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

Jordan Birnbaum is the VP and Chief Behavioral Economist at ADP. In his role, he is responsible for the integration of behavioral economics into software design and marketing communications of new talent-based products. Birnbaum has more than 20 years experience as a start-up specialist and entrepreneur, as a Founder / Senior Vice President at Juno Online Services and Founder / CEO of The Vanguard, Los Angeles. He holds a BS from Cornell University and a Master’s degree in I/O Psychology from NYU.

ADP – Automated Data Processing - began in the 1950’s. It is a Fortune 500, company with 50,000 employees worldwide. 1 out of 6 people gets paid by ADP. They have adapted and evolved to look at down the road at the art and science of providing payroll.

“Behavioral Economics is putting ‘would’ in front of ‘should’”.  The idea is to improve the predictions of human reactions to just about anything. Being able to define ‘the should’ is critical.

When it comes to loss aversion, “human beings are twice as motivated to avoid a loss as we are to secure a gain.” So it is twice as motivating to avoid losing $100 than it is to gain $100. The impact of gaining it is only half as impactful.

How can managers and leaders apply this in a company? Through communications.

An example of Loss Aversion:

Trying to get people to participate in leadership development programs. Two sentences and understanding how to frame:

  1. Consider all the career advancement that you stand to gain if you were to improve as a leader.

Or

  1. Consider all the career advancement that you stand to lose if you don’t improve as a leader.

Changing just 2 words makes the second sentence twice as motivating as the first. So understanding how to frame things relative to what we stand to lose versus what we stand to gain is often the difference between success and failure.

Birnbaum’s advice to listeners is to realize that ‘should’ is not a very good predictor and he says behavioral economics is a great party topic!

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • The power of saying...”but you are free to decline.”
  • What role Priming can play in business, marketing and other spaces
  • What is a Heuristic method and its role in behavioral economics
  • What consistent irrational behaviors we should be aware of
  • How to drive behavior change in the workplace
  • How loss aversion can be used by managers
Direct download: Jordan20Birnbaum20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:59am PDT

Celeste Warren is the Vice President of Human Resources and Global Diversity and Inclusion, Center of Excellence at Merck. In this dual role, she has responsibility for the strategic and operational Human Resources support of Merck's Global Legal, Compliance, Communications, Population Health, Patient Health and Global Public Policy Organizations.

She is also responsible for working with Merck’s global leaders to advance and embed diversity and inclusion as a strategic approach to maximize business performance and create a competitive advantage. Warren is extremely passionate about D&I and she has received numerous awards for her work including Diversity Global’s 2017 Influential Women in Diversity award and most recently she was named one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century.

Merck is a pharmaceutical organization that makes drugs, operating in about 140 countries with about 60,000 employees.

What is the difference between diversity and inclusion? Warren explains that diversity is simply our ‘differences’. For example: men/women, Black, White, Latino or a disability that is not visible, whether someone is married or single, genetic differences, and in general, what difference someone identifies with.

Inclusion, on the other hand, is creating a culture that allows all people to ‘bring themselves into work’.

When you have employees with differences within the organization, how do you create a culture of inclusion that allows them to be able to bring themselves into work? We have to find out whatever people identify with - so they can be productive. We also have to ensure that people aren’t marginalized and that their ideas are received and considered, to contribute to the success of the organization.

There are four diversity ambassador teams at Merck that look at D/I.

The first is employee business or affinity groups. There are 10 groups in Merck that come together once a month to talk about issues within organization to be the voice of organization.

The second is their global diversity and inclusion business consortium. This group focuses on how business leaders need to do their job through the lens of D/I and so they learn from each other

The third is the global diversity and inclusion extended HR leadership team who ensure that work is done with the lens of D/I

And the fourth group’s focus is on creating a culture for employees with disabilities.

Advice for managers to be more aware of Diversity & Inclusiveness

  1. Look inside themselves, what are the capabilities, how knowledgeable am I? Read articles, around D/I and see what is happening around the world.
  2. Build your own capabilities - take a few online courses to look at unconscious bias and how it impacts your leadership
  3. In staff meeting, bring in an article around diversity and start a dialog, create a safe, brave space to talk about these things. What can I be doing better? What can I do to better create a culture?
  4. Take that information and go to your peers/ your manager. Have that discussion with your manager to figure out how your organization can create a more diverse and inclusive environment.

Warren’s advice for individual employees is to understand your own biases, come into the workplace and talk with your peers about it – bring in an article, get together with others and talk about things happening, have a conversation with your manager and join an employee affinity group. Get involved and be a leader. 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What role diversion and inclusion plays in organizations
  • Why should organizations think about diversity?
  • How is diversity and inclusion tied to business goals?
  • What data should organizations look at in terms of D/I?
  • What roles individual employees, managers and leaders play in creating a more diverse and inclusive organization
Direct download: Celeste20Warren20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:09am PDT

A study about satisfaction carried out by a professor of psychology gives us something to think about in the workplace.

Tom Gilovich, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, did a study along with some members of his team to find out how levels of satisfaction are affected by spending money on experiences versus spending money on physical things. Gilovich and his team found that people who spend money on physical things such as phones, computers, houses or cars tend to have a drop in satisfaction as time goes on. On the other hand, they found that people who spend money on experiences, like skydiving, traveling or learning a new skill, have higher satisfaction levels overtime.

How can we translate this phenomenon into the workplace? A lot of times the relationship we have with our organizations tends to stay very transactional. When we first get the job our satisfaction levels are high, we are excited, expectant and happy. However, as time goes on we tend to become more and more dissatisfied with our jobs. We get bored, disconnected and burned out.

Organizations need to find a way to allow employees to feel as if they have purchased an experience--as if they have climbed a mountain or gone skydiving. They need to find a way to help employees get that feeling of increased satisfaction as time goes on. If organizations could do this successfully, think of what that would do to the way we work, the way we feel and the way we live. What do you think? How do you think organizations could fix the way we view work?

Direct download: the20future20of20work20is20employee20experience20midweek20podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:42am PDT

Chip Heath, PhD. is the Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  He is also the co-author (along with his brother, Dan) of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die and a new book, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact.

 

The Power of Moments looks at defining moments. Defining moments are those that stand out in the flow of experiences. In life, there are probably a half of dozen ‘moments’ that stick out. For example, when you meet the person you will marry or have big moments in your career. But you also have smaller moments – like times on a vacation.

Defining moments can be good or bad times. One example of a bad defining moment is when basketball player, Michael Jordan was in high school. He tried out for the varsity basketball team but did not make the team and was instead place on the lower, junior varsity level team.  This was a defining moment for him. So, throughout his life, when he has gone through tough times, he would remember seeing his name on the list for the less prestigious team. That memory would drive him.

4 Elements of Defining Moments:

  1. Elevation – ‘Rise above the everyday’. These are moments of powerful sensory sensations – like watching a fireworks show where there is sound and lights.

In an organization it would be a promotion - if it came with a celebration in some way.

  1. Insight – ‘Rewire our understanding of ourselves or the world’. In our daily lives, every now and then a break-through happens, something becomes clear to us. For example, this is the person I want to marry or this is a job I don’t want.

In the workplace, if you can provide insights to clients then they will love you. “Often what people want from us is a level of insight rather than comfort or pleasure.”

  1. Pride – ‘Capturing us at our best achievement’ – undervalued at most organizations. It is hard to praise people as much as they would like to be praised. There is a huge benefit of saying ‘I saw what you did… great work’.
  2. Connection – ‘connecting with others’. Connecting with others is very powerful.

“Connection requires a level of depth that we don’t often get to in the workplace.” But when we get to that level of depth it’s amazing that we can get to it very quickly.

Heath says there are two reasons why don’t we praise people enough. First of all, we think we are doing it. We ‘feel’ positive towards employees and we think we’ve said, ‘nice work’. It takes discipline to articulate the words.

Also, it is surprisingly embarrassing to say positive things directly to someone face to face.

If organizations can take the time to look at the four elements of defining moments and figure out how to create powerful and impactful moments for their people, the results can be astounding.

How can your organization take the first step to creating “Powerful Moments”?

 

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How John Deere tractor company welcomes new employees
  • The power of praise
  • How to build in defining moments into your organization
  • What role does ‘creating moments of stretch’ play in one’s life or organization?
Direct download: Chip20Heath20Podcast-DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:37pm PDT

Now more than ever employees are looking for a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. But where does that purpose come from--the worker or the organization?

There is a story about President Kennedy visiting to NASA in the 1960s. While he was visiting he was walking down a hallway and saw a man who was carrying a broom and a bucket and Kennedy asked the man what he did at NASA. The man, who was a janitor at Nasa, replied, “Sir, I help put a man on the moon”.

That story has been told and retold because it is a great example of the importance of having a sense of purpose in the work that we do. But where does that sense of purpose come from? Is it something that the organization is supposed to provide for you or is it something that the employee is supposed to come to work with?

I think the answer is that it is partially the responsibility of both parties to create. I believe that the organization needs to help employees connect what they are doing to the impact they are having in a way that helps them see how they are changing the organization, the community and the world. Organizations can do this through stories, through helping employees feel like they belong at the company and giving them opportunities to grow and advance.

But it is also partially the responsibility of the employee. The employee cannot just show up to work and assume the organization is going to hold their hand and do everything for them. Employees need to have an open mind, they need to find ways to contribute and they need to figure out why they are working for the organization in the first place.

The greatest sense of purpose comes when both the organization and the employee create and nurture that purpose and that mindset on a daily basis. Do you agree with me? Who do you think is responsible for creating a sense of purpose at work?

Direct download: creating20a20sense20of20purpose20done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:30pm PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT