Mon, 6 April 2020
Laura Vanderkam is the author of several books on productivity and time management, including Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.
These days most of us have been forced to step away from our normal routines, and that can feel stressful and chaotic at times. But as Laura shares, it is all about our internal dialogue and how we shape the way we handle the current situation. “It can be easy to tell ourselves stories about the chaos and how crazy it is and how you can get nothing done. But once you have a story in your mind, you start looking for evidence to support that. And so if your story is, Everything's crazy, I can't get anything done, this is horrible, this is terrible, well certainly you can find a couple of stressful moments in any given day, and then now you've got points of evidence supporting your story. But if you start from the story of, Well, this is challenging, but I am a resilient and productive individual, I will get through it, well you can also find evidence of that. You can celebrate little moments like, Wow, I just pitched a huge project over Zoom and it worked, they said yes.That's wow, great. Or, I managed to have lunch with my family. When does that happen on a weekday? So you can celebrate things like that.”
In her book, Off the Clock, Laura shares seven strategies we can use to avoid stress and feel better about the hours we have. They are:
- Tending your garden--we need to cultivate our time the same way we tend to a garden, and the work is never done
- Make life memorable--People feel time is more abundant when they do things out of the ordinary
- Don’t fill time--we are very good at filling time, a lot of times with unimportant things, but it is up to us to be mindful and choose what to do with our time
- Linger--it is important to slow down and notice things. We need to learn to savor our time
- Invest in your happiness--It is important to use our resources to spend more time on things we enjoy vs. things that make us wish time away
- Let it go--Unhappiness stems from a mismatch between expectations and reality. If we can’t change reality, we have to learn to change our expectations
- People are a good use of time--Interacting with others and spending time with people is never a waste of time
Putting these strategies into practice can help us take charge of our time. The fact is time is going to continue moving on whether we pay attention to it or not. It is so important to be aware of how we use our time because then we can pinpoint areas we need to work on in order to make every second count.
Laura’s advice to leaders of organizations is, “People who feel a sense of autonomy are generally far more happy and more productive. So as much as possible, if you can give people some control over their work, over when they do it, over how they work. I'm a big fan of, now we're all working remotely, but I'm a big fan of allowing people to do that from time to time, if that would make them feel better about it. Of letting people set their own hours, if that is remotely possible. And even people who do have to be scheduled for shift, maybe there could be a lot of input into when those shifts are, that people can work with each other to come up with shifts that they are all happy with, that it's not just decreed from above, that it's things people have a say in. And that can go a long way toward making people feel like they matter.”
What you will learn:
- Seven strategies to avoid stress and feel better about the hours we have
- Laura’s thoughts on work-life integration and the hustle culture
- How to change our view of the challenges we face
- How to savor life’s best moments no matter how busy you are
- How to make life memorable
- How to invest in your happiness
Direct download: Laura_Vanderkam_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:19am PDT
Fri, 3 April 2020
3 Ways to Build A High-Performing Team
People everywhere want to unlock the secret to building a high-performing team. After all, your team often makes or breaks the success of your company. When your team works together well, great things can happen. But often teams are slowed down by inefficiencies and difficulties.
From my experience working in a variety of teams and now assembling and leading my own team of 10 people around the world, here are three things you can implement today to build a high-performing team.
- Know strengths and weaknesses. This applies to yourself and the people on your team. Practice self-awareness and know what you’re good at and where you need help, and then find team members to help with your weaknesses. If you’re good at big-picture strategic planning but have a weakness in organization, find someone on your team who has organization as a strength. Optimize the roles people play on the team by keeping each person in their area of strength.
- Set clear and transparent goals. For a team to be high-performing, they have to know what they are working towards. Without clear goals, it’s hard to make progress. Make sure everyone on the team is on the same page with the goals, and be transparent about how and why the goals were created.
- Give and receive constant feedback. Feedback measures if you truly have a high-performing team. Instead of checking in with employees once a year for an annual review, keep an ongoing dialogue of information going back and forth. Let employees know what they are doing well and where they can improve, and let the feedback go both ways so you can continually improve, as well.
These three high-level strategies can have a huge impact on building and developing high-performing teams. By playing to each person’s strengths, setting common goals, and creating feedback loops, you can turn nearly any team into a high-performing team that works together to make great progress.
Direct download: How_to_Build_A_High-Performing_Team_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:39am PDT
Mon, 30 March 2020
Jeremy Gutsche is the founder and CEO of Trend Hunter, a website where people from around the world can share business ideas and trends. It’s basically like a giant innovation focus group. He is also the author of two books, Exploiting Chaos: 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change and Create the Future: Tactics for Disruptive Thinking.
As Jeremy points out in his books, it is still possible to innovate in times of uncertainty, which is encouraging with what we have going on in the world right now. He says, “Chaos creates opportunity always. And what happens is that we get intimidated by the doom and gloom of bad times. But actually, if you look in history, what happens is that we get caught in a groove. Successful people get caught in a groove. Successful people are the ones that miss out and get disrupted because we get caught on a path of repeating past decisions. And chaos changes that. So if you look historically, you will see an astounding list of companies that were founded during periods actually of economic recession. Disney, HP, Apple, Burger King, Fortune Magazine, the list goes on and on, I've got about 50 in the book, but these are all companies that were actually started in a period of recession. And of course, this is a difficult time that we're in with Coronavirus. It is going to spark different opportunities, people are trying new things, like more of these virtual seminars, ideas, we're starting to rethink about what's important and why.”
So during this time are there specific mindsets and skills individuals should be focused on in order to deal with these crazy times? Jeremy says it is important to embrace what is happening around us instead of trying to fight against it. We are all going through the same difficult time so everyone will be more understanding of failures or mistakes, but it won’t work to fight against what we are going through, so just embrace it.
He also says we have to be willing to destroy the old way of doing things. “It's a simple note that right now the rules of the game have changed. And if you're willing to just embrace looking into what those new rules could be, combined with your curiosity and insatiability, then you're really well prepared for the future.”
Jeremy has always focused on trends, for his books and for his website. So how can you go about spotting trends? Jeremy says “The trend is your friend and your best guess at where the future is headed is to better understand trends. And I'd say just increasing your knowledge of how trends work could actually have a pretty big impact. And I'll give you two example lessons on that. The first lesson would be, that we tend to use the word "trend" to represent a pretty wide range of things. On one end, there's this super mega trend like the rise of female purchasing power or eco, and those are interesting but they're just so big and everybody knows them that they're not necessarily going to change your mind too much. You're gonna follow them anyways and that's life. On the other end, we use this word "trend" almost incorrectly to describe what's trending on Twitter, and the new little product that's interesting. But actually that's so little and a flash in the pan that you might not be able to do anything with it. So what you're actually looking for would be something in the middle which we would probably call cluster or consumer insight, which would be when you can find grouplings of multiple examples that all show you something that's new and interesting.”
Things you will learn:
- Long term implications of something like Covid-19
- How to innovate in chaotic times
- Why success can be a double edged sword
- What skills and mindsets individuals need right now
- Real life examples of companies who found a way to thrive in difficult times
- How to spot trends
- What leaders can do to support people on the front lines of the virus right now
Direct download: Jeremy_Gutsche_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:01am PDT
Wed, 25 March 2020
You’ve decided it’s time for a change and is ready to switch jobs. What should you do now? Switching jobs isn’t something that should be taken lightly, but if you find yourself in a toxic work environment where you can’t advance, it may be time to move on. After you’ve made the decision to look for a new job, here are three things to consider:
Understand why you want to leave
People leave their jobs for a huge variety of reasons. Before you leave your job, make sure you’re leaving for the right reason, not a superficial reason like there not being enough perks or your desk not being in the right spot. A good reason to leave your current job is if you feel stuck or if you and your manager don’t get along, even after trying to improve the relationship. Changing jobs is exhausting, so before you get in too deep, make sure you are leaving for the right reasons.
In our modern work environment, your skillset is often more important than your job title. Organizations value employees who have the right set of skills. Take the time before you leave your current job to develop skills that will make you desirable and valuable to future employers. Take advantage of programs or trainings your current employer might offer and build a skill portfolio.
Leave on good terms
No matter how rocky the time at your current job has been, don’t burn any bridges on your way out. References and resumes still matter, so try to make things right before you leave. The last thing you want is a disgruntled former boss or co-worker making it difficult for you to move on to a new opportunity with a bad reference or a black spot on your resume.
Remember, you are in control of your career path. If you’re in a situation that isn’t getting better no matter how much effort you put forth, it could be time to switch jobs. Don’t take the decision lightly, and once you’ve decided to go, follow these three tips to ensure your job search and transition goes as smoothly as possible.
Direct download: Best-Tips-For-Changing-Jobs.mp3
-- posted at: 3:05am PDT
Mon, 23 March 2020
Toby Ord is a philosopher and Senior Research Fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. He focuses on the big picture questions facing humanity such as global poverty, health, the long term future of humanity and the risks which threaten to destroy our entire potential. Toby is also the author of a new book called, The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity.
How does he research and think about future risks and possibilities? Toby says, “I have looked into a lot of the astrophysics of questions about the earth's lifespan and things like that. And when it comes to particularly the risks that we might face over the next 100 years. Yeah, I've had to read a lot about science and technology and really talk to a lot of experts. That's been a real focus with the book. It looks at a lot of issues in cutting edge science and I really... This is a real area where it's easy to screw it up when you're writing a book like this if you have a great idea about something closer to your own discipline, but then you have to say a lot of things about other disciplines for it to make sense. It's easy to just kind of make it up. So I wanted to really make sure I didn't do that. And I talked to really the cutting edge experts in all of these different risks and I also have them look over the book before it went to print to make sure that I hadn't made any errors and that I was faithfully conveying the cutting edge information about these things.”
In his book Toby breaks up the future risks into three categories:
- Natural Risks such as asteroids, super volcanoes, and stellar explosions
- Anthropogenic Risks such as nuclear weapons and climate change
- Future Risks such as pandemics and unaligned AI
Toby also spends a lot of time advising governments and leaders at organizations around the world. When it comes to the things they are most concerned about Toby says, “So some of this was on my earlier work about global poverty. So trying to understand how we can most effectively help people in poor countries. And some of it has been... Yeah on future trends and technologies and ideas for example, about interest in AI and work. I would like them to always be asking me these other questions about existential risks. These are risks to the entire future of humanity and what they could be doing to protect us. They don't tend to ask me about that. Hopefully, after this book comes out, they will... But my experience when talking to them about those existential questions is that... And they say, "Wow that's really interesting, but it's above my pay grade." And everyone seems to react like this at least up all way through the national level of government. That it's something where it just feels a bit too big for them to deal with. And they're used to thinking about the new cycle the next week or so or about the election cycle. But something that's, that you're talking about, what do we need to put in place such that we can be protected from engineered pandemics in 20 or 30 years time? How do we need to start working now in order to avoid that? It's so far beyond their normal horizons and it's at such a level thinking about not just a country and not even just global level, but the entire future of humanity that they're not really used to thinking about those questions at all. And I'm hoping to make them better at thinking about these things.”
But despite all these risks Toby is not pessimistic. He shares, “We have the potential to have a really great future. It's not a pessimistic book. And I think that we want to with clear eyes see the types of risks see how high they are and then act appropriately and defend our future, so that we can have a great future going forwards.”
What you will learn:
- How Toby goes about determining what the future risks for humanity will be
- A look at some of the most immediate risks we face
- Toby’s view of the future of AI and automation
- How we can think about the big picture without getting overwhelmed
- How we are currently doing when it comes to climate change
- How much technological progress have we experienced
Direct download: Toby_Ord_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:39am PDT
Wed, 18 March 2020
Are you prepared for the future? What about your organization or the people around you? Futurists don’t predict the future, but they do make sure their organizations aren’t surprised by what the future will bring. More people are becoming futurists, especially as the pace of change increases and many organizations look towards the future with uncertainty. But futurists don’t just take a shot in the dark to guess what will happen — their projections are rooted in thinking through multiple scenarios to make sure they and their organizations are as best prepared as possible.
Here are three ways to think like a futurist:
Look for signals
Every day, futurists scan the horizon for things that are coming in the future. These things may seem small now but can turn into major events and developments for the future. Signals could be geopolitical events, technology developments, demographic changes, or a number of other things. Signals come from reading reports, listening to podcasts and talks, researching, and talking to people with a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise.
Think of implications
From there, futurists consider what the signals could mean. Thinking of implications means taking things one step further, looking at how new developments could manifest in different areas, and considering the potential impact. Things in the future are connected, and futurists work to connect those dots to make sure they understand and are prepared.
There isn’t just one way the future will work out. Organizations and people who only consider one way of doing things won’t succeed in the future. Futurists look at multiple different possibilities and are open to new ideas. They ask lots of questions and run through a variety of scenarios by asking themselves what would happen if they went down a certain path. They follow that path to the end for a long-term view instead of stopping short of letting it fully play out.
Thinking like a futurist takes practice and involves paying attention, having an open mind, and running through numerous possibilities to find potential outcomes and which is the most likely. Getting in the habit with these three steps to thinking like a futurist can put you in the mindset to better understand the future and help those around you prepare for what’s to come.
Direct download: Three_Ways_to_Think_Like_a_Futurist.mp3
-- posted at: 8:02am PDT
Mon, 16 March 2020
Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of Square and the author of a brand new book, The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time. Square was founded in response to a problem Jim had in his glassblowing business. He ended up losing a big sale because he couldn’t take an American Express card. So he set out to solve that problem along with his former intern, Jack Dorsey.
Jim says true entrepreneurs solve problems that haven’t been solved before, they don’t just start a business, they do something that has never been done before. And that is what he and Jack did, they solved a problem in a way that no one else had ever thought of before. They even were able to beat out Amazon when the company tried to copy the setup Square had.
The reason behind how they beat Amazon, Jim says, “In Square's case, I outlined about 14 things that we were doing absolutely differently from everybody else, 14 separate things and we were probably doing some more subtle stuff on top of that and each of those 14 things influenced each of the other 14 things so it was very complicated but imagine the difficulty of trying to copy 14 things at once and what I do is I just... You need to just fall back to math, you say "Well what are the odds of copying one thing successful?" Well, let's say it's 8 out of 10. Four out of five times you're gonna get it right. You're gonna try to copy something that's been done before, you're a company like Amazon, you got a lot of smart people, a lot of money, you got an 80% chance of nailing it. Okay, great, so that's one thing. Do two things, that's 80 squared or 80% squared so now you've got a 64% chance and you keep adding and adding. Now you're down to the point where the odds of actually going in and successfully copying all of these things which are necessary for the company to succeed is very slim and even a company like Amazon couldn't do it.”
When it comes to true entrepreneurship Jim doesn’t believe is starting with a product or a service. He says it all starts with a problem that needs to be solved. “So if you say somebody has an idea for a thing, I'm not particularly interested but I am very interested in a problem that somebody tries to solve. If somebody says to me, "Hey, I have invented this widget." I don't care. If somebody says to me "Jim, I've got this problem and I am annoyed by this thing and here's how I plan to eliminate that problem." That's fascinating because the elimination of problems, the solution to an existing problem is super fascinating because that's what moves the world forward.”
And Jim shares that innovation cannot happen without failure. So we shouldn’t be afraid to fail. He says, “I see people who I know are capable of doing great things disqualifying themselves. It's not even that they're failing, it's that they're not trying because they sit there and their whole life, they've been conditioned to get this guarantee before they do anything and then you come to the situation where by definition, there are no guarantees. It is impossible to have a guarantee that something that has never been tried before will work. Then the answer is, "Well, don't ever try" but that's insane, right? But we've become so conditioned for this that I figured we needed a way to, first of all, discuss it in a way that allowed people to argue with me. So read the book, use my definitions and then get in my face.”
What you will learn:
- How to get your team to innovate
- Why we’ve been defining the word entrepreneur the wrong way
- How Square was created and how they took on and beat Amazon
- Whether or not you should follow your passion
- How to deal with failure
- Jim’s view on whether or not you can buy happiness
Direct download: Jim_McKelvey_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:35am PDT
Wed, 11 March 2020
Here are three ways to upgrade your technology and improve the employee experience:One of the most important aspects of employee experience is technology. Think of how much your employees use technology every day — it’s a crucial part of every business, and if your company doesn’t have the right technology resources, it can be a drain on the employee experience.
We’re surrounded by great technology in our everyday personal lives, but many employees face the struggle of having to set aside those programs and devices to use slow and outdated programs at work. Consumer-grade technology is tools that are so useful and intuitive that you would use them in your personal life if possible. An outdated computer or a clunky intranet system can be frustrating to employees, lower their productivity, and cause burnout. Employees should have tools at work that match what they use at home and reflect the year we live in.
Video communication and collaboration
More employees are working flexible schedules or connecting with remote teams, so they need technology that can help them work effectively. The best video and collaboration tools allow employees to communicate anywhere on any device. No matter if it’s Slack or an internal chat system, employees should have a way to collaborate beyond just email.
Although it’s not an actual technology itself, flexible work is powered by technology. Modern employees crave a flexible schedule, but an organization can’t offer flexible work without the right technology in place. Things like collaboration tools, video, and task management systems make it possible for employees to work remotely, which can greatly improve their experience.
All companies need technology, no matter what industry they are in. Technology plays a huge role in the employee experience. Focus on these three improvements to create a technology-powered experience for all employees.
Mon, 9 March 2020
Victor Hoskins is the President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Prior to that, he was Deputy Mayor of Economic Development for the District of Columbia. In his current role, he works hard with his team to attract companies and jobs to the area. Most recently he led the team responsible for winning the Amazon HQ2, which will be bringing anywhere from 25,000 to 37,000 jobs to Northern Virginia.
What was it like to compete for the Amazon HQ2? Fairfax county was one of 238 jurisdictions in the running and their initial proposal was 250 pages long. A few months later Amazon responded with over 100 questions which took 1100 pages to respond to. It was definitely not an easy feat!
When looking at the big picture Victor has been paying attention to two main trends when it comes to talent. The first one is the need for regions to find ways to keep college students in the area after they graduate. In Victor’s region there are 60 universities and he says, “there's a real retention effort that we're launching focused on the kids that are in school right now and connecting them directly to companies, whether that company is Leidos or that company is Booz Allen, whether it is North Broman or Boeing we're trying to connect them directly to the companies as they're going through their undergraduate education because what we find and what I think all of us found is, when you work at a place while you're in school you may be going back to that place or a similar company when you get out of school so really bridging that, making that connection or may not just doing this at the undergraduate level but we also want to look at this at the high school level, trying to get these kids into internships, just to get to understand what companies do and develop their interest early on.”
The second thing he is paying attention to is the need for companies to retrain the talent they already have instead of hiring new people. It makes a lot more sense to utilize the people already inside of your organization who know the company culture, then to hire a new person who has to learn everything from square one.
When it comes to AI and technology, Victor is not worried. We have had many shifts in the way we work in the past, for example there was a day when milk and ice was delivered by horse and carriage, but we have always adapted and created new jobs. He believes we will continue to adapt, create, and learn.
Victor’s advice to students in high school or college is do your best every single day. He says, “I feel like I'm at a job interview every day. Every day, I'm at a job interview, which means that I have a chance to make a good impression or bad impression. Me, I choose every day to make an extraordinary impression. I throw my body and my mind into everything that I do. Listen, I was at that brown bag talking about a book. It was the last thing on earth to discuss before I go six feet under. I mean, to me that was a moment to explain something to them that I do wanted to talk to them about since I got there. And this is, this moment right here, this is the greatest moment in my life right now, you know why? Because you only have these moments so do them in an extraordinary way. Do not be average.”
What you will learn:
- What it was like to compete with 238 jurisdictions to win the Amazon HQ2
- What companies like Amazon and Nestle are looking for in talent
- Workplace and talent trends Victor is paying attention to
- How Victor inspires his team
- How companies are attracting and retaining talent
Direct download: Victor_Hoskins_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:32am PDT
Wed, 4 March 2020
With the growth of AI, machine learning, and automation, many people are worried about their jobs and think everything will soon be run by robots. But no matter how advanced technology gets, there are some things it will never be able to do as well as humans. These uniquely human abilities and characteristics, including practicing empathy, innovation, creativity, communication, collaboration, vulnerability, mentoring, and so much more can only be done by humans. It’s important for humans to embrace their natural abilities and showcase them at work.
Over the past few decades, we’ve been conditioned to leave our natural human abilities outside of the office. But to succeed in the future, we have to embrace these qualities. That means doing things like taking a stand to be vulnerable at work, fighting for something you believe in, and taking the time to coach and mentor someone. A lot of technology now is developed to take over mundane and repetitive tasks. Don’t run away from technology. Instead, leverage it so that you have time to work on more human qualities. Be intentional in how you tackle this. If you can automate a task that usually takes you three hours a week, spend those three hours developing a human quality and encouraging your teammates to do the same. Even if those abilities are hidden deep within us, they can come out and shine with practice.
Technology may be a driving feature in future organizations, but humans also need to be involved. Employees who can tap into these human qualities will be more valuable and in-demand at work. People who are good at communicating, collaborating, and innovating will have more opportunities for growth because people will want to work with them and work for them.
Technology is always changing, but the need to remain human stays the same. To create more value and be successful in the future of work, practice being human at work and encourage others to do the same.
Mon, 2 March 2020
Jason Fried is the co-Founder and CEO of Basecamp and bestselling author of Rework and It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work. He has also given a TED Talk titled Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work.
Jason is a big believer in capping a workweek at 40 hours, he says, “We don't want people working more than 40 hours. You don't need to. And if we're doing that, then we're doing something wrong, actually. I know a lot of companies, long hours is seen as doing something right, like, "Let's stay late, and let's work on the weekends and let's pull all-nighters." I think that's completely wrong. And so, we're very careful about not encouraging our employees to work that way.”
Anything that cannot get done in 40 hours can wait until the next day or the next week. The reason is 50, 60, 80 hour weeks are not sustainable. In an emergency, they can be done once in a great while, but to keep it up consistently, it doesn’t produce the best results.
Jason says, “I'm sorry, 80-hour weeks if you wanna be in business for a long time. Sometimes you're gonna burn out, or you're gonna burn people out, and it's gonna be very difficult. Okay, maybe you can do it, but it's not gonna be pleasurable, it's not gonna be enjoyable. You're not gonna keep a good team together with you for a long period of time. And you're gonna lose a lot of great people along the way. And I don't wanna lose great people. It's hard enough to find great people. So I wanna keep them happy with the reasonable work hours, challenging work, great people, great environments, and those kinds of things.”
Just because you put in a lot of hours doesn’t mean you are producing good work, you can spend extra hours on bad work. Most of the time the best ideas and new innovations come after people come back to a problem refreshed. Working until you are beyond exhausted and stressed doesn’t usually lead to breakthroughs.
“It's just kind of unusual in the United States, with our work hustle culture that's just I think really damaging and really destroying people over the long term. And I know that, hey, sometimes when you're in your early 20s you wanna put all the hours in, and you want bust your ass and the whole thing, I get it. But the thing is that it's not sustainable. And when you have companies that encourage that kind of behavior when those companies themselves know it's not sustainable, that's almost fraudulent, and I just don't wanna be that kind of company.”
There may be people reading this who are feeling stuck in a situation at work where leadership encourages people to work 60+ hours and rewards those who come in early and stay late. For those people, Jason says you should assess the situation and figure out what you have control over. Can you talk to leaders to get them to change? Can you set an example and change the mindset? If you have some control, figure out how to make it better.
If you don’t have control, it may be time to look for another job. “Most people who profess the craziness and are all in on these long, long, long hustle things, they keep doing it until they can't. They don't choose all of a sudden, like when they're 35, to go, Oh, I don't have to do that anymore. I'm gonna go back to a normal day's work. Because the habits they've built are all built around busy, and packed schedules, and hustling, and the whole thing. So it's very hard to break habits. If that's what you're used to doing, you're gonna keep doing that, and at some point it's going to collide with reality and life. Or it's going to keep you from reality and life. And I think that's really unfortunate too. Work is not that important to keep everything else out of your life.”
What you will learn:
- The problem with the hustle culture
- Why Jason feels work should be capped at 40 hours per week
- What to do if you feel trapped by work
- Advice for leaders who want to give employees more autonomy
- What it is like to work at Basecamp
Direct download: Jason_Fried_Podcats_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Wed, 26 February 2020
Is college worth the time and cost? It’s a constant debate, and everyone seems to have a strong opinion on the matter. I regularly see posts on social media about the pros and cons of attending college. While there isn’t a definite answer that applies to everyone, I believe college is still definitely worth the investment.
No matter your career goals, here are three reasons why college is still worth it:
- Networking and Job Skills
Aside from what you actually learn in college, perhaps the greatest benefits are the job and life skills you gain. College teaches life skills like collaboration, accountability, and meeting deadlines, plus valuable skills for any profession, like writing and analytical thinking. College is also a great place to build your network. The people you meet and work with in college can provide valuable connections throughout your entire life. Many people end up starting companies or working with people they met in college.
- Most Jobs Require a Degree
Even though some people believe college isn’t worth the cost, the majority of jobs in the U.S. still require a college degree. A growing number of companies are using AI to sort through job applications and search for keywords, meaning a resume without a college degree could likely be automatically eliminated, no matter how strong the other experience or qualifications. Employers want people who hold degrees because it shows they can stick with something for four years and have skills in the right areas.
Even if your eventual plan is to become an entrepreneur and work for yourself, college is a strong insurance policy. The vast majority of small businesses fail, and you’ll want something to fall back on. Just because you get a degree and have a full-time job doesn’t mean you can’t still be an entrepreneur. Starting a business as a side hustle and then transitioning to being a full-time entrepreneur is a safer option and only available if you have a college degree.
The education system isn’t perfect, but the benefits of going to college still far outweigh the costs. A college degree is incredibly valuable, no matter if your plan is to climb the corporate ladder or make it as an entrepreneur.
This episode is sponsored by my friends at Conga, the company that’s helping people spend less time on manual work and more time on the projects they love. If you’re tired of endless paperwork and manual processes, make sure to check them out at http://bit.ly/congaddxg
Mon, 24 February 2020
Michael Bungay Stanier is a bestselling author of The Coaching Habit and the upcoming book, The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever, which comes out on February 29. He is also the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations transform from advice-driven to curiosity-led.
If you’ve had the chance to read The Coaching Habit you know the seven essential coaching questions, but Michael’s newest book builds on top of that and helps readers figure out how to take steps to stay curious and change behaviors.
Michael shares that the biggest hurdle we have to overcome is the advice monster. What is the advice monster? He says, “the advice monster is that thing that keeps looming up going, "No. No. No. I know you think you're curious but let me just pull you back onto the dark side, and have you lurking into telling advice and offering solutions and being the person with the answer." And everybody listening in right now knows this experience, somebody starts talking and you don't really know what's going on. You don't really know the people involved. You don't really have the context, you certainly don't have the technical specifications required and after about 10 seconds, you're like, "Oh, oh no, no. I've got something to say here. No, no, no, stop talking." And if you recognize that at all in yourself, and you do, you know you do. This is your advice monster. It's the pattern of behavior that has you going, "The way I add value is I jump in and I provide solutions.”
And while human nature is to think our advice is good, that’s not usually the case. And Michael shares three main reasons why giving advice isn’t the best course of action.
- We try to solve the problem
- Your advice isn’t as good as you think
- Sometimes it is better to let people solve their own problems
The answer is to be curious a little bit longer and take a more coachlike approach. “It is not a bad idea to just as a philosophy to go, "Look, even if I have good advice, what if I just shut up? Not forever, not for days, not for months, but just a little bit longer." That's how we define coaching, or being more coach-like. Can you stay curious a little bit longer? Can you rush to action and advice-giving a little bit more slowly? That's it. It's like coming back to this idea, that there's a time and a place for advice, it's not just as fast as you think it is.”
What you will learn:
- What is the advice monster and how do we become aware of it
- How to develop the coaching habit
- How the role of leadership is changing
- Some myths about coaching that we need to overcome
- How leaders can become more effective coaches
Direct download: Michael_Bungay_Stanier_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 12:23am PDT
Wed, 19 February 2020
No matter if you work for yourself or in an organization, time management is one of the most essential skills you can master. Managing your time makes you more productive and opens the door to new personal and professional opportunities.
Here are three proven strategies to manage your time effectively:
- Understand Where Your Time Goes
You can’t manage your time if you don’t know how you currently use it. When I first started working for myself, I would get to the end of the day and realize I hadn’t accomplished anything substantial. My time had been spent doing smaller things that pulled at my attention. But I had to come to that realization before I could make changes and have a frame of reference of how to manage my time. Spend a week keeping a journal of where your time goes. Track what you’re doing throughout the day and what is happening. You may be surprised at certain patterns or distractions that can lead to major time management changes.
Some people claim that multi-tasking is the most efficient way to get things done, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Every time we switch tasks, our brain needs time to refocus, which makes us less productive overall when we’re pulled in different directions. Batching tasks is grouping things together and doing them back to back. You might batch your writing or brainstorming tasks and do them in the same block of time. I batch checking my email and social media to certain times of the day to avoid distractions.
- Prioritize The Most Important Tasks
Start each day by prioritizing the three most important things you want to get done that day. There is always more work we can do, which can feel overwhelming and pull you in multiple directions. Prioritizing your top tasks sets the direction for the day. When you’ve accomplished those things, no matter how long it takes, you know you’ve been successful. As you master this strategy, you can extend it to the top four or five things for the day.
Time management comes with practice. Try these strategies to find what fits your work environment. When you can control your time, you’ll find you get more done, have more energy, and can enjoy more time doing things you enjoy.
Direct download: How_To_Manage_Your_Time_Effectively.mp3
-- posted at: 2:15am PDT
Mon, 17 February 2020
Dr. Denise Trauth is the President of Texas State University. She is currently in her 18th year leading the university. Prior to that Dr. Trauth was provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Under Dr. Trauth’s leadership, Texas State has experienced its largest construction program since being founded in 1899, became a federal Hispanic-Serving Institution, was designated a Texas Emerging Research University, has been reclassified as an “R2: Doctoral University – Higher Research Activity” under the Carnegie Classification system, and moved up to NCAA Division I.
Dr. Trauth and her team at Texas State make sure they are staying in touch with industries in the area in order to provide the most relevant and up to date education for students. She has noticed two big trends currently impacting the business world. She says, “What we see in particular is that business is being impacted by two factors in particular: One is technology, and the other is globalization. And those two factors have a big impact on everything we do. It might not be terribly apparent in every single one of our academic programs, all 200 of them, but it does infuse the way we think about curriculum, the way we approach curriculum, and particularly, how we think about adding degree programs or getting rid of existing degree programs.”
Technology impacts every aspect of our lives, so it’s not surprising that it is changing the way students learn. And while Dr. Trauth doesn’t believe that face-to-face learning will be going away anytime soon, it is important to utilize technology in education.
“We have configured the classrooms differently. That's one thing. All of these classrooms obviously are capable of having lots and lots of technology, whether you're talking about the individual devices, or you're talking about the devices the instructor is using. What that means is, all of our new buildings and a lot of our older buildings have been converted. So there's lots of places to plug in and recharge, that makes a big difference. The other big difference is what we're calling, Makerspaces. We have about five or six Makerspaces across our campus here in San Marcus and also our campus in Round Rock, where students can do everything from 3D printing to manufacturing some kinds of prototypes for classes. A lot of opportunities; lasers, laser printers, lots of opportunities for students to make things.”
Globalization is also impacting the future, for the good and the bad. As Dr Trauth shares, “What's happening on the other side of the world has great implications for us and the implications are widespread. Starting with the cultural implications. Our students, more and more, are working with... When they graduate and they go to work, and we try to replicate this on our campuses, that they're going into a very diverse environment, where people don't all think alike. Where people certainly don't all look alike, and it's important that we educate our students to go into that kind of a world where there's just a lot of different ethnicities, races, religions, philosophical backgrounds, political parties. That's all now a part of a college education. So that's kind of where it starts for us, is educating our students for this cultural diversity that if they haven't experienced it in the university, they're gonna experience it when they go to work”.
Dr. Trauth’s advice for leaders who want to stay relevant is two-fold. First, she says it is important for employers to reach out to universities to get involved, especially by joining advisory boards. Secondly, employers should be tolerant of educational differences. Students may be different than the employer, but that is a good thing.
What you will learn:
- What the future of education looks like
- Big trends Dr. Trauth is paying attention to in the world of education
- How education leaders are planning for the future of learning
- What skills and mindsets employers are looking for in prospective hires
- How technology is impacting education
- How to teach students to be lifelong learners
- Advice for employers, leaders, and individuals looking to stay relevant
Direct download: Dr_Denise_Trauth_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:21am PDT
Wed, 12 February 2020
Chances are, at some point over the course of your life and career, someone will shoot down a project or idea that you’re passionate about. Hearing No is a part of life and something everyone faces. The difference between success and failure often comes in how we react to hearing No.
I recently had the chance to interview former GE executive Beth Comstock. She told a story about an idea she had for a project early in her career. She did her research and presented it, only to be told No. But Beth didn’t give up there. She re-worked her project and presented it again. Again, she was told No. This happened over and over — Beth made adjustments to her idea, listened to feedback, and then went back to present. Over and over she was told No.
Finally, a top executive told her Yes. When she asked why he said it was because she had made it impossible to say No. Her persistence had paid off and her idea finally came to fruition.
In the business world, No really means Not Yet. Don’t let one person’s opinion of your ideas get you down. It simply might not be the right timing for your idea. The most successful leaders encompass the growth mindset and look at challenges as opportunities instead of roadblocks.
Hearing negative feedback about your idea can be difficult, but it can also be powerful inspiration to prove the doubters wrong and deliver amazing results. That comes from not giving up and continuing to push, even when you hear No.
Not Yet is very different from No. Follow Beth’s example and re-work your proposal and make adjustments. Don’t give up. Eventually that No can turn into a Yes.
This episode is sponsored by my friends at Conga, the company that’s helping people spend less time on manual work and more time on the projects they love. If you’re tired of endless paperwork and manual processes, make sure to check them out at http://bit.ly/congaddxc
Direct download: In_Business_No__Not_Yet.mp3
-- posted at: 2:10am PDT
Mon, 10 February 2020
My new book, The Future Leader, comes out on February 26th and it is based on interviews I had with over 140 CEOs around the world. In the book the two questions that I wanted to answer were: Is the leader of 2030 going to look that different than today? And if so, how is that leader actually going to look different?
To find out the answers to my questions, I interviewed CEOs around the world from organizations like Mastercard, Unilever, Audi, Best Buy, Oracle, Kaiser, SAP, Koc Holding, Enel, Carnival Cruise Lines, Dominos, Dunkin’ Brands, National Grid and many others. I also teamed up with LinkedIn and we surveyed 14,000 employees around the world. And this gave me a very good picture around what the future leader is gonna look like.
And what I found out from these interviews was that most of the top CEOs around the world believe that while there are going to be some attributes that remain the same for leaders of the future-- things like being able to create a vision and execute on strategy-- they also believe that business leaders are going to need to arm themselves with a new set of skills and mindsets in order to stay relevant.
Why do they need a new set of skills and mindsets? It's because our organizations are going to look fundamentally different over the next 10 years than they do now because of technology and artificial intelligence, because of things like purpose and meaning that employees care about, globalization, the changing nature of talent, etc... And because our organizations are going to look different, it makes sense that we are going to need a new type of leader to guide and lead these organizations over the next 10 years and beyond.
So what I created after interviewing all these CEOs is something that I call The Notable Nine, a collection of four mindsets and five skills that leaders of the future will need to succeed.
The four mindsets are:
- The Explorer: This includes practicing curiosity, being a perpetual or lifelong learner, having agility and nimbleness in your way of thinking, having a growth mindset, and being open-minded.
- The Chef: As a future leader, in 2030 and beyond, you are going to have to balance ingredients, and there are two ingredients that you as a future leader are going to have to balance. The first ingredient is technology and the second ingredient is being purpose-driven and caring.
- The Global Citizen: As a leader you must think globally and embrace diversity
- The Servant: Leaders need to know how to serve their team, serve their customers, serve their leaders, and serve themselves. There is more to being a servant leader than we usually talk about
The five skills are:
- The Futurist: Making sure that you can think in terms of possibilities and scenarios.
- Yoda: This one is all about emotional intelligence--specifically empathy and self-awareness
- The Translator: Listening and communicating with all of the channels that you have access to--email, video chats, text messaging, Slack, Facebook at Work, etc….
- The Coach: You need to believe that your job as a leader is to help make other people more successful than you are
- The Technology Teenager: Leaders must be tech savvy and digitally fluent just as today’s teenagers are
These are the four mindsets and five skills I want you to teach your team, to everybody in your organization. That's it. Four mindsets, five skills. If you can do this and teach others these things, I'm very confident that you will become a future ready leader and you will be successful. And by the way, success doesn't just mean making money. It means having a positive impact on society, on the world, on communities in which you serve.
To order the book or learn more about it, go to getfutureleaderbook.com.
What you will learn:
- What it will take to be a successful leader in 2030 and beyond
- A look at the global leadership gap (leaders around the world think they are doing much better than they really are!)
- A look at the insights found from Jacob’s interviews with over 140 CEOs around the world
- The trends shaping the future of leadership
- The greatest challenges future leaders will have to face
Direct download: Jacob_Morgan_Special_Podcast_-_2.10.20.mp3
-- posted at: 12:42am PDT
Wed, 5 February 2020
It’s a pattern that has been around for decades. Once a year, employees gather their accomplishments and projects for the past 12 months and talk with their managers and HR representatives to plead their case of why they’re a valuable asset to the company. At the end, they may get a few suggestions for improvements and maybe even a raise. Then it’s back to work until the same time rolls around next year and it all starts again.
Annual performance reviews are standard in many organizations, but the way they’ve always been done can be incredibly detrimental to the overall morale, productivity, and engagement at a company. There’s no absolute answer to if your organization should have annual performance reviews, but here are three things to improve the process:
Ask your employees. Many organizations are quick to kill traditional annual performance reviews without asking their employees. Take a survey and hold focus groups to find out what employees are looking for and the format they prefer to receive feedback. You may be surprised with the results.
Provide regular feedback. The main downside of traditional annual performance reviews is that they only happen once a year. Waiting to give feedback until months after a project is inefficient for everyone. Instead, provide employees with regular feedback. That can happen with daily check-ins or with more formal meetings between employees and managers on a weekly or monthly basis. Regular feedback addresses issues in real time and helps keep things moving forward. With a feedback schedule, the annual performance review becomes more of a meeting to provide a raise and plan steps for the future.
Build relationships. In organizations with engaged employees, annual performance reviews are a collaborative meeting instead of a scary situation where employees have to prove their value at the company. Managers and employees should work to strengthen their relationships for more open communication. A trusting and transparent relationship can remove the fear from the annual review and create a more positive work environment.
Every organization needs to consider their own employee review process. What works for one company might not work for another. Follow these three tips to improve the process and find the right solution for your organization.
Mon, 3 February 2020
David Marquet is the bestselling author of the 2013 book, Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders and the new book, Leadership is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say and What You Don’t, which comes out on February 4th.
David was in the Navy for 28 years and he was ultimately selected to be captain of a nuclear submarine. And it was during his time as a captain of the USS Santa Fe that he changed his leadership style and that change led to him writing his first book.
What does David mean by “leadership is language’? He explains that while there are a lot of professions that require a person to work mainly with their hands, in leadership, because it is always about other people, leaders interact through words--face to face, emails, company statements, annual reports, etc...As he says, “the magic of leadership is that by changing your words you will change the world around you because if you ask a question a different way, you'll get a different answer.”
In his book David gives six plays that all leaders should use to improve how their teams operate. He says a big problem with leaders today is that they are trapped in an industrial-age playbook. In the industrial age leaders gave commands and employees followed, and that was it. But that way of leading is no longer effective, it is outdated.
The six plays are:
- Control the clock, don’t obey the clock--Pre-plan decision points and give your people the tools they need to hit pause on a plan of action if they notice something wrong.
- Collaborate, don’t coerce--As the leader, you should be the last one to offer your opinion.
- Commit, don’t comply--Rather than expect your team to comply with specific directions, explain your overall goals, and get their commitment to achieving it one piece at a time.
- Complete, not continue--If every day feels like a repetition of the last, you’re doing something wrong.
- Improve, don’t prove--Ask your people to improve on plans and processes, rather than prove that they can meet fixed goals or deadlines.
- Connect, don’t conform--Flatten hierarchies in your organization and connect with your people to encourage them to contribute to decision-making
David also explains the uneven “share of voice” that happens inside of so many organizations. Inside of meetings leaders tend to talk the most, which is not good. It is something that leaders need to be aware of. He says, “As a leader, you don't need to say a lot because you already know what you think and when you start talking, you're anchoring the group. Basically, the idea is you're bringing them to your way of thinking, which is what you think you wanna do but it's actually not. What you want to do is understand how they think and what they think, and at the end, you can decide what to do, whether you could do what they wanna do or what you wanna do, that's fine. But it's after uncovering what everybody thinks.”
What you will learn:
- The real life example of how David changed his leadership style while captaining a nuclear submarine
- Why employees should talk more than leaders
- 6 plays for all leaders to implement to improve how their team operates
- How to embrace variability, instead of reducing it
- How to foster a culture of collaborative experimentation
Direct download: David_Marquet_Podcast_-_DONE_1.mp3
-- posted at: 12:38am PDT
Wed, 29 January 2020
Motivation is key to your success at work. Your boss can try to motivate you, but in most cases, you can’t rely on anyone else and have to find your own internal motivation. No matter if you work in an office or remotely for yourself, everyone needs help from time to time finding motivation to push through and be productive.
Here are three effective ways to motivate yourself at work:
Start every day with an idea of what you want to get done that day. Setting goals gives your purpose and direction instead of just wandering around trying to find something to do. Goals can be big or small. I like to set large goals, smaller daily goals, and mini goals. For example, my large goal could be to write a book, so I set a daily goal to write for an hour. As I’m working on that goal, I can set a mini goal to write 500 more words. Setting goals pushes you in new directions.
You’re more likely to be motivated and productive if you feel the work you’re doing is useful. It can sometimes be a struggle to find meaning, especially in routine tasks, but connecting the work you’re doing to a bigger purpose can be incredibly motivating. Tell yourself stories about how your work impacts people and the world. You can also find opportunities to do things you like by volunteering for new projects and groups. Take time to talk to people and build relationships because we often find meaning from the people around us.
Find something to motivate yourself and work towards as a future reward. The most important reward is to simply acknowledge the great work you’ve accomplished. Use positive self-talk to celebrate what you’ve accomplished instead of getting stuck on all the things you have yet to do. Rewards can also take other forms like eating something, taking a break, or buying yourself something.
Staying motivated can be the difference between a fruitful, productive career and merely skating along and counting the hours until the day is done. Take control of your own motivation with these three tips to keep you engaged and productive all day long.
Mon, 27 January 2020
Bruce Daisley is a former Twitter VP and bestselling author of the forthcoming book, Eat Sleep Work Repeat: 30 Hacks for Bringing Joy to Your Job, which comes out February 25th. Bruce also has experience working for Google and YouTube.
There are some statistics that show that only 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs. Why is that? Bruce says it is because, “If you have a look at status, higher power is dis-inhibiting. What I mean by that is if you watch people who are bosses, people who are presidents, people who are high status individuals, they generally are unencumbered by this sort of self-consciousness that the rest of us fail. And the correlate of that, the flip side of that is that lack of status is inhibiting, meaning that when we have no position in the hierarchy, when we are junior, when our opinions are told that they don't matter, it means that we repress how we feel. And you observe this more and more, countries that have strong hierarchy generally find that their workers are less engaged, because when they've got less input into decisions, when they've got less contribution to make, they generally think, "I can't get anything done here." So they're gonna repress their emotions. And so you observe this, one of the most hierarchical countries in the world is France, and worker engagement is one of the lowest, 3% of French workers describe themselves as job. I mean, it's a number so low that it makes you go back and check the methodology. But it's the same methodology they use around the world, and yeah workplace engagement is really low, we feel like we're bowing to our bosses.”
So how do we fix the problem? When it comes to fixing workplace culture there is the big picture, which means changing the policies the company has in place such as flexible working arrangements. But there is also the little picture--simple changes that individuals can make to improve day to day work.
Bruce gave some examples of some of the simpler things that we can implement right away to make work better. One thing is walking meetings, where instead of sitting down in a one on one meeting people can take a walk around the building inside or outside while meeting. This can break up the routine, allow people to get up and move around, and it may even produce more creative ideas.
Another example he talked about was moving the coffee machine or the water cooler because of the research that shows face-to-face conversation empowers workplace productivity. If there are teams who don’t normally interact moving the coffee or water can spark those conversations to start.
“I think the reason why the book has ended up being the best selling business book of the year in the UK, is because these changes are so simple, that anyone can stage their own intervention. They can say, Actually, we could do two of these things next week.”
What you will learn:
- What it's like to work at Twitter
- Why are so many people not happy with their jobs
- Who is responsible for your happiness at work?
- Simple things that can be implemented to improve productivity and happiness
- What happens if your managers just shut all your ideas down?
- What is a monk mode morning
- Bruce’s thoughts on the hustle culture that we're seeing
Direct download: Bruce_Daisley_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:29am PDT
Wed, 22 January 2020
For decades, most people believed there was just one path to career success: climbing the corporate ladder. Everyone was expected to start in an entry-level role, pay their dues, and get promoted as they worked their way up the organization. That was the only way it was done, and no one questioned it.
Thankfully, today we have many more options and fewer people spend their entire careers working their way up the corporate ladder. With new technology and opportunities, each person can build their own career ladder to chart their own path to success. For some people, that could be staying with the same organization, but for other people, the career ladder they create could involve becoming an entrepreneur or working for multiple companies.
Building your own career ladder comes with countless possibilities, but it also requires work and vision. Here are five way to build your own career ladder:
Knowledge has never been more plentiful than it is today. We have access to tools and resources to learn almost anything we want, and we can do it inexpensively. If you want to make a career change or learn a new skill, you no longer have to go back to school and invest tons of money and time. If you want to learn how to code, write a book, lead a team, or practice yoga, there’s a way to do that. Keep learning and developing your skills. Find things that interest you and skills that will make you a valuable asset. The more you know, the more directions your career ladder can take you.
Become a subject matter expert
Social media makes it possible to share messages and information with the masses. Use these resources to become a subject matter expert. Find a topic you’re passionate about or an area that is often overlooked and make it yours. You can post articles and thoughts on your own social media platforms and especially on the internal platforms within your company to showcase your knowledge. When people in your organization see your expertise in a certain area, it builds credibility and can open doors.
Build your personal brand
What do you want to stand for? A personal brand is what people think of when they think of you. It can range from being a great public speaker to being the go-to person for organization or personal finance. Decide your brand and build it by learning, sharing, and participating in conferences and conversations. A strong personal brand adds power to your career ladder.
Start a side hustle
A career ladder doesn’t have to stay within an organization. You can become an entrepreneur or at least test the waters with a side hustle. If you have a great idea, go for it. Take advantage of the resources available to you and branch out into something new. You might find your side hustle becomes a full-time startup and makes you a full-fledged entrepreneur.
Find a mentor
You’re in charge of your career ladder, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Find a mentor you trust who can give advice and act as a sounding board. They can provide connections to build your network and strengthen your ladder.
Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t the only way to career success. You have the power to build your own ladder and create your own path — but it requires work and dedication.
What are you doing to build your own career ladder?
Mon, 20 January 2020
Marissa Andrada is the Chief People Officer at Chipotle, a very popular restaurant chain with 2,500 restaurants and 80,000 employees. Prior to Chipotle Marissa had led HR for companies such as Starbucks, Kate Spade, GameStop, Red Bull, and Universal Studios.
Marissa has seen quite a few changes in HR over the past 10-20 years. One of the biggest changes she mentioned is a shift in leadership. Purpose, vision, and values have been around in theory for awhile, but it wasn’t until recently that companies took these words from something on a poster in the hallway to something that companies actually live out through leadership. And employees can tell when leaders are actually living out what they talk about in company meetings or if it is all just talk.
When it comes to tenure in restaurants, a lot of times employees are coming and going frequently. Although Marissa shares that tenure at Chipotle has increased, she also says they understand that not everyone will stay at the company long term, and that’s OK.
Marissa says, “We've introduced so many new things that I believe are just leading edge for restaurant and retail, and we believe that, for example, debt-free degrees, we believe that first and foremost, that we are investing in and creating future leaders for Chipotle and for our restaurants, and ultimately the company. And if not, we're creating future leaders for the world. I think there's a responsibility that companies have especially one as large as ours is not only to do well, but also to do good in the world. And so that's how I answer that question like that's why we do it.”
Chipotle has also moved away from the traditional annual performance review. They now have what they call a 4x4 conversation, which is a meeting that happens four times a year (at least) where managers ask employees four questions. The four questions are:
- What are your most significant accomplishments since we last met?
- What are the most important things you will focus on before we meet next?
- What obstacles are you encountering right now?
- What can I do better or differently as your manager to support you?
Marissa shares, “It's interesting when we first introduced the first 4x4 conversation, we just said, "Have a conversation," and people were freaking out going, "Where's the form? What do I fill out?" And then at the year end, they're like, "Where's my form? What do I fill out?" And we just kind of said, "Hey, we're all learning this together. At minimum, we want you to have this conversation. If you feel like documenting it, do it." And so that was what we did at the Restaurant Support Center. But then for our crew members, what we created was just kind of a template to walk through those four questions. But it also helped people to understand, "Hey, here's what I'm held accountable for," but it's not a traditional performance review form. It's really highly customized for that employee. And so that we have a different spin on that and that it's in a very Chipotle way and not a traditional performance review.”
What you will learn:
- What first drew Marissa to HR
- How they scale their values and culture across 80,000 people
- What Marissa is most excited about regarding People Experience at Chipotle in 2020
- The unique way they approach performance reviews
- Some specific mindsets and skills they look for in potential leaders
- How new employees get onboarded at Chipotle
Direct download: Marissa_Andrada_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 12:57am PDT
Thu, 16 January 2020
If you’re like most people, you often get caught up in your work and personal life. You’re busy every day with new activities, goals, and the mundane tasks of work and life. It can be hard to find time to be curious when you’re busy with all your other activities.
But curiosity is vital to our creativity and success. Curiosity allows us to solve problems, uncover opportunities, and have fun. It’s the curious people who shape the future.
So how can we balance our daily lives with the need to be curious? It comes down to making time to be curious. For most people, it takes real effort to set aside our daily tasks and allow our minds to wander and think of new possibilities. Here are five ways to make time to be curious.
- Schedule it in. The most basic tactic is to simply schedule time to be curious. If it’s on your calendar, you’re more likely to actually do it. Scheduling in curiosity time can come in many forms, from giving yourself a few minutes to step away from your responsibilities to finding a new hobby or creative outlet. You don’t have to block out hours at a time—even just a 15-minute block can make a difference. And the more you schedule time to be curious, the more you’ll find yourself naturally becoming more curious.
- Watch or read something new. Get out of your rut and watch a new movie or show you wouldn’t typically watch. Find a documentary, TED Talk, or podcast on a subject you know nothing about. Read a book in a genre you don’t typically read or a non-fiction book about something completely new. Let your mind ask questions as you read and wonder about the things you see.
- Let your mind wander. Give yourself time to simply relax and let your mind be free. For some people this means meditation, while others let their mind wander while they spend time outside or exercise. Forget your to-do list and let your thoughts go wherever they want. Take time to dig deep and really think about things and different possibilities. You might find yourself on a completely new thought or question than where you originally began.
- Explore with a partner. You might need the buddy system to become more curious. If you’re afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, try doing it with a friend. Find a new hobby or explore somewhere new together. Even just walking in someone else’s shoes can open your mind to new perspectives and curious possibilities.
- Talk to new people. Most of us fall into the trap of simply searching online when we have a question, getting the answer, and moving on. Instead, try talking to new people. Find someone who is an expert or who can answer your questions and have a real conversation with them. You’ll likely go beyond where your internet search would have taken you. Talk to people wherever you go, listen to their ideas, and think of things from their point of view.
People are naturally curious, but those tendencies often get squashed and replaced by to-do lists and busyness. Finding time to tap into your natural curiosity and building the skill can drive your personal creativity and innovation and help you create the future of work.
Direct download: Are_You_Finding_Time_To_Be_Curious.mp3
-- posted at: 5:00am PDT
Mon, 13 January 2020
Rita McGrath is a professor at Columbia Business School and author of the new book, Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen. She was also recently ranked #5 on the Thinkers50 list for her work in strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship and for being a champion of harnessing disruptive influences for competitive advantage.
What does it actually mean to see around corners? Rita says it’s not about predicting the future, because predictions are hard, but it is about paying attention to signals. She says, “it's more about expanding your range of possibilities that you're considering, and then really being prepared to challenge your own assumptions. And I think that's really where the seeing around corners part is so valuable, because if you think about it, any business grows up with a set of assumptions about what's possible and what's not. And what an inflection point does is it really changes the nature of those assumptions.”
Companies have to be able to pay attention to possible disruptions that could affect the way they do business. But what tends to happen is companies get comfortable doing the same thing and they think as long as it is working now, it will continue to work in the future. Companies such as Blockbuster and Toys R Us didn’t pay attention to signals all around that would have allowed them to adapt with the times and because they failed to pay attention they are no longer around.
Rita explains that the way to keep a lookout for inflection points is to think of a disaster scenario that would have a huge impact on your company and then work backwards from that “time zero event” to see if it has merit. For example, for someone working at a business school an example of a scenario would be students lose interest and employers don’t really care about business degrees. So the time zero event could be 50% of all existing business programs shut down, working backwards what would have to happen for that to take place?
And by looking at all the evidence you can figure out either this is not a likely scenario at all so just forget about it, or it is a very real possibility so what can I do to shift my strategy.
So what can you start doing now to improve your ability to “see around corners”? Rita says, “I think the first thing is this idea of the edges, that you really need to embed ways of learning about what's happening, that isn't right in front of you, that's farther out. Go to conferences that aren't directly related to what you do, maybe take a training course. Today, you can learn almost anything in 10 minutes a day on YouTube, and that's really interesting. I read a lot. I actually... One of the reasons I really like my Twitter feed, and to some extent, LinkedIn, is a lot of the people that I interact with introduce me to sources I wouldn't necessarily have run across on my own. And I think that's another kind of interesting practice. I would say, this takes time. Now, it doesn't take huge amounts of time, but if you're spending every waking moment nose to the grindstone, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, you're much more vulnerable to missing things than if you give yourself a little bit of that imagination space.”
What you will learn:
- What it means to see around corners
- Why leaders struggle to see around corners
- How to spot inflection points and avoid downfalls in business
- Real life examples of companies who survived disruption
- How is the role of CEO going to change in the next 5-10 years
Direct download: Rita_McGrath_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Wed, 8 January 2020
As AI and automation grow, employees are concerned for their job security. Adding to that fact is uncertainty about the unknown future of work and what it will take to succeed over the next decade and beyond.
There are lots of ideas of what it will take to future-proof your career, but the simplest and best thing you can do is this: be a coach and mentor.
All leaders should be coaches and mentors, but it’s not just limited to leaders. Employees at all levels can find people to coach and mentor, either at work or outside of work. A coach is different from a traditional boss. A coach gives honest feedback to their mentee, pushes them, unlocks their potential, and removes obstacles from their path. In fact, the ultimate goal of a coach or mentor is to make the person they’re mentoring more successful than them.
This isn’t how it’s always been. It used to be that leaders and managers sat at the top of organizations and pushed down anyone with talent who threatened their success. Today, we’re seeing more leaders embrace the coaching and mentoring philosophy. And it’s the best thing they could do for their careers.
As technology becomes more prevalent and starts to automate tasks and take over parts of our companies, what helps us stand out the most is our ability to be human. A machine will never be able to coach or mentor as well as a human, which means coaches and mentors will have a role in any organization. Every company would love to have an employee, no matter if they are a junior associate or a top executive, who cares about people enough to help them on their way and bring them to greater success. All it takes is a human who wants to help others.
The future of work is uncertain and can be scary at times. But the need to be human and help other people will always exist. If you want to future-proof your career, start by finding someone to coach or mentor.
Mon, 6 January 2020
Tom Rath is a bestselling author and researcher who has spent the past two decades studying how work can improve human health and well-being. He has written several books, his newest one comes out in February and it is titled, Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute to the World.
Tom set out to write this book as a result of his personal reflections over the last several years. He says, “I've really been personally reflecting on, given my own health challenges and threats and my mortality, what are the most important things for people to get focused on? In particular, most of my writing and research is focused on that nexus of people and organizations, and how can we help people to lead better lives through the organizations that they're a part of? And one thing I've observed after 20 years of, kind of following this area is that we're often so quick to look inward and think about self-development and our own brand and how we can improve personally, and the more I have studied these topics, my big takeaway is that we can get more done and life is less stressful and more liberating when we find real concrete ways to focus almost all of our energies on the contribution we're making to other people”
The book addresses topics such as how to separate our identity from our job title, why following our dreams is not always the best approach, and the things teams need to address in order to be effective.
One thing Tom has observed over the years is that the relationship between organizations and employees is broken. Why? Mostly because the basic structure of organizations today is outdated and ineffective for the modern age. It no longer suffices to bribe employees to work with monetary rewards, people today want more than that. They want purpose and meaning in the work that they do. They want to feel that they are contributing something to the organization and the world.
As Tom shares, “I think the question is how quickly can we get to a place where each of us as individuals and organizations start to say, "Are we producing people who are better off when they go home at night?" They're healthier and they're more financially secured, that does matter. They have better relationships with their family members because they chose to be a part of this organization.”
But this isn’t just up to the organizations to fix, individuals have a role as well. “Each of us has the responsibility to make sure that we're not tolerating a job or a work that's making our lives worse at the end of the day than we were when we showed up in the morning. And we need to start to ask some of those critical questions, ask the people around us, ask your best friend or your spouse, "Do you think I'm a better person because I'm doing this job right now versus where I was a year ago?" And sometimes they can help hold up a mirror where we need it as well.”
What you will learn:
- Why Tom first started writing, even though it is not what he originally planned on doing
- How he approaches his day to day work and life
- What’s wrong with the employee-organization relationship and how do we fix it?
- Advice for leaders who want to be role models
- How to discover what you contribute to the world
- Why following your passions and dreams is not the best approach
Direct download: Tom_Rath_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:03am PDT
Wed, 1 January 2020
Like most people, I’m constantly bombarded with requests from other people in both my personal and professional lives. I’m asked to meet friends for coffee, attend a conference, conduct an interview, answer questions for someone — the list goes on and on.
I used to say yes to everything because I didn’t want to miss out on making a new connection. But over time, I felt myself becoming exhausted and depleted. I could never meet my own goals because I was spending all of my time helping other people. So I started saying no. It was difficult at first, but I learned that in order to see my own professional and personal success, I had to invest time in myself. When you say no, you’re really saying yes to something you want to do. Something for yourself that gives you purpose and meaning.
As we become more connected with new technology, we’ll be even more inundated with requests. Learning how to say no is one of the most valuable things we can learn. You don’t need to be rude, but you also need to stand up for yourself. Here are three tips for saying no:
Think of the most important things that you want to protect. Be selfish. If you really want to write a book or start a new business, decide from the beginning that you’ll say no to anything that gets in the way of those goals. With pre-determined boundaries, you don’t have to think about every offer but can quickly say yes or no.
Don’t say maybe if you really want to say no. Be firm in your response and don’t leave the door open for the possibility that you might change your mind.
Don’t offer an explanation
Don’t feel like you have to give an excuse or explain yourself. Offering an explanation leaves the door open to saying yes in the future. If you feel you have to add something after saying no, give an alternative like introducing the person to someone else who could help.
Learning how to say no is an invaluable skill for both your career and personal life. With practice, you can start saying no and start saying yes to yourself.