If you can tell the story of why the plan is changing, they're generally much more bought in than if you deliver some top-down commandment without any context.

In this episode

Ken’s role as COO at Hostaway, a SaaS startup transforming the vacation rental industry, showcases his innovative approach to remote work and leadership. In discussion with host Aydin Mirzaee, Ken delves into the diverse experiences that have shaped his career, including pivotal positions at Hotjar and his unique journey as a digital nomad. His transition from traditional corporate environments to leading fully remote teams illustrates his commitment to transparency, deliberate decision-making, and culture-driven hiring.

A cornerstone of Ken’s leadership philosophy is fostering an environment where communication and transparency are prioritized. He highlights Hostaway’s structured use of tools like Slack, emphasizing the importance of clear guidelines for synchronous and asynchronous communication. Ken also touches on the significance of building purposeful remote work rituals and the strategic benefits of hiring for culture add rather than culture fit.

In episode 7 of season 2, Ken emphasizes the importance of effective team management through deliberate processes. His insights into remote work dynamics, cultural values, and global team distribution provide listeners with valuable strategies to implement in their own organizations.

Tune in to explore Ken’s techniques and insights that have contributed to Hostaway’s success as a fast-growing, fully remote company with a team located across 40+ countries.

This episode offers a wealth of actionable advice for leaders looking to enhance remote work practices, build strong team cultures, and lead with intention and impact.

Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.


 Ken’s journey as a digital nomad


Scaling success as former COO of Hotjar


Balancing family life and remote work while traveling


Remote vs. hybrid, and in-office work


Hostaway’s approach to distributed teams and hiring across 40+ countries


Synchronous vs. asynchronous communication


Why transparency matters in operations


Importance of culture add over culture fit

Resources mentioned in this episode:


Ken, welcome to the show.

Ken Weary  03:58

Thanks so much, Aydin it’s great to be here. Really excited to do this. What

Aydin Mirzaee  04:01

I thought would be a good place to start is you consider yourself a digital nomad. Today you’re calling in from Portugal thank you for dialing in and having the conversation for me at nighttime your time. When did you become a digital nomad? What has it meant? And what has your professional working life look like while traveling to all the different countries?

Ken Weary  04:25

For context. I’m an American and began my career in the states in Washington, DC and then later Seattle. And I was working in corporate America in Seattle had a really great gig work for a great company. But my wife and I went on a running vacation into the mountains of Guatemala where we had a guide he took us running on ancient Mayan farm trails. It was amazing. And we got bit by the idea of a travel bug and we ruminated on it for about six months and decided now this is something we want to do. I was burnout at that time working For the company I really liked and the job I liked, but I was quite burnout and decided I’m going to take a year sabbatical, which meant resigning from the company. So we plan to pick back up work a year later, somewhere else some other way. We decided to become expats hit the road, went to Guatemala took our kids with us. At the time, our kids were five and eight, after about six to nine months of traveling in Central America, we decided, wow, this is amazing. It just opened our eyes, it invigorated us it really excited us and something we wanted to continue to do. The only way we were going to be able to continue that lifestyle is if we had aspects of income. We didn’t quite flip a coin. It was pretty based on career aspects. It was best for me to get back to work, outreach to my network picked up consulting gigs, everything was going well from that perspective, except for with consultant, you’ve got the highs and lows and dips of clients. And while in between clients. I came across a small company in the country of Malta country, I wasn’t even sure where really existed on the map. And the middle spot dab in the middle of the Mediterranean. For those who don’t know, they were hiring for vice president of operations which fit the bill for a lot of my skill sets. And at the time, we were in Belize on our way to Mexico and threw my hat into that and started talking with the founders. That led to an incredible journey for me for the next seven and a half years worked for Hotjar became their CFO, we visited the country of Malta many times in doing so. But it was 100% remote based company with the founders based in Malta. And the aspect as an American coming to this small international startup that was at the time we’re talking 2016 remote wasn’t quite a thing. But we were a remote company, I was the 14th person joining the company. And the ideas that it exposed me to were vastly different than I’d experienced in a corporate world in the US of how to scale a business in an international sense how to scale a business’s culture in a way that connects individuals and keeps them connected, how to provide opportunities to individuals, you would never meet in a normal work environment in a way that enriches both the product and the customer experience as well as the cultural values.

Aydin Mirzaee  07:12

The Hotjar. How big was it when you left? You joined as employee number 14.

Ken Weary 07:17

I think we’re around 402 When I left. Wow, what crazy growth, incredible growth and it was fueled by great product ideation and business ideas, great fundamentals, we had one acquisition where we acquired another product as well as we sold Hotjar to the now parent company content. So it was an amazing journey. Definitely a great career choice for me and a great enriching experience. lrn

Aydin Mirzaee  07:42

and Hotjar was was it venture backed or it was all bootstrapped, 100% bootstrapped? Wow, that kind of growth. And that’s true at a time all bootstrap amazing. A

Ken Weary 07:53

lot of it gets back into what we’re experiencing right now across the economy is the businesses that are fit are the ones that are best positioned to survive and scale. And Hotjar as a bootstrap company always had to respect that didn’t have outside funding didn’t take it. It was always a bit of paranoia as we continue to grow the company of let’s make sure we’re keeping up with customer demand, but not getting over our skis at the same time. And we grew up profitably the entire time.

Aydin Mirzaee  08:20

First going in and adopting this remote lifestyle with kids at the same time was the schooling tough because it sounds like you all were traveling like this was a constant you were going to different countries. And was it easy to raise a family that way? Was there homeschooling involved? How did you all do it?

Ken Weary 08:36

Parenting adventures, got its ups and downs. My kids are now 10 plus years later, my son is 15. My daughter is 18. And my daughter loved the entire experience. She’s now actually as we speak. She’s in France right now taking college entrance exams and intends to go to university in Europe. My wife was the lead educator, she homeschooled the kids. Up until the point when you get to a point, my son wanted to learn coding. You know, my daughter wanted to get into marine biology. My wife doesn’t know these subjects. And so we had to look for supplemental ways. And as we traveled, it expanded and provided exactly what we wanted. So we went to Roatan Honduras, my daughter learned how to scuba dive there. And later she went to Panama and participated in a hands on marine eco lab. My son’s done, it was interested in football or soccer in the US and so football in Europe, and he played football in Albania and Portugal. We stayed in a country from one to three months as we were in full time Nomad mode. Now we’re a bit more settled with presidency in Portugal, but we still do a ton of traveling. We’re in the Maldives last month. We’re going to Norway next month. So we still bounce around. But now my kids have been to 35 Almost 40 countries now and it’s been a very enriching, fulfilling lifestyle for us. It’s also not for everybody. I wouldn’t try to sell anybody on it outside. The idea that whatever you want is possible. And the worst thing you can do is say, I’ll do it someday, because someday turned into no day most times. So we got into the same dilemma of oh, well, I’ve got this great career, my kids, my daughter is actually enrolled in school to time, we should wait and travel when our kids are out of the house. And I think we’d looked at each other and said, Damn, we’re going to be old. No, let’s not do that. Let’s hit the road. Now. That’s what turned into our adventure. And it helps to open up the ideas of kids that there are different ways to operate in different ways to work in the real environment. My daughter, for instance, live in in Portugal, she doesn’t speak Portuguese, she wants a job, right? She was 17 years old wanted a job, what does she do to get that if you can’t get a job locally, if you can’t speak the language, so she ended up getting super creative, she reached out to one of the online schools that she goes to, and said, Hey, I could teach a program for the younger kids in the school about marine biology, her favorite subject, and she did that. And she paid her tuition, because of that. And so that was in we paid her, she got her aspect of the tuition. So you get creative and different ways in which you can apply your own talents. And I think a lot of that has come through our travels and the exposures that we’ve been into. Yeah,

Aydin Mirzaee  11:17

yeah, thank you for sharing that. It’s super interesting, the talking stone who’s actually done it, and like you said, you know, a lot of us, you know, maybe plan to do it someday. But it’s, it is likely true that someday may never come. So it’s really good to hear. And thank you for sharing. The thing that’s interesting is again, so you scaled hot jar, again, bootstrap to hundreds of employees to a successful exit, you were traveling the whole time, and probably were in different time zones. So I think that there are a lot of lessons and especially as you know, the person responsible for the overall company operations. There’s a lot that you know, everybody can learn from you. Maybe a place that we can start is this idea that a lot of people are debating, which is do you stick to hybrid, you go to remote? Do you go back to in office? And as someone who’s worked in both of those scenarios, maybe let’s start there? What are your thoughts on that? Like, you know, can you choose any one of these three modes of operation? What do you think works?

Ken Weary 12:22

Yes, you definitely can choose any of those operations. And I’ll break it into three buckets, fully in office, a traditional sense, fully remote, there effectively are no offices used, or hybrid, which, of course, is a mix of somewhat in office somewhat remote. And there’s a lot of different flavors to the hybrid aspect of certain days in the office, certain teams in the office. And I would say there are two long term scalable models out of those three, and that is in office and remote. I don’t compare it negatively to an office, I think when you try to mix hybrid, what’s been done, there is really, I think, a failure and a lot of cases of leadership in those companies to really recognize what it is that is going to work long term scale, when you’re doing this context shift of in office remote and office remote. There’s a lot of things at play there that come into negative aspects, think about the disruption that you have to your employees lives at that perspective, from what’s going on, if they’re a caregiver, or if they’re a parent, and now they have to arrange different drop off daycare structures and aspects around their lives. That’s very disruptive to your employees. If it’s kind of a Tuesday or on days that you’re going into the office, then it’s even worse, you’re creating a fractured culture environment where who am I, I’m going to go to the office when my buddies are in the office, right? When my closest work relationships are in the office. And that’s when I’m going to go there. Well, what that does is it separates more of a US IN THEM environment. And you don’t get to see the other co workers that you work, perhaps less frequently with or don’t have the relationship. So again, you’re separating the the aspects where you don’t you put people in different playing fields. Also, because we’re a zoom based environment these days where you know, regardless of how you’re communicating, you’re using video. Well what happens in those environments where you have maybe two people working at home and eight people in the office. Those eight people get together in a conference room and there’s one camera down at the other end of the environment. And again, those people are off on a different plane foot. You don’t have the ability to know what’s going on actually in the conference room. You may you still see all eight people, but the sign conversations that are happening or the whispering that are happened, you’re not there. They’re not trying to disrespect or intimidate or do any tactics, but it’s happening by default. It’s subliminal that is naturally occurring. And then lastly, you have people who are like I have a choice, okay, they’re these people going to the Office these people don’t. When that environment happens, not only do you have a lot of the same aspects of just mentioned, but it’s usually people following their boss. If my boss goes down, I’ll go in. And there’s a lot of research around this that shows in those environments, that people who are going in are the ones most likely to get promoted because they have proximity bias associated to them. So I do not think hybrid is a scalable solution. I do think the need for human in base connections absolutely exist even in a fully remote company. But trying to institutionalize that into an office is just not something that’s going to work longer term, it

Aydin Mirzaee  15:40

almost feels like there’s this indecision that is happening and kind of like a fear to commit one way or the other. But yeah, we’ll see how all this stuff plays out over the course of time, I feel like even things like, by the way, I we are also remote fans, your remote First Company, but you know, some things will get better. So cameras and conference rooms that can like, you know, point and get everyone’s facial expressions, and some of these things will improve over the course of time. But your other points definitely still rings. True. One thing I was going to ask you, and you mentioned this, in passing was that at hosts away, you have something like 190 people, but you also mentioned 40 plus countries. And so that seems like a very large distribution. And you know, I have to admit, like, as you were explaining that in my head, I was thinking, well, how are they trying to make it harder on themselves? Like really 40 countries? This is actually a real question. So in a company where there’s that much distribution across countries, and I don’t know if you would say hot jar was the same. But there must be like a very deliberate thinking around how you hire and talent. And so I was wondering if you can maybe explain how that ends up happening. Yeah, so many different countries for about a few 100 people? Yeah,

Ken Weary 16:55

there’s a lot to that. It’s a great question, I would say host away is definitely more distributed than Hotjar. As far as timezone number of time zones. But Hotjar had around 40 Different countries that we had team members in, but it was more centralized. So the first thing to recognize is that you’re in 40 different countries, across when you have something like a continent like Europe, or a continent like Africa, combined between Europe and Africa, you got over 100 countries, right? They’re spread across three, four time zones. So you could cover it all right there. And you could cover it all in the same time zone. Obviously, we don’t. But there is a density effect and a multiplier effect that comes from some of this aspect. And I like to equate the size of Europe to the size the United States and each country is a different state, if you will, it’s kind of like the European Union versus the United States. So you have concentrated distribution and certain areas. In the case of host away, there’s two flavors to our broader distribution, we have more people and we have people spread across North and South America, we have people spread across Europe and Africa. And we have people spread across Asia Pacific. And there’s deliberate design to that. Number one, it’s really important. HostGator is a very customer centric company, we really maniacally focused on supporting our customers and their needs. And our customers, our global customers are all over the place. So it does help and distribution to make sure our team is around there. There is some concentration, we have a greater sales aspect and opportunities in the US until we have greater disproportionate aspects of sales in the US. There’s also a economies of scale that come about across scaling a profitable scale up, we look at different aspects of Alright, well, where are their great opportunities that are known proven retention hubs, as well as economical in scaling that from a human talent perspective. And so aspects around customer support. There’s a incredible economy that exists in the Philippines for doing customer support, that highly educated, responsible, talented individuals are available to service this. And they work in a shift based environment that is optimized already. So this is an environment that we’re kind of plugging into. Across Europe. I talked about how many different countries there are. We’ve optimized a lot of our product and engineering team to be focused across Europe and Africa, because we want the timezones to be more deliberate for collaboration. Host away was founded in Finland. It’s where the roots kind of came about. Hotjar was very similar with Malta, the product and engineering teams being optimized in Europe. And the talent base for product and engineering exist on par with the United States, which is a more expensive place to hire product and engineering folks as well. So I think a lot of it gets back to our roots there. And the unit unit economics if continued to scale around that as well.

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Aydin Mirzaee  21:15

I guess you know, when you first hear it, you’re thinking 40 different time zones. Of course, there aren’t 40 different time zones. But so it seems like there definitely is a plan and you have different regions for different types of work and you’re capitalizing on things that may be a really good place to do that kind of work. So that’s super interesting. But but there are multiple time zones, I would imagine you probably have direct reports people on your team that are in different time zones. So the questions I would have is like what kind of activities do you do on a synchronous basis? What kinds you do you do on an asynchronous basis? You know, I know for example, the folks that do list are famously hardcore Hush, yeah, they’re super hardcore, you open their calendar, and there’s literally no meetings at all. I’m just wondering how you play that, or some meetings synchronous, others asynchronous and how you think about dividing that work.

Ken Weary 22:11

Yeah, host away is a predominantly, I would say, on the asynchronous synchronous scale index is a bit more on the synchronous scale. We use Slack in a very deliberate way in a very architected way, and a very processes around how to use Slack. And so it becomes our lifeblood of communication that can be used for anything asynchronous. If you want to follow a different team follow a different thread, follow automations that are kicking in to provide status updates and flows and automations that come in from those aspects. But it’s usually more abbreviated summarized, and we then meet on a staggered basis throughout. So every team works in sprint, either weekly or bi weekly sprint, and they have a weekly touch point call where they’re going through different aspects associated to that. All work outside of that meeting is effectively recorded within slack within that channel within a structured deliberate way, we really focus in hard on how we use Slack, to the point that it took me a bit to get used to it was in place before I joined but I see why it’s work so effectively, across host away in the aspects that in hot jar, for instance, and past work environment, I would use Slack for direct messages to connect with you get questions, answers, work on projects and hosting, we were actually very, very deliberative like No, use direct messages, if you want to say, Hey, how was your weekend? Or yeah, how you feeling today, you look tired or on a personal aspect. But if we’re going to talk business, we should be talking business and a channel where others can learn, participate, contribute to that. If you have a question regarding a customer, an interaction, a feature invoice, what have you drop it into the appropriate Slack channel? Because what if I’m not available? Well, somebody else can answer it. What if I am available to answer it now, other people can also see and learn and grow and kind of self service from that aspect. So we’re very intentional of like, you know, Hey, stop it. Don’t Direct Message me throw this in a channel. Let’s answer it. They’re not in a bad way. But we see it as part of our values as well, which is one of our core values being around transparency. We also believe this helps to elevate and imitate and encapsulate that value.

Aydin Mirzaee  24:30

What about for things like one on one meetings? Do you do those on a synchronous basis typically and typical format of meeting?

Ken Weary 24:38

Yeah, no reinventing the wheel there we do one on ones on a basis, just a regular video call. And

Aydin Mirzaee  24:44

then what about things like townhall meetings? Do you have those on on a synchronous basis, like what else ends up being synchronous?

Ken Weary 24:51

We do do town halls on a synchronous basis. We don’t monthly, pretty typical format, where we’re going to take a look at the business results. For the last month in the direction we’re headed for the next month, if there’s particular important announcements, we do record them so that if you’re not in the right time zone, well, I guess I would back that up and say we always schedule them in a time where maximum coverage is going to be most of our team is either in the European or American timezone. So we’ll typically do them later in the afternoon in Europe, which would be earlier in the morning in the US. So you have the ability for maximum amount of people to attend live. But if you’re unable to attend live, maybe you’re on vacation holiday or in Asia, then no worries, it’ll be recorded, shared in Slack. Of course, that

Aydin Mirzaee  25:37

makes sense. So you mentioned this also, in passing, that transparency is one of the values that hosts away what other forms so other than, you know, trying to speak in public Slack channels? Are there other ways that that materialize it itself? Or do you have stories or examples of like how that value is actually plays out or is portrayed? Yeah.

Ken Weary 26:01

And hosted way and this was also very similar value and hot jar, that hot jar, it was build trust with transparency. And this simulates really well, with host away when I was actually considering joining the team, this is one of the things I dug into. Because quite honestly, it’s my favorite way of working if you want to put all your cards on the table, and work together, because that’s when you can get the most productivity down as well as the most mission driven outcomes done. So the different ways that we do this is everybody hosed away is given equity in the company. And because you’re an equity holder, whether you’re an intern or a VP, you own a piece of that company. So because of that, we firmly believe that you also want to improve it. And as part of that, as an owner, you should be aware of the company performance and how we’re doing. So we go in detail about and provide open spreadsheets to individuals in the company about business performance on where we’re doing, how we’re going, where we’re growing, what our different roadmaps are across the company, not just for your team, but for all the teams in the company. We believe that this allows you to work with much more awareness as to what’s going on and provide deliberate solutions to even unforeseen problems. At Hoshyar, we did the same thing where it was, you know, let’s let’s break up and you could trace, you know, our hosting costs going up and by how much? And anybody can ask the question, Well, why is that?

Aydin Mirzaee  27:28

Do people do that to look at a line item and say, Hey, we’re spending more here? What’s going on? Oh,

Ken Weary 27:33

those are very insightful question. Very, very few. That goes a long ways to be able to tell a team member, it’s here. This spreadsheet, this link is here for you. Whenever you have questions, dive into it, if you don’t understand it, or want additional information, ask your question very, very few times, if anybody asked, but what it did is it gave such a security blanket to so many team members to know if I ever have questions, I can go and look. If I am concerned about business performance, and I just get a niggling feeling that I’m not being told the whole truth. You can go and double check if you want. Because it’s our commitment to not hide stuff from you. So if you get that niggling feeling or that paranoia, no worries, that happens is human nature, you can definitely check for yourself. And our intention is to tell you about it before you even have to check. But yeah,

Aydin Mirzaee  28:26

and is there something that for example, that you know, other than company financials or things like that, is there something that you would say that maybe you have in a more transparent way that other companies might not zero like a signature, we even share this,

Ken Weary 28:42

I do think their level of transparency and details around growth performance, whether it’s churn, or whether it’s upsells, downgrades, anything like that the level of detail that we provide is is very microscopic. And so that’s one thing that’s unique at Hotjar, one of the things that we did very openly was published all salary bands internally. So you could see the salary bands for every single position and every single part of their company, as well as the career path progression for every single role. And we’re not there yet. And hosted way, we’re still building that out. But the intention is to do the same, again, that a lot of companies don’t want to do that. Because maybe they don’t have people in the right buckets, I think it’s super important to get people in the right buckets. And if they’re not there for a particular reason, have those deliberate and open conversation so that people can understand where to grow where deficiencies are. And by doing so you’ve really opened it up to allow people to see oh, wow, if I reach these objectives, this is also the compensation and reward that’s associated to it. I think there’s a dated belief by some management that you can’t really share that information with people or they don’t want it or they’ll use it against you even worse. And yeah, absolutely. Some will. And those are the ones that are just not right for your org. You can take care of those conversations and through that feedback and mechanisms, but by and large, those are vastly the minority. Yeah,

Aydin Mirzaee  30:08

this is an important point, which is that it’s true that situations like that might come up. But it’s really when looking at the whole, like you said, it’s a minority. So sometimes you may think it’s a problem, but it’s actually not as big of a problem, as you may think, on the topic of people and hiring and compensation. You know, you and I were chatting about this idea of how hiring has changed in the last little while and the talent pool especially, we’d love to hear your thoughts around how you think the talent market has changed in the last little while. But also, how have you mastered this idea of being able to hire people in different countries, in different regions, and also be able to get be successful at it. I mean, in a lot of cases, one of the things, for example, that I’ve heard often is, well, if we hire in our country, like we’ll have people in our network and reference checks will be easier. But if it’s, you know, a foreign place, and we don’t understand it, maybe we won’t be able to do as good of a job on those sorts of topics, just any general tips that you would have for people that are also looking to hire in other countries and want to be successful at it.

Ken Weary 31:19

Yeah, it’s May 2024, not to hurt any evergreen content. But for the purposes of the framing the snapshot of the labor market, right now, it is an incredible time to grow your team, if you can afford to do it within your company’s finances. The talent market is widely available, widely open. And it’s unfortunate for a number of job seekers, because I know it’s a tough market out there for them. But I think it’s important to look at the trends that we’re seeing. And again, we’re 190 People company host away in a very niche industry of short term rentals. And we’re getting about 3000 applicants a month right now, for open roles, 3000 jobs, and we’re only advertising on LinkedIn on one source. And as we look at the quality and the quality is extremely high of the individuals applying, what we’re seeing is that disruption of in office versus remote is real, it is driving people some of my comments around hybrid are definitely being also echoed and conveyed by job applicants. And I think that’s okay, it’s disrupting some of those in office environment. But there’s also people that have worked that enjoined one of the remote companies I work for and have left because they desire to be back in office, having this dichotomy is extremely healthy for the workforce. But it’s also right now with more of the GO BACK TO WORK office aspects or even the hybrid stuff, people don’t want that they got a taste of something that worked better for them. And they’re applying that aspect in their job search right now. So I think that that’s a huge momentum shift that we’re seeing across the board. With regards to hiring tips. I think it really gets back to being true to your process for looking for candidates. Culture interview, this is something that I think a lot of people will miss apply. When you look at for cultural aspects. You don’t want culture fit, you want culture additive? Are you growing your cultures in alignment, your culture of your organization alignment with the direction of the business and look to your core values? Are they exhibiting the core values of transparency, or customer first or empathy is in? Are they showing these different aspects? And how they describe their past experience or how they’ve attacked a problem you don’t look for are they like me, the rest of my team is total extroverts. So they need to be an extrovert yet, that’s the wrong application of the core values, their culture fit.

Aydin Mirzaee  33:53

I think that’s some really good points. And the stuff that I want to highlight is really thinking about culture, add versus culture fit. On that point, what would you say is the difference between culture fit and a culture add like that terminology.

Ken Weary 34:08

When you think culture fit, you’re designing something that is stagnant. It has walls that are built around it, and you want to fit it inside that box. But a business is an ever growing, living, breathing entity. That is when it’s healthy, it is pursuing how to get even more successful. And your culture needs to over time migrate in different ways. It’ll it should always keep a similar set of DNA associated to it. But at times, it needs to evolve in different aspects. And so if you’re trying to fit somebody into a square peg, that’s where you tend to really think okay, let me think about their personality traits or even worse to how they look or different aspects around that. You want to get back to what are the traits that somebody is exhibiting, that are in alignment with the important aspects of your company. Because the customer success is our success is one of our values. And that can be exhibited in so many different ways. If you go in there thinking it’s only exhibited in one way that’s culture fit, culture additive is like, Oh, wow, they just told me about something new and different, that even the evolves things. So I think that that’s an extremely important differentiation.

Aydin Mirzaee  35:26

Yeah. And it seems like again, it doesn’t mean that you are sacrificing on core values, those are things that you’re constantly testing for you’re doing, you’re also doing almost like these take home assignments to make sure that you’re really testing for the skills that you know, people will need to exhibit on the job. So all of those things put together make it so that you have a process in place where you can continue to grow the team, while also keeping in mind this idea of culture add, Ken, this has been an awesome conversation, we’ve talked about so many different things. We talked about hiring, we talked about remote and hybrid, synchronous and asynchronous. We talked about the importance of values in building your team and company, we always like to add in on a series of rapid fire questions. Maybe one that I’ll start with is, is there anything that you would wish that managers or leaders would stop doing?

Ken Weary 36:19

I would say, Stop managing, and start leading, there’s a very distinct difference here, if you’re managing the work, you’re really or the team, you’re actually really on top of them. And you’re more likely to get into the details and be doing work for them instead of with them. And so by leading you’re providing the intentional feedback that’s needed, you’re mimicking the behavior you want them to see. And you’re admitting your shortcomings and screw ups throughout. Those are all different core leadership capabilities, from what’s important to me and how I like to move forward.

Aydin Mirzaee  36:54

That’s great advice. And what would you say is a piece of underrated management or leadership advice that you think more people should hear,

Ken Weary 37:04

I would go with not communicating is communicating. There’s two different sides of that coin. Number one, you shouldn’t always be talking. Silence is golden, you should listen and learn, right? You’re communicating both respect to the other person and you’re giving yourself to enrich yourself, that’s one side of the coin. The other is, by not speaking up, you’re implicitly agreeing or approving something. And so if you see something that’s not in line with the expectations of your team, your business, say something, you got to speak up by not speaking up, you tend to hurt the feelings of others, because you either delay it or worse, you get others to think it’s okay. So find something you’re interested in, go explore it and other one that, you know, AI of course, is all the buzz but use the heck out of it. Go deep subscribe to chat TPT subscription model or Gemini explore this aspect. It’s the way obviously so much more of our business and economy is going to be leveraged on. Don’t wait for it, dive in, consume, iterate, throw away, what doesn’t work and replicate what does.

Aydin Mirzaee  38:06

That’s great advice and a great place to end it. Thank you so much for doing this.

Ken Weary 38:11

I loved it. Thanks so much. Great conversation.

Aydin Mirzaee  38:14

And that’s it for today. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Supermanagers podcast. You can find the show notes and transcript at If you liked the content, be sure to rate review and subscribe so you can get notified when we post the next episode. And please tell your friends and fellow managers about it. It’d be awesome if you can help us spread the word about the show. See you next time.

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