Great Leadership With Jacob Morgan

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: 9:21pm 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: 11:27pm 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