Asa part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a remote team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry English.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. What is your “backstory”?
Ihad a midlife crisis at 25. I was disillusioned with the companies that I had worked with that were all about money and didn’t care about their employees’ happiness. After backpacking around the world with my wife, I realized that I wanted to start a company that valued employee happiness and balance. Part of that solution was creating a remote company that would make it easier for employees to find balance between work and what they were passionate about. We started Centric 20 years ago with this remote foundation and have grown to 1,000 people in the US and India.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
About 12 years ago, I joined a peer group organization called YPO. One of the best parts about this organization is you get to be part of a group of 10 peers where confidentially is guaranteed and trust ensured so you can openly share and grow. This group of peers lovingly point out your blind spots.
The biggest blind spot they shared with me was that I was terrible at vulnerability. In my entire career, no one had shared this insight with me. It was transformational. I learned to show I had the same doubts and fears as my team. When I started sharing my vulnerability, my employees immediately felt much more connected to me as a leader.
For remote companies, vulnerability is key: it is the shortcut to trust. Teaching employees and leaders to show vulnerability and not making it all about business helps build virtual relationships faster.