Great Leadership With Jacob Morgan

David Cote is the former Chairman and CEO of Honeywell and author of the bestselling book, Winning Now, Winning Later: How Companies Can Succeed in the Short Term While Investing for the Long Term

During his time at Honeywell David fixed a toxic work culture and grew the company’s market capitalization from around 20 billion to 120 billion, delivering returns of 800%. Currently David is Executive Chairman of Vertiv Holdings Co, a global data center products and services provider. He is a member of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group on Foreign Relations and the Conference  of Montreal. 

David’s journey to being CEO is anything but ordinary. He nearly quit high school, because although he was good at school, he hated it. He ended up sticking with it and became the first one in his family to graduate high school. David was accepted to the University of New Hampshire, but decided he didn’t want to pursue college so he went to work as a mechanic with his dad in a small garage.

After that job didn’t pan out he went to Michigan to work as a carpenter with his uncle, but learned he wasn’t good at that either. So he enlisted in the Navy for six years on a nuclear submarine. The day before he was supposed to swear in he called the chief petty officer and asked what would happen if he didn’t show up. And although the chief petty officer made it sound almost impossible to get out of, when David realized cops wouldn’t just show up at his door and arrest him, he made the decision not to go.

After that David decided to go to college, but after two years there the Assistant Dean of Students told him he could no longer live on campus because he was too much of a troublemaker. So, needing some money, David decided to get a job working second shift while going to school, which he did for 6 months, when a buddy of his invited David to come work with him on a fishing boat in Maine. 

Because he was spending so much time on the boat he ended up doing very poorly in school, so he decided to quit. He ended up getting married and one month later his wife was pregnant with their first child. David says this is the moment he realized he had to do something, he had to get direction and stay focused. He was scared he wouldn’t have enough money to raise their child. And from that moment on he had a purpose and a focus that has brought him to where he is now. 

Becoming the leader of an organization with a toxic culture 

David remembers the first days as CEO of Honeywell very vividly, and they were not very pleasant. He says there were some things that were fairly straightforward at first--introductions to employees, doing a lot with the press, etc.. But there was another part of those first days that really took David by surprise. 

He was instructed by the board early on to not focus on any numbers or the financials until he became Chairman four and a half months later. He would be in meetings and he would ask a finance guy, “so how’s the quarter going?” and they would respond with, “Dave, I’ve been instructed not to answer any of those questions from you”. He said it got very weird. 

Then when he became chairman he realized why they were keeping it all from him. David says, “The aggressive bookkeeping was, I'd say unhealthy to be conservative. You look at it over a previous decade, we only generated 69 cents of cash for every dollar of income we ever generated, which gives you a sense for the bookkeeping. We have a severely underfunded pension plan. That also had aggressive accounting. We had environmental liabilities that 100 years old, chemical company has that had never been addressed, nor recorded. And we had exposure to asbestos in two areas, none of which had been recorded or addressed”. 

Things looked bad. And on top of all of the financial and legal issues they also had three warring cultures inside the organization. David knew he had to bring all of the cultures together under one new culture. In a few days David and his team developed a new culture, which they ended up calling the 12 behaviors. He knew that he had to have a culture where people work together and actually act on strategic decisions before any strategies could be put into place to fix the accounting and legal issues. 

There were people who were thankful for the new way of doing things, but there were others who pushed against it because they were used to doing things a certain way. David knew that in order to make the new culture stick, he had to be firm and not give way to anyone trying to push back. 

He says, “That's when you're in the crucible at that point. Because writing all the values down writing all the behaviors down, that's the easy part. The tough part is when you get to walk the talk, do you stick with the investment in the seed planting that you talked about? Do you not allow them to do the accounting transaction or the distributor load? And those are the ones where I can say, to a fault, maybe, I never succumbed on any of them. And I would tell them, I want you to make it. You still have to figure out how you either sell more or cut costs, but I'm not going to do this and if you miss it, you miss it, but it's on you. And I made sure I put in audit practices to make sure that none of this stuff happened. But it's easy to know whether the accounting happened, distributed loadings a little tougher, you got to do a little more work to find out, was that happening. But once the employees start to see you walk the talk, that's what starts to change the culture. You can have all kinds of posters and all that, but posters don't do it. People need to actually see that it's working that way.”

How David defines leadership 

When defining leadership David breaks it down into three crucial elements. Good leaders must:

  • Have the ability to motivate a large group of people--this is the most visible part of the job, but it’s only about 5% of the job
  • They can pick the right direction--too many leaders can sound great, but do they make the right decisions to put the organization on the right path, in the right direction? You may be able to motivate people, but if you spend years wandering around with them instead of having a specific direction to lead them in, your not good for the organization
  • You have to mobilize everyone--So you’ve motivated people, you’ve picked the right direction, now you have to get the whole organization to move there step by step

How to lead in tough times 

Leaders today are definitely leading through difficult times, and David has led through his share of challenging times as well. He says one of the toughest times was the great recession of 2008-2009. And he knows how it feels to be in the middle of a crisis and feel like it is the worst one ever. But it is important to realize that while these recessions are unique, there are certain actions that we can take regardless of the situation that can help organizations to survive it. 

David’s advice for anyone leading in tough times is:

  • Don’t panic
  • Make sure that you keep thinking independently 
  • Never forget to put the customer first
  • Be thinking about the recovery even while you’re in the middle of the recession

Why leaders must focus on short term and long term goals, not just one or the other 

One of the main reasons David wrote his book, Winning Now, Winning Later is because he saw that most leaders feel that they have to choose between focusing on the long term or focusing on the short term. Leaders tend to see them as two conflicting things. 

But David argues both have to be done at the same time. Because if you are not investing in the long term, eventually the long term becomes the short term and you’re out of gas, you’ve got nothing. Performance in the short term is also a validation of whether your long term plan is any good. 

As David shares, “I think it's a mistake if you pick one or the other. And I oftentimes said, one of the most deadly questions to respond to, is when an employee says something like, Hey, boss, which one do you want me to do? And the answer always has to be I expect you to do both. I want things right. And I want them fast. So I don't want it to be--I have to choose between the two, I want you to always find a way to accomplish both.”

Advice for people who feel stuck in their job 

Some people may read or hear David’s background story of what he went through before he became CEO of Honeywell and they may feel like they are in a similar situation where they feel stuck in a job. Maybe you feel like there is not a clear progression forward in your career. David gives his advice to people in this situation, some things that helped him get to where he is now. 

And he breaks this advice up into a few different points. First of all, you have to have performance, and your performance can’t just be okay. You’ve got to be like the top 10%. Where you went to school makes a difference for your first job, after that it is up to how you perform. Be a standout in all you do. 

You also need visibility. If you are performing very well, but the person who can do something about your career can’t see it, nothing will happen. So make sure you have visibility. But you have to be careful with this one because you don’t want to go around tooting your own horn or wearing your ambition on your sleeve. It is a delicate balance.

If you have a boss who doesn’t feel that you are performing as well as you think you are, this is where you have to be self aware and figure out is there something you can fix or do you just have a bad boss, which David says happens less often than people think. So learn to be self aware and realize when there is something you need to fix. We all have issues, and it’s important to know what they are.

Direct download: David_Cote_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:08am PST

Javed Khan is SVP and GM at Cisco Collaboration, a multi-billion dollar division inside of Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT, networking, and cybersecurity solutions. Prior to his current role, Javed ran Cisco’s Cloud Calling business as the VP and General Manager and before that he led the Webex Meetings business unit. 

Just like many organizations around the world, when Covid first started becoming a global issue Cisco had to take action in order to keep business going while also enabling employees to work from home. Because of the products they build, they had some advantages over other companies as they already had communication and collaboration tools everyone was familiar with. 

But one challenge they had to overcome was an overnight need for their products from existing and new customers. The demand for their products was suddenly three times bigger in a very short period of time. So as a company they had to hurry to scale very quickly in a time when they also needed to move their workforce out of the offices. It required the team to come together, work a lot of long hours, and support their customers. 

How to create and foster casual interaction with a remote team 

Javed and other leaders at Cisco also understood that they needed to support employees in a new way. This new way of working made collaboration and casual interactions with coworkers very different, but leaders at Cisco knew they had to find a way to keep both collaboration and social interaction going, because they are so important. Especially in the times we are facing now when people are anxious, worried, scared, etc…

At Cisco, they have done a few things to keep employees informed, involved, and engaged. First of all the leadership team leads frequent check in calls, this is different from their quarterly all hands meetings where they talk business and give updates. These check in calls are where people can casually hangout, sometimes they talk about social topics relevant at the time, sometimes they have entertainment, and sometimes they bring in external speakers. 

They also have small groups that will get together to talk, without an agenda, about anything they want. These are usually on Friday evenings and employees are allowed to include their family in the calls if they want, but they are just casual conversations to allow small groups of employees to catch up and have fun. 

The future of the office

With our current events there has been a lot of debate around whether or not employees will go back to working in offices once this is all over. Will everything go back to the way it was, or will office buildings disappear? 

Javed believes we will see a hybrid setup post Covid. There will be an increasing acceptance of people working from home and we will have more technological advances that make it possible. But there will still be roles and situations that require working from an office. Some people will be able to work from home 100% of the time, some will have to be in the office 100% of the time, but a lot of people will probably do some kind of hybrid of working from home and occasionally going into the office. 

Also, while we have technology to connect with each other and it will only get better, there is no substitute for in-person, face to face interaction. 

Digital transformation during Covid

One thing Covid has done for businesses is it has made leaders realize the need for digital transformation. And it has forced companies to go through this transformation very quickly. Where leaders in the past have asked will this technology make us more productive, will it make our lives easier, will it improve our bottom line, etc..Now when thinking about digital transformation they are thinking about it in terms of, will this help me to stay in business. 

As Javed shares, “People immediately went into a survive mode, where suddenly these technologies got deployed and tested overnight, and there were some learning pains. But I feel like companies fell into two categories. There were companies who had already started on this journey of enabling remote work. And they had a baseline of the stack already enabled. for them. It was a matter of, Oh, I have 10,000 employees. You know, I have 100 employees who had worked effectively using this, how do we scale it out to the entire corporation, but I already have this baseline technology in place. And there were others who had not started on this journey. And in those cases it took a little bit more work, you know, retraining your employees. But once you got through that initial phase--raise technology and develop product and some of the devices we have, once you go through that initial learning, we were able to get most of the companies up and running pretty quickly. But nothing forced that digitization more than the last few months. We've been trying to get people to use video for a long, long time and I think now, video you know, if your video is not on you get reminded--I can't see you on video.”

How to evaluate how employees are doing without an annual review

One thing that Cisco is known for is their unique culture and getting rid of their annual performance reviews. So how do leaders know if employees are engaged and being productive if they don’t have an annual review? 

As Javed shares, it is about having ongoing, honest conversations with employees. It is important to check in regularly and let employees know about the good things they are doing, and the things they need to improve on throughout the year, not just on one specific date. 

Keeping conversations to once a year makes issues a surprise to employees, and it is hard to remember something that you did 5-6 months ago. Meeting one time a year is not effective and it can damage the manager/employee relationship. 

Cisco also understands that keeping company culture consistent is key. Whatever culture you are trying to create, make sure you stick with it through good times and bad. If employees see a change in culture during bad times like we are going through now, they will see right through it and know they can’t trust their leaders. 

Advice for people early in their careers

Javed is the leader of a multi-billion dollar division inside Cisco, but he has learned a lot on his way to the top and he has a lot of experience and advice to share with others. When asked his advice for people early on in their career who want to advance, Javed says, be curious and be willing to learn. 

He says, “I did not set out to be a manager as an example, I started my career as an engineer and thought I was just going to be coding for most of my life. But as I got in, you know, got into trying out, leading a small team, or learning to lead. I think just being curious and trying those things out has helped me out a lot. The other thing is just learning from other people who do that better. Right. So a big part of me transitioning from an engineer to becoming a leader was watching other leaders motivate and speak and inspire. And while I might have thought that that might be something that I wouldn't be doing, I think watching them learning from them, then being curious about the techniques and how leaders lead, I think has been a big part of my success. So be thirsty.”

Advice for leaders today

Javed also shared his advice for leaders who want to adapt, stay relevant, and better themselves. And he says his biggest piece of advice is to stay connected with your employees personally. Especially in the difficult times we are in, it is important to know how they are doing, what are they excited about, what are they scared about, how do they feel about work, what do they care about...etc…

“Because the rest of it, I think we've got a system and processes in place. You're able to measure, you're able to be effective, But in today's world, I think spending more time with your  employees making sure you're understanding what else is going on, and what else they need beyond just the tools that work, I think is a big part of leadership today. And the biggest learning I've had in the last few months, you'd be surprised at how much else is going on in typical person's lives and how it might be impacting their ability to be productive.”

Direct download: Javed_Khan_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:17am PST

Collaboration has never been more important than it is now.

We are living in a globalized world where boundaries don't seem to exist anymore. And because of this, we’re now seeing more diversity in the workforce.

We are also seeing more and more remote workers. According to a study by Upwork, 63% of employers have remote teams.

That is why collaboration is crucial in the future of work. Organizations need to focus more on collaboration tools that will enable them to connect their people seamlessly.

Direct download: The_Impact_of_Collaboration.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:36am PST

Blair Sheppard is Head of Global Strategy and Leadership for PwC, a global network of firms delivering world-class assurance, tax, and consulting services for businesses. He is also the author of the new book, Ten Years to Midnight: Four Urgent Global Crises and Their Strategic Solutions, which came out on August 4th. 


Prior to PwC, Blair spent the majority of his career as a professor at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University. During his time there he also served as Founding CEO and Chairman of Duke Corporate Education and as Dean of the school. As Dean, Blair was the primary architect of Duke Kunshan University which opened in 2014. 


Blair was the first recipient of faculty of the year at Fuqua, he received the Business Person of the Year award for Education in 2011 by Triangle Business Journal, and the Eminent Scholar Award from the Institute of Finance at Frankfurt University in 2007. 


The concept behind Blair’s book, Ten Years to Midnight, started with a conversation he had with his boss at the time at PwC. They were discussing the fact that a lot of things in the world were looking dark and gray and they wanted to figure out what the major issues were and what causes were behind them. So they set out to interview people in around 60 countries around the world. They interviewed people from all walks of life--government leaders, heads of business, cab drivers, individuals in coffee shops, etc... And what they found was the whole world was worried about the exact same things. 


So Blair and his team started to research these major issues and what they found was that there are four major crises the world as a whole is facing right now and we have about 10 years to fix them before it is too late. 


The crisis of prosperity

As Blair and his team were researching for the book, one thing they found is that due to economic disparity in the world and people put at a disadvantage because of that, a lot of parents feel that their children will be worse off than they are. 


Blair says, “Think about 50% of the retirees in the United States are going to retire with basically no savings, kids graduating from college with a trillion and a half in debt, with a huge tax obligation we just created for them, right. And then people have a job and a mortgage and the kid in school who are likely to lose that job right and have to transition. That group is now collectively saying I'm really worried about the future. And when people stop believing in the future, they stopped dreaming, creating, developing, so we call that sort of a crisis of prosperity.”


The crisis of technology

Another key element we are facing right now is disruption from technology. There are great things that come with advances in technology--medical advances, improved quality of life, availability of valuable information, etc… But there are also negative impacts as well. 


One example Blair points out is social media. While the creators of social media intended their platforms for good, there are negative things that come from it, like increasing suicide rates. Technology also allowed us to create the Industrial Revolution which has brought about an improved quality of life in some aspects, but it has also harmed our environment. 


Aside from these examples there are other growing unintended consequences of ubiquitous technology that we have to fix. 


The crisis of institutional legitimacy

As it is growing clearer by the day, people around the world have lost trust in our institutions. We don’t trust the police force, we don’t trust the tax systems, we don’t trust our education systems, we don’t trust our governments. 


Blair says, “this is the one that worries me the most, by the way, because as soon as you stop trusting the institutions that make our life work, it's sort of like a fish not trusting water. It just doesn't work.”


The crisis of leadership

The three previous crises combine to produce this fourth crisis, which is mainly caused by polarization. A lot of times when people lose hope and feel that things are getting worse they blame the people in power. There is just a sheer inability to lead when the world is so fractured and polarized. In order to lead effectively leaders need people to trust them.   


About all four of the crises, Blair says, “The worry we have is that they're all pretty serious right now. But if we don't get our arms around them in a decade, they become really ugly, all four of them, all a sudden become really ugly.” So what can we do to start addressing these problems?


Conquering the four crises

In his book, Blair says that what we really need in order to address these issues is new types of leaders to rework our institutions, culture, and our way of thinking. We need leaders who have ingenuity, vision, innovation, energy, focus, and empathy. 


With the prosperity crisis we need to step back and figure out how to get everyone on a level playing field. Lack of access to technology shouldn’t hinder people around the world. But right now there are a lot of people being left behind in the world. And globalization stops working when you have enough places and people in the world that fall behind. 


As Blair shares, “While we're focusing on being global competitors, we also have to help create thriving local communities. While we're measuring GDP, we have to look at economic dispersion, how well the whole economy is doing, how well everyone's doing, and other measures of social well-being, not just financial. And while we're driving technology, we've got to say, have we thought about the unintended consequences of the thing we're building? It's sort of like the way we do drug development, right, which is-- does it really do what it says, and what are the side effects?”


In regards to the technology crisis, Blair says one thing we have to be mindful of is how technology is impacting work. Will there be more jobs or less jobs in the future? Just like in the Industrial Revolution, the transition will be hard, but what problems can we think through ahead of time? 


There is also a lot to figure out around AI. It can violate privacy and put control in too few hands as well as make decisions that we can’t understand. How can we make sure that we keep it in check? Jobs, AI at scale, and technology making us dumber are all serious negative side effects of technology that we have to navigate as we continue advancing forward. 


When thinking about the technology crisis as individuals it is important to be aware of disruptions that are happening in your industry and be prepared to move if you see signs your job could be eliminated. Be curious and keep on learning new skills and surround yourself with people who are different than you are. Don’t just associate with people who work in your department, branch out and spend time with people in different roles, industries, and parts of the world. 


When addressing the leadership crisis it is important for leaders to understand the main underlying causes of this crisis, which are polarization and distrust in leaders. So they need to find ways to help people come together, to find solutions or compromises and they need to rebuild trust with employees, customers, and communities. It is also crucial that leaders know what the purpose of the company is. Because if you want to innovate inside of your organization you have to know what matters at the core of your business, otherwise it is easy to get lost. 


Blair’s advice for leaders who want to build trust is to be consistent, know what your values are and stay true to them. And in every decision you make, be transparent about what you are doing and explain what you are doing and why. Be very self reflective and self aware and know the impact you are having on people. 


Climate change and small business creation

Along with the four major crises, there are also other issues that are so urgent we can’t wait for them to be fixed. Two of those issues that Blair points out are climate change and creating small business at scale really fast. 


So why should leaders and organizations care about these two issues? With climate change it will impact everyone eventually, including your organization. But if we wait to be personally affected by it, it may be too late. It is also most likely that organizations will be forced to go net zero soon with new policies. So why wait to be forced into it. 


But this will impact your business eventually. Blair says, “There are physical risks associated with climate. So let's imagine you hold real estate in downtown Miami and the first floor is underwater. You kind of care about it now. Right? Let's imagine you're in California and your property sits in front of a mudslide, let's imagine you own timber, and it's under fire. And so every business in the world has physical risks associated with climate, and every year they're going to get worse.”


As for small business creation, a lot of small businesses have been impacted by current events. And every organization, whether they realize it or not, depends on small businesses to thrive. Small business, for a lot of companies, is the first step in the supply chain. So you depend on it. But the owners of these small businesses are also customers of larger companies and if they don’t come back, your revenue stream is going to go down. Small business is a crucial part of our economy. So every leader should be concerned about these two more urgent issues. 


What can leaders do now?

Blair gives a few tips that any leader out there can implement now to start making change.

  • Part one:
    • Look at the direct implications of climate risk on your company and figure out what you can do to get to net zero
    • Take a look at your organization and assess your ability to compete in a platform based world
    • Figure out if you are prepared for the pressures toward localization that we’re going to see
  • Part two:
    • Look at yourself and your leadership team. Are you ready for the three points above and have you invested in those things? 
    • Make sure you have a diverse team with people who are different than you are
  • Part three:
    • Pick a place (a city, a town, a village, etc...) you care about and make it better


“If you are working on making something in the world that's physical geography better. It will force you to think about all the things you're not thinking about today that are important for your business. And then when someone comes back and says you're the bad guy, you're not. Because you're actually working the issue. And so it has two positive benefits you actually are helping. And so if I go back to your question, you know, one of our leaders who said, I'm going to worry about Black Lives Matters and diversity. And they did it before it was a big issue. And I think that taught a lot to us as a firm. And it actually puts us in a position where we're kind of on the right side of the balance sheet when people start judging how you're doing. And everyone should do that. But really make it better. Don't fake it. Right? Go after it.”

Direct download: Blair_Sheppard_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:34am PST

There was one question top CEOs had a hard time answer…

But first, some context.

Over the past 18 months, I had the privilege to interview some of the world's top CEOs for my book, The Future Leader. I spoke with CEOs from companies like Best Buy, Audi, KPMG, Oracle, SAP, Verizon, MasterCard, Royal Caribbean, InterContinental Hotels Group, and dozens of others.

I was trying to understand how leadership is changing what leaders need to do in order to adapt and be successful in the new world of work. I asked these CEOs about trends, skills, mindsets, challenges, and everything and anything in between.

All the leaders gave me fantastic answers, wonderful stories, and profound insights, everything flowed very easily...until we got to THE QUESTION.

"If I came from another planet and had no concept of 'leader' or 'leadership,' how would you explain it to me?"

This is where the awkward pauses started…

The problem is we don't spend enough time thinking about this because we all assume we know what good and bad leadership is and what it looks like. 

For many, trying to explain leadership is like trying to explain water to someone. We don't do it because we all know what water is and we all know what leadership is...right?

All of the CEOs I interviewed defined "leader" and "leadership" differently. Sure, there are some common themes, but the definitions themselves are unique. 

The worst thing you and your organization can do is NOT have a clear definition of what leadership is and what it means to be a leader.

The first and most crucial step for anyone embarking on their leadership journey is to define what this means to begin with. 

Your definition and concept of leadership will change over time.That's ok, but you have to start somewhere!

What's your definition of "leader" and "leadership?" 

For those of you want to be a future-ready leader…

The Leadership Mastery Framework is the only leadership course in the world based on expertise from more than 140 hands-on-in-the-field CEOs (from companies like Best Buy, Audi, MasterCard, Unilever, Verizon, and more). It’s built for striving leaders in every level of their companies and anyone who knows they have more to give to make a genuine impact. 

This course is the fast track to leadership mastery for the future. I want you to reach every inch of your full potential and make the supersonic impact you’ve been itching for, and this course will show you how it’s not only possible but vital that you take action.


Direct download: Define_leader_and_leadership_Edited.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:41am PST

Leadership isn't just about what you know how to do, it's also about how you think...your mindset.

What mindsets do you as a leader need to possess? There are 4 of them that over 140 of the world's top CEOs from companies like Audi, KPMG, Best Buy, Oracle, Unilever, MasterCard, SAP, and dozens of others identified as being most crucial for current and future leaders.

Global Citizen

Leaders who embody the global citizen mindset think globally and embrace diversity. Not only do leaders need to consider how to enter new markets but they must also understand how to spread ideas and messages and how to find the best talent regardless of where in the world they might be. As a new or existing leader you will also have to work with, communicate, collaborate, and lead individuals who don’t think like you, look like you, act like you, or believe in the same things that you believe in.


Being a leader doesn’t mean that you get to sit at the top of the pyramid and tell everyone else what to do. It means that you stand at the bottom of the pyramid and help prop everyone else up. This is in stark contrast to what the business world is used to. 


Chefs are masters at balancing ingredients, just like leaders must balance the two most important ingredients of any business: humans and technology. The human side of work is where things like ideas, relationships, loyal customers, leaders, and social impact comes from. The technology side of work is where things like efficiency, productivity, and speed take place. Future leaders must embrace technology; being hesitant about it will get you nowhere.


Explorers are seekers who traverse the unknown and embrace and practice curiosity. This is the mindset that will force the pursuit of new ideas, products, services, and methods of doing things. Explorer leaders are super perpetual learners. They are open to new ideas from the people around them and encourage time for experimentation. They embody the growth mindset and realize that where they are now isn’t where they will always be.

These four mindsets are the foundation for current and future leaders. This is how leaders need to think each and every single day.

For those of you want to be a future-ready leader and master these 4 mindsets...

The Leadership Mastery Framework is the only leadership course in the world based on expertise from more than 140 hands-on-in-the-field CEOs (from companies like Best Buy, Audi, MasterCard, Unilever, Verizon, and more). It’s built for striving leaders in every level of their companies and anyone who knows they have more to give to make a genuine impact. 

This course is the fast track to leadership mastery for the future. I want you to reach every inch of your full potential and make the supersonic impact you’ve been itching for, and this course will show you how it’s not only possible but vital that you take action.

Enrollment CLOSES ON AUGUST 14th, I hope to see you inside!

Direct download: Mindsets_Edited_Final.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:25am PST

Do you regularly find your employees competing against each other?

This competitive type of culture is disappearing as people start to realize that team success is more important than individual success.

If your organization doesn't have this definition of teamwork, it’s time for you to change it.

Start by understanding your employees, team members, and leaders as human beings, not just as cogs or worker bees who show up to work every day.

Once you understand your peers as individuals, you'll really get a strong sense of where you might be able to step up and do something small to make their lives easier.

Direct download: Creating_a_Culture_that_Embraces_Teamwork.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 7:57pm PST

Leadership is as a leader MUST change, and perhaps more importantly, we should all DEMAND that our leaders change. It's necessary for the very survival of our organizations.


Things like globalization, the changing nature of talent, AI, and technology, the emphasis on purpose and meaning, and the demand for more transparency mean that our organizations are going to look fundamentally different than they did in the past. As a result, we need a new breed of leaders.


Research by DDI found that only 14% of organizations have a "strong bench," which is ready-now leaders who can step to replace those who retire or move on (DDI). Half of the organizations surveyed by DDI say their leaders are not skilled to lead effectively today and 71% say their leaders are not ready to lead their organizations in the future.


If you want to be an effective leader (now and in the future), someone who positively impacts your organization, your people, and your community, then these are the 5 skills that you need to master...and soon.


No matter if they are on the basketball court or in the office, great coaches don’t just tell people what to do, they make people want to actually do it. Coaches help people become better versions of themselves.

As a great coach, your job is to understand the similarities and commonalities between yourself and your team. Don’t fear the differences, respect them. Coaches create effective teams by connecting with people and truly understanding them as human beings, not just as workers.


This was the most important skill across all the CEOs I interviewed. Futurists consider different possibilities and must be able to identify patterns, stay connected to relevant trends, and scan for signals of what the future might bring. For leaders, this means that you have to be more connected than ever to your network. 

Technology Teenager

Today’s teenagers are technology savvy and digitally fluent. Leaders of the future must be the same way. Leaders don’t need to understand the details of how technologies are deployed, but they do need to understand what impact a particular technology might have on their business. 

That broad understanding helps you determine which tools might have the greatest impact on your business and which ones can wait. 


Translation is the bridge that connects things or people together. Leaders of the future must be translators, or great listeners and communicators. Listening and communication have always been crucial, but they will become even more important in coming years. Future leaders need to cut through the noise to deliver and listen to important messages. 


Leaders of the future must learn to channel their internal Yoda and be emotionally intelligent. For leaders, empathy comes into play when trying to resolve a conflict by understanding everyone’s perspectives, developing products or services for customers, or improving collaboration. At the heart of being Yoda is creating an emotional human connection with other people. Doing so makes us vulnerable, but it also makes us human.  

Unfortunately, most organizations around the world and most MBA programs don't teach these skills.

For those of you want to be future-ready leaders and master these 5 skills...

The Leadership Mastery Framework is the only leadership course in the world based on expertise from more than 140 hands-on-in-the-field CEOs (from companies like Best Buy, Audi, MasterCard, Unilever, Verizon, and more). It’s built for striving leaders in every level of their companies and anyone who knows they have more to give to make a genuine impact. 

This course is the fast track to leadership mastery for the future. I want you to reach every inch of your full potential and make the supersonic impact you’ve been itching for, and this course will show you how it’s not only possible but vital that you take action.

Enrollment CLOSES ON AUGUST 14th, I hope to see you inside!

Direct download: Skills_Edited_1_Final_Version.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:56pm PST

Most business leaders around the world are not good leaders. They aren't bad people, but their approaches to leadership are simply put...obsolete. We can especially see this quite clearly with what has been going on with Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, and the ongoing fight against racism and social injustice.

To give you an analogy, it's a bit like trying to fly a modern-day passenger plane while being trained on an original Wright Brothers plane. There's a chance you might get the plane in the air, but you won't go far.

Leadership around the world is failing us.

In the United States alone there are around 25 million supervisors and managers today, these are people who are responsible for others. I estimate that by 2030 we are going to have around 220 million leaders around the world.

That's a lot of leaders!

We have lots of people in leadership roles but unfortunately, many of them are bad leaders, there's just no other way around it. But, their days are numbered because the way that we think about leadership is changing...Leaders Must Change.

Being a leader is the hardest job in the world but it's also the most rewarding. Everyone in the world has the potential to become a leader, even if you're a leader of self.

The first step towards becoming that leader is making the conscientious choice that you are willing to get out of your comfort zone and do whatever it takes to positively impact your community, your organization, your people, and yourself.

Are you ready to take that first step?

Introducing... The Leadership Mastery Framework. The only leadership course in the world based on expertise from more than 140 hands-on-in-the-field CEOs. It’s built for striving leaders in every level of their companies and anyone who knows they have more to give to make a genuine impact.

This course is the fast track to leadership mastery for the future. I want you to reach every inch of your full potential and make the supersonic impact you’ve been itching for, and this course will show you how it’s not only possible but vital that you take action.

Enrollment closes on August 14th, I hope to see you inside!

Direct download: Leadership_pandemic_Final_Edit.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:40am PST

Julie Zhuo is the bestselling author of The Making of a Manager: What to do When Everyone Looks to You. She was also the first intern at Facebook when they had 100 employees and were just starting out as a company. She worked there for a total of 14 years and during her time there she became a manager and then ultimately the VP of Product Design. 

Actually, it was because of her experience at Facebook and first becoming a manager very early on in her career that caused her to write her book. Her internship at Facebook was something she did while in college and then right after she graduated she took a full time job with the company. When she was asked to become a manager at the age of 25, she had had no prior training or management experience and she wasn’t exactly sure what she was supposed to do.

But as the culture at Facebook was at that time, as a startup, employees all had to try new things and say yes to some things that took them out of their comfort zone. So Julie said yes to the position. Then she went to a bookstore to read up on the skills that managers need, how to lead people more experienced than she was, how to delegate, etc… But what she found was books directed at CEOs and senior level executives on very advanced concepts, when what she needed was the basics to start out with like how to lead a one on one meeting and how to motivate employees. So she wrote her own book on the subject later on in her career to help others in similar situations.

The definition of a manager

Julie shares that when she first started out as a manager she didn’t have a very clear definition of what a manager was. The only thing she had was a general idea of what her past managers and bosses had done in the past, which was mostly give feedback and tell her if she would be promoted or if there was something she could do better. And that is the picture she had in her mind for years until she became a leader herself and learned over the years that a manager shouldn’t just be a series of actions, but they should be someone who is focused on getting results from a group of people and doing whatever necessary to help them succeed. 


Julie also believes there is a difference between a leader and a manager. She says, “Sometimes people use them interchangeably, but to me, they're quite different. To me, leadership is a quality or a trait. And I think all of us are, you know, can be leaders in certain contexts or can exhibit leadership traits. Being a leader just means that you are somebody that other people will listen to, and will follow. And you have that ability to influence and help organize a group of people towards doing something together. I think of a manager as a specific role, like it's a specific job function with a set of responsibilities and the major responsibility of a manager is you are trying to get a group of people to work together and to achieve some certain outcome, right? There's a reason why teams are formed. There's a reason why companies are formed, they're trying to aspire to, hit their mission or they're trying to hit a business goal or they're trying to do this and that and your job as a manager is to help this group of people hit that goal.”

The word manager is descriptive of the role inside of the company, whereas leadership refers to qualities and traits people can have. Anyone can learn leadership qualities, but not everyone who has leadership qualities should necessarily be a manager. Everyone who is a manager should definitely have leadership qualities, though. 

Common mistakes that new managers make

Over her career Julie has not only experienced being a first time manager, but she has witnessed others experience it for the first time as well. And there are certain mistakes and pitfalls that a majority of managers make when first starting out. 

The first one is feeling that as a manager you have to have all the answers. A lot of people have this feeling that if they are unsure about something, it’s a signal that they are not cut out for the role of a manager. But that’s not true. As Julie shares, as a manager you are going to feel uncomfortable or unprepared at times, and that’s okay. You are having those feelings because you are managing for the first time, things are new. A lot of the confidence and know-how will come with time and practice. Every manager goes through this when they first start out. 

And even as you get experience, those feelings may be there when you have to address something new later on in your career, the difference is you will be better equipped to deal with new situations as you progress and you will develop the tools you need to deal with uncertainty. 

The second mistake that new managers make is feeling like they need to know how to do the roles of their employees as well or better than they do. For example, when Julie moved to the manager role she realized she had to lead a team of designers who were more skilled at designing than she was. Because of that she felt like she had nothing to contribute and she felt inadequate at her job. But now she realizes that was incorrect. 

Your job as a manager is not to be the best at the roles of your employees. If you are very skilled in one specific area, then maybe you should be in that role as an individual contributor. But as a manager it actually benefits you to have a group of people who are more talented than you are. Your job is to elevate those talents so that everyone on the team can be working at their best. 

The third pitfall that new managers can encounter is a feeling of superiority, or getting a big head from a promotion. Julie says that at Facebook they had a way of making sure that didn’t happen. When people moved to a role of management it wasn’t called a promotion. Instead they used the word transition, to recognize that management was on a parallel path with any other role. Because there are multiple ways to move up in your career. Just because you don’t become a manager doesn’t mean you haven’t improved and succeeded. It’s just a different path. 

How to overcome imposter syndrome

Most of us have experienced imposter syndrome at some point, the feeling that happens when you don’t believe you are equipped to do something you are doing. When you doubt your ability and feel inadequate. Julie says she definitely felt this when she first became a manager and, in fact, she has felt it at times throughout her career even after gaining experience. 

So how can we overcome imposter syndrome? Julie shares the following tips: 

  • Recognize that you can ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who have more experience in the area you feel doubt in. Learn from their expertise. 
  • Don’t be afraid to admit that you are nervous or that you don’t know something. Everyone goes through this at times, and it doesn’t mean you’re an idiot. It means you’re human. 
  • Turn to things that bring you energy and peace in those moments of anxiety and doubt. Go for a run, meditate, go out and see some friends, spend some time doing a hobby you enjoy, etc..This will help build your confidence back up before facing the issue head on. 

The biggest difference between an average manager and a great manager

Whether you are a brand new manager or you have been managing for 20+ years, there are certain traits and qualities that make a great manager stand out from average managers. First of all, Julie says great managers are able to get great outcomes from their teams over and over. 

But there are three other things that Julie uses to judge if someone is a great manager. They are people, process, and purpose. The first is, how does the individual deal with people? How do they nurture their talent. Do they play to people’s strengths and are they making sure that they have the right people on the right problems. Great managers need to know how to let their people shine and excel. 

The second thing that a great manager has is the ability to figure out the processes. That is how people work together in the context of a team. And the third thing is a manager has to know how to convey a company’s purpose to employees. Because as Julie says, you can have the best talent, but if they don’t know what they are working towards, you are not going to get their best work. 

Your people need to know what they should be aspiring towards, what you are trying to achieve together, what success looks like for them as a team, etc...

The first year of a manager

Julie walked us through the first year of a manager in increments of the first day, the first week, the first month, and then the first year to help us to understand her recommendations for people just starting out in that role. 

First, on day one of being a manager you should talk with your manager and make sure you understand what success looks like for your role. Have them help you plot out benchmarks that you should be hitting throughout your first year as a manager. It is critical that you know on day one what you're expected to do. Knowing the expectations ahead of time ensures you will do a great job versus a mediocre job. 

For the first week in that new role, Julie suggests you focus on listening to your people. You need to get started on developing trust relationships with the people on your team. Talk to every single person on your team, get to know them as an individual. What are their hopes and dreams? Where do they want to go in their career? What do they think about the team? Do they have problems or friction with anyone on the team? What could the team do better? 

This not only helps you to get to know people, but it helps employees feel like they have contributed, they feel like they have a bit of ownership in the team. 

Moving on to month one, this should be an extension of what you are doing in week one. You have to continue to invest in the relationships with your people. By the end of month one you should have a good sense of how the team operates. Julie says that before you change anything, it is important to know what the situation is now, to begin with. Don’t just try to change things up as soon as you move into the role. Really, it’s going to be 3-6 months before you get a great sense of the people and the business. 

At the end of year one what you should be looking for is, as a team, have we set clear goals? And of the goals you have set as a team, are you starting to see the fruits of those goals? You should be asking for constant feedback from day one, so that you know what is working and what needs to be adjusted. You should get feedback from your manager, your peers, and members of your team. You should also sit down with your manager at the end of the year and see if the expectations that were laid out were fulfilled. If not, figure out together what needs to be adjusted to do better in the next year.

Direct download: Julie_Zhuo_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:02am PST

Every employee inside of your organization has something to offer regardless of their generation or current life stage. This is why mentoring can flow both ways. When a younger employee mentors an older employee, we refer to it as reverse mentoring.

The purpose of these types of mentoring programs is to share information, skills, and knowledge. Especially in this technology-driven era, older employees often find it difficult to adapt, and the younger employees who are already familiar with the new technologies can teach them.

It's really all about connecting your employees and bringing people together from different generations, backgrounds, cultures, attitudes, values, and beliefs to work together to collaborate and communicate.

Direct download: What_is_Reverse_Mentoring_and_why_do_you_need_it.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:07am PST

Tiger Tyagarajan is the CEO of Genpact, a global professional services firm with 100,000 employees that drives digital-led innovation and digitally-enabled intelligent operations for organizations around the world.  

Prior to Genpact, Tiger worked for several well-known companies such as Unilever, Citibank, and GE. He was actually one of the industry leaders who pioneered a new global business model and transformed a division of GE into Genpact back in 2005. 

Tiger serves on the Board of Catalyst, a global non-profit organization working with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs to help build workplaces that work for women. He also was one of the founding supporters of the U.S. chapter of the 30% Club, which is committed to gender balance on boards of directors and in senior management. He is an active member of the Fortune CEO Initiative, a forum for corporate leaders committed to addressing major social problems as part of their core business strategies.

Just like organizations all over the world, Genpact has had to adjust to the new normal that we are facing with Covid-19. And with a team of 100,000 people all around the world, it is not a simple thing to do. As Tiger shares, when they first learned of Covid-19 there wasn’t a playbook that they could just look at and act on. Tiger and his team knew they had to do something and that time was of the essence, so perfection was not what they were aiming for. They knew they had to build something quickly, start using it, and then allow the team to improve it over time. 

While the experience was stressful, there are a couple things that Tiger shares, that made a difference in the way Genpact reacted. 

Leaders need to have North Stars 

A practice that Tiger has put in place for himself, and one that he highly suggests for all leaders, is having a few North Stars in place that help guide you as a leader when making tough decisions. These are the values and the culture of your organization that you need to base all decisions on. And it is important for everyone in the organization to know what those values are, know what those North Stars are, so that everyone is on the same page.  

Tiger says, “As long as you are clear about that, as long as everyone is clear about that, you have first of all an alignment, where everyone says-- that's the North Star, those are our values, that's our culture. And that therefore makes decision making easier and with speed. And second, you do your best to deliver whatever North Star you defined. So for us, the North Star for us was, we always pride ourselves on incredibly great service to our customers. And we think that's what makes us different. And that's what gets us new business and growth. And we also pride ourselves on being a great place to work for our employees. So therefore, right out of the gate, we said, we want to achieve two design principles in every decision. Number one, do the right thing for our employees-- protect their safety, and wellness-- and two make sure that we continue to find a way to deliver service to our clients because we quickly realized that a lot of the services we deliver, if you stopped delivering, our clients would suffer significantly, and the economy would suffer significantly. Whichever economy it serves. So we had to balance, in every decision, these two things, but it allowed us to take decisions that basically said, these are the two important things, everything else doesn't matter.”

So what are your North Stars? What are the values inside your organization, what is the purpose or the mission of your company, and what culture are you trying to create? Figure these out and making decisions will be a lot easier. 

What will work look like post Covid-19?

Right now the way we work looks a lot different than it did even just 6 months ago. The question is, once we get past this, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later, but once we get past Covid-19 what will work look like? Will it be changed forever or will some things go back to normal. 

One thing that a lot of people are speculating about is that the office will be a thing of the past and that everyone will be working from home. Tiger doesn’t agree. While he does agree that some things will never go back to what it was before, he believes that offices will come back, at least in some form. 

Tiger says that assuming that 50% or more of the work going forward will be done from home is too simple, it is more nuanced than that. There may be some roles that make more sense to do from home, for example inside of Genpact there are some employees who at certain times of the year have to work for five days straight without a break, sometimes into the midnight hours. For that type of work it would make sense to be in the comfort of your own home while working long hours. 

But there are a lot of roles where it would not make sense to work from home long term and there are a lot of people who are excited and just itching to go back into the office. Some people thrive on that person to person interaction and collaboration, which is missing right now. 

Tiger believes that post Covid there will be more flexibility in the way we work, maybe at certain times of the year or certain days of the week people will be able to work from home, but there will be times when the office is necessary. He also suggested the idea of companies possibly acquiring more office space than they have now. Instead of having one office building with 10,000 people, maybe it makes more sense to have 10 offices with 1,000 people in each one. This could bring offices closer to people, bring down commute times, and potentially cut down on air pollution. 

The current situation is also impacting the speed at which organizations go through digital transformation. Some companies who have just talked about digital transformation for years, have been forced into acting on it quickly. Companies who were resisting change in the past, can no longer wait, even if they wanted to. 

Tiger says, “What COVID-19 has done is created a couple of constraints that have forced innovation and experimentation. It's the single biggest experiment, people are calling it as the biggest experiment that humans have done considering the time frame. And, and I wonder whether other intractable problems in the world are actually solvable, by actually deliberately putting constraints on.” 

Could problems like climate change be solved if we put our own constraints on it and forced ourselves to solve the problem now? Tiger thinks it is possible, but just like Covid is affecting everyone in the world, in order to solve climate change it would require everyone coming together. It couldn’t just be a small group of people. 

Two things leaders must focus on in the new normal

Our current events have shaped the way our leaders need to lead. Not only have they had to make tough decisions about layoffs, closing offices, and trying to figure out how to keep business coming in, they also have had to assist employees in moving from working in the office to working from home in a very short period of time. 

There are two things that Tiger and his team have pinpointed as changes they had to make to adjust to these times. One was the frequency of communication with employees. In the past, during normal times, Genpact leaders held town hall meetings once a quarter. Now they are holding town hall meetings once a month and they are sending out video blogs once a week. 

When they would hold town hall meetings once a quarter around 5,000 to 7,000 people would show up, but now that they are virtual and held more frequently there are around 20,000 people joining. 

The other important aspect that Tiger and his team have focused on is empathy, which is important in all times, but it is much harder when everything is virtual. Leaders have to understand the difference in leading an in-person meeting and leading a virtual one. With virtual, you can’t read body language as well. It also is easier in a virtual meeting to have everyone sign in and just start the meeting, skipping the usual banter and check-ins that happen when you meet in person. This is something that Tiger is really focused on fixing, because it is important to keep that casual conversation, to let employees know that you care about their well being and to judge how people are feeling. Are they stressed, are they depressed, are they excited? These are important things for leaders to know about their people. 

In our new virtual world leaders have to go above and beyond the old ways to make sure they stay in touch with employees and empathize with them. 

How Genpact is addressing diversity and inclusion

More than 15 years ago Tiger and his team at Genpact set out to address gender diversity inside of their organization. They realized not enough women were represented in leadership, and they knew that had to change. Over the past 15 years they have made significant progress, going from one woman on the leadership team to five and from zero women on the board to four women on the board now. He admits there is still a long way to go, but in a short amount of time they have made good strides forward. 

In light of the current events around the world that are shedding light on racial inequality, Tiger and his team knew they again had to make some changes. But they knew time was of the essence and they didn’t want to talk about actions to take for months and months. They wanted to act immediately. They had a meeting on a Monday morning at 9am and by 10am a decision was taken and by that evening they announced their decision publicly. They added racial equality as a pillar of their D&I strategy. And they announced that they were putting Hope Cooper, one of the rising African American leaders in the company, in charge of the initiative. 

Tiger released an open letter addressing the situation and how the company would react. The company also hosted six open listening sessions across the US so people in the African American, Black American population could share their experiences, their fears, and their ideas. Tiger and Genpact took those thoughts and created an agenda with defined metrics and initiatives with impact. 

Since then Genpact has also partnered with organizations such as the NAACP to start a dialogue on how the company can bring its unique skills and support to the table to form a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship. 

Tiger and his team are definitely not just about talking about change, when they see a problem that needs to be addressed, they are all in. They take the steps needed to immediately start the process of change. And that is so important for leaders to remember. You can’t just talk about changing for the better or impacting your community, you have to take action. That is the only way our organizations and our leaders are going to positively impact employees, communities, and the world.

Direct download: Tiger_Tyagarajan_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:48am PST