Deciding to Co-Author

Claire: You decided to write your book, Unlocking the Secrets of Remote Leadership, during the pandemic when you saw a need for resources on remote leadership. How did you decide to write this guidebook with Katherine? Had you ever discussed writing a book before the pandemic? 

Cecilia Dahl:  Katherine Brand and I have always worked remotely as partners in Key 360 Advisors, and both of us also had many years of remote work experience before our partnership. When the pandemic struck, my primary project was Travelytic (a data science and analytics service for the travel sector). The impact on my project was dramatic and immediate with the global lockdown in place. I noticed that many of my business contacts worldwide were struggling with the sudden shift to remote work and realized I was in a good position to help.   Initially, Katherine and I got together to develop a series of online workshops to help leaders of virtual teams. As we laid out the roadmap for our workshop series, it occurred to us both that we had the makings for a really good book – and that’s where the story began (literally!) 

Writing a Remote Leadership Guide During the Pandemic

Claire: I’m sure the pandemic made writing a guide book more challenging than usual, even for remote leadership experts! How did your experience navigating remote work prepare you for some of the difficulties of writing/publishing a book remotely? Did you have to use online conference call applications like Zoom to discuss your plans for the book together or to meet with editors, and publishers? remote leadership guide

Cecilia:  Believe it or not, our work situation wasn’t impacted much by the pandemic because we have worked remotely for so long. Zoom and other tools have been second nature to us for many years. That didn’t make writing a book any easier, though. This project challenged us in ways we never expected. It was a very rewarding process – (and also a LOT of hard work). 

The Importance of Research

Claire:  You mention in your story of how the book came together that, in preparation for writing this book you sought out coursework about virtual leadership, which validated your own experiences. Can you share a little about the importance of research when writing a leadership guide? 

Cecilia:  We both share a strong belief that when you bring knowledge like this out to the world, it should be well-vetted. As we embarked on this journey, we cross-checked our skills and experience with traditional coursework and interviewed leaders of remote teams and those forced through the transition due to the pandemic to hear some of the most current concerns. This allowed us to expand our view beyond our own experience and test our guidance and expertise in real-world scenarios. 

A Fresh Perspective

Claire: You worked in different fields, travel and finance, but virtual leadership is something you both have in common. What are some beneficial aspects of having two perspectives to bring to the book? 

Cecilia: Katherine and I are different in almost every way. Having two leaders who approach communication, decisions, and leadership so differently was a game changer for our project.   We each brought fresh perspectives to the table, which gave us expanded viewpoints and the opportunity to challenge each other’s thoughts and ideas. I think the book benefits greatly from our different views. 

Weaving the Story Together

Claire: One thing I enjoyed about the book is how you returned to earlier anecdotes and expanded on ideas by building upon the context you had already laid out earlier in the book or the chapter instead of coming up with an overwhelming amount of stories and details. Was it challenging to track how you would weave stories together or how everything would be structured?

Cecilia:  We were fortunate to work with Portland Helmich on this project. Portland is a masterful interviewer. She pushed our knowledge, challenged our assertions, and pulled the stories from us. Portland’s expertise guided the threads of these stories in each chapter. She did a fantastic job. 

Writing for an Anthology

Claire: Cecilia, you’ve also written for another book, The Great LeadHERship Awakening; how was that experience as a contributing author different from your experience as a co-author with Katherine on the remote leadership guide? 

Cecilia: The Great LeadHership Awakening was a fantastic project that was rewarding and enlightening as I focused my single chapter on the story of my own leadership journey. It was a much different book and came from a very personal place. The collaboration of 20 authors was very different from co-authoring an entire book – and it was also a much faster process. Unlocking the Secrets of Remote Leadership was a multi-year project – based on decades of pre-work.   Very different. 

About the Author

author headshot

Cecilia Dahl is a seasoned entrepreneur and passionate leader who has spent over two decades driving the success of virtual teams. With her extensive experience, practical skills, and a wealth of research to draw upon, Cecilia deeply understands what it takes to empower leaders to effectively manage and motivate their teams, regardless of location. She is dedicated to helping leaders succeed and is passionate about providing them with the tools and mindset they need to thrive in the modern digital workplace. Through her writing, speaking engagements, or coaching sessions, Cecilia always seeks opportunities to share her knowledge and experience with others.

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