Organism. Thank God it wasn’t. We decided, I was sort of trying to figure out what to name the company and I certainly didn’t want to name it Bud or Lucy because it needed to be bigger than both of us. And I stumbled across this, the story of the Nobel Peace Prize, and it might be apocryphal, but it’s instructive, let’s put it that way. And the story goes that after Nobel was this incredibly wealthy man, think of him as the Elon Musk of his time and he had earned his fortune blowing people up. Blowing people to smithereens for inventing new ways to maim people on the battlefield.

And then in his last years, his brother or other versions of the story, his cousin dies. And the local newspaper reports that he died and actually publishes his obituary. And he actually gets to read it and it shows up on his door or probably his servant hands it to him and the headline of that obituary was, The Merchant of Death is Finally Dead. And it was stark and clear and sobering what his legacy was and he spent final years of his life and stunned his heirs by building the Nobel Peace Prize Foundation to recognize benefits for humanity, not just pure inventions, but things that could truly benefit mankind and all of humankind. And the reason why we named the company after that, it’s a very, very worthy, very inspirational but it’s just the idea of like every single day we’re building a legacy. Every single day.

And sometimes that legacy is just, is small and it’s important and potent. It’s the people around us, it’s our family. And sometimes it’s these moments that have a huge ripple effect across lots of people. But there’s still our legacy. And unless it’s a conscious legacy, it’ll be something that we really come to be frightened of someday to be reflected back. And I think right now is a moment where legacies are being built. And I think one of our speakers talked about it before. We’re going to remember how people responded in this crisis. And my other favorite hero is Mr. Rogers, and I hope that we all get the opportunity to be helpers right now. And I hope that that’s the legacy that you’re thinking of building. So I leave you with that, with that thought of what legacy are you building, especially in a time like that.

Happy Hour Choices. So we’re going to break out into rooms. Again, you’ll find the links for these on changeatwork.nobl.io, please don’t go, please hang out for a minute. If you want to talk about leadership and uncertainty, come to the first room. If you want to talk more about remote work, there’s so much more we could do. We could do a whole week on remote work. And I think the people who showed up to give us their tips, we’re so incredibly helpful and there’s so much for us to talk about in terms of like how do we actually apply those in our cultures. And then if you want to talk about resilience, come to the third room.

Again, all the links, the Zoom links are on changeatwork.nobl.io and they’re probably in the comments now because my team is amazing. They’ll probably be there in like any second now. So that’s where to go next, I believe. Yeah, that’s it. That’s where we got folks. So please come join us in one of these rooms. We’re so happy to have had you. And then anything, I’m just going to keep talking and it’s going to keep sounding dumber. So I will say goodbye and I will see you in a room.

Published March 30, 2020

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