The Future of Work Podcast With Jacob Morgan | Futurist | Leadership | Workplace | Careers | Employee Experience & Engagement |

Ashley Goodall is that SVP of Leadership and Team Intelligence at Cisco and the author of the new book, Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World. Prior to Cisco, Ashley spent 14 years at Deloitte where he worked in several roles, including Director and Chief Learning Officer, Leadership Development.

When conducting research for the book, Ashley and co-author Marcus Buckingham found that a lot of the “basic truths” people think they know about work are actually not true at all. These nine lies that they found are based on data and evidence from the real world of work, it’s not just an opinion or a philosophy.

These nine lies found in the world of work are:

  1. People care which company they work for
  2. The best plan wins
  3. The best organizations cascade goals
  4. People are well rounded
  5. People need feedback
  6. People can reliably rate other people
  7. People have potential
  8. Work life balance matters most
  9. Leadership is a thing

If you are like me, reading through the list you may be surprised to see a lot of statements that you have held as truth for many years, even decades. But as Ashley went through and explained the reasoning behind why these statements are lies it made complete sense.

Taking number one as an example, people care which company they work for, it may seem like an obvious statement. But the truth is people don’t care what company they work for, they care about the team they work with. The experience inside of a company varies from team to team.

Ashley says, “We discovered at Cisco, I mean I think this data point is the one that sort of puts the whole thing into a fairly sharp focus, if you go from one of our 50% most engaged teams to one of our 50% least engaged teams, in other words, you pass the sort of median point of team engagement in a downward direction, your chance of voluntarily resigning from Cisco goes up by 45%.That's an enormous, enormous, enormous difference. And the point is, of course, as you go from a great team to a horrible team, you're still working for Cisco, so if it were true that you cared which company you worked for, that hasn't changed. But clearly, every time what trumps this idea of company is team.”

Another example is number eight, work life balance matters most. We hear a lot about work life balance, but Ashley says it is an unattainable idea and the phrasing is deceiving. Saying work life balance implies that everything about work is bad and everything about life is good. And trying to keep a perfect balance between the two is fragile and stressful.

“More useful is the idea that whether it's in work or in life, there are certain activities that fill us up, that rejuvenate us, that express who we are as people, where we want to make our biggest mark on the world. Activities that replenish us, activities that express, if you like, our love for the world around us, and that it's not really work life balance that we should be after, therefore, it is love loathe imbalance. We want to intelligently work throughout our lives to create more of the activities that we love, and fewer of the activities we loathe, whether that's at work, our outside work.”

So what is the purpose of the book and redefining the workplace truths? These lies cause dysfunction and frustration inside of organizations and they keep leaders from achieving their true potential. By identifying and addressing these lies in the workplace our organizations can function more effectively and our leaders can be more successful.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Ashley’s role inside Cisco
  • The nine lies about work that we generally accept as truth
  • The data and evidence Ashley and Marcus used for the book
  • The 3 problems with the annual performance reviews and what Cisco is doing instead
  • What makes a good team leader
Direct download: Ashley20Goodall20podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:21pm PDT

Most organizations set aside specific time to appreciate employees. Sometimes it is one day a year, sometimes once a month, but it is usually sporadic. Usually it consists of one day a year where the company provides food, games, activities, prizes, etc… to celebrate their employees.

But I believe everyday should be employee appreciation day. Not necessarily having a party everyday, but doing things to show your employees that they matter and that they are doing a great job. Something as simple as having an open door policy for a set time every single day as a manager. What would your organization look like if you treated every single day as a People Day or an Employee Appreciation Day? Would this make your organization a place where your employees want, not need, to show up? How would it improve the morale, productivity, happiness, work ethic and atmosphere in your organization?

Direct download: everyday_should_be_employee_appreciation_day.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:53am PDT

Thomas Kochan is the George M. Bunker Professor of Work and Employment Relations at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and co-director of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research. Thomas has actually been a faculty member at MIT since 1980. In 2010, he led the formation of the Employment Policy Research Network, an online think tank on the subject of employment. In 2015, he was honored by the Aspen Institute with a Faculty Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award for his research and teaching on business practices that contribute to an economy that works for all. Thomas is the author of Shaping the Future of Work: What Future Worker, Business, Government, and Education Leaders Need To Do For All To Prosper and Restoring the American Dream: A Working Families' Agenda for America.

Thomas has been looking at the future of work and employment for 40 years, he has seen the workforce and the economy change quite a bit over the years but he says our policies, values, and practices in America have not kept up with that pace of change. It has been his lifelong work to advocate for innovation, policy changes, and updated workplace practices.

Since the 1970s there has been a disconnect between how the economy is doing and how the average worker is doing. Prior to the 70s when productivity went up and the economy got stronger, the compensation for the average worker also went up. But now, Thomas says, due to deregulation, the rise of Wall Street, a decline in unions, and advances in technology we have a disconnect. We are still using the policies, practices, and social contract of the 50s and 60s, which no longer works.

Thomas says it is critical for organizations, educational institutions, government, and individual employees to engage with each other and work together to build a new, updated social contract. We’ve got to invent new policies, practices, and institutions as we move forward and shape the future of work.

When it comes to the future of work, some people are worried about the future of jobs. They are concerned when they hear about automation, AI, and other technologies because of the effect they will have on jobs and the economy. Thomas is optimistic, as long as we are proactive in shaping the future of work ourselves and we don’t just let the future happen to us while we sit back passively.

Thomas says, “If we are proactive, we can shape the future of work in ways that really help to broaden the distribution of benefits, augment work more effectively and change the way in which tasks and work, our jobs are done rather than to just see it as a way of displacing labor. And then for those people who will be displaced, and there will be people whose jobs are negatively affected. We then have to figure out how we can help them just provide retraining or provide compensation so we don't have a big gap between the winners and losers in this race with technology. So our perspective is let's get on and let's talk about what we can proactively do to shape the future of work. And I think it's a healthy way to approach this issue.”

For people who are worried about the future of work, Thomas’ advice is to be a lifelong learner, don’t just put your head in the sand and think you have a degree so you are good for life. That is no longer good enough. He also says it is important to have a mix of behavioral skills--be reliable, be flexible, learn to communicate well. If you need training in a new technology or program, speak up and be assertive.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Big trends Thomas is paying attention to
  • The changes Thomas has seen in the world of work over the past 40 years
  • What we need to do to move forward and shape the future of work
  • What leaders will need to adjust in order to be effective in the future of work
  • What is the voice gap and how can we close it
  • What does lifelong learning mean and how can you practice it
  • Whether Thomas is an optimist or pessimist when it comes to the future


Contact Info

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-kochan-898ab917/

https://mitsloan.mit.edu/faculty/directory/thomas-kochan

Direct download: Thomas20Kochan20podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:31am PDT

Are you a leader that truly acts like a coach and mentor? A leader who actually believes in being a coach or mentor to their employees doesn’t stop once the employees get to a certain level of success. They are willing to help others be more successful, even if it means the employees become more successful than they are.

But what I often see is that leaders act as a coach or mentor to employees up until they reach a certain level of success and then the leader holds the employees back or pushes them down, so as not to be outdone by their mentees. But that is not a true coach/mentor.

A true coach/mentor guides, encourages and helps their mentees and when the mentees reach a level of greater success than the actual coach/mentor the coach/mentor is filled with pride, accomplishment and happiness knowing that they helped the mentees get there.

Think about the relationship between a parent and child. If a child becomes successful in education or sports or a special skill, the parent doesn’t push them down and say “how dare you be more successful than I am in this area! I created you, and you dare to outdo me!”. No. They feel overwhelmed with pride in their child. The parent gets excited to see their child accomplish things they themselves were never able to do.

That is how we should think and act as leaders. We should take pride in seeing our employees succeed and move up in the company. Do you show up everyday with a coaching/mentorship mindset?

Direct download: one_trait_most_leaders_dont_have.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:59pm PDT

Xavier Unkovic is the President of Amy’s Kitchen, a family owned, privately held company founded in 1987 that manufactures organic and non-GMO convenience and frozen foods. Amy’s Kitchen employs around 2,400 people in California, Oregon, and Idaho and their products are sold all around the country. Prior to Amy’s Kitchen Xavier was the Global President of Mars Drinks, a company known for brands like M&Ms, Uncle Ben’s, Dove, and Orbit.

 

When asked how he was able to make his way up to the president of a company Xavier said it was a combination of hard work, great mentors and coaches, a love for the work he is doing, and the ability to surround himself with great people. He says being a leader is not about knowing it all.

 

“I keep saying to my managers, when you go to school, we teach you at school to have all the answers and it's pretty damaging when it comes to the future at work where at work, it's not about having the answers, it's about providing the answers together. Not you, as a manager, having all the answers for your people but working it out with your people, being all together, working towards a solution, not having all the answers yourself.”

 

A lot of people wonder how to find the right job, one that they will enjoy, keep them engaged, and one that will allow them to fulfill a purpose. Xavier believes a big part of finding the right company to work for is defining your personal self purpose--why do you believe you exist? What makes you happy? What do you strive for? If you can define your self purpose it will be a lot easier to find the company and the role that’s right for you.

 

But what if you don’t know what that purpose is yet? Xavier shares that he didn’t find his own driving purpose until he was 40 years old. He said in order to get to that point he had to put his thoughts and emotions down on paper and he was able to use his time at the job he had at the time to define, grow, and develop that sense of purpose before ultimately finding Amy’s Kitchen.

 

He also said he had some fantastic mentors who helped him through the process of finding his purpose and passion in life.

 

For people who don’t have a sense of purpose in their current role or at their current company, Xavier suggests, “If you're not happy, do something, for sure. Quit, I don't know. But do something. Try to really understand which company will make you strive. Sometimes it's not about the company, it's about the boss. Sometimes you can be in the right place as a company but you don't have the right manager. So my advice when it's the case of the manager, is try to have a conversation with the manager. Often, people quit because they believe the managers do not care about them and they don't invest into the relationship. My advice would be, sit down with your manager and tell them how it's impacting you. If the case is your manager is engaging you and not the company but I would definitely give the advice to everyone to select the company they want to work for, not just go for the paycheck. Life is too short, life is too short.”


What you will learn in this episode:

  • Xavier’s leadership journey and how he became president of a company
  • Why finding your personal self purpose is so important
  • The story behind how Amy’s Kitchen started
  • What to do if you don’t find purpose in your current position
  • Why Xavier never starts his day by reading emails
  • What Xavier does when an employee comes to him and says they are not fulfilled at work

 

Contact:

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/xavier-unkovic-6300169

Amy’s Kitchen: https://www.amys.com/

Direct download: Xavier20Unkovic20podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:41am PDT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a huge impact on the way we live and the way we work. But many people are still trying to figure out what IoT actually is. Here is my simple explanation.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a huge topic of discussion these days and it is having a profound impact on the way we live and work. But many people are still trying to figure out what IoT actually means.

Simply put, IoT is all devices that have an on and off switch, are powered by electricity or batteries that have the ability to be connected together and share data with each other. You may already have a lot of these devices in your home, such as Smart TVs, Smartphones, Fitbits, Alexa, etc….

Eventually there will be many other objects in this category as technology allows things such as toothbrushes, coffee pots, cars, and calendars to be connected. There will be a day when you can wake up to your alarm and all at once your coffee pot will know that you are up and start making a cup of coffee and your smart car will know when to start and come to pick you up. You may even have a car that can notify your office when you are stuck in traffic and running late and move your appointments back on your calendar.

We are already seeing a lot of new appliances and wearables on the market that can connect to each other, like the fridge that can look inside and tell you what food items you are low on and add these food items to a grocery list on your phone. IoT can make our lives easier, more productive and more efficient. But are we ready to live in this kind of a world where everything is connected and sharing data?

Direct download: what-is-the-internet-of-things.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:18am PDT

Tim Brown is the CEO of IDEO, the global design and innovation company behind projects such as the first Apple mouse and the first notebook style computer. The team of around 800 people are located around the world and they come from a wide variety of backgrounds--everything from chefs, practicing physicians, software engineers, to filmmakers and everything in between. But they all have one thing in common, a methodology of design.

Tim is also the author of the book, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. What does design thinking actually mean? Tim says, “The big difference between thinking and design thinking is the doing bit, which doesn't crop up in the term design thinking...When you start the creative process you do not know what the answer is. Most people when they're presented with the problem of solve a problem but they have no idea what the answer is, they're sort of, they don't know what to do with it. It's like the proverbial blank sheet of paper. And so what design thinking is, is a set of processes and methods for getting you to an answer.”

Tim and his team at IDEO take a design based approach to everything from education to IT work to leadership. They have three cycles that employees go through over their time with the company, those cycles are learning, practicing, and mastering. They have found that to “really master something, you should teach it”.

What is it like to work at IDEO? Tim says the biggest difference between IDEO and other organizations is that “we spend almost all of our time creating new things. Whereas in most organizations only some people spend some of their time doing it.”

Employees at IDEO work mostly in teams rather than individually, they believe in group creativity rather than individual creativity. They have a very diverse team with people coming from all sorts of educational and career backgrounds with a wide variety of skills. And their company’s cultural values are very important and include things like “help others be successful, not just focused on your own success”. They see this value played out on a daily basis.

When asked for advice on how individual employees can start bringing in design thinking to their organizations Tim suggests they first observe the organization and keep a record of what they notice. This is true especially newer employees, they will observe different things than an employee who has been in the organization for years would. Always keep a notebook or sketchbook with thoughts, ideas, questions, observations, etc...And then when you get a chance speak up about what you notice and things you see that could be improved upon.

For leaders looking to implement design thinking, Tim says, “it takes bravery from leaders to realize that actually, there are problems to be solved, opportunities to be grabbed, and that if we put resources and teams against it, there’s a payoff.” Be brave and understand that you won’t always have the answers and that’s okay.

What You Will Learn in this episode:

  • What Design Thinking actually means and how to apply it to work
  • What it’s like to work at IDEO
  • What is one of the great diseases of the modern organization according to Tim
  • Examples of companies who are good at thinking creatively
  • How Tim deals with failure

 

Links From The Episode:

https://www.ideou.com/

www.designthinking.ideo.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/timbrownatlindkedin

 

Direct download: Tim20Brown20podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:54am PDT

Imagine you are looking through the narrow end of a paper cone. The space in the cone closest to your eye is very narrow and closed in, but the farther out into the cone you look the wider it becomes.

Futurists use a tool/technique called the cone of possibilities to explore different scenarios that could happen in the future. The narrow part of the cone is the near future, it includes present time and a couple of months or even a couple of years into the future. But as the cone gets wider it signifies time further out into the future--think 10, 20 or even 50+ years in the future. It is wider because there are many more scenarios/possibilities that could happen that far in the future vs. what could happen in the near future.

Futurists use a couple of different ways to think in terms of scenarios. The first scenario they use is to look at their ideal scenario. What they would like to happen. The second scenario they use is a likely scenario, what might happen realistically. Then the third scenario is to look at what could happen, but is not likely to happen.

Futurists can then use these different scenarios to look at anything the future could bring so that they are not surprised by anything. We can also use this technique ourselves to define and outline our own scenarios. By doing this we can take a look at our ideal scenarios and see what we would need to do personally to get to that ideal scenario and we can look at all the other possible scenarios so that we can prepare for anything that may happen.

Direct download: think_like_a_futurist.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:43pm PDT

Horst Schulze is the Co-Founder and former President of the Ritz-Carlton and author of the new book, Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise. Even though he is technically retired, he is staying extremely busy. Horst is currently the Chairman Emeritus of Capella Hotel Group, he is on five boards, and he does some consulting work.

Horst actually started in the hotel industry when he was 14 years old as a busboy. From there he worked his way up--waiter, kitchen staff, club manager, catering manager up to regional VP for 10 Hyatt hotels and then manager of food and beverage operations for all Hyatt hotels before ultimately receiving the call to help start a new hotel brand. When asked what career he would have had if he wasn’t in the hotel industry Horst said, “The hotel business. Again, and again, and again. I don't want to do anything else. That's what I love.”

A lot has changed in the hotel industry, and work in general, in the past several decades. One thing Horst has noticed in the hotel industry is how luxury has changed. It used to be that when you thought about a luxury hotel you would be looking for marble, chandeliers, expensive artwork, etc...But now luxury is about a personalized and individualized experience. Luxury looks different to everyone and being able to customize the clients stay is what it’s all about.

When it comes to work Horst says there have been changes over the past few decades, but there are some areas that still have a long way to go. One of these areas that needs work is creating a purpose for employees and helping them feel like they are an important part of the organization. This is part of what Horst believes is our leadership crisis.

“We still hire people to fulfill certain functions. But you know, the chair in which we're sitting is fulfilling a function. We have to become more aware that we actually hire human beings that want to be part of something. Not just fulfill a function like the chair, which we're sitting on. Once that understanding becomes deeper, we will adopt and create our systems around it.”

It used to be that the role of a manager was to hire people and then control them. Employees were just supposed to show up, listen to commands, and do what they are told--they weren’t supposed to think, speak up, or question anything.

There are still organizations today who operate like that, but thankfully we are moving away from that model. Employees today want to be a part of the decision making, they want to feel like they belong, they want a purpose and meaning behind what they do.

“What employee will do a better job? The one that must do the job, and is controlled to do it, or the one that wants to do the job? The answer should be quite easy. So in other words, I have to create an environment in which employees want to do the job, and that is leadership.”

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How Horst went from a 14 year old busboy to the Co-Founder and President of the Ritz-Carlton
  • What has changed in the hotel industry over the past few decades
  • How hiring has changed and whether or not it is better now
  • How to keep your employees connected to the mission of the company
  • What Horst believes is our current leadership crisis and how we can fix it

Link from the episode:

Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise

 

Direct download: Horst20Schulze_Podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:46pm PDT

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