Sun, 28 June 2020
Frances Frei is a Professor of Technology and Operations Management at Harvard Business School. She is also the bestselling co-author of two books, Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business and Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You.
In 2017 she joined Uber’s team as the first SVP of Leadership and Strategy to help the company navigate its public crisis in leadership and culture. She has a popular TED Talk titled How to Build (and Rebuild) Trust which has over 4 million views.
Frances has always been interested in operations--how things work and how to make things work better. But being interested in operations has led her work to focus on leadership. As she shares, “I pretty quickly came to the conclusion that if it weren't for the pesky humans, operations would work beautifully. And then I got super intrigued by the humans, and then realized that the humans were led. So then that took me to leadership aspects, but the technology and the operations have stayed strong. So most of the companies I've worked with have some, they're either being disrupted by technology or they're digitally native. But everything I do is around how to make people and organizations better.”
Leadership is about making other people better
In her book, Unleashed, Frances talks about one of the big assumptions that people have about leadership that is actually incorrect. For the last few decades the focus has been on building leaders up and getting them to inspect themselves. When actually leaders should be focused outside of themselves--it should be about making other people better first. Leadership isn’t about you, it is about other people.
Leaders should walk into a room and not want everyone to be thinking about them as a leader, but the leader should be the one thinking of everyone else and how to set those people up for success.
The problem with Uber and how they fixed it
While teaching at Harvard Business School (HBS), one of Frances’ students approached her to convince Frances to have a conversation with Uber’s then CEO, Travis Kalanick. Due to several scandals and bad decisions the company was going through a very public crisis at the time in leadership and culture. After Frances and Travis talked for three days, Travis asked for her help and she officially joined the team in June of 2017.
She was prepared to stay until the job was done, and as she shares, they were able to turn things around much quicker than she had expected. At the core of what they did was a massive amount of executive education.
Frances shares the major underlying problem, “Of all the problems that were surfaced, well over 90% had to do with a person and their manager. There were 3000 managers at Uber. So there were either 3000 bad people, or Uber was doing something systematically to not set managers up for success. We very quickly found out that it was the latter. And here's what was going on, I get hired as an individual contributor, and then the company was growing so fast that like, five minutes later, you got promoted to a manager. You didn't have any training. And then five minutes after that, by the way, you became a manager of managers. Turns out that management is a skill, a skill that can be taught, but no one was teaching folks. So we had to teach people how to manage, like, how to give effective feedback, how to set goals, all of the basics, including then how to be inclusive. How to set people up for success. So that was one part, is that it was clear that managers were at the tip of the spear where the problems were, but it wasn't their fault and education would solve it.”
From there Frances was able to get Uber and HBS to partner to create a training platform that was accessible to all 3000 managers across the world. Through this platform they gathered top experts in teams, globalization, leadership, etc...who then taught classes on things like how to build trust, how to set a team of people up for success, and how to design and shepherd a culture. This training continues on inside the company even to this day. And it has had a huge impact on how the company operates.
What to do when company values are weaponized
Frances works with other companies, as she did with Uber, to help fix broken cultures. When asked if there has been anything she has tried that failed, she brought up the topic of weaponized company values. What is a weaponized value, you may ask. Frances explains it as taking an internal value, which may sound like a wonderful thing, and using it in a negative way for your own personal benefit.
She gives the example of a value inside of Uber when she first arrived, which was Default to Trust. Now that sounds like a beautiful cultural value, basically saying let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt. But what was happening was senior leaders were taking that value and throwing it in the face of junior people who started questioning them. They used Default to Trust as, stop questioning and just do what you are told for their own selfish reasons.
The part that failed was that she thought the answer was to re-educate people and change the thought process behind the value that was twisted. But in those kinds of situations, Frances says, the only thing to do is get rid of the value altogether. Once a value has been weaponized there is no amount of re-education that can bring it back to the original intent. Let it go and come up with a new value.
The three elements needed for successful change
In light of all of the challenging times we are facing around the world--including the global pandemic and the protests in America, Frances shared her advice to leaders on what to do in difficult times like these. There are a lot of CEOs and leaders around the world who are stepping forward and taking action for the better, but in order to make those changes sustainable there are three elements, Frances says, that have to be present. The three elements needed for successful change are:
Have an optimistic way forward--The way forward has to give hope, but it also has to be extremely thorough and detailed. What specific steps need to be taken to get us to a better future?
Wed, 24 June 2020
How is it that in an organization there are leaders who everyone hates, are scared of, and don’t want to work with, and in that same organization there are leaders who everyone admires, respects, and wants to work with?
In this mini-podcast episode, I talk about the two types of leaders and why we have these in our organizations.
Sun, 21 June 2020
Robert Glazer is the bestselling author of Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others. He is also the CEO of Acceleration Partners, a 13 year old company that manages affiliate and partner marketing programs for a lot of well known brands such as Adidas, LinkedIn, Target, Instacart, and Hotwire.
Robert has around 260,000 LinkedIn newsletter subscribers, he has a 100% approval rating as a CEO on Glassdoor, he is ranked #2 on Glassdoor's list of Top CEO of Small & Medium Companies in the US, his company has a 4.9 out of 5 star rating as a place to work, and 99% of employees would recommend the company to a friend. He frequently contributes to Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine and Thrive Global and he is the host of the popular Elevate Podcast.
The team of 170 people at Acceleration Partners is 100% remote, and they have been since day one. So Robert knows the ins and outs of successfully leading a team that he doesn’t see in person every day. This is something that a lot of CEOs are having to learn on the fly now, as a large portion of organizations are moving to virtual during the pandemic.
How to create a culture for a remote workforce
Robert shares that the key to having a successful remote team is by starting with the core values of the organization. Once you know your core values you can intentionally attract and hire the right people. Contrary to what happens in most organizations, Robert and his team understand that not every person will feel like the company is right for them.
A lot of organizations try to be the best place to work for everyone. But just as not everyone will like the same food, or the same music--not everyone is going to be a good fit for your company, and that is okay. As organizations we need to learn to embrace that fact. We need to be open and honest with potential hires about what it is really like to work inside the organization. It is not effective to sugar coat what their experience might be.
Robert says staying consistent in your core values is very important for building that culture. Inside of Acceleration Partners they reward and punish based on the company values, which are Own It, Embrace Relationships, and Excel & Improve. Those are the values that they consistently talk about and support. There is no question about what the company stands for and what they look for in their employees.
For people who feel that it is a good fit, the company has a lot of tools and resources that they utilize to help everyone feel connected. Employees use Slack to communicate, they have frequent video calls, they have regional in person meetups, and they have a company wide in person AP Summit at the end of each year.
But ultimately it is the people who create the culture. So having those core values set up from the beginning and using those for attracting and hiring is critical.
Four ways to elevate yourself
In his book, Robert lays out four elements that go into bettering yourself. They are:
All of the individual elements impact each other. If you don’t take care of yourself physically you feel tired and sick. If you feel sick and tired you are more likely to be impatient with people around you, you can’t focus on your goals, you don’t stick to morning routines, etc...You have to have all of these elements balanced in order to effectively elevate yourself.
Robert has used these four elements to build the training for employees inside his company. He says, “We've always believed in investing in people holistically, like what are the things that we can train them on-- about health productivity, time management, leadership-- where they get better at work, but they also get better outside of work? They're better parents, they're better spouses, they're better children, brothers and sisters. Now is sort of the real breakthrough, what we’re seeing is 80% of our people, in leadership, have really grown up from within. We were able to get our people to keep growing with us because we were investing and building their capacity. So a lot of our training actually even revolves around this as part of that thing I mentioned before I take a bunch of leaders off and I work with them on their personal core values, I don't think you can be a good leader if you aren't clear what you value and you can communicate that, f you don't know how to set goals, if you don't know all these other things like these affect your performance overall.”
How leaders can encourage others to build these capacities for themselves
Leaders need to support their team holistically. As Robert shared, when employees are happy, healthy, engaged, and thriving outside of work they are going to show up to work ready to go.
Encourage employees to start book clubs or workout challenges. Provide access to learning platforms. Offer training on how to set goals or create healthy habits. Be sure to lead by example and work on these four elements in your own life as well.
Sun, 21 June 2020
The world is changing quickly. What do you need to know and do in order to be successful now and in the future? Hi, my name is Jacob Morgan, I’m a 4x best-selling author, speaker, and futurist and this show is all about you…helping you become more successful at work and in life. Each week you will get access to several episodes which range from longer interviews with with the world’s top business leaders. Educators, or authors to shorter episodes where I will share a specific hack, tip, or strategy that you can use to become more successful.
From leadership, to the future of work, to employee experience this show will live you the insights and the tools you need to succeed and thrive both professionally and personally. If you want to future proof your career and your organization then this is the show for you!
Make sure to follow me on Spotify on subscribe to the show on your favorite platform. You can do so easily by going to futureofworkpodcast.com
Wed, 17 June 2020
How we think about hiring talent has been around for decades. We make them jump through hoops with evaluation tests, interviews, and more. One business leader even told me he asked the people interviewing him why they did things a certain way, to which they replied, “I don’t know. We’ve always done it like this.”
Are we spending too much focusing on the process of finding top talent instead of on the talent itself?
In this midweek podcast episode, I share stories about talented people not getting jobs because of the unnecessary process that companies use and why it shouldn't take months to hire a single person.
Mon, 15 June 2020
Liz Wiseman is a New York Times bestselling author of three books, including Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. She has been listed on the Thinkers50 ranking and in 2019 she was recognized as the top leadership thinker in the world. She is a researcher, an executive advisor, and the CEO of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm. Some of her recent clients include Apple, Disney, Tesla, Facebook, and Twitter.
Previously, she was the Vice President of Oracle University and the global leader for Human Resource Development at Oracle Corporation. She frequently guest lectures at BYU and Stanford University.
In Liz’s book, Multipliers, she describes two types of leaders that we have all encountered--diminishers and multipliers. As Liz says, organizations cannot afford to have leaders who are diminishers. The good news is multiplier leadership can be learned and developed.
Diminishing leaders vs. multiplier leaders
Liz gives a great metaphor for these two types of leaders. Diminishers tend to keep people on choke chains while multipliers let people off the leash, but they still hold on. It’s as though the employees are kites allowed to soar while the leader is still hanging on to the kite strings.
It’s not that diminishers are necessarily horrible people trying to control everything. As Liz shares, “Some of it comes from that micromanaging bully, narcissistic boss who, you know, gives you a little task to do rather than challenges and opportunities. But most of it's coming from what I call the accidental diminisher. And these are leaders who care about their people, want to be good leaders trying to do the right thing. Like in my case with Ben, I was just excited to be collaborating with him. Where I needed to say, this is yours let me back away. Hold the strings of the kite rather than suffocate you because of my enthusiasm.”
The multiplier effect
As Liz researched for her book she interviewed well-respected professionals and after asking them to identify some multiplier leaders they had worked for she asked them what percentage of their capability those leaders had been able to get from them. On average it was 95%, however she found that a lot of people gave answers of over 100%.
At first she challenged that, saying your intelligence and capability is always capped at 100%, it’s not possible to be over that. But these individuals said that the leaders were able to not only get 100% of their ability, but they stretched them and caused them to become smarter over time.
Liz says, “We know this, that intelligence. It languishes. It shrinks essentially when it's not used. And when intelligence is challenged and used and applied, it grows. We literally get smarter and more capable around certain kinds of leaders and people and colleagues and roommates and family members. And that is really the multiplier effect. It's getting all of people's capability plus a growth dividend. And then the dynamic that happens across an organization where people come to work knowing that not only are they going to be fully utilized, they're going to be challenged. That you need to show up, game ready. That's the multiplier effect.”
The five disciplines of multipliers
For the book, Liz analyzed data on over 150 leaders and she found several areas where multipliers and diminishers act similarly including customer service and market insight. But she found five active ingredients unique to multipliers. They are:
Diminishing behaviors to watch out for
There are several diminishing behaviors that leaders can look out for, and to do this you have to practice self-awareness. As a leader most likely you won’t have employees coming to you to point out your flaws, you have to be aware of them yourself.
One of the first behaviors Liz points out is being idea rich. If you as the leader provide all of the answers, all of the ideas, people around you tend to either get lazy or they are so busy running around trying to bring your ideas to fruition that they don’t have time to think of anything on their own. She suggests leaders keep a notepad or sticky notes around to write down ideas as they come up, and keep them to yourself until the next group meeting to discuss with your team.
Another behavior to watch out for is being optimistic all the time. Optimism in itself is not a bad thing, but there are times when individuals or the organization as a whole is going through a tough time. It is important to acknowledge the struggle sometimes. Especially as we look at the times we are going through now, try to understand what your people are going through and let them know you acknowledge this is a tough time.
A third one to be aware of is being a rapid responder. Liz says, “If the manager is so quick to respond. Then nobody else gets to do their job. Nobody else gets to take accountability because that manager has just taken it from them. So the little rule I use, I've had some rapid responder tendencies in the past is I use a 24 hour hands off rule, which means if an email comes in and one just came in on Friday, it was sent to me and one other person on my team who is actually the one responsible for this project. Well, I knew he was out for a bit. In a meeting and he wasn't going to get to this and my fingers on the keyboard. About to reply because I'm like, oh, this is important. And this person is going to want to hear from us. And I just take my fingers off the keyboard and I'm like 24 hours. Hands off. Which gives him a chance to come back from his meeting, come back from his son's Little League game, whatever it is, and take ownership and responsibility. But people can't take ownership for something unless the manager lets go of it.”
By being aware of these behaviors, and other problem ones, and embracing the traits of multipliers we can get the absolute best from our team. Imagine what our organizations could do if we allowed our people to operate at 95% and greater.
Wed, 10 June 2020
How do you get to inbox zero? Simple! Give those around you more autonomy and decision making power. One of the reasons why so many people have trouble reading all their email is because they are CC'd on everything.
Chances are if you can't get to inbox zero it's because you are bad at time management, you don't delegate, you don't give autonomy and decision making power to others, and you are a micromanager.
Want to clear your inbox? It has nothing to do with you! Empower your people!
Mon, 8 June 2020
HP has over 55,000 employees and like many other companies around the world they had to pivot to working virtually during COVID-19. HP was able to adapt very quickly and they have a lot of unique programs and tools in place to support their employees. Leading the way is Tracy Keogh, their Chief HR Officer and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s global task force for Future of Work. Tracy and I talked at length in a recent episode of "The Future of Work With Jacob Morgan."
How to maintain a culture in a virtual setting
Many leaders may be trying to figure out how to maintain corporate culture when all of the employees who are used to coming into the office every day now find themselves working from home. Tracy says, “I actually think you can maintain your culture. It's with every action and every program that you do even if you're not in the same office. I don't think I've ever seen our culture more alive or evident than during this pandemic. People are very attentive during these times. So I feel like you need to put culture first, as you're thinking about any activities or decisions that you're making.”
A few examples of the things they put into place to help employees working from home include:
Another crucial component here is leaders who are practicing empathy and emotional intelligence. As Tracy and I talked about, now is an important time for leaders to be human beings first and business leaders second. For example, one of the leaders at HP held a meeting where the employees all had their kids on their lap.
The idea here is to take as much of the in-person aspect as you can and move it to the virtual world, but then organizations must build on top of those things with intentionally designed activities and programs.
Digitization and re-skilling
One of the biggest trends Tracy is currently paying attention to is digitization and re-skilling. Realizing this is important, HP has been focused on evolving the knowledge base of their employees. Tracy believes talent development in general looks very different now than it has in the past. She says, “I think we're moving more towards skills-focused versus role focus people, because people move in and out of different roles, but it's those skills that we need moving forward so that we really want athletes who can apply their different skills to solve problems in different ways, depending on the environment and the business challenge.”
HP has also changed the way employees learn. While training is important, they realize that experience and projects play an important role in how employees learn new skills. The company works with employees to map out their career path to figure out what experiences and projects are best suited to where they want to go.
During COVID-19 HP actually took their merchandisers (who work in retail stores showing customers equipment and helping them make product and software decisions) and had them help with their customer service and support teams. HP wanted to find a way to keep these employees paid and on-staff so they focused on the skills that these employees and found other roles where those skills could easily be translated to. HP did the same thing with interns, moving them to a virtual setting (and keeping them paid).
Overcoming difficult times
There’s no doubt we are facing uncertain times, but it is up to us as individuals to decide how we are going to come out on the other side. Tracy says,
“Try to look at the positive of the situation. This is an incredible learning opportunity. This is unprecedented in the world's history, that the whole world has had this kind of issue happen at the same time. And so taking some time and stepping back and thinking about what you've learned, how you've grown, what you've done well, what you wish you were better equipped to do and then figuring out, 'Okay, well, this is what I've learned about myself during this time. Then how do I look moving forward, to make myself smarter, stronger, more resilient, better, and what can I do in the future?' I think it's an amazing learning time. One of the things that I've given as gifts to most of my friends' children is a journal. Just to take time to write, it'll be something historic later on. When you look back that you were there in the pandemic of 2020, and what your thoughts and feelings were. I think taking that inventory and understanding that for people is important, and then looking back and seeing what you've learned and then how it propelled you forward, I think it will be really kind of the best thing to do about this. Take advantage of the opportunity."
For leaders trying to navigate these times, Tracy’s advice is to connect with your people and show your leadership. Communication and listening to employees is key. HP has been taking frequent poll surveys to ensure all employees are supported and feel engaged. She says it is critical, especially in these times, to be transparent and open with employees. Even if you have tough messages to share. Empathy is also very important for leaders to show in this time.
Thu, 4 June 2020
According to the more than 140 #CEOs I interviewed, one of the most important #mindsets for future #leaders is that of the Chef which is all about balancing #humanity and #technology. Chefs usually have to balance many ingredients to create a beautiful and tasty dish. As a leader, you just need to balance the two and you need both of them.
In this midweek podcast episode, I will be talking about the best way to balance technology and humanity in your company.
This episode is brought to you by Mitel. Don't compromise on business continuity. Mitel can meet all your business communications needs while working from home with all-in-one cloud calling, conferencing, collaboration, and contact center tools – free until 2021. Visit Mitel's https://bit.ly/mitelsponsors to learn more.
Direct download: Balancing_Technology_and_Humanity_in_Your_Company.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:02pm PDT
Mon, 1 June 2020
Most of us have had our lives disrupted by the current pandemic in some way. We have had to find new ways to connect with friends and family, we aren’t traveling as much (or at all), and we’re having to adapt to new ways of working and learning. Whitney Johnson is one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world and bestselling author of 3 books and as she told me during our discussion “if we’re going to manage the disruption, we need to disrupt ourselves.”
How to disrupt yourself and why it matters
Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School was Whitney’s mentor and she co-founded The Disruptive Innovation Fund with him. It was Clayton who coined the term disruptive innovation, which he talked about in his book, Innovator’s Dilemma. The idea behind the term was that a small sometimes silly idea can take over the world, for example how the telephone disrupted the telegraph or how the automobile disrupted the horse and buggy. In more modern examples, we can see how Netflix disrupted Blockbuster and how Uber disrupted cabs.
Whitney took that idea and instead of applying it to a product or a company she applied it to individuals--personal disruption. But she says there is one big difference between personal disruption and what Clayton was talking about. With personal disruption, you are both the small silly idea and the idea taking over the world. You are both Netflix and Blockbuster. You are both Uber and the cab company. As you can imagine this can pose a bit of a mental challenge.
Why should we disrupt ourselves? Whitney says, “the question you have to ask yourself is, do I wanna jump or do I want to get pushed? When you jump, you're acting. When you get pushed, you're going to feel pushed, and it will feel like a failure. And it's a very different equation around resilience and rebounding than if you've chosen to jump.” Disruption is going to happen, whether we want it to or not. We control whether we disrupt ourselves or let disruption happen to us.
The seven steps to managing the S-Curve of learning and mastery
In Whitney’s book, Disrupt Yourself, she gives seven accelerants that can help you speed up your learning and mastery.
She says “The idea is, the base of the S the growth is slow until you reach a tipping point or you near the curve and you move into hyper growth. And then you get to saturation, the growth tapers off. That insight could help us understand how we learn. It could help us understand how we grow, how we develop. So, whenever you start something new, you are at the base of an S. Whether it's a new project, a new job, whether it's dealing with COVID-19, you're at the base of the S and growth is happening, but it can feel very slow. It can look like a slog. But knowing that helps you avoid discouragement. And then you put in the effort, and you accelerate competence and confidence and engagement. The idea of personal disruption is, you move up that S-curve, you learn and then you leave and then you repeat. You do that over and over again, and the faster you're able to do it, the higher-growth individual you can become.”
The seven steps are:
When working to become a high-growth individual, it’s all about patience
It’s so easy for us as humans to want fast results. But when it comes to disrupting ourselves, Whitney says patience is key. “I started running January of last year and I said I'm going do five minutes a day. Up until that time, I would get really impatient, thinking 'I've gotta get good at running fast.' Impatient me would have been like, 'I need to run a 5K by April,' so now we're in May of 2020. I have not run a 5K but yesterday, when I ran, I was at 39 minutes. I've gone from five minutes to 39 minutes because I've been patient. So I think for anybody who wants to be a high-growth individual, it's that idea of interest and compounding effect is just put in the time, day after day after day, and you will suddenly become that high-growth individual you wanna be.”
This episode is sponsored by Mitel. Don't compromise on business continuity. Mitel can meet all your business communications needs while working from home with all-in-one cloud calling, conferencing, collaboration, and contact center tools – free until 2021. Visit mitel.com/jacob to learn more.