Great Leadership With Jacob Morgan

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