Issue #9
#9 - On "Zoom Ceilings", Open Networks, and Meeting-Free Days
March 18, 2022

Hello from Singapore and Dubai!

As an experiment in shared learning and vulnerability -- two themes we are big on :) -- Usman and I are going to start sharing more about the twists and turns of building TalentStories. This kind of "building in public" is also about ensuring we take the time to write down and think through what we do, as we do it. That we're aware of the challenges we face, and intentional about the decisions we take to overcome them. What's working well, and less well? What aspect of writing, engaging and growth are stumping us? What are we curious about, and wanting to be able to answer?

As a preview, we wanted to share with you first, as readers, that you are one of 379 subscribers. 99 of you have joined in the past 16 days, when we began posting daily to LinkedIn. There are an additional 177 folks who tried to subscribe -- entered their email address to sign up for the newsletter -- but have yet to confirm that subscription. (In almost all those cases, the confirmation email went to their Gmail spam folder).

Thanks so much for reading, and for being such a critical part of our learning. Have a great week.

Aki & Usman


Right now, signs point to many of us winding up in some form of hybrid setup: a combination of WFH, and a couple of days in the office. Critically, it also seems as if many employees in the same company or team might opt for different amounts of home vs. office time.

Many hybrid naysayers -- among them our very own Usman Sheikh, btw, who has built and led remote and hybrid teams for the better part of a decade -- are quick to cite the equity and inclusion challenges that the hybrid model can bring. Stats like these, combined with the fact that women and people of color tend to WFH more often, mean that while hybrid might be a convenient approach, it also comes with risks. And that companies and leaders will need to manage the shift with intent and awareness.


File this one squarely under: 🤯

Look at these statistics. Autonomy, communication, cooperation, engagement, productivity, stress -- way up. Micromanaging and stress? Way down. The study concludes that 3 days is on average the optimal # of non-meeting days, to be able to allow for social connection and weekly tasks.

But it does make you wonder: how did we get here -- and how can more firms experiment more aggressively?


The idea that following people who follow similar accounts leads to a less open network makes intuitive sense. But the graphic does a great job of bringing the concept to life, and tying the differences to innovation, too.

The post is also a great reminder of what data have to say about the ROI of diversification. In this case, of our networks -- human and information, both. 🚀

Work moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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