Tfw you lead a team you've never seen | Ariane Bernard | Episode 40

Tfw you lead a team you've never seen | Ariane Bernard | Episode 40

Sure, employees never want to give up remote work. But how does a founder feel?

Isabelle Roughol
Isabelle Roughol

Ariane Bernard founded Helio in 2020. Her startup has never known a world where you could network in person, meet clients and investors easily or work from a common space with your employees. How do you lead a team you've never seen? And in a multinational startup, how do you work past cultural barriers and incomprehensions when you can't look your coworkers in the eye? She had to find out the hard way.

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This episode is also available as full uncut video interview on Youtube.


  • “A lot of good team culture is safety, ultimately. You want a culture whose first achievement is the ability to say the words 'I don't understand. I don't agree. I propose that we do X. Has anyone thought about Y?' If all team members, whether they are the most junior all the way to your executive team, equally feel like they have access to these words without risking something, then you have the making of solving for many other problems.”
  • “Everything that helps you understand whether people are connecting with a particular goal, everything that helps you understand whether people understand, everything counts because the distance does not help us.”
  • “The uncertainty is, what am I not getting and what is this company not getting if we are not as fully present and as fully engaged as we could be?"
  • “The complexity of the distributed team is compounded by our cultural differences.”

Show notes

[00:00:00] Intro
[00:03:14] Making the jump from intrapreneur to entrepreneur
[00:06:57] Anchoring a new company culture without an office
[00:10:12] Zoom cameras on, please
[00:14:07] Take every opportunity to reduce uncertainty
[00:15:52] When physical and culture distance combine
[00:19:43] Do we still need culture?
[00:25:54] "Do as I say" vs just one man's opinion
[00:27:51] The Culture Map by Erin Meyer
[00:29:31] Good culture is psychological safety
[00:36:03] Resting bitch face and the curse of the screen
[00:37:39] The benefits of hiring worldwide
[00:41:29] If you had a choice... centralised or distributed?
[00:44:32] Outro

📺 Watch the full interview on Youtube
🔆 Learn about Helio and apply to become an alpha user here

*I know my mum is going to ask so tfw is shorthand for "that feeling when." It's an internet thing.


Isabelle Roughol

Journalist. Founder & host of Borderline. Former international editor of LinkedIn, foreign editor at Le Figaro, reporter at The Cambodia Daily. Global soul, messy accent.



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