top of page
  • Writer's pictureFrancisco Mahfuz

E9. How A Former Priest Creates Badass Teams with Tobias Rodrigues

Below is an AI-generated transcript and therefore it may contain errors.

Francisco Mahfuz 0:00

Hi everyone, Francisco here. Just before we get started, I wanted to share something I'm really excited about. I recently launched the story powers bootcamp, a course that teaches you everything you need to know about how to find craft and tell stories that work. But it's not just an online course, because you get personalised feedback from me for all the practical activities in three hours of life coaching to work through any challenges, or focus on specific projects. So it's like if you bought a cookbook, but the chef came along with it. So go to story and click on Course, all the information you need will be there. So please check it out. And if you love the show, and would like to support us, you can go to buy me a forward slash story powers. I drink about five coffees a day, so any support would be much appreciated. All right on with the show.

Welcome to the story powers podcast, the show about the power of stories, the people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, Francisco mahfuz. My guest today is one of the best speakers of Matt, and also my good friend, Tobias. Tobias is a Communication Coach at the ESA business school in Barcelona. He also offers effective team playing workshops, leadership, coaching, keynote speeches, and conflict mediations, international brands, including eBay, Henkel HP, King, and PayPal. In short, he helps companies build badass teams. If that wasn't enough, Tobias also makes the most lethal margaritas have ever had. I had a lot of fun talking to him. If you'd like to, please leave us an iTunes review and tell your friends about it. If you don't like it, you can always tell your enemies. I'll take all the listeners I can get. Alright, ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy the great and powerful, Tobias Rodriguez. Tobias, welcome to the show. How you doing my man?

Tobias Rodrigues 2:05

I'm good. Thank you for having me. Here in this confinement of Barcelona.

Francisco Mahfuz 2:10

Yes, it's it's strange times with even I feel obliged to tell everyone when we when we recording these interviews that we are in the middle of a pandemic, which always sounds very strange saying, but you know, locked in a house in a house. It seems the perfect time to do recording podcasts over the internet.

Tobias Rodrigues 2:29

No, I just say as long as you keep up with the morale because if you're if you're recording podcasts, but your your mood is shit, then it's really not.

Francisco Mahfuz 2:37

That is true that it's true. I, I had a strange first job. I got hired to build a website for the Brazilian government. But I hardly knew how to use a computer at the time. It explains a lot of why my country is such a mess. But my first job seems pretty normal compared to yours. Do tell us a bit about that.

Tobias Rodrigues 3:02

So my first job actually was was doing cleaning in my dad's and his brother's company, best way in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where I was born and grew up. And it was a terrible first job because it was on Saturday mornings, I get there at about 6am and had to had the whole thing all nice and clean before 9am When clients started coming, and then the worst part came, because then I'd have to go to the back parts where the clients were not allowed. And that meant these weird basements that were dark and it was scary. And yeah, so that was my first job. I think the job that you're referring to, is my first profession or vocation as a Catholic priest. So what would you like to know about that?

Francisco Mahfuz 3:48

Well, I find it interesting that your first professional experience included scary dark basements, which is my recollection of the church when I was young. But he has that is very much the one I think it would be interesting to talk about.

Tobias Rodrigues 4:05

Well, it was it was a fantastic experience. It was a great investment of my life, 15 years, so six years in the seminary for less than nine years. active service to the Catholic communities. I also did five years in Rome, where I did my my master's degree in Bible studies. And I worked before that for four years in the Azar is in the communities.

Francisco Mahfuz 4:35

And a lot of a lot of people, myself included before I met you tend to think that a priest job is mostly preaching and officiate and ceremonies or doing a marriage and relationship counselling. But but you had some fairly intense experiences working with prisoners and terminal patients, right.

Tobias Rodrigues 4:56

Yeah, one of the good things about being a Catholic priest He says you, you get the opportunity to be a jack of all trades. And there's lots of service to be done that you can then tailor to your, your likings or your talents. So if you're an academic you there's there's lots of room there. If you're more of a spiritual kind of person, there's also opportunities for that. I was also always a little bit of a renegade at the age of 14. My family and I went to visit our grandparents in the Azores. were six of us. And I guess, my parents tried to avoid a mutiny. They didn't tell us that we were visiting, they told us we were visiting. But in reality, we're actually moving there. So at the age of 14, when when I got that news, it was a traumatic experience. I died, Winnipeg, Canada in the 1990s, compared to a small island in the middle of the Atlantic. So it was a shock in terms of my identity, you know, who the hell am I everything that I thought I was disappeared from one day to another, including most of my language, my friends, my hobbies, I remember going to school and talking about the Simpsons. And everybody would look at me at this guy, where is he coming from? Like, what? What are the Simpsons, right? So it was it was a real shocker in terms of identity and also in terms of relationships with people, you know, the people that I most trusted, my parents were able to do one of the one of the most horrible things at the time for me, which today I see as a nice experience. So what I'm getting at is that, that made me kind of question things and, and, you know, want to find answers and want to make sure that those answers applied to the real world. So I was kind of the geeky guy, I studied a lot. I liked studying, I did a lot of the philosophy and then the psychology and theology. And then I tried to practice that in the real world. And instead of doing the conventional catechism to the, you know, first grade, second grade, I decided to do my extracurricular activities and jails, and eventually ended up also being the chaplain of the hospital. So I had the opportunity to, to deal with with people with humanity, and in some extreme circumstances.

Francisco Mahfuz 7:19

And the prison experience is one that I think for most people, is just so beyond what we understand of, of, of anything, really. I mean, we just, I just don't think we have any understanding of what goes on. So can you just give me some examples of the type of things you used to do in prison other than other than, you know, performing as a priest.

Tobias Rodrigues 7:46

So I started back when I was still in the seminary, and we were three of us at the time. My colleagues, Paul Lou antidotal, and we would visit every Saturday, we'd go mid afternoon, and these were the golden ages back then. The the director, concept, so she was she was a Catholic, so she was very open to, to religious services in in in the jail, and she gave us some freedom. So we had access to all have the facilities for about two or three hours, where we chat, play cards, foosball, and then we get to know you know, if there was someone new that came in and give them some support. We always knew the ones that were a little bit poor, and so they bump some cigarettes from us. And then we'd celebrate maths and maths was in in the open space. The chaplain at the time, fathers just seemed to he he would, he would celebrate maths. And we'd have you know, the, the ones that normally come to maths, which was only a small, small number, and then they'd go to that to the cells. That was the regular kind of thing we did every week. And then we had activities. We there was a small group that had authorization to leave the jail. So there was a carnival one year we prepared a small play with with with the prisoners, and they got to tour around the island during Carnival was fantastic. The they messed it up every single time. They never got the thing in order. There were three acts but it was never in the right order. But the idea was about doing something and getting out there. I think the biggest experience I had was due to father's just seem to one day he called us into his office, the three of us and he said, Okay, it's all set. You guys have a green light and we were green light for and yeah, I spoke to the director and she said you guys can do the two day retreat with the prisoners and the what? So we had we had had dinner. Well, this is the Saturday after visiting the chair we went to dinner and someone joking. One of us, you know, talked about doing a retreat. But it didn't take it seriously at all. And father just seemed to he was just crazy out of his head. Fantastic missionary, you know, he's a big mind. So the next Monday morning, he called he got the authorization. And so there we were, we had them from a Friday evening to a Sunday afternoon. 30 prisoners that signed up, we had a different schedule, we had even a different room for them, and no guards, and we got to do a retreat with them in terms of personal development, reflection, how they could deal with difficult things that that they had done, and how could they move on from that. And it ended epically with a typical mass, and we got these 30 prisoners, and we had some heavy duty, we had class a drug dealers, we had a PETA file, we had someone that had killed their neighbour over a football game. And there they were the 30 of them, plus the three of us, sitting in the ground on the ground in a circle singing Kumbaya, my lord. And I remember, on the side, the director came to the match, she was sat on a chair, and there's a tear, you know, running down her face. And then in the end, she said, You guys you managed to do in three days, or have been trying to do in 30 years. And so that was like one of the sweet moments of, you know, I was 23 or 20. Now, before I was 22, got the most. So really rocky had no idea all the heart into it and trying to do the best you can and some nice things happen.

Francisco Mahfuz 11:40

Perhaps it shouldn't be. But the thing that that strikes me as more surprising of that of that story is that anyone actually sings Kumbaya. I think kumbaya was just the example of the song that no one know in real life seems anymore. But you know that this was a while back. So perhaps

Tobias Rodrigues 11:59

you're on 1997? My friend, it's been a while?

Francisco Mahfuz 12:03

Yes, we have that. We haven't developed self awareness. But then. And I know you, I know, you met your wife, just before you left the church, which seems like very suspicious timing. But we don't need to get into that. What I do want to know is how do you move from, from priest to speaker was how I met you in corporate trainer? I mean, as soon as you laughed, what was that? What was the story behind behind that, that your development in that area?

Tobias Rodrigues 12:36

Sure, feel free to come back to to my wife and the story and the end days of a priest. So your question right now is about. So this was in May 2009. At the time, a Claudia, she bought me a, she did a surprise and she bought me a ticket to come see Mariza, who's a photo singer, here in Barcelona at The Palazzo della musika. And, and by then, it had become clear that I could no longer continue as a priest. And we can come back to that if you want in just a moment. And since that was clear, you know, I didn't we couldn't stay in Rome, Rome was fine if you're a student, but if you start having an active life, it's a little bit chaotic. So there was no there was no way we're gonna stay there. And I had no special place to come. So we came in and on that trip, I remember going to the metro was the purple line. I don't remember the station and it said 30 seconds. And I started laughing internally because you know, the metro and row might say 30 seconds and then five minutes and then come back next week. So in the metro actually came in it got down to zero. I said, this is heaven, I want to live. So that was my

Francisco Mahfuz 13:55

countdown, a countdown that actually been something.

Tobias Rodrigues 13:59

Exactly. So Claudia had the offer to work here. And I decided to come I landed here. And so in September after the vacations were already in the meantime, I got a flat and I was thinking of doing another another degree if going back to school because I thought you know, religious stuff who wants and Claudia hooked me up with a friend of hers. His name is Augustine. He's a priest. He's now in his 80s he just retired. I had this voice like this in his career. And I said, well, well, I'm going to do another degree to go nah, yo, yo, you've got more studies than most people ever need. No, no, no. You got to do something quick. I'm going to hook you up. So from there, I went on to do a master's degree in conflict resolution. And he hooked me up with Andres Martin, who was the founder of the foundation for emotional education here in Boston. salona and they had their module on conflict resolution as a pack of train the trainer. So it was five modules. One of them was conflict resolution, and I was finishing by then the the master's degree. And he said, Listen, you do the other four modules. And then you can do the one on conflict resolution. And so I did. One of the modules, there was public speaking, it was in Spanish, and who was the trainer, Florian work, Florian who, also a public speaker, and now great friend. And so at the time, I wasn't telling anybody that I used to be a priest, I thought that was a real bummer. And so when I got up to speak, he kind of freaked out that I kind of knew what I was doing. While I had nine years as a priest of experience. So he invited me to Toastmasters. And then from Toastmasters, I did a couple of speeches started creating my initial idea actually, was to be a mediator. In business and family. When I finished the Masters, I realised two interesting things. One was, at least at the time, if you wanted to work for the Catalan Government, you'd have to have done the course at the Barcelona University. And I didn't do it at the University of Barcelona I did at that university at Obed. Catalonia, so I can work there. And then in companies, mediation wasn't as big as it is, for instance, in Holland, the UK, Canada and the US. If I couldn't do mediation, I decided I teach mediation. So I took advantage of my experience in communication and public speaking and built a module in terms of conflict resolution in the workplace. And at Toastmasters, I don't know if you if you, if you met her Eleanor Thomsen

Francisco Mahfuz 17:02

sharing method before she before she was still in the club for a while before, before I, before she left I was we, we had we had some time together. But she was on her way out when I when I joined.

Tobias Rodrigues 17:16

Yeah, so Eleanor is a doctor. And she worked at the PRB, the Biomedical Research Park of Barcelona. And she ran their a in intervals programme, which was continuous development programme for the whole Biomedical Research Park. And so she invited me to do a module there on dealing with conflict and playing better as a team member. The scientific community is very diverse. And so you needed some some good skills in terms of how to be a better team player. And that was my first client, I think it was 2012 or 11. And I've been going back twice a year since then, you've now just passed last month I was there, doing my programme and how to be a better team player.

Francisco Mahfuz 18:13

Okay. And since you've, you've alluded to it a couple of times, you might as well just just jump on that. But from your your last not days necessarily, but from from when you quit the church, and you know, that that decision to quit the church and go into the unknown or the gas? I mean, that must have been not the easiest decision you've ever taken, I guess.

Tobias Rodrigues 18:42

No, it's it was it was painful. So what happened was, due to my experience that I mentioned that the age of 14 and being a little bit, you know, questioning stuff, and when I signed up to be a priest, I signed up to be part of something that would be, in my opinion, profound and meaningful. I wasn't up for much of the traditional status quo stuff. I knew it was there. But then, you know, as I said, at the beginning, there's there's a great field. And that's why I asked to go to Rome and study the Bible, because that's the foundational document to really get a sense that if my intuitions that, you know, the church could change and could change faster and deeper. And those suspicions were confirmed, the more I studied the Bible, the more I got the feeling that those changes could happen. But and this is the funny part was the more I got to know how the Vatican worked, the more I realised that that wasn't going to happen the way I had imagined. And that was my mistake. The church is an institution that is 2000 years old, and you can't ask, you know, a granny to run quickly, you know, then they need to go slowly, because if they go quickly, you know, that they might get hurt. So when I realised this dilemma, I first tried to do what most of my colleagues do, which is, you know, accept the fact that you're going to be part of a very small change in your lifetime. But in the long run that will pay off. I tried that for about a year, it was about my last year in Rome, or second last year, and I was miserable, it didn't work. And then that started affecting the work that I was doing. And so the decision became very clear. It was a simple decision, you know, I had to go, it wasn't easy. But so I guess the hardest part was, once I realised that I needed to go, it's where do you go from here?

Francisco Mahfuz 20:50

So nowadays, most of a lot of the work you do is going into companies, usually large international companies, and making their teams better. So the first question I have about that is, what are the most common mistakes or problems you find in how teams are managed or how they're put together? What's almost, if there is such a thing, almost always a problem that you have to deal with, when you go in.

Tobias Rodrigues 21:21

So one thing is the magic bullet mistake, which is, sometimes the leaders are the company's for numerous reasons. Sometimes it's resources, sometimes it's not. They, they most of the work is, you know, let's, let's get in this activity, and, you know, let's just do a morning and then hope that that morning of work, will magically solve the tensions and the problems and things will get better. One mistake that I normally see is that most teams, they're they're, they're putting out fires, they're not building better infrastructures that can deal or avoid those fires. On the whole. It's, it's, it's hard to see companies that there are some, but that really a bet and building their teams. Then, related to that another mistake is is focusing on the productivity on getting results. And the mistake that, that sometimes it's easy to, to fall into, is to realise that the only way to get that is to start with people. Right? So the more you invest in people, the more that pays off, it takes a while. You know, if you want the metaphor of a body, you know, you can do a quick diet, you can, you can, you know, have the bikini operation. But if you really want to have a healthy fit body, it requires some work in terms of getting certain things box down and habits. And then that that pays off in the long run. And other mistakes. That for me is a game changers is sometimes leaders assume that people are dumb, and they won't be able to do it without me. Right. And Liz Wiseman, she she wrote a book called multipliers. So she's from the USA, she studied a whole bunch of companies on what makes some teams better than others why? Why do some teams actually excel. And she came up with this this term, which is called multipliers, some leaders come in and actually make people better than what they are, they make teams deliver much more than can be expected. And some do the opposite. And that the the number one, or the stepping stone, is the assumption that you make about people. So when I walk a walk into work with a team, the assumption is people are smart, and they will figure it out. And so leaders that have that assumption, the way their teams perform, is much better than than the other ones.

Francisco Mahfuz 24:23

It's interesting that you say about the the leaders who think that people can do it without them. I perhaps was lucky that when when I started doing any type of leadership, and this was many years ago, when I started managing, I think there was a team of 10 people and and my boss at the time the team was doing was doing well. And he would come to me and say, You know what you're doing I haven't seen you do much today. And I said, I haven't had to do much that mean everything's going well when they said Oh that's perfect then because if you have to do a lot is because you haven't taught them anything. Your job is to To be useless or not useless, but to be unnecessary. If I need you here every day where everything falls apart, then you know, that's not you doing one part of the team or the leadership job but but you're definitely not doing the educational part or instigating self reliance and initiative in your team. And so nowadays, when you, when you when your corporate environment is perhaps, that you know, very far very distant from your background, on in the in the church, how much of that experience still filters through, either through insights or stories that you're sharing in training?

Tobias Rodrigues 25:42

A lot. I would say that, you know, 90% of the success is due to my background. As a 20th century philosopher, Jim Morrison said, people are strange when you're a stranger. People are people, whether in a corporate environment in their homes, we have multiple identities if we want. We're different a little bit with our friends than we are at work. But you know, human nature is human nature. And my job as a priest for nine years, and those six years, the seminary and dealing with people I worked with kids, I taught kids with special needs, I did you know, from grade one to grade 12, I lived in Jerusalem, I did five in Rome, I've been fortunate, very, very fortunate to have dealt with people and many different circumstances. Having been a priest, part of the job description is people open up to you, like bartenders and taxi drivers, we get to see the inside of people's lives. And that gives you some insight into you know, how people work. So it allows me to be someone that is fairly close to people, someone that is naturally friendly, naturally hopeful. I tend to like to see myself as playful, although I am aware, it can be sometimes boring. And that experience, the second hand, it becomes almost in an intuition on how to interact with people, many of the things that I do, like in terms of what companies do, I don't know. So it goes back to your people are smart, they'll figure it out, my job is not to understand their job better than them. My job is to create the opportunity in the environment that will allow them to get there. And that is fundamentally human nature one on one.

Francisco Mahfuz 27:54

So when you have when you have this wealth of experience and stories, and and I've seen you tell stories on stage, and you're a great storyteller, but my question is, when you're doing this professionally, do you take time to select and craft whatever stories you're going to use? Does it just come naturally? You know, how does that process work when you when you go into work in the corporate environment.

Tobias Rodrigues 28:22

So scenario number one, I have my my fixed trainings, so the 12 steps to become a better team player and the the 360 feedback, so the gift of growth, how to how to say the hard stuff, to teammates, and those programmes are fixed. So I use the same stories in the same formats. Then, the other scenario is when I do a customised training, where I'm asked to, you know, I'm briefed, I'm given this, this is what we want to go or this is what we're dealing with. Let's take two days, and let's work on these issues. So they're typically I like, when I create a format like that, I typically find an overarching metaphor for the whole programme. And then that metaphor is translated both visually, if I have some kind of symbol, I give that metaphor or theme, a Greek name. So I try to make use of the ancient languages that I studied. So I always give it a theme in Greek. Exactly. And then based on that I find a story in my experience, most of them direct experience, or stories of people that I met that is related to that theme, and then apply. And so again, you Got a theme, the theme can be very specific to the situation, but it's something that other people share in your experience of living. So it's it's it's, it's I always have like awesome stories to tell about my grandfather or things that I learned in the parishes and people I've met that in one way or another relate to the theme that we're we're working on.

Francisco Mahfuz 30:23

I'm guessing that today was not the first time you did the impression of father Augustine.

Tobias Rodrigues 30:29

No, no, no, I have to practice a lot, because he's got a very special

Francisco Mahfuz 30:34

that that voice gave too easily for, for survivors just a spur of the moment. So I like this idea of the of the metaphor that you use on a longer retreat or training session. Can you just give me an example of the type of metaphor imagery that you'd use over a longer programme?

Tobias Rodrigues 30:52

Well, the last one we did, it was it was working on strategy. And so this is a team that's been working on innovation for about two years, we've been working, we've been going away four times a year for two days. And now they're coming to the point of strategy. And so the Greek word is strategic gale, there, the theme was the general. And that's what it means in in Greek. So the strategist is the person that bleeds the army into battle. And so the metaphor there, the strategy is leading people into A into, into a new problem that they're trying to fix. And then from there, we moved on, it was based on a book, good strategy, bad strategy. And there the metaphor is strategy as a first step is doing a diagnosis, understanding what the real problem is. And that relates to my last blog post, which is the seven rookie mistakes leaders make when when leading teams remotely. And the first mistake would be to fail to do a diagnosis to reassess what the real problem is. Other metaphors that I've used, the heart card, the I, I've also used for innovation architect on which is the master builder. So if you want to be an innovator, you want to be an expert in innovation want to be a master builder of innovation? I don't know if that answers your question.

Francisco Mahfuz 32:44

It doesn't. And one question I have is, I mean, it's something I don't think it's so much my question, but it's a question that a lot of people have is when whenever you tell people about stories, or using stories in this type of environment, a lot of people haven't been exposed to that or haven't been paying attention. Always think it's a little strange, where you're going to tell a story about your grandfather, in a corporate training. I mean, that's not something that unfortunately, most people have been exposed to. My experience with that is a story stories always work. If you tell a story people listen to you. And if you pick the right story, then it has much greater impact than you just lecturing them about it. But is that has that been your experience with with using stories in environments are supposedly not suited for this type of this type of fancy or or less professional thing?

Tobias Rodrigues 33:44

There, the trick is the delivery, right? If you can deliver the story, relatively short at the beginning, and then make a clear link to the theme. And if the theme is you did the brief meeting correctly, and you understood what is going on with that team? Then it instantly clicks, they make a connection between Yeah, this this nice story, or weird story with oh, this is where we're going through. So if you do and when I managed to do that? Well, it's it's it's an awesome effect. You see, they're hooked, right? And then you can come back to that theme and that story throughout the two days, and then you end with it and it becomes nice and harmoniously. Sometimes if the story you know, if I didn't find the right story or pick the wrong story, and that connection is not clear. Then you see that it's you know, it's it's a bit of a copy paste. And other than that, I haven't had problems. I had one training but this team came in, you know, they didn't want to do the trading. So whatever I threw at them they weren't going to like even if I dance the tango in my underwear, they were they were gonna buy it.

Francisco Mahfuz 34:58

I don't think anybody I was going to like that, Tobias, I don't think there was ever a right moment for you to does the Tegrity. Other way, whatever.

Tobias Rodrigues 35:07

I haven't given my hopes up my friend.

Francisco Mahfuz 35:11

Okay, so So you had touched on something, which I think would be remiss not to talk about is, obviously, teamwork looks a lot different right now than it did a few months ago. Or at least the look of it looks very different. Because at the moment across the world, I think something like a third of the world is working from home. And, and I know there are very few companies that actually have that as their normal modus operandi, I think the numbers in America, only 5% of people work from home. And I doubt that Spain is significantly higher than that. So I wanted one, just your take on, just expand a tiny bit on if there was one or two things that that people should be doing right now to get through this period. And also your take on the viability of remote work for teams going forward, which is something we hear a lot now as something that might come in a lot more, because a lot of companies are realising perhaps I don't need to spend all this money in a very large office, if my team can work from home. But obviously, there are challenges and obstacles there. What is the one thing that anyone working in a team remotely right now should be focusing on? So that's the first thing I want to I wanted to know.

Tobias Rodrigues 36:29

So that's the easiest answer is to read that blog post that I have, it's on Tobias You click on goodies, which is the blog and you read the six rookie mistakes. And they're very simple things. They're across the board, what we really want to teams really, or leaders, whoever's leading the team, right now wants to take the opportunity to really stop and that goes to the diagnosis, understand what is the new challenge, and I'll give you a simple example. So our daughter, she's six years old, and she's going to be home and she goes to a private school, we chose a private school because it has English. And I speak to her Portuguese. And right so now we have the ease that teachers are checking in every single day, three or four times. And she gets live classes, she gets to hear her calling, and then she has a little homework, right? The school hasn't done this and not surprised, and I'm pending to talk to the director, which is assess the new situation, the school is trying and they said is is trying to achieve the maximum amount of the the academic objectives that we can't, that is a wrong diagnosis of the situation. Right now, what schools want to be doing is reassuring that the children are well. And fostering that well being along with some education of math. For instance, in Canada, the government has said everyone has already passed the year. You're not worried about that. Yeah. So that this is a practical example of reassessing the situation, what is it that we're really going through, this is not business as usual, it's not, you know, people are at home. And now we're continuing to work from a distance. Now we've got a whole new thing going on. A second thing, that's a very simple tool is you want to make sure introductions, expectations and roles, right. So introductions, make sure everyone knows who's on the team and use a metaphor of a sport. If you don't know who's on your team, you're not gonna play very well. And this happens very often. And it's not the first time it's not new. I've been dealing with this. With the PRB, you know, remote teams, people come in people leave, they don't really know who they are who's in the team. So make sure people know who they are a little bit with their names or where they come from. Second thing, align the expectations with the objectives for the work. Don't assume stuff, this is an opportunity for not assuming, you know, when Benny Hill said that assume is to make an asset of you and me, there's going to be lots of people make an acid, because we assume stuff, and we're working remotely, we can't check those assumptions. So what is it that we expect? What are the bits and pieces that you can't screw up? What is really, really, really necessary? And what do you expect from us on the other hand, and then third is the the signing of roles and who does what, and who's accountable for getting that stuff down? Other than that, and this is the last thing is open channels for feedback, create new challenges for people to talk to you. I haven't been at going back to the example of my daughter. I haven't I've you know, there was an opportunity to talk to the teachers and you know, let us know how it works. work was going. But there wasn't really that opportunity to sit down, you know, creating an open forum where parents can share with the school and what their experience is like. So now that would be the third thing that I'd say create new challenge, new challenge channels of feedback, where you can hear suggestions, and the struggles. And then finally, to close it off is that you know, the appreciation, this is a tough time for everyone, everyone is trying to do their best show appreciation for everyone, everything everyone on your team is doing. It is a mistake for leaders today to expect their teams to push through, it's their job as the leader, right? They're the ones that want to show the hope, the appreciation, the positive feedback, they're the ones that want to say, kid, this is why I am the leader, it was for these moments that I have been paid, and that I've been working on. And we can do this, let me know what you need. Right. So that positive that that inspiration, that motivation to get through this time.

Francisco Mahfuz 41:07

And and then just to wrap up? What is your feeling about? You know, once this goes back to whatever we think of as normal? Do you think that we're still very far away from companies embracing a more remote approach to work and letting people be separate physically? Do you think that's still a pipe dream for the next few years? And he would that even be a good thing in from, from your experience of companies that do that or having people in the same place?

Tobias Rodrigues 41:40

Well, will it be a good thing? Yeah, like any instrument or any method, you could be used well or not. The other day, I had a chat with our my friend Connor, Neil, from ESA Business School and Vistage, like one of the things he said, Yeah, you know, lots of the meetings and not gonna have if it's not someone that I know, or is my friend that I'm just gonna do it on a zoom, because I'm not gonna move into town, I'll just do it on a zoom, it's much it's much more practical, it gets done. So there are some things that are going to stick, and some things are going to stick well, what's going to be the guiding criteria, it's not going to be an ideological thing, it's going to be a very practical monetary thing. So companies that figured out that they know they can save money, or optimise work through remote work, they will do so if some companies based on their industry or the way they're set up, it doesn't work, the job doesn't get done, people aren't happy, then they'll go back to what they what they know, what will be the major deciding factor is the amount of time that we stay in confinement. Because if, you know, I've started doing a little bit more videos now, and I bought myself a camera, and I'm fidgeting around with the whole thing, because most of my work was face to face. And I was happy with that it's much what I've done. And if tomorrow, they ended confinement, I probably wouldn't do many more videos right? Now, if they keep this up for another six months, then you bet that by the end of those six months, I'll have a couple of things that already become second nature and that are working for me. So how much of it will stick with the pen how long we are in confinement, what will be the criteria is if it works, if it saves money, if it makes people happier, they will do so if it doesn't, and people don't manage to get the work done, they'll go back to it. What is the long term? What what would be my dream for this, I think that lots of the work could be done remotely and that people get together when it is only really important. So if you can stay home and do your work from home and then you know go in for strategic meetings once or twice a week or whatever it is, depending on the nature of the work that you're doing. And my line of work, it's like get the team together, go away physically and you know, use those those two days to really do a lot of the the hard the heavy lifting. And then, which is the work with companies that are that I've been working with and that have the best badass teams that I've seen, this is what they do. So they take the time, they go away, they do the heavy lifting, and then people are on their own from home or not travelling, but they only meet when it's necessary. And I think that's gonna be one of the benefits. The companies or the environments that tend to have very long meetings every single day. I think some of that's going to go away.

Francisco Mahfuz 44:34

And I think that if long regular meetings go away, they are not going to be more and by by any one. Device. Thank you very much for your time eight. This has been excellent. When the world goes back to normal. Let's hope it's less than the six months that you just threw out there. We should We should catch up in person. Our daughters will be Teenagers buy them or look like us. It's been so long but thank you very much.

Tobias Rodrigues 45:06

You're welcome, sir. And that's a promise I'll have those bloody margaritas ready for you. When this is

Francisco Mahfuz 45:12

I am. I fear them already. Alright everybody, thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves and until next time

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page