Wendy Hanson 0:24
Thank you so much for joining us today. I am especially excited to chat with Henry price from LinkedIn. I had the chance to work with Henry in the early days at Google. He is a brilliant and empathetic leader. And we're going to talk about the opportunities and challenges that everybody is facing as we're coming back to work. And Henry has had a great way of being able to put that out in the world. So thank you, Penry. It's just delightful to be with you again.
Thank you, Wendy, you too.
Great to see you. Let me tell you a little bit more about Penry. Henry is leading LinkedIn Marketing Solutions business, he has 20 plus years media experience publishing and digital media. He is past member of the executive team at distillerie, formerly media six degrees, Henry built an entire organization and strategy for a multi billion dollar business inside of Google. He oversaw the operations of a global team with direct line and indirect management responsibilities as one of the fastest growing channels at Google. He does many public speaking appearances and panels TV newspaper, and I am just delighted to be here with him today. Welcome, Ben.
Penry Price 1:38
Yes, thank you again, it's great to see you. I'm really looking forward to the conversation.
Wendy Hanson 1:42
Yeah, it's it's it's such an important conversation right now. If people aren't familiar, can you tell them a little bit about before we get into your new walk to work, #walktowork? When did you first start doing that? And it has touched on so? Well?
Penry Price 1:59
Yeah, well, it's, uh, I think I honestly did it a few, probably five years ago, four or five years ago, now, when LinkedIn was starting to explore having video on its feed. And from, you know, again, if you look back at LinkedIn, a lot of it was early days was more about jobs and people sharing sort of where they're certainly their, their network or about their network, or what was their opportunity. And it's become a little bit more about full scale, professional life, not just about a job, but about sort of who you are, how you think, what your opinions are, what matters to you as a professional, how you learn how you grow all sorts of things. And so as we sort of had a feed that was mostly written copy, you know, it was sort of one of those recognitions that we said, video is exploding on other platforms, as well as the reality that all of us carry these amazing devices in our pockets that had very high quality video in them. And it was fairly low friction to record a video now and upload it somewhere. So we realize that professionals probably would want to use video in their daily lives as well. And so we introduced video into the feed on LinkedIn. But I myself was not sure how to use video on LinkedIn. So I knew what it was like on a Facebook or an Instagram. But I didn't really know what it meant to do video on LinkedIn as a member as a person using LinkedIn. So I just decided that that next day, I was going to record a session where I typically every day I commute into New York, and I'll walk about 15 minutes to the office. And that 15 minutes was always sort of a special time for me, because I would be thinking about the day ahead and what it was going to be like and where I had to sort of lean in or what was going to be really interesting or what was going to be more difficult for me in that day. And so I think a lot of people go through that as we're preparing to go into our work day. And so I decided that that was what was going to be my video, I was just going to record it. And I had some principles about what I wanted to do. And that was where it started was really just to like try to use video on LinkedIn, nothing more than that.
Wendy Hanson 4:16
And it hit a nerve. And I think the piece about reflecting on the way into work, we talk about that a lot in coaching. And we have part of our assessment is we asked how often do you take time to reflect? I would guess that about 65% of people say never, and they realize they just are doing and I love that you stand back as you're walking in. What's in front of me today, you know, what are what are the challenges? What are the opportunities?
Penry Price 4:42
Yeah, and I would I never and I wouldn't prepare part of the principles was I wasn't going to prepare in advance. I was going to be thinking on the train, on the train ride and that would be the where I would sort of think about what I want to talk about. I wouldn't do any other there was no formality. I did one I promised myself only one take. So I've never done two takes. I had one topic, I tried to do one topic for no more than two minutes. And that would be it. And it sort of has stuck with me as a practice. And I've gotten, as you said, I've gotten some really nice feedback from people.
Wendy Hanson 5:18
Yes. And the one your your first day back to work, following the pandemic, I have to say, was very moving, you know, because you really brought things out and but you want it to go back to the office and do things differently, that we had to learn something from this. And I just think so many people are thinking that, but you voiced it in such a way. And I'm so curious what happened when you got back to? Like, what was that, that those those images that you wanted to like, I wanted to learn? I wanted to do something different? What were some of your takeaways there?
Penry Price 5:53
Gosh, Wendy, I mean, I, like so many of us, probably, I was so unsure of what to expect, right? from physical, like, what was the office going to look like? What was it going to feel like, and then to just what do I do in the office, and so I was prepared for sort of anything. What happened when I got back to the office that day, actually was after a couple of hours, honestly, of sort of initially, like hugging everybody. And, and there wasn't a lot of people back to be honest, we're still sort of staggering people back and, but a lot of hugs, I sat down at a random desk, we're not assigned, our old desks are all gone. And we're sort of just sort of signing up on an app as to where to go. And they tell you what desk to go to. And it's, you know, all been cleaned and all those good things. I, I sat down and I started to immediately sort of fall back into my old behaviors. And that was something that even in that morning, when I was walking to work, I was saying that that was what I was hoping not to have happened. And within hours, I felt I was falling back into old habits, where I would go to a conference room, and I'd get onto a video conference. And I'd be talking to whoever was on the other end of the, the video and and it just felt so surreal that it was exactly like I'd left it be 15 months ago. And so it made me even more reflective about Okay, this is going to be a lot harder than I expected to change behaviors. Because what I was saying in that in that video was, wouldn't it be a shame if we all worked from home fairly productively for many of us, I think I ended up being very productive. I have a comfortable setup, I could work in a quiet area. But wouldn't it be a shame if things we learned and things that we thought were helpful for our lives related to balance are related to how we're connecting to people wouldn't be a shame if we didn't bring some of those things forward, and change the way that we now work while we do go to the office. And so I obviously still trying to make sure that over this summer as we're trying to sort of reactivate that I'm bringing some of these things much more consciously into the office and changing some of the, you know, sort of typical behaviors that I would have displayed again, 15 months ago on a daily basis.
Wendy Hanson 8:20
Yeah. And it is so interesting how we are all creatures of habit, you get back into that environment and you start acting the same way. Exactly. What did you want to do differently? Like, what did you think you could change as you notice that day when you got on zoom? And you know, the end of the day?
Penry Price 8:37
What showed up? Yeah, at the end of the day, I got off zoom and walked home to the train. Yeah, I recognized very quickly that you're right creatures of habit is just so obvious. And it was never more apparent that day. But what I've started to recognize is now what I'm doing differently already, is my calendar looks different. So what I'm trying to figure out, and again, I would say for any manager, if you're going to have a hybrid team, where some people will be in the office on any given day, or some people may be working from home or remotely. I'm trying to focus on the larger scale meetings where we have more groups, and it's very tactical, but it's actually sort of explained sort of how my approach is starting to, you know, sort of manifest. If I'm going to have, you know, a heavier day on zoom or on teams, I'm going to stay home, quite simply. And what that forces you to do is actually think about why should you be in the office, and what are you going to do in the office, since you're not going to want to be on zoom or on teams all day while you're in an office surrounded by people. So that's the sort of lightbulb for me is less about how do I be productive or how do I engage in meetings, but actually more fundamentally, what am I going to be in the office for. And so it's much more now zeroing in on coaching, mentoring, one on one time, sort of in person time that I cannot do on a video, many more sort of external things. So being much more involved with our customers, or clients or partners or industry folks, or just peers from the industry. So I will say that I am veering more towards when I go to New York, or when I go into the office, I will go in there to mentor coach and help others. And when I can really do that I think better in person, or be more external. And more of my day to day operational management of my team and business will be done from remote or from home where I can do that just as well, if not better, actually, on on video.
Wendy Hanson 10:56
Yeah, I love the the calendar distinction, because I think we can get caught up again, that creature of habit and just throw things in, you have to be very intentional, then the days that I want to catch people and, and and that human touch we have, the first thing you did was go back and hug people in the office, that's been one of our greatest gifts, right? That we can finally hug people. That's right. And what are some other lessons that you learned during the pandemic, even with, you know, and we're gonna still face this with hybrid teams, you have some people that are out there and how to keep people connected? What were your learnings around that that you could share? Because you're so good at connecting, and you're so deliberate?
Penry Price 11:39
Yeah, I think this is the hard work, I think Wendy ahead of us is, because I've recognized a few things. I've got my own set of management, sort of sort of acronym, I guess the way I try every day to think about how I sort of show up. And one of the newer, you know, sort of elements to that acronym is is letter I for inclusive. And that was left off of my acronym. Originally, this is going back many years where I sort of tried to think about who I was going to be as a manager, or leader. And I hadn't included inclusive. And that's come more recently, because of all sorts of things we've seen in the world around fairness and equity. And I always thought that I sort of had worked hard and sort of gotten to places where maybe it was because I deserved it. But I was certainly unaware of all the sort of privileges I had. And now I'm so much more aware. And I've added inclusivity, or inclusive as a key piece of what I want to be as a manager leader. And we think about that as the things we've learned so much from a societal standpoint. But now it's showing up in exactly what you're saying, which is actually just typical office behavior. How do you include people when they're not in the office? Or how do you include them in there in a remote fashion. And so I think that's the work that I am trying to now understand over these next few weeks before we go back in and a more frequent basis in the fall or in around Labor Day, I think you're going to have to recognize that you're going to have to communicate differently, when you've got people, there's always a center of attention when you're in a conference room of eight or 10 people. And there's a few people that are now dialing in from some other location, those few people are now really just not included. And you can include them there in the meeting, you've invited them there, maybe even presenting something. But they're not included, to what's happening at the core sort of table. And so I think that's the work that again, we're trying to uncover, that's my point of, I will not have any large meetings any longer, really in person where there's a dominant group of people that will really exclude everybody else. And so that's one of the areas related to the calendar is I've really reassessed all of the meetings to sort of, we have a scoring system now, where I'm scoring, how that meeting should happen, either virtually, or in person. And we've got a couple of factors of how many people are included, things like that. What geographies are included, to sort of see what will be in person or an or a virtual meeting. But that's literally how I'm trying to figure it out. But I don't know how it's gonna play out over these next few months. It's going to be something we'll all learn, but I'm very conscious of being more inclusive related to people being in the office or working remotely or hybrid.
Wendy Hanson 14:37
Yeah, that's great. Because we know that's the first step this awareness of like, wow, I know, I know, things need to be different now. And how do we I do this?
Penry Price 14:47
Yeah, I did. I had experience yesterday, Wednesday, which I'll just share, which was we have a set of large meeting where it was one of the first times where there was a group of people in a conference room that I was talking to they were in the Bay Area, and There was seven or eight people in a conference room on that one video camera. Everybody else was dialing in from, from a virtual. So everyone else the camera focuses on one person, you see their face, you see the reaction, you see their emotions, you hear them clearly, you can see when they're speaking, when the room that was full of seven or eight people started to speak or engage, it was an entirely different experience. You couldn't connect with those with those people as well, you didn't see them, you couldn't always tell who is speaking, the camera is on the room, not the individual. And so that was something that just solidified to me that you can't actually be as inclusive when you've got this really different dynamic of a camera into a room versus a camera on a person.
Wendy Hanson 15:50
We've run into that in our group training. Because at times people have said, Well, we used to do group training, we'd all be in one room. Let's do that. And we'd say, No, we can't connect, we can't hear we can't do eye contact, we have to think of the neuroscience of being able to see somebody, and it makes such a big difference.
Penry Price 16:08
Yeah. And it's and it's so quick. It's 15 months ago that we would never have thought of this as such a problem. Yes. What's your problem, I always thought that was a great asset to be able to dial into a room of a group of people and be able to not have to get on an airplane from New York to California. But now I look at it as completely uncomfortable. And frankly, not fair. Because I feel like I'm an outsider to that meeting now.
Wendy Hanson 16:32
Yeah, we at BetterManager, when we would have our management meetings when we were more likely in one place. But we had some people on the East Coast, we used an owl, which you were able to at least they could see people that were in the room and it would focus on it. So it made it a tad bit better. Yeah, but those things are challenging. Yeah, will be. The other challenging thing that I'm hearing from a lot of leaders is is the whole hybrid model and people deciding, when can I come back and I stay home? Wow. I know, just like you're saying I'm really productive two days a week. I don't want to be in the office all the time. Like, what's your what's your take on that? Because it's something I think that we're all just rolling out? we probably don't have answers yet. But everybody, there are people, as I'm sure there's a lot of people at LinkedIn that have moved to new places. Yeah, because they have the opportunity. Absolutely. What's your take on that?
Penry Price 17:25
Yeah, the take on it so far is we don't we haven't made these sort of statements of we're going to be remote forever, or we're going to you know, close our offices or something like that. It's actually quite the opposite. We we believe in, I think I would say our motto is the atomic unit. But the unit of choice for us is a team. We feel like our teams are individuals are a part of a team. They're contributing to a team. So we thought that or we think that the office will become an in once again, an incredibly productive, healthy place. And you can't sort of sort of discount the fact that we are, as you said, humans, and we want contact, we want to be with people, we want to be able to see them in person, understand how to work with them, or share with them or how they're reacting to something I'm doing or saying. So we love our offices, we've invested a lot to make sure that they're clean and safe. And all those things and have restructured them a little bit to make it a little bit more of a place where this new world of work will more collaborative, more open places where people can be sort of really happy to be in the office. So we're first trying to figure that we're solving this from a team perspective, because we have a lot of cross functional teams as well. We want to make our offices as safe and healthy and productive and warm and welcoming as possible. And then we're going to give people the option. And we're going to give people sort of at the manager level. For many of the roles you sort of have to be in the office, those are all sorts of roles, again, that we know. But for many sales roles, or business development roles, or any kind of customer facing roles, it's a little more optional. And so we've told everybody or sort of working through this, which says, we really want you to be productive, we want you to have flexibility, we want you to do what's right for you to make your business sort of successful and you to feel healthy as a as a person and employee. But our core way we function is as a team. And so you can make those choices to be more remote or more flexible. But we want you to stay connected to your team. We want you to be a part of that team. We want you to engage with that team. We want you to feel feel that team to feel that you're a part of the team. And so there are a lot of people that can do it incredibly productively from from home, and those people may be able to be home a little more And then others, there's others that struggle to do that and need to be in person. And you know, there's extrovert introvert discussions like this. But there's others that really thrive on being in the office. And so I think we're going to have a mix of people be in the office four or five days a week, others will be there one or two day a week. But the offices are important for us to create culture to create belonging to create foundational understanding of what we are as a team and what we're trying to accomplish. So we're still investing a lot in those experiences and hope that that will continue to draw people in when they feel like they can be more productive in the office than when they can be productive at home. Yeah,
Wendy Hanson 20:40
that just makes so much sense. And so fits with my thoughts about LinkedIn being so really people focused, you know, that when you hear people talk from LinkedIn, that it really, it's so great that you are the leader, I look at the leader of all businesses, there's no business that can survive without being on LinkedIn, and to send those value messages about what's important that we don't forget those things, you know, because what what do we want to hold on to from this pandemic that we learned and really make sure we write them down? So we don't forget? And then what do we what what we have opportunities here now, which is great.
Penry Price 21:18
Yeah, I mean, the funny thing is that first day again, after that video, nei, I forgot how much I liked the office. And so I think that's part of it. For all of us to win, we've we found a way to be productive at home or in our apartment, or wherever we are, we've moved to other places, like he said, some of our some of our teammates. And we've for 15 months or whatever it's been, we've actually worked really hard to make us ourselves as comfortable as possible in this new situation to the point where we've gotten pretty comfortable many of us and so you almost have forgotten what it's like to be in the office and how comfortable it can be or how productive it can be or just how fun it can be. And that's what immediately came back to me when I got back also was just how actually energizing the offices, when you have other people who are thinking of the same challenges or working through the same problems or tangentially connected to what you're doing. But you run into them in the hallway and you find some idea or you share some nugget of information together. That helps you solve the challenge or like, there's so much energy from at least my office in our offices, that I think people just sort of forgot. And so once they start to realize, okay, there's a way I can be flexible, and I can work home a little bit, but I also can get that amazing energy out of the office, I just think there's so much upside for teams, for managers, for leaders, for companies, with this new way that I hope we can address and really move towards working as we many of us start to get back to the office.
Wendy Hanson 22:53
I love one word that you use, they're fun. We, it is much, much easier to have some fun when you're back in person at the office, the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of companies were trying great things they were having Bake Off contests and you know, doing things like that. But that didn't last a long time. You know, I think that's when we thought we were gonna do this for three months. And we could have some fun. That's right, that connection. People connect through humor and laughter and you were great with the Google team and Tim Armstrong dressing up all the time you did the Sherpas. And you know there are things that you can do in person as a team and an office. That is a bonding experience. That's right. So I love that that's so important. You had mentioned you you talked about inclusive as one of the letters in your acronym of management. And I thought, well, I would love to hear what the other letters were. So we don't leave that a mystery right now.
Penry Price 23:47
Well, it's a, it's something and you know, certainly something I was very aware of, and started to think about more diligently at Google and tried to make sure that I myself knew what I was standing for or trying to do on a daily basis to improve. And so it was i k which is it was I see a why was where it started. As I said, I've added another eye so I'm not sure if it's i squared anymore, or it's ik I haven't figured out how to actually make the acronym work with the second eye. But the first I was for inspiration, I feel like and that doesn't mean again, extrovert introvert, it just means you you as a leader, have to find ways to inspire your team, which to me, that means creating energy. And so whatever it is, however you show up whether it be videoing yourself walk into work, or dressing up as a Sherpa in a in a in a something for the team, or just frankly helping a teammate with a problem. Or the way you go through our hiring process to hire a candidate who maybe doesn't look like everybody else but actually really adds to the fabric of the team that can be inspired All right, so lots of different ways to inspire. But I think leaders all have to figure out their own way to inspire and create an energy among their team. The second letter C is around consistency. And I've always struggled with managers, myself, or leaders that I've worked for that I've been inconsistent. And so this is I use C and consistent as just something that was very personal to me, I struggled to understand how to fit understand how to really grow and learn when, when my leader or manager was inconsistent with the way they showed up with the way they were asking for things with the way they were looking for ways to work or processes to instill. And so I thrive when I know what I'm supposed to be doing, or I have a consistency that I can count on. There's some stability, obviously, that gets created with consistency. So I'm always trying to be sort of the same, if you will, and how I work with teams or with people. And I think that's an important place for people to then launch their own creativity from a which I think is actually the most important letter, it's something I've learned over much more of my time, I've been much more understanding of it at LinkedIn than I was anywhere else was awareness. And this is both self awareness as well as awareness of those things around you. And so I think that is actually the secret little and you as an amazing coach will know this. But I think awareness is actually the key differentiator for people that grow into fantastic positions in their life. And that's probably both personal and professional, to be honest, but self awareness, and really understanding and being okay with learning moments, knowing where your strengths are, knowing where your weaknesses or areas of development are leaning into your strengths. getting help around the areas of development actively, I think is a crucial sort of piece of becoming a real leader that can connect with others showing humility around this showing vulnerability all comes from awareness to me, awareness, then, of the team around you of the type of people are on that team, the type of industry, you're in all those things. So I think awareness is the key differentiator in my little acronym, I think it's certainly is appropriate that it's right now square in the center of my acronym. Why is for Yes, try to say yes, more often. It's so easy as a manager to say no, it doesn't fit the process, or it doesn't look like it's going to be a success, or that will take too much money or that will take too much time. Actually, Eric Schmidt at Google was the one that had sort of taught me and shared with me some stories about saying, Yes, he felt it was, as we grew as a company he felt it was it was so easy for people to say no. And so I remember he had carried around this little banker's little thing that would go on the desk to sort of tell him to remind him to say yes, more often. And so yes, I really think about Yes, all the time. And and then I the new is being inclusive. So those are my five letters that I aspire to learn and figure out how to be better at literally all the time.
Wendy Hanson 28:22
Yeah. Wow. It's inspiring to hear that you have a roadmap that you've kept for so long. And we go back to these things as we grow and develop. We talked before the podcast started as, as we age, a little bit there things that become even more important to us, right? And how we show up in our personal life in our business life and the difference we make with others. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, this has just been wonderful. And there's so many things that managers need to listen to. And it's a time of there are nose clear answers on a lot of things. But we know we don't want to get back into the the same way. We did things before, because it's a great opportunity. Yeah, that's right. So thank you so much Penry for sharing your your wisdom with us today. And when people want to reach out to you, I guess I know where they could go LinkedIn. Go LinkedIn. Oh, and and watch, hashtag walk to work.
Penry Price 29:17
That's right. That's right. Well, thank you when it's been great to talk and catch up and look forward to, you know, hopefully staying connected to
Wendy Hanson 29:24
Yes, we will. Okay. Thank you Penry. Thank you, everybody, have a great day.