Remote Leadership and Work

Susan has been working with remote leaders and teams since 1995 helping them learn to be more effective. She has been a remote worker herself since 1989 and a leader of people at a distance at least half that time.

Susan has delivered more than 100 workshops on remote leadership and remote work among multiple clients including Kraft Foods, IBM, The Capital Group and Warner Bros.

In 2003, "The Quick Guide to Interaction Styles and Working Remotely" was published and version 2 is available starting in 2010. In 2005, "The I in Team … Accelerating the Performance of Remote and Co-located Teams" was published. Susan co-authored both with Dr. Linda Berens.

Susan is available to work with your organization on this topic:

  • as a key note speaker
  • to deliver workshops from 1/2 day to 2 days
  • to deliver webinar workshops
  • as a coach to a leader of remote employees
  • as a consultant on how to deal with remote working relationships
  • as a consultant on how to manage employees working at home

See more about Susan's books.

See Remote Management in Collaborations Spring 2001.


[ return to top ]

Become a Successful Real Estate Agent

  • Many great real estate agents never make it throughout their first three years. It’s not because of their own incapability but due to underestimated expenses and overestimated income, a deadly combination. Others rely on old industrial techniques which are not even effective anymore. You have to admit it that the world is changing and new techniques are being evolved from the old ones. Therefore, one needs to plan his future strategically if he/she wants to become a well known name in real estates.

    Knowing when to follow specific tactics at the right time is an important thing. That is why we are here to introduce 8 useful tips which will help you in becoming a professional real estate agent.


1.  Partner with other agents


  • Perhaps a buyer or seller is not your forte. Or maybe their price does not really suit your demand.

    However, there is no need to turn these clients away. One way to play the game is to co-represent or co-list them with competitors.

    Fifty percent of something is better than fifty percent of nothing.

    By pairing up with another agent, you can gain a firm footing in the field. Apart from that, you can heche against losing a prospect to a formidable competitor.


2.  Time Management

  • You cannot achieve your desired degree of professionalism unless you are well conversant with your time schedule. It shows your commitment to the task and your devotion to your job.

    Moreover, what is even as important as time management is management of attitude. Come what may, you have to keep yourself well prepared for all possible outcomes of your project and not let your morale crumble down. As we all like to say, time management is self management.


3.  A daily to do list


  • First and foremost thing you should take into account is scheduling your duty hours and focusing on what you want you to do. An entire day must not be spent on one single activity for example selling, negotiating unless it becomes a dire necessity.

    Everyday should be started with a nicely planned schedule that includes all relevant activities.


4.  Build your listings rather than working with buyers


  • If you develop a well planned listing inventory, you wouldn’t probably need to work all the time with sellers and buyers. Your listed properties could get interested clients through other fellow agents and earn you a handsome commission even if you are busy attending other businesses.


5.  Prospecting

  • Successful real estate agents can live without food but not without prospecting. Do a little research to scrutinize selling and buying graphs. Usually, agents rush towards high-turnover areas where businesses trends are already up. All you need to do is, get into the competition by applying various business strategies.

    You would have noticed that many prospects show hesitation to meetings. That’s because they are waiting for you to ask their preferences and cater them with a well informed market analysis.  Be comfortable with your prospects and ask what exactly do they expect.


return to top ]


Susan has worked with clients implementing mentoring systems since 1998. She provides expertise in helping the client do the following:

  1. Determine the purpose of mentoring in the organization
  2. Gain executive and management support
  3. Define scope of mentoring program and who's eligible
  4. Create processes for:
    • Announcement
    • Registration/enrollment
    • Matching
    • Education and Support
    • Program Evaluation

As part of this project, Susan can deliver the appropriate training, or train your key individuals to deliver that training.

See Collaborations Summer 2000 and Fall 2000 for tips on implementing a mentoring program.


[ return to top ]

Understanding and Building on Differences

Differences in personality and style have a major impact in getting work done. If we understand and build on our individual differences, we can achieve synergistic results. On the other hand, if we don't, those differences can cause major conflict and prevent work from getting accomplished.

Susan has extensive training and knowledge in this area. She is certified to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) ®. She uses Temperament theory as well as the Berens' Interaction Styles model in workshops and in coaching to help people understand themselves and others.

She also combines her differences knowledge with her expertise in working remotely. Susan and Dr. Linda Berens co-authored, The Quick Guide to Interaction Styles and Working Remotely and The I in Team... Accelerating Performance of Remote and Co-located Teams.


[ return to top ]


While working for IBM, Susan was the practice leader for the subject area of teams. In that role, she co-developed several workshops for team leaders and team members. She continues to work with clients in both team building and team development. And she often speaks on the topic of teams.

Susan has created a team assessment that provides a team an opportunity to look at how they do in three key areas:

From this Team Assessment, Susan and the team can determine where they need to focus in order to further develop as a team.

A key tool that Susan often uses for team building is SYMLOG.

SYMLOG is a tool that measures values for teamwork. Using a 360-like approach with the collection of the data, Susan facilitates a powerful session for intact work groups to help them move towards high performance.

Susan is the co-author of a new and exciting team training product, GO Team. This series of 18 short modules provides teams with real time training. The participant guides lead the team through energizing exercises and discussions on the given topic.

Susan co-authored, The I in Team... Accelerating Performance of Remote and Co-located Teams.


[ return to top ]

Non-Profit Sector

Susan is well known as a facilitator of non-profit board retreats, and a consultant to non-profit organizations. She has worked with many organizations in Orange County including Family Violence Project, Human Options, Irvine Public Schools Foundation, Girl Scout - Spanish Trails Council, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Orangewood, Project Independence, and United Way.

Susan can help if you are looking for:

  • High quality board retreat. (planning and facilitation)
  • Clarified roles of board, executive director, and staff. (training or facilitated discussion)
  • Effective board and committee meetings. (training)
  • Effective staff. (training and/or coaching)
  • Improved leadership and/or management skills. (training and/or coaching)
  • Team building. (for staff, board, etc.)


[ return to top ]


Leading From a Distance

Employees today are working in a variety of locations, and it's often not the same location as yours. They work at home, at the client's office, in another city or even in another country. With your people working remotely from you, your job as a manager can be more difficult. How do you assign work? How do you know how they are performing? Can you trust that they are doing the right thing? This presentation will highlight techniques to be more effective leading from a distance.

New Strategies for Team Development

We test our teamwork skills when we work in groups, and every group or team we work with has different challenges. In this session you will learn the stages of group development and gain insights into the dynamics of different groups. Getting off to a strong start is critical for groups, so we will look at key "getting started" activities. Floundering as conflicts arise in groups is common. We'll look at techniques for moving beyond this nonproductive stage. Stalling prior to becoming high-performing is also common for groups. We'll discuss how to boost the group beyond what the members ever dreamed they could accomplish together.

Group Decision Making

Making good group decisions is a critical skill for teams today. If the group is not skilled in the process, decision making can be very time consuming and often frustrating. Consensus is not the only alternative available to the team. In this session, participants will learn different approaches to group decision making and techniques to make decisions more quickly and effectively.

Effective Communications

Miscommunication often causes conflict or errors in the workplace. One of the primary reasons miscommunication occurs is that we don't all use the same communication style. In this session, we will explore four styles of communication and learn how to use this understanding to work more effectively with others.


Training isn't always the most effective way for employees to learn skills or build their career. In many organizations, mentoring happens ad-hoc. Capitalizing on the knowledge, experience and skills of your employees takes a good approach to mentoring. This session will share the key elements of an effective mentoring program and provide tips for getting started.


[ return to top ]


The focus of my work is helping people work better, together. Often that includes one-on-one coaching in areas such as:

  • leadership style
  • management processes
  • personality style
  • understanding others
  • team dynamics
  • managing conflict
  • managing change
  • working remotely

Some of the tools I use with clients include SYMLOG, FIRO B, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument, Temperament and Interaction Styles models, Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode instrument and a variety of 360 tools.

Coaching clients include CEO's of small organizations, Vice Presidents and Directors of large organizations, leaders in the nonprofit sector, line and middle managers and teams.

Coaching examples

A Director of a medium size company who is different from the rest of the senior management team. Coaching includes understanding key issues of working remotely as well as personality style differences. We also work together preparing her for face-to-face meetings with her manager. As a result, she is more confident, is seen as more of a team player, and her stress is reduced significantly.

A CEO of a small company who is frequently out of town.
Coaching includes a focus on roles of the members of the senior management team and how to more effectively delegate. Results include clearer roles and a better working relationship among members of the senior management team.

A Vice President of Engineering who wanted to engage his management team in implementing a new organizational structure.
Coaching included a focus on team dynamics as well as managing change. The result was a relatively smooth transition to the new structure as well as improved performance of the team and the organization.

A new CEO of a small company who wanted guidance on effectively managing he people and being an effective leader.
Coaching includes a focus on understanding her personality style and talents and how to use them effectively leading. I've provided coaching on team dynamics as well as managing difficult employees. The result is a productive workplace that values differences.

A Director in a very large company who was too technical and needed better visibility with her manager and other higher level executives.
Coaching included observation of her in a meeting of her peers and a focus on influencing others. I also coached her on a presentation she was to make to a very high level executive. The result was an increased awareness of her current image, and positive change in influencing others.

A member of a two-person team who was having significant conflict with her partner.
Coaching included a focus on personality style -- hers and the partner's and strategies for changing the situation. The result was twofold -- 1) reduced stress due to understanding their differences, and 2) a strategy to change the responsibilities of each person.

A relatively new President of a nonprofit organization.
Coaching included observation and feedback on her style of leading, running meetings and on-on-one interactions. The result was a better understanding of how she was perceived by others and using new techniques to project an image that is true to who she is.


[ return to top ]

Time Dynamics

In our "24/7" world, people seem busier and more stressed than ever before. Running late, multi-tasking, and squeezing in "one more thing" are the norm rather than the exception. Technology should help, but often seems to make the situation worse, as people expect an instant response to their call or message.

The solution to the feeling of "not having enough time" isn't just about managing our time better. It is really more about understanding the dynamics of time and how those dynamics work for and against you.

The four key dynamics of time are:

  1. Time in Relation to People
  2. Time Boundaries
  3. Priorities
  4. Informed Choices

We'll discuss one or more of these dynamics in this session.


[ return to top ]

© Copyright 2009, Gerke Consulting & Development L.L.C.