The Future of Work Podcast With Jacob Morgan

When we normally think about change, whether in our organizations or even in our personal lives, we tend to think about linear change. But what would happen if we thought about exponential change instead?

What’s the difference? Well a couple of years ago the famous futurist, Ray Kurzweil did an interview with the Financial Times and in the interview he compared linear growth to exponential growth. He said, “30 steps linearly gets you to 30. One, two, three, four, step 30 you’re at 30. With exponential growth, it’s one, two, four, eight. Step 30, you’re at a billion”

So taking 30 linear steps is not going to get you very far, but taking 30 exponential steps would be the equivalent of traveling around the world 26 times! There’s no telling where you would end up.

We live in an exponential world where things are changing very quickly, especially technology. In order to stay relevant we need to take our linear assumptions, ideas and concepts and adjust them for an exponential world.

Direct download: Shifting_from_Linear_to_Exponential_Thinking.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:25pm PDT

Barbara Humpton is the CEO of Siemens USA, a global company that operates in several areas including industry, energy, healthcare, and infrastructure. They have almost 400,000 employees around the world in 190 countries and Barbara is responsible for over 55,000 of those employees and the company’s largest market with over $23 Billion in revenue and $5 billion in annual exports.  

 

Her journey to becoming CEO has not been a typical one, but it certainly is an interesting one. She studied mathematics in college and initially thought she would be a math professor, like her parents. But after college she got an offer to join IBM in software programming. In 2008 she became the Vice President at Lockheed Martin where she oversaw biometrics programs, border and transportation security, and critical infrastructure protection. She also worked as the Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton, managing the program performance and new business in the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, prior to moving to Siemens in 2011. Barbara says a CEO position wasn’t always in her sights, “I guess I always had my eyes on what I currently had to do, the most important job was the one right in front of me. And then I got invitations to partake in more and more interesting projects”.

 

There are a lot of responsibilities that come with being the CEO of such a large company, but Barbara says her number one job is, “to really think about the culture we’re creating and the future we’re driving toward.” One of the big topics she is focused on is building the workforce of the future.

 

There are so many things impacting the workforce of the 21st century--AI and automation, IoT, rapidly changing technologies, etc….and there is a huge responsibility for universities and organizations to help individuals be prepared for the future of work. Siemens offers multiple training programs, incentives, and reskilling options for their employees to make sure they stay relevant.

 

One example of Siemens dedication to keeping employees relevant occured in Charlotte, NC a decade ago. They had thousands of applicants for some positions they needed to fill, but not enough of the applicants were qualified to fill all of the open positions. So Siemens partnered with the local community college to create an apprenticeship program to train people who could then apply for the new positions at Siemens. It was so successful that they expanded the program to nine states.

When asked what advice she would give to employees in order to future proof their careers, Barbara says, “I actually think there's one fundamental piece of advice that if I had gotten this advice earlier in my career, I think I would have been much more self aware through the process. Purpose. All of us need to be thinking about our own personal why. What is it that makes us tick? And my sense is that when leaders and when employees are aligned in their own personal purpose along with the purpose of the organization they're in, boy, everything just moves more smoothly.”


What you will learn in this episode:

  • What a typical day looks like for Barbara
  • How Barbara deals with rejection
  • How to convince managers and leaders to make changes
  • What Siemens is doing around skills training and prep for the workforce of the future
  • How Siemens is helping veterans get jobs
  • What kind of leaders we need for the new world of work
  • How to figure out your purpose
  • What is a digital quotient and why it’s important for leaders to have
Direct download: Barbara20Humpton20podcast_done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40am PDT

Business leaders at companies around the world are always asking, “how can we standardize corporate culture across all of our locations?” My response is, “do you really want to do that?”

Standardizing corporate culture is a subject that comes up quite frequently during my conversations with business leaders at companies around the world. They want to know how they can make it so that whether a person walks into their company in Australia, Japan, England or the U.S., they see and feel the same things.

But my question is, “do you really want to do that?”. People across the world are all going to have different behaviors, customs, beliefs, etc…and that’s okay. People in your organization should be able to be themselves at work. So if your office in Sydney, Australia looks different than the one in London, England that’s to be expected.

What we really want to standardize across all of our organizations is our values--doing good, collaboration, fun, trust, transparency, integrity--these are the things that should stay the same no matter what location you are walking into. As long as you have those core unifying things at the base of your organization differences in corporate culture should be welcomed and embraced.

Direct download: Standardizing_Corporate_Culture_-_Jacob_Morgan.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:03am PDT

Wade Foster is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zapier, a company that allows you to connect the apps you use daily in order to automate tasks and save time. The company was started back in 2011 as a side hustle for Wade and fellow founders, Brian and Mike. They now have 200 employees all over the world and over 100,000 customers.

All 200 employees work remotely from different locations, they don’t have any office buildings. Some managers might worry about leading a remote team, but Wade says there’s really no difference between leading an in person team versus leading a remote team. Whether or not you can see your team, the only way to know if your team is getting work done is to see the work, not the people themselves. You may have employees showing up to an office space everyday, sitting at their desks all day long, but it doesn’t mean they are being productive.

Wade says all managers, whether they have a remote team or not, need to understand the company’s goals, they need to know how to put teams together, and they need to be able to coach and mentor people. Wade believes it is also important for managers to regularly check in with their people to discuss work performance, experience, and even their personal lives.

When it comes to building company culture Zapier works hard to make sure employees build relationships with one another. One way they help employees connect is through a Slack App called Donut, which matches up three employees at random. Those three employees have to find time every week to talk with their group. They can talk about anything--books, hobbies, family, etc...they just need to get to know each other. Wade says, “If you kind of already know the person and you know them on a human level, it just makes it easier to connect with them when you get into the trenches and have to solve something really, really tough” They also hold two large in person retreats every year where all 200 employees come together to meet up and connect.

Hiring the right people is also critical when it comes to a remote workforce. Not everyone is a good fit for remote work. At Zapier they look for self-starters, who are motivated, and who have a go get it attitude.

For any organizations looking to incorporate a remote work program Wade suggests, “...don't overthink it. Being a manager in a remote environment is not so different than being a good manager in an office. A lot of the things that you need to do are the same. So, find the remote equivalent of those things and make it happen”.

What you will learn from the episode:

  • How to manage a remote team
  • Why Zapier continues to have a 100% remote workforce even now that they are growing
  • Tools to use with a remote team
  • What to look for when hiring remote workers
  • How Zapier went from a side hustle to a successful business with over 100,000 customers

Link from the episode:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wadefoster/

Direct download: Wade20Foster20podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:19am PDT

The game of Chess has been around since the 6th Century AD and it has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I think all business leaders should learn how to play because there are so many business lessons we can learn from Chess.

I am quite obsessed with the game of Chess. It has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember and it is something that I really enjoy doing. Chess is not only a fun and challenging game, but it also provides many life lessons.

I think all business leaders should learn how to play chess because it can teach us a lot about business.

Here are the 6 biggest business lessons I have learned from playing chess:

1. How to work with AI
2. How to look at the big picture
3. Patience
4. How to look at several different situations and figure out what outcomes each may bring
5. How to identify patterns
6. How to be comfortable with the unknown

All of these lessons are important to learn and will help you be a better leader. So, if you have some extra time on your hands, try Chess. I highly recommend it.

Direct download: The_One_Game_Business_Leaders_Should_Play.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:22pm PDT

Kenny McDonald is the President and Chief Economic Officer of Columbus 2020, an economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus, Ohio region. This initiative was started back in 2010 by a team of more than 20 economic development experts who wanted to actively do something to improve their area after the ‘07-’08 recession.

At the beginning, in 2010, the team behind Columbus 2020 came up with four main long-term goals that they would focus on over the next 10 years. The goals were:

  1. Add 150,000 net new jobs
  2. Generate $8 billion of capital investment
  3. Raise personal per capita income by 30 percent
  4. Earn recognition as a leader in economic development

They didn’t want to just recover from the recession, they wanted the city of Columbus to do better than it ever had before. And this strategy paid off, in 2018, just 8 years into their 10-year plan, they had already met three out of the four goals.

Now a big focus for Columbus is preparing the workforce of the future. One of the major trends around the future of work Kenny is paying attention to is the mass automation happening in a lot of industries including finance, insurance, and retail.

Kenny says, “We're asking ourselves what will be automated, what jobs exist now and have existed for decades that maybe in the next 5 or 10 years are no longer going to be a way for people to earn income, how are they going to do that? How are we going to create that tax base out of that in the future? So we consider ourselves a laboratory and are leaning into all of those changes.”

After studying automation, Kenny and the team of economic development experts he works with believe that around 200,000 jobs in their region are under serious risk of going away due to automation. But they don’t see that as a threat, they see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to create better jobs for humans while leaving the unskilled, labor intensive jobs to technology.

When asked who is responsible for retraining and upskilling the workers who are displaced to to job automation, Kenny said it should be a combined effort between the community, the major employers, and educational institutions. These major players need to have open and honest discussions to figure out how jobs are changing and what needs to be done to better equip people for the future of work.

Even though there is a large responsibility on the community, employers, and schools, that does not leave the individual employee off the hook. “The need, the velocity of which continued education is going to be required for you to be a competitive employee in the future is going to require a lot of responsibility. So you're going to be responsible for raising your hand and saying, "I want that training. I'm willing to make a little bit of a time sacrifice to learn that skill to evolve as technologies evolve and continue my career.People that are willing to do that are going to have tremendous opportunity, maybe even greater opportunity than we've ever seen before. But those that are unwilling to do that or perhaps don't have the insight and aren't given the roadmap around that are going to have a difficult time.”

When it comes to advice for listeners, Kenny says it is important to get involved in your community, especially if you work for one of the major employers in your area or if you are an academic leader. Find ways to partner with your city, get involved, and start conversations. Figure out where your city needs to be in 5-10 years and start building it now.


What you will learn in the episode:

  • How Columbus is preparing the next generation for the future of jobs
  • How Columbus 2020 got started and what success they have seen so far
  • What trends Kenny is paying attention to
  • What jobs will most likely disappear in the near future
  • Who is responsible for retraining and upskilling displaced workers
  • Whether or not a college degree still has value

Links from the Episode:

 

Columbus 2020: https://columbusregion.com/columbus-2020/

Kenny’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kennymcdonald/

 

Direct download: Kenny20McDonald20podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:16pm PDT

When we think of traditional HR functions we typically think about hiring, firing, policies, training and rules/regulations. But in the future of work we need a shift in the role that HR plays in the organization. We need HR to not be like HR.

I know we cannot ignore the traditional HR duties, but I think those duties should make up a small percentage of time compared to how much time is spent on driving change in the organization.

That is what HR should be focusing on. It should be called Human Transformation instead of Human Resources. Why? Because their role should be centered on helping the organization grow, evolve and move forward. HR should be a part of the company, not because legally it has to be there, but because the organization wants and needs transformational growth.

Direct download: Its_Not_Human_Resources_Its_Human_Transformation.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:12am PDT

Greg Hanover is the CEO of LiveOps, a virtual call center company that provides services for a wide variety of industries including healthcare, retail, travel, hospitality, and insurance. LiveOps has a little over 200 full-time employees and they have 14,000 independent contractors who work virtually from home. Having a team of virtual agents has allowed LiveOps to be more cost effective, flexible, and innovative than a traditional brick and mortar call center.

Having flexible and remote work options is becoming more and more valuable to employees, no matter what industry they are in. But a lot of executives shy away from giving these options because of the concerns that come with leading a virtual workforce. How do you know if they are actually working? How do you measure productivity? How do you create a cohesive corporate culture when not everyone is in the same building everyday?

Greg says it ultimately comes down to your communication strategy. Having effective and consistent communication is critical when it comes to working with a virtual team. The great thing is there are so many tools and platforms available now that leaders can take advantage of. LiveOps has built their own collaboration tool called LiveOps Nation which allows agents to communicate with one another, share tips and secrets, find company wide news, etc...It allows the leaders to disseminate information to the whole team, very quickly.

It is also important to set expectations early when leading a virtual team. Starting at the interview, the potential employee should know what attributes you are looking for in a team member, what is expected of them, and what their responsibilities will be. “We all know there are some people who can be more successful than others in a virtual environment”, Greg says. Working virtually requires self-motivation, a certain amount of drive, an entrepreneurial spirit and self-control.

“One of the big things or processes we have in place is every agent signs what we call a statement of work. And we make it clear, so whether you're supporting a large retail customer or one of our insurance customers, or healthcare customers, we're going to list out what the requirements are to support that customer. So we may have certain requirements around number of hours worked each week or certain quality metrics that have to be met to stay active on a program. We'll clearly outline in that statement of work with the agent what the requirements are to support that end customer. There are requirements. It's not a free for all model.”

For organizations or leaders who are looking to test out a remote workforce or a few remote positions, Greg’s advice is to “understand what does success look like in that position. And then make sure that you’ve clearly articulated that to the folks that you’re going to place in a remote environment”. It is important to lay out the requirements, expectations, job description, etc… ahead of time and use that as the measure of success.

Greg suggests starting small, maybe you give employees the option to work from home one day a week or you give them more flexibility in their schedules. But don’t try to run before you crawl. It may not be the best idea to start hiring a whole new team of remote workers if you’ve never managed this type of a team before. Start small and test things out, put the right tools in place, and set up guidelines and expectations up front.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to lead a virtual team
  • What tools LiveOps uses to collaborate and communicate
  • What it is like to work at LiveOps
  • How they stay competitive in the Bay Area
  • How they train, upskill, and motivate a team they cannot see
  • How they keep the team aspect alive while everyone is remote
  • How to change the mindset of leaders so they can see the benefits and possibilities of remote working


Links from the episode:

LiveOps: www.liveops.com

Greg’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greghanover/

Direct download: Greg20Hanover_podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:04am PDT

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