Great Leadership With Jacob Morgan

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