Great Leadership With Jacob Morgan

Paul Irving is Chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging and distinguished scholar in residence at the University of Southern California Davis School Of Gerontology.

Paul spent much of his life as a corporate lawyer as chairman and CEO of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, a law and consulting firm. He is also the author of “The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy, and Purpose,” a Wall Street Journal expert panelist and contributor to PBS Next Avenue and Forbes. When he came to the end of his term as CEO he enrolled at Harvard to look at ‘something new, something interesting’. There, he was asked to do a research project on the impacts of population aging in cities in the U.S.  They came up with an idea about ranking U.S. cities, knowing how ranking systems attract interest and attention, and it was called “Best Cities for Successful Aging”.

Eventually Paul became the president of the Milken Institute which is based in Santa Monica, although they have offices in Washington D.C., and Singapore. Each of these is involved in spreading both domestic and global prosperity and improving health.

One of the things that the Institutes are now focused on is this question of how population aging will affect individuals, families, communities, businesses, and societies.

Some of the trends Paul is seeing in the workforce include:


  • Across the world populations are much older
  • Workforces are becoming more diverse
  • Enhancement of opportunities for women over the last several decades, the increasing diversity and inclusion in leadership positions
  • There is a risk of talent loss and talent shortage as a result of retirement


  • There is a very clear need for people to work longer and aspiration for people to work longer


  • The HR culture has become much more complex



As Paul points out, “we have about a billion people today over 60 in the world. By mid-century, that

number will more than double, the number of people in their 60s in the United States will more than

double. We have ten thousand people turning 65 a day in the US, and we are now at a point where there

are more older adults than kids and teenagers in the world. So the bottom line is that we have a

historically unprecedented demographic shift, unlike anything that humankind has seen since the



The operating assumption is that older people are:

  • Unwilling to learn,
  • Unable to evolve, and
  • Are less effective performers than the young people


The evidence is simply not there to back up those claims. They are ageist expectations that come from a fear of aging, a fear of death, a fear of physical change and a lack of recognition of the complementary skills of young people and old people.

As Paul mentions, organizations can benefit from hiring people over 50, because they bring important things to the table including balance, judgement, wisdom, and experience. And several companies are specifically bringing in older employees for this reason. Companies like Airbnb, BMW, and Michelin have programs and incentives in place to make sure they they have employees ranging in age and experience because they understand that it is critical for their future success.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What the Milken Institute does
  • The impact of the aging workforce
  • Examples of companies such as Airbnb, BMW, and Michelin who are bringing in older employees who can share their wisdom, experience and training
  • What will happen to organizations not paying attention to this trend
  • Paul’s advice for older workers
  • How to create policies for older workers


Direct download: Paul20Irving_podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:18am PDT

What is Empathy and why do we need it? A lot of times we confuse empathy with sympathy. In the past organizations have been good with being sympathetic to employees, but in the future of work it is empathy, not sympathy that is crucial for organizations to have.

A lot of people confuse empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone else’s circumstances, empathy on the other hand is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to not just say you feel sorry for them, but to actually imagine how hard it must be to be in that situation.

In the past organizations have been good at being sympathetic, but they have struggled with being empathetic. Unlike in the past when most organizations had hierarchies where there really was no need for upper management to be empathetic, in today’s organizations we are beginning to see why it is so crucial to have empathy in the workplace. We have different generations of workers, we have work/life integration that is starting to happen, we have a war for the best talent and many other reasons why employee experience is becoming a priority for organizations.

But the fact is, employee experience cannot happen unless we embrace empathy. We have to be understanding when an employee has a sick kid, we have to be genuinely interested in getting feedback, we have to build collaboration and increase transparency. To do these things we have to have empathy.

Don’t be a sympathetic organization, be an empathetic organization. Empathy is the one thing that is going to differentiate your company from all the other companies out there.

Direct download: Employee_Experience_Cannot_Happen_Unless_We_Embrace_Empathy.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:02am PDT

Andrew Glincher is the CEO and Managing Partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, one of the largest law firms in the world. Andrew started at Nixon Peabody 30 years ago. He is a first generation college graduate, having grown up in Brockton, Massachusetts. He studied business at Boston College undergraduate and has always prided himself as being as much a business person as a lawyer. He ran his own snack bar and concession in high school, was very entrepreneurial, worked in business, and then went to law school. Initially he went to work for a small firm for about a year and a half to do business and commercial real estate. Eventually, Andrew made his way to Nixon Peabody, running the Boston office with a large corporate and commercial real estate client base which has evolved into his current role of CEO.

Nixon Peabody LLP is one of the largest law firms in the world - with 16 offices. They have international alliances throughout the world, particularly in Asia. In the United States, their major metro offices are located in Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. They employ about 700 attorneys and 1500 total employees. They work on almost everything except criminal defense work - except white collar. They do not do personal injury work on the plaintiff's side nor do they do divorce work. They particularly excel in corporate, real estate, labor and employment law.

Some of the changes in this law firm that Andrew has seen are:

  • Moving away from hierarchies
  • One size glass wall offices
  • A shift towards encouraging collaboration
  • No more corner offices
  • Unified office furniture for everyone
  • More open spaces with cafes and collaboration space

Nixon Peabody isn’t an ordinary law firm and Andrew isn’t your typical CEO. In fact, as you will here in today’s discussion, Andrew is simply not content with the traditional ways that law firms are used to operating. He and his team at Nixon Peabody are finding ways to increase collaboration, change the way they think about space, encourage leaders to be empathetic listeners, and use technology to be more efficient and productive.

How do you deal with people who are resistant to that change? Andrew says you can show them companies that aren't fairing well who have resisted change. He also says you should have discussions about change and acknowledge that change is difficult. You have to keep encouraging people to do things.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How law firms are changing
  • The role AI and technology may have on the the field of law
  • How to be an empathetic listener
  • How to deal with people resisting change
  • Advice to leaders looking to change their work spaces


Direct download: Andrew20Glincher_podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:50am PDT

Creating a true human organization has been a topic for decades and there has been a lot of smart people, wonderful books, case studies and research reports out there that talks about leadership, employee experience, and management skills. 


But still, a lot of organizations all over the world struggle to embrace these things. Still, a lot of employees out there don't like their jobs. So a part of me wonders,  does any of the work that I do matter? Why isn't change happening? why do these companies still exist?


Then I remember the emails I get or the stories I hear from all of you about how change is happening in your organization. It might be hard for us to see change because it takes time, but change is truly happening.


It's like going to the gym. I have no idea how long it’s gonna take for you to look better or feel better, but I know that over time, as you exercise and eat healthier, you’re gonna start to look a little bit better and feel a little bit better. One day you will wake up and look and the mirror and think “I look and feel pretty darn amazing!: Stay optimistic. You too overtime, will start noticing change.

Direct download: change_takes_time.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:54pm PDT

Caskie Lewis-Clapper is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Magellan Health, Inc., (“Magellan “). Prior to joining Magellan, she served as senior Director for Human Resources Operations for Helix Health, a Baltimore, Maryland-based health care system. At Helix, she held a variety of senior leadership positions, including Sr. Director of Human Resource Operations and Director of Training and Organizational Development. Prior to joining Helix, she was a consultant with General Physics Corporation, providing training and performance improvement consulting services, and conducting human performance improvement research. She is a published author of articles on team building and human performance improvement. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maine and her Master of Science degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Magellan Health is care management for the fastest growing and most complex areas of healthcare, including special populations, complete pharmacy benefits and other specialty carve-outs. It is “the right care at the right time in the least invasive way”.  With 10,000 employees, they work relentlessly to provide the best care.

Workplace flexibility is something that has been discussed and worked on over the years. Magellan was on the cutting edge of this issue as they were finding ways to allow employees to work off site since the early 90s. And they continue to make flexibility a priority for their employees. Currently 40% of their staff works from home.

A lot of organizations question flexibility because they feel that the best collaboration and innovation happens when employees are in the same location and able to talk face to face daily. But Caskie believes that Magellan is able to make it work because they focus on having purposeful, meaningful in person meetings from time to time that allow everyone to stay on the same page. But they a majority of the time they are able to collaborate and innovate through phone calls, Zoom, and online resources.

A lot of times when teams are in the same location, they tend to waste time in pointless meetings just to say they met. The important factor, whether your team is onsite or not, is that during meetings the leader is clear about what they are there to do.  Caskie says, “Let the work drive when you need to be in a room together.” And then when you go your separate ways everyone knows what they are aiming towards and what needs to get done.

Another topic of debate these days is around who is responsible for the development, advancement, learning, and success of employees. Is it up to the organization? Is it up to the employee?

According to Caskie, Magellan places the main responsibility with the individual employee. Caskie says, “You're the driver of your work. You're the driver of your development, you're the driver of your successes, you're the driver of your learnings. And that means that as a team member at Magellan, and I'm going to use a word that's a really overused, but you're empowered to, you have the power to make things happen for yourself and for our company.”

They feel that it is important for employees to have goals, to be proactive in advancing their careers, and to find ways to keep learning.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How employees at Magellan collaborate while working in different locations
  • What mindsets/skills/traits they look for in potential employees
  • How to help people navigate change
  • How to be a digital citizen and a perpetual learner
  • How Magellan is giving employees ownership over their learnings, development and success
  • Interesting programs inside of Magellan--Vern and Rita
  • What it’s like to work at Magellan
  • Changes Caskie has seen at Magellan over the past 20 years


Caskie Lewis On LinkedIn


This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!

Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.

Direct download: Caskie20Lewis-Clapper_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:30am PDT

There has been a major shift in the way we view work. In the past when a company had a position to fill they announced the opening and people jumped at the opportunity. There wasn’t any talk of employee perks, health and wellness programs, workplace flexibility or workplace design. Someone needed a job, they found out about the job and they applied.

Now if an organization has an opening people don’t just jump at the opportunity. They want to hear about what it’s like to work at that company, they want to know what the company perks are, they want to know whether the office is an open floor plan and whether or not they have the latest technology. People have options now, so they don’t have to jump at the first opportunity, they can wait for the job that is a perfect fit for them.

That is why it is so important for companies today to focus on employee experience. Companies have to be able to understand their Reason for Being and they have to be able to answer questions like, what is it like to work for your company and why should I want to come work there?

Organizations, we need to do a better job convincing people why they should work for us.

This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!

Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.

Direct download: a_shift_in_the_way_we_think_about_work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Jacqui Canney, is EVP and Chief People Officer at Walmart and Clay Johnson, is EVP and Chief Information Officer at Walmart.

Jacqui has been with Walmart for three and a half years. She is focused on the development, the retention and the rewarding of their 2 million employees. Clay joined Walmart 18 months ago. He focuses on the technology but also the shared services for the company. He is charged with putting those two together to create more productivity and automation.

With over 2 million employees, Walmart is the world’s largest employer. They have 5000 stores in the U.S and 10,000 globally.

Skilling and training employees on a massive scale

Investing in people is a focus for Walmart, in particular the last few years they have made investments around salaries, training and education. As Jacqui puts it, “we are people led and tech enabled. So investing in our people and humanity is what Walmart is rooted in and is our competitive advantage”.

Recently, they have been moving wages and announced new education benefits that employees have been asking for. One of them is a dollar a day college opportunity. Both full-time and part-time employees who have been with the company for at least 90 days are able to attend college for $1 a day to get an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree.

They have also created in-house training called academies and have about 200 of them in the United States, as well as others outside of the United States where they are teaching employees retail fundamentals and leadership skills.

New jobs or skills that Jacqui and Clay are identifying as being important at Walmart include:

  1. Digital literacy,
  2. Data-driven decision making,
  3. Growth mindset,
  4. Flexibility and adaptability and then the
  5. Empathy

One of the things recently implemented at Walmart is called BYOD at work. It stands for bring your own device.  So they can bring their personal phones into work and also have access to any kind of the work content they would have on a desktop. So, if an employee is on the floor, they can access all types of training content, just like they were sitting at a desk.  The idea is to create more productivity and allow people to learn in a lot of different ways.

They also recently announced a game that it’s on the App store called Spark City - that anybody can actually play. It’s the gamifying of how to run a store. So, people that want to work at Walmart can use it, even before they are hired.

You may not realize how technologically advanced Walmart is when it comes to their workforce. They are leveraging a lot of cutting edge tools to train, retain, and upskill their employees. Here are just a few examples:

  • Using IOT – Including having sensors in freezers that ‘go bad’ and allowing employees to connect with their personal devices throughout the store
  • Applied blockchain to food safety – to be able to identify the original source of the food the supply
  • Jet Black – Which allows anyone to find and order gifts tailored to the recipient

Jacqui and Clay say that Walmart is running, not walking, into the next 5-10 years and they are excited to see what new tools, tech, and resources become available to allow them to stay ahead.

What you will learn in the episode:

  • How Walmart is evolving and using cutting edge tech to train and upskill their workforce
  • How they are using Blockchain to track food
  • What the future of Walmart looks like 5-10 years out
  • Trends Jacqui and Clay are paying attention to
  • What is store #8 and how is Walmart using it to test new trends
  • What role leaders play in Walmart’s transformation
  • How HR and IT can collaborate
  • How Walmart uses VR in empathy training
  • How they balance what is right for the shareholders vs. what is right for employees and customers

Link from the episode:



This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!

Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.


Direct download: Walmart20Podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:00am PDT

There used to be a time where work and life were kept separate and they did not overlap. Once you got home at 5pm everything that happened at work was put to the side and you focused on your personal life. But today there’s no longer boundaries between work and life. It is more of a blending of the two and it’s only going to keep becoming more and more blended in the future.

If the work side of your life is not going well, then most likely your life as a whole is not going well. Work is life and life is work; the two things are becoming one. Therefore it matters greatly what choices you make in your work life. It matters what career field you choose to go into, what organization you choose to work for and how you interact with others you work with. If you want to have an overall meaningful, happy and satisfying life you also need to have a good work life.

This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!

Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.


Direct download: work_life_balance_integration.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Dan Shapero is the Vice President of Talent Solutions, Careers, and Learning at LinkedIn. Prior to this, Dan held several positions at LinkedIn, from Vice President of Talent Solutions and Insights to Vice President of North America Sales, Hiring Solutions.  He has also served as the Manager of Bain & Company, as Senior Marketing Manager of Paramark, as Product Marketing Manager of Zembu, and as an advisor for Dropbox.

LinkedIn currently has over 575 million members around the world. They are the world's largest professional networking site. The idea originated to provide a platform for professionals to join and start to run their careers much like a startup would think about building their own businesses. Over the course of LinkedIn's history different capabilities have evolved.  They started with 300 employees in 2008 and currently, in 2018, employ over 12,000 employees.

Three things LinkedIn offers employees:

  1. Every two weeks they have a company all hands meeting hosted by the CEO Jeff Weiner
  2. They have a thing called InDay. Once a month, people are encouraged to clear their calendars, invest in themselves and invest in their teams
  3.  A program where every employee, every year, gets a budget of money to apply towards any number of things that help make their life a little easier.

When asked how work today compares with work 10 to 20 years ago, Dan says the biggest changes are around talent.

“If you look at the most important companies in the world, if you look at the companies that we tend to talk about in the news and the areas that are really driving industry, the new reality is that companies are realizing that they win or lose on their people.”

Because of this, there's a new focus on how to help people really thrive at work


LinkedIn has done some research on the idea of ‘career sleepwalking’, which is

when someone is in a role that they aren’t sure they want to be in, but they just

don’t know how to get out of it. Dan says there's a whole population of people - as

large as 40% in certain categories -who are ‘career sleepwalking’.


There is a ton of window shopping on LinkedIn for careers. People go and look at

jobs that are either different by industry, different by function, different by

location, and as a crazy stat, near 22% of people on LinkedIn say that “they really

fell into their current job versus actively choosing it”. And another 23% say that

they feel like they're on a treadmill going nowhere.


Dan’s advice for sleepwalkers or those on a career ‘treadmill’:


  1.  Visualize a path to make change
  2.  Find a friend to nurture your career path
  3.  Find a role model to help understand the steps to take
  4.  Have a plan B if it doesn’t work out


What you will learn in this episode:

  • What do non-HR people need to understand about HR?
  • How employment has changed over the last few decades
  • Three unique things going on at LinkedIn
  • Dan’s view of Millennials
  • What is the future of HR?
  • How LinkedIn is doing perks differently
  • What is Glint and why LinkedIn acquired them
  • Suggestions to pivot your career path




Direct download: Dan20Shapero20Podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:15am PDT

A lot of times I hear people discussing AI and Automation in a way that makes it seem like once everything is fully automated we will all lose our jobs. But is that the right way to think about it? When you lose something that means you misplaced it, you no longer know where it is. It has an air of carelessness or passiveness.

I don’t think we are that careless or indifferent. The truth is, we don’t lose our jobs, we allow them to be taken from us. There are things we can do to ensure our job security in the future of work.

First of all, we have to be perpetual learners, we have to learn how to learn. We cannot just rely on our companies or schools to teach us the skills we need for the future, we have to actively seek information out and learn things on our own.

Secondly, we have to pay attention to the tangential. We cannot keep our heads down or only look forward. We have to be looking forward, sideways, behind us, etc… We have to broaden our scope so that we are prepared for anything that may come our way.

So what are you going to do to actively make sure your job is taken from you?

Direct download: how_to_keep_ai_and_automation_from_taking_your_job.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:11pm PDT

Judy Marks is President of Otis Elevator Company, a 165 year old company that helps move over 2 billion people a day. With 27 years of experience serving federal customers across multiple agencies, her experience spans multiple disciplines including positions in systems engineering, engineering management, business development, capture management, subcontract management, program management and executive management. She has also served as the CEO at Siemens.

Additionally, she was the President of Transportation and Security Solutions of Lockheed Martin Corporation. In total, she served 27 years with Lockheed Martin and its predecessor companies.

Otis Elevator Company began in 1853 when Elisha Graves Otis invented the safety elevator. Over the last 165 years they have delivered products and services for 2 million elevators, in 1000 offices found in 200 countries around the world - every day. The 12.5 billion dollar company’s focus of their 68,000 employees is on their customers and working to keep them satisfied and safe day after day. The foundation of the company is to know their values and stay true to them. This is especially critical in this global company.

The population of the world is a little over 7 billion, so in three or four days Otis has the opportunity, and the responsibility to touch the world, and keep it moving safely. That's more people than fly, and so, it's a tremendous life safety responsibility. Of the 68, 000 colleagues, 33, 000 are mechanics who really live at the customer's facilities, who do multiple service visits, and repairs as needed really to keep cities moving, to keep buildings moving, to keep people safe, and having access to their homes, and to hospitals.

There are multiple types of data that is collected and used in elevators. In a typical elevator the data you collect is everything from door mechanism, and door openings, how many times, how many floors it's been to, etc... All of that's pretty standard information, and really as you think about the ability to use that brings you to preventive and predictive maintenance in the future.

But, the more exciting - in some of the elevators you probably see on the West Coast - have something in them called destination dispatch, which allows riders to get to their destination faster. It acts as a virtual concierge, directing passengers where they need to go. The rider enters their destination and then they receive an elevator assignment. The software groups passengers and stops together to ensure the fastest transport possible.

There are 5 culture statements at Otis:

  1. We celebrate imagination, which means we encourage new thinking, and smart risk taking.
  2. We are family. We believe in us.
  3. We're many voices. The greatest ideas come from diverse teams of thinkers with different points of view.
  4. We're better together. We align as one team, and collaborate to serve our customers
  5.  We strive to be the best. We set big goals, we rise to achieve them, and we win together as a team.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How elevators and escalators have changed over the last 165 years
  • Trends Judy is paying attention to right now
  • How they ensure that Otis has the right people in leadership roles
  • How AI and data is being used in the elevator/escalator space
  • How Otis is upskilling their mechanics
  • What it is like to work at Otis

Links from the episode:

Direct download: Judy20Marks20podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:40am PDT

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Fake it til you make it”? It is this idea of believing something or telling yourself something even when it’s not necessarily reality yet. I am a big believer in this mindset and I have used it to help me throughout my career.

When I went off to work on my own I struggled in the beginning. I didn’t have many clients and I didn’t have a ton of experience. Instead of looking at myself as a poor, young kid, struggling to find work, I told myself over and over that I was a young entrepreneur building a life for myself--a life that I truly wanted to live. I still repeat that to myself even now, years later.

The way that you think and the things that you believe shape your behaviors, feelings and actions. It’s kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that you are successful, talented, and that you have something to offer to others you will have a different outcome than if you constantly think negatively about yourself. It’s a choice. When you “Fake it til you make it” it allows you to focus on the work. What you say to yourself and what you believe truly matters.

Direct download: how_to_be_more_successful_in_life_and_business.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:58am PDT

Maynard Webb is co-founder and board member of Everwise, a talent development startup, and a board member of Visa and Salesforce. Previously, Maynard served as Chairman of the Board of Yahoo!, CEO of LiveOps, COO of eBay, and held executive roles at Gateway, Bay Networks, and Quantum.

Maynard is the founder of the Webb Investment Network (WIN), a seed investment firm dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurs, bringing his experience in developing and leading high-growth companies.

In 2004, he and his wife created the Webb Family Foundation, which provides underprivileged, motivated young individuals access to quality education and supports individuals who are struggling against the odds to make a positive impact on the world through innovation and hard work.

Maynard is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book, Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship . His second book, Dear Founder: Letters of Advice for Anyone Who Leads, Manages, or Wants to Start a Business, was released in September of 2018.

How do we drive/change corporate culture?

  1. It helps to have a higher purpose –be working on something that matters
  2. Be winning at what you are doing
  3. Inspire and grow your team
  4. Treat everyone with dignity and respect
  5. Tackle diversity and inclusion from the outside
  6. Make sure your teams are fired up about what they are doing.


How do you get people excited about their work? Maynard believes, that first of all it is important to make sure they understand what they are doing and where it fits with the importance of the company. People want to do meaningful work that makes an impact.

Employees also should know what it will do for them if they do their job well.

As an individual employee you should be aware of who is the best in the world at what you do and aspire to that.

For people that want to quit their jobs and want to know what to do first, Maynard says, “...before you just quit and walk out, what are the pieces that you need to own for your situation, and what your situation is, and why you’re not happy”

If you are itching to be an entrepreneur then go ahead and start while you still have a full time job. Do both at the same time

Maynard believes it is important to have a personal brand and you should know what you want to be known for. The character of who you are and how you walk in the world and how you treat people is important to pay attention to.

Maynard also talks about his 32 year marriage and he says the secret is knowing the difference between rubber ball moments and crystal ball moments. Rubber ball moments are ones you can bounce back from, but if you mess up a crystal ball moment, like missing a high school graduation, that is a once in a lifetime moment that can’t be replaced.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to drive corporate culture
  • What the early days of IBM looked like
  • How you know when things are going well as an entrepreneur
  • Maynard’s view of the world of work today
  • How to get people excited about work
  • Maynard’s advice to anyone who wants to quit their job


This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!
Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.
Direct download: Maynard20Webb20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:49am PDT

Technology is cool and it helps us in daily life. But one thing that is cause for concern is that we tend to over rely on technology. We have this scenario in our heads that in the future we will all have robots that will do things for us at home and at work and that software will do the jobs we don’t like to do. We think of all the advancements that are happening in the technology space and what is yet to come and we get this grandiose vision in our minds.

The fact is technology has a lot of issues including the possibility of being hacked and the challenge of glitches and errors that are bound to happen. I fear that we are over relying on technology thinking that in the future we won’t have to do anything for ourselves. The question is, will our over reliance on technology come back to bite us in the future?

If we rely solely on technology for things like automating farming or operating autonomous cars, what happens when the technology breaks down or it gets hacked? If we put too much reliance on technology alone I worry that it will make us less human or distort our reality. We don’t take things at face value anymore, we are moving away from making judgements and decisions on our own by using our senses and thoughts. Instead we are looking at the world through the eyes of data and algorithms and basing our decisions on what technology tells us.

If we continue this way, will the humanity aspect disappear altogether?

Direct download: What_Happens_When_We_Rely_Too_Much_On_Technology.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:11pm PDT

Seth Godin is a bestselling writer, with 18 books and another one coming out on November 13, 2018. His books address various aspects of marketing, advertising, business venturing and leadership. He is also a successful entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker, who became well-known for public speaking when he uploaded his e-book ‘Unleashing the Ideavirus’ and made it available for free.

He obtained his MBA degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business and worked as a software brand manager before he started ‘Yoyodyne’, one of the first Internet-based direct-marketing firms. The publicity of his firm compelled big companies like Volvo, Microsoft, Sony Music, etc. to associate with it and in a few years ‘Yahoo!’ bought the company, keeping  Godin on as a vice president of permission marketing. Since Seth was last here his altMBA program has graduated over 1000 people. He has also written a new book, This is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See, which will be available on November 13.

Whether you realize it or not, you are always marketing yourself. You will be judged by everyone who interacts with you. Based on your appearance, your attitude, how you tackle a project, etc... This is why it is so important to market yourself intentionally.

Historically, people worked at the same location for 40 years and you could get to know people slowly over the years. Now, people are on various social media platforms, they are working virtually with people around the world. This requires people to constantly be aware of how they are perceived.

Seth says it is the wrong approach for organizations to tell their employees to be authentic and transparent, because essentially it is a lie. He says, “We make choices all the time of things we can and cannot do. I don’t even know what authentic means. I know what consistent means – you made a promise of how you will behave.  But you really can’t do whatever you want.” For example, you can’t just show up to work wearing footie pjs and take a nap from 11am-1:00pm, even if that is authentically you.

What is a better approach rather than saying ‘be authentic’? Seth says it is about making promises and keeping them. Remove the ‘marketing language’ of be authentic because it doesn’t work. “It’s not a family, it’s work.” Be clear– words matter because they remind us of other things.  One example, people have different interpretations of the term ‘family’ so it might not be best to use the word family to describe the workplace environment.

How do you start how to market yourself? First you need to answer the question, what promise are you willing to keep? Make a promise to a partner or boss that you are eager to keep and consistently live up to it. This guarantees you a successful career - or relationship.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What Seth has been up to in the year since he was last on the show
  • Why he has 233 Grateful Dead albums
  • Why telling employees to be authentic is not the right approach for organizations
  • How we market ourselves
  • Seth’s experience working with science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov


This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!
Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.
Direct download: Seth_Godin_Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:53am PDT

There is a story of a man who walks into a construction site and as he walks into the site he passes by a worker and asks, “What are you doing?” and the worker says, “I’m laying bricks”. The man continues on his way and runs into a second worker and again asks, “What are you doing?” and this time the worker says, “I’m building a wall”.

The man continues on once again and runs into one final worker and again asks the question, “What are you doing?”, but this time the worker answers, “I’m building a cathedral”.

All three workers were doing the same job, the difference was the way they thought about their work. The moral of the story is that you have the ability to affect the way you think about your job and work in general. It doesn’t matter if you are a cashier, a teacher or a CEO, it’s all about what you tell yourself and the attitude you choose to have.

So, are you laying bricks or are you creating a cathedral?

Direct download: how_your_mindset_can_impact_your_work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:57am PDT

Andy Lee founded Alorica Inc. in 1999 and serves as its Chairman and CEO. Guided by his desire to improve customer experiences and his entrepreneurial talents, he has become one of the leaders in the service and support outsourcing industry. He conceptualized and developed one of the original cloud-based Software-as-a-Service customer contact management applications that integrated contact center operations, returns management, and e-commerce. Andy has also served as an executive at Advanced Membrane Technology, CTX Data Services, and Gateway. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Finance from the University of Southern California.

Alorica is a “BPO - ‘Business Process Outsourcing’ company or ‘a customer experience provider’. Alorica specializes in attracting, developing and performance managing people.” Regardless of the work, they can put more effort into these areas on a large scale. With over 100,000 employees, you may find yourself talking with one of them often. For example, if you call a wireless provider to discuss the bill or if you call an online company, then you might be talking with them. Calling a healthcare plan, you are probably speaking with someone from Alorica.

Companies do not provide this service themselves because as they evolve they find that they want to focus on what they do best – so they employ Alorica to handle their companies’ clients through multiple modes – staffing, technology and a general provider of skilled labor to solve problems.  Alorica has “chosen to be great at the science and the practice of attracting, developing and performance managing people.

What are the skills set needed for the future?

  • You need to be able to study work flows to be able to apply logic, process and engineering
  • The part of the workforce that are currently on the phones, in the future will need to be able to answer more complex questions. This will require people to listen carefully and understand the context to the situation and apply logic to the context. They will have to use critical thinking.

How does Alorica teach?

  • Micro learning – 5 – 10 minute bursts of learning
  • People retain 20% more information and they eliminate retraining by 80% by using these short burst videos with higher retention and less retraining
  • Role playing  - the ability to talk through scenarios in group settings
  • Alorica Academy teaches leadership skills
  • Alorica language institute teaches people English and cultural context

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How organizations can use Alorica
  • The impact AI and Automation will have on businesses like Alorica
  • Why Andy feels the AI hype is not based in reality
  • Andy's perspective on Glassdoor ratings, along with internal surveys
  • How Alorica is investing in microlearning
  • What skillsets are needed for the future


Andy Lee on LinkedIn



This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!
Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.
Direct download: Andy20Lee20Podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:57am PDT

We have all heard it before, the advice that many people have given when asked for career advice or when talking to college students entering the workforce--”Follow your passion”. But there are some challenges with that statement.

First of all, telling people to follow their passion assumes that the passion is something that lives outside of them and they have to chase it. The second issue is that we assume it is a static thing, that there is one passion it is in a certain location and that’s where you have to go. The truth is our passions change-- as we get older, as we go through experiences in life and as we expand our horizons.

Thirdly, the problem is that often we are not able to identify a passion before we choose to pursue something. It happens all the time, someone tries something new and that sparks a new passion. So to think that we have to simply follow a passion would take away the possibility of finding a new passion in something we didn’t think of before.

The real question is: how can we bring our passion with us to everything that we do. It is better to bring that passion with you instead of trying to chase it.

This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!

Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.


Direct download: why_following_your_passion_is_terrible_career_advice.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Mike Fenlon is the Chief People Officer at PwC US, a global network of firms with 208,000 people across 158 countries. PwC firms provided services to 429 of the Global Fortune 500 companies and more than 100,000 entrepreneurial and private businesses 

Mike has responsibility for employer branding and social media, talent acquisition, analytics and talent management.  He has held a variety of senior leadership roles in human capital since joining PwC, including strategy, operations and lead generalist roles. Mike is a psychologist with expertise in strategic and organizational change, talent management and leadership development. 

PwC is focusing on an inclusive agenda to assist people to become ‘digitally fit’. To that end, they have created an app. The app allows people to take an assessment that gives them personalized feedback on their digital fitness across a number of domains. Based on their assessment they will be provided with a connection to learning assets and an individualized training plan. The plan could include articles to read or other resources that are available.

There is really no option to opt out of this drive for digital fitness because every domain of life and business is being transformed. Therefore, it is critical for everyone to be involved in some manner.

They are also working in areas to ‘digitally up-skill’ people. One way they are working on this is through their Accelerator Program. This has an inclusive agenda to ensure that all people are involved.

Specifically, the Accelerator Program involves a focus on design thinking, digital storytelling, and leadership skills. It also includes a deep dive on data – how to structure data, clean data, do analytics using tools and how to drive automation. Currently there are about 1,000 people in this first cohort.

Mike’s advice for companies to digitally up-skill employees:

  • This is an agenda for everyone – not just for some people. It needs to be an inclusive agenda for all people, regardless of age, industry, level of employment, etc..
  • It needs to be a personal agenda. Create a personalized experience
  • Make it fun and socializing. This accelerates learning and is beneficial for culture
  • We all have an obligation to not leave anyone behind in the community as a whole

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What is the PwC Digital Accelerator Program
  • How PwC is ensuring no employees get left behind
  • Why the message to become digitally fit is not based on age, level of employment, education, etc.
  • Mike’s view of leadership
  • Why Mike is not worried about automation taking over jobs


Mike Fenlon on LinkedIn

Twitter: @michaelfenlonNY


This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!
Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.
Direct download: Mike20Fenlon20podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:54pm PDT

In a world where things are ever changing at a fast pace, it is no longer good enough to work “heads down”. We have to keep our heads up and be constantly aware of our surroundings.

Have you ever had anyone tell you “I’m so busy at work, I’ve just been heads down”? It is so common to hear that in conversations in the workplace. I’ve heard it many times. The problem with being heads down is that the world is changing so quickly these days, it’s just not good enough to work heads down if you want your organization to thrive.

Being heads down you miss so much that is happening in the world around you. We have to be heads up, heads side to side and heads back to keep up in today’s workplace. Nobody is going to look out for you, except you. And there’s no way to do that if your head is buried in the ground like an ostrich.

Keep your head up, pay attention and be aware of all of your surroundings!

This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!

Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.


Direct download: why_you_should_never_be_heads_down.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Bill Priemer is the CEO of Hyland Software. Bill joined Hyland in 1997 as Vice President of Marketing. He became Vice President of Sales & Marketing in 2001, Chief Operating Officer in 2005, and CEO in January 2013. Prior to joining Hyland, Bill worked at FedEx Corporation and at AST Research, a personal computer manufacturer.

Hyland Software is the developer of the enterprise content management (ECM) (or content services platform) and process management software suite called OnBase, where they digitize an organization’s information.  Applications of the suite are used in healthcare, financial institutions, insurance, government, higher education and manufacturing. With 3300 employees, the organization houses about 2000 of them in the headquarters located in Westlake, Ohio. They have other offices located across the U.S. and around the world in Brazil, England, Japan, Australia, and Germany.

Hyland’s location in the central U.S has led them to develop their own workforce through relationships with various universities around the state of Ohio. They encourage internships with students in their IT departments. Hyland also runs technology camps with area high schools to encourage young students to develop an interest in software development and consider a career in technology. They will hire about 300 people this calendar year.

Hyland is noted to be a great place to work. Bill states that this is intentional. They have focused to train their young employees, so they want to keep the people. “Retention of workforce is really important to us,” Bill says.

How do they get the students to be interested in Hyland rather than working someone where else in the area or moving to bigger tech hubs like the Bay Area or NYC?

They really focus on their company culture. They mix major perks with a culture of care and support where people feel like they matter.

They have an open floor plan, casual dress, slides from the 2nd to the 1st floor, a place to get haircut, music lessons on site, a volleyball court, and wellness classes - perks that make work more comfortable and relieve stress, that help people work on personal health. Bill believes that perks are not everything, but they are an important part of showing your people that you care about their wellbeing.

Bill says, “I think an aspect of our culture that I think people really appreciate, we’re a very supportive, caring culture. It sounds soft and squishy, but we’ve got real friendships that form among our people. They really feel part of a community.” The fun activities foster this community feeling, but also team-based projects that are there for people to work on together.

A major goal at Hyland is to have a respectful environment where people feel that they are part of what is happening. People have got to be constantly learning and growing. Overall, Hyland is growing at a nice pace that allows for growth opportunities for internal employees.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Innovative programs Hyland has to attract – and keep - the best talent
  • Bill’s thoughts on future of automation
  • The most valuable business lesson Bill has learned
  • How Hyland is using employee data and what data they are collecting
  • How Hyland competes with organizations in their immediate area and big tech companies in the Bay Area and NYC


Twitter: @BillPriemer


This episode of The Future of Work Podcast was made possible by our friends at ServiceNow. Please show your support by checking out the great work they are doing!
Give employees the service experience they deserve because everyone deserves great experiences at work. Eliminate frustration and improve employee satisfaction with a single access point for efficient, personalized HR services. ServiceNow helps you put service at the heart of your business. Start today.


Direct download: Bill20Priemer20Podcast_V2.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

The length of time it takes to create or update a new law far exceeds the time it takes to update software or code. Are we going to get to a point where code or software surpasses laws in the real world?

How long does it usually take us to update or create a new law? Typically it takes many months or even years to do so. Now think about how long it takes to update software or code. That happens instantly. Yes, it can take days, weeks or even months to create or test new software and code, but the process of updating is instantaneous. 

There is a concept out there that says code is becoming the future law. One book that explores this concept is a book written by Marc Goodman called Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World. When sites such as Google, Facebook or Netflix update their terms of service it essentially becomes the new law. 

There are a lot of things that go along with code as the new law. It changes the way we interact with various platforms, it changes the way we think about privacy and security and it changes the way data is stored and shared.

Are we going to get to a point where code or software truly surpasses the rules, laws and regulations in the real world that we are so used to? It’s something to think about.

Direct download: how_long_before_code_becomes_law.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:35am PDT

Michael Fraccaro is the Chief Human Resources Officer of MasterCard. In this role, he is responsible for all human resources functions globally, including driving cultural transformation, building leadership capability and creating a company that is “most valued to work for.” MasterCard is about 50 years old with 14,000 employees in 74 countries.

From 2012 until assuming his current role, Michael served as Executive Vice President of HR, Global Products and Solutions. In this role, he supported the company’s growth in key businesses and markets and optimized talent programs in a competitive environment. He also was responsible for leading the global HR integration of new acquisitions and joint ventures. 

Prior to joining MasterCard, Michael was a core member of the HR leadership team at HSBC Group for nearly 12 years, based in Hong Kong. Earlier, he held senior HR positions in banking and financial services in Australia and the Middle East, working extensively across different cultures. 

Michael defines the role of CHRO as one that centers on thinking about the business strategy. He sees his role as one that works to ensure they have the right people in the right roles, strong leadership in place, and the right culture set up in order to make the business as successful as possible.

Within MasterCard in general, it is growing up the core business, diversifying in new markets and new customers segments and building new businesses.  In Michael’s words: “grow, diversify and build”. These are powered by 4 key elements:

  1. Technology
  2.  Brand
  3.  Data
  4.  People

When hiring MasterCard focuses on several key elements. First of all, can the person do the job? And then, how do people relate to each other? They look at IQ (Intelligence Quotient), EQ (Emotional Quotient), and also DQ (Decency Quotient). Michael says “you want people that are good enough to leave, but happy enough to stay”

One goal of MasterCard is that they want people to feel that it is a decent place. As Michael says, they are “doing well by doing good”. They have several initiatives in place that allow employees to have an impact on their surrounding community.

One example of this is MasterCard’s policy that gives every employee five days of volunteer leave. They also have a lab in Kenya with the Gates Foundation to develop tools and technologies to help micro-entrepreneurs or farmers there with a payment platform so they can eliminate cash, which has the tendency to be lost, stolen, or used for bribery, etc...

Michael is paying attention to a few trends including:

  1. Operating models – how organizations are designed and how they are moving towards more agile models
  2. Geopolitical and social issues – issues like nationalism, where governments are saying they need to process transactions on their soil, etc. They are also thinking about immigration and how that plays a role in their business

How does Michael stay on top of trends?

  1. Reading various journals and magazines
  2. Being part of networking associations
  3. Working internally with a corporate strategy team

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What it is like to work at MasterCard
  • How MasterCard is impacting communities around the world
  • Employee programs that are offered – for example, ‘Investing in You’ – a matching program for retirement
  • How MasterCard competes with the giants in Silicon Valley
  • How MasterCard handles mentorship programs
  • Trends Michael is paying attention to and how he keeps up with them in a fast paced environment


Michael Fraccaro on LinkedIn

Direct download: Michael20Fraccaro20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:34am PDT

Conversations around the future of work usually include questions like, “What is the future of work going to look like?” or “What is the future of work going to bring?”. But this is a very passive view of the future of work. It’s almost as if we are waiting for something to happen to us, as if we are bracing ourselves for a punch to the gut.

We need to take a more active role in the future of work. We have to be responsible for designing, creating and building the future of work.

Instead, we should be asking questions like, “What is the future of work that we want to build and shape?”. We should think of it as a verb, not a noun. It is so much more valuable to have conversations around how we can shape the future of work instead of assuming the future of work is going to happen to us.

So the question is not, “what is the future of work going to look like?”, it is “How are we going to build the future of work we want to see?”

Direct download: how_are_we_going_to_build_the_future_of_work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:29am PDT

Jonathan Neman is Co-Founder & CEO of Sweetgreen, an American fast and casual restaurant that focuses on simple, seasonal, healthy food that uses locally sourced ingredients. Jonathan and his co-founders, Nathaniel Ru and Nicolas Jammet, started sweetgreen in 2007, opening their first location in Georgetown, DC – just three months out of college. The brand’s strong food ethos, embrace of passion and purpose, and investment in local communities has enabled Sweetgreen to grow into a national brand with more than 90 locations and over 4,000 employees across the East Coast, Midwest and California.

Sweetgreen has a very strong company culture that focuses on passion and purpose. Jonathan, Nathaniel, and Nicolas have done an amazing job, not just fostering a meaningful employee experience for their people, but also in creating a great experience for their customers that goes above and beyond. They are on a mission – not just a job. There is a greater purpose – both as a company and community perspective.

The Treehouse is the support center at Sweetgreen – they support the restaurants. About 150 people work at the Treehouse – they work on the brand, marketing, HR and so on. Some of the 150 people at the Treehouse are in the field, overseeing regions. They have a strong regional workforce. The ‘head coach’ is the general manager of the restaurant. The head coach runs everything within the restaurant, creates the culture, motivates the team, etc.

Jonathan has been recognized as a key innovator in food and business, named to Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” Inc’s “30 Under 30,” Forbes’ “30 Under 30” and Food & Wine’s “40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under.” In 2016, Sweetgreen was named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies.”

Jonathan defines Sweetgreen’s culture as: happy, humble, hardworking, curious and coachable

At Sweetgreen they view the work as a team sport. It is not a company in which one person can do it alone. The work is cross functional. They look for people that will share the credit and have a positive intent.  Employees need to be able to ask for help. Humility leads to wanting to hire people that are better than you.

People start to come to Sweetgreen for the brand and food, but what keeps them coming back is the connection to the team that works there and the “Sweet Touch” that is one of Sweetgreen’s core values. It all goes back to the company’s desire to not just bring food to people, but to do it in a way that makes an impact on their customers and their community.

Jonathan’s advice for companies:

  • Connect to your mission
  • Don’t just put values up on the wall. Make them real action items that everyone is responsible for
  • Allow your team to co-build the culture together
  • Understand that your culture will evolve over time– this is good and expected

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How and why Sweetgreen got started
  • How Sweetgreen is impacting the surrounding community
  • Why Sweetgreen hires ‘sincere, not serious’ people
  • What is a ‘sweet touch’ at Sweetgreen
  • Jonathan’s unique morning routine
  • How Sweetgreen fosters a culture of goal setting and continuous learning


Direct download: Jonathan20Neman20Podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:11am PDT

Humans are creatures of habit; we are not fond of change. But is it the actual change that we find difficult or is it the process of change?

I recently heard a quote that makes so much sense, it is “Everybody loves Disneyland, but nobody likes the journey down there”. That is so true! It isn’t so much the actual outcome of the change that challenges us, it is the long drawn out process of change. Individuals and organizations can get excited about the end result of change, they can learn to embrace it. The hardest part is the journey to the change; that’s what causes the anxiety, fear and frustration.

The journey to change is filled with bureaucracy, arguments, tension and a lot of back and forth. If we can understand this and accept that the journey will be the challenge to get to that final outcome, we can find ways to make that journey easier.

Direct download: Dealing_With_Change_Management_Inside_Of_Organizations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:53am PDT

Beth Comstock, is the former CMO and Vice Chair at GE and the author of a new book, Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and The Power of Change. The book pulls from Beth’s experiences and observations from her 20+ years at organizations like NBC and GE and it is about summoning courage and creativity in the face of change.  

For nearly three decades at GE, she led efforts to accelerate new growth and innovation, initiated GE's digital and clean-energy transformation, started new businesses and enhanced GE’s brand value and inventive culture. As President of Integrated Media at NBCUniversal, Beth oversaw TV ad revenue and new digital efforts, including the early development of She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in biology.

Found in her book are 5 principles/criteria that people should embrace to grow and succeed. They are:

  1. Give yourself permission – there is always a reason you can’t move forward--the boss says no, the company doesn’t have the budget, etc... But sometimes you need to give yourself permission to move forward
  2. Discovery – We have to use the world as a classroom for discovery. Get out in the world and look for patterns and make connections. It is important to break up your patterns; take a different route to work, for example.
  3. Agitated Inquiry – This is how you understand what you see, figure out the right way to do it, and get input into an idea to know if you want to move forward
  4. Story craft – “Story is everything.” If you are a leader you need to start with the story. People don’t want to follow numbers; they want to follow a story, a passion.
  5. Creating new operating systems – imagine the future, next to get the culture together to test ideas as you go

Beth has also had to learn how to handle being told ‘no’. She talks about a time when she was working at NBC where she pitched an idea to the president and was told ‘no’. Most people would have given up after the first ‘no’, but Beth believes that, “no is not yet”.

She did not give up on that idea she pitched. She went back to the drawing board, tweaked it and kept re-pitching it to the president. Even though he said ‘no’ a few more times, she never gave up. She didn’t take no as a final answer, no just meant that it was not quite there yet. She finally got a yes and that idea turned into the NBC Experience Store.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Why Beth wrote the book, Imagine it Forward
  • The hardest business decision Beth has had to make and how she worked through it
  • 5 areas people should embrace to grow and succeed
  • How to handle being told ‘no’
  • What it was like working with Jack Welch
  • How to become a change maker in your organization


Beth Comstock on LinkedIn  

Beth Comstock on Twitter

Direct download: Beth20Comstock20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30pm PDT

Charles Phillips is the CEO of Infor, the largest privately held technology provider in the world. During Charles’ time at Infor the company has more than doubled in size and became the first major software company to offer an integrated, end-to-end application suite for entire industries.

Prior to Infor, Charles was President of Oracle Corporation and a member of its Board of Directors. During his seven and a half year-tenure, the company tripled in size and successfully acquired 70 companies. Prior to Oracle, Charles was a Managing Director in the Technology Group at Morgan Stanley. Before his business career, Charles was a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Infor is a global company with 18,000 employees around the world. It provides enterprise software products for every aspect of business in 180 countries. They build complete industry suites in the cloud and deploy technology that puts the user experience first, leverages data science, and integrates with existing systems.

One of Infor’s products is Talent Science. This uses data to assess people with a 25 minute test to see what people value and what they are like. You end up with a profile to see best fit with positions. It can identify people that can work together, chemistry matches, etc. Their current data shows that 40% of new hires don’t work out. So they are trying to improve that percentage with data. If applying, candidates will take this assessment. The system will also put out questions for the hiring manager to ask, so it guides the interview process.

In addition, Infor has developed partnerships with universities (such as CUNY) to teach business applications, building their own pipeline of employees. This was important in their move to NYC, but they are also doing this in India and Manila, as well. The emphasis is on technical skills, but they partner with some nonprofits that require leadership skills, so they have included those too.  They also have a mentor program that includes people inside of Infor as well as some others outside of the company.

Charles’ advice for employees looking to move up is to be intellectually curious. Learn more than what you need for your job. Look around you and see what the people around are you doing. And be the “guy in the huddle who gets the ball”. Be the reliable one so your leader will hand things to you.

How does Infor foster the culture to encourage an open environment?

  • They created small teams to help employees feel connected
  • They give out MVP awards to employees who have done something special
  • All-in-all they have done small things that add up

How do you create a common culture across the world?

  • Instant messaging
  • Travel to various offices, spend time together
  • Give meaningful work
  • Do things at the right time of day so all can participate
  • Online is important but still need to ‘show up’ in person

What does Charles see coming in the Future of work?

  • AI assistance that will free up mundane work
  • Some work spaces with living spaces combined (work/live space)
  • He would like to see job vouchers, similar to school vouchers, where you could go to an employer and say “I’m paid for for the first year. Can you train me?”

What you will learn from this episode:

  • What is the role of a CEO
  • Changes Infor has gone through under Charles’ leadership
  • Charles’ perception of Silicon Valley
  • How to create the workforce of the future
  • Trends Charles is paying attention to
  • How Infor is solving job mismatch
  • What is Talent Science?


Charles Phillips On LinkedIn

Direct download: Charles20Phillips_podcast20done.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:08pm PDT

How would it feel if you were on a 30 year train ride on a train that is traveling at such high speeds you aren’t able see anything outside the windows. You would only be able to focus on what is immediately around you in the train; the food you are eating, the other people on the train and the physical space that’s around you. That would be your full reality for 30 years. You probably wouldn’t recognize the world around you when you stepped off the train 30 years later.

This is the situation a lot of organizations are in right now. They focus solely on their own organization; they keep their heads down and always look inward. These organizations aren’t taking the time to get off the train and look around at what is happening around them. They don’t try to figure out how their products and services fit into the world around them.

When we as organizations fail to stop the train and get off, by the time we get to our destination, we will be irrelevant. We all need to learn that even though we are on our own respective journey, we have to get out and look at the world around us.

Direct download: How_to_Keep_Your_Company_From_Becoming_Irrelevant.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 5:02am PDT

Chip Conley is a NY Times bestselling author, founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, and the Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership at Airbnb. His newest book, "Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder," was inspired by his post-50-year-old experiences as both a mentor and unexpected intern at Airbnb.

At age 26, he bought an inner city hotel, renamed it The Phoenix and it is now a popular place to stay for musicians, celebrities, etc. in the Bay area. After that he became the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality (JDV) which has become the 2nd largest boutique hotel brand in America, with 3500 employees.

Chip sold JDV in 2010. He accepted an invitation in 2013 from the founders of Airbnb to help transform their start-up into what is today the world’s largest hospitality brand. In January 2018, he founded Modern Elder Academy (MEA), the world's first "midlife wisdom school," where attendees learn how to repurpose a lifetime of experience for the modern workplace.  

Chip has made observations of 5 criteria that a modern elder may display. They are:

  1. Stewardship
  2. Emotional intelligence
  3. Holistic thinking
  4. Unvarnished insight
  5. Good judgment

How does one start to become a modern elder?

  1. Evolving - if you are attached to your current identity you may need to evolve it, fix your ego, perhaps. Have a growth mindset, be curious, and try to improve yourself.  Chip says, “Curiosity is the elixir for life”
  2. Learning – don’t be afraid to ask questions and be ‘catalytically curious’
  3. Collaborate – with age you develop pattern recognition. Wisdom is seeing patterns. Being intuitive about people makes you a great team member, helping people to see that diverse teams are more successful – this includes diverse in ages

Chip’s advice for younger workers is to look around them to find people they see as a role model. Look at the people who you most admire and ask them out for coffee.

His advice for older workers is to take a hard look at your current position. Is the habitat suitable for someone like you? If you feel you are irrelevant then move. If it feels good, look at how you can share your wisdom.

He also tells older workers to intern publically and be curious. When you have advice, ask if the person would like some advice and come from a place of humility. It is important that the person you are trying to mentor has a growth mindset.

Chip suggests that organizations start by reading the book, as the book has 10 specific steps for companies. Organizations should look at how they can adapt their aging workforce and they should look at best practices from other organizations in order to create multigenerational groups.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • 4 steps to being relevant in mid-life
  • How organizations can be stronger by embracing a diverse range of ages
  • How to find a mentor
  • Why it is good to be ‘catalytically curious’
  • Why midlife is now 35 – 75 years old
  • A look at a typical day in the life of Chip
  • How to get rid of your ego

Link From The Show:

Direct download: Chip20Conley20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Millennials -- posted at: 11:01am PDT

AI and automation is at the center of a lot of conversations these days. Most of the time these discussions are focused around efficiency and the ability of AI and automation to get a task done. An autonomous vehicle, for example, can pick you up from point A and drop you off at point B.

But, I’ve noticed that there really isn’t any discussions focused around the human aspect and how we feel about the process of the task completion. The world’s number one chess player, Magnus Carlsen, recently commented on AI and automation in the chess world. He said he doesn’t ever play against a computer, not because the computer always wins (which he admits, it always does), but because he feels like he is playing against someone stupid who does not understand the game.

Going back to the autonomous car example, yes it can get you from point A to point B, but can it open the door for you, can it provide casual conversation along the way, and can it provide commentary on the area you are passing through?

It’s not just about getting a task done, it’s about how we feel during the process of completion. In using only AI and automation we lose out on human interaction, we should be careful not to lose sight of the human component.

Direct download: why_we_still_need_humanity_in_the_future_of_work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:53am PDT

Nigel Travis is the current Executive Chairman of the Board for Dunkin’ Brands. Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Dunkin’ Brands and added responsibility as Chairman of the Board in May 2013. Dunkin’ Brands Group controls nearly 19,000 Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins “points of sale” in more than 60 countries, from Argentina to Japan.

Previously, Nigel served as President & CEO of Papa John’s, the pizza chain with annual system-wide sales of $2.1 billion and more than 3,300 restaurants throughout the U.S. and 29 international markets. During his four-year tenure with the company, Papa John’s online sales tripled through the innovative use of technology.

Prior to Papa John’s, Nigel served as the President and COO at Blockbuster, Inc. During that time, global sales increased over 50 percent and the international business was developed to encompass 26 countries with revenues of $1.8 billion. Nigel also built a worldwide franchise network of 300 franchisees in 15 countries with revenues of approximately $1 billion, and transitioned the company from a video rental store chain to a complete movie and game source. Nigel has also worked for Burger King, Exxon, Kraft Foods, Rolls Royce and Parker Hannifin.

Nigel’s new book will be coming out on September 18th and it is titled, “The Challenge Culture: Why the Most Successful Organizations Run on Pushback”

Why a pushback culture?

Nigel says, “Pushback gives you more views, often different perspectives, builds greater engagement and probably alignment within the organization.”

This culture gets the best from incorporating peoples’ thoughts. You get the best solutions. This is the way to get people to truly by-in to a project.

Why is it hard to get pushback culture going?

  1. The approach is anti-hierarchical. People spend time to get to senior positions and once they get there they have a feeling of, ‘I am in charge’. They are often reluctant to give up power and control
  2. People are too lazy - it’s easier give orders than cultivate this pushback culture

How do you create a challenge culture?

  1. Start modeling it yourself
  2. It is not something to plug in, it takes time and patience
  3. Go in and ask questions - in positive way
  4. Drop in to discuss the book, idea, etc.
  5. Don’t go too fast; do not be too overt about it (unless you are the CEO)

Nigel’s advice for employees:

  1. Be civil and don’t attack
  2. Use open-ended questions

- Can we do it better?

- Ask - would you be interested in hearing what I am thinking?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What is pushback and why is it important?
  • Nigel’s experience at Kraft Foods, Rolls-Royce, Parker Hannifin, Papa John’s, Dunkin’ Brands and Blockbuster
  • A look at Blockbuster’s demise and how they could have avoided it
  • Nigel’s biggest triumph and misstep
  • How company cultures in Europe differ from the United States


Nigel Travis on LinkedIn

Direct download: Nigel20Travis20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:43am PDT

There are some organizations that are great. Their employees love coming to work, they have satisfied customers and they make a great impact on their communities. There are also organizations that are not so great. But what makes some organizations great and others not so great?

The answer is, great companies have a reason for being and others do not. A reason for being is a non-conventional mission statement that is comprised of four main things. The first thing is they have something that is unattainable. Something that makes their people reach for the stars and aim high and it gives them something to constantly work towards.

The second component is something that doesn’t talk about money or financial gain. When a company only focuses on financial gain it doesn’t give employees anything to get behind and it doesn’t give them a strong sense of purpose.

The third component is to have something that talks about the impact your organization can bring to the community or the world. What is something your company could do, that fits in with your corporate culture that could better the community outside the walls of your company? An inspirational message is something that people can get behind and get excited about.

The fourth attribute of a reason for being is something that rallies employees and something that gets them excited. Something that makes them want to come into work and give all they have.

Does your organization have a reason for being? If not, it’s time to create one.

Direct download: does_your_company_have_a_reason_for_being.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:12pm PDT


Dean Seavers is the President of National Grid, US. Prior to leading the US portion of National Grid, Dean worked in leadership at companies such as Ford, GE, United Technologies and Tyco.

National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world - covering the UK and the Northeastern part of the US. They have 16,000 employees – about 10,000 that are customer facing and the other 6,000 or so that are in management roles spread out across three states. National Grid serves 20 million customers.

What are the workforce trends Dean is paying attention to?

The first trend is technology-- we all need to be tech savvy. We can use technology to drive better efficiency and productivity through things like data analytics and automation. Dean says, “The reality is, I think, when you spend 80% of your time doing routine things, you don’t have the time to always focus on the things that truly add value for customers and employees”.  

Dean is also paying attention to clean energy sources. National Grid is a big proponent of driving change in the way we consume energy. They are looking to solar, hydro and wind power to improve our impact on the environment.

Another trend Dean is paying attention to is self-driving vehicles and electric vehicles. He believes transportation needs to be cleaned up and there are a lot of great advances coming that can help do that.

Dean’s advice for leaders is to listen and understand employee base. It really is important to understand the pulse of the organization. You have to be transparent and drive alignment to values and lean into the challenges and make tough choices.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How energy is evolving
  • What it’s like to work at National Grid
  • Workforce trends Dean is paying attention to
  • How National Grid is using automation, bots, and people analytics to stay ahead
  • Why Dean is now a believer in self-driving vehicles
  • How the way we consume energy will change in the next 5-10 years
  • How Dean is future proofing National Grid as the energy industry rapidly changes


Dean Seavers of National Grid  

Direct download: Dean20Seavers20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Dr. Tasha Eurich is an organizational psychologist, researcher, and New York Times best-selling author. Over her 15-plus-year career, she’s helped thousands of leaders around the world become more self-aware and successful.

With a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Dr. Eurich is the principal of The Eurich Group, a boutique executive development firm that helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders and teams. Having worked with clients like T-Mobile, KPMG, Walmart, Vail Resorts, and HCA Healthcare, her primary areas of expertise are executive coaching, leadership development programs, and executive team development.

Dr. Eurich’s first book, Bankable Leadership, debuted on the New York Times bestseller list in 2013. Her latest book, Insight, delves into the connection between self-awareness and success, where she shares the surprising findings from her multi-year research program on the topic

What is self awareness?

“It is seeing ourselves clearly.”  Specifically-

  • understanding who we are,
  • how others see us and
  • how we fit into the world around us.

One of the biggest myths of self awareness is that we are self aware. They found that 95% of people feel that they are self award but in reality only 10-15% of people actually are self aware.

2 core sets of knowledge of self awareness

  1. Internal self aware: I know who I am, what I want, what I value
  • Requires a commitment to look inside of ourselves that is not always comfortable or easy
  • Tend to make choices that make them happy
  1. External self awareness:  knowing how other people see us
  • What if I ask others and no one sees me as I do.
  • Sometimes I ask others’ opinions without thinking about what I really want.
  • May need to work on it if someone gave you experience that blindsided you. For example, spouse leaves, getting fired from job
  • How often do you ask for feedback? How did I do on the presentation?

Why is self awareness important?

If we, as leaders, improve self awareness:

  • it makes us better performers and
  • more promotable.
  • will have more engaged employees
  • stronger marriages  
  • better communicator
  • avoid unethical behavior
  • less likely to lie cheat and steal.
  • lead more profitable companies


What can an employee do in a company?

  • Give an HR rep a call to find what assessments are available, for example 360 evaluations.
  • Starting with a boss, ask for critical feedback.
  • The most successful leaders ask for critical feedback often.
  • Formalize this with your boss to keep the feedback ongoing.
  • Meet regularly

Alarm clock events

  • Earth quake events – turns around a serious event
  • New roles and new rules
  • Starting a new job – ripe moments for self awareness
  • Everyday insight – comment from someone that gives a new perspective.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What is self-awareness
  • Myths about self-awareness
  • How many people are actually self-aware
  • Examples of self-aware CEOs
  • What are Self awareness unicorns
  • All about the Impact Yourself  Daily App


Direct download: Tasha20Eurich20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:01pm PDT

Is there an optimal number of times to check in with employees or gather data on employee engagement? There is an important element of employee engagement that most organizations are missing out on.

All organizations want their employees to be engaged at work. Engaged employees are focused, productive and hardworking. But most organizations get caught up in one question. They ask, “how often should I measure employee engagement or employee satisfaction?”. Should we be measuring these things once a year, once a quarter, once a month?

There is something vitally important that these organizations are missing out on by only focusing on the question of the optimal number. There is so much more to employee engagement than numbers or data. Organizations need to take a step back and realize it is not so much about how often we collect the data, but what we do with it.

The truth is, there is no optimal number. Take the example of a personal relationship, such as a married or dating couple. Can you imagine going to your significant other and asking them, “how often should I be checking in with you or asking for feedback--once a week, once a month...?”. We don’t do that. When something bothers us we don’t wait for the other person to ask us to provide feedback, we speak up, we start a conversation about the issue and we try to resolve it. And likewise our significant other can usually sense when things are going good or things are not going so well. The same should apply in our organizations.

As in personal relationships, we should be having ongoing conversations in our organizations. We shouldn’t just be checking in once a year or once a month, it should be an open, ongoing conversation that never ends. Also, it shouldn’t just the be leaders of an organization starting the conversation. Employees should feel comfortable starting a dialogue or providing feedback when something is frustrating, when the process isn’t working, or when they need a different tool to get their work done.

Direct download: how_often_should_you_measure_employee_experience.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Mary Bilbrey is the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) for Americas at JLL, the leading integrated global real estate services and investment management firm. Mary joined JLL in February of 2016. She came to JLL from HSBC, the multinational banking and financial services company, where she was the Head of Human Resources for HSBC USA.

JLL is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. Their vision is to reimagine the world of real estate, creating rewarding opportunities and amazing spaces where people can achieve their ambitions. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with nearly 300 corporate offices, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of 83,500

Is there truth to generational stereotypes?

Some of it seems to be that with every ‘new’ generation we talk about various traits that they seem to display - but in reality it is simply because they are young. It has been true of every generation – they are more idealistic, more ‘me’ focused.  But much of that can be attributed to their youth. It is a ‘life stage’ versus a generational stereotype.

2 things that Mary expects will be driving employers with Gen Z employees:

  1. Gen Z did not experience the digital revolution. They were born into an environment where it was part of their life from the beginning. That is going to have an impact.
  2. They are beginning to enter the workforce in a very strong labor market. So they have more choices – employers, work environment, vision and purpose of the organization.

What will be Gen Z’s impact on leadership?

One major factor has been switching of traditional performance reviews to ongoing ‘quality conversations’ that happen all the time instead of only at  midyear performance reviews.

This impacts the leaders who have to change how they manage others; it is more intuitive and makes more sense. “One of the hardest things to change has been the need for an enclosed office – there seems to still be an emotional tie to the topic,” Mary says.

Mary’s advice for managers is to think about developing multi-generational groups, consider reverse mentoring, and learn from each other.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Generational stereotypes – fact or fiction?
  • How can hallways be places of ‘casual collisions’
  • The impact Gen Z will have on leadership
  • What Gen Z is looking for in a workplace
  • How JLL is evolving to make sure they are ready for Gen Z
  • What does the future of work look like?



Direct download: Mary20Bilbrey20Podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

With major advances in technology and the talk of AI and automation invading the workplace, the subject of soft skills has become a huge topic of discussion for organizations and individual employees. I think soft skills are very important, however I think that most organizations are asking the wrong question when they address the topic.

Most organizations ask the question, what do we need to do inside of our organizations to teach more soft skills. They believe that they need to teach their managers and employees to have more soft skills. But think about the assumption that is made when we ask that question. We assume that our managers and employees don’t have soft skills to begin with.

The truth is we all learn soft skills naturally as we grow up, as we learn and as we interact with others. We learn how to be empathetic, we learn how to communicate with others, we learn how to deal with emotions. All of these things come naturally as we grow up and experience different things.

The question we should be asking is, why is it that employees feel that they can’t use their soft skills at work? The issue is not that people don’t possess soft skills to begin with, it is that they don’t feel safe enough in their organizations to use them. How can employees feel safe to share their opinions, express care and empathy for coworkers, and show their true emotions in the office when they are in an environment filled with bureaucracy, negativity, fierce competition and where employees are seen strictly as numbers. It’s no wonder employees don’t feel like they can use their soft skills.

Instead of asking, what do we need to do inside of our organizations to teach more soft skills, let’s ask, how do we build an organization where employees feel like they can use the soft skills they already have.

Direct download: encouraging_soft_skills_at_work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:20pm PDT

Jim Kavanaugh is the co-founder and CEO of World Wide Technology.  From St. Louis, Missouri Jim played collegiate soccer, then he played for the U.S. Olympic men’s soccer team in 1984 and finally for the Major Indoor Soccer League. He graduated from St. Louis University and began his business career as a sales manager for Future Electronics. He has been recognized two years in a row by Glassdoor as one of the top ranking CEOs for all large businesses in the U.S. He was ranked #2 in 2017 and #11 in 2018.  

World Wide Technology began in 1990 as a company that was a small product reseller. It has moved into a technology solution provider where they help large public and private organizations discover, evaluate, architect and implement advanced technology.  They are headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with $10.4 billion in annual revenue. WWT currently has more than 4,600 employees world-wide. They are ranked 8 on Glassdoors’ Best Places to Work list for 2018 and 40 on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for list.

What is the role of CEO?

“As a leader of an organization you need to be able to look at things at a 30,000 foot view,” Jim says.  Also, understand, what are the most important things as they pertain to your organization. Focus on how you make an impact.

That executive needs to paint the vision from that high level perspective. But they also need to be able to dropdown to the details. For example, if the goal is a new initiative, this might require you to be in the details until it is designed and built. Your goal is to get it going and then delegate it off.

People want to know that you understand the business. See the vision, paint the vision but also have a good understanding of the day to day processes of the business.

How does one become a leader in general and at WWT?

  1. Begin by understanding what is important to that business.

- How does it define success?

- How are you delivering and overachieving on the objectives of the goals of the company?

-  What are the values of the organization that drive them? Make sure they align with your values - make sure you are a good cultural fit.

- Live and breathe those values.

  1. Personally challenge yourself.

- Do a self assessment of yourself.

- Where are your strengths, what do you need to do better?

- How do people perceive you? Challenge yourself to grow.

  1. At WWT, they have a leadership curriculum. They align business concepts and values and they train leaders to be the best manager using these concepts and values.

When asked, what is unique at WWT to have scored so high on best places to work surveys, Jim says you have to care about your employees. They are very smart, if you think you can just say you care and not really do anything to show that– it won’t work. If the leadership teams show that they care about employees, then it is a successful culture.

You must do the right thing from a cultural perspective. This includes both for employees and their families – in order to be healthy from a cultural perspective.

Also, you need to be a smart organization. Set a vision; build an organization with clarity and alignment to the mission. It also must include the right leadership that can build the structure of the organization to allow for growth.

What is the mission at WWT?

To be a profitable growth company that is also a great place to work.

This mission has been around for 15 years. It is three-fold:

  1. Profitable – employees need to be accountable to the goals of the organization
  2. Growth – this is important to allow WWT to attract the best talent in the industry
  3. Create a great place to work – do the right things for the right reasons

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Jim’s advice on how to grow within your company
  • How do you know the right person to hire
  • What do you do if you don’t ‘like’ your job
  • How to overachieve without killing yourself
  • What is the role of a CEO
  • How WWT keeps getting high ratings on employee experience surveys


Direct download: Jim20Kavanaugh_Podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:21am PDT

Jim Kavanaugh is the co-founder and CEO of World Wide Technology.  From St. Louis, Missouri Jim played collegiate soccer, then he played for the U.S. Olympic men’s soccer team in 1984 and finally for the Major Indoor Soccer League. He graduated from St. Louis University and began his business career as a sales manager for Future Electronics. He has been recognized two years in a row by Glassdoor as one of the top ranking CEOs for all large businesses in the U.S. He was ranked #2 in 2017 and #11 in 2018.  

World Wide Technology began in 1990 as a company that was a small product reseller. It has moved into a technology solution provider where they help large public and private organizations discover, evaluate, architect and implement advanced technology.  They are headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with $10.4 billion in annual revenue. WWT currently has more than 4,600 employees world-wide. They are ranked 8 on Glassdoors’ Best Places to Work list for 2018 and 40 on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for list.

What is the role of CEO?

“As a leader of an organization you need to be able to look at things at a 30,000 foot view,” Jim says.  Also, understand, what are the most important things as they pertain to your organization. Focus on how you make an impact.

That executive needs to paint the vision from that high level perspective. But they also need to be able to dropdown to the details. For example, if the goal is a new initiative, this might require you to be in the details until it is designed and built. Your goal is to get it going and then delegate it off.

People want to know that you understand the business. See the vision, paint the vision but also have a good understanding of the day to day processes of the business.

How does one become a leader in general and at WWT?

  1. Begin by understanding what is important to that business.

- How does it define success?

- How are you delivering and overachieving on the objectives of the goals of the company?

-  What are the values of the organization that drive them? Make sure they align with your values - make sure you are a good cultural fit.

- Live and breathe those values.

  1. Personally challenge yourself.

- Do a self assessment of yourself.

- Where are your strengths, what do you need to do better?

- How do people perceive you? Challenge yourself to grow.

  1. At WWT, they have a leadership curriculum. They align business concepts and values and they train leaders to be the best manager using these concepts and values.

When asked, what is unique at WWT to have scored so high on best places to work surveys, Jim says you have to care about your employees. They are very smart, if you think you can just say you care and not really do anything to show that– it won’t work. If the leadership teams show that they care about employees, then it is a successful culture.

You must do the right thing from a cultural perspective. This includes both for employees and their families – in order to be healthy from a cultural perspective.

Also, you need to be a smart organization. Set a vision; build an organization with clarity and alignment to the mission. It also must include the right leadership that can build the structure of the organization to allow for growth.

What is the mission at WWT?

To be a profitable growth company that is also a great place to work.

This mission has been around for 15 years. It is three-fold:

  1. Profitable – employees need to be accountable to the goals of the organization
  2. Growth – this is important to allow WWT to attract the best talent in the industry
  3. Create a great place to work – do the right things for the right reasons

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Jim’s advice on how to grow within your company
  • How do you know the right person to hire
  • What do you do if you don’t ‘like’ your job
  • How to overachieve without killing yourself
  • What is the role of a CEO
  • How WWT keeps getting high ratings on employee experience surveys


Direct download: Jim20Kavanaugh_Podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:21am PDT

Andrée Simon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of FINCA Impact Finance, a global provider of responsible financial services. FINCA’s network of 20 community-based banks offer responsible and affordable loan and saving products that empower low income women and men to take control of their financial future.

Previously, Ms. Simon served as VP and COO of FINCA International, returning to FINCA after serving for several years as President and COO of Women for Women International, a humanitarian organization dedicated to financial, educational, and interpersonal support of women survivors of war, poverty and injustice.

In 1984, founder John Hatch saw that lack of capital was keeping poor Bolivian farmers poor. Traditional loans were too large and too expensive, and without collateral, the farmers couldn’t borrow.

So he came up with an idea; if the farmers formed groups to share a loan and guarantee repayment, they could access the funds they needed to invest in their farming operations. It was the beginning of what we know today as microfinance.

In urban and rural areas, and in economies as diverse as Guatemala City and Kitunda, Tanzania, Village Banks allowed those with scarce resources to borrow, invest and grow their businesses. They also allowed women—who were routinely denied credit—to build enterprises that kept food on their tables and their children in school.

Remaining true to its original idea, FINCA has become a global network of secure, sustainable microfinance institutions and banks that help low-income families create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living across the world.

FINCA not only impacts the world through finance, they are also transforming their workforce internally to give employees a sense of purpose and ownership. They don’t try to compete with other companies based on perks, instead the compete in ethics and values.

“People come here because they know that they are going to be able to take on a lot of responsibility and get chances to take leadership opportunities that they might not be able to get if they were in a large kind of traditional commercial institution. It's pretty entrepreneurial and it's pretty creative for the most part,” Ms. Simon says.

She says people come to work for FINCA for 2 reasons, because they want to have a career where they can really learn a lot and because it is an organization focused on social impact, which is a strong motivator for a lot of people.

Some trends that Ms. Simon believes will be seen in the future are:

  • A learning leader – Leaders will have to be willing to change themselves and have a learning mindset. This is balanced with the humility to know what you need to know
  • Traditional  organizations won’t work well; they need to be nimble to make decisions and share decision making responsibilities
  • All work is global in some way, shape or form
  • There needs to be a diverse workforce

What makes a leader successful?

  • The need to want to learn.
  • They don’t wear a ‘gorilla suit’ in the role of a leader
  • The don’t feel the need to have all the answers
  • They have an open sense of inquiry across the organization

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What FINCA is doing internally to transform their workforce and become more human
  • How FINCA is allowing their employees to feel like part of the solution
  • How any organization can have a meaningful social impact
  • What is like to be a female CEO
  • What is a CEO gorilla suit and why you should never wear one
  • Where you can ‘meet’ some of FINCA’s clients




Direct download: Andree20Simon20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:44pm PDT

Most parents wonder what advice they should be giving to their kids as they grow up and graduate high school. What should they tell them to study in college, what school should their kids go to, what type of career is safe and what type of organization they should be working for.

My advice to these parents and their children, is that we all should be like taste testers when we are young and first entering the workforce. We need to sample different things while we are young to figure out what we are passionate about, what we enjoy and what we care about.

Forcing someone to study something that they do not care about and don’t have that connection with isn’t going to yield success in the long run.It is unrealistic to think that students are going to graduate from high school or college before they have ever held a full time job, and that they are going to automatically know exactly what they want to do and they are going to work for one organization the rest of their lives.

The expectation throughout high school and college shouldn’t be that the students are going to pick one field to go into for the rest of their lives, rather it should be a time to explore, experiment and test different opportunities to get a feel for their likes and dislikes. It is OK for us to be like taste testers and to sample the different opportunities that are out there to discover what it is we are passionate about while we are young

So at the end of the day, my advice to young people is to think like an entrepreneur; learn how to learn, think about how to go about things yourself and don’t be afraid to be like a taste tester.

Direct download: The_Best_Career_Advice_You_Havent_Heard.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:17pm PDT

Mala Singh serves as Chief People Officer for Electronic Arts (EA) where she focuses on developing their talent and cultivating the company culture. In this role, Mala oversees Human Resources, Talent Acquisition, Facilities and Corporate Services.

Prior to this position, Mala spent three years as Chief People Officer at Minted where she helped to define the culture and grow the creative and technical teams during a high-growth period for the startup. Mala began her career in the pharmaceutical industry, serving in Human Resources roles in Asia, Europe and North America.

Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts is a leading global interactive entertainment software company. EA delivers games, content and online services for Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. Some of their games include Sims, FIFA18, Maden, and Battlefield. Close to 10,000 EA employees are found around the world.

How does EA compete with other organizations for the best talent?

Mala says they don’t compete with Google, LinkedIn and other similar organizations with a focus on compensation – that, she says, “is a race to the bottom.” Instead, they look at supporting their mission system and finding people with a similar focus. They also provide a manager that supports them, surround them with people they admire, have fun with and want to hang out with. In addition, they provide opportunities to learn and grow – providing different experiences. The quality of leadership, learning and growing, this is how they compete.  “I refuse to compete on ‘perkage’. How do we care for our people while they are here?” It is based on the quality of the work.

How did the trend towards a focus on mental and physical well being of employee begin?

“We used to think about work/life balance - this a false concept,” Mala says. It is really the idea of managing our whole selves while at work. Also, talented people, the skills in our environments are polarizing. The jobs are becoming more specialized. Because tech is available – those skills and great team members are highly in demand. So in order to compete for the same people, you have to bring a different experience for these people. This is why EA is moving in that direction.

How does learning work at EA?

The general philosophy is that 70% of learning happens through experiences. Then, 20% is through direct coaching from the manager and finally 10% occurs through formal learning. What appears to resonate is just in time smaller snippets of learning that allows people to learn and then use it.  

“Diversity of experiences is the lynch pin to everything. When presented the obvious, chose the opposite”. Mala stated that, “Progression comes best from diverse experiences” Apply what you have learned and move to a different setting that you can allow you to apply your skills there.

The mistake often made is that looking at the only way to progress in one's career is to move from level to level - rather than the gathering of skills. If we can create progression where we gain different skills, then “the best way to get different thinking and innovative approaches is by constantly changing your context and experiences which helps you to become more agile. It teaches you how to adapt, helps you diagnose the situation and figure out solutions. That’s why the diversity of experiences is so fundamental to how people should grow their career.”

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What it is like to work at EA
  • What the first days are like as a new employee at EA
  • What should non-HR people know about HR
  • Why tenure is not the metric to track anymore
  • Innovations happening in HR at EA
  • Why it is futile to compete solely on the basis of compensation


Mala Singh On LinkedIn

Direct download: Mala20Singh_Podcast_done.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:19am PDT

Garry Ridge is President and CEO of the WD-40 Company headquartered in San Diego, California. WD-40 Company is the maker of the ever-popular WD-40 (found in 8 out of 10 US households), as well as 3-IN-ONE Oil, Solvol and Lava heavy duty hand cleaners and X-14, Carpet Fresh, Spot Shot, 1001 and 2000 Flushes household cleaning products. With just under 500 employees, they boast a 93% employee engagement rate – with an average tenure of 10 years - which helps keep the number of employees low.

Garry has been with WD-40 since 1987 in various management positions, including executive vice president and chief operating officer and vice president of international. He has worked directly with WD-40 in 50 countries.
A native of Australia, he received his Masters of Science Degree in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego, CA, in June 2001.

Way back Aristotle said, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” However, people are slow learners. A lot of companies struggle with this because leaders are afraid of letting go and giving people the opportunity.  Garry’s learned to say ‘I don’t know…’ and to make sure that WD-40 “leaders involve their people.”

What can we do to change the mentality of leaders not letting go?

  1. For public companies – take the emphasis off ‘short-term-isms’. Looking at 90 days, etc. so they will make short term decisions that are not as productive.  “Coffee that is brewed over time, tastes better than instant.”
  2.  Education should be a core value– be a learning and teaching company. Instead of ‘mistakes’, look at them as opportunities to get better
  3. Have a clear plan, a clear purpose and clear values
  4. Be open to learning across the company

There are 7 characteristics at WD 40 that shape their workplace culture. They are:

  1. Learning & Teaching – a dedication to it, a number of programs and a commitment to learning and learning moments.
  2. Values – part of their talent development program, everyone sits down with their coach/manager and talks about the values. Employees share how they lived and their values as part of their conversation. The number one value is ‘doing the right thing’. Creating positive lasting memories is another.
  3. Belonging – based on Maslow’s hierarchy of self actualization. The level of belonging in the company is around treating people with respect and dignity. We want to show everyone in everything that is done it is with those in mind.
  4.  Future focus – they understand where they are today is good but they need to move to a new place in the future. One value is to make it better than today
  5. Specialized skills – they have identified certain specialized skills and people that have those skills
  6.  Warriors – for a purpose, not of destruction. They fight for people, brands and for what is right. The spirit of winning
  7. Celebration – reminder that we need to take time to celebrate together.

Garry’s advice to employees is to start an idea within a small team to introduce the concepts to them. You will probably see a change in the team.

His advice to leaders is that change needs to start with them

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What it is like to work at WD 40
  • The ABCs of Trust
  • What The Tribal Culture looks like at WD-40
  • Why WD-40 Invests in People
  • How WD-40 is Excelling in Employee Engagement



Direct download: Garry20Ridge.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:08am PDT

We all have many relationships throughout our lifetime; relationships with friends, family, significant others, etc...Some relationships we have thrive, they make us happy and encourage us to be better. But some relationships are unhealthy. They stress us out, cause depression and wear us out. We have relationships that we would fight for and relationships we would not fight for.

Working for an organization is very much like being in a relationship. The question is--is it a relationship you would fight for or not? If it is one you would fight for, that is great. You are lucky and you should fight hard to keep that relationship going strong, just as you would for a relationship in your personal life.

If it is not an relationship you would fight for, and so many of us fit in this category, then you should get out of it. So many people are unsatisfied at work, but they don’t do anything about it. If this is you, do something! You owe it to yourself to be at an organization you are willing to fight for and you are the only one who can control your career path.

Direct download: Should_you_stay_at_your_organization.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:52am PDT

This week’s episode is all about creating meaningful employee experiences and a thriving corporate culture. We are taking a look back at some clips from CHROs, Chief People Officers, and CEOs who are helping their organizations excel in these areas.

This episode features:

  • Chairman, President and CEO of Rosetta Stone, John Hass on the corporate culture at Rosetta Stone, how he manages, how he deals with complacency and the importance of a clear company mission

  • David Fairhurst, Chief People Officer at McDonald’s explaining why a huge, iconic brand like McDonald’s is going through a transformation and how culture plays into that

  • VP of Enterprise Social Responsibility at Chick-fil-A, Dee Ann Turner on how to create an amazing corporate culture and how does extraordinary talent impact that

  • Chief People Officer at GSN Games, Peter Walmsley on how to scale employee experience in a large company with offices across the world

  • Kimberly Samon, CHRO at Weight Watchers gives an inside look into what it is like to work at Weight Watchers and some of the perks and benefits they provide.

Direct download: Mashup_07.15.2018.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

We are obsessed with Employee Engagement in our companies today, but we give employees surveys to fill out with 50-100 questions on them. There has got to be an easier and more direct way to find out if our employees are engaged at work.

Have you ever had to fill out an employee engagement survey that was 50 to 100 questions long? I think most people these days have. Organizations are obsessed with measuring employee engagement and they feel that in order to get a true picture of how they are doing they have to ask hundreds of questions once or twice a year. But does this really give an accurate picture of engagement?

In a marriage you and your spouse have a good idea of whether or not the relationship is healthy. You could ask your spouse directly, “are you happy with our relationship”, and they would be able to answer you immediately. You wouldn’t have to give them a form with 50 questions to get that answer.

In the same way, employees know if they are engaged at work and enjoy their job and if you ask them they can give you a yes or no answer on the spot. We need to come up with a way to simplify the process. Our challenge is we have to find the one question that we should be asking employees to find out if they are happy, engaged, passionate and feel like they belong. What do you think that one question should be?

Direct download: What_is_the_one_question_we_should_ask_to_measure_employee_experience.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:24pm PDT

Tim Munden is the Chief Learning Officer at Unilever. Tim has worked there since 2000, holding roles such as Senior European HR Manager, VP HR – Unilever Food Solutions Americas and VP HR for their Global Business Services.

Unilever is found in over 100 countries with more than 160,000 employees. Seven out of every ten households around the world contain at least one Unilever product. They produce more than 400 items - including household-name brands such as Lipton, Knorr, Dove, Axe, Hellmann’s and Suave.

Tim’s career started to have focus when someone asked him two questions:

  1. What do you really love?

- he answered human beings

  1. What do you want to learn about?

- for Tim it was how companies and communities can allow people to be their very best

What are your big challenges at Unilever?

  1. Unlocking the characteristics of learning
  2. Unlocking agility. Encouraging people to be constantly curious and courageous.
  3. Getting rid of the stigma around mental health. The goal is that people would feel free to share this illness with their line managers.

The top initiative at Unilever is to ensure that every employee is one click/chat away from the well-being help they need – via phone or internet. For example, legal advice, or mental and physical health support.

Tim’s advice for managers is to know how to answer-- what is the purpose of our business? Keep asking why, why, why. Go on the journey with the senior leadership team.

Also, ask yourself what is the business case of the potential of all of your people. All the passion and energy. What is the price of not doing this?

Tim’s advice for employees is to make sure you challenge your own humanity, don’t check it at the door. Don’t be shy to bring yourself to work.

What you will learn in the episode:

  • What is ‘reverse mentoring’?
  • What Unilever is doing to help their people find their purpose
  • Why do companies need to focus on purpose?
  • What learning looks like at Unilever and how it has evolved over the last 25 years
  • How to create a culture of curiosity and hunger to learn at work



Direct download: Tim20Munden20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Corporate culture is really hard to define, but I think it can be defined as the side effects of working for your organization. Take the example of some well-known prescription drugs that are out on the market today. You see advertisements for them on TV and they list off a huge list of potential side effects that could happen to you as a result of taking the medicine. Some side effects include hair loss, weight gain, bleeding from the eyes or even death.

You may sit there and watch those commercials and think, who would take these medicines when they have all of these potential side effects. But the fact is, many of us experience these same side effects from the organization we work for. Due to work stress, burnout, bad leaders etc… we experience hair loss, weight gain, arguments with our spouses and sometimes even death.

The question I pose to executives is, if I were to bottle up what it’s like to work at your organization into a pill form, would you swallow it? If the answer is no, how can you expect your employees to swallow that pill if you aren’t willing to?

If you are not willing to swallow that pill, you have to ask yourself why not and what can we do to fix it. How can you create an organization where you yourself would swallow that pill?

Direct download: how_to_tell_if_you_have_a_good_or_bad_corporate_culture.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 4:06pm PDT

Welcome to another episode of The Future of Work Podcast. With this week being a holiday week in the States, the format for this episode is a little bit different. Instead of the usual format where I interview one guest every episode, for this week’s episode we are going to hear clips from multiple past guests on the topic of Big Data and Analytics.

You will hear from the Chief Learning Officer at SAP, the CTO of Dell EMC’s Services in their Big Data Practice, the Global Head of People Analytics at PayPal, the President and CEO of Humanyze and others today.

I get a lot of questions about this topic, so I hope that this episode is helpful, interesting and motivating and I hope it will inspire you to think about how you can leverage these concepts and ideas inside of your organization.


What You Will Learn In This Episode:

  • How to define Big Data
  • How to start using People Analytics in your organization
  • How companies like Humanyze use sensors to gather data in real time and how companies leverage that data
  • Important tips, tricks and advice on how to use the data you gather
  • How to use data and analytics to track retention and attrition
Direct download: Mashup20Podcast_July202018.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Elena Donio has been Chief Executive Officer of Axiom Global, Inc. since November 2016. Prior to this role,  Donio served as President of Concur Technologies, Inc., from 2014 to 2016. She has also served as a Senior Manager at Deloitte & Touche and as a Senior Consultant at Andersen Consulting (Accenture). She holds BA in Economics from University of California, San Diego.

Axiom is the global leading alternative legal services provider. With over 2,000 employees across three continents, they provide talent and technology to help legal departments adapt to a demanding new era. More than half of the Fortune 100 use Axiom to deliver legal work.

What is the role of a CEO?

Donio’s time is mostly allocated around communication. They have a distributed workforce, 1400 attorneys around the world. They have 15 offices; in addition, many work in home offices, or at client sites. She makes it a practice to think about how to make sure at a leadership level that people understand the organization’s priorities. Donio and other leaders at the company make sure they have listening posts up everywhere, so can hear the vibe.

Axiom has some unique workplace practices including company-wide meetings – called a huddle. They have huddles 5 or 6 times a year. They live stream them across the company, feature interesting things going on in different departments, do fireside chats, and find that the leadership learns from the questions.

The company also hosts trivia nights, happy hours, and pride month. Their offices have open floor plans, lots of orange, great art and books everywhere. But they are not big on huge employee perks. Donio says, “I really believe that the highest performers are people that have really rich and full lives. And so the idea isn’t to reward people to be in and sitting at a desk all day long”.

What is it like being a female CEO?

Donio says she feels that she hit the jackpot at Concur. She was surrounded by people that believed in her. She also had family that encouraged her along the way and it gave her enough courage to take on the challenge.

She also found that at times throughout her career, the people at the top were people she did not want to emulate. They did not have a family or outside life. But there were a few moments in her career that she saw it was possible.

Advice for those lower level employees to broach a work/life balance?

Donio’s advice for lower level employees who want to change their work/life balance is to understand that the managers around you may not have the life experience to create the right kind of environment, so you need to initiate those conversations. Be open and honest with your leaders. The solution may not be as crazy to achieve as you think.  

As a manager, sit down and understand what people are trying to solve for. Ask, where do you need to see change in your life? Are you looking for more time for child? More time for self? Do you feel guilty for working so much?

You will find that it is usually more than one thing. Then get tactical. What would be sustainable? Would work from home on Fridays be enough? Saying no to a new project? Get specific. It can be simple pivots and shifts, it doesn’t have to be momentous. Then work with managers to be creative.

Things you will learn:

  • Aspects of being a female and CEO
  • How to deal with tough situations
  • The function of AI in law practice
  • Why huge perks aren’t a focus for Axiom
  • The story behind the red folder that helped Elena make the decision to move from Concur to Axiom



Direct download: Elena20Donio2C20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:55am PDT

Why is it that we are so shocked when companies shut down or are slow to adapt to change? We shouldn’t be surprised, because we create organization that do what they are supposed to do.

We as humans are good at building things that do what they are supposed to do. We have clear intentions when we build or create something like a car engine, a computer or an office building and we make sure they are built to fulfill their intended purposes.

We also build organizations. But a lot of times we seem shocked and surprised when an organization fails or is too slow to adapt or faces major challenges. We look at companies like Kodak or Tower Records, for example, and see how they disappeared or we look at United and see the major issues they are facing. These things shouldn’t surprise us because we create organizations that do what they are supposed to do. Organizations are built to not anticipate the future or to not withstand change.

If you want hierarchies to be flattened or managers that act more like coaches and mentors, you have to build your organization with those things in mind. The thing that you build is the outcome that you should expect to get. We need to think about the structure differently; structure comes first, outcomes come second.

Direct download: Organizations_do_what_we_design_them_to_do.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:27pm PDT

Jeffrey Puritt serves as the President and CEO of TELUS International, Inc. Puritt has international experience in communications and technology sectors including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, strategic planning, corporate reorganizations and asset and contract management. He joined TELUS Communications Inc. in 2001 and served various positions including Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions at TELUS. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from York University in 1984 and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1987.

TELUS International is a subsidiary of TELUS, a national telecommunications company in Canada. TELUS International provides multilingual customer service outsourcing and digital IT services to global clients. Clients include corporations in travel and hospitality, financial services and fintech, consumer electronics and gaming, telecommunications, and healthcare industries. TELUS International is found in 10 countries with over 30,000 employees.

When it comes to trends in the future of leadership in the next 5-10 years Puritt says competition for talent is more fierce than the competition for customers and so leaders need to figure out how to be an employer of choice, a destination of choice for talent.

Puritt isn’t overly concerned about AI. He says, I don’t see it as a concern. Perhaps 30% of our business interactions are basic exchanges between customers and business. These types of interactions can be done better by bots or some other automation. For example, reset passwords. The other 70% are not ripe for automation. They are more complex and will need human support.”

He believes that the growing complexity of our world will require increasing support that can interact with technology and yet also interact with humans

What skills will leaders need in the future?

  • You will not attract talent if your style is command and control.
  • Training needs to reflect the desires of Millennials in order to retain them.
  • Leaders will need to be more aware and mindful of people’s feelings and background and their perspectives
  • They will also need to recognize on all the new trends around technology. These will transform our world.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Why perks are critical to acquiring talent
  • What it’s like to work at TELUS International
  • How Jeffrey makes tough choices
  • Perspectives on building culture in sites around the world
  • Jeffrey’s views on the future of leadership
  • Creative recruiting practices at universities


Direct download: Jeffrey20Puritt20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Tim Ryan is the US Chairman and Senior Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Previously he served as the Vice Chairman, having responsibility for the firm’s strategy function and stakeholder relationships including investor relations, regulatory affairs, public policy, corporate responsibility, marketing and sales and human capital. PwC is a multinational professional accounting services firm. It has 55,000 employees. 

Tim has over 25 years of diversified experience serving clients in the financial services industry in the U.S. and internationally. Prior to his current role, Tim led PwC's Assurance practice and before that, he led PwC's U.S. Financial Services practice and PwC's Consumer Finance Group. 

Tim is a certified public accountant in Massachusetts and New York and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He graduated from Babson College where he studied accounting and communications and remains an active and proud alum. A Boston native, he joined the firm after graduation. Tim is the proud father of six children (10-18 years old) and is passionate about spending time with his kids, hockey, running and reading.

What should be the mindset for future leaders? Tim believes we are seeing a shift that will get better. He says, “The day and age of the dominant CEO is likely coming to an end, and I think we're entering the day and age of humble CEOs and humble leaders…” Servant based leadership will be a shift that is happening even now.

What do leaders need to know how to do in the future? According to Tim, successful leaders of the future need to be good listeners, great ‘understanders’ of people, and good decisions makers.  They also need a high degree of business acumen and them need to be adept at technology

Tim believes leaders of the future need to have thick skin. That’s because the CEO of today has a lot of people looking at them. It is important to listen people’s views and not get rattled. They need to be open to criticism and not get unnerved when they listen to a point of view that is not their own.

In order to develop thick skin, practice yourself in the moment. Catch yourself. Take feedback and get better by it rather than get rattled by it.  

Tim also shared some information about the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion (, a CEO driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace that launched June of 2017.

A wide variety of CEOs have acknowledged that we can do better and have taken a pledge with 3 main commitments. One year ago it started with 150 CEOs and today roughly 450 have signed the pledge.

The three commitments are:   

  1. We will continue to make our workplaces trusting places to have complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion
  2. We will implement and expand unconscious bias education
  3. We will share best—and unsuccessful—practices


What you will learn in this episode:

  • Tim explains his intense morning routine
  • How to balance work and life
  • What it’s like to work for PwC and how they have evolved over the past 30 years
  • Trends in the future of leadership
  • Tim’s view on AI and automation
  • What it means to work for a purpose led, values driven organization



Direct download: Tim20Ryan20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:23am PDT

A lot of people ask the question, “What is the future of work”. But that is not the right question we should be asking. Why? Because it leads to two major assumptions.

First, we assume that there is one single future that could happen. Second, we assume that the future is something that happens to us and that we have no control over it. But both of these assumptions are incorrect. There is not just one singular possible future, there are multiple potential futures that could happen based on the decisions and actions we take. And the future is not something that simply happens to us without our control.

What we need to do is flip the question, what is the future of work, around and instead of phrasing it that way we should ask, what are the potential futures that might happen and what are the factors that we need to influence today to get to the future we would like to see.

Phrasing the question this way allows us to be more active in creating our future than we would be if we just sit back and wait for the future to play out in front of us. We are then able to impact the future instead of waiting to react to it after the fact.

The future doesn’t happen to us; the future is something we create, shape and build. Let’s take a step back and ask ourselves, what do we need to do to build the future that we would like to see.

Direct download: what_is_the_future_of_work_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:55pm PDT

Patty McCord is the author of the book, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility and starting in 1998 she spent 14 years at NetFlix, serving as Chief Talent Officer. She has more than 15 years experience in Human Resources with high-tech companies. She was the Director of Human Resources at Pure Atria, now Rational Software Corporation. She served as Human Resources Manager at Borland International. McCord also ran the Corporate Diversity Programs department at Sun Microsystems. Currently, she is frequently in the media with interviews and articles from Harvard Business Review, NPR, Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal. She speaks at CEO Forums, Business schools and for large groups around the world.

When NetFlix began they were small, did not have money for perks. The perks were not something they focused on. Instead, they emphasized good salary, hard problems and good colleagues. Later, they added extras like unlimited maternity leave.

In 2001 1/3 of the Netflix employees were let go – for example, those who were not very good at their jobs, middle management or those who complained about the lack of perks.  Shortly after, the price of DVD players dropped and each had a coupon in the box to try Netflix. That led to them being required to work harder with fewer dedicated people. That year they went public and they developed policies and procedures. They expected people to ‘act like adults’ - giving them more freedom but with high expectations for them.

One of Netflix’s most talked about perks was unlimited vacation –it was never designed to be a perk. Initially, employees accrued 26 days a year. Instead, as an experiment, they decided that they wouldn’t keep track of the time employees take off but instead will keep track of what they got done. They focus on results and expect employees to act as adults – and so they leave it up to the employees to decide when to take vacation time.

McCord’s advice for employees is to figure out what you love to do and where you can do that, solve problems that need to be solved, ask smart questions of management, and take someone you admire to lunch to ask them how they got to their current position

What You Will Learn In This Episode:

  • Things ‘to do’ and ‘not do’ in the hiring process
  • The use of anonymous surveys
  • How to be proactive in HR
  • What Netflix looked like in the beginning and how they have evolved
  • The thought behind unlimited vacation at Netflix
  • The importance of leading by example

Link From The Episode:

Direct download: Patty20McCord20Podcast-DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

There is a big debate these days about whose responsibility it is to create a sense of purpose for employees at an organization. Is it up to the employee or the employer? Many people believe that in order to create a workplace where people actually want to show up the employer needs to give employees challenging, exciting and inspiring work that creates a sense of purpose.

But, the truth is, the employee controls the work. It is the employee who picks which jobs to apply for, whether or not they want to go in for an interview, if they say yes or no to the job offer. The employee has a choice in what field they want to study in school and at most jobs they are told up front what they will be expected to do. What you do in an organization is not usually a surprise after you get hired. If you apply for a sales position, for example, you are going to be doing sales work.

The employer simply controls the environment in which the work gets done. They can control three main environments: culture, technology and physical space. Through these three main environments organizations can have an impact on how you feel at work, how efficiently you get your work done and where you get the work done. But the work itself is up to the employee.

Direct download: who_controls_work_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:37pm PDT

Since we are starting the week with a holiday, I thought we could do something a little different. I have interviewed a lot of fascinating guests over the years ranging from the CIO of IBM to the Chief People Officer at McDonald’s to the CHRO at Allstate and many, many others. And towards the end of most of my interviews I ask the guest to give us some advice in the area of their expertise. We have received a lot of great advice over the years and so I thought it would be fun to compile a full episode of advice from past podcast guests. I hope you find it interesting and helpful, there are some great tips and thoughts in these clips.

The first clip is from my interview with bestselling author Jon Gordon. Our conversation for this episode revolved around his newest book, The Power of Positive Leadership. The section that I chose from this interview was when Jon gave us 3 key principles to focus on from his book in order to help us be more positive leaders and transform our organizations.

His three key points were, talk to yourself instead of listen, focus on the fact that we create our world inside out, not outside in, and the importance of grit.  

The second clip I chose for this week is from David Deming, the Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In our conversation we talked a lot about the future of education, the current economy and skills needed for employees of the future. He had advice for both leaders and entry level employees.

One piece of advice he gave to leaders was, “don’t be afraid to take a chance on somebody who doesn’t come from the standard background but who could potentially be a good fit for a position that you’ve got going on. Because I do think that in this world of constant technological change and uncertain measures of employee productivity, it’s easy for good people to fall through the cracks”

One topic that is really timely at the moment is privacy and security in our increasingly connected world. So I chose a clip from my interview with Dr. Alissa Johnson (aka Dr. J), the Chief Information Security Officer at Xerox. In the clip you will hear her tips and tricks on how to protect ourselves in this connected world. As she mentions in the clip, the advice may seem simple, but they are all things most people are not currently doing.

I also chose a few clips with advice on people analytics because it is another hot topic nowadays. The two clips that I chose are from Natalie McCullough, the General Manager of Workplace Analytics and My Analytics at Microsoft and David Green, the global director of people analytics solutions at IBM Kenexa Smarter Workforce.

Part of Natalie’s advice was to, “really start on this journey with a sense of transparency and growth mindset. So, approach the data with the very open question of “what can I learn from this data?”. A bad way to start is to start with a fairly defensive mindset, which I’ve also seen.”

David gave some advice that was simple and straight to the point. “In terms of how can organizations get on with this...I mean honestly, just start”, David said, “Read up on it, be inspired by what other people are doing, don’t copy them necessarily, but be inspired.”   

When I interviewed Seth Godin, author of 18 bestselling books, speaker and founder of altMBA he gave us advice on what entry level employees can do to bring more passion into their careers and be more successful at work.

He said, “I think it’s really important that we get this perspective and begin to take responsibility, that we never, ever say, “Well, I have student loans and a family to support and bills to pay, therefore, I will sacrifice my life and my future by doing braindead work that I don’t believe in, half-assed and waiting it out”. Because what are you waiting it out for? When will you stop waiting it out?”

Other clips that I included in this podcast mashup are from the Chief People Officer at McDonald’s, the Co-CEO at Gensler, the Senior Economist and Team Leader of the Labor Market Trends and Policy Evaluation Unit at the ILO, author of The Coaching Habit, and author of MegaTech: Technology in 2050.

Direct download: Mashup20july2027th202018.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:06am PDT

Technology is a vital part of our organizations today, but a lot of times we neglect the technology problem and focus solely on the human problem. The truth is both are connected and we have to learn how to fix them both.

Employee experience, corporate culture and effective leadership are all a huge focus point in many companies today, and rightly so. However, most companies are focusing solely on the human problem, when they should also be looking at the technology problem as well.

Think about technology in your workplace. When you don’t have the tools and technology needed to complete a task or project it can become extremely frustrating. You may become resentful or even angry because of the outdated technology you are being forced to use. Technology is part of creating a positive employee experience. If you want your employees to be happy, successful and productive, you have to ensure they have access to the resources they need to complete their projects and tasks.

Technology plays a huge role in how we communicate, collaborate and interact with one another in our workplace and in our personal lives. When the technology component breaks down the technology problem becomes a human problem. We have to start investing in technology and advanced tools that help our employees do their jobs more efficiently.

Direct download: technology_becomes_human_problem.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:13am PDT

Trynka Shineman is the CEO of Vistaprint, a 20 year old global company that provides online custom printing, marketing materials, and a lot more. She brings more than 20 years of experience in market research and analysis, strategic planning, database marketing and e-commerce to her role. Prior to her current position, Shineman held a variety of roles at Vistaprint including president, chief marketing officer, and chief customer officer.

Before joining Vistaprint, Shineman was a director and senior manager for PreVision Marketing, an Inc. 500 and Software 500 innovator in direct marketing where she developed programs for several major accounts.

Vistaprint is an online supplier of printed and promotional materials as well as marketing services to micro businesses and consumers. With 7,000 employees, their focus is on helping business owners market themselves. They focus on small businesses - with less than 10 employees. Working to help with the small businesses’ branding - from outfitting a store, advertising in the market and of course, business cards.

What is like to work at Vistaprint?

The main office is located in Boston and is orientated towards teams. When one walks in they will see white boards with what people are working on. They will see that change is a common factor.

One thing that Vistaprint does that is not common is something called a Vista Break. Every 5 years, every employee gets a month-long sabbatical. The expectation is that the employee is unplugged during that period. It is the ability to have 4 weeks of uninterrupted time. It recharges people.

Shineman shared the 3 pillars of the company which are:

  1. How are we working? – placing more emphasis on teams rather than the individual

They use a Kanban board. It is a work and workflow visualization tool that enables you to optimize the flow of your work – it is one way to visualize the work. It assists with defining the outcome for the team.

Shineman also talked about Agile for HR – moving from being reactive to more proactive and building experiences that make an impact on the organization.

  1. The employee experience- how do people get feedback? Setting expectations that they aspire to as an organization

A main focus is co-creation - working with others. Whether it is others within the organization or even with customers.

  1. The role of the leader. How does it need to evolve?

What are the key qualities and skills in a leader? To provide clarity and right competence and right level of autonomy. How to create a clear goal? What is the role of a manager? Removing impediments, being authentic and open, servant leadership, leader as a coach, a helper or mentor

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What it is like to work at Vistaprint
  • Why they don’t do annual performance reviews and what they do instead
  • How Vistaprint views Employee Experience
  • What a Kanban board is and why is it helpful
  • How to use Agile in HR
Direct download: Trynka20Shineman20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:03pm PDT

Frances Hesselbein is the President and CEO of The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, founded as The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management and renamed in 2012 to honor Hesselbein’s legacy and ongoing contributions. Mrs. Hesselbein was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, by President Clinton in 1998 for her leadership as CEO of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. from 1976–1990, as well as her service as “a pioneer for women, volunteerism, diversity and opportunity.” Her contributions were also recognized by the first President Bush, who appointed her to two Presidential Commissions on National and Community Service. At 103 years young, she is one of the most highly respected experts in the field of contemporary leadership development.

From 2009–2011, Mrs. Hesselbein served as the Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point, in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. She is the first woman, and the first non-graduate to serve in this chair.

The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum at the University of Pittsburgh is a continuation of the legacy of Frances Hesselbein and reflects the vision of a university-based center for teaching, applied research, and public service where leaders and aspiring leaders from around the world can gather to advance the art and science of leadership and put these principles to practice in public service.

Mrs. Hesselbein’s advice for leaders today is to totally be committed to a mission, b values based, and be demographic driven – the doors are open, we need to find ways to include all our people.

What role do leaders play to support organizations?

  • At every level, the CEO will bring on a team that respects its people.
  • They must create a mission that is short, powerful and compellin One that “Can fit on a T-shirt”
  • The leaders must live the values

Some of the greatest changes that have occured over the course of Mrs. Hesselbein’s career are that there are doors opened that were never opened before, we are including women in every level, there is a respect for all people and that has become a battle cry for her organization.

In many of Mrs. Hesselbein’s speeches she talks about 2 institutions that have sustained democracy. These are the 2 powerful forces that help us sustain our democracy and we don’t let anyone put them down. They are:

  • The educational system – public education.
  • The US military.

Mrs. Hesselbein says, “Work is love made visible. There is something about working with people, for people, working to sustain something, to open doors. To work is to live. We find what we love to do and pour everything we have into it. And work is love made visible”. And she truly lives this statement out. She has given her all to serve her community, her organization, and the world. She is an advocate for women and minorities and she is passionate about everything that she does.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to create meaningful work
  • The current state of work
  • Why the future of work is so ‘bright’
  • Trends in leadership
  • Where Frances grew up and how she got her start
  • Changes Frances has seen over the course of her career
  • Frances’ advice to leaders inside of organizations



Direct download: frances20hesselbein20podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 4:02pm PDT

I constantly hear stories about how people feel they are working for an organization where they feel like they don’t have a voice or where they don’t feel like they can be themselves. It doesn’t have to be this way! We have to learn how to speak up at work.

It is so important for every employee to participate in group conversations, to give feedback to managers, to be honest and to give their opinions and point of view. Not only will it make employees feel heard and appreciated, but it will also help the organization to be the best that it can be.

Many people find it intimidating to speak up at work and to voice their opinions, but the truth is most of the time it will be met with a positive response. Speaking up could bring up issues, challenges or ideas that your managers and coworkers have never considered before. It could spark change or at least start a dialogue.

If for some reason you get a negative response from speaking up, then maybe that isn’t the organization for you and you need to think about making a move. Either way, whether you get a positive or negative response, speaking up is in your best interest. The worst thing you can do for yourself, or your organization, is to just stay quiet and let everything just get shaped around you without having a say.

Direct download: Why_you_need_to_speak_up_at_work_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:17pm PDT

Harriet Harty is the CHRO for Allstate Insurance Company Harriet Harty is the CHRO for Allstate Insurance Company. She is responsible for developing their talent strategy and the tools and programs to enable the enterprise to attract, develop and retain engaged and talented employees.

Since joining Allstate in 1995, Harty has held a number of key human resources positions. She was senior vice president, with responsibility for executive, broad-based and sales compensation; benefits; communications; finance; talent and leadership effectiveness; and home office client partnership. Previously, she led the human capital solutions function, which included strategy, employee value proposition, workforce relations, workforce insights, workforce technology and the AskHR call center. Harty began her career in the compensation area, working her way up to leadership of the compensation and executive compensation function.

Allstate was founded in 1931 and is the largest publicly held property and casualty insurer in the US. It serves more than 16 million households.  It is a company with 35 billion dollars in revenue with 43000+ employees globally - most in US and about 8000 outside of US.

Differences at Allstate in the last 20 years from her experience?

  • Innovation – it is part of their everyday “business as usual” now as compared to years ago when it was something considered out of the box thinking
  • Less ‘silo’d’ – you can see the power of working across teams.
  • They have defined their purpose in a more articulate manner.
  • Added technology – the ability to quickly react is much larger due to technology.
  • Changes to physical space – they have revamped offices. They wanted space to be more collaborative, instead of high walled cubicles
  • This change brought down the hierarchy and changed the culture. It made supervisors much more available to employees


Harty has been at Allstate for more than 20 years for 2 main reasons. First, she

has always had the opportunity to grow and develop herself, through different

assignments, a project, etc… And secondly, because of the people. She considers

the people of Allstate her second family.


Some trends Harty is paying attention to at the moment are, the changing workforce (the demographics, how many baby boomers will be retiring) and disruptive technology that will have an impact on jobs.  Allstate is beginning to focus on training employees skills that will help them in their job today, but also 5, 10, 15 years in the future.

What skills will leaders need in 2025?

  • Agile mindset – being able to act quickly and decisively to conquer something
  • Innovative – someone that can think out of the box, challenge the status quo and take a lot of risks
  • Versatility– knowing how to motivate your group and team.

To leaders, Harty says, “It’s ok to be uncomfortable – there is likely a lot of uncomfortable coming.” This is where you can learn and move forward.

Her advice to employees is similar to the advice for leaders– be uncomfortable. Also, take advantage of the training available, talk with your leader about your aspirations, and jump in – rather than be on the side lines.


What you will learn in this episode:

  • Allstate’s HR department structure
  • Traits of future leaders
  • Six leadership principles for all employees at Allstate
  • How Allstate has evolved over the last 20 years
  • What it’s like to work at Allstate and why Harriet has been there 22 years
  • Skills leaders and employees need for the future
Direct download: Harriet20Hardy20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:33pm PDT

When an organization gets to a point where they realize they need to change things up, they typically start by looking at people in leadership and management positions. They feel that the issues in the company can be solved by changing the people at the top. But the truth is, instead of starting with people we should first take a look at the system.

The system that you build is typically more powerful than the people who are within that system. Just bringing in a new manager or a whole new team does not guarantee things will change for the better, in fact things may just get worse. It’s not the people that are directly impacting change, it is the system. You have to change the system in order to have change in your organization.

Once you figure out that the system needs to be changed, that is when you need to turn to people. You need bold, visionary people in leadership positions who have the will and the ability to change the core system of the organization for the better. People who are not going to just settle for what the company has done in the past, but who are always striving for something better.

If you want to drive true organizational change inside of your company, you have to start with redesigning, rethinking and rebuilding the system

Direct download: How_Do_You_Drive_Change_Inside_Of_An_Organization_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:58pm PDT

Alan Trefler founded Pegasystems and as CEO has built the company into a $750 million provider of customer engagement solutions with 4,000+ employees based in Boston with 30 global offices, growing about 20 percent annually.

Trefler’s life’s work has been to design a platform for living applications that businesspeople can evolve to manage the constant disruption and change in today’s customer-centric economy. Trefler’s book, Build for Change, describes a new generation of customers with unprecedented power to make or break brands and changes businesses must embrace to succeed.

Pegasystems (aka Pega) is the leader in cloud software for customer engagement and operational excellence. If you’ve driven a car, used a credit card, called a company for service, opened an account, flown on a plane, submitted a claim, or performed countless other everyday tasks, chances are you’ve interacted with Pega. For the past 30 years, their technology – CRM, digital process automation, robotics, AI, and more – has empowered the world’s leading companies to achieve breakthrough results.

Trefler’s interest in computers originates from collegiate involvement in tournament chess, where he achieved a Master rating and was co-champion of the 1975 World Open Chess Championship.

What is it like to work at Pega?

It’s changed over the years as technology has evolved. They have offices in 31 countries around the world. They have created collections of collaboration rooms so they can share with distributed teams. They are guided by their own software, designed to manage various tasks. They focus on being able to do case/work management to make sure people are aligned. They focus on trying to manage work around customer service.

Trefler believes that although there was a time when you would hear ‘silicon valley’ and think of innovation, today when you think of it, most people would think of ‘entitlement’. They’ve been so successful they have begun to ‘read their own press clippings’ - which is a very dangerous thing.

When asked to define leadership, Trefler says, leadership is defined by character and leadership by the ability to show a level of reliability. Ultimately, it involves people choosing to follow. We have moved past the era of coercion. The elements include being highly informed and knowledgeable - and being able to describe the sensibility.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • The connections between chess and business
  • Thoughts on universal income
  • Skills of leaders in 2025
  • Alan’s thoughts on the skills gap
  • What Alan would do differently if he had to create his company from scratch today
  • Alan’s view of Silicon Valley
Direct download: Alan20Trefler20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:33am PDT

Arun Chidambaram is the Global Head of Talent Analytics at Pfizer. His main area of focus is building and sustaining analytical capability within HR for large global corporations. Chidambaram has deep experiences in quantitative and visualisation methodologies, advanced analytics and research, experimentation and modelling, building collaborative and strong relationships across matrix organizations, and driving key business strategies and organisational change initiatives through workforce insights. He recently co-authored an article on TLNT titled “The Challenges in building a strong function around People Analytics function”.

Chidambaram has a background in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research with 20 years of experience in management, consulting, and human resources in positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to joining Pfizer, he held several leadership positions at Harley Davidson, Merck, and ESPN.

What is the role of leadership in People Analytics (PA)?

  • Be patient -  but efficient
  • Holistic leadership function, you must understand every aspect of people analytics. “I lead a bunch of very smart people who are in high demand, and then I report to very smart people,” says Chidambaram.
  • You need to keep track with where everyone else is working to make sure you are in the right place, working with the right people
  • You need to work with many departments - and be able to collaborate effectively with each.

How big are PA teams? Chidambaram says 90% are located in HR. In some organizations, there are 3 people in the team who support specific departments. Then they each go partner with those teams and come back with projects. Once people know about the PA teams, the number of projects increases greatly.

What will be the future of PA? According to Chidambaram, if you are early in your journey, then you have to have some HR background. How decisions are made, experience dealing with confidential information, etc.

Currently Chidambaram reports to the CHR. “Eventually, it will go to its own department and CIO and CHRs will need to be driven by data.”

How do you get started? Partner with a business analytics leader, talk about privacy and using data sets. Work on projects, let your team see the benefits and then move into larger roles when the time is right.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What people should know about People Analytics
  • The role of AI in PA
  • What is the Zone of debate?
  • How HR and PA work together
  • What data PA looks at
  • The 5 stages people in PA use
  • Hypothetical situations to show how PA can be used in any organization
Direct download: Arun_Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

We spend a majority of our lives working, therefore work and life are not separated.

What kind of life do you want to have?

In the past there has always been a clear distinction between a person’s work and their personal life. A person would leave work at 5pm and drive home and they would push work out of their minds so they could focus on other things.

Nowadays that clear distinction isn’t there, the lines are blurring between work and life. We hear people talking about work-life balance and work-life integration. But the truth is, work is life and life is work. We spend a majority of our adult lives working, which means what you do is not just a job, or a career--it’s a part of you.

We have to do a better job of blending our work and life together into one instead of splitting them up. If you don’t like how an organization is treating you, if you hate the projects you are working on, if you are miserable where you are at, it’s time for you to take control and to build the life you want to have. Don’t just sit back and think you can wait it out because the pay is decent, your work is your life.

You have to look at it from the perspective that this is not just a business, a career, a job or work. This is you! You have to ask yourself, what kind of life do you want to have and how do you build it for yourself?

Direct download: work_is_life_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:39am PDT

Mike McDerment is the founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, it was built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice. McDerment spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, now with around 300 employees, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars.

McDerment mentioned that an employee at Freshbooks told him that the culture of the company feels like summer camp and that is something McDerment is thrilled about. Why?

When a child comes home from summer camp, they are mentally and emotionally fit. They have been challenging themselves all week – both physically and mentally. This produces a very high level of self-esteem and excitement. This is what they want employees at Freshbooks to experience each day. They believe it will lead to a sense of personal growth and self-esteem.

The culture of Freshbooks works to be like the ‘longest living cocktail party on earth.’ Why?

Generally, when you go to a cocktail party you have been invited by someone you like. There you will find some people you know and others you don’t. This environment creates a feeling safety and of being welcome. 

One of the ways they have worked to create this culture is to set up people on professional blind dates – in groups of 3 or 4. They ask employees if they would like to participate and then they match up employees who normally would not connect with on another on a day to day basis. This is one way to help the company feel smaller no matter how much they grow in size.

One piece of advice McDerment gives to larger organizations is to focus on reinforcing the behaviors you want perpetuated. Make sure to celebrate those things.


What you will learn in this episode:

  • What it is like to work at Freshbooks
  • What the movie ‘Elf’ has in common with the culture at Freshbooks
  • Why has Freshbooks won awards for ‘best place to work’
  • Why they created a secret competitor company
  • How to keep your company feeling small no matter the size




Direct download: Mike20McDerment20Podcast-DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:36am PDT

There is no question about it, AI and Automation have been at the center of many debates and discussions in the workplace. Many people are asking what the role of AI and Automation will be in the future of work. Will they create more jobs than they replace, or will they replace more jobs than they create.

If you look back at history, you can see that new technology, such as electricity or steam power, has always created more jobs. But today there seems to be a lot of fear surrounding this topic. I think there could be a solution to alleviate this fear.

Unlike times in the past when new technology was introduced, we have something at our fingertips that could be the solution. We have the internet which allows us to have continuous discussions around this topic. We are able to see the impact of AI and Automation around the world at the click of a button. We can read articles, see it on TV, and search for discussions on the internet. We’ve never had access to all of this in the past when new technologies were introduced to the workplace.

Is the very fact that these conversations are happening at a global level be the actual fix to helping make sure that we don’t see this massive job displacement in the future?

Direct download: should_be_be_scared_of_ai_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:43am PDT


Mary Czerwinski is the Research Manager at the Visualization and Interaction (VIBE) Research Group at Microsoft. She worked in computer-human interaction for Bellcore, the Johnson Space Center, and Compaq, and also held an adjunct position at Rice University while at Compaq. She moved to Microsoft in 1996, as a usability tester in product development.

Czerwinski’s research focuses primarily on emotion tracking, information worker task management, and health and wellness for individuals and groups. Her background is in visual attention and multitasking. She holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington.

Her research group of 10 has very diverse talents. One area that they work on is information visualization – how to see patterns in large amounts of data. Another area is to look at tools for programmers as well as making the environment better and more productive for them.

What is an intelligent system? It is a system that uses algorithms to characterize your behavior. It is a software system that can get to know you personally to help you focus and get work done. For example, perhaps there is a piece of software that is making you frustrated. The software developers want to know this so they can work on adjusting and modifying the software based on that feedback.

Another use for the intelligent system can be to create an assistant that is more personal. They are trying to make assistants that will interact in a more human, personal way –ways in which people find more natural. 

One example Czerwinski shared is when a person uses Cortana. If the person says, “Hey Cortana!” in a cheerful voice, then Cortana should answer back in a similar happy tone. Or if the person says something to Cortana in a panicked voice, then she should come back in a calming tone.

Czerwinski says, “This takes a lot of data and training but it is not clear to me that humans are not that much better [at understanding emotions]. Humans hide their emotions a lot – especially at work.” So it takes long user studies to approach this level of detail.

Czerwinski’s advice to listeners is to stop being scared about machine learning and algorithms. Over the next 5 – 10 years we will see some amazing changes in technology that will allow us to get more work done which may encourage some of us to become consumed with working, but she encourages everyone to remember to take time to go for walks and spend time with loved ones.

She also believes we need to manage the technology thoughtfully to make sure we avoid some of the concerning aspects that come with technological advances.

What You Will Learn In This Episode:

  • How and why users’ emotions are tracked
  • What is Artificial Emotion Intelligence?
  • Real life examples of how Artificial Emotion Intelligence is being used
  • Some challenges and concerns that come with AEI, AI and VR and how we can avoid them
  • The future of personal assistants
  • The current state of AI


Direct download: Mary20Czerwinski20Podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:51am PDT

Employee engagement is at the center of a lot of conversations inside of organizations these days. The problem is, investment in employee engagement has never been higher while the employee engagement scores have never been lower. So what is causing this disconnect?

Most organizations want their employees to be happy while working, however they are going about it the wrong way. Instead of redesigning the core workplace practices around the employees, organizations are keeping their outdated workplace practices while trying to give the employees special perks, thinking that will make them happy.

To truly impact your employee experience you must start by redesigning your core workplace practices. When organizations decide to forgo this step with the employees in mind and they choose to simply throw some perks at the employees, it can feel like employee manipulation. If you want to have engaged employees, start with redesigned core workplace practices.

Direct download: Employee_Engagement_VS_Employee_Manipulation.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:52pm PDT

Gordon Wright is the Senior VP and Global Director of HOK’s Workplace Practice. Based in Chicago, he leads diverse project teams that solve clients’ business and organizational challenges related to real estate business process, strategic planning, workplace strategy and change management. HOK has about 1,800 employees across a network of 23 offices on three continents.

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. Their mission is to deliver exceptional design ideas and solutions for clients through the creative blending of human need, environmental stewardship, value creation, science and art. Some of their designs include the Atlanta Falcons stadium in Georgia (the first retractable roof of its kind) and the Crick Institute in London, England (used for medical research).

Current trends in design:

  1. The employee experience – How do we create a space that people want to go?
  2. Providing Choices - Giving people just a desk and chair isn’t enough anymore
  3. Agility – so people can work anytime, anywhere
  4. An attractor – the space attracts people - not only to the workplace but to individual spaces

The role of VR and the gig economy in design:

Current research says that this generation of workers may have as many as 30 -40 jobs. With that in mind, design of workplaces must be different than at a time when people came and stayed for decades in one job.

Those in the contingent workforce, tend to move frequently between jobs. They are more nimble within the organization. So this impacts the design requirements.

HOK is currently using virtual reality in mapping out their designs.  This allows clients to have a digital experience of the space before it is actually created. VR mapping is having a significant impact on their current practice.

Wright gave some examples of the differences between now and years ago in regards to the workspace. One thing he mentioned was that space used to be very personal. It used to be that, depending on your rank in the company, you would have a private office or a cubicle that was all yours. You could make your surroundings yours by putting personal items such as pictures or diplomas. Now we have communal spaces - so there is no longer the option to personalize in the same way. But it allows people to collaborate more and choose what type of workspace they want for the day, instead of being stuck in one room.

Open plan environments have challenges and are sometimes only suitable for some employees. We have now gone beyond just open plans. We have co-working spaces, other amenities, multiple options.

HOK has learned that the best workspaces are those in which there is choice. “Choice is the number 1 indicator in how satisfied a person is in their job”, Wright says.

So now they have a variety of ways that they can curate a space to provide choice for employees. It can fit the needs of each person.

Wright’s advice for managers changing workspace is to pick your design partner wisely. The right partner will work to understand your organization. Also, engage with people within your organization – those that see design is a crucial part of creating a healthy environment

His advice to employees is to be open-minded about changes in your workspace.


What you will learn in this episode:

  • What enters into design consideration from start-ups to institutions
  • How AI and the Gig Economy impacts design
  • Workplace trends HOK is paying attention to
  • The importance of understanding your workforce as you design
  • What data HOK looks at when designing an workspace
  • How the industry has changed over the past few decades
  • The impact companies can have on a community
Direct download: Gordon20Wright20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:52am PDT

Running a business used to be all about revenue, profit, metrics and power. That is not the case these days. So what is it that you need to focus on to succeed?

In the past running a successful business was all about revenue, profit, quarterly metrics and being more powerful than other organizations in your field. But the game of business has fundamentally changed and it’s not enough to run your organization the old way.

Now instead of being all about outperforming the competition, it is all about outlasting the competition. You have to figure out how to stay in the game long term while all others fall behind. So how does this change affect the way we get work done? It requires us to look at the bigger picture and to invest in more long term things. This includes looking at your people in a different way. It requires you to look at your workspace in a different way.

Organizations that understand this shift will be better off than those who try to keep playing the game the old way. We are in the long game, if you are focusing on the short game you are going to fall behind. The game of business has changed, are you going to change with it?

Direct download: How_To_Make_Sure_Your_Organization_Outlasts_the_Competition_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:59pm PDT

Martin Ford is a futurist and the author of the New York Times bestselling "Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future" (winner of the 2015 Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award) and "The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future," as well as the founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm. He has over 25 years experience in the fields of computer design and software development.

He has written about the implications of future technology for publications including The New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, The Financial Times, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post. Ford is a frequent keynote speaker on the subject of accelerating progress in robotics and artificial intelligence—and what these advances mean for the economy, job market and society of the future. Check out his Ted Talk on the topic.

Ford’s perspective on what is going on in the world of work:

He believes there will be impact from technology on jobs. Jobs that are repetitive may be replaced by AI. Even beyond those that are commonly discussed, such as traditional ‘blue collar’ jobs may be affected. For example, lawyers  or doctors in radiology may be impacted by AI.  Jobs that involve creativity will remain for the foreseeable future. About half of the jobs in the economy may be impacted by AI –it could be staggering. So, we need to discuss the possible outcomes.  

Ford also believes that this time the transition will be different than it has been in the past, during the first three industrial revolutions. Why? First, because we have thinking machines – in a limited sense. This is different. Machines are beginning to encroach on human work

Second, it is very broad-based. It is difficult to think of what jobs won’t be impacted by AI

3 scenarios of future of work with AI:

  1. Mass unemployment – no one has any money to spend, the economy collapses.
  2. It looks a lot like we have now – inequality, quality of jobs is declining, maybe a college grad needs to take minimum wage jobs
  3. Things adapt and there is a significant growth of jobs that people can transition into as they lose their current job

Fords advice to executives:

  • AI is going to be an enormous disruption and how business will compete
  • AI is going to be another kind of capital that will require attention
  • This will have a big impact on employees – so think about humane ways to downsize
  • What is your responsibility as a citizen? Engage in the public debate on AI

His advice for employees:

  • If you are doing repetitive work – the risk is that your job will be replaced. Try to transition to a more creative position or one which has a component of caring – such as nursing or healthcare.

Episode Highlights:

  • Cutting-edge technology to come
  • The future of work with AI
  • Viable guaranteed basic income
  • Why this transition will be different than past industrial revolutions
  • Possible future of Amazon employees
Direct download: Martin20Ford20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:11am PDT

In order to go above and beyond, you must learn how to unlock the true potential of your employees. Companies that learn how to do this will stay on top.

There are some companies that just seem to stand out above the rest of their competition. Why is that? Why is it that, even though there isn’t that much of a difference between one bank and another or one grocery store to another, there are a few companies that are able to go above and beyond for their customers?

The answer is the companies who go above and beyond take care of their employees. They invest in the experience of their people which in turn unlocks the discretionary effort of their people. When employees feel that they are being invested in, cared for, and respected it makes them want to go above and beyond for their customers, co-workers and the company.

The problem is most companies don’t generally put in the time and effort needed to create a unique employee experience that fits their company. One of your company’s most important assets is your people. If you really want to have a significant impact inside and outside of your company, start by investing in your people.

Direct download: decretionary_effort.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:20pm PDT

Paul Oyer is a Professor of Economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and director of Stanford’s new Big Data program called, Big Data, Strategic Decisions: Analysis to Action. Dr. Oyer is the author of two books published in 2014 – Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating and Roadside MBA.

With big data it’s critical to know what questions to ask. Dr. Oyer says, “Intuition is less important for making the right decision but really important to know what’s the question I need to ask – how do I even begin to ask the right question.” You have to ask the right question before the big data is analyzed. In the competitive environment, if your algorithm is based on your bias then eventually someone will develop one without it - and they will beat it and you.

In the classroom we constantly think about how we take the tools found in big data and how we combine it with good old business sense.  That is where the creativity comes from and the big wins come from.  Dr. Oyer says, “I am not so worried at all about people becoming so reliant on data that they don’t use their own expertise.”

When asked what future jobs may be taken over by AI, Dr. Oyer explains that if a computer can someday do what you are doing, it may be taken by AI. Some examples are: parking attendant, cab driver, transcriptionist, and foundry mold & core makers.

Worried? Get welding training – in general - get craft and trade training

Retraining is very important but unfortunately we’ve been bad at retraining.

It’s very hard for people to recognize that what they used to do is no longer needed. It is difficult then to go and get trained. People need to be open to training.


The gig economy is big and 40% of people working in this fashion by 2020 is not out of possibility. The statistics vary by how it was reported for full time workers. Two and half times the people are part time gig employees and didn’t show in some of the surveys and data.

Now, over 30% of Americans participate in gig in some way, now. People are from all ends of the economy - all ages, education, etc. are in the gig economy.


What You Will Learn In This Episode:

  • Paul Oyer’s AI forecast
  • The role of big data and why business leaders around the world need to pay attention to this topic
  • The gig economy’s future
  • Workplace trends for women
  • The biggest threats to the future of work and some big disruptions coming

Links From The Episode:



Direct download: Paul20Oyer20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31am PDT

Although most people don’t think about it this way, your organization’s physical workspace is a symbol. What does your symbol reflect to employees and outsiders?

What most people don’t understand is that your organization’s physical workspace is not just about the artwork on the wall, the material of the floors, the views or whether it’s an open or closed plan. Your physical space is much more than that; it is a symbol. It is what connects the employees to the organization. It is reflective of your organization and what it stands for.

Research has shown that physical workspace has a huge impact and value on our organizations. It help connect employees to a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging. It helps outsiders to get a feel for what your organization prioritizes. It creates an atmosphere conducive to productivity and innovation.

We should be mindful of this when we create our workspaces and we should be careful to not just copy the workspaces that other companies are creating. Your physical workspace should be unique to your organization, your goals, your way of working and your priorities. When people step foot in your organization, what will your symbol reflect to them?

Direct download: the_physical_space_is_a_symbol.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:58am PDT

Cindy Parnell is the Executive Director at Arizona State University Career and Professional Development Services.  At 103,000 students, ASU is the largest university in the country. Parnell’s team of 35 serves all students.

Career services is a unique department in that it has multiple constituents including students and alumni. Career advisors are specialists who know and understand trends. This drives the programming and it is helping students by getting targeted information to help them move to their next steps.

Traditional education is focused on theory, knowledge acquisition - the true liberal arts education that is embedded with research.  At ASU they take a more real world approach. One option is for students to work in a team in an interdisciplinary approach. The students who make up the team come from a variety of programs, so there could be students who are studying engineering, law and business alongside students studying art, communication, and teaching. They come together to work on a ‘real problem’ and then present it to the company which posed the problem. This allows students to work together to produce solutions around real world issues.

Parnell says, “The new wave of education is around creating ‘master learners.” ASU is creating a group of master learners. The jobs don’t exist for many students that are just beginning their college programs, so it is about creating opportunities to practice critical learning skills. Non routine jobs will most likely be what exists for the students when they leave college. So ASU realizes they need to teach that.

To do this they create environments for students to come to together to practice and then to debrief. Then the students will know how to adjust. ASU wants to drive learning and can allow missteps – without real world consequences and teach the students to then move along.

Some of ASU’s Innovations that are discussed are:

  • Public service academy – an optional program for students with all different majors to learn and work in cross sector organizations. They are exposed through a variety of internships
  • ‘Eventithons’ and hackathons hosted by Fulton Schools of Engineering – the faculty drive these. They work with employer partners so employees from these organizations work alongside college students. It gives students opportunities to gain skills and connections
  • A new course being implemented- it is open to any student, of any major - for a 6 week course they work alongside a corporate partner to work on a project. This allows for students to see how working together with different people can create new things and they will eventually present to the organization.


Parnell’s advice to employers is to connect with students earlier. Don’t wait until they are applying for jobs, connect with them while they are just starting college.

Parnell’s advice to parents is to let the students dabble and try different classes to see what they can excel. It’s ok to for them to change majors. It is important for students to get relevant experience.

What You Will Learn In This Episode:

  • Thoughts on the ‘return on investment’ - ROI - of a college education
  • How important is the brand of a university
  • The role of diverse teams
  • How companies are partnering with ASU to connect with students on a personal level
  • What are ASU Takeover days
  • Innovative ways ASU is preparing their students for the future of work


Direct download: Cindy20Parnell20Podcast-DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:38am PDT

The way we think about work is a little bit backwards. It’s time for us to redefine how we view work, managers and employees.

If an alien were to come to earth to make some observations they would notice several things including the population of earth, the lifespan of its inhabitants and that a huge part of their lives is something called work.

We spend a large part of our adult lives working, but the problem is a majority of us are working in jobs that don’t fulfill us. We are working for organizations that don’t care about us and for managers that don’t treat us well.

I believe we have a very backwards view of work. If you were to look up the words work, employee and manager in a dictionary you would find words like struggle, servant, and zookeeper. With the amount of time we are spending at work with our managers and coworkers I think it is time for us to redefine the way we think about these words. How can you redefine work in your organization? What is an employee at your company? What does it mean to be a manager in your company? It is up to you to redefine what it means to work at your company.

Direct download: why_we_need_to_change_the_way_we_think_about_work_clip.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:54am PDT

Natalie McCullough is the General Manager of MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics at Microsoft. Her experiences are broad, from years of consulting organizations of all sizes and across industries. She found her true calling – helping people manage their scarcest resource – when she became the Chief Revenue Officer at VoloMetrix, the company that pioneered the category of workplace analytics, and was later acquired by Microsoft.

McCullough holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science from Stanford University.

People Analytics or Workplace Analytics is when data is used to maximize the workforce. This data looks at a variety of things – for instance, what are the most engaged and least engaged employees’ lives like. One result appears to show that employees’ leaders have most impact on their level of engagement. According to McCullough, “Regular solid one on one time is the number one reason the employees feel connected to the company.”

Microsoft has Office 365 that gives signals to look at using email and calendar data. This can be seen in My Analytics that arrives in an employee’s inbox. It is a 100% empowerment tool. The employee is the only one that can see the data. It is designed to assist the employee in improving their work life. Employees can see the amount of time they spend in meetings, on email or even the amount of time they spent multitasking in meetings – by measuring how much time they spent emailing during a meeting. In other words, how focused – or not – they were in the meeting. It is a “Fitbit for work”.

McCullough’s advice to managers/leaders to get started with data is to start on the journey with transparency and growth mindset. She also suggests experimenting. Don’t bite off something for the entire organization, focus on one thing to begin with.

Her advice for employees in regards to data is to remember that you have the right to ask employers what data is being collected. She says you should get ‘greedy’ and use the data to make your life better.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Suggestions for starting to use data in your organization & life
  • Uses for Office 365
  • Why Microsoft analyzes data from people
  • Who ‘owns’ People Analytic?
  • How to use data to better manage your organization and optimize your workforce
Direct download: Natalie20McCullough20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:51am PDT

No one wants to work for an organization where they feel like they are not taken care of. So why is it that billions of people around the world end up stuck in these types of jobs?

I think in the business world we’ve been telling a pretty good story – call it a lie if you want – but we tell millions of these every day. In an interview people ask, “What is it like to work here?” and instead of telling them the good and the bad things about the company, we build it up to be the best place to work in the world.
We always tell people how great our organization is – how amazing of a place it is to work. We tell them how great the managers are, how they will look out for you and have your back. We tell them that your peers will look out for you, as well. We tell them that there is no bureaucracy. We tell them about the trust, the fun, the collaboration and transparency. We create this story about how it is a great place to work.

However, when that person starts working there, they find it is the exact opposite. They find that the employees are stuck in worlds filled with bureaucracy, using outdated technologies, sitting in outdated environments. Managers are taking advantage of employees, employees are backstabbing each other and there is tons of conflict and red tape.

We are propagating a false story – a lie of what it’s like to work for these organizations. So, what is the solution? The solution is transparency and honesty. Thankfully, that is what we are starting to see. We now have Facebook, Glassdoor, Vault and Google. If employees don’t like something about their company, their boss or their peers they make it known. This is forcing organizations to truly become the organizations that they say they want to be.

Direct download: thebiglieorganizationstell.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:56am PDT

Morten Hansen is a Management Professor at the University of California Berkeley and the author of a new book, Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better and Achieve More. He also has a previous book titled Collaboration and co-authored a book called Great by Choice with Jim Collins.

Prior to joining the I School at UC Berkeley, Hansen was professor at Harvard Business School and at INSEAD, France, where he retains a part-time role. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.  His research has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, among others. He also speaks and consults for large companies throughout the world.

There is a notion that the harder we work the more successful we will be. So we become very busy and put in lots of hours. Technology has made work all absorbing. So the new book, Great at Work, looks at helping people look at the work they do with a focus on top performers.

Top performers do these two things:

  1. Choose priorities.
  2. They are hyper-obsessed and have targeted intense efforts on fewer projects. If you are doing less then you need to make sure you are doing better than others on that topic.

Some topics in his book include:

Redesign work: The top performer changed the way they work. They ask, ‘How can I do this role better?” They look at what they are doing and challenge the status quo.

They also hunt for pain points such as: Where are people complaining? Where can I find solutions? and they ask ‘dumb’ questions such as: Why are there receptions in hotels? Why have 2 months of summer vacations in schools?

Don’t just learn, loop:

  • This topic looks at how do we continuously improve? Most people are on autopilot; they’re not thinking about improving.
  • We need to have a quality learning loop. This is a method of learning that can be applied to any skill at work – or home.

Passion and Purpose:

  • If you want to be a top performer, don’t follow your passion. But you can’t ignore your passion either. The third way is to ‘match passion with purpose’.
  • Try to understand the kind of benefits this company brings to customers.

Forceful Champions

  • In today’s workplace you can’t just focus on the hierarchy, you need to be able to work well with peers. You need to convince others to buy into your project or your vision
  • Be a champion and be willing and able to navigate the landscape to get what you want done.
  • Inspire people and be persuasive – it’s a skill you have to learn


Fight and unite:

  • We need to fix meetings: meetings are the ‘curse’ of today’s workplace
  • Meetings are places to have a debate and then implement with what you decided, but most of the time unnecessary meetings are called just for the purpose of being able to say “we had a meeting”

How do you get people to work together without consensus?

  • If you don’t have a team goal, people will look at their own agenda.
  • If you let people have solid input in meetings, they are more likely to go along with the decision – make sure people are heard
  • No consensus? Then the senior manager makes the decision

When it comes to the way we work, Hansen believes we have a skewed view of what success looks like. Hansen says, “I think the fundamental problem with the way we work now is what I call the "do more" paradigm of work. We believe that doing more is the way to succeed in having better results. More hours. More projects, more activities, more features in a products. And so on. So we are piling on work. And then people are stressed out by trying to accomplish all of these things. But it doesn't necessarily lead to better work. It leads people to be stressed out. And then these perks are not gonna really change that very much. And I think that's where we're gonna go back to the root cause of the work itself to change that.”

 What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to be a Top Performer
  • Hansen’s outlook on AI
  • What The Purpose Pyramid is
  • Who is responsible for passion and purpose: the organization or employee?
  • How to become an Entrepreneur of Changing the Way You Work Inside Your Company
  • Why the way we work is not working
Direct download: morten20thansen20podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:17am PDT

With companies making a move towards relying on data and algorithms to make decisions, it is important to remember that there is still a human aspect that has to be considered.

Many organizations are making a move towards relying on data and algorithms for their decision making, but we have to ask if this is always a good thing. The truth is, no matter how calculated and precise these programs may seem, there is still a human programming the algorithms and there is plenty of room for error.

One example of this was included in a book by Cathy O’Neil entitled, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. In her book O’Neil told a story about a school in Washington D.C. that decided to use an algorithm to find the lowest performing teachers in the school. They ended up identifying around 200 teachers who had low performance levels and the school let those teachers go. One of the teachers, Susan, was particularly surprised that she was one of the teachers who was let go as she always had high reviews from students and was well-liked by peers and supervisors.

It turns out that what the algorithm couldn’t identify was that the low scores were not Susan’s fault. What had happened was the students in Susan’s class came from another school where teachers were editing the tests to make it look like the students got all the answers correct. So when those students moved into Susan’s class where their answers were not edited, it appeared that their scores were falling drastically.

What we have to understand is we still need a human aspect when it comes to making decisions. Data and algorithms are great, but we still need human input to understand why the data is the way that it is. We cannot simply rely on the data alone.

Direct download: dangers_of_relying_on_data_podcast.mp3
Category:Millennials -- posted at: 1:43pm PDT

Tracy Reinhold is currently the Chief Security Officer at Fannie Mae, a role he has held since 2015. Prior to working for Fannie Mae, Tracy spent 22+ years working for the FBI, first in the Intelligence Program in areas such as counter-terrorism and national security, and then as an FBI career agent.

With between 10,000 to 12,000 employees, the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, is a United States government-sponsored enterprise and, since 1968, a publicly traded company. Founded in 1938, the corporation's purpose is to expand the secondary mortgage market by securitizing mortgages in the form of mortgage-backed securities, allowing banks to reinvest their assets into more lending and in effect increasing the number of lenders in the mortgage market by reducing the reliance on locally based savings and loan associations. Its brother organization is the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), better known as Freddie Mac.

According to Reinhold, every company is a technology company today. It doesn’t matter what your core business is, whether it is in finance, logging or retail, it is bettered by technology

At Fannie Mae the security system is complex. For example, they have sensors on all their floors to figure out the most traveled patterns in the building so they can figure out the best evacuation routes or occupancy plan. This is beyond the usual idea of security functions within a company.  

Security is a cost center for any company. It’s not adding money to the bottom line, as opposed to what it really does - take money away from the bottom line. So in order to be viable, you have to think about what sort of technology can be leveraged to protect the building.  Or consider how it will also enhance the building operation. Ask how could this better utilize the space that the core business is currently using?

Something else going on at Fannie Mae is to leverage technology to enhance access control to what they consider critical spaces.   For example, to reduce a company’s security force. If a turnstile that allows one to reduce 3 shifts of security personnel, the initial investment of $65,000 for that turnstile is quickly offset. So when one makes a pitch to the C Suite, you need to articulate how you will make a return on that technology investment.

When asked if he is worried about the use of increasing technology, Reinhold says, “I am not worried, I’m aware, and I think that is the difference”.


What you will learn in this episode:

  • Many innovative ways Fannie Mae is utilizing technology in their buildings and with their employees
  • What it is like to work at Fannie Mae
  • The current state of work and security
  • Why every company is a tech company today
  • How Fannie Mae deals with threats/hacks
Direct download: Tracy20Reinhold20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:40am PDT

Companies like Google, Netflix and Facebook have great perks and workspaces, but just trying to copy and paste their ideas into your company will not get you very far.

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the unique and impressive things that companies like Google, Netflix and Facebook have implemented. These companies have some great employee perks such as free food, massages, work flexibility and unlimited sick days. They have fun and exciting workspaces that include rock climbing walls, breathtaking views, on site gyms with trainers, open floor plans and napping pods. A lot of company leaders see what Google, Netflix and Facebook are doing and they feel they have to do the same to attract and retain their people, but this is a horrible idea.

The fact is, companies like Google are not making these decisions on a whim, so neither should you. They are implementing these things based on people analytics, data, research and studies.
They reach out to their employees to find out what they want and need and that is what determines their next move. Every company is unique and therefore simply copying Google is dangerous and it won’t get you very far.

The truth is there is no secret to figuring out what perks and benefits to offer your employees. If you want to create an organization where people genuinely want to show up to work you just have to ask your people and listen to them. Focus on what makes your company unique; what are your values, what are your goals, what do your people care about? Trying to be like Google kills what makes your organization special. So instead of trying to copy and paste from Google, try figuring out what is important to your organization and to your people before implementing perks, benefits or a new workspace.

Direct download: why_your_organization_should_stop_being_google_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:27pm PDT

Francine Katsoudas is the Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer of Cisco. She plays a major role in the company's overall performance, leading organizational strategy, promoting operational effectiveness, and elevating team performance through innovative leadership.

A 20-year veteran of Cisco, Katsoudas has extensive experience leading organizational transformations. Prior to her current role, she was the HR leader and business partner to the Engineering leadership team helping oversee its workforce of more than 25,000 people. She has also held leadership positions in the Service Provider, HR Operations, Customer Service, Acquisition Integration and Services groups.

A new venture at Cisco this last year was Leader Day. One day brought 8500 leaders together both in person and remotely, around the globe in 7 locations and it included leaders that report to CEO. Leader Day was meant to create a community for the 8500 people striving to be better and it was developed due to desire to align expectations for leaders . The event started with everyone listening to the same keynote speaker and scenarios. After that the entire group of 8500 were then divided into groups of 10 and each group had exercises that they discussed based on those scenarios.

Cisco looks at 3 pillars within the talent strategy:

  1. What do we want individual experience to be?
  2. Teams – create an environment that builds and develops world class teams
  3. Team of teams – how do we work with 73,000 employees to drive alignment and innovation

In addition, Cisco has identified 11 'Moments that Matter’. Identifying the concept of ‘moments that matter’ has led to managers becoming more thoughtful about issues surrounding these types of moments. It has also driven a new level of appreciation.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • The story behind ‘getting rid of annual performance reviews in 3 days’*
  • The path that led to Katsoudas to her current role at Cisco
  • What is ‘The best of we’ and ‘The best of me’
  • Should you be aware of your personal brand?
  • How do you deal with fear at work?
  • An offer to other orgs to collaborate with Cisco on new topic

*Check out previous podcast with Jacob and Francine to learn even more about this subject!

Direct download: Francine_Katsoudas_Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:47am PDT

It is quite common for people to worry about technological advances such as AI, Automation and self-driving cars. And while these changes are coming, it won’t happen overnight.

The impacts of technology are all around us. You don’t have to go far to hear a conversation about how technology is shaping the future of work and the way that we live. You can see it on television, you can read it in the newspaper or in online blogs, you can hear it on the radio--it really is all around us.

The subject of technology is usually at the forefront of any conversation about changes in our world such as AI, automation, the Internet of Things, robots, self-driving cars, etc… A lot of times people are quick to panic when these subjects are brought up. They worry about automation taking over jobs, they worry that self-driving cars will be dangerous, they worry that robots will become too advanced.

But it is important for us to remember that there is more to these changes than just the technology. Just because we have the technology in place to create these things doesn’t mean that they can be implemented tomorrow. There is a lot more that has to happen aside from the technological ideas and know-how.

Other things that have to be considered before things are implemented are rules and regulations, ethical issues, culture, society and the environment. For example, we have to have rules in place that will help a self-driving car make critical decisions in the case of an accident. Also, before something can be widely implemented humans have to be comfortable with the idea of using the technology. There was a time when Airbnb or Uber probably wouldn’t have been accepted by people, for example.

Don’t get me wrong, the changes brought on by technology are inevitable and they will keep coming. But we need to remember that we aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and all of a sudden be living in a whole new world; these things take time.

Direct download: Technology_Alone_is_Not_Enough_to_Change_the_World_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:08am PDT

Kimberly Samon is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Weight Watchers. She has more than 20 years of HR experience in the Retail industry. Previously Samon was at KSL Advisory Services, a private Corporate Strategy and Human Resources Consulting firm providing expertise to companies on all facets of their business.  Before assuming that position, she held top HR and Strategy executive roles with Simmons Bedding Company, Frito-Lay, HQ Global Workplaces, Lacerte Technologies, and Kinko’s (now FedEx Office).

Samon holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, a MBA in Management from Mercer University, and a JD with a focus in Labor and Employment Law from Stetson University.

Weight Watchers started in 1963. With over 18,000 employees, it is the world’s leading commercial provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations. In the more than 50 years since its founding, the company has built its business by helping millions of people around the world lose weight through sensible and sustainable food plans, activity, behavior modification and group support.

Weight Watchers has gone through a major transformation over the past several years. When Samon started working there the industry was in turmoil, but they have found a way to refocus their brand and in turn they have seen the company return to success. It started as a company that was solely focused on weight loss, but now it is a company that looks at the overall well-being of their clients. It is not just about losing weight, it is now about being your healthiest self--physically, mentally and emotionally.

Samon believes that instead of thinking of work-life ‘balance’, it is important to think of it as work-life ‘integration’ – we need to give ourselves permission to not work 24 hours a day. For instance, Samon will go to events during her children’s school day but then will work later in the evening.

What will leadership skills look like in 2025? The fundamentals like communication will remain the same and results orientation is always going to be fundamental to organizations. Now people want to be attached to a purpose, and a meaningful mission. So how people show up may change but fundamentals won’t change.

Samon’s advice for employee skill sets are to have technology skills, be agile – as a way of thinking.  and have the ability to collaborate.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What it is like to work at Weight Watchers
  • How Weight Watchers has evolved over the last few years
  • Fundamental leadership skills for now and the future
  • What practices listeners can use to be more authentic, empathetic and vulnerable at work
  • The distinction between traditional and non-traditional HR
  • How WW justifies spending money on Employee Experience
Direct download: Kimberly20Samon20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:36am PDT

Want to get a visual of what our future may look like? The best thing to do may be to grab a sci-fi book off of the shelf.

Over the years there has been a multitude of great science fiction books and movies that have been released. Authors like H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Philip Dick and Orson Scott have created fantastic futuristic worlds for us to think about. Movies such as The Matrix, Avatar, Interstellar and Total Recall have been very popular entertainment. But what is the role of science fiction in the future of work?

Works of science fiction, whether they are books, movies or TV shows, allow us to get a glimpse into what the future could be like. They have allowed us to see things like robots, AI, connected devices and self driving cars before they were mainstream realities.

It is one thing to read research, data reports and to look at the numbers to see projections 10 to 20 years out. It is another thing completely to be able to physically view practical (or extreme) ways in which different technologies and advancements could be implemented into our world. It is hard to grasp what the future could look like when all you have is data and numbers. Works of science fiction movies and books help paint a picture that makes it easier to visualize what could be.

So the next time you are wondering what the future may hold 10 to 20 years down the line, pick up a good science fiction book or go out and see a science fiction movie. You may get a good glimpse into what’s to come.

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.


  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


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