Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Hybrid: Not Just For Cars Anymore

Written by: on January 12, 2023

Gustavo Razzetti, founder and CEO of Fearless Culture, author, and corporate consultant specializing in digital strategy, offers a way into the future after the global Covid pandemic. His business book, Remote, Not Distant, provides actionable steps toward a thriving institutional culture in the “new normal” in the post-pandemic world. Razzetti’s premise states that the book “will help you build an anywhere/anytime culture to adapt and succeed in a hybrid workplace.”[1] The book contains five clear steps toward establishing a corporate culture that embraces the new reality. Some changes are choices to be made or declined. Other changes happen and only offer the choice to adapt. Razzetti puts the current day into the latter category and then goes about the work of helpful strategy toward success.

Razzetti begins his book with the warning, “The culture that got you here won’t get you there.”[2] The pandemic accelerated cultural changes that will not revert to pre-pandemic ways. In a webinar about his book, Razzetti articulates five key takeaways, one for each step of his process of adapting to the current corporate cultural reality:

  • Hybrid is here to stay
  • Belonging is a never-ending job
  • Psychological safety is vital to promote courageous conversations
  • People want autonomy and schedule flexibility
  • Start small: test & iterate[3]

Information proves helpful, but wise leaders will take action that benefits the organization they lead.

An appreciated aspect of this easy-to-read book centers on the topically themed steps. Step 1 calls for a reset of culture, including five mindset shifts. Step 2 challenges the normative understanding of alignment to include team members in the process of vision development. Step 3 speaks to the need to create a safe and inclusive workplace. Step 4 details different options for modes of collaboration. Step 5 tackles the need for organizations to be nimble, quick to pivot, and make rapid decisions in a fast-paced world. The clarity of content stands out as a great strength of the book.

While Razzetti writes about the business world, his points transfer to the local church context. Each bullet point above existed prior to the pandemic, but they accelerated rapidly in the last three years in my context.

One poignant section came in Step 3 and the theme of belonging. This section, reminiscent of Kegan and Leahey’s An Everyone Culture, also elucidated three ways I can improve in that role with my team. The first comes from Razzetti’s statement: “Leaders tend to underestimate the power of belonging. However, we know that strong personal connections build healthy teams.”[4] As I age toward the older end of the staffing spectrum, Millennials and Gen Z folks join our staff. The truth of the quote, if anything, is understated. As I reflect on my journey, belonging emerged from the team’s accomplishment of goals and vision. While that still applies, the desire for a deeper personal connection with the team proves true daily. When I began in ministry, I would never have approached the Lead Pastor to pastor me. That desire gets expressed to me quite a bit recently. What surprised me in the book is this: “Fortunately, belonging doesn’t require physical proximity, just a different mindset.”[5] Razzetti cautions against trying to make virtual connections the same as the in-person versions. Virtual connection is different but as powerful as being in the same room.

Second, the section on psychological safety clarified a rising trend I have personally experienced with younger staff members. The first rung on the ladder of psychological safety includes being “okay to talk about health issues and burnout.”[6] I would add the freedom to share mental health challenges as part of the new day. Unlike my earlier days, emerging generations are comfortable discussing mental health issues openly. What used to be a personal issue can now occupy the team dialogue. A growth area for me is allowing appropriate discussion about personal issues when someone wants to do so. I view this comfort with sharing personal challenges as a strength of the younger generations and a need for growth in those uncomfortable with it.

Something not explicitly mentioned by the book, I would add a third need as I read between the lines and compare my experience. Razzetti often uses the word “belonging” and calls it “a critical element for constructing high-performing teams.”[7] As a senior leader, the responsibility to cast a compelling vision occupies an important role. I see a growing need for leaders to also cast a personal vision for those on their team. By this, I mean a way to envision an individual’s future within the organization. As recently as last week, a staff member asked me, “What is the potential for my professional growth here in the next few years?” Belonging sounds like a present tense dynamic, but one desired for the future also.

One of the cries during and after the pandemic voiced, “We have never been here before!” There is no season to offer a comparison about how to proceed. Leading thinkers like Razzetti provide essential voices for a way forward. In his conclusion, the author states, “Your workplace is a collection of choices.”[8] Wise leaders will lean into those setting the pace in this cultural moment, enabling better decisions.

[1] Gustavo Razzetti, Remote, Not Distant: Design a Company Culture That Will Help You Thrive in a Hybrid Workplace (Highland Park, IL: Liberationist Press, 2022), 3.

[2] Ibid., 1.

[3] Gustavo Rezzetti, “Remote Not Distant,” Soundview Live, YouTube Video, 39:14, August 30, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X789mt4_uMY.

[4] Razzetti, Remote, Not Distant, 103.

[5] Ibid., 107.

[6] Ibid., 112.

[7] Ibid., 113.

[8] Ibid., 296.

About the Author


Roy Gruber

Husband, father, pastor, student, and sojourner in Babylon

12 responses to “Hybrid: Not Just For Cars Anymore”

  1. mm Andy Hale says:


    I am fascinated to read where you picked up on Razzetti’s focus on belonging. Obviously, this has always been a challenging subject matter within the church, stretching all the way back to those filthy uncircumcised Gentiles.

    In what ways do you think the church most commonly struggles with a sense of belonging today?

    • mm Roy Gruber says:

      Andy, I think business works against opportunities to belong in meaningful ways. I also believe our culture has taken a turn within the last two decades that is manifest in recent times of the pandemic. This is general for sure, but it was possible to disagree with people and still respect them and journey with them in life. Recently, we seem to disconnect with people with whom we disagree with and even “cancel” them if possible. Just this morning at church, a retired Dr. told me about someone who was just diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism. She was vacannated and the Dr. called her “foolish” for doing that. He went on to talk about the many people who are dying because of the vacine. I asked if there’s any documentation about the connection and then I told him I got the vacine and the conversation ended abruptly. I truly believe the emerging generations will stem the tide back in the direction of more connection and belonging. The young people on our staff set the example for us “old dogs” that relationship matters and they sacrifice for it. May closed hearts be open to a needed connection.

  2. mm Troy Rappold says:

    Roy: I also focused on Razzetti discussing “belonging” in this book. He spends a lot of time on it and I think I have been one of those leaders that underestimates the power or belonging by the employees. It’s critical and and how a leader creates that among the staff in a remote world will be a valuable skill. Nice post.

  3. mm Eric Basye says:

    Great blog. I think you are in a really unique situation, especially as you demonstrate such great self-awareness. I would say that this is a far greater gift to the younger generations than you can imagine. For what its worth, I wonder if this next season of ministry/leadership/discipleship will be even more impactful than in the past as you learn to read the culture, the needs of your people, and deploy the wisdom and experienced you have gleaned over the years. Pretty amazing.

    • mm Roy Gruber says:

      Eric, thanks for your kind words, but I feel that I learn so much from the younger generations that help me. I’ve really come to dislike the constant criticism leveled at Millennials and GenZ folks. Every generation has its strengths and weaknesses. I’m not sure why those in many positions of power (generally, older generations) feel the need to point out the weaknesses. Let’s affirm them and respond to their desire for mentors. Sounds like a win to me.

  4. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Roy: I also had a recent conversation with a very new staff member that is at the tail end of the Millennials generation ask if there is upward mobility. She recently moved from out-of-state for the role and was unsure of if she likes California or wants to stay long. I opened the conversation to explore what she envisions for her future, was honest about what upward mobility looks like in our context (and how it may not be life-giving for her based on what she enjoys doing in this season). What I found interesting was after our Christmas break she shared that while home, she actually missed California and that our conversation being so honest allowed her the freedom to see how she belongs, think and dream of the future without fear of falsely performing right now, all of which has actually aided towards her wanting to stay in the role longer. All that to say, I would echo what you are noticing too, in the need and desire for authentic and honest mentorship and, in reality, discipleship with others. I have found in leadership that being one that wants people to be where God calls them to be has allowed my teams to be healthier and work more effectively than just trying to keep good employees regardless of how they are being prompted and positioned.

    • mm Roy Gruber says:

      Kayli, thanks for sharing that personal experience. I see so much good in the emerging generations that can correct some the mistakes of my own generation. The desire for honesty and less spin management sounds like progress to me, but I guess whatever we have known to be “normal” is what we tend to embrace. Let’s walk with the up and coming leaders in mutually beneficial ways.

  5. mm Nicole Richardson says:

    Roy thank you for a thoughtful blog post.
    I remember you struggling with Friedman’s position on empathy. how would you compare or contrast Friedmans argument about empathy with Razzzetti’s position on belonging?

    • mm Roy Gruber says:

      Nicole, your question really caused me to think long and hard. I believe Friedman’s caution around empathy relates to its potential of stopping a leader from acting in ways that lead an organization forward and entering into the dysfunction of a nervous system. I think Razzetti calls for a genuine connection that leads toward honesty and connection. I did not see Razzetti take on a leaders challenges. He seemed more focused on the environment created in an organization that is healthy. Part of what I would call health is the courage to make some hard decisions that never lose empathy but also never sacrifice leadership responsibility to act in the best interest of all.

  6. mm Denise Johnson says:

    Roy, love your post. Great questions, and thoughts. I particularly like how you discussed working with younger generations and their expectations of older leadership. I’m curious, how much of a role have we (the older folks) played in creating generations of individuals lacking in the skills to own their interpersonal and spiritual development?

    • mm Roy Gruber says:

      Sorry, I responded to your post but I forgot to hit “reply.” So, I’m cutting and pasting my full reply here: Denise, to answer your question: A LOT. This is a general take on the issue, but I believe the younger generations have not seen health in the older generations – not relationally or vocational. In my opinion, their renewed emphasis on relationships and perks that are not money or status related are a reaction to the negative aspects they’ve seen in those pursuits. Some of the things we learn are not a reproduction of what we like, but seeing what we don’t want to be and setting a different course. I hope that my generation can learn from the positive aspects of those coming into leadership roles more and more.

  7. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Denise, to answer your question: A LOT. This is a general take on the issue, but I believe the younger generations have not seen health in the older generations – not relationally or vocational. In my opinion, their renewed emphasis on relationships and perks that are not money or status related are a reaction to the negative aspects they’ve seen in those pursuits. Some of the things we learn are not a reproduction of what we like, but seeing what we don’t want to be and setting a different course. I hope that my generation can learn from the positive aspects of those coming into leadership roles more and more.

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