Ep #86: The Accidental Remote COO With Sunny Ziemer
Be A Brilliant Remote Worker

 
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How do you find remote companies with a great company culture? How do you know if you’d be a great culture fit? And how does a team build great communication & trust?

Today on the show I talk to Sunny Ziemer, the female COO of a female-founded company, Distribute Consulting, who shares the importance of culture fit and why it’s so important for each teammate to consciously create & nurture communication, trust & empathy.

Sunny’s first remote role was a total accident, she had no idea it was remote when she applied, and now 7 years later she’s a passionate remote advocate, and COO of a company helping other companies to start & strengthen virtual workforces worldwide.

She leads a team of 7 plus a few more subject matters spread across the US, Scotland, Spain, Hawaii & Germany.  They have a really strong culture of culture building, and what I would describe as a collaboratively autonomous work style that allows people to run with — and grow! — within their specialities while fostering massive collaboration across their projects.

She’s bursting with passion, and energy, and lots of advice for being a brilliant remote worker. I hope you enjoy it.

Key highlights from this episode include:

  • Reach out to leaders doing what you want to do & ask for advice, it could lead to opportunities

“I reached out blindly to our, our now CEO Laurel of Distribute, and on LinkedIn, and I wrote her a message and I said, “You know, I see that you do remote work consulting is something that I’m thinking of doing. And I would really love and appreciate any pointers. I’ve never done consulting before. So I just love to chat.” …. she wrote me back and scheduled a phone call with me… And her and I’s conversation was just incredible. She had so much information, so much passion. And I felt like I had made this new friend after just an hour. And at the end of the call, she said,…. maybe distributed consulting should start having an employee. And so that’s how I became number two.”

  • You can be outgoing, love people and still thrive as a remote worker

“I love those [remote working] benefits, but then it drives me to make sure that no matter where I am, and and who I am in the company of a remote company, that the culture is there, that the communication is there, because I then if it’s, if it’s being done correctly, I still get to be that people person, I still get to have those connections, I still get to be outgoing. There’s so many ways to still do that.”

  • Go with your gut response in interview questions to make sure you’re the right culture fit

“… get into questions that revolve around the culture of your company. And it is often pretty easy when you know, what good culture looks and feels like in an interview to be able to tell. Okay, I’ve asked them a question about how they would communicate if there was an issue with this client. Their response, their gut response in an interview is going to give you such good insight into if they’re going to fit into the culture.”

  • Passion, trust & asking for help are great qualities for being a brilliant remote worker

“Overall… it’s the love of what they’re doing. And when you feel passionate about what you’re doing, or even just, you like what you’re doing right, you’re not unhappy in your job, that is so helpful… And for us, it’s being open to trusting and who you’re working with, and also earning the trust as well. And we need to have trust. And you need to be able to say if you if you need help, or if you’ve made a mistake for us in remote work, like it does go with communication.”

  • Genuine empathy for your teammates is important

“… it’s incredible when a teammate will just say: Hey, you’ve been quiet on chat today. Do you need anything? I it feels like you’ve got a heavy, heavy workload, like how can I help?” Um, that’s incredible that that makes me so happy to have them on my team. It gives me the permission to say, Yes, I trust you. I need some help. Like, I know you’re not going to judge me. And I think having empathy towards each other.”

  • Take care of yourself and know the signs of burnout

“… take care of yourself. Remote work, burnout is so real. So learn what the signs of that are, learn how you can, you know, take care of yourself and try to avoid burnout. And also learn how to ask for help if you hit if you hit that spot. Um, it is so easy to just burn out, feel silo-ed and continue working and all of a sudden, you’re miserable. So don’t let yourself get to that point. Take care of yourself.”

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