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

Robin Hanson is an associate professor of economics at George Mason University and a research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University. He has a PhD in social science from Caltech, Master's in physics and philosophy from the University of Chicago and worked for nine years in artificial intelligence as a research programmer at Lockheed and NASA. He helped pioneer the field of prediction markets, and published The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth, which was the topic of our discussion in a previous podcast episode back in 2016.  His most recent book is entitled, The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life. He also blogs at OvercomingBias.com.

 

The big mistake we are making – the ‘elephant in the brain’.

the elephant in the room, n. An important issue that people are re­luc­tant to ack­now­ledge or add­ress; a social taboo.

the elephant in the brain, n. An important but un­ack­now­ledged fea­ture of how our minds work; an introspective taboo.

The elephant in the brain is the reason that people don’t do things they want to do. They have a lot of hidden motives. People think they do certain things for one reason but really do these things for a different reason.  Some of the motives are unconscious. This may be due to many reasons but one of them is the desire/need to conform to social norms. The book, The Elephant in the Brain includes 10 areas of hidden motives in everyday life. These include:

  1. Body language
  2. Laughter
  3. Conversation
  4. Consumption
  5. Art
  6. Charity
  7. Education – one reason people really go to school is to ‘show off’
  8. Medicine – it isn’t just about health – it’s also about demonstrating caring
  9. Religion
  10. Politics

The puzzle of social status in the workplace is one to be explored. People are always working to improve their position within an organization but often the competition is ‘hidden’ by socially expected terms like ‘experience’ or ‘seniority’. To discuss one’s social status in the workplace is not acceptable. So, to continue to explore and think about people’s true motives can be beneficial.

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Why people have hidden motives.
  • Are people just selfish?
  • Why do companies have sexual harassment workshops?
  • What could be alternative reasons to hold workplace meetings?
  • How Robin and co-author Kevin Simler researched for the book
  • Do we have the power to change our self-deceptive ways?
Direct download: Robin_Hanson_Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:12pm PST

Michael Arena, PhD is the Chief Talent Officer at General Motors. He is responsible for enterprise talent management, strategic workforce analytics, talent acquisition, executive development and global learning. GM employs 200,000 people across the globe. Major markets include North America, China and South America.

 

Prior to joining GM, Dr. Arena served as Senior Vice President of Leadership Development for Bank of America's Global Consumer and Small Business Banking group and spent two years as a visiting scientist within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, where he studied the intersection of human behavior, innovation and social connectivity. He is also currently a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the author of a new book coming out in June, 2018 called Adaptive Space: How GM and other Companies are Disrupting Themselves and Transforming into Agile Organizations.

One area that General Motors has looked at is Social Network Analysis, also called ONA – Organizational Network Analysis. This is what you see in your social network – it is a map or grid. Every person is a statistic. Are they someone who is a central connector? Or are they a broker who bridges two groups to drive them. So, GM might start with a survey that asks people about who they interact with each day. Through those surveys they map the connections together. Then they leverage that information and tap it into it.

One example of this is when GM looked at team results. In one area they found that the cohesion scores of a team were correlated to their response rates to requests -the higher the cohesion, the quicker the response rates.  Teams that were spread out had lower response rates and lower quality responses. With that in mind, they relocated people so they were ‘looking at each other’, then created ‘huddles’ – where people could share regularly. It improved productivity by 25% in some cases.

There are multiple areas that are being looked at in GM. One initiative that General Motors is currently focused on is called GM 2020 – it is a bottom up emergent movement. The focus is on how they can reinvent the ‘future of work’ – today. What are some of the key imperatives needed to make it happen? They look specifically at four areas:

  1. Talent gap
  2. Connected Simplicity
  3. Sustainability and Purpose
  4. Innovation

They also have conducted two day ‘blitzes’ called Co-Labs where  particular challenges are worked on – focusing on leadership and innovation. At the end of the session the groups make a pitch. They have found that this is a good way to develop – engage people in real life business challenges.

 

What You Will Learn In This Episode:

  • What does a Chief Talent Officer do
  • How GM is looking to be a disrupter in the future
  • Why an intentional workspace is critical
  • The culture of GM
  • The role of a ‘futurist’ at GM
  • What GM is doing on the People Analytics front
Direct download: michael20arena20podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:08am PST

Teresa Roche, Ph.D is the Chief Human Resources Officer for the City of Fort Collins, Colorado. Sixty miles north of Denver, Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University, with 32,000 students, several large high tech employers, and leading businesses in the brewing industry. There are 2400 employees at the city, with 28 that are in the HR department.

There are similarities and differences in private and public sectors. One difference is found in various types of departments that this public sector has - such as a wellness team and a volunteer program manager. In the public sector, there is a requirement to serve all people’s needs. That is quite different as compared to private companies that may focus on one group – the customers.  In addition, there is an emphasis on transparency in public forum. The city of Fort Collins’ finances are available online for anyone to view.

Budgeting is BFO – budgeting for outcomes. They have a triple bottom line – social, environmental and economic.

Some trends that Teresa is paying attention to are:

  • Technology changes – such as smart cities and driverless cars
  • Ensuring they have an inclusive group of talent, be connected to each person across the city
  • The way work can be done

Fort Collins’ vision is to have a culture of innovation. However, there is a tension between the ‘fail fast, fail early’ in the public sector as compared to private.

What is required in a leadership role? The ability to have a clear vision, the ability to set goals, and attract and retain people. One needs the basics of leading others to accomplish results. In the public sector, Roche believes the question is--how do we respond to patterns and signals. “I think it takes a special person to lead in the public sector”, Roche says.

Roche’s advice for others is to realize what is possible for the city you live in and then demand more from the city.

She also mentions the 3 P’s she is looking at:

  • Purpose – aligning the purpose of people and cities
  • Presence – leadership who can ‘remain calm in the storm’
  • Practice – no separation between work and learning

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Similarities and differences between public and private sector HR
  • Leading an HR department in a city
  • Why Fort Collins, CO was named a great place to live
  • What is BFO?
  • How the public sector is looking at AI
  • How to create a culture of innovation
Direct download: Teresa20Roche20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 5:25pm PST

A lot of times managers and executives tell their employees how they should act and behave. They explain what their expectations are for the employees and they lay out ground rules for working for the company. But a lot of times those same leaders are not exhibiting those behaviors themselves. There is a fascinating story about Gandhi that can really teach us something about leadership. The story is about a woman whose son was addicted to sugar. No matter what she did she could not fix this addiction in her son. Doctors, friends and relatives all told the young boy to stop eating sugar because it is not good for him, but he wouldn’t listen. Finally the mother decided to take her son to see Gandhi to see if the son would listen to this well respected, wise and pious man.

The waited in line to meet Gandhi for a very long time and when they finally got to him the mother explained that her son was addicted to sugar. She told Gandhi her son would not listen to anyone telling him not to eat sugar, but surely he will listen to you. Gandhi told the woman to come back in two weeks and he would help them. The woman was confused, but did what he said.

Two weeks later the mother and son returned to Gandhi. The mother explained to Gandhi that they had been there two weeks before and that her son is still addicted to sugar. Gandhi looked at the boy and said, “Son, you should stop eating sugar”. The mother was again confused and asked Gandhi why they had to wait two weeks when that was all he was going to say. Gandhi replied, “Two weeks ago I myself was addicted to sugar. How can I tell somebody else to stop doing something, when I am doing that same thing?”

We should use this as an example of how to lead. How can we ask others to behave in a certain way when we ourselves are not behaving that way. We need to first start with ourselves and see what happens.

Direct download: IfYouWantToChangeBehaviorThenLeadByExample.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:23pm PST

Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media (formerly O'Reilly & Associates). O’Reilly Media delivers online learning, publishes books, runs conferences, urges companies to create more value than they capture, and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators. He is also the author of the new book, WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us

When asked about changes in business since the 80’s and 90’s, O’Reilly said it appears that businesses are focused are on the future and their ability to sell rather than building a real business. Another fundamental change is that most of the work is done by a program, the managers of the bots that are doing the work.  There is also a group of workers that are managed by the bots – like Uber.

One of the trends O’Reilly is currently paying attention to is AI and automation. Do we use machines to replace people or use them to augment people?

O’Reilly believes the future of AI is up to us. They can run us over. Or we put technology to work to solve hard problems. Rethinking the way we do things, not just small tweaks – but in significant ways about the way we do things - for instance, health care.

O’Reilly advises us to focus on the value that you are trying to create rather than the value you are trying to get. If you are trying to extract value, it’s not sustainable. We have to “Create more value than you capture.” You will have a successful business. Doing more with technology, solve problems and you will create more jobs.

Some of O’Reilly’s parting advice is to act like the ‘owner’ of the business rather than a ‘worker’ and to think about what you would like the future of work to look like.

Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, the company that has been providing the picks and shovels of learning to the Silicon Valley gold rush for the past thirty-five years. The company delivers online learning, publishes books, runs conferences, and has repeatedly shaped the discussion for each successive wave of innovation. Tim is also a partner at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, an early stage venture firm, and is on the boards of Code for America, Maker Media, PeerJ, Civis Analytics, and PopVox

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Why focusing on shareholder value is a problem
  • Myths of self-driving trucks’ future
  • Why O’Reilly says, “Create more value than you capture.”
  • Why we need to rethink the structure of benefits
  • O’Reilly’s view of jobs vs. work
  • Trends O’Reilly is looking at with the future of work
Direct download: Tim20O27Reilly20Podcast-DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:24am PST

There is one thing we as humans possess that technology will never have and if we can hone in on it, we can overcome the technology takeover. The topic of automation and AI in the workplace keeps coming up. A lot of people are worried about job loss and technology take over. One major thing that comes up when thinking about our move to automation is what is going to be the role of humans? What will be our purpose in this new automated world of the future?

After traveling all over the country and meeting a ton of people from all sorts of industries and backgrounds I am convinced that our main role as humans is to be human. There are no machines or robots that have our ability to connect, empathize, communicate, and sympathize. We also have the ability to be vulnerable. Technology just cannot replace us in these aspects.

So we need to keep learning how to be more human and we have to keep connecting and building relationships. Those of us who are good at being human will grow, expand and continue to be successful. So don’t forget how to be human!

Direct download: AI20and20Automation20Cant20Replace20Being20Human2020-20Jacob20Morgan.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:32pm PST

Jeremy Welland, PhD is the Global Head of People Analytics at PayPal Holdings, Inc.  PayPal is an American company with 18,000 employees, operating a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like checks and money orders. PayPal is one of the world's largest Internet payment companies.  

He also serves as a faculty member in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of the Pacific.  Prior to PayPal, Welland was the Director of People Analytics at Pandora Media, Inc. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan.

One of the ‘hot topics’ they’ve been working on at PayPal is the subject of diversity and inclusion. One area in particular was focusing on pay parity for women. They have been successful in this and will work to maintain it.

To find the truth of what drives people, why people leave, etc., they often will start with asking managers what they believe.

They find the results can fall into 3 responses:

  1. Hypothesis confirmation – what the manager thought was correct
  2. Myth busting - find that it is not as strong as believed or there is no relationship at all
  3. A ‘purple swan’ -finding unexpected surprises – it wasn’t on anyone’s radar at all

One thing they learned about employees at PayPal is termed the ‘evangelist effect’. Looking in detail at employee responses and the surprising correlation between people that mark ‘satisfied’ and then leave the company versus those that marked ‘neutral’ or ‘very satisfied’.

Welland’s advice for others is to make friends with your CFO, pick a group or one early adopter who can help champion your product, and make friends with other departments

What you will learn in this episode:

  • PayPal’s People Analytic team structure
  • How People Analytics is being used at PayPal
  • Strong AI versus Weak AI
  • Thoughts on how AI will augment future work
  • What the work environment is like at PayPal
Direct download: Jeremy20Welland20Podcast-DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:19pm PST

So many us work for organizations where don't feel valued and appreciated. We only live once and we all deserve to work for organizations that genuinely care about us and create environments where we genuinely want to show up. Don't you want to work for this type of an organization?

Direct download: MidWeek20Podcast_1.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:38pm PST

Heather McGowan is the Co-Founder, Author and Advisor for Work to Learn. She speaks internationally on the future of work and the future of learning. She advises and partners with education and business leaders to most effectively prepare for rapid and disruptive changes in learning, work, and society.

In higher education, McGowan advises presidents and senior leaders to develop students’ learning agility as well as critical thinking skills in order to prepare graduates for jobs that do not yet exist.

McGowan also guides corporate executives to re-think and re-frame their business models, and their understanding of team and organizational structures, to be resilient and successful in changing markets. She is the co-author of the book Disrupt Together: How Teams Consistently Innovate  and numerous well-received articles.

In looking at the future of work, which skills will benefit future students and educators? McGowan suggests seeking to understand, to learn and adapt.  Work on upgrading your “Operating system” – the overall ‘you’.

How about the future of education degrees? Is there a ‘future proof’ field? McGowan believes in thinking like an ‘X’, so you can look at all disciplines (similar to ‘liberal arts degrees’), as opposed to focusing on one specialty in depth.

When it comes to the 4th industrial revolution, McGowan says, “we are seeing this merger of cyber physical systems and the internet of things where everything around you has some form of intelligence--anything mentally attained or predictable can be achieved by an algorithm--and it’s no longer just the physical labor that gets replaced by non-biological intelligence but it’s cognitive labor as well”

Because of the fact that cognitive labor is now being affected by this 4th Industrial Revolution, we have to move towards learning agility as well as becoming more adaptable and empathetic, to ensure that we stay relevant in the workplace.

There are 3 interlocking factors that are transforming work, called the “3 A’s”:

Atomization – a job being broken into job components –the ‘thing’ that needs to be done ‘gig work’, working 24/7, working around the work

Automation – work done entirely by non-biologic intelligence – like software that schedules in a life-like sense

Augmentation – using something to extend the human potential – like the robots used in surgery

McGowan’s advice for people who want to stay relevant is to step into a community such as LinkedIn or another group that are learning communities as these groups learn a lot from each other, really connect with these groups and make a commitment to learn something new everyday.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Why students need to think as futurists
  • ..and how we need to prepare students to lose their jobs
  • Why we should stop asking the three “what” questions
  • What learning uncertainty is
  • A look at the evolution of work and where we are today
Direct download: Heather20McGowan20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:22am PST

Peter Walmsley, the Chief People Officer at GSN Games, is an experienced and committed leader with extensive Executive Human Resources experience in multi-national organizations across the USA; Europe; Asia and North Africa. He has a track record of success in setting the strategic direction, driving organizational change, providing leadership for the function, developing and influencing critical business relationships and delivering results aligned to business goals in places such as American Express and Fidelity.

GSN Games is a leading provider of cross-platform entertainment, including social casino games and skill tournaments designed to fuel every player’s inner winner. They are based primarily in the US and India. Part of GSN, - Wheel of Fortune on TV. About 500 people, it is the design and development of these games. Founded in 1999 as skill games site WorldWinner.com, the company has evolved into a premier social, mobile and online games company.

Working at GSN involves an open workspace with game consoles all around. It is an open and transparent culture. Upper management is available to questions and conversation with employees. Unlimited vacation times with good benefits are also some of the perks of working at GSN. Additionally there is an emphasis on a healthy culture balance of work and private lives.

How do you budget for the ‘perks’ – such as free food or redesigning the office - often found in the office?

  • By spending a lot of time with general managers it allows for understanding on the needs of employees. Once he understands the needs he is able to facilitate the programs by using this antidotal data.

How do you ensure shareholder value at the studio level?

  • Make sure we have an effective operating model
  • Make sure we have an effective workforce plan
  • Make sure we have the right people

How do you deal with different offices and their cultures in different parts of the world?

  • Put in place a framework, a set of principles that are basic
  • Be aware of local customs
  • The local HR director is accountable for ensuring with local legislation and then working with leaders to make sure that all are aligned

Walmsley’s advice for individuals is to embrace change and reinvent yourself periodically

His advice for executives is to listen and hear, move away from personal discomfort, and have the courage to take risks.

Things you will learn:

  • What it’s like to work at GSN
  • How GSN handles the annual employee reviews
  • How Walmsley believes the role of HR has changed
  • How to deal with managers who don’t embrace changes in the world of work
  • How to handle differences in corporate cultures when you have offices around the world
Direct download: Peter20Walmsley20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:41am PST