The Future of Work With Jacob Morgan

Being self-aware is one of the most important skills to have as a leader. It will help you identify your weaknesses and work on them.

How do you know if you’re self-aware? There are a couple of signs.

👆 The first sign that you are NOT self-aware is if you are constantly defensive. You're always having to defend yourself and defend your position to anyone who critiques you.

Also, if you have a reputation of being overpowering or a bully, it might be a good indicator that self-awareness is an important skill you need to practice.

👆 Another sign you’re not self-aware is if you're constantly having to make excuses for why things aren't getting done, for why the quality of work isn't always there, or why things are done late.

The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. That way, you can practice self-awareness, work on your weaknesses, and become a better leader.

Direct download: 1._Signs_You_Are_Not_Self_Aware.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 5:56am PDT

Kate Johnson is President of Microsoft US, a $45 billion division  including all of Microsoft’s solutions, services, and support revenues across public and private sectors in the United States. Kate is responsible for a team of 10,000 people and she is currently very involved in Microsoft’s culture journey led by CEO Satya Nadella.

Prior to Microsoft Kate served as the Chief Commercial Officer for GE Digital. She has held several key senior leadership roles at GE, Oracle, Red Hat, and Deloitte Consulting.

With the chaotic state of the world right now we need leaders who are courageous and empathetic.

One leader who truly understands how to lead with both courage and empathy in these challenging times is Kate Johnson, the President of Microsoft US.

Leaders can’t just stay where they are comfortable anymore, they have to be willing to take a risk and own all the consequences. They have to be open, transparent, and vulnerable. They have a deep understanding of their people and their customers.

When the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, first approached Kate she was working for GE and felt very loyal to the company. She had no intentions of leaving the company. But she couldn’t turn down a meeting with Satya. And the reason she ended up making the move was because of something he said.

When Kate had asked Satya about his philosophy around culture he said that Carol Dweck was one of his personal coaches and he spoke of how a growth mindset has the ability to unlock the purpose of a company and the potential of the people. Hearing that Kate knew there was alignment from the top to the bottom of Microsoft and she jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.

How to lead with courage 

Most people probably think about courageous leadership as guns blazing in the heat of the battle or a leader who is invincible and strong. But Kate’s definition is a bit different than that.

She says, “One of the things that we've been learning is the connection between courage and vulnerability. So everybody thinks if you're courageous, that you have no weakness. You are strong, they picture warriors, you know, with lots of armor and heading off. That's not what courageous leadership is. Courageous leadership is the willingness to activate the troops and own the outcome, but also to do so bringing all of your strengths and weaknesses to the table with total transparency and clarity, and kind of owning work with that and figuring out how to assemble the team to bolster wherever there are weaknesses. And that's a different kind of leadership that I think is essential today.

One example Kate shared of how she is living out courageous leadership has to do with the training she has been going through with her team. Kate asked Brene Brown to help 140 leaders in her division. During this learning journey the whole group went to Alabama to spend time with the famed Harvard attorney Bryan Stevenson to talk about race in America.

The group read his book and then spent a few hours talking with him. They were so shocked and moved by what he said they decided they needed to learn more. Kate asked Bryan to speak at the Microsoft Sales Kickoff, which was a great success. Not only did he receive two standing ovations from the entire US team but it opened up some great conversations about race.

Kate and her team decided to go together--7,000 people across 42 movie theaters to see the movie Just Mercy. Throughout this year she has reached out to her team to ask what she can do to address racial inequalities and racial tensions. She has opened up some tough conversations and pushed the organization to do better.

This is what courageous leadership is. When asked what courageous leadership looks like Kate said, “There's a million different examples that I could give to you. But the one that resonates most frequently, is when you see a person trying to get it right, instead of trying to be right.

She mentioned how Microsoft used to be a company of “know it alls” but now, under Satya’s leadership it has become a company of “learn it alls”.

“And a learn it all is somebody who has no preconceived notion of what the answer is, and is all about creating an inclusive process to go get that answer. Courageous leaders show up like that every single day, versus one that isn't so courageous as one that walks into the room, thinking they know the answer, and thinking that their job is to convince everybody else what the answer is. And it's that get it right versus think you're right.”

Balancing family and work

A lot of leaders struggle with balancing work and personal life. There is sometimes a struggle for female leaders specifically who may be pressured by society or a boss to pick between an executive role and a family life, thinking both can’t be possible. But as Kate shows, it is definitely possible to be a successful leader and a great parent and spouse. But it takes work and intentionality.

Kate says it all comes down to making sacrifices. And she has a practice in place that really helps her put up boundaries. She gives her kids her calendar at the beginning of the year and they get to block out important dates, whether it is a school recital or a sports tournament or graduation. And then her team knows that those dates are spoken for.

There are also certain work black out dates which she knows she has to be present at work for. And it’s when some of the dates overlap that all parties have to come together to find a solution. But it all works out.

Kate says, “I've always balanced it. And I've always enjoyed both roles. And the more that I can be the same person, as I play both roles, you know, mom to Owen and Jake and leader of MSUS, being the same authentic person with same quality, same sense of humor, same flaws, same pros and cons that's when I know I'm doing it right.”

Kate’s advice for female leaders

Kate admits that when she first started as a leader she said no to her family more than she did to work, because she felt like she had something to prove and she had to show she was willing to work hard. She didn’t have confidence that her boss would understand if she said no to work.

But she had a wake up call from a boss one time. Kate’s boss asked her one day, “if you didn’t show up to work tomorrow, do you know what would happen?” and Kate said, “I don’t know, what?” and her boss replied “nothing”. The sun will still come up tomorrow whether or not you are here.

She learned that it is okay to say no to work. People will understand. As long as when you are at work you work hard and you have a good reputation, no one is going to think you are lazy if you say no from time to time.

It’s okay to say no. In fact, Kate says saying no to some things will probably help you raise the quality of your game and the places where you do say yes. And this is not something she just practices herself, she coaches her people to say no too.

She actually sent a note out this past month to remind her team to say no more often, especially to things like internal meetings where it doesn’t really bring any value to customers.

The key to saying no is providing an alternative. If you have to say no to a meeting maybe someone else at your level can attend, or maybe the meeting can be moved, or perhaps they could tape the meeting for you so you can keep up to date.

How Microsoft is focusing on empathy

The purpose and mission of Microsoft is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. In order to do that they understand they have to prioritize empathy. Kate says empathy is just deep understanding. In order to serve their customers employees need to know how to be empathetic and how to immerse themselves in the needs of their clients.

Kate truly believes that, “our empathic muscle is directly tied to how much share we can grab in the cloud market.” So they practice empathy every single day.

Microsoft leaders teach employees how to be empathetic. When interacting with customers employees should listen before they talk. Instead of just talking about the products and services, employees should first get to know the clients unique problems and needs.

Satya Nadella models this for the rest of the company. Kate says Satya is one of the most empathic leaders she has ever worked for. Kate went with Satya one time to see a customer in Nebraska. In order to understand the technology inside of a combine used in the customer’s fields Satya actually got into the combine and drove it.

As Kate shares, “You can't be empathic without having that proximity, that closeness, to deeply understand something. And so, I hope we're doing it every single day. Now, it's a little bit more difficult in the virtual world to practice empathy. But, you know, I think we're starting to get the hang of moving from this notion of physical proximity to emotional and intellectual proximity, where asking the right questions is how you unlock the next level of learning, as opposed to just getting physical proximity and having great observation skills.”

 

This episode of Future of Work is supported by Teamistry, a podcast that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways… to beat the odds.

Each episode tells a unique story and provides practical lessons for your team and your business. I got a sneak peek of season 2 and was immediately sucked in with its documentary-style narration, details about stories I thought I knew but didn’t, and practical lessons that I was able to apply to my business. Check it out here.

Direct download: Audio_-_Kate_Johnson_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:55pm PDT

Self-awareness is one of the most important things to have as a leader.

An effective way to practice self-awareness is to know what others think of you.

Other people's opinions of you are often very different from your opinion of yourself.

You need to encourage people to give you constructive feedback.

But you can’t just call people up and ask what they think of you.

Once you collect this information, you can compare it to your list of how you think about yourself.

This will help you assess yourself and improve on the areas you are struggling with.

This episode of Future of Work is supported by Teamistry, a podcast that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways… to beat the odds.

Each episode tells a unique story and provides practical lessons for your team and your business. I got a sneak peek of season 2 and was immediately sucked in with its documentary-style narration, details about stories I thought I knew but didn’t, and practical lessons that I was able to apply to my business. Check it out here.

 

Direct download: Effective-Technique-to-Practice-Self-Awareness_-_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:15pm PDT

Carrie Birkhofer is President and CEO of Bay Federal Credit Union, a non profit financial cooperative with 225 employees. She’s been the CEO there for 25 years and under her leadership the credit union has grown from $70 million to $1.4 billion in assets.

This year has brought on a lot of challenges for leaders in every industry.

Some leaders have struggled and even failed. Others have really embraced change in order to help their people get through these tough times.

One CEO that has really used the current challenges to make her organization even better is Carrie Birkhofer, President and CEO of Bay Federal Credit Union. Even before the pandemic she knew the importance of putting people first.

Carrie was one of the CEOs I interviewed for my book, The Future Leader and during the interview she said the following, “I meet employees the first hour on the first day they start at the Credit Union. New employees are welcomed as a group and when new hires start together, I’m there. I greet them, I welcome them, and I answer any questions they may have. All new employees, regardless of their position are seen, heard, respected, and listened to by the leader and they know that I’m there to serve them, not the other way around.”

This is a great example of what leaders should be every single day, but especially now as we all go through the historic crazy times 2020 has brought. Leaders should serve their people, their people should not be there just to serve them.

What does servant leadership look like

What does it look like to serve your employees? Carrie has some great real life examples of what it looks like. First of all, Carrie makes sure she meets new employees on their first day at work.

In good times, pre-COVID that meant four or five current employees and Carrie getting together in person with the new employees. The current employees would share who they are, what their path has been at Bay Federal, and something interesting that they want to share. Then they would have the new employees do the same thing, except they would share their paths getting to Bay Federal.

And then Carrie would go last, because she doesn’t want to influence the process. Most people don’t even know who she is until she shares. She also gives the new employees a chance to ask any questions they want. But because she realizes they may be too nervous to think of anything, Carrie and two executive vice presidents take that same group out for lunch so they can ask their questions once they are more comfortable.

Obviously this process looks a bit different with COVID. But this is still a priority for Carrie, so the initial meeting is done either via Zoom or in a large room where everyone is socially distanced. And instead of physically taking the group out to lunch she orders everyone lunch from Door Dash and they get to eat at their home while on a Zoom with Carrie and her team.

She also started writing a Friday morning email to all employees when things got crazy earlier this year. She wanted to make sure everyone was up to date and had all the information they needed. She got such great feedback from it, that she continues it to this day. And even though she says it is a lot of work on her part, it is worth it because it has allowed her to be even more connected with her team.

This year has also brought a lot of attention to racial inequalities. Carrie wanted to make sure she addressed this in the right way. So she called up all of the employees in the company who identify as black and she checked in on them. She asked how they were doing, she asked what she could do to help, and she made herself available to them. She genuinely cares about her people and she wants to make sure that every single one of them is heard and respected.

The day to day of a CEO before and during COVID 

As a CEO Carrie’s day to day looks a little different now. Pre-COVID Carrie would be out of the office a lot more. She attended community events, went out to build business relationships, took part in conferences. But now she is primarily working from home. And she has been spending a lot more time communicating with her employees, the board of directors, and the senior leadership team.

Nowadays she wakes up quite early with her new puppy. She starts her day off by going for a walk to the Monterey Bay where she does a gratitude mantra. This has really helped her to stay grounded during all of the craziness of 2020. During her walk when she gets to a certain spot she takes time to ask for wisdom and guidance from family members who have passed on. She says a prayer of thanks. She gets perspective and reflects. And she takes in the view of nature around her. She does this every single day without fail, rain or shine.

Then when she gets back she has some coffee and goes into her office (which right now is in her bedroom). She takes a look at her calendar to see what her day looks like, every day is very different, but generally she has Zoom meetings and activities from 8:30am to 4:30pm. And she ends her day with the same walk she does in the morning.

She is very involved in her Rotary Club, she has the new employee orientations on the first Monday of every month, she meets daily with her executive assistant, and daily with her two vice presidents. She also meets twice a week with her senior leadership team.

And while the amount of communication needed these days can be exhausting, she enjoys feeling more connected to her team now than ever before.

Making the shift at first seemed daunting but as Carrie shares, “Well, on March 13, the governor kinda hinted that we were shutting down and on March 17 everyone went home. And we adapted that day, it took about a week for the technology team to get 100 employees situated at home and I know companies much larger than us did as well.  It was kind of a miracle in the business world, that we all did it. But it happened really quickly. It happened overnight. And if you had told me six months ago that this is something that we will have to do, and this is how we're going to operate, and you're gonna do it in less than a week, my team would have laughed at me. But we did it. And we just, I think it shows the power of having a clear mandate. That's an important thing. If you have clear crystal clear direction, I think teams can do amazing work. And it also shows me the power of a team that is very synergized and works collaboratively together.”

Keeping culture alive while working remotely

Bay Federal has a lot of unique activities in place to keep the company culture alive when so many team members are working from home. One tradition they have had for a long time is around Halloween. Before the pandemic they had every department pick a theme and the employees decorated their area over the top with props and everything. Then the senior leadership team would go around to every location throughout the day. It was a very big production.

But knowing this year they had to do it a bit differently they made the whole week of Halloween spirit week where everyone could dress up for a different theme every day whether they were physically in the office or working from home. Everyone got to upload a picture of themselves in their costume and prizes were given out to the best ones.

Carrie also makes sure to start each meeting with a different fun question, like what is your favorite rock band? What is your favorite meal that you are Door Dashing right now? This practice really helps with Zoom meetings so that they don’t just jump into things without doing something fun first. Carrie has also used this question time to ask people what their favorite cake is, and she keeps track of all the responses so she can send people their favorite cake on their birthday.

The leadership team was able to have a socially distanced barbeque where they got to play trivia games, good food, and they could reconnect since they hadn’t been together in quite a long time.

The importance of putting people first has been talked about for many years. But this year has really shown us that leaders actually need to be human, they have to get to know their people, and they have to put people first in order to thrive and grow. Any leader who doesn’t do this will get left behind. 

Carrie’s advice for future female leaders

We have a long way to go to bring equality to leadership. We need more women leaders. Carrie has been a CEO for 25 years so she knows the challenges and the benefits of being a female leader.

Her advice to any women who want to be leaders is, “Show up. When you're in the office, when you have an opportunity to be seen and heard, show up with confidence, and professionalism. Be prepared. You know, don't apologize. Be bold. And listen and ask others what their opinions are, but don't be afraid to share your own. And I think the world is ready for you. There's a lot of acceptance being recognized for diversity. And so it's finding that right audience that's listening to you. Don't carry a chip on your shoulder, be inquisitive, be curious. Be kind. And at the same time be bold.”

This episode of Future of Work is supported by Teamistry, a podcast that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways… to beat the odds.

Each episode tells a unique story and provides practical lessons for your team and your business. I got a sneak peek of season 2 and was immediately sucked in with its documentary-style narration, details about stories I thought I knew but didn’t, and practical lessons that I was able to apply to my business. Check it out here.

Direct download: Audio_-_Carrie_Birkhofer_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:12pm PDT

Improving your strengths and working on your weaknesses is not as hard as people think.

When I was younger and was trying to make decisions in my life, whether it was who I wanted to date, where I wanted to live, or even the company I wanted to apply for, my dad would always say, "Jacob, take out a piece of paper, fold it in half and write down the pros and cons on each side of the paper."

What you can also do with this exercise is to replace the pros and cons column with strengths and weaknesses.

This is a great way to assess yourself and find out what areas you need to work on. Of course, this only works if you are completely honest with yourself.

As you learn new things and try to work on your weaknesses, these things are going to change.

If you do this exercise on a regular basis, you’ll become very self-aware of what your strengths and weaknesses actually are. It's a very simple practice that can make a big difference.

This episode of Future of Work is supported by Teamistry, a podcast that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways… to beat the odds.

Each episode tells a unique story and provides practical lessons for your team and your business. I got a sneak peek of season 2 and was immediately sucked in with its documentary-style narration, details about stories I thought I knew but didn’t, and practical lessons that I was able to apply to my business. Check it out at here.

Direct download: 4._How_to_Improve_Your_Strengths_and_Work_on_Your_Weaknesses.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:40am PDT

Michael Watkins is the Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at the IMD Business School and the co-founder of Genesis Advisors, a global leadership development consultancy based in Boston where he coaches C-level executives of global organizations. He is also the author of 11 books including the international bestseller, The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter.

Michael was recently ranked among the top 50 management thinkers globally by Thinkers50. Previously he was an adjunct professor at INSEAD and an associate professor at the Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

We all go through periods of transition. Whether it is a change in a role at work or moving to a different company or even going through a new season in your personal life, transitions are a part of life.

For leaders transitions are critical, and if they are not handled correctly the results can be disastrous. Michael’s book, The First 90 Days, looks at how leaders can make the most out of their first three months of a transition as well as some common traps that leaders fall into during that critical time.

The breakeven point

Michael uses a financial analogy to explain why mastering transitions is so important. A financial break even point looks at how long it takes an investment to get to a point where it pays for itself.

With leaders the break even point is looking at the point where you as a leader are creating value for the company. The longer it takes you to get up to speed in a new role the longer it’s going to be before you stop consuming value and start producing value. As a leader you need to figure out how you can get to the point of true value creation as fast as you can, but in a smart way.

In a study that was conducted by Michael and his team a few years ago they found that unaided the process for leaders to reach the breakeven point can take up to six months. So if that timeframe can be reduced it not only helps the organization it also helps set the leader up for success very early on.

And of course, the time it takes to start creating value also depends on the type of transition you are going through. Staying in the same company but moving to a different role may take less time than moving to a different company and starting in a role that didn’t exist before.

Common traps leaders fall into during transitions

There are several traps people can fall into when they are going through transitions in life and at work. It is important for leaders to be aware of these traps so they can be careful to avoid them. 

One of the biggest traps Michael points out is when leaders stay in their comfort zone and continue to define their role through the lens of what they are good at.

Michael says, “When I coach people one of the questions I ask them fairly early on is what are you really good at and love doing that you need to do less of here? And what are you perhaps not so good at or not enjoying doing that you need to do more of? So as you enter a new role, you need to think about what do I need to let go of and what do I need to embrace? And that kind of helps get you through the comfort zone trap.”

When you are making a transition, don’t just assume that what has worked in the past will work in your current situation. This is especially important if you are not only transitioning in a role, but also in a different organization. A lot of times the job description that’s given to you in the interview may not give you the full scope of what needs to be done, so it is important to check and recheck what you’re really there to do. Go one level deeper than the job description to find out why you are there. Figure out how you can add unique value to the organization and then use that as your North star.

Another trap leaders can fall into during a transition is not reaching out to peers and stakeholders early enough. A lot of emphasis is put on leaders to connect with their team and their boss, but most leaders neglect to connect with their peers and stakeholders and that can be harmful later on. Michael says you shouldn’t wait until you have a problem and need their help before you reach out to them.

A third trap to watch out for is what Michael calls the action imperative. When you are put into a new role most likely you are going to feel pressure to do something or make a decision right away. Most of the time that pressure is coming from within yourself, and not something that people expect. Of course there are exceptions, but in general try to fight this feeling.

As Michael shares, “It's that sense, maybe it comes a little out of the imposter syndrome kind of idea, or that sense of I need to prove myself, show that they made the right decision in hiring or promoting you. And you can have that pressure, and that can lead you to do things that you're perhaps not fully ready to do or that are not as informed enough or not socialized enough. And that can create a vicious cycle if you're not if you're not careful.”

When you start to feel pressure to do something right away, ask yourself where is this pressure coming from? Is it coming from within yourself or is there a legitimate reason for you to act on something immediately.

The lack of leadership training inside organizations

One thing I found while writing my latest book, The Future Leader, is that most people spend 10-15 years in leadership positions before getting any formal leadership training from their organization. There are quite a few people who are promoted to leadership roles in their 20s and 30s but on average people are in their late 30s or early 40s before going through training. So how are you as a leader supposed to get up to speed and have a successful transition into a position of leadership if you have never had any formal training?

Michael says it means it leaves responsibility for leadership development on the individual. This can seem daunting, but the good news is there are so many resources out there these days you can turn to. There are online courses, books, videos, etc… on leadership and the skills related to being a great leader. So if your organization is not providing you with the skills you need, there really isn’t an excuse.

And while leaving training up to the individual isn’t the best way of operating for an organization, it is happening more often now because of the unraveling of the social contract between organizations and individuals. It is no longer common for a person to stay at one company for their entire career. Gone are the days where the company provides a safety net for employees, and so employees no longer feel loyalty to the company.

Leaders have to be proactive and intentional in onboarding and integrating themselves into a new role. As Michael says, “If you don't own your transition, your transition will own you.”

How to have a successful transition

For leaders going through a transition process Michael says it is important to understand the challenges up front and be clear about how you are going to create value in what you are there to do. Be sure to plan your learning process, engage with peers and stakeholders early on, and be really thoughtful about how you are going to arrive in the new organization and the messaging you want to send.

Michael says, “a lot of what you do early on, is about signaling and symbolism. So be really thoughtful about that because those early actions can send very powerful messages whether you intend them to or not.”

This episode of Future of Work is supported by Teamistry, a podcast that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways… to beat the odds.

Each episode tells a unique story and provides practical lessons for your team and your business. I got a sneak peek of season 2 and was immediately sucked in with its documentary-style narration, details about stories I thought I knew but didn’t, and practical lessons that I was able to apply to my business. Check it out at here.

 

Direct download: Audio_-__Michael_Watkins_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:18pm PDT

To be successful in the future of work, leaders must have a growth mindset.

One way to identify if a person has a fixed mindset or a growth mindset is by how they tackle problems.

For example, if you have a fixed mindset, when you run into a challenge or are faced with a roadblock, you try to tackle it the same way over and over. When those attempts don't work, you get frustrated and quit.

But when you have a growth mindset, you find a way to get better to solve the problem. You understand that what you were doing didn’t work and that you need to learn a new skill to overcome the obstacle.

If you're able to embrace this concept of a growth mindset, you’ll become much more valuable as a leader inside your organization.

This episode of Future of Work is supported by Teamistry, a podcast that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways… to beat the odds.

Each episode tells a unique story and provides practical lessons for your team and your business. I got a sneak peek of season 2 and was immediately sucked in with its documentary-style narration, details about stories I thought I knew but didn’t, and practical lessons that I was able to apply to my business. Check it out at here.

Direct download: The_Right_Way_to_Tackle_a_Problem.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:41am PDT

The way we work is changing. 

It’s not going to stop changing anytime soon, in fact the change is only going to speed up. 

Organizations have made progress in adapting for the future of work, but we still have a long way to go. 

In my book, The Future of Work, I laid out 14 principles of the future organization. And while that book was released back in 2014, these principles are still very relevant for organizations today and we have a lot of work to do in each one of these areas in order to succeed in the next decade and beyond. So let’s take a deeper look at each one of these 14 principles.

Globally distributed with smaller teams

We have been seeing organizations move away from having all of their employees located in a few corporate offices to having employees spread out all over the world. This allows teams to be smaller and more agile. 

It also opens up a wider pool of talent for organizations then we have seen in the past. Proximity to the corporate headquarters is no longer an issue. This is an exciting change because it means organizations can utilize the best talent and individuals can work for their dream company no matter where they are in the world. We were already seeing this change back in 2014, but now with COVID-19 we are seeing this become even more common. 

Connected workforce

While it is great to have a global team around the world, it is not possible to work effectively from all over without being able to stay connected. Your team needs to be able to connect to the right information and to each other anywhere, anytime, and from any device. Which means your organization has to have the right technology in place to make that happen. 

Technology is the central nervous system of any organization. With the current pandemic companies have been pushed to achieve in 3 months what they had been trying to do over 10 years. But with or without the pandemic, companies have to continue to create and invest in the technologies that connect their workforce. 

Intrapreneurial 

There are several traits that come to mind when you think of an entrepreneur. Passion, drive, innovation, creativity, forward thinking, etc… Wouldn’t you love to have people inside of your organization with these traits? You should. Intrapreneurs are entrepreneurs that work inside of an organization instead of off on their own. 

You can foster the intrapreneurial spirit inside of your organization by letting employees test their ideas out, experiment, pitch new projects, and run with the ideas that have potential. There are several organizations that are allowing employees to be intrapreneurial such as LinkedIn, Adobe, and AT&T. 

For individuals this means that you have to have entrepreneurial skills in order to succeed and get ahead. You have to be scrappy, resourceful, and curious. Don’t just wait for your manager to tell you what to do next, don’t just think inside the box, don’t get pigeon-holed into a certain job description. Don’t be afraid to take an idea and run with it. 

Operates like a small company

Organizations can no longer afford to be bogged down by bureaucracy, not in this fast paced world we are living in. No matter how many employees you have you have to operate like a small company. 

Small companies are agile and adaptable. They are able to make quick decisions and pivot at a moment's notice. Again, with the pandemic I think companies have been forced to do this for now. We all had to act quickly at the beginning of 2020. But if you want to succeed in the future you have to be able to continue to act small and agile. You will not win if you operate at the speed of sludge. 

Are your employees empowered to make their own decisions or do they have to go through multiple levels of hierarchy to get an answer? Do you have small enough teams or do you have 40+ people in meetings? Do you allow employees to run with ideas or do they have to sit in back to back meetings all day? 

Don’t tell me it’s not possible to make quick decisions, we’ve all had to do it this year. And if you can do it for COVID-19, you can do it anytime. 

Focuses on “want” instead of “need”

In the past when there was a position to be filled inside of an organization the leaders would post a job ad and qualified candidates would apply. There would be an interview and the candidate had to convince the interviewer why they would be the best fit for the position. It was always assumed that the candidate needed a job and they were at the mercy of the organization to hire them. It was about what the candidate could bring to the organization. 

Now with globalization and the fact that individuals can work pretty much anywhere around the world as well as the fact that it is a lot easier to be an entrepreneur and do your own thing now it is no longer the individual who has to do the selling. Individuals have so many choices, they don’t have to settle for anything. It is up to the organization to prove it is a place where the individual would want to work. 

In order to attract the best talent you have to create an organization where people want to come work, you cannot assume that they need the job anymore. 

Adapts to change faster

The world is moving at such a fast pace. Organizations can no longer afford to take a “wait and see” approach. They cannot sit back and follow in the path of what others are doing. In order to succeed organizations have to look forward, act fast, and move more swiftly. Things will never be as slow as they are right now. This goes for technology, workplace trends and also reacting to current events. 

Innovation everywhere

Does your organization allow anyone to come forward with a new idea? Or do all of your innovations come from a certain department or level of hierarchy? In order to succeed in this rapidly changing world of work, innovation has to come from anywhere and everywhere inside your organization. 

And ideas and innovation are two different things. Ideas happen all of the time. We all have hundreds of ideas every single week. But it’s the process of taking an idea and actually turning it into something that leads to innovation. 

Does your organization allow anyone to come forward with an idea? If an employee has a suggestion, feedback, or an idea do they have the potential to do something with it? 

Runs in the cloud

On-premise technologies have a shelf life, and their days are surely numbered. If your organization is purely operating with on site servers and technologies it won’t be long before you fall behind your competition. The future is cloud based technology. It allows organizations to scale up or down very quickly. 

More women in senior management roles

This is a big one. We have made some progress here, but not enough. Less than 8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. We need much more diversity in our leadership roles. Without diversity in leadership, companies are missing out on a huge talent pool that brings with it a new set of skills, mindsets, and perspectives. 

How can you properly serve your customers and create new products and services if everyone on your leadership team is exactly the same, without any diversity? We definitely need more women leaders.   

Flatter structure 

The stereotypical hierarchical structure that we have seen in most of our organizations is the pyramid with the CEO at the top and multiple layers in between them and the frontline workers. We can agree that while some structure inside of organizations is good, we need to have a more balanced system. 

Information, communication, and ideas should not all come from the top down. It should move from side to side, from the bottom to the top as well as the top down. It doesn’t need to be flat, but it needs to be flatter. We need less layers between frontline workers and the CEO. 

This principle helps with agility and nimbleness as well as creating purpose and meaning for employees. When the organization is flatter and communication is flowing freely, employees have a better sense of what is happening inside the organization and why.

Tells stories

We like to tell stories to our customers through our websites, social media, TV ads, etc...So why don’t we take time to create stories for our employees? Stories help us to connect emotionally with an idea or a brand. They paint a picture and make values and purpose come to life. 

Employees want to work for an organization that they believe in. They want to find value and purpose in the work they do everyday and what better way to explain the organization’s mission then through stories. When they know what they are working for employees are more likely to go above and beyond. We all want to know that what we do every day impacts our community and our world. Take the time to tell your company’s story to every single employee. 

Democratizes learning

Just as learning in our schools is outdated, learning inside of our organizations is outdated. It is too structured and formal. If you sign up for a learning opportunity at work most likely you are going to watch a video from the 80s or you will attend a scripted lecture with someone going through a PowerPoint. 

 

Learning should reflect the year we live in. If it is so easy for me to learn something on my own through YouTube or Khan Academy or Coursera why can’t it be the same way inside our organizations. Learning has to be democratized. It must be put into the hands of every employee because every employee has something to teach and every employee has something to learn.  

Shifts from profits to prosperity 

Profit is the financial gain that an organization receives and it is the primary measure of success inside of most organizations. But prosperity looks at much more than money. It looks at employee health & wellness, community involvement, diversity & inclusion, sustainability, etc…

The purpose of a business can no longer be just about making money, it’s about impacting all stakeholders. Not shareholders, stakeholders. Our communities, partners, suppliers, vendors, customers, and employees all have a stake in the success of the business. 

We have to move away from just the dollars and cents and focus on the greater impact our organizations make on the world around us. 

Adapts to the future employee and the future manager

Organizations that want to succeed in the future of work have to be able to adapt to the future employee and the future leader. Leadership is changing in a big way, for more information on how it is changing you can check out my new book, The Future Leader. But organizations need to know what the future of leadership looks like and make sure they are promoting the right people to those positions. Organizations also have to stay on top of what employees want and need. We cannot just continue on and assume that we can succeed while continuing in the old ways of working. 

Right now, we're seeing such an amazing time and exciting evolution around how we work, how we lead, and even how we structure our companies. Don’t get stuck in the old way of doing things. We must continue to adapt, learn, explore, and grow if we want to avoid getting left behind.

This episode of Future of Work is supported by Teamistry, a podcast that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways… to beat the odds.

Each episode tells a unique story and provides practical lessons for your team and your business. I got a sneak peek of season 2 and was immediately sucked in with its documentary-style narration, details about stories I thought I knew but didn’t, and practical lessons that I was able to apply to my business. Check it out at here.

Direct download: Audio_-_Jacob_-_14_principles_podcast.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:16am PDT

People analytics is crucial to creating great experiences. 

I was once speaking overseas to a large organization that was very interested in investing in employee experiences. 

The Chief HR Officer said that the average tenure in the organization was eight to ten years. I told him that was great and asked him why that was, but he said he didn't know. 

He also said, “When people do leave the company, they always leave at the two-year mark.” But when I asked what happened at the two-year mark, he said he didn’t know.  

Without people analytics, you don’t have data. And data is what helps you truly know your people. 

Look at the data you already have about your people--engagement data, salary data, geographic data, demographic and background data, performance review data, etc. You have a lot of ways to find data and learn about your employees. 

This episode is sponsored by Teamistry, a podcast by Atlassian. Check them out at http://bit.ly/fowatlassian

 

Direct download: 1._Do_You_Need_People_Analytics_-_sponsor_added.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 4:22am PDT

We are facing a leadership crisis today.

The world of work is changing, which means we need a different type of leader to guide our people and organizations to success. 

The old ways won’t work anymore. 

In my newest book, The Future Leader, I interviewed over 140 CEOs from around the world to get their view of how leadership is changing, what it’s going to look like in the future, and what we need to do now to be future-ready leaders. 

One thing was clear in all of their responses, what has worked in the past will not work in the future. We need a new kind of leader. Leadership can no longer be based solely on confidence, seniority, the ability to make money for the company, acting like you know it all, etc...

Another thing that I found in my research for the book was the lack of leadership training inside of organizations. Most people become leaders in their mid to late 20s, but most leaders have admitted that they didn’t receive formal training until they were in their late 30s and early 40s.

That means there is a period of 15-20 years where leaders inside of our organizations are leading, but they haven’t been taught how to do it effectively. No wonder we have such a lack of strong leadership.

But just because you don’t receive formal training inside of your organization doesn’t give you a free pass to be an ineffective leader. You can take training into your own hands. You have the ability to learn what you need to know to be the best leader you can be. 

The first step is answering a tough question

If you are ready to be a future-ready leader, the first step you need to take is to define leader and leadership for yourself. What does it really mean to be a leader? It may seem like a simple question, but it is actually the hardest question for the 140+ CEOs I interviewed to answer. 

We see leaders in action every single day, whether they are good or bad. It is something so common, that we don’t tend to spend time defining leadership because we assume everyone knows what it is. It’s like water. You wouldn’t explain water to someone, because we all just know what water is. 

But defining leader and leadership is such an important step. Without a definition we get inconsistency inside of our organizations. Most organizations have some great leaders that people love and some horrible leaders that people can’t stand. That wouldn’t happen if we had a clear definition of leadership. It would help put filters in place that help the right people get promoted to leadership positions. 

If you want great leaders, start by defining what a great leader is. And use that definition to promote people inside of your organization.

The Notable Nine

From the interviews that I did with the 140+ CEOs I ended up with four mindsets and five skills that leaders need to adopt in order to succeed in the future of work. They are: 

Mindsets:

  1. Explorer: Become a perpetual learner, be curious and focus on agility and adaptability
  2. Chef: Learn how to balance humanity and technology
  3. Servant: Serve your leaders, your team, your customers and yourself by being humble and vulnerable
  4. Global Citizen: Surround yourself with different people and look at the big picture

Skills:

  1. Futurist: Look towards the future and think through different scenarios
  2. Yoda: Practice emotional intelligence and empathy
  3. Translator: Develop listening and communication skills
  4. Coach: Motivate and engage others and create effective teams across geographies and generations
  5. Technology Teenager: Embrace new technology and be tech-savvy

Leaders must be like lighthouses

On the cover of my book is the image of a lighthouse. And I think it is such a great visualization of what a leader should be. A lighthouse is designed to help mariners and explorers reach their destinations, but in a safe way. It helps travelers keep out of shallow waters, off of the rocks, and away from danger. And I think of leaders in very much the same way.

The whole purpose of a leader is to guide their people and organizations to success, but in a safe way. With the nine skills and mindsets leaders can build themselves up to be a lighthouse so that they can shine a bright light onto the sea of uncertainty that we’re all a part of. 

But one thing a lot of leaders forget is that if there are no ships in the water, then a lighthouse is useless. Without great people to lead, a leader is pointless. Leaders can’t just focus on building themselves up, they must also focus on the success of their people.

 

This episode of Future of Work is supported by Teamistry, a podcast that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways… to beat the odds.

Each episode tells a unique story and provides practical lessons for your team and your business. I got a sneak peek of season 2 and was immediately sucked in with its documentary-style narration, details about stories I thought I knew but didn’t, and practical lessons that I was able to apply to my business. Check it out at this page

Direct download: Audio_-_Jacob_Morgan_-_Blakes_Show.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:21am PDT

1