Episode 29: Flat, Fluid, and Fast with Brynne Kennedy


February 11th, 2020

42 mins 3 secs

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About this Episode

Welcome Brynne Kennedy - author, entrepreneur and congressional hopeful for CA’s 4th district.

Brynne started Topia- an HR and talent resources software company that she grew to a global company with 100s of staff, wrote a book called Flat, Fluid, and Fast and and now is running for Congress!

What can companies do to mobilize the workforce. Look at developing a portfolio of skills and marketing them across different verticals. If companies hire for skills, they can open up their definitions of employment and give more people opportunities to people in all stages of their careers.

We talk about benefits for contractors and how that can work or not in today’s economy and the contrast between careers and stability 40 years ago with today. When we have more flexible work and entrepreneurial activity, we need to look at potential to buy into healthcare or pensions.

We talk about building an aligned company with a remote workplace, and having intention about the type of workplace (in office, flexible, remote) and then establishing cultural norms like how to handle meetings where some people are remote.

We talk about balancing office space vs remote and how to choose what roles can be remote. Brynne feels like it’s more about the times in the company evolution. Once there is alignment, let people go and execute, but bring them together during strategic times.

Brynne talks about setting up communication systems first (Slack, Bluejeans etc) and how it’s important for people to meet and build in-person camaraderie and then keep that up via video conferences, defaulting to video.

We discuss boundaries, especially when being remote, and being ok with blocking calendars and communicating limits both top down and bottom up.

We also talk about learning and being in the trades and having to learn from others, but also teach others. Learning from more experienced people, both in the corporate world and trade world, has stopped being celebrated. Part of Brynne’s platform is around apprenticeships. Working across different jobs, you get to build out your Board of Advisors and meet people in a variety of roles, but people always want mentors within companies, so that’s important.

Congress- Brynne ran for Congress after working with lawmakers to talk about innovation and saw that only a small number of Congress people had a business background or technical acumen. She wants to use business knowledge to progress benefits for people. She sees partisanship vs solving problems for people’s jobs, lives and safety.