It's like a shadow of you that can keep growing with you. In some ways, it's the best mentor friend coach that you wish you had.

In this episode

This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to leverage the power of AI to improve their management.

In episode #179, Q Hamirani breaks down how leaders can use ChatGPT more effectively, the innovative ways AI can serve as a mentor, offering guidance and support to leaders and teams, and how AI is revolutionizing job processes and people operations, enhancing efficiency and decision-making. 

We also uncover the pivotal role AI plays in fostering authentic communication, a critical element in today’s business landscape, the importance of authenticity, especially in remote work culture, and tackle the challenges of effective communication in remote teams, offering insights into how AI tools can bridge gaps and strengthen team dynamics. 

An accomplished leader, advisor, speaker, and executive coach, Q Hamirani is renowned for his expertise in people strategy and business operations. His background encompasses a wealth of experience across startups, venture growth, private equity, management consulting, and Fortune 100 companies. As the Chief People & Communications Officer at Paper, he excels in overseeing public relations, internal and external communications, and talent recruitment.

Prior to Paper, Q joined Airbnb in 2018 as its inaugural global people operations leader. He was instrumental in shaping Airbnb’s people and talent operations, guiding the company through pivotal stages, including hypergrowth, pandemic responses, workforce restructuring, IPO, and the evolution of the workplace. A highlight of his tenure at Airbnb was the development of the Digital Nomad program in 2020, a precursor to Airbnb’s groundbreaking Live & Work Anywhere initiative.

Tune in to hear all about Q’s leadership journey and the lessons learned along the way!

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


How custom GPTs are changing management


Using AI as a mentor


How AI can improve job processes and people operations


AI’s role in improving authentic communication


Importance of authenticity in remote work culture


Effective communication in remote teams

Resources mentioned in this episode:


Q, welcome to the show.

Q Hamirani  03:24

Thanks for having me. It’s been a while. 

Aydin Mirzaee  03:27

Yeah, it’s super exciting to do this. And there’s a lot of stuff that we’re going to talk about. And, you know, I was just mentioning to you that we have this script. And we typically start by talking about, you know, your past management mistakes and things that you’ve learned. And don’t get me wrong, we’re gonna get there. But we’re going to try something new. And I’d love for people in the Slack community to tell me what they think of this new way that we’re gonna go about things. But the world kind of changed in the last week, and it’s very topical. And we’re recording this. I think it’s November 13. Yeah, Friday, November 17. And these days, it’s really important to mention the date. But what happened a week ago ish.

Q Hamirani  04:06

Yeah, so approximately a week to date open AI launched their new GPT Bilder, essentially, where anyone can build custom GPT is off the chart GPT app. And it was at open eyes dev day, which was earlier the week prior as well. And what happened was, I think it changed the world in a way where you can build custom jpgs which essentially just think of it as bots that you can have converse with you. But the amazing part here is that you can build one by having conversational text and talk with the medium. So you go into custom GPD builder, you tell it, I want to build a GPT that will take my frustrating and raging thoughts and convert it into a polite Professional Email to Drive effective management with to lead to less burnout. When productivity and my manager not being upset at me and me not losing my job, that’s essentially what I did. And it created this amazing GPT that basically, just could change it. And then the cool part is, you can upload your own custom content to influence the GPT. So not only is to me, the conversational nature of creating something so sophisticated, is so easy. Anyone can do it, I literally mean anyone. And you can then customize it with your own frameworks, your own content, you can customize it to say, always ask and be in a polite warm tone, or always be straightforward and direct whatever you want. And it’s going to basically channel you in a different way. And I think it’s, it’s crazy, because I think the imagination, at least for myself, and I’m sure those that are immersed in it has just gone wild, right? Like I would create a GPT I would say do XYZ like I just mentioned? And after I did it, I was like, what if it could talk in a nice warmer tone? So at the tone? What if it could ask me the person that I’m pissed off with? Is it my manager, my peer or a direct report? I add these kind of prompts over time. So it’s actually thinking like how I would think or I would be an HR business partner to a manager to drive communication. And that’s just one use case. There’s millions of them that I’ve not thought of. So definitely, I think that’s changed last night, actually, at midnight, our time. So I was up for a few hours after that, when I saw this, Amazon released a similar tool called Party Rock. And it’s not as sophisticated as custom GPT builder, but it’s the same concept. And I’m sure they’re working on something that is going to come out that will be just as sophisticated. And then just take that a step further. To think of if you can build a custom bot, for lack of better words, personalized to think, like you in an Amazon ecosystem, does that really mean I could build my own Alexa skill tomorrow to talk like me, who knows? Right, the world is moving really quickly. And I think there’s a lot in there that is yet to come, including some of the dark sides, right? Like there is IP stuff that I’m not really sure how it’s gonna work. I’m sure someone can build a version of q, and put misinformation and put a bad tone, and put it out there saying this is Q bot, and you know, it could be detrimental. So there’s obviously a balance to everything. My biggest thing is just jump in and explore. Anyone can play with it don’t hold back and fear.

Aydin Mirzaee  07:26

Yeah, so I mean, it’s super interesting. It just makes me think like in the management context, right. So people who have been very prolific in their writing, you know, think about, like, what I would do to speak to Drucker, you know, for example, or, you know, maybe someone more contemporary, you know, maybe like a Kim Scott or something who’s been on the show, but you know, has a lot of published work, and like, create, you know, almost bots in their likeness, and just be able to chat with them. It’s very interesting. Like, I love the approach of it’s almost like you’re creating like a custom function to be able to write professional emails, as you’re talking about it in the HR sense. What about the uploading of information? Like do you have examples of, because I think like, that’s super interesting to write being able to add the context, like any interesting examples that you’ve come across, where, like people have brought in extra or uploaded extra information. Yeah. So

Q Hamirani  08:22

in the GPT, that I built that I was referencing, it’s actually called Zen work, buddy. Because again, the whole idea is like, take raging, frustrating thoughts, convert it to productivity, and also calm the individual down to prevent burnout or just losing your job. I actually, I’m a big follower of various Zen scriptures on just mindfulness and how you can think through and take a pause and reflect. So I went and I found the on all on open source, the Zen scriptures and read through it that aligned with me or what I had collected over the past, and I uploaded it into this custom GPT. So what it was doing was it was actually instilling mindfulness into that messaging, not just in the messaging to the in less of the messaging and the email that was crafting, but in its responses to me. So the idea was like, if I am in a bad spot, like I’m frustrated and pissed off as an individual, it’s not just to get to that email, it’s how can it calm me down in the process? So you know, similar to your example, if someone has done work on frameworks, let’s just talk about Korea frameworks and how you think about Korea and how you think about jobs. And they have their own way of what they’ve modeled. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s a PDF, if it’s a picture, you know, it literally you can say, go scrub my website and use that you can put audio, so you can really customize it to anything you want. And that’s how I used it in this context. And anyone can I think, to your point, I think content is going to be king, right? Especially if you can customize it, because the LLM in charge GPT itself is amazingly powerful. But everyone has that right. So what makes it unique is your info certain of your content and your prompts prompts meaning how you want it to go about asking questions you would ask in the conversation or the tone to all align to your knowledge. So yeah, it is a digital version of yourself if you want it to be an a scalable one at that.

Aydin Mirzaee  10:17

Yeah, super interesting. So for reference, we didn’t start by talking about this, but you are chief people and communications officer at paper, you also run PR you do? I mean, again, you’re, you’re responsible for all the people operations. So what are your thoughts on like, how do you see this actually affecting your day to day, like, in your role, you know, over the next 12 months? Yeah,

Q Hamirani  10:41

so I think there’s two things. One is the inside view of the people ops and HR function, I think it’s going to change it in a lot of ways. One way is simply looking up information. So for example, one of the custom GPS that a community member has built because I’ve started a community called people GPS five days ago, and now has over 250 people globally in it submitting various people related GPS, you can type an issue and the country and city and state you’re in and it’ll give you the employment law for that specific region and how you can deal within the law. Now, from an HR inside out perspective, there’s two things one is on the operational front, there’s automations, which is easy, right? In terms of explaining right, like, I even had my custom GPD, I asked him to create the requisition in Workday. And it’s added could do it if I hooked it up. And I can actually hook it up via API. And that’s just an automation, right? Like, no one really wants to go and create Rex in Workday. Let it do it, which is an operational burden that can be reduced.

Aydin Mirzaee  11:42

So how do you actually make that connection? Is there like an action? Yeah,

Q Hamirani  11:46

within the custom GPT builder, I believe it’s actually called the Actions tab, I can’t recollect, you go in there. And you can connect via API to a system. And this is really interesting, because the other bot I built is called job crafter, which basically starts with, you know, I have a need for this work in my team, it will tell you what role you should look for whatever titles for those roles, who should report to, it will then craft a job description for you look up salary information from sites, I’ve asked it to scrub. And then if I hooked up workday, it could actually go and create the wreck for me. So the reason I mentioned this example is to answer your question on how it’s gonna change the face of HR. It’s like everyone has an HR VP at their, in their pocket, right managers have it now. So it can change the future of just not just HR from how HR operates as a people function. But it can then change how the HR business partnering function can help the rest of the organizations lead through their own change in their respective areas. Because this is not just, you know, obviously, I’m focused more on the people domain, you are in some ways as well. But this is going to impact every single domain, right? Like an engineer does not need to learn to write code in four languages, you can literally copy paste it into the chat GPT today, and it will spit it out in four different languages if you want, right, marketing content, you name it like. So I think we can help lead how the fundamental org structures of teams are going to need to evolve, what skills are going to need to change and need to be evolved over time. So it’s the outside facing on how we can business partner with the business to help the overall collective business and organization evolve. And then it’s the internal HR front. So in the next, I would say 12 to 24 months, I think the big mix is going to be we can do more with less in just the examples I mentioned. But how do we implement this in a safe and with a lens on knowing that there could be constraints in terms of guardrails not being met? Right? So IP is one example it could I tend to think of this is, you know, artificial intelligence is the big theme. I tend to think of this as more what is going to be the best combined intelligence that we craft over time. And when I say combined intelligence, I mean, I do think in a lot of cases, not all, there will be a human in the loop, right, especially in the people function. So even in my example, like someone to sanity check that salary that’s coming in or the title, does it make sense to your culture? How are you which one of the recommendations you’re picking the bots giving you? I think it’s not going to eliminate our jobs is what I’m saying completely. It’s not going to get rid of the function. I think if you want to keep a human centric approach to what you’re doing, it’s going to be that human in the loop with AI to make combined intelligence. But I do think that people especially in the people function if they don’t understand it, or experience it, because until I experienced it, honestly, last weekend, last Friday night when I went down this rabbit hole. I knew AI was something big but I thought it was honestly a bit overinflated. And it was talked about a bit too much because like Netflix was recommending shows Give me what, 1012 years ago, it’s not new in its context. But this changed the game for me. So I think, if we don’t understand it, we can’t help the function. And if we don’t understand it, and we kind of, you know, it’s not our comfort zone, or we don’t approach it because of fear of thinking it’s too technical, or whatever the reason, maybe those are the jobs that will be replaced, it’s almost like a human is going to replace your job with a human that actually understands the use of AI and using it appropriately. Because think about even policies of using, it’s going to fall on the people function, right, like, figure out the policies figure out the issues. So I think it’s going to change radically, I think it’s going to be able to let us do more with less. But how do we reshape our entire operating models within HR and within an organization. And all that leads to, you know, the web that holds this all together? Is manager effectiveness, right? If you don’t have effective managers, it doesn’t matter what HR can roll out, or HR can say, our business partner with that is the glue that holds the entire organization together. So helping everyone get there is I look at it as we are stewards of that, and how can we do that. And that’s why I built a community called people GPT community that I launched, you know, simply on last weekend, simply out of a desire of I was sitting alone in my room doing this, and I realized the world was still and how can we build that people focus community together, and I hope to really share more information over time and how to learn and explore with each other. Because I know, I’ve not thought of so many use cases that others in our people community are thinking about as well.

Aydin Mirzaee  16:38

Yeah, you know, what’s really interesting about all this stuff is when I think about a lot of the HR books, a lot of the management books out there, a lot of it, you know, comes from people who have experienced a lot of things, and then reflected on it, distilled it in the format of frameworks, right, and then communicated those frameworks everybody. And it really feels like this, you know, the GPS, or the people GPS, you know, specifically in this case, it feels like it can be this iterative process where you’re effectively training a framework, like I think about the job description example that you’re saying, maybe the first few times, it’s really good, but then you’re like, oh, it’s using a lot of maybe language that is, you know, maybe promoting one gender or the other as an example, or, and then you’re like, Okay, I’m gonna go tweak that a little bit more. And then it just becomes like this thing that is, you know, eventually, I think like, the people in the loop process is very interesting. But I almost think that the people in the loop is almost like a quality assurance, and you’re, like, keep tuning it, and it gets better and better. It makes me think about the future of interviews, right? Like everybody, what’s interesting about interview processes is is, you know, you have to evaluate skill, but then you have to evaluate values. And, and all of these things. There’s a recent example, a friend was telling me, like at a large company, and he said, Listen, we have this massive wiki. And it’s, it’s really hard to make sure that everything that gets put on the wiki is like, almost like in line with our values and our everything else. And so I think they basically wrote some sort of internal thing that every new article gets run against, like this almost constitutional cure. Yeah, yeah. And so it’s just yeah, things are really rapidly changing. And and it’s very exciting to see all this. So how do people join the people? GPT community? Yeah,

Q Hamirani  18:33

so the easiest way to join the community is to go to the website, which is So it’s the people And you will find a button there to fill out a form to join, you will also see community created people GPT is I think we’ve got over 25 already, just as of this morning that I’ve put, there’s also learning resources. So there’s great people in the people community that are already creating things like canvases for you to think videos on how to so I’m linking all of them there as well. So that’s how people can go and get it. And I think you’re spot on, I think the QA comment that you made on people are humans in the loop doing it? I mean, that’s how we have evolved to right. So you’re literally letting it evolve with your own thinking almost in real time, right? Like, if you look at like six months ago, I was doing something and I found a better way to do it. I was like, Alright, I should influence this in my thinking. So it’s kinda like growing with you. It’s really weird because, or cool, but weird. In some ways. It’s like a shadow of you that can keep growing with you. In some ways. It’s the best mentor friend coach that you wish you had, but you didn’t and you can create one. So it’s really interesting. And you can keep going down that rabbit hole of the what ifs. That’s what I loved about it. It’s like, what if it could do this? And then I was like, Okay, it’s cool, but like this email that it drafted is cool for my pee. are a direct report but to my boss, I need to be a little bit more polite and be like show that I want to make an effort. It was my, you know, was it my something I could have done better? So then I put it to prompt to ask for the hierarchy, right? And then I did that. And then I was like, Okay, what if it can do it in a Zen mindful way and calm me down while it’s doing it. So just those what ifs? Just keep peeling? Oh, it almost feels infinite in some form. Yeah,

Aydin Mirzaee  20:25

very exciting times. Hey, everyone, just a quick pause on today’s episode to tell you about a new feature that I am so excited about. We’ve been working on this one for quite a while and excited to announce it to the world. We’re calling it meeting guidelines. So there’s all these things that people already know they should do when they organize a meeting. So for example, you should make sure that you shouldn’t invite too many people or if you’re booking a recurring meeting, you probably want to put an end date on that meeting. Or if you’re going to invite someone to a meeting, you should probably you know, if they have more than 20 hours of meetings that week, maybe be a little bit more considerate, and ask Should I really invite that person to the meeting. So there’s a bunch of these sorts of things that you might even know about. But what happens somehow in larger organizations, is that people forget all of these things. And so that’s why we built this feature called meeting guidelines. It’s super easy to use, it’s a Google Chrome extension. So if you install it, what will happen is it will integrate with your Google Calendar. And that way, whenever anyone within your company is about to book a meeting, these meeting guidelines will show up and make sure that people know and take a second look at that meeting that they’re about to book and make sure that it adheres to these guidelines. So if you want to book or within your company, have a no meeting day, or if you want to make sure that every meeting has an agenda in advance before it’s booked. So all the different sorts of guidelines that you may want. And they’re all obviously highly configurable, because every company is going to be slightly different. But this is the first time that there is a way that you can get an entire organization to change their meeting behavior. It’s something that we’ve been working on for a very long time, super proud to announce it to the world. It’s called meeting guidelines. If you’re interested in checking it out, we’d love for you to do that and give us feedback, you can get to it by going to Again, that, check it out. And let me know what you think. So as we were pressing record, one of the things that you were talking about, and you know, some things that you were passionate about was people having like being really authentic, and, you know, having an authentic and empathetic communication style. I want to ask you about that. But I also want to tie it back to, you know, what we can you know, how this also relates in the world of AI, right as more things are produced, because I think like these things are starting to come hand in hand. So if I’m writing emails to you, using something else, as an in between buffer, you know, how does that relate to being authentic? But let’s start from the top. being empathetic being authentic, what have you learned about that type of communication?

Q Hamirani  23:20

Yeah, so I think in that type of communication, just from my own kind of personal, you know, learnings AI aside, where it’s what I mean, for a second, because it all comes together is, you know, you have to always empathize with people and be authentic. But what that really means is you, especially as a manager, or a leader, which I think a lot of our listeners, that does not mean you always have to be liked, like being authentic and always would mean being real and providing the feedback, but not in a rash and abrasive way. So that empathy does come in that of understanding of how you’re going to land reflecting on yourself before you do it. I think a lot of times, leaders and managers really want to make sure they’re liked, right. And when you’re liked, you sometimes mask the authenticity, even though you may not mean to do that, because you’re trying to just be like, I have this thing that I learned, I read about somewhere. So it’s not mine, but 10 or 15 years ago, that stuck with me, that goes something along the lines of if you want to be liked, go sell ice cream, don’t be a leader, right. So there’s a little bit of just, you know, authenticity means having the tough conversations, but doing it in the right way as well. Now flipping back to kind of how AI can help, you know, for someone like me, you know, I’ll give my own example, especially early on in my career. I was not the best writer in terms of catering to the right audience. Like I still remember talking about stories. I think this was my first job out of college, and I was at a big consulting firm, and I sent an email and I put like exclamation, a couple exclamation marks at the end of it or something like that. I can’t remember exactly, but what I do remember As the senior leader that I sent it to took it as I was being impolite, and I got yelled at after that. Now, I’m not saying I could have prevented that, because you never know how people react. But had I had some sort of help to draft a few versions or see how it could react, it could have helped me actually not be misunderstood, right. So authenticity is also being not being misunderstood, but conversion of your thoughts, especially when you’re frustrated when you’re burnt out, when you feel you’re not being heard. And you’re trying to translate those two words. It’s sometimes there is a translation gap. I know I’ve been through it, either. It’s a mental block, either. It’s just frustration, and you can’t channel it. So I think there is a lot of opportunity here to help use it in the right way to drive effective communications, because at the end of the day, effective management, the foundation of effective management, in my view, is effective communication. Right? And if you don’t do that, you’re not potentially going to be an effective manager.

Aydin Mirzaee  25:59

So every question, which is how do you know where you stand on the communication front? Because what I’m trying to say on that is, you know, as I think about my own world, it’s probably not something that I’m like actively thinking about, which is how do I get better at communicating? So as I say that it makes me think I’m probably at some sort of plateau, right? Because I’m not getting better at it. So my question is, like, how do you know, when you need to improve at communicating? Like, what might you be looking for? To kind of give you the hint that, hey, you actually need to work on this? Yeah. So

Q Hamirani  26:38

I would say, probably a couple indicators. One would be when you feel like you’re hitting a wall, but not getting your message across, right? Like you had conversations, you followed up with emails, just as an example. And someone’s just not getting it. And often what happens in those scenarios, you get frustrated us, you know, you kind of feel like you basically need to give up. And in some cases, people leaves jobs as well, especially if it’s in a manager relationship. So I think when something like that happens, it’s a good moment to pause and reflect and be like, Why was I not communicating that well, like, and you can have the conversation with the person to peel into that. But that’s one indicator of just basically, you’re not getting your message across. And how do you do, the other is not so much about getting your message across. But over time, if you’re getting feedback on your, you know, your collaboration styles, what I mean by that is, you could be getting your message across very crystal clear, but in an abrasive way. And you’re not building that influence and leadership, if you are trying to be a leader, you will need because a lot of it is, especially as we become managers and leaders, it’s less about what you can do in terms of competence in terms of technical competencies, for example, but more about how you can energize and influence people around you to do that. And if you’re not seeing that, you know, those might be couple indicators. I’m sure there are more where you can stop. And you know, just think and I think in the context of AI, forget the custom GPS and forget all that if you just go to chat GPT and just put in any passage that you’re thinking of writing, even if you feel like in your context that it’s pretty good, like you’re pretty good. Just say check grammar and put what you want in there. And it’ll tell you a couple edits, it’s suggested now, again, to the point of human in the loop, sometimes it’s suggest and I was like, No, that’s not my style, like that doesn’t even like sound like me, so I don’t accept it, or I’ll take one or the other. So you can play with that. You can say just check grammar, and put it in there and see what comes up. Or, you know, can you write it in a more with more executive presence. And you can see, again, it’s that whole it rate to greatness is kind of my philosophy, because it may give you something and you’re like, oh, man, this is just does not feel like me. So maybe let’s try it with a different tone. So I think there are ways to see how we can get better because I think my goal philosophy has been through my life. No matter how good I am, how successful I am, there is so much more to learn, and so much more to be successful at it’s not a one and done thing. So if you have that mindset, and go with an open mind, I think you can definitely try to learn and iterate towards that greatness for yourself. Yeah,

Aydin Mirzaee  29:12

these are really good points. And you know, one thing that comes to mind is recently we have a guest ally, a CEO of tulip, and he shared this phrase, which really resonated with me, he was talking about in the context of like, sometimes I had this, you know, thing that I wanted my company to do, and I would tell them about it, and it just somehow it just wouldn’t fully get implemented, like somewhere down the line. And he learned this phrase, and he said, it’s one of the most valuable phrases I’ve learned, which is, it feels like we’re not 100% aligned. Can you tell me what the gap is for us to get there because it’s important that we got 100% aligned, and I feel like we’re 80% Where’s the gap and just sort of like you Hearing that from the other party seemed to really make a difference. And so, yeah, I think I resonate with this in the sense of like, if you are setting goals, but somewhere, you know, through the chain of the organization, it’s getting lost, it’s probably because there’s something that’s missing something that’s not clarified. Exactly.

Q Hamirani  30:19

And, you know, in some ways, you know, I keep going back to a lot of things that we deal in the work life is no different than our personal lives, right? Like you could be in a relationship and the message is just not going across. I’m not saying make your entire relationship driven off AI. That’s not what I’m saying. But although you could, you could, imaginations can, you know, I don’t even know what’s to come. But you could, but my, you know, it’s very similar, right? Like, you have to peel into, like, you know, I’m sure I know, I’ve had conversations in relationships I’ve had where I don’t feel we’re aligned, and you’re trying to like, figure out, Is there alignment possible or No? Or do you kind of move on in some cases. So it’s the same thing like treat, you know, my big philosophy is how we act at work is no different in a lot of ways than how we do in our personal lives. This extends even to the remote work topic, right? Like people would be like, Oh, it’s very remote, and we can’t communicate effectively. And it’s like, I asked people like I had global teams in terms of people management for the last 12 years before the pandemic, I never saw most of my teams more than three or four times a year, it was no different, right in a lot of ways. And it’s no different than in terms of communication, and, you know, effective alignment with today, I have friends around the world, I talk on WhatsApp, we are on groups, but I only meet them sometimes not for years, sometimes once a year, if they’re local. So anyways, I’m going to bring it back to think through anything you’re doing in terms of effective communication and what you’re doing. Don’t think of a just like what needs to be XYZ, and personal can be ABC, a lot of times can be relatable on both sides. So

Aydin Mirzaee  31:57

I’m gonna like I love this conversation, and I want to go to like a little bit more advanced mode. So let’s do it. This is like,

Q Hamirani  32:05

you know, you’re gonna go on script, as I already say, you know, no, no, no, no,

Aydin Mirzaee  32:08

we’re not. We’re not honestly, like fun fact for the audience. Like, we have not gone on script yet. This is the series of questions. Q is just I mean, we’re just riffing here, which is awesome. So on the authentic piece, so I love where you started it. You said, Okay, well, if you feel like you’re like, you want to be like, go sell ice cream. You know, sometimes being a leader involves being you, for you to have the courage to be disliked, like the famous book there, but how do you diagnosis and other people? So say you have someone on your team? And how do you like almost recognized that they are not being authentic? Are there symptoms where you know, as a super leader, you can kind of diagnose that and other people on your team and you feel like something is, is missing? Or not being authentic? Yeah. Yeah.

Q Hamirani  32:57

I mean, I think it comes out, you know, in the sometimes, you know, instinct can kind of tell if something’s off, not necessarily if they’re not authentic, but something’s off, either. The messaging is not aligned with the action, or in terms of what they’re saying is not what their action is, or what they’ve, you know, they’ve confused themselves a little bit from my view when they’re saying stuff. So I think the, it does not start with like, Oh, they’re not being authentic. I think it starts with the instinct of something is off with this individual, right, like in terms of my perception of what I’m seeing, it feels

Aydin Mirzaee  33:30

like performative and not necessarily down to Coralie what they want,

Q Hamirani  33:37

exactly, and then this is where the, you know, I love being in the people function, because for folks that don’t know, I mean, the first 1012 years of my career was not in the people function. It was in finance strategy and ops running my own companies. And I studied electrical engineering and undergrad, so definitely a bunch of right turns. But what I love about the people profession, and why I’ve dedicated in my career to it and will do is that’s where you go in a bit of diagnosis mode, right? It’s like something’s off, let me feel an understand what’s off. Sometimes it could be they’re dealing with something personally, that’s really bogging them down, and they just need the space or they burning out and they need the break. And sometimes it could be like, they’re not self aware of what they’re doing. And that’s translating to not being authentic, because they’re oblivious to kind of some of the stuff that’s going on. So I think, to answer your question, it’s more about detecting which over time has become part of my it is my day job. So I try to really look out for that too. Because it’s also you being self aware and you being you know, it’s a two way street, right? So if you’re not reading or looking at signals or you’re distracted, you’re not going to catch it either. And sometimes, you know, it’s not like I have 100% Perfect radar, right? Like sometimes it’s like, no, they were fine. They were just like they were taught you know, it was nothing was really wrong to to my point. So it’s really unpacking, when you feel something is not perfectly aligned. And you’re seeing a demeanor that you’re used to someone seeing someone super excited and bubbly, and they just seem down that day, it could be just that they were sick, it could be the recovering from COVID, whatever the case is, but my biggest learning has been, don’t make assumptions have the conversation? Because a lot of making assumptions without conversations often leads to misunderstanding and miscommunication and pent up frustration.

Aydin Mirzaee  35:24

Yeah, I love it. Thank you for explaining that. And, you know, we’re getting close to time. So I did want to I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you about remote work, obviously, you were a I mean, again, you kind of let the remote work function and culture at Airbnb now at paper. What is something that you know, now that we have all been doing this for a lot of companies who have been doing this for a while? What is something that you do at paper that you think that other people could benefit from? Yeah. Which is not like a very obvious thing that everybody does like one of the things that helps you guys do remote really well, I think

Q Hamirani  36:02

one of the things that helps us do remote work really well is having a dedicated team and focus on communication strategy and plan. So we talked a little bit about just manage your communications, which is great and very critical. But what I’m referring to in this case, is having an operating system across the company of how we’re going to communicate with the company, right? You don’t necessarily have the watercooler chats, you don’t have everyone’s in the office, let’s just huddle in a room and let’s brainstorm something. So we have built a very comprehensive communication plan and strategy tweaks. But I’ll give you a simple example. We do our all company meeting every two weeks, right? How do we structure that in a way where we’re getting the right message and information flow across to the organization so that they can use those effectively to prioritize their work or deprioritize their work and stay aligned and work towards a common goal. I think a lot of these so I would say that’s what I learned at Airbnb, that’s something I brought over from my learnings at Airbnb, we were very, we had a dedicated team, we still do that is focused on communication. And that includes when I say communication, that includes virtual events, that includes in person gatherings, because I believe remote work is best with a splash of in person gatherings to recharge your, your relationships, like we all know, we can be productive over zoom, we’re having this call on Zoom, when I’m back in Canada, which I come to fairly often love to grab a drink, and we will build that relationship over time. Right? So I think when I say communications, that extends to virtual events, it could be lunch and learns like we recently did a lunch and learn with a board member. And we we had everyone be able to watch it and folks that were busy, we recorded it and put it on. So you know, how do you build that virtual communication channel, the right operating system? And then how do you infuse that with in person gatherings, all that for me is under the kind of communication strategy and plan umbrella. And you have to be intentional. remote work is not easy, right? People think just let it be. And it’ll work. It’s not easy, but it’s not complex or hard either. You just have to dedicate and make it part of your operating model. And then it will work. Well. Yeah,

Aydin Mirzaee  38:15

that’s great advice. And, you know, lots of great learnings from across a number of different companies. Q This has been an awesome conversation. We’ve talked about so many different topics, obviously going off script here and really talking about what’s going on in the custom GPT world. But really awesome to hear about what’s happening in the people GPT community. And you know, hopefully, we’re gonna include the link in the show notes and make sure to get all the people leaders and people and everybody else who’s just interested in how can this help their people functions into the max. And of course, like super interesting about how purposeful you are about communication, even you know, going to the extent of you know, having teams really focus on it. You have to be purposeful in there in the remotes. And so really awesome to hear all of that for all the managers and leaders looking to get better at their craft. Are there any final tips, tricks or words of wisdom that you would leave them with?

Q Hamirani  39:13

I would say just keep an eye on like, don’t get relaxed, like keep that at the forefront and what I mean as effective communication check in with your teams. And when I say check in, I mean check in with really how they’re doing not about a project, right? So I have this thing like do a monthly check in where it’s a career conversation or just to check in and you’re not talking about project. So don’t forget to check in with your team, especially in a remote environment. We get pretty bogged into the chaos, and we talk to our teams a lot, but we talk about work, but just check in with them. Don’t lose sight of that.

Aydin Mirzaee  39:43

That’s great advice in a great place. And Q, thank you so much for doing this.

Q Hamirani  39:47

Thank you and I’m looking forward to hearing the feedback on how we went off script so keep me posted.

Aydin Mirzaee  39:53

And that’s it for today. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Supermanagers podcast. You can find in the shownotes 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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