Great Leadership With Jacob Morgan

It doesn't matter what industry you're in. Chances are, there will always be people around you who are used to doing things the old way. So what can you do to battle that entrenched way of thinking?

Jim Heppelmann, CEO of PTC, gave me some really useful advice for how you can fight rooted thinking:

The first thing that Jim did was make change a part of the company’s brand. In other words, he would create slogans, like Take a Fresh Look that became part of the organization's core values.

The second piece of advice Jim gave me is that if you want to battle entrenched thinking, you need to lead by example.

If you want to unlock creative ways of solving problems, it's got to start with you. As a leader, you should be taking a fresh look and asking questions.

The third piece of advice Jim gave me is to celebrate change, even if change led to failure. If you have somebody in your organization who's trying to do something new, reward the behavior, don't just focus on the result.

You can't innovate unless you make mistakes and are prepared to fail at some point.


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Direct download: Three_ways_to_Battle_Entrenched_Thinking.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

I've had the opportunity to talk to a lot of great leaders around the world. And I noticed that there are three things that a lot of these great leaders typically do.

✅Take time for themselves Successful business leaders spend time exercising, journaling, meditating, or enjoying quiet time. Whatever it is they do, they always take time for themselves. This is when they get a chance to think big picture and create the vision where they want to go.

✅Have goals Every leader I’ve interviewed has goals. These can be daily goals or big-picture goals for themselves and where they want the organization as a whole to go.

✅Spend time with other people Leaders don’t just spend time with peers and executives. They spend time with people on the front line and with customers. If you want to be a successful leader, make sure you're spending time with people, learning from them, getting feedback from them, and listening to their insights.


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Direct download: 3_Things_Leaders_Do.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

For years, I’ve been interviewing leaders and experts on this podcast, The Future of Work with Jacob Morgan.

But for some reason, everything felt different in 2021. These experts’ advice and insights became more real and critical to success as organizations and leaders faced unprecedented challenges and change every day.

The future of work is here, and we need to do everything we can to adapt and prepare. 

Clearly, you have the same mindset as you listened to the podcast. Here are the top 10 podcast interviews of the year with incredible leaders from around the world.


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Direct download: Audio_-_Top_10_of_2021_Episode_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Katy Milkman is a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, host of Charles Schwab's popular behavioral economics podcast Choiceology, and president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making. In addition, she is the co-founder and co-director of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative, a research center to advance the science of lasting behavior change.

She's also the author of a top-rated book called How to change the science of getting from where you are to where you want to be.

Today we are talking about her research and exploring insights from economics and psychology that can be harnessed to change consequential behaviors for good enhancing leadership skills to unleash employee potential.  Learning techniques to change behavior around financial decision making, health decision making and around educational outcomes.


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Direct download: Audio_-_Katy_Milkman_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Mike Ettling, the CEO of Unit4, a software company with around 2700 employees in 26 countries that designs and delivers enterprise software and ERP applications including finance management, accounting, talent management, and student management modules.

Today we are focusing on how leaders can create a sense of purpose and meaning for their employees.


This episode is brought to you by my friends at Unit4 a cloud based enterprise software company which is built around a single premise. Give your people the means to focus on what matters, and the people they serve will benefit. If you want to free your people so that they can focus on the things that matter check out or better yet take a list to the speech their CEO Mike Ettling gave by visiting


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Direct download: Audio_-_Mike_Ettling_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

My dad taught me an important lesson: we should all enjoy our mistakes.

It can be hard to have this positive outlook on life, but everyone should learn how to enjoy their mistakes.

Here are some tips on how to start doing it:

Realize mistakes are common. A lot of people forget that nobody is perfect. When you realize that mistakes are common and everybody makes them, it removes some of that pressure from you.

Remember failure is just a state of mind. Failure is ultimately how you think about the mistake that you made. Realize that it happened and that you should move on and progress and go on to the next thing.

Focus on what you learn. Instead of viewing something as a failure, why don't you ask yourself what you learned.

Enjoy, laugh, share, and move on.


This episode is sponsored by Namely.

Whether you have 50 or 1,000 employees, Namely HR helps you maintain a great experience for the entire employee lifecycle. They offer onboarding, performance management, intuitive benefits enrollment, and much more - all on one connected platform. Learn more about making the switch to Namely by going to today!


Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

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Direct download: 4_Tips_To_Embrace_Your_Mistakes_NAMELY.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Erica Dhawan, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and the best-selling author of a very timely book called Digital Body Language:

How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance. She is best known as the leading authority on 21st-century collaboration and teamwork in a digital-first workplace.

Today we are focusing on how digital body language is all the new cues and signals that have replaced traditional body language.

Humans rely on body language to connect and build trust, but with most of our communication happening from behind a screen, traditional body language signals are no longer visible.


This episode is sponsored by Namely.

Whether you have 50 or 1,000 employees, Namely HR helps you maintain a great experience for the entire employee lifecycle. They offer onboarding, performance management, intuitive benefits enrollment, and much more - all on one connected platform. Learn more about making the switch to Namely by going to today!


Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

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Direct download: Audio_-_Erica_Dhawan_-_Ready_V2_final.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Be a perpetual learner if you want to future-proof your career.

Being a perpetual learner means understanding and acknowledging that you can’t rely on educational institutions or organizations to teach you everything you need to know to be successful.

A perpetual learner is somebody who takes learning into their own hands. They take their growth and development into their own hands, and they learn how to learn.

They acknowledge that what they learned in the past is not necessarily going to carry them forward in the future.

Here are three daily practices of perpetual learners:

They ask questions

Why is something being done like this? Is there a better way for us to do this? Can we be more efficient with this? Can we save money without having to do this?

They make time to figure out the answer to questions.

They apply the things they learn in their lives and their organization.

Do you do these practices yourself?


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Direct download: 3_Daily_Practices_Of_Perpetual_Learners.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:53am PDT

Nathan Rawlins is the Chief Marketing Officer of Lucid, a software company with around 1000 employees that designs online visual collaboration applications. Its products are utilized in over 180 countries by more than 30 million users worldwide.  Lucid's online applications bring people together over the web from anywhere in the world to work together on a shared canvas. 

Nathan joined Lucid in 2017 as the CMO to show the world the benefits of working visually. Prior to joining Lucid, Nathan led worldwide marketing activities for Puppet and helped scale Jive through an IPO as he directed product marketing and brand.

Lucid was named Best Led Companies in 2021 by Inc. Magazine and was named Best Workplace in Technology by Fortune for a second consecutive year. 

I have known Nathan for many years. We were reminiscing about how software has changed communication and collaboration for people over the years.  The shift has been to social ways of communication more so than collaboration. Communication has evolved pretty dramatically over the course of the last decade.

What is Lucid's leadership philosophy

Every company has core values and its own culture. One of the exciting things about Lucid is that early employees codified the importance of the company and said, we need what we are doing to work, we like working together, we like doing what we are doing. Let's figure out the essence of that success. And that turned into the values created at Lucid.   Teamwork over ego is one of our core values. And I would imagine, if you were to talk to people at Lucid, you would hear it from virtually everyone because it's this core idea that we need to win as a company.  Another value at Lucid is innovation. But the way that we apply innovation is vital. After I joined Lucent several years ago, I noticed this early on, a highly experimental culture with an acceptance for learning as we go along.  

Interviewing at Lucid we look for those core values. People can come from very different backgrounds; they can have different approaches, they need to, we want that level of diversity. But it's essential that the people we hire adhere to the core values, value teamwork over ego, and value innovation and creativity. So the second area Lucid focuses on is creating a structured leadership training course.  We have a 100, 200 and 300 level series of training  every people manager completes to ensure that we understand everything from managing effectively and how to motivate teams. 

Trends that are top of mind for Nathan

The type of collaboration, the way that we collaborate needs to shift to allow for a high level of complexity, dialogue and interconnection. Another trend we are seeing is more companies are shifting to agile ways of working not just within software development. Companies are pushing for more self directed smaller teams where they can work with more autonomy. And that's fantastic. It does present an interesting challenge.  We've talked about silos for decades. But for most of that time, we've talked about it as if there are a handful of silos in a company. When teams become more agile, you can actually create 1000s of mini silos. The need for a system of record for what you're trying to build becomes vital  so that as teams work together, they have the common blueprint for what they're trying to accomplish. As work is handed off from team to team, it can be more effective. So you bring those two things together, the fact that we're building very complex projects, and doing it in a way where we have very nimble agile teams, and it makes it so that we need to rethink the way we go about having these conversations around collaboration.

The future of work look

We certainly have talked to many companies that are shifting to completely virtual collaboration, in particular, because of the current environment. What we found is that many of them are saying, even if we get back together at some point at scale, what we have learned over the course of the last year and a half will cause us to collaborate differently when we're all in the same room. 

The other shift is in the preference for the way that we work. Bringing a team together on a virtual board, where they can brainstorm what needs to be built.  Developing software that has capabilities where you can break into virtual rooms, and  have a sticky note exercise and come up with the ideas. One idea may be to build a mobile application.  So instead of having an email chain about what needs to change, a team can jump into a diagramming application  together and build out the flow for that customer support process. All the way through you have this new place where people gather on this virtual board, and they can work side by side, even if they aren't face to face.

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Direct download: Audio_-_Nathan_Rawlins_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Here are my 5 best pieces of career advice for young people.

🥂Taste test When you are young in your career, most of the time you have no idea what you want to do. So try out different jobs before you commit. It’s important that you enjoy what you are doing.

💪Build your own ladder You don't have to follow the template that everybody tells you to follow. You can build your own career. The first step in doing this is to build your own personal brand.

✋Life is too short to be miserable Why would you want to spend any of your time being miserable? If you don’t like your job, do something about it.

🧭Make your own decisions There will be a lot of people who will tell you what they think you should do. You can take feedback of course, but the important thing is to make your own decisions. Ultimately, you have to do what makes sense for you. Nobody is going to look out for you.

👥Be self-aware You need to know your strengths and weaknesses. The more self-aware you become, the more growth and opportunities you’ll see.


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Direct download: The_Best_Career_Advice_For_Young_People.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Bob Chapman is the CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, a global supplier of manufacturing technology and services with over 12,000 employees. Bob was named the #3 CEO in the world by Inc. Magazine and Barry-Wehmiller is studied by business schools and organizations around the world because of their unique culture and Bob’s truly human leadership style. 

I have had the pleasure of speaking with Bob on many occasions. I had him on the podcast back in 2015, I interviewed him for my book, The Future Leader, and I interviewed him for my online leadership course. Bob truly cares about his people and he feels personally responsible for every single one of them. 

He is passionate about truly human leadership, but that hasn’t always been the case. When he first started his career, he led in a more traditional way and stuck to what he learned throughout his MBA journey. But Bob says he had three revelations back in 1997 that “awakened his senses to a higher calling in business”. 


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


Three revelations that changed Bob’s leadership style

Starting back in 1997 Bob experienced three events that caused him to shift his view on leadership and led him to think about how business could be the most powerful force of good in the world if leaders simply cared about the people they have the privilege of leading.

The first event occurred when Bob traveled to a company in South Carolina that Barry-Wehmiller had acquired. He arrived at the office very early and he was grabbing a cup of coffee as the employees arrived. They had no idea who he was so he was able to observe them, and as they were coming in they were talking about March Madness, who won the most money, what teams had won, etc… and people were happy and casual. But the closer the clock got to 8:00am, the more and more serious they got. Bob said he could literally see the fun draining out of their faces. And over time as Bob kept thinking about that moment he tried to figure out why work couldn’t be fun. Why do we go through our work week thinking “I can’t wait until Friday so I can get out of this place”. 

Since then he has worked to find things that aligned value creation with fun inside his own organization.

The second event happened one Sunday as he was leaving his church and he realized the pastor only had the congregation in front of them for one hour a week, but as business leaders we have employees in front of us 40 hours a week. And Bob realized what an impact business leaders could have if they took time to care about their people and impact their communities. 

The third event was when Bob was attending a wedding and he saw the father walking his daughter down the aisle to her future husband. And the father smiled and said “I give my daughter to be married to this man” and he looked at his daughter proudly and hugged her and then went to sit by his wife. But Bob, who has walked his own daughters down the aisle, realized that’s not what the father really wanted to say. He really wanted to tell the man “this is my beloved daughter and you better take care of her and never hurt her”. He realized that every father and mother loves their precious children and they want what’s best for them. And at that moment it hit him that every one of his 12,000 employees is someone's precious child. Their parents want them to lead lives of meaning and purpose and joy, and that is the responsibility of leaders inside of organizations. 

What to do if upper management doesn’t lead in a truly human way

Barry-Wehmiller is doing a lot of unique things because of Bob’s truly human leadership style. They don’t do headcounts, they do heart counts, they have training on empathetic listening, employees feel safe because they know their leader cares about them. 

But what if you are a mid-level or entry-level leader inside of an organization and upper management doesn’t hold these same views? Bob has been asked this question before and he likes to think of it as a scene from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, the tin man, the lion, and the scarecrow are all in search of something they need and so they go to see the wizard to get what they need. It turns out the wizard is just a wise old man, but he tells them they already have what they need, they just need to use the gifts they have.

You don’t need permission from upper management to be a better leader and put your people first. You just need to embrace these philosophies and live them out. And it’s possible that as you start to lead this way others around you will take notice and make changes themselves. But you can definitely start with yourself. 


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


Two pieces of advice from Bob’s long career as a leader

Bob has been a leader for several decades and over the course of his career he has learned a lot. Two of the biggest things he has learned along the way are:

  1. There is no relationship between what something costs and what it’s worth
  2. Everybody that works for you is someone’s precious child that has been placed in your care

He also believes that leaders need to be grounded optimists that provide their people with hope. Your people need to be able to put their faith in you and know you won’t let them down. 



This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Whatever you bring to work to help you be you, Workplace celebrates it. Our familiar features help everyone work together in new ways. To make your place of work a great place to work, visit

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!


Direct download: Audio_-_Bob_Chapman_-_Ready_-_V2.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

You need to view working at your company just like being in a relationship.

Whenever you're in a relationship, you're inevitably presented with a choice. Do you keep the relationship going? Is it something that you turn into a long-term relationship?

If you decide you want to fight for that relationship, then you have to fight like hell to make it work. Are you going to overcome the obstacles and work on the problems you're faced with? Then you have to do everything you can.

Working for an organization is the exact same thing. Are you going to try to make things work? Or are you going to jump ship?

Whether you are in a personal or a professional relationship, it is the same thing. You need to decide if it's a relationship worth fighting for. And if it is, fight like hell to make it work.


This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Whatever you bring to work to help you be you, Workplace celebrates it. Our familiar features help everyone work together in new ways. To make your place of work a great place to work, visit

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!



Direct download: Being_In_A_Relationship_Is_Like_Working_For_A_Company.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

I recently shared an image on LinkedIn on the evolution of the employee, and it went bonkers; like it went completely viral. It became the most popular thing that I have ever shared on LinkedIn. It's fascinating because this is something I wrote about in 2014 and the whole concept was looking at how employees are changing and how the idea of employees is changing. And even though I wrote about it in 2014, it was manifesting slower--than Covid hit, and suddenly, this became a reality.

It’s important to go through this evolution so that you can understand what you need to do as a leader, what you need to do as an organization, or even what you need to be doing and thinking about it as an individual contributor.

In the past, employees were working nine to five and we’ve had an evolution towards working anytime. The idea of working nine to five and setting 32 or 40 hours a week is a concept that is probably almost 100 years old.

And why are the hours after five o'clock designated for personal time? I think technology has been the great equalizer here. Because technology allows us to stay connected to work anytime, anywhere, on any device. So, we're moving away from this concept of work-life balance to work-life integration.

The whole concept here is that work-life integration is about you, as an employee, deciding how you should be working, what makes the most sense for you. If you want to work nine to five, and that's how you choose to spend your time, hey, more power to you. So, it's my choice. It's my freedom. It's my flexibility. This is what work-life integration is all about. The challenge is you need to set boundaries, working anytime efficiently. But it would help if you also were more accountable and responsible for shutting off. This means having self-awareness and paying attention to if you're getting burned out.


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


The next one that goes very much in parallel with this is this concept of the past. The past is working in the corporate office and the future is working anywhere. But for organizations that want more, they want to grow, they want to scale, they want to identify complex problems, they want to identify unique opportunities, they want to move beyond just getting stuff done. In that kind of environment, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

We're not just talking about productivity; we're not just talking about getting things done. We're talking about going beyond that. Tackling complex challenges, identifying new opportunities, creating trust, and psychological safety, being influential leaders, if we want to take it one step further. And you know what, there is still very much a place for in-person work. I do believe that, and guess what? All the executives that I've been interviewing think that now that role for in-person work doesn't mean that you're going to be in an office nine to five. It might mean you show up for a couple of hours a day or it might mean you show up once or twice a week--it might mean any number of things. That's what workplace flexibility is all about. 

Work is no longer a place that you go to work, it is something that you carry with you; You can pretty much get anything done on your smartphone or on a laptop that you can take with you. So, technology is pushing this forward. So that's another significant evolution that we're seeing.

The third way is moving away from using company equipment towards using the device. We're very much moving towards a world where people are using their own devices to get work done. And not only their own devices, but they're finding their software. Suppose your organization offers software that employees believe is tedious and time-consuming, ineffective, and inefficient, and it's not beautiful, helpful, and valuable. Why aren't you going to use it? We're moving away from having to use company-sanctioned hardware towards the employees using their laptops, their phones, using their cameras, their microphone, and anything else they need. Give employees access to tools and platforms that emulate the things you're using for personalized use like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google and all these other easy-to-use platforms; it should be just as easy to get stuff done inside of our organizations as it is to do things in our personal lives. 

The next one is the past is focused on inputs. Does your manager see you at your desk doing work, completing tasks? We're moving away from that and concentrating now on the outputs. What have you done? Would you instead that employee be working somewhere else, let's say working from home, if they are able to put four hours in,  but the work that they're doing is impressive. It's high-quality work; they're used to their job, they're coming to work each day with new ideas and opportunities, they are doing a fantastic job. That's the mentality that we need to have. And that's the visual that I want you to have. It's not the time that matters, it's the quality of work. So, this is a significant shift that we're seeing, moving from inputs to focusing more on outputs,

The next one is moving away from climbing the corporate ladder to building your ladder. The exciting thing with creating your ladder is that technology, again, has made this the great equalizer. Because what I mean by creating your ladder, I suggest that you can shape your career path and your trajectory in the size of your organization. 

One of the ways you can do that is through technology, by participating in relevant conversations, joining employee resource groups that are relevant to you seeking out opportunities pertinent to your organization that are tangential to what you're currently working on. But if you want to be able to create your ladder, part of what that means is that you need to step up, you need to let your voice be heard, you need to use these technologies that are out there, to speak up, you need to participate in the employee resource groups that are out there, all of this is going to be essential for you if you want to create that corporate ladder. 

We're starting to see that a lot of leaders wish to do this. They want you to speak up, they want you to give them feedback, they want you to let them know what you care about and what you value, you can very much start to shape your ladder. Now employees have more power than they ever did before. An organization does not want to lose people; it would much rather keep you in transition into another role that you would find more suitable for the work that you're doing. So take advantage of the opportunity. Speak up if you're in a position and don't want to keep climbing that corporate ladder.

The next one that we have here is predefined work to customize work. When I say customized work, this is a lot based on the technologies that we're using, the resource groups, your ability to speak up inside of your organization, your ability to let people know what you're interested in and what you care about. And now, what I think we're starting to see, especially with this concept of employee experience, it's the organization acknowledging and saying, we're not going to tell you what to do. We're not going to create the work for you, we're going to design it with you. So, you tell us, what do you care about? What are your values? What do you get out of it? What's your purpose? And so we're starting to see a lot of customization on work based on employees speaking up and based on employees using the different technologies that are out there.

The next one after this is moving away from hoarding information to sharing information. Today, we're seeing this massive shift, where the employees help others get recognized and rewarded. If the people share their ideas, identify new opportunities, or tackle complex challenges, they get rewarded. Technology, again, has been an essential factor in this because it's easy for us to share information across anytime, anywhere, and on any device. That will make you more successful inside of your organization.

We're starting to see a move away from this idea of not having a voice inside of your organization and a move towards the idea that anybody can become a leader inside your company. So now you have a tremendous voice. You have immense power and responsibility, and we're moving towards creating a place where anybody can become a leader. A leader is not a title that is bestowed upon you. A leader is a mindset. It's a skill set. The future Leader is about helping make other people more successful than you. It's about thinking like a futurist having a growth mindset. You don't need permission from other people to do these things. You can do these things yourself. Anybody now can become a leader inside of an organization, you have that voice, use that voice. Don't ask for permission; ask for forgiveness.

The next one is moving away from relying on email to relying on collaboration technologies. Now, I'm not saying that email will completely disappear or vanish because I don't think it will. But email used to be the primary form of communicating and collaborating inside of an organization. Look at the number of tools and resources we have at our disposal to communicate and collaborate. We have Zoom meetings and so many different platforms and channels at our disposal.

The next one is moving away from focusing on knowledge to adaptive learning. And really what this means is not being a knowledge worker but being a learning worker. You need to learn how to learn; you must become a learning machine. Now, the good news is today you have access to YouTube, Coursera, Udemy, Khan Academy and so many different tools and resources are out there, there is no excuse for why you cannot learn anything that you need to know to be personally or professionally successful. It would help if you learned how to learn, take things into your own hands, don't wait for anybody else to tell you what you need to know. Organizations will say, look, we're going to help you as best as we can. But ultimately, you are going to be responsible for your growth, your trajectory, and your future.

And the last one is about corporate learning and training. In the past, anything that you wanted to know you'd have to sign up for a seminar or a training program and you would have to wait a few weeks or months. So corporate education and training are seeing a significant evolution. Part of what we're starting to see is that anybody is a teacher, and anybody can be a student. In other words, as a company, you can't assume that you are responsible for all education and training; you need to do a better job of connecting your people. Let them educate and train each other.

This is the evolution of the employee. And this is what I think we're starting to see much more of in organizations around the world.


This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Whatever you bring to work to help you be you, Workplace celebrates it. Our familiar features help everyone work together in new ways. To make your place of work a great place to work, visit

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!


Direct download: Audio_-_Special_-_Nov_22_-_Ready_-_V2.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Are you an implementer or an owner?

According to Kate Johnson, president of Microsoft U.S., an implementer is somebody who takes somebody else's vision and actions and implements it. Implementers typically give the accountability and responsibility to somebody else.

An owner is somebody who sets the vision and course of action. They provide clarity on the outcome and how a team or organization can achieve that outcome. Owners also take on the accountability and their responsibility without passing it off to someone else.

If you want to become an owner at your organization, you need to be more accountable for driving change. Volunteer for the tough projects that nobody else wants to take on. Be more humble and vulnerable when it comes to making mistakes and learning from them. And think of where you can create value inside of your organization and as a part of your team.

Implementers keep the ship running. But owners change the world. We need both, which one are you?



This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Whatever you bring to work to help you be you, Workplace celebrates it. Our familiar features help everyone work together in new ways. To make your place of work a great place to work, visit

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!


Direct download: Are_You_An_Implementor_Or_An_Owner.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

As 2021 ends, I wanted to look back at some of the best leadership advice we heard from our guests over the last year and a half. I interview around 50 guests every year, and I've had the privilege of speaking with many great leaders around the world; these are some of my favorite conversations. 

I have picked out some short clips from my interviews with five past guests. These leaders have brought their companies & their people through the pandemic and all the changes that came with it, and they have continued to thrive despite all the challenges they faced.

I hope you enjoy looking back at parts of these conversations and the lessons we can learn from these leaders. 

Mark Lashier is the CEO of CPChem, a company that produces petrochemicals and plastics with 5,000 employees worldwide. Chevron owns 50% of the company, and Phillips owns 50%. Mark has served in leadership roles at Chevron Phillips Chemical and Phillips Petroleum for three decades. 

Mark explains that being an effective leader entails building trust, showing transparency, and simplifying your employee's workload. It is critically important that all our leaders demonstrate the behaviors of trust, transparency, and simplicity every day; we talk a lot about that as leaders.  

"People are incredibly perceptive. If they smell something inconsistent, they're not going to buy it, and they're going to say, okay, you say you want trust, but you're not exhibiting trust," he says.  


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


Shellye Archambeau is the former CEO of MetricStream, a Silicon Valley-based governance, risk, and compliance software company, and the author of the new book, Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Terms. She also serves on the boards of Verizon, Nordstrom, Roper Technologies, and Okta.

In our conversation Shellye explained that creating your luck is positioning yourself so that when an opportunity shows up, you can take advantage of it, and it is just as vital that you make sure you let people know what you're doing. 

Tell them your job title and explain what you are responsible for in your job.  

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 explains how he defines leadership and his advice on how to lead in tough times. 

If we do the right things in the middle of a tough time, that will cause us to come out of a much stronger company than our competitors. And the advice that I give to people is don't panic and make sure that you keep thinking independently. Never forget to put your customer first, don't let customer service suffer in any way. Lastly, start thinking about the recovery, even while you're in the middle of the recession.

A good leader finds a way to take at least a couple hours a week to put their head above the fray and look around and say, okay, all these short-term actions, I'm assuming, is it going to make a difference for where I'm trying to go for the long term? Is it consistent with what I'm trying to do, and if It's not, what do I do differently so that it will be? Those are the people who will do well going into the recovery and truly establish themselves.


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


Rita McGrath is a professor at Columbia Business School and bestselling author of the book, Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen. In 2020, she was ranked #5 on the Thinkers50 list for her work in strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship and for being a champion of harnessing disruptive influences for competitive advantage. She is widely recognized as a leading expert on leading innovation and growth during times of uncertainty.

Seeing Around Corners opens your mind to possibilities that are now made real because of a strategic inflection point. It's more about expanding the range of options that you're considering and then really being prepared to challenge your assumptions. And I think that's really where the seeing around corners part is so valuable. If you think about it, any business grows up with a set of assumptions about what's possible and what's not. And what an inflection point does is it changes the nature of those assumptions.

Chris McCann is the CEO of 1-800-Flowers, a floral and gourmet food gift retailer, and distribution company with over 3000 employees. The company was started back in 1976 when Chris' older brother opened his first flower shop. In the 1980s, Chris joined his brother in the business, and they have been working together ever since.

In our discussion, Chris talked about what he learned from other leaders he came to know, including CEO of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, and the former CEO of AXA Financial, Ed Miller. He also talked about the crucial things he has learned about leading in turbulent times.

Chris explains two of the most critical leadership skills in communication and visibility. The need to step up communication so that the people in your company know that you're on top of things and you're looking out for their best interest is critical.

Also, a key component to leading in turbulent times is re-emphasizing the vision of your company, your values, your mission. By focusing and constantly reminding people of our job and our vision to inspire human expression, connection, and celebration. And tying everything we do back to the company vision gives employees a sense of normalcy.


  • How to lead with Trust, Transparency, and Simplicity
  • How you can own your luck and create your own success
  • How to Lead in Tough Times
  • Leading Innovation and Growth during times of uncertainty


This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Whatever you bring to work to help you be you, Workplace celebrates it. Our familiar features help everyone work together in new ways. To make your place of work a great place to work, visit

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

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Direct download: audio_-_Special_Episode_-_15._November_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

I was able to witness first-hand the difference between empathy and sympathy.

Before COVID, I spoke at a lot of events. I had the opportunity to speak at two financial institutions several months apart.

When I went to the first company, I saw one of the executives get approached by a new employee. She introduced herself and told the executive that she was really nervous. She was given big responsibilities and didn’t know if she could handle it.

The senior leader said, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but don’t worry about it, I’m sure you will be fine.”

A couple of months later, I went to the second financial institution and the same thing happened. A new employee approached a senior leader and told him that she was nervous and not sure she could do the job.

The senior leader said, “I remember feeling the same way when I first started working here.” Then he told her all the things he did to overcome those fears and ended the conversation with, “If you ever need any help, please come to me directly.”

This is what empathy looks like. This is exactly what leaders need to practice inside of their company every day.


This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Whatever you bring to work to help you be you, Workplace celebrates it. Our familiar features help everyone work together in new ways. To make your place of work a great place to work, visit

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

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Direct download: This_is_What_Empathy_Looks_Like.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist, bestselling author, and speaker. Her TEDx talk has over 26 million views. Her books include Do Nothing: How to Break Away From Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving and Speaking of Race: Why Everyone Needs to Talk About Race--And How To Do It. 

Celeste is a 25-year veteran of public broadcasting. She was a host on NPR and she has also been on PBS and PRI. And during this time in her career she really started researching and figuring out how to have better conversations and how to interview well, that’s when she realized most people are not good at informal conversations--especially difficult ones on topics such as race and politics. 

She gave a TED Talk on that topic and it went viral so she wrote a book on the same theme titled, We Need To Talk: How To Have Conversations That Matter. The TED Talk really changed her life and led her down the career path she is on today.

Why we struggle to truly rest

There is a quote from Bertand Russell that Celeste included in her book, Do Nothing and it is such a great quote.

“It will be said that while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of twenty four. In so far as this is true in the modern world it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for lightheartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.”

So many of us, myself included, have a hard time taking time away from work, resting, and not thinking about what else we have to get done. Celeste says for the longest time she felt the same way too. The to-do list in her head was never complete and she would justify working until 10 o’clock at night so that she could “get ahead”. But the problem was she never got ahead, the list kept getting longer and never emptied. So what was the point of working so late?

We tend to think that people going back through history have always worked hard, and they did, but they also knew how to have balance. Something that we struggle with. Celeste says this all changed with the Industrial Revolution. Before the Industrial Revolution people worked half the year, or maybe less. Even the lowest ranking people had time off. They spent a week celebrating a wedding. After the harvest was done, they took a week or more to reward themselves for the hard work they accomplished with a festival. People, even serfs, had some land, they made their own tools, they were capable of taking care of themselves.

During the Industrial Revolution people moved to the cities to work in the factories and for the first time in history time equaled money. That is when the obsession with efficiency and productivity started. And this is something we still focus on today---it’s all about the hustle culture--the more you work supposedly the more successful you are. 

But the truth is people who work around 50 hours a week only make between 6-9% more than someone working 40 hours or less. So there really isn’t a huge financial gain to working excessively. 

Celeste shares that actually people who take all of their vacation time every year are more likely to get promoted and have a higher salary than those who don’t take their vacation time. So, as she states, long hours are literally counterproductive. 

When you work more hours you are more apt to make mistakes, you're much more likely to be irritable and tired, and it often leads to an unhealthy lifestyle that leads to heart attacks, strokes, etc…


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


How to stop overworking

For those of you reading this and thinking that you would like to work less and take care of yourself more, Celeste has a few tips on how to start.

The first thing you have to do is track your time. Most of the time your perception of the time you are using to do a certain task or job is not reality. When you track your time you will see how much time you are actually losing on certain things.

Once you figure out where you are losing time, work on fixing it. Maybe you don’t realize you spend 3 hours a day checking social media. Or maybe you spend a lot of free time shopping online for things you don’t end up buying.

Celeste came to the realization that her grandmother was far more productive, engaged, and active than she is without all of the modern tools we have to cut down the time it takes to do things. We have vacuums that can run on their own, we have dishwashers, clothing washers & dryers, we have microwaves, etc…And yet without those things Celeste’s grandmother was a member of social clubs, she worked in her garden, she wrote books, she hosted backyard bbq’s with neighbors---she had a ton of hobbies on top of the work she did everyday. We really have no excuse. 

Once you have tracked your time and find out where the lost time is going you have to figure out what it is you want to do in an average week and on an average weekend. And understand that no one in the world is able to focus for eight hours straight. We have maybe three or four hours to focus on something in a day. So focus on what is really important and keep going until you get really distracted. And make note of when throughout the day you are most focused--are you better in the morning or the evening--when is your brain at it’s best. And work around that.

How to have tough conversations at work

These days there are so many hot topics that people shy away from in the workplace to avoid confrontation. But Celeste says we should talk about things like politics and race--but we have to find a way to do so in a respectful, level-headed way.

Celeste’s advice for how to talk about these tough topics at work are:

  1. Stop going into conversations with the intention of changing someone’s mind.
  2. Don’t worry about what you’re going to say, think about what you want to hear from the other person to understand their side more
  3. Connect with the other person emotionally and show them empathy instead of trying to logically win a fight with statistics and facts
  4. Make sure you are in the right frame of mind to have this type of conversation


This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Whatever you bring to work to help you be you, Workplace celebrates it. Our familiar features help everyone work together in new ways. To make your place of work a great place to work, visit

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!


Direct download: Audio_-_Celeste_Headlee_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Do you have rules that you abide by?

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Randolph, co-founder and first CEO of Netflix.

According to Mark, there are eight rules for success that his dad created, which he follows every day:

Do at least 10% more than you’re asked. There's no substitute for hard work.
✅Never present your opinions as facts.
✅Be courteous to people both up and down.
✅Don't knock others, don't complain, don't whine about stuff.
✅Don't be afraid to make decisions when you have the facts on which you can make those decisions.
✅Quantify whenever and wherever possible. You can't improve something if you don't measure it.
✅Be open-minded, but also be skeptical.
✅Be prompt. Never show up late.


This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Whatever you bring to work to help you be you, Workplace celebrates it. Our familiar features help everyone work together in new ways. To make your place of work a great place to work, visit

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

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Direct download: Rules_for_Success_from_the_first_CEO_of_Netflix_Marc_Randolph.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Daniel Goleman is an internationally known psychologist and a science journalist, he is, in fact, known as the father of emotional intelligence. He’s also the bestselling author of several books including Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ and Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence was named one of the 25 Most Influential Business Management Books by Time Magazine and Daniel has been listed among the most influential business thinkers by The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

What is emotional intelligence? Daniel says it is a competence, a workplace ability, that makes you stand out from others and there’s a set of around a dozen competencies within the domain of emotional intelligence including empathy, adaptability, being able to stay positive, being able to inspire others, and keeping your eye on a goal without getting distracted.

Why is EQ critical for leaders and can it be learned
As Daniel shares, “everything is a combination of nature and nurture, you get your genetic makeup, but that doesn't limit you. That's what you start with.” And he says that emotional intelligence is definitely learnable. But you need life experience, feedback, and practice to get better at it.

Daniel shares why EQ is so important for leaders: “Here's what emotional intelligence tells you. If you're in a negative emotional state, because of the way the brain is wired, you're narrowing the bandwidth of your other capabilities, your cognitive abilities, whatever talents you may have. Because emotions, the way the brain is designed and wired, take up a huge amount of space. In fact, emotional distractions, that thing she said to me that got me so upset, are far stronger than external distractions, it's gonna cap your intelligence, your attention, continually. So emotional intelligence helps you manage disturbing emotions.”

Leaders need to be able to lead themselves first, Daniel says, they have to have control of their emotions. The emotional state of the leader is contagious, so if the leader is negative all of the time, that drives the performance of employees, and production and morale go down. Whereas if the leader is emotionally intelligent and has a positive outlook on life and knows how to manage negativity, employees are more productive and happier too.

It’s not to say leaders won’t ever experience anger, frustration, sadness, etc...All humans experience the full range of emotions. Emotionally intelligent people just know how to manage those emotions and they don’t let the emotions control them.


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


IQ alone is not enough
A majority of the time people are promoted to leadership positions because they are good at a certain task they perform in their current role. They are smart, capable people, but that doesn’t mean they have what it takes to lead people. We are currently seeing what people are calling the great resignation, people are leaving their jobs right and left and a lot of it has to do with leaders. People don’t want to work for horrible bosses who aren’t empathetic, positive, caring, self aware, etc…

“So you may be good at a job in terms of the objective measures of the job, such as--I’m really good at programming. But it turns out that it's all done with people. And if you're the leader of people, you need emotional intelligence to work well with the people you're leading. It's just a fact.”

A certain level of IQ is needed for specific roles like being a lawyer or an accountant, but usually in those types of roles everyone around you has around the same IQ--so the thing that sets you apart is EQ. For people who only have IQ, but no EQ they may be better suited to a job in coding or something with numbers that doesn’t require them to work with people too much. They are not good for leadership roles because it is crucial for leaders to be good communicators.

For people with high EQ but not high IQ they may be best suited for a role in sales or a position where they are building relationships with customers and clients.

Three methods you can use to control your emotions at work
We can all use some techniques that can be utilized when we feel angry, frustrated, sad, etc...Daniel has three main methods that he suggests:

  1. Sympathetic nervous system arousal. It sounds complicated, but actually it’s a breathing technique that helps you recover quickly from being upset. You start out by inhaling as long as you can (at least a count of four), hold it as long as you can (at least a count of four), and then exhale as long as you can. Repeat this six to nine times and it actually shifts your physiology.
  2. Name what you are feeling. It can help to say out loud what you are feeling either to yourself or to someone else. Just saying “I’m getting angry now” is shown to shift the energy from the part of the brain that feels it to the part of the brain that manages it. 
  3. Practice mindfulness. Bring your focus to your breath and keep it there. Keep your attention on the rise and fall of your belly, and the breath in and out. If your mind starts to wander, notice it, and bring it back to your breathing. And do that for 10-20 minutes a day. The action of catching your mind wandering and bringing it back strengthens your mind to stay focused and avoid distractions. 

It’s also important, when you have negative emotions, to take a step back and think twice about your negative thoughts. There are many times when we go to the extreme in our head. You make a mistake at work and your mind starts thinking about how you are going to be fired. When those thoughts pour in, realize that you are being extreme and refocus.


This episode is sponsored by Workplace from Meta.

Whatever you bring to work to help you be you, Workplace celebrates it. Our familiar features help everyone work together in new ways. To make your place of work a great place to work, visit

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!


Direct download: Audio_-_Daniel_Goleman_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Are you a good listener?

There are 6 levels of being a great listener according to Zenger Folkman.

The first level of being a listener is being able to create a safe environment where people feel like they can talk to you.

The second level is being able to avoid distractions like your phone or computer when you are talking to someone.

The third level is seeking to genuinely understand what the other person is saying.

The fourth level is paying attention to the non-verbal cues and body language of the person you are talking to.

The fifth level is being able to show empathy. That means understanding the emotional component of the conversation and putting yourself in the other person's shoes.

And the sixth level is the ability to make the conversation feel collaborative by asking questions to learn more about the topic.

If you really want to be a great listener, you need to practice these levels of listening.


Whether you have 50 or 1,000 employees, Namely HR helps you maintain a great experience for the entire employee lifecycle. They offer onboarding, performance management, intuitive benefits enrollment, and much more - all on one connected platform. Learn more about making the switch to Namely by going to today!


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Direct download: 6_Levels_of_Being_an_Amazing_Listener_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Walter Robb is the former co-CEO of Whole Foods. Back in 1978, Walter started a store called Mountain Marketplace, and in 1991 it was bought by John Mackey and it became store number 12 for Whole Foods. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Union Square Hospitality Group, The Container Store, FoodMaven, and HeatGenie. He’s also an investor, mentor, and advisor. 

Walter found his passion when reading Adelle Davis and books from other early nutritionists and that’s when he started making his own bread. He knew he wanted to contribute to the world and he believed that this could be the way he would do it. And that’s when he started his store. 

As Walter shares, finding your passion is an individual journey that every person has to take. And it can be tough because it is easy to feel outside pressure from parents, family, or friends around what they think you should be doing with your life, but you will never be able to be satisfied until you are doing something that you love and care about. 

Finding what you want to do in life isn’t a cut and dry thing, and it may change over time, but there is joy that comes from doing what you’re supposed to be doing in life. To start you have to take the time to ask yourself what is the purpose of your life and how do you want to spend your time. What are your gifts, what are you good at, what tools do you have? If you are doing something that you are not excited about, you may not be able to change your circumstance immediately, but you should be thinking about how you can move to something you can get excited about. 

The new era of business

Walter believes that we are in a new era of what he calls “transparency, accountability, and responsibility.” Customers today expect the businesses they buy from to be accountable for their behavior, responsible for their presence, and a contributory towards the greater good in some way, shape, or form. 

A lot of companies are trying to pretend to be what customers want or they think they know what customers want when they don’t and therefore they stretch awkwardly in directions that make no sense or look inauthentic. But there are also a lot of companies doing it right. 

“I do think that the customer of today, these generations have a much higher expectation of how a company will show up before they will reward them with their business. And I think that's great, because, you know, it is going to take business-- and all of business--to really create the changes we need to create a more sustainable future.”

Businesses can be a powerful force of good for their employees, their communities, and the planet. We need the business community to lead and set examples and put these things into practice. And embracing Walter’s three main points of transparency, accountability, and responsibility is critical to getting to the point where businesses can have an impact. 

Balancing purpose and profit inside a company

As Walter shares, being the CEO of a public company there were times when there was tension between being a company with a purpose and appeasing shareholders. But he says that while shareholders do deserve their fair return, they don’t deserve to dominate the purpose of the company. They are only one of the stakeholders in the success of the company. 

The purpose of your company is your Northstar that you always have to keep in your mind. Yes, you have to make a profit otherwise the company wouldn’t survive and the purpose you have would be meaningless--but you have to hold both purpose and profit together and find that balance between the two. Profit and passion are not inconsistent with each other, it’s all about the way that you hold them together that makes the difference. 

Profit is something you always have to be thinking about, but it shouldn’t be the dominant reason the company exists. 


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


Whether you have 50 or 1,000 employees, Namely HR helps you maintain a great experience for the entire employee lifecycle. They offer onboarding, performance management, intuitive benefits enrollment, and much more - all on one connected platform. Learn more about making the switch to Namely by going to today!

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

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Direct download: Audio_-_Walter_Robb_-_Ready_V2.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01pm PDT

Diversity and inclusion are not the same thing.

But although they are very different, both are crucial to the success of any organization.

Diversity is simply having a mix of people from different backgrounds, genders, religions, cultures, and ethnicities inside your organization. On the other hand, inclusion is making those people feel like they belong.

Research shows that diversity and inclusion lead to more ideas, better products and services for customers, and improved innovation and productivity.

Diversity and inclusion is something every organization around the world needs, and it's going to start with you demanding it inside your company.


Whether you have 50 or 1,000 employees, Namely HR helps you maintain a great experience for the entire employee lifecycle. They offer onboarding, performance management, intuitive benefits enrollment, and much more - all on one connected platform. Learn more about making the switch to Namely by going to today!

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Colin Bryar is the co-author of the bestselling book Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets From Inside Amazon. He’s also the co-founder of Working Backwards LLC and he is the former VP of Amazon. He started working at Amazon four years after the company started and he was there for 12 years, working very closely with Jeff Bezos.

Colin says it was a fantastic experience working at Amazon and during his time there they were inventing and creating a lot of the products we know today like Amazon Prime, Kindle, and Fulfillment by Amazon. The management team that Colin was a part of was also working on building processes within Amazon so that the company could scale 10 and 100x.

He says, “I learned a ton about not only what it what it's like to take an idea on a whiteboard and turn it into a household name, but also how to create simple processes that work across a number of different types of organizations to build in your company and grow fast while we're remaining nimble and true to your roots.”

What was Amazon like in the early days

When Colin was working at Amazon there were only around 500 people working at the company and 100 people in the corporate area. They had two fulfillment centers in customer service. The company now has over 1.3 million employees. 

Colin says in the early days it was a very intense environment and their mantra was get big fast. They very quickly went from a single category retailer, selling books, to multiple categories. They expanded into the UK, Germany, Japan and France very quickly. And because they were growing so rapidly in such a short period of time the company relied a lot on individual heroic efforts to save the day. There would be days where so many orders would come in that everyone would have to pitch in to get them out in time. 

“We quickly had to figure out we were facing the same growing pains that any fast growing company has, and we're trying to figure out how and when to layer in process, because we knew that doesn't scale, you know, there are only 168 hours in the week. And you can't work any more than that. You also have to sleep and eat and go home and spend time with your family. So we knew that we'd have to change the way we operated in order to continue to grow as fast as we were.”

What does working backwards mean and how is the process used inside Amazon

Amazon has a lot of processes that are unique and quite a few of them were created back when Colin was working there. These processes are all part of something that Amazon calls working backwards, which is where Colin got the title of his book. Working backwards is how they vet ideas and see if they are worth moving forward with. It’s really about starting from the customer experience and then working backwards from that. 

One of these processes is called PRFAQ, which stands for press release frequently asked questions. So when any employee inside of Amazon has a new idea they have to create one of these, and it is a six page paper. You start with a one page press release that clearly defines the customer problem you are trying to solve and it lays out exactly what your solution is. And then the paper is convincing the customer why they should adopt and use this solution and how it will make their life easier.

Once someone creates a PRFAQ they present it to a team of senior leaders who will look over the document, maybe all in the same room together or maybe in different locations virtually, and after taking 20 minutes to look it over in silence they make comments on the idea and ask questions. 

The reason behind adopting this method was, as Colin shares, “A SWOT analysis--strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats--is a typical type of tool. That's a skills forward approach. We did that up until about 2003-2004. And we realized that we were not, we were forgetting the customer, too often. So the customer is not with us on that journey. And so Jeff said, we want to make sure the customer from the very beginning of an idea is with us on that journey to see if we could turn that idea into a product or feature that we're building.”

And a lot of ideas go through this process and don’t make it to the light of day. Some ideas can be tweaked or reworked and become reality, but some just don’t work out. 

What happens if an idea fails at Amazon

No matter what company you work for there are always going to be failures that happen. But how leaders deal with failure is different. Colin says there are two types of failures. One type is when you have a well thought out, well executed idea but it didn’t resonate with customers after it went to market.

The other type of failure is in the execution of the product. The product was built, but there were a lot of defects or it was a sloppy execution before it even got out to the customer. 

But Jeff Bezos has created a culture where failures are not only acceptable, they are celebrated. He understands that the bigger the company gets, the bigger the failures may be since they are thinking bigger and experimenting with new things. 

When failure happens inside of Amazon they do take time to look back at what happened to figure out what they could have done differently. What things can they change that can ensure that doesn’t happen again. They use their failures to get better and improve for the future. 


Whether you have 50 or 1,000 employees, Namely HR helps you maintain a great experience for the entire employee lifecycle. They offer onboarding, performance management, intuitive benefits enrollment, and much more - all on one connected platform. Learn more about making the switch to Namely by going to today!

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Audio_-_Colin_Bryar_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Leaders are constantly worried about taking a side.

They are always afraid that they might upset their customers or employees.

They don't want other people to disagree with them.

But that's not the big fear we should have.

We should be more afraid of people not knowing what we believe in to begin with.

Especially now with what we're seeing in this new world of work, you can't afford to not take a stance. You need to step up and take a stand, because that's what employees care about. That's what they value.

There's nothing worse as a leader than for your people to not know what you stand for and not know what you care about.

There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Leaders_Cant_Be_Scared_to_Take_a_Stance.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:15am PDT

Ravi Saligram is the President & CEO of Newell Brands a global manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of consumer and commercial products. The company has 30,000 employees and it’s brands include a lot of household names such as Sharpie, Rubbermaid, Paper-Mate, Crock-Pot, and Coleman.

Ravi has been the CEO at Newell Brands for 2 years now, and looking back at when he first arrived he says the company was in the throes of a turnaround and in the middle of a merger. So he had a huge undertaking from day one. He shares that there were a fair number of integration issues, employee turmoil, and bringing two cultures together was challenging. 

After the merger the company had around 110,000 skews,49 ERP systems, thousands of apps, 400 websites, and thousands of legal entities. And all of these had to be chipped away at, as it was just way too complex and unnecessary. 

It was a lot of work, but Ravi says it has been an amazing journey. As a new CEO coming into a company with so many things happening where do you even start?

Ravi’s first 100 days as CEO of Newell Brands

When he first came to the company Ravi knew that it was his job to stabilize the company and get employees aligned on a new purpose and excited to move forward. This situation could seem very intimidating to a lot of leaders.  

Ravi took his experience as CEO of two other companies, Ritchie Brothers and OfficeMax, into his time at Newell Brands and he began his time at each company in the same way. He shares he always starts with a listening tour, and at Newell his listening tour lasted 100 days. He went around to employees up and down the company in different parts of the world and asked them questions. 

He would ask things like, what’s going well, what’s not going well, if you were me and you had this position what would you change in the company, etc...And then he would just listen. He would take notes and look for themes and patterns in the responses he was getting. 

But he didn’t stop there. He also spoke with customers, he looked at what people were saying about the company on social media, he looked at Glassdoor and the reasons why employees had left before he became CEO, and he spoke with stakeholders and shareholders to get their take on things.

“So even though we had a turnaround plan, I needed to do the listening tour to validate is this the right direction. And I felt it was, but I also felt what needed most was to uplift our people to really give them hope, to give them a direction, give them a noble purpose, and say, what are we all about? Because I think you want to bring out the best in your people.  And the power of what I would say is, if you're 10 employees, you want one plus one plus one, not to equal 10, but to equal 100. How do you take 30,000 employees and make the power exponentially rise to 300,000? So that is what I think leaders have to really bring out. It's not about their being the best. It is about bringing out the best in their people and taking it up to an exponential basis.”

And now, 2 years after he started at the company, things have really improved. Even with the pandemic they grew their organic sales by 6% in the first year and in the first half of this year it’s gone up 23%. They also were able to take the 110,000+ skews and get them down to 47,000 and they are working to get that down to 30,000 by 2022. They have also reduced 85% of the apps and they went from 49 ERP systems to 2 ERP systems for 90% of their sales. Ravi also has a 92% approval rating on Glassdoor, so clearly his listening tour really worked.

“I think a lot of it has been really getting a culture which is focusing on the people, looking at people as our solution, not our problem. And galvanizing them to help solve these problems and pointing them and aligning them.”

Ravi’s “no jerk” philosophy

Starting back at one of his first jobs Ravi felt it was important to create a world where good people finish first, as opposed to last. And that has definitely impacted his leadership style. His “no jerk” philosophy to him means you treat your people with compassion and care. You don’t write nasty emails, you don’t respond to people without intentionally thinking about how you are coming across, and you try to interact with everyone using empathy and kindness.

Ravi says, “Over time, as I've gotten older, I really feel it's important that people want to work with people that they like, and that they respect. And because we spend so much time at work, those relationships are very important. And when you look at attrition and people leaving companies, usually they leave the boss rather than the company. And now I think it's really important, whether you're a manager or a supervisor, or an executive, that we're constantly reinforcing this message.”

If Ravi becomes aware of a leader or an employee at the organization who is not treating others kindly and with respect he says the first step is to try to coach them to do better. A lot of times they don’t realize how they are coming across to others. It’s also crucial, he says, to give constant feedback and to do 360s. But if the person chooses not to change or improve, then they need to find somewhere else where they are better suited.

“In our company, at Newell, we talk about truth, transparency, teamwork. And for me that teamwork is so critical. I am very big on people who are all about the company as a whole and their team as a whole, and not about just themselves. If they're all about themselves, I get a little impatient. So at some point, you may have to take them out and I have done that many times.”

How to create a safe space for all employees to voice their point of view

These days it can be challenging to balance being open, honest, and transparent when some people are so quick to come after you if they don’t agree. But finding that balance is important. 

Ravi says it is important to talk to your employees and know what they care about, so you can take that into account. As a leader you need to be open and honest, but you also don’t want to create polarization within the company. 

He says, “As a leader our jobs, leaders need to unite, harmonize, align, because at the end of the day, you're in the business of serving consumers, rather than having politics. So you do want people to be able to express themselves. But there's also express themselves in the context of the culture you have in your company, because different companies have different cultures, and what may be acceptable in one company may not be acceptable in another.”

It is up to leaders to unify everyone inside the organization, no matter what their beliefs are. And if they witness someone trying to cancel someone else because of a belief, it is up to leaders to intervene and get both sides to listen to each other. People need to be able to listen to each other, they don’t have to agree with each other, but they have to at least listen.

Ravi wants diverse opinions, ideas, and thoughts inside of his organization. So instead of silencing issues, he thinks it is important to debate them, get all sides out in the open and have everyone reasonably listen to each other's thoughts. At the end of the day it’s about what is best for the company as a whole. 

He is also a big believer in employee resource groups or affinity groups. Inside of Newell they have groups for LGTBQ, women, veterans, black employees, etc...And you don’t have to directly identify with the group in order to be a part of it, each group welcomes anyone because it creates allies for the people in that group. These groups are safe spaces where people can come together and discuss topics and inform people who may not know what other people may be going through. 

“I spend a lot of time on, rather than talking about the divisions, how do you unite people on a common purpose, a noble purpose for the company?  So that the purpose is far bigger than any individual, even bigger than the CEO, or the board, or the shareholders--that's everlasting.”

How to bring the best out of your people

In Ravi’s experience in leadership across many industries, he says the key to unlocking your people’s potential is humility and suppressing your own ego. It’s also about balancing the long-term and short-term goals of the company and, as he shares, “Over communicate and be transparent, be truthful. Don't treat employees like babies, make employees part of the solution and don't treat them like they're the problem. And then I always say, use the word we, don't say I, we, because you can never do anything by yourself.”


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!


Direct download: Audio_-_Ravi_Saligram_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

You can be a 37 times better leader than you are now, and it won’t require a crazy massive transformation.

All you have to do is improve yourself 1% a day. By the end of the year, you will be 37 times better.

And this doesn't just apply to leadership, this can apply to anything.

It means taking 10 to 15 minutes a day to watch or listen to something new to learn a new skill.

It means recognizing an employee for the hard work they’ve been doing.

It means spending time with someone who doesn't look like you, act like you, think like you, behave like you, or even believe in the same things you believe.

It means saying “I don't know” during a team meeting to embrace humility and vulnerability.

It means having a conversation with somebody and truly listening to them, not just hearing them.

That's what 1% a day looks like. Being a better leader doesn't have to be hard. Improving anything doesn't have to be hard.


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


Are you prepared for the Great Resignation? With the candidate-driven market heating up, you don't want to lose your top talent from a lack of meaningful recognition. Learn how meaningful employee recognition improves employee retention with this free guide!

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: How_to_be_a_37x_leader_SPONSORED.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:16am PDT

Taylor Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Blueboard, the world’s leading experiential rewards and recognition platform that helps companies celebrate their employees. The company was founded in 2014 and they currently have 150 employees around the world. 

Employee experience and recognition has been at the forefront of conversations in the business world for a while now, but it’s never been more important than this past year and a half. And one company that is helping leaders around the world find better ways to recognize, celebrate, and reward employees is Blueboard. 

A different way to recognize and reward employees

For many companies the way that they show appreciation to employees is through company-wide awards, swag like mugs and shirts, and gift cards. And while all of these things are good, it may not be what employees most want or need. 

As Taylor shares, “People show up to work every day and what do they do? They're spending all their time and their energy, and they're giving it to their company, right. And a lot of us, you know, we'll work on long projects, we'll throw our lives into our work, because we're proud of it. But that often isn't reciprocated from our company.”

Taylor and the Blueboard co-founder, Kevin, actually came up with the idea because of something that happened to Taylor while working for Accenture. At one point while working for the company Taylor was given a high visibility role working with the CFO of a large company. And during this project he really drove himself into the ground--he was working 80-90 hours a week, flying to Dallas every week for three months, he ate all his meals at the company cafeteria, and he wasn’t sleeping much. He put everything he had into that project.

And at the end of the project, Taylor’s manager called Taylor into his office and told him he had done an amazing job on the project and he wanted to recognize the work he put in and he handed Taylor a $500 gift card. It was a very well-intentioned gift and it was not a trivial amount of money, but in the moment it didn’t feel good to Taylor. Just considering all of the time and effort he put into the work and all of the time he spent away from home and his girlfriend, analytically thinking about it, it kind of made it feel that his time was worth $1.12 an hour to his employer. 

Talking the whole situation over with Kevin when it happened Kevin asked Taylor what would have made him feel rewarded, what would have made him feel appreciated. After thinking about it Taylor said it would have been nice had his manager said, you have been spending a lot of time away from home and away from your girlfriend, here are some vouchers for you both to go for a couples massage this weekend to relax and recharge. And that is when the idea for Blueboard was born. 

They realized that it made sense to use actual experiences and gifts of time to reward employees, but that in order to do that a leader would have to spend a lot of time figuring out the best thing to give, and then searching for local businesses who provide that service, and then purchase it, etc..And most leaders don’t have extra time to do all of that. So they wanted to provide a service to leaders so that the process would be easy for them and rewarding for employees. 


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


The biggest trend Taylor is paying attention to 

One of the biggest things that Taylor and his team have noticed over the past year and a half is something that was already getting attention, but it increased during the pandemic and that is employee wellbeing. With most people working virtually, we have more people bringing their whole selves to work than ever before. We used to have a clear separation between work and personal life, that is no longer possible. 

Companies are wrestling with how to support their people’s well-being not just at work, but outside of work because they are so connected. We have to see all of the different facets of our people--they are not just employees, they are parents, spouses, significant others, and family members. They have hobbies and interests, they have hopes and dreams.  It dramatically changes your people programs when you start looking at your people as individuals who want and need different things. 

Will we go back to the office?

There has been a lot of discussion over the last several months about whether or not people will return to work in the office, or if most companies will continue to work remotely. Taylor is very interested to see how long it takes people to go back to work and what the whole transition period will look like. He believes that most companies will go with a hybrid form of work--some in-person and some remote--instead of going with one extreme or the other. 

And while working remotely comes with convenience and flexibility, there is also value in connecting face to face with coworkers. “We could and should be more connected people than ever, but we feel more alone and isolated than ever. And to me going to a fully remote workforce is going to lead us further down that path, and I just don't think people realize that right now.”

At Blueboard, even before the pandemic they had four day work days in the office and work from home Wednesdays. Employees were able to go to appointments or run errands or do housework on Wednesdays to break up their work day and accomplish things they wouldn’t be able to in the office. 

Why rewarding employees with experiences is so meaningful

Blueboard has a lot of options for employees to choose from when they are rewarded by a leader--some are big, kind of crazy ideas like sandboarding in Morocco or chasing the northern lights in Iceland and some are small, but impactful like taking a course in a language you want to learn or training to become a yoga teacher or a one-hour surfing class. 

There are so many things in life that a person might be interested in, but they just don’t have the time or the resources to take the first step. So being able to start that journey because you are being recognized for your hard work is powerful.

“We see hundreds of people a week doing things that represent one step towards something they've always wanted to do, whether that's taking a cooking class because they've always wanted to learn how to make pasta or they're taking a boxing class because that's the first step towards them getting in shape. Blueboard can represent just a small nudge and step in someone's life, that is then taking a big step in terms of who they are as a person. And at the end of the day, their company is the one that made that happen, how powerful and awesome is that? So that's why I love what we're doing.”


Are you prepared for the Great Resignation? With the candidate-driven market heating up, you don't want to lose your top talent from a lack of meaningful recognition. Learn how meaningful employee recognition improves employee retention with this free guide!

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Audio_-__Taylor_Smith_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

What defines an entrepreneur is what they do when they are told “NO”.

Entrepreneurs get more competitive when they get rejected. They don’t shrivel away or cower in the corner and quit.

They want to know what they did wrong and why they were told no. They learn from the experience, improve on their failures, and move forward.

To them, failure is never the end of the journey.

This mindset is what separates entrepreneurs from everyone else.


This episode is sponsored by my friends over at Perceptyx

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization.

Given our unique blend of technology, domain expertise, and ‘above and beyond’ customer service, only Perceptyx makes all this possible. It’s why 30% of the Fortune 100 already rely on Perceptyx and why 95% of the organizations stay with us year after year. Learn more or request a personal demo today at 


Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: What_Defines_an_Entrepreneur_is_What_They_Do_When_Told_No.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Cameron Herald is the bestselling author of several books including Meetings Suck and Vivid Vision: A Remarkable Tool for Aligning Your Business Around a Shared Vision of the Future.

He is the former COO of 1-800-Got-Junk and in the six years he was in that position he brought the company from $2 million to $106 million in annual revenue and the company was named the #2 company in Canada people wanted to work for.

Cameron is also known as the CEO Whisperer and he has coached a lot of leaders around the world. When it comes to looking for a coach, Cameron says leaders have to know what they are looking for because, “the world's littered with coaches right now. And you have to be very careful and understand what it is you're selecting.” Cameron focuses on the entrepreneurial operations, execution, and culture space. He teaches CEOs how to build world-class company cultures in order to propel growth.

He compares business coaches with sports coaches and says just as you would have different coaches for strength, conditioning, mindset, health, etc...there are also different coaches for business-related skills and techniques. So make sure you know what you want to work on and seek out someone specifically coaching in that area.

What is vivid vision and why is it so important for every leader

When Cameron is working with a leader, he always starts with a concept called vivid vision. He has the leader lean out three years into the future and has them describe all aspects of their company as if they had traveled in a time machine and were walking around their company three years in the future--the culture, the technology, the operations, the marketing, etc…

“I'm trying to get the CEO to visualize the company in its finished state. And then we can reverse engineer every sentence to figure out what to do to make each sentence come true. And then, much like building a home where you build the foundation, and you put up the walls, and then you put in the electrical and the plumbing, and then you put in the drywall, there's a formula for building out a business, in the same way you start with the foundational building blocks, and you grow from there. Many entrepreneurs get distracted by the big shiny object, right? Some, they just read something in a book, they want to do it now. But they forget about building the core basis of the business first.”

Why three years? Just looking one year out, there wouldn’t be enough change, it would be pretty similar to the present moment. And more than three years can be too far out to really wrap your head around, and too far out to really take seriously and get excited about. 

The vivid vision is the CEOs responsibility to create, roll it out, and get other people to buy into it. “If the CEO is very clear on where we're going, other people can figure out the plan to help make that come true.” Or for those people who don’t buy into the vision, they can see that the company is not a good fit for them and they can find someplace that works better for them.

What is the relationship between CEO and COO

Cameron uses an analogy of building a home when talking about the relationship between the CEO and COO. The CEO is the homeowner who wants to build the home and the COO is the general contractor that is hired to take the homeowner’s ideas and make the vision come true. 

“So the COO’s job is to take the vivid vision from the entrepreneur, the CEO, and start crafting the plan and the team and the operational bench to then execute on that vision and make that happen. The COO’s job is to reverse engineer the dream or the goals of the CEO.”

As Cameron points out a good COO is trying to get more done with less people, faster. They try to make the business run more efficiently, they try to increase revenue per employee, and optimize processes. Whereas a CEO doesn’t spend so much time thinking about those types of things.


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


What is a Mind Map and how can leaders use them
A Mind Map is a tool that people use to visualize tasks, words, concepts or items that relate to a central concept or subject. When it comes to creating a vivid vision you can use a Mind Map by writing vivid vision in the middle of the page and then draw off a few branches. Each branch will represent something like family, fitness, friends, fun, faith/spirituality, and travel, then you jot down ideas for each branch.

For example, for the travel branch you might want to write that you want to live in different cities or live abroad or you want to learn a new language. For your family branch you might want to travel with them or make sure they get out of the house each day or learn a new skill together. And as you keep jotting down ideas it becomes a spider web of ideas.

“That's the way I like planning things. It's the way I like visualizing a company or a business. Whenever I have a new project or a new idea, I tend to start with a mind map and then I take all of those ideas and I build them out into lists of bullet points. And then I just prioritize the bullet points and I just start executing off those. You know, if you were doing a mind map of your home, and we're going to build a home, well what might it look like? How much should it cost? What types of rooms are we going to have? How will the rooms be laid out? So you start describing it and then it gives you some basis for thinking through things.”

What happens if there are people who don’t agree with your vivid vision?
Cameron gave an example of a CEO he worked with in Vancouver who went through Cameron’s program and had created his vivid vision. He had an offsite day for all 100 employees at the company and at the end of the day he read his vision off to the employees.

After reading out his entire vision he told them there are probably 15% of you who hate what you just heard, and that’s okay. But now you know that this is the right time for you to quit and look for another company that you are excited about because this is where we are going in the future.

About six weeks later 12% of his company had quit. A year and a half later that leader’s company was ranked as the #2 company in British Columbia to work for.

So not everyone will buy into your vision, but that just means that the company is not a good fit for them and it is their choice to buy into it or leave. It is better to be open and honest about where the company is going and have some people quit then to make it a mystery and have all employees confused about where the company is going.

“There's people at Microsoft that would hate working at Google, I've been to both their head offices, they're extraordinarily different. They're as different as like a raspberry and a banana. You know, both are fruits. I happen to hate bananas, I happen to like raspberries. Now, you can't say I don't like fruit, I just don't like bananas. So you need to decide: do I like what they're offering? And if you're not clear on what they're offering, you really want to find out. You also really want to be clear on the vision of the organization. Right? Where are they going? Do I want to be a part of that journey? Or would I rather be a part of a different journey?”


This episode is sponsored by my friends over at Perceptyx

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization.

Given our unique blend of technology, domain expertise, and ‘above and beyond’ customer service, only Perceptyx makes all this possible. It’s why 30% of the Fortune 100 already rely on Perceptyx and why 95% of the organizations stay with us year after year. Learn more or request a personal demo today at 

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:


Direct download: Audio_-_Cameron_Herald_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Empathy is one of the cornerstones of leadership.

The first thing that you need to do to practice empathy is take a step back and learn to listen. Don’t respond too quickly, take time to digest and process the information.

The next step is to be aware of your emotions.

Research shows that to practice empathy, you either need to be in a neutral state or the same state as the person who is coming to you.

The last technique is taking the opposite perspective.

Try to take the other person's perspective and argue against yourself a little bit. Try to challenge your initial assumptions.

Practicing empathy will greatly improve your leadership and the employee experience in your organization.


This episode is sponsored by my friends over at Perceptyx

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization.

Given our unique blend of technology, domain expertise, and ‘above and beyond’ customer service, only Perceptyx makes all this possible. It’s why 30% of the Fortune 100 already rely on Perceptyx and why 95% of the organizations stay with us year after year. Learn more or request a personal demo today at 


Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Real_Life_Tips_for_Practicing_Empathy_at_Work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Jason Redman is a Retired Navy SEAL Lieutenant, motivational speaker, and the bestselling author of Overcome: Crush Adversity With The Leadership Techniques Of America’s Toughest Warriors.

Jason grew up in a family that was very patriotic and enjoyed serving their country, so he heard about the military early on and from about the age of 12 he knew he wanted to do special operations. There was something about the Navy SEALs and the fact that it is the hardest training in the entire U.S. military that piqued Jason’s interest. People told him he would never make it, but that just pushed him even more to reach that goal. After he graduated high school he headed to Boot Camp.

“SEAL training is legendary and it's difficult. And it's been that way from the very beginning all the way back in World War II. And interestingly enough, it's pretty much maintained the core of what that training was back then. And even today, SEAL training has a 75%- 80% failure rate. So attrition rate, almost 80% of the people that start SEAL training, don't make it through the majority of it, you know, don't make it because obviously, they quit. But then there's a large amount that don't make it for medical reasons. And then performance reasons, academic reasons. All these things play into a guy's ability to make it through training. And it is legendary in its difficulty.”

How Jason’s near-death experience led him to his current career
Back in September 2007 Jason was part of a SEAL Assault Group in Iraq. It was a pretty volatile time in the war and they were conducting missions almost every night. On September 12 they got word that a senior Al-Qaeda leader was going to be in a specific location at a specific time and Jason’s team launched a mission to go after that individual.

But what they didn’t know was they were walking into a very well executed Al-Qaeda ambush and Jason and his team were shot by multiple machine guns. Jason was shot eight times in his elbow and his face. His jaw was shattered, all the bones above one of his eyes were broken, he was severely injured and knocked out. His teammates continued to fight and got him out of there and he was sent to a hospital in the U.S.

Jason remembers that in the beginning he was so overwhelmed. Doctors were giving him a ton of information about his injuries and treatment, at one point they thought they might need to amputate his arm, he was being fed by a stomach tube. He thought for sure his career was over and didn’t know where he would go next.

People would come visit him and they would talk about other people they saw throughout the hospital and what a shame it was, what a pity that we send them off to war and they come back broken and they’ll never be the same. And Jason had a realization hearing those comments. He didn’t want to be a victim and feel sorry for himself--he had been through tough times before and overcame them and he knew he had a choice.
We all have a choice when faced with hard times--whether you are a salesperson, a doctor, a police officer, etc...humans are humans and we have a choice in how we react to situations in our lives.

So he put a sign up on his door that said, “Attention to all who enter here, if you're coming in this room to feel sadness or sorrow, don't bother. The wounds I received, I got in a job that I love, doing it for people that I love, defending the freedom of a country that I deeply love. I will make a full recovery. What is full? That's the absolute utmost, physically. I have the ability to recover, and then I'm going to push that about 20% further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you're about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. And if you're not prepared for that, go elsewhere.”

He wrote that sign for himself, he knew in his time of darkness he needed to have a mission statement that he could focus on when he wanted to quit or was feeling down. It wasn’t an easy journey, just because he made that statement doesn’t mean everything was better from that moment forward. He had surgery setbacks, days of intense pain, infections, etc… But he always thought back to those words and pushed forward.

In life, Jason says, you have to understand what your values are and what your mission is. That’s what has to drive you forward.

Jason’s three rules of leadership
While we can’t control everything, we do have choices in life, no matter what role we are in. Jason teaches three rules of leadership when he gives his talks. He says it starts with rule number one, which is 70% of leadership is how you lead yourself. It's about your self-discipline, how you build structure in your life, how you build repetition and processes to get things done, how you are balanced as a leader. Leading others usually happens before you ever open your mouth.

Rule number two is to lead others. After you are leading yourself and you know what your mission & values are, you can start leading others. It is important that you build trust, communicate clearly, and always stay on course.

Rule number three is lead always. No matter what you are facing in life, as a leader you have to realize that you are leading. People are going to look to you as their example, so you have to step up and lead regardless of what you go through in life.


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


Can resilience and overcoming adversity be taught?
Jason has gone through a lot in his life and no matter what he keeps pushing forward and maintains a positive attitude. Leaders inside of organizations today need to have this type of mindset in order to overcome all of the challenges and hurdles that come along with this fast-paced, new world of work. But can this mindset be taught?

While some people do have a higher level of resilience within themselves than others, Jason says it is something that can be taught and improved. It’s taught through doing hard things. You have to get out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. If you are afraid of speaking in public, join Toastmasters. If you are afraid of heights, jump out of a plane.

“Why? Because it forces you out of your comfort zone. And that's what builds your resiliency and your overcome muscles. I'll tell you what I try and tell people all the time, you cannot just click a switch and turn on an overcome mindset in a crisis. If you've never built one, it just won't happen. I don't care how much you read. I don't care how much you think you know about it. If you have not done some hard things in your life and built your overcome resiliency muscles, it won't happen.”

The three Ps--how Jason stays focused on his goals
One important part of leading yourself is having goals and building a structure that helps you stay focused on them. Jason has created the three Ps that help him stay on track and focused on his long-term goals. Narrowing it down to these three areas helps him move the needle forward a bit day by day instead of having huge lofty goals that seem way out of reach.

His three Ps are:

  1. One physical goal--For Jason this is always about getting at least one workout in a day. But this could be any kind of physical goal. Maybe you want to do Yoga, or go for a walk outside, or play a team sport.
  2. One personal goal--To make sure he still takes time out to do something for himself Jason sets one personal goal a day. This could be having dinner with his family or calling his mom or balancing his personal finances.
  3. One professional goal--Every day he sets a professional goal to help him move his business forward.

As a leader working on these things daily helps you lead yourself which in turn helps you lead others better. Jason says as a leader you should be an example of a good communicator, a good family member, an example of taking care of yourself physically and mentally, etc…

“All these things are critical components of leadership, that if you're not doing them, if you are telling your people they need to have balance with their family, but you're not showing that, then they're going to slide out of that also, because that's how we learn. We emulate our leaders. And we value what our leaders feel is important.”


This episode is sponsored by my friends over at Perceptyx

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization.

Given our unique blend of technology, domain expertise, and ‘above and beyond’ customer service, only Perceptyx makes all this possible. It’s why 30% of the Fortune 100 already rely on Perceptyx and why 95% of the organizations stay with us year after year. Learn more or request a personal demo today at 

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Audio_-_Jason_Redman_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:13am PDT

Ever wonder why I tell stories in the talks I give?

When someone asks me how I got involved with the future of work, I could give statistics and say, “13% of employees around the world are engaged and I had bad jobs working for other people, and now I'm doing what I'm doing.”


I can tell my coffee story where my excitement for being called to the corner office of a CEO was crushed by a cup of Starbucks …

Which one do you think has more impact?

When you think about great communicators, one thing they all have in common is storytelling.

People have been telling stories since the dawn of time.

It's why when you were a kid, you wanted your parents to read you a story before bed.

It's why your kids now want you to read them a story before a bed.

We all love stories. It’s just part of being human.


This episode is sponsored by my friends over at Perceptyx

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization.

Given our unique blend of technology, domain expertise, and ‘above and beyond’ customer service, only Perceptyx makes all this possible. It’s why 30% of the Fortune 100 already rely on Perceptyx and why 95% of the organizations stay with us year after year. Learn more or request a personal demo today at 


Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Why_Storytelling_Matters_at_Work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Simon Mainwaring is the bestselling author of We First and Lead With We: The Business Revolution That Will Save Our Future, which comes out in November. He is the founder & CEO of We First, Inc. and he was a finalist for Global Australian of the Year in 2015.

Simon’s first book came about after the global economic meltdown when he heard a speech from Bill Gates from the World Economic Forum. Bill Gates talked about how the private sector needed to play a bigger role in social change and that really hit home with Simon. He wrote his first book, We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World, to help companies rethink their strategies and practice capitalism in a way that produces profit but also benefits the planet and communities around the world.

What is the future of work
As Simon shares, prior to covid we had defined separation between work and life, but since the pandemic that line has dissolved. Work has infused our life and life has infused our work. We are now seeing people bring more of their whole selves to work. We have Zoom calls and we see people’s children, pets, and house decor.

Simon believes that as we go forward we will see even more blending between work and personal life so they are more seamless. Even though work-life balance has been a phrase used in the past, Simon believes there is no work-life balance, the balance has to be within yourself. You have to know what works for you and what gives you balance. Do you work better at night or in the morning? Do you work better in a coffee shop or in an office setting?

“I think, you know, that balance is something that we all need to strive for in a sort of the inner state level. And once you do that, I think, you can show up meaningfully, when you're just hanging out and being social, and also you can really contribute on the work front. So I think the focus of the balance has to be within you, rather than sort of this false separation between work and life.”

Simon has also learned from working in countries around the world. He says he has learned to work more lightly and not suspend his happiness until he reaches a certain level.

“I used to be so anxious, and you're striving to get ahead and you think you can't be happy or successful until you've done X, Y, and Z. And I think it's a much smarter strategy just to realize that you're gonna put that effort in, but not suspend your happiness until you get there to just travel more lightly, take things a little less seriously. And, you know, have a little bit more fun on the way because I can't even remember things that I was worried about three or four years ago.”

Trends Simon is paying attention to
The world of work is changing a lot and there are a few trends that Simon is watching and paying attention to. The first one is the heightened and growing awareness of all of the challenges we are facing these days. You can’t look at your phone, or your social media, or a newspaper without seeing what’s happening around the world--floods, fires, species lost, political unrest, etc....

“I think we're all going through really tough times-- anxiety, stress, pressure, family, professional, whatever. And I think one of the challenges of COVID is I don't think any of us had carved out the time or the pressure hasn't stopped for us to actually process what's happening. And so we're carrying it forward into our work lives.”

People are exhausted, burned out, anxious. One of the best ways that Simon has found to deal with this is to get out into nature. Go for a walk or a swim. Connect with something outside of a screen. Take time away from the news or do a full digital detox.

Another trend that he is paying attention to is a positive one. We have seen stakeholders showing up for change more than in the past. Suppliers, CEOs, employees, and customers are all calling for a different way of doing business in a way that makes the world a better place. Everyone has a place at the table, which is different from what it was before.

And the third trend he is watching is the connection between companies who make a great impact on the world around them and the profits they make. “These new market forces where, you know, the more a CEO or a company or its culture or its products, or its impact does good, the more people are buying its products, the more investors are putting money behind that company, the more they're getting listed on the stock exchange. And the nature of business itself is changing. And I'm actually very optimistic about that.”

Three ways in which leadership is changing
Leadership is changing in a massive way and Simon says there are three main ways that he is seeing it change.

  1. Leaders are allowed to be more human now--Over this past year and a half we have all gone through tough times, we are all just doing the best we can, including leaders. Leaders are now able to be completely human--open, honest, and real.
  2. We have much more inclusive cultures--The traditional hierarchy is disappearing and we are moving away from command and control. We also have more focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  3. Leadership is much more collaborative--Leaders and companies are working together to tackle the big problems of the world. Our problems are bigger than one leader or one company can solve on their own.

Why Simon is doing a digital detox and the impact it’s had on his life
This past year and a half has been difficult for everyone. Not only have we had to be worried about the pandemic but we’ve been separated from loved ones, we haven’t had holidays or celebrations, we haven’t been able to have a social life. And so going through these tough times is hard enough without having to read the news and scroll through negative social media posts.

Simon found that stepping away from news and social media, spending more time outside, spending more time with family, and focusing on his health made a positive impact on his mood and his outlook on life.

“I think the digital detox is all really about protecting yourself against the assault of all the negative things out there, reminding yourself what's really important and good for your health and well being. And then committing to a course of action that will allow you not just to feel okay today, but sustain it over the long term because we're 18 months into this now, and who knows how long this is going to go on for. So it's been what’s been working.”


This episode is sponsored by my friends over at Perceptyx

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization.

Given our unique blend of technology, domain expertise, and ‘above and beyond’ customer service, only Perceptyx makes all this possible. It’s why 30% of the Fortune 100 already rely on Perceptyx and why 95% of the organizations stay with us year after year. Learn more or request a personal demo today at 


Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Audio_-_Simon_Mainwaring_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:56am PDT

Jobs aren’t like keys--You don’t just lose them, they get taken away from you.

Some people are worried about losing their jobs to technology, but what really happens is that their jobs get taken away because of technology.

There are two ways this can happen.

The first way is if the company consciously decides it wants to replace humans with robots and that it no longer wants humans running the organization.

Thankfully, what we’ve been seeing is the opposite.

We see organizations like Accenture that automated 10,000 jobs but didn't lose a single person. They upskilled all of their employees.

The second way is if you let AI take your job. This happens if you just watch the world change and do nothing.

You have to become a perpetual learner. You have to learn how to learn. You need to be able to apply those things frequently and do it quickly.

You need to future-proof yourself. You can't rely on companies and educational institutions to teach you everything you need to know to be successful.


This episode is sponsored by my friends over at Perceptyx

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization.

Given our unique blend of technology, domain expertise, and ‘above and beyond’ customer service, only Perceptyx makes all this possible. It’s why 30% of the Fortune 100 already rely on Perceptyx and why 95% of the organizations stay with us year after year. Learn more or request a personal demo today at 


Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Two_Ways_AI_Will_Take_Our_Jobs.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Keith Ferrazzi is the bestselling author of multiple books including Leading Without Authority, Never Eat Alone, and his newest book, Competing in the New World of Work. He is also the Chairman of Ferrazzi Greenlight and it’s Research Institute.

Keith and the co-authors of Competing in the New World of Work conducted a huge research project to find out how organizations around the world were reacting to changes happening because of the pandemic. He says, “What we were looking to capture was a methodology and a roadmap on how the best and brightest leaders and organizations were reinventing their companies, reinventing their leadership style, reinventing their workplace, during the pandemic, in a way that would be sustainable, to allow us to meet the incredibly new volatile world that we live in.”

This research resulted in the book and a methodology, called radical adaptability, that looks at four elements of leadership that are crucial for this new world of work.

The radical adaptability framework
There are four attributes that make up the radical adaptability framework that Keith lays out in his book, they are:

  1. Foresight: You have to get everyone in your organization to see around corners and to see risks and opportunities. It’s one thing for an organization to have risk management and strategic planning, but you have to be able to turn those ideas and information into action. You have to make risk and opportunity identification part of your everyday work process so that everyone inside the organization knows how to foresee and adapt.
  2. Agility: During the pandemic we saw a lot of organizations do things they couldn’t have done in normal times. Things that normally take months or years had to be done in weeks. The formal process of agility that is used for software development, project management, program management is very seldom used across the entire organization, but that’s what we should be doing. You come up with what your next week’s sprint will be, you go do it, and then at the end you assess it candidly and repeat. Companies need to find a way to sustain that method for the long term.
  3. Inclusion: It is critical that everyone inside your organization has a voice as getting people involved leads to innovation. The key is to figure out how to include people without slowing the decision making process down. Keith says the solution is synchronous collaboration so that everyone has a shot at getting their idea to the table, no matter how big the group is. And technology has given us the tools to be able to do this.
  4. Resilience: Leaders inside of organizations have to radically redefine mental well being in the workplace. It is important to help your people out when things happen and times get tough, but it’s also critical to have a system in place to support your people at all times. If everyone is at full mental strength and capacity you have a more productive and engaged workforce.

How to lead without authority
Anyone inside of an organization can be a leader, even if you don’t have an official title or people reporting to you. When Keith was in his 20s he was working at Deloitte, he didn’t have authority or a leadership title, but through hard work and a passion for the CEOs vision for the company, Keith made a huge impression on the CEO and ended up getting moved to a CMO position.

The CEO of the company wanted the company to be one of the best brands in the world. Keith went out on his own and did a huge research project. He went out and interviewed the head of marketing at multiple companies and then turned his analysis into a white paper. He turned the paper over to the CEO of Deloitte and he was shocked. And because of that initiative he was given a leadership position.

Keith also shares that he ended up messing up at his next job because he went in with the wrong mindset. Instead of having the same humility, curiosity, passion that he had at Deloitte before he got a leadership role, he let the role go to his head and he went into the job with pride and overconfidence. He says, “I look at that, and it was shameful. And I see it happening all the time. I see executives leaning on authority to get things done and not co-creating the future of the business with their peers.”

Leaders can’t just come up with a vision and steamroll everyone to get them to buy into the idea. They have to show up with humility and share their vision with people, a vision that’s not fully cooked up, and say to them, “let’s go co-create something extraordinary together”.

Lessons Keith learned on the golf course as a 10-year old
At the age of 10 Keith had to go out and get a job to help out his parents and he ended up working at a golf course at the local country club as a caddy. His father advised him to show up a half hour early, and while Keith thought it was a crazy idea at the time, it ended up being a huge advantage for him.

Because he was at work early he was there walking around and he would see how the greens were cut, which allowed him to read putts better. It helped him give his golfers a unique vantage point and he was able to make suggestions using this inside knowledge.

One of the top golfers at the club had Keith as a caddy one day and because he helped her improve her score, she started asking for him every time she golfed. She started asking Keith questions about his own life and wanted to know what he wanted to do in life. After trying to avoid the question for a while, he finally gave her an answer. He told her that her dad immigrated to the US and had told Keith that being in America meant Keith could do anything, he could even be President someday.

The next time she came to golf she had a local congressman with her who coached Keith, gave him suggestions on what to work on, and suggested that he join speech and debate. Through that mentorship Keith ended up winning the national speech and debate tournament, which was his ticket into Yale University.
And all of that came about because of the advice he got from his dad to show up early. Keith says, “I did things other caddies didn't do, because I showed up at the golf course a half of an hour early. And the simple principle, which is true of leading without authority, if you're a leader in an organization, you've got to show up a half an hour early for your people, and then define who your people are not by org structure, but by who you need to work with.”


This episode is sponsored by my friends over at Perceptyx

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization.

Given our unique blend of technology, domain expertise, and ‘above and beyond’ customer service, only Perceptyx makes all this possible. It’s why 30% of the Fortune 100 already rely on Perceptyx and why 95% of the organizations stay with us year after year. Learn more or request a personal demo today at 


Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Audio_-_Keith_Ferrazzi_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Self-serving employees are those who are typically just in it for themselves.

They don't care who they have to step on or what they need to do to climb the corporate ladder.

There are a few ways to figure out who amongst your employees are self-serving:

They are always blaming other people. A self-serving person will always try to make other people look bad to make themselves look good.
They always take control of meetings. There's always one person who wants their voice to be heard, "My opinion is right, your opinion is wrong.”
They are too competitive. Competition is great, but if you’ll do anything to win, like lying or cheating, then it’s taking it too far.

If you have someone like this, no one will want to be a part of your team or organization.

This episode is sponsored by Perceptyx.

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization. 

Given our unique blend of technology, domain expertise, and ‘above and beyond’ customer service, only Perceptyx makes all this possible. It’s why 30% of the Fortune 100 already rely on Perceptyx and why 95% of the organizations stay with us year after year. Learn more or request a personal demo today at

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

Let's connect on social!Linkedin:

Direct download: Red_Flags_to_Spot_Self_Serving_Employees.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Lorenzo Simonelli is the Chairman, President, and CEO of Baker Hughes, a $20 billion energy technology company with 60,000 employees in 120 countries around the world.

Prior to Baker Hughes Lorenzo served as President and CEO of GE Transportation, CFO of the Americas for GE Consumer & Industrial, and General Manager, Product Management for GE Appliances, Lighting, Electrical Distribution, and Motors.

It is a very different experience for leaders today than it was decades ago. With the advent of social media, sites like Glassdoor, Smartphones, etc...everything they do and say is out there for the world to see and they are constantly scrutinized and analyzed. As Lorenzo shares, unlike in the past, the role of a leader now is 24/7. He is aware of the constant feedback and analysis and says he is a humble person and he tries to do the right thing on an ongoing basis. He treats people with respect and leads in a genuine way. And so when people critique him it doesn’t get to him as much, because he is comfortable in his own skin and he knows he is doing his best.

He believes that as long as leaders are leading in a respectful and authentic way and as long as they are driving the company forward, keeping all stakeholders at the forefront, then after that you need to be comfortable and confident in yourself. Don’t take criticism too much to heart.

“I've always felt it was important to have a balance, and I will work hard. And I will always try and do the best thing at the same time. Like all other humans, you've got only so much you can do. And that's what I put into perspective as well. I don't have all the right answers. I don't know everything. But I'll always do the best for the company.”

What it was like working with Jack Welch and Jeff Immelt at GE

Lorenzo worked at GE in various roles for around 20 years and he had the opportunity to work with both Jack Welch and Jeff Immelt. He says working with both of them was a great learning experience and they had a huge influence on who he is as a leader today. He was able to see both of them in action and learned different skills from them.

He shared a story of a time when he was conducting his first project for Jack and he had to give a presentation. At the time Lorenzo was around 20 years old and being that this was his first major interaction with Jack he was very nervous. He walked into the conference room and he was surrounded by Jack and other corporate staff and he began to sweat, he was so uncomfortable.

When Lorenzo started to present Jack could sense his nervousness and immediately he said “Stop, stop.” This startled Lorenzo and he was confused. He had just started presenting, there’s no way he could have screwed up already. But Jack wasn’t upset, he said “With a name like Lorenzo and an English accent, you’ve got to explain your story before you start.” And that was the ice breaker that Lorenzo needed to be able to breath and calm down before continuing with his presentation.

This is something Lorenzo has taken with him as a leader. It’s an important skill to be able to read how people are feeling and to help them get to a place where they can shine.

During the 2008-2009 financial crisis Lorenzo was leading a GE transportation business and because of the tough times he had to call Jeff and tell him that they had lost all of their volume. Lorenzo recalls Jeff being very understanding and telling him take what you can control and do what’s right, at the end of the day that’s all I can ask of you. I can’t ask you to control externalities that you don’t have a bearing on. Jeff was supportive and kind as a leader in a really difficult time, and that’s something that Lorenzo has taken from him.

Leading in tough times
Making difficult decisions as a leader is never pleasant, but as Lorenzo shares, you have to be honest, drive the company forward, and make sure the company is going to be there when things get better.

Lorenzo recalls something a mentor once told him and that is, “The worst thing you can do in a crisis is hide in your own office, because everybody is confused and the leader needs to be out there, and actually giving a direction and giving clarity.” Lorenzo has always approached a crisis as an opportunity to engage in a dialogue and build camaraderie. Your people have to understand the reasons behind the decisions you are making as a leader. You will not always be popular for the decisions you make, but people will trust you and respect you for keeping them informed and involved in the process.

As a leader you also have to be comfortable with managing ambiguity, you can’t look flustered. Lorenzo says, “People don't necessarily expect you to know all the answers. Clearly, the pandemic was something many of us were facing for the first time. And we had to be agile and navigate the pandemic. But if you provide a sense of ease, and a sense of just communication, and comfort, people will come along, and you will solve it as you go along.”

He says the worst thing you can do is get flustered, because people will see that and they won’t trust you to make the right decision. You may not know what to do in a given moment, but you have to stay calm, come up with a rational response, and communicate with employees. Get all the information you can, and then make the best decision possible. You may not always get it right, but you will be making progress and moving forward.

Lorenzo’s evolution as a leader
There was a time in Lorenzo’s career when he admits he was more of a command and control type leader. He thought he could do it all himself and he micromanaged people. But over time his leadership style has changed.

The change has come about because he listened to the feedback coming from employees and peers and really taking it to heart. Listening is such an important skill to have as a leader. In order to truly take feedback and make changes you also have to be vulnerable and self aware. It’s also critical to let people know you appreciate feedback so that they continue to give it in an open and honest way.

Lorenzo’s advice for leaders
Now more than ever it is important for leaders to stand for something and to stand for what the company believes in. As a leader at an energy technology company, Lorenzo believes that Baker Hughes can really help reduce the carbon footprint and provide safe, reliable energy for people around the world. And that is something he speaks up about and something that he takes a stand for. Every decision he makes is based on that belief.
He says, “I'll also say I think leaders need to be a voice for the underrepresented and also for the way in which the globe needs to continue to evolve. And that's why diversity and inclusion is so important. Because if we don't say it as leaders, then how will it evolve? And that's the best decisions we know, are made when you actually have variation and diversity of thought. And that comes through the D&I as well.”

The speed at which things are changing in the world has sped up, and so leaders also need to be agile. You have to be able to move fast and pivot when needed. “We know the end goals, but how you're going to get there can vary day in and day out, and also different roads that you take. And we look at the external world, we look at what's happening, and we pivot accordingly. And so instead of it being one big marathon, it's actually short sprints that get you along that way. And that's the way in which we've been through this journey.”


This episode is sponsored by my friends over at Perceptyx

Perceptyx helps enterprises get a clear picture of their employee experience with a continuous listening and people analytics platform aligned to key business goals. With the industry’s largest portfolio of survey types – including engagement, DE&I, lifecycle, 360 feedback, pulse, and more – now you can see not only what’s going on today, but how to move forward tomorrow with insights and prescriptive actions for every level of the organization.

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Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience through my daily newsletter at 

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Direct download: Audio_-_Lorenzo_Simonelli_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Does your leader have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?

There are a few ways you can find out.

Leaders who have a fixed mindset place a very high priority on looking smart. They believe people can't change.

If you work for a manager or a leader who doesn't believe in embracing vulnerability or admitting that they don't know something, your boss has a fixed mindset.

On the other hand, if you work for a manager or a leader who believes in getting feedback and encourages learning, experimenting, and curiosity, your boss has a growth mindset.

Imagine being under constant pressure at work every day and feeling that every word that comes out of your mouth has to be correct. That's a horrible kind of culture to be in.

This is why leaders need a growth mindset.

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership, and employee experience. 

Let's connect on social!





Direct download: Why_Leaders_Need_a_Growth_Mindset.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:25am PDT

Mike Capone is the CEO of Qlik, a business intelligence company that provides end-to-end cloud data integration and data analytics solutions for organizations around the world. Mike leads a team of over 2,600 people around the world. 

Mike’s experience as a leader started at the age of 24 when he was working in IT and he says he was totally unprepared for it. At the time he had no training, no experience, and he found it very intimidating at first. But with time, advice, and on the job learning he figured things out. 

He says that his progression from an entry level leader to being the CEO leading over 2,600 people came about because of hard work, a willingness to volunteer for the hard jobs, and the ability to help others be successful. 

The things that made a difference in Mike’s career

Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, is a leader that Mike really respects and someone that he has watched for a long time. In an interview Jamie shared that when it comes to success, there is no substitute for hard work. And Mike agrees with that completely, people who work hard get rewarded. But while that is a huge part of achieving your goals, there are other important things to focus on.

Mike says you also have to be unafraid to volunteer for tough jobs. In Mike’s own career there was a time when he was working for Oracle Financials when the company was rolling out a global financial system and they had already gone through two separate leaders who had been placed in the roll and then let go. 

One day Mike was selected to be the next leader of the project, and everyone around him told him not to take it--it’s where people’s careers go to die. But Mike saw it as an opportunity to get noticed and advance his career. So he took the job and sure enough it was a huge stepping stone for him. As Mike shares, it is a combination of things that get you to the level of CEO, but if no one notices you and if no one knows who you are, then it doesn’t matter, you won’t get ahead. You have to have people believe that you are a key to their success.

Mike’s leadership style

One thing that is very important to Mike as a leader is listening twice as much as he talks. As a leader it is so important to let other people talk, even if you already know the answer. It’s also important to have diverse opinions and backgrounds around you. 

But it’s equally important to be decisive as a leader. You have to listen, listen, listen, then decide and move on. “You always want to control the future and not let the future control you. But that said, like, that is the biggest failure I've seen of leaders is this kind of paralysis, this inability to decide. And you'd be hard pressed to find somebody who would accuse me of that, they'll accuse me of ready, fire aim sometimes, right. But they'll never accuse me of, you know, not deciding something quickly.”

There are going to be tough decisions that you have to make as a leader, but time is not going to make it go away. Some leaders also struggle with trying to build consensus around a decision, they want to be popular and liked, and while it is normal to want to be liked, you’re not always going to be and that shouldn’t stop you from making a decision. 

“I always tell leaders, look, you have to do the listening and let people know they're heard, then you’ve got to use your best judgment and the data at hand and decide, and then your team has to get behind you. Time for discussing and then time for deciding and time for action.”

And if he makes a bad decision, Mike says he admits it and fixes it fast. He doesn’t dwell on it or let it eat at him. 

What to do if you feel stuck in your job

Most of us have had a moment or moments in our career when we feel like we are stagnant and there is no way to move inside a company. It can be frustrating and disengaging. So what should you do in this situation? 

Mike says before you make a decision, take a look at yourself. How much do you market yourself? How much are you trying to get noticed? Are you working on gaining new skills and improving the ones you have? 

There are a lot of ways you can change your situation. Mike says, “If you're not fulfilled coming to work every single day, you’ve got to do something about that. You can't just complain about it. And I know economically, people sometimes say, well, I need this job. That’s great, like, you need the job, but you know, then skill yourself up. So your life isn't dependent on that particular job and then go find something else. But don't stay in a situation you're not happy in.”

Two things that hold leaders back

There are two main things that Mike says hold leaders back from their full potential. The first one is that leaders tend to think that the thing that got them where they are today is the thing to get them there tomorrow. They think that because they have a playbook that has worked before that they can just keep running the same one. 

There’s a reason why most CEOs don’t last more than 5 years, because after that time they have to reinvent the thing that they invented, and it’s really hard to admit that what you did before isn’t lasting. But the pace of change is fast, and the world is changing so quickly. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over. 

The other thing that Mike says holds leaders back is thinking their time is more important than anyone else’s. This mindset manifests itself in canceling meetings, showing up late to meetings, being on your phone when someone is talking to you, etc...When you are in a meeting or talking with someone, be present completely. Multitasking doesn’t work, it’s just a productivity killer. If you need to respond to emails or text messages, set aside time for that. 

What sets great leaders apart from good ones

There are a lot of leaders who can get things done through command and control, but the great leaders inspire the people around them. People are jumping in the boat because they want to follow that leader. It’s all about inspiration. 

And this is something you can work on. Find people around you that model great leadership and watch them. Find someone who can mentor you. Practice things like empathy, listening, caring for others every single day. Catch people doing good things and let them know with an email, a call or a letter. It takes hard work and practice, but it’s worth it in the long run and it will ensure your success as a leader. 

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience. 

Let's connect on social!





Direct download: Audio_-_Mike_Capone_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

There used to be a time where graduating from school was enough for you to be successful in life and in work.

And when you worked for a company, it too, would teach you everything you needed to know.

But today, that’s no longer the case.

Today, you can't rely on educational institutions and companies to teach you everything you need to know to be successful.

You need to be more accountable over your personal and professional development.

You need to learn how to learn.

Especially in this rapidly changing world of work, you’ll likely need to reinvent yourself multiple times during the course of your career.

What do you do to keep learning?

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership, and employee experience. 

Let's connect on social!





Direct download: Learn_how_to_Learn.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:28am PDT

Martin Moore is the author of the upcoming book, No Bullsh!t Leadership, and the host of the podcast with the same name which has been downloaded more than 1.4 million times and has listeners in over 70 countries. He is also the former CEO of CS Energy and he currently runs Your CEO Mentor with his daughter, Emma.

Martin wrote his book because there are so many books out on the market that teach desirable attributes that leaders should have, but he didn’t find anything out there that shows leaders how to actually implement these ideas. He wanted to create a practical guide that would help leaders figure out how to be more transparent, how to be expert communicators, how to deal with conflict, etc…

As Martin has witnessed personally there are a lot of leaders out there who attend training programs and they come back motivated and inspired by all of the things they have learned, but when they get back to work nothing has actually changed. So they think they are doing better because of the new knowledge they have, but actually they don’t know how to carry it out so it doesn’t help anyone.

Business acumen vs leadership skills
One thing Martin discusses in his book is the difference between business acumen and leadership skills. A lot of leaders aren’t good in both of these areas, they are good at one or the other. Business acumen is about knowing what to do in the context of business--so this includes understanding strategy, being a good negotiator, knowing about finance, economics, marketing, operations, etc…

A lot of times people who have business acumen get promoted to leadership roles, and they are very smart people, but they don’t have the leadership skills needed to be effective. People who only have business acumen can be absolutely terrible leaders.

Leadership skills include being able to deal with conflict, being able to motivate and inspire people, being an excellent communicator, being able to clearly share the vision of the company, etc…

Ideally people in leadership roles have both business acumen and leadership skills, however if forced to choose between the two Martin says it’s better to have the leadership skills and surround yourself with people who have the business acumen then it would be for a leader to have business acumen alone.

Martin says, “A leader’s job is to actually lift the people, to understand them, to get the most out of them, to achieve the results they have to achieve for the organization. And for me, the number one mandate for a leader is to deliver value, period. That's it. Now, before your listeners rail against the fact that I am a heartless capitalist bastard, value comes in many different forms, right? Value can come as much from providing a safer environment for our people, as it can from generating financial value. Someone who's running a surgical practice value might come from better postoperative outcomes for patients. So value comes in many different forms. It's just a matter of understanding what form that is for you.”

The leadership problem
When it comes to promoting people, the transition between individual contributor and being a leader is something we are not paying enough attention to, Martin says. Just because someone is great in a certain role does not mean they will automatically be a great leader. We need more training and mentoring for people going into their first leadership role.

And because a lot of people in leadership positions today have not had the proper training, a lot of times the people just now moving into these roles don’t have any real role models to look up to.

“You look up the line, and you look sideways, and you can't see too many people where you go, Oh, I get it, I see what leadership is, I want to be more like that person. And so you develop all the bad habits right at the start, that you shouldn't. And of course, every time you get promoted above that, it becomes more difficult. Just the simple fact that you have to let go of the details more and more and more, the higher up you go in an organization. Many people never master that. That's why the workloads are 100-120 hours a week.”

So why do we still have a leadership problem when there are so many books, podcasts, courses, etc...on the topic of great leadership? Martin says a lot of it comes down to the fact that a lot of people don’t want to put in the work of leadership. A lot of the things that you need to be a great leader go against the grain and against the programming that’s in our DNA.

For example, a lot of people have a hard time stepping into conflict situations and finding a solution. Most of us tend to avoid conflict if we can. But as a leader you are going to have to deal with conflict, it’s a huge part of the role. So you have to learn to keep practicing that skill until it becomes more comfortable.

“It's a lot easier to develop bad habits than it is to develop good habits. And leadership, to a large extent, is about pushing yourself to do the things that help you to develop those good habits.”

The seven principles needed to be an exceptional leader
In his book, Martin lays out the seven principles that all leaders need to focus on to improve and be an exceptional leader. They are:

  • Deliver value--You have to understand what value means to you and to your organization. Once you’ve done that you have to stop everything else. You should be picking out the top 2-4 things that drive value for your organization and absolutely nail those things. It’s all about real focus and simplicity.
  • Handle conflict--Conflict is a part of almost everything you do as a leader, so you have to get comfortable with it. You have to be able to stay rational and composed when you are in a conflict situation. And it’s always about respect before popularity. If you’re trying to be popular, it’s not going to end well because there will always be people who don’t like you.
  • Build resilience--Being able to function as a strong leader under severe circumstances is critical. How do you handle pressure? You have to be able to function calmly, rationally when in a crisis. You can’t blame other people and you can’t avoid the problems.
  • Work at level--This is a common problem throughout organizations. You are paid to do a certain job and that is what you have to focus on. Don’t do other people’s work for them. If someone isn’t doing their job as the leader you can’t just jump in and do it for them. First of all it’s robbing that person of the opportunity to improve, but you are also wasting time that you should be spending on your own work. That’s why a lot of leaders end up working 80+ hour weeks. It’s because they are working on the wrong things.
  • Master ambiguity--As a CEO pretty much everything you deal with is in shades of gray, it’s not black and white. But you have to be able to translate from extreme uncertainty at the top to extreme clarity at the bottom. Your people have to understand what is required of them, how they add value to the business, how they fit into the mission of the company, etc...
  • Make great decisions--A great decision will be timely, you can’t act slowly. A decision that is 80% right today is infinitely better than a decision that is 90% right next month. Most of the time we hesitate on decisions because we are afraid to get it wrong. You have to know who to consult,how long to consult, you need a strong line of accountability to make sure all available inputs are there, etc..
  • Drive accountability--Having someone who is singularly accountable for delivering something is critical. Single point accountability has a completely different energy to it then when things are shifting around multiple people and teams. But to really have accountability you have to empower people correctly. Accountability without empowerment is just cruel.

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience. 

Let's connect on social!





Direct download: Audio_-_Martin_Moore_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Business is very much like the game of chess. We need to prepare for a lot of different scenarios.

We do this in our personal lives all the time.

When we think about buying a house or having a kid, we think through everything--what's going to happen to the property value? What should my child study when they grow up? I wonder who they're going to marry? We like to think about different scenarios.

But for some reason in business, we don't think about different scenarios, we only think about one scenario.

We need to do a better job of thinking of multiple business scenarios and preparing for all of them.

(This is a clip of my conversation with Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico)

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on the Future of Work, Leadership, and employee experience. 

Let's connect on social!






Direct download: How_Should_We_Prepare_for_the_Future_of_Work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 6:44am PDT

Oisin Hanrahan is the CEO of Angi, the parent company of Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, and Handy. He is actually the co-founder and former CEO of Handy before it was acquired by Angi, and now he leads the $8 billion company with around 5,000 employees.

When he was just 19 years old he founded a real estate company in Budapest and ran that for 6 years. Later on he came to the US and attended Harvard Business School, but he and his Handy co-founder both dropped out to launch the business in 2012.

Oisin truly enjoys the CEO role. As he shares, “I relish the opportunity to set the culture, to set the values, to really think about how we're recruiting people, how we're rewarding them, how we're recognizing them. And I think that that's something that I really enjoy, you know, it's something that I really like to get into.”

And he wants everyone on his team to love their job as much as he loves his. Oisin has a bi-weekly meeting with new team members and during the meeting he sits down with them and he talks about the mission of the company and gives some updates as to what’s going on, but in the meeting he also makes it a point to ask everyone a question--do you like what you’re doing?

Oisin himself answers the question, to lead by example, and he is open and transparent with his team. And he shares with them that of course, not every minute of every day is going to be perfect or make you smile, but the important thing is that the vast majority of your time you are doing something that you enjoy and that you look forward to. Oisin truly believes that one of the biggest responsibilities of the CEO role is to create an organization and a place to work where people are excited to come in and do their job. It’s so important to find the right people for the right roles so that everyone is in the best position to truly love their job.

Oisin’s view of the overall state of employee engagement
Of course it is important for people to want to come to work and to get joy from what they do, but the truth is there are a lot of employees around the world who are unhappy with work, they don’t feel engaged, they dread going into the office.

When asked his opinion on the overall state of employee engagement, Oisin shared three areas where organizations tend to fall short and how focusing on these three areas can drastically improve employee engagement.

First of all organizations have to be mission driven. Employees today want to know that the work they are doing is meaningful, and it’s hard for organizations that are not mission driven to be successful in the current recruiting environment. People have to believe that they are coming in every day and doing something broadly good--whether it’s something that is helping the environment or something that is helping people in impoverished areas around the world or something that is helping their own community thrive--they want to know the meaning behind what they are doing.

The second area that organizations tend to fail at is recognizing, rewarding, and respecting people. Your people want to receive credit and praise for the great work they are doing. They want to feel that they are adequately paid for their role and that they are able to provide for their family. They want to know they are respected, that they are seen, and that they are not just a number.

And third, employees want to know they are surrounded by a great group of coworkers that they enjoy working with and who they get along with well. And this will be different for every person. Some individuals want to be pushed hard, they have incredible ambitions that they want to achieve, they don’t want to settle for average. These types of people enjoy being surrounded by coworkers who will challenge them every single day. They want to be around people who are striving for the best at all times and who will be a bit competitive. While other individuals want a less challenging atmosphere and a place where people get along well and work harmoniously with each other.

It’s important for leaders inside of organizations to look at all three of these areas separately and see what areas they are failing in and what areas they are excelling in. All three areas matter, and you have to figure out the best way to address each one if you want to attract and retain the best people and keep them engaged.

What should you do if you don’t like your job?
For individuals who just aren’t fulfilled at work and who feel like they hate their job, Oisin has advice. Before you turn in your resignation, think about the reason why you want to quit your job. Is it because the mission of the company doesn’t line up with your beliefs? Do you feel like the organization as a whole treats you and all other employees as just a number? If it is something that you don’t have control over and something that is a company wide issue, then yes it’s probably best to walk away.

But if it is because you are not being recognized or you aren’t being paid well, or you don’t like the people you are working with, take a step back and ask yourself if the issue is company wide or is it something that is only an issue within your immediate team. Is your immediate boss not doing a good job as a leader or are all the leaders from the top down acting in the same way? If it is something within your team it may be best to talk with someone within the company to see if you can move to another team. Or maybe your boss’s boss can address the issues with them directly to see if they can change.

Oisin had a situation like this within his company fairly recently. An employee came to Oisin and said he wanted to leave. He was upset and basically told Oisin “this place sucks, I hate everything, I just want to go”. Oisin could have just let the employee go on his way, assuming he really didn’t like the work, and just moved on. But he decided to dig deeper to figure out where the real issue stemmed from.

After a few conversations with the employee, and allowing the employee to take some time to take a walk and get a breath, he found out the truth. The employee was actually happy with the company as a whole, he believed in the mission, he was happy with his pay, and he was happy with the overall culture. The problem was that the culture within his smaller team was not good and his manager was not doing a great job leading his team. After learning this Oisin had some tough conversations with the manager and the manager was able to adjust the way he led his team. In the end both the manager and this employee are both still at the company a year and a half later and they are both happy.

A situation that could have ended with the employee leaving angrily, a manager leading a team in-effectively, and potentially other fed up people leaving, ended up having a happy result because Oisin took the time to dig deep and find out the root of the problem.

How Oisin learned to be a leader
Oisin became a leader at a very young age. He started his first company at the age of 19 and even now in his second CEO role he is only 37. So how did he learn to be a great leader? He says it was a combination of learning from great people around him and trial and error. Learning through trial and error, Oisin shares, is expensive, but it’s also very effective. When you try something and fail, you don’t soon forget the experience and what you learned from it. He has also learned from coaches at times throughout his career.

There is no substitute for what you learn in the hard moments, the difficult decisions, and the things that take you by surprise. When something bad happens you see the pattern recognition and the next time a similar situation comes up you see the signs and diffuse the situation before it becomes a problem. So while an MBA is great, learning from the people around you is important, and leaning on coaches at times can be beneficial, there is nothing like real world experience and trial by fire.

How to know if you should work with a coach
Would all leaders benefit from hiring a coach to help them with their leadership approach? Oisin says it can be extremely beneficial, but there are a few questions to ask yourself before you hire someone.

  1. Are you coachable?-- Some leaders are stuck in their ways and aren’t ready to give up the way they do things. If that is you, a coach isn’t worth it. You have to be willing to make changes.
  2. Can you find someone you trust enough?-- When hiring a coach it is important to find someone that you’ve got good chemistry with, someone who you trust to tell you the truth, and someone that knows what they are doing.
  3. Are you willing to do the work?--It’s one thing to have someone come alongside you and tell you what you can work on, but if you’re not willing to actually do the work, it’s pointless. If you hire a tennis coach to teach you how to play but you only practice once every three months, you’re not going to get better.

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience. 

Let's connect on social!





Direct download: Audio_-_Oisin_Hanrahan_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Great leaders are amazing communicators.

But with all the technology out there, how do you know what platform to use for each message, and how to effectively use that medium?

Here are a series of questions to think about when you are trying to decide how to communicate effectively.

1-What is the message you are trying to convey?
Consider what you want other people to take away and how they should feel after receiving your message.

2-Who is receiving the message?
Communicating with one person is different than communicating with an entire team, just like talking to new employees is different than talking to employees who have been at the company for years.

3-Do you need feedback?
If you want some kind of feedback, a personal meeting might be your way to go. Urgent concerns or clarifications might require speaking up in a meeting and asking your question.

4-What is the culture of your audience?
Different tools, technologies, or customs that work in your part of the world might not work somewhere else. Understand your audience and be empathetic.

Ask yourself these questions to help guide you and make sure that you're using the right medium effectively.


Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience. 

Let's connect on social!





Direct download: How_to_Excel_at_Multiple_Communication_Mediums_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Erin Meyer is the co-author of No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, which she co-authored with Reed Hastings, the founder and CEO of Netflix. She is also the author of The Culture Map and a professor at INSEAD.

For the book, No Rules Rules, Erin spent a lot of time observing the corporate culture inside of Netflix, she interviewed employees, and got first hand stories of how the company values started from Reed himself. Netflix definitely has a unique culture and an interesting way to give employees freedom. While not every company can use their method of autonomy, there are lessons we can all learn from how they operate.

What led Erin to write No Rules Rules
Erin’s first book, The Culture Map, came out in 2014 and it dove into the topic of how people of different backgrounds and cultures can work together harmoniously and effectively. The book really took off over the next few years and in 2016 Erin received an email from a fellow Peace Corps volunteer who was interested in learning more about her book and how to implement the method in his own company. That person was Reed Hastings, the co-founder and co-CEO at Netflix.

So Erin went in to help Netflix get ready for their international expansion and while she was there she became fascinated with the company’s culture because it was so strange and unique.

“I conducted a big research project, I interviewed about 200 employees at Netflix, and I spent a lot of time with Reed himself, trying to understand what it was about this organizational culture that was breeding so much innovation and flexibility in the company. And then what it was that other business leaders around the world or even just team leaders could learn from this company about how to be more innovative and flexible themselves. And that's what we wrote the book [No Rules Rules] about.”

Why the culture at Netflix is so different
When asked what her first impressions were of the Netflix culture when she first started, Erin admits she was a bit “startled” by it and there were some things that initially concerned her. One example of something that concerned her was one of the slides in the Netflix culture deck which said, “adequate performance gets a generous severance”.

Erin says, “It concerned me because at INSEAD where I teach, there had been, there was so much talk, and still today, of course, about the idea of focusing exclusively on psychological safety in a workplace. I just didn't understand how an organization today could be running around, not make your employees feel safe, but tell your employees if they're not excellent, they're out.”

But even though it initially concerned Erin, it also was intriguing and a bit refreshing to see a company be so blunt about what it was going to be like to work there. So many companies tell potential new hires wonderful stories about what it’s like to work at the company, things they think people want to hear. It’s a great work environment, you’ll love everyone you work with, the work is exciting and engaging, and you won’t ever get burned out. That’s what they’ll say when the person is interviewing for the job, but then once they start they find out that people are backstabbing each other, it’s a toxic work environment, they are expected to work 60+ hours a week, and they are doing boring, monotonous tasks.

To see a company really be blunt and open about what the culture is actually like is extremely rare. So even though the wording may sound harsh, anyone who applies for Netflix knows up front it’s going to be hard work and you will have to bring your best self every day, and that may not be for everyone.

“I was so tired, just so sick of looking at corporate cultures or people who worked at companies who said what their corporate cultures were and then say, Oh, it's about integrity and respect and excellence. You know, there's nothing wrong with saying that your organization values respect, it's just that there's no good credible option to respect right? No company would run around saying they value disrespect, or that they value corruption. And I think that was actually one of my really overarching learnings to this research, was that if you really want to articulate a corporate culture that means something, that takes a root and impacts the way your employees are behaving, that you really want to avoid speaking in absolute positives, like integrity or respect, that have no good opposite option. And instead, focus on the tensions or the dilemmas that your employees are facing on a day to day basis.”

We are a team, not a family
Another way Netflix goes against the grain is in the methodology behind their corporate culture. Their mindset is, we are a team, not a family. And we’re not just a regular team, we are an Olympic team. We work together, we have cohesion and teamwork, but there’s no job security. When you get hired for a certain position you are there for as long as you are the best person for that job, but when you are no longer the best person for the job you will be replaced by someone else who is.

As Erin shares, in the Industrial Era most of the time employment was for life, so you really were a family. But now, with the increasing pace of change and uncertainties that is no longer the case, we can’t have teams where we can’t easily move people on and off.

This may seem harsh, and it’s definitely not for everyone, but employees who work for Netflix opt into that work environment. They know up front what it will be like and what is expected of them. And if they accept the job they know they will get paid well, they will get to work on some amazing projects, they will have exceptional co-workers, etc…

How Reed came up with the Netflix culture foundation
There are three main pillars that make up the Netflix culture and allow the leaders there to give employees freedom. And these three things came from the experience Reed had at the first company he opened, Pure Software.

Because Pure Software was a small entrepreneurial startup they operated without formal processes and policies. Everyone was expected to use their best judgement and make good decisions for the company, which worked when they first started with a small team. People enjoyed working there, they had freedom, there was a lot of creativity and innovation. But then the company began to grow quite quickly.

And as the company grew--from a handful of people to 1,000--people started to do stupid things and took advantage of the freedom they were given. There was no policy against having dogs at work, so one woman started bringing her dog in every day and he would chew through the carpets. Another employee who had to travel for work decided because there wasn’t a policy about travel he would start flying first class all the time.

Because this was still a fairly new company, they didn’t have a lot of extra money, so these things people kept doing really hurt the company and frustrated Reed. So he sat down with HR and wrote an employee handbook to address all these issues. But as they implemented these rules and policies something else happened--the creative people started leaving and innovation slowed down. Erin says it got so bad Reed had to sell the company.

So when Reed opened up Netflix he went in with two guiding principles--employee freedom breeds innovation and process kills organizational flexibility. But he was also worried that if he didn’t have some policies in place the organization would descend into chaos. So he had to figure out how to give freedom without processes and policies.

The three pillars of Netflix culture
As Reed was figuring out what to do with the culture at Netflix he realized that in most organizations most of the procedures and policies are put into place to deal with medium to poor employees. So if you could get a culture that was made up of only top employees then you could give them a lot more freedom. And then you also have a culture with a lot of candid feedback so that employees could feel secure speaking up if and when someone did take advantage of the freedom.

So Reed came up with three pillars that are still used inside of Netflix to create a culture of freedom, creativity, and innovation. They are:

  1. Talent Density--In order to give freedom without limits and policies you need a high performing team and you can’t let middle performers hang around. Leaders perform regular “keeper test” exercises with employees. If that employee came to you today and said they were leaving, how hard would you fight to keep them? If you wouldn’t fight or if you would feel a bit relieved, then they aren’t the right person for the role.
  2. Candor--The leaders inside Netflix encourage a lot of candid feedback. The key is having some guidelines to the feedback and Erin shared the four A’s--Aim to assist, it has to be actionable, show appreciation, accept or decline. Everyone provides feedback--employees to leaders, leaders to employees, and employees to coworkers.
  3. Freedom--Once you have talent density and candor, then you are in a position to give freedom. If you want to go on vacation--go, if you need to make a purchase--do it, if you need to make a decision--make it. You are expected to act like an adult and act in the best interest of the company. Instead of using a hierarchical pyramid, Netflix uses a decision making tree with the leaders at the bottom down in the dirt, watering the roots of the company.

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, many business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience. 

Let's connect on social!






Direct download: Audio_-_Erin_Meyer_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Are you struggling to see change inside your organization?

Just like brushing your teeth or working out in the gym, seeing change doesn’t happen overnight. It is a very slow process and has to start somewhere.

So be the change you want to see inside your company.

Lead by example so that other people can see you and start imitating you. Show the people in your organization that the changes you want to see are attainable.

Direct download: Be_the_Change_You_Want_to_See_Inside_Your_Organization_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:29am 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 has been 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.

Kate believes that leadership is a state of mind, it’s not about how many people you lead or your seniority level, it’s about the characteristics and skills you demonstrate on a day-to-day basis. You can be a leader if you are an individual worker without anyone reporting to you directly just as much as someone can be a leader with thousands of employees reporting to them.

Important experiences for anyone aspiring to be a senior leader
Kate has a very diverse background when it comes to her career. She got her degree in engineering and worked in that field for a while before going back to get her MBA. After she finished her MBA she spent several years in management consulting, then moved into banking, and then she moved to the IT side of things. She has worked in inward-facing roles and outward-facing roles. And she has also worked in several different countries around the world.

Not everyone will have the same path, but the important thing about her diverse experiences is that she was always learning and growing--she didn’t just stay where she was comfortable. She shares that it is also important, especially if you want to lead a global company, to learn about different cultures and immerse yourself in them to build relationships with people from all parts of the world. In order to truly understand different cultures proximity is crucial, you have to go there and immerse yourself in it, even if it’s for a short time.

Although Kate has had a lot of work experiences, she also brings up the importance of implementing changes and watching them develop--which takes time, in her opinion at least three years. So while the days of staying at one company for your whole career are gone, it also doesn’t mean you should continuously move every 1-2 years.

And when it comes to the debate between being a generalist or a specialist, Kate says, “I always tell people I'm working with, you've got to pick--are you going to be that generalist or are you going to be somebody who goes deep in one thing, whether it's a function like finance and you want to be a CFO and you've always known that, or, is it something horizontal that you're picking, like change? And I don't think there's a right answer, I think the world is going to continue to be hybrid. Because we need both, we need the deep experts and then we need, you know, the people who can kind of be a utility player and pinch-hit. I think it's getting harder to get the big jobs as a utility player that hasn't at least gone deep in certain things and owned the implementation of the changes that they've dreamed up.”

The lessons Covid taught us about leadership
There is no doubt that the pandemic and the past year and a half have changed the way we lead our organizations. Kate shares that one of the big lessons we learned is around crisis management. What we have gone through has reminded us that this is a core capability that every leader needs to have.

Leaders need to be able to handle a crisis with optimism and calm. They have to be able to assure everyone in the organization that they are all in it together and they have to bring comfort to employees through these tough times.

Another thing Kate says that we have learned is the importance of the agility of your portfolio and your go-to-market. “The world just changed overnight. For Microsoft, you know, how do we take our existing technology capabilities, which so many companies were slow to adopt, and make it easier for them to adopt so that they can do years of digital transformation in hours and days, just so they could stay in business. And that was a whole different sort of crisis management, you know, and response that we needed to do.”

It has taught us all to be agile and flexible, we have to be able to pivot at a moment’s notice with the current pace of change and extraordinary circumstances out of our control.

Going through this past year and a half has caused a lot of stress, fear, and exhaustion for leaders and individuals alike. Employee experience and employee wellness should always be top of mind, but it has definitely become even more critical during this time.

What Kate looks for in leaders
When she is looking to promote someone or hire someone into a leadership position Kate says the principles of leadership at Microsoft have been her main guide. The fundamentals of leadership are:

  1. Clarity: A leader is someone who generates clarity so that everyone knows where it is we are headed
  2. Generating energy: Once we know where we are going, leaders need to motivate and excite people to go chase whatever that goal is
  3. Knowing how to deliver success: Leaders have to be able to define success in a way that resonates with every single person on the ground

These are the main qualities she looks for in potential leaders. And you don’t have to be a leader of many to demonstrate these three things.

The difference between senior level leaders and those who just aren’t there yet
If you are an entry-level or mid-level manager looking to work your way up, you may be wondering what it takes to move up. One of the key differences between someone who is ready to lead at a higher level, Kate shares, comes down to how leaders drive change.

As humans, we all tend to pivot towards what makes us comfortable and when an organization goes through a time of change there is something called the frozen middle. Leaders in the mid-level range play a huge role in how the transformation goes. There are two ways leaders address change, and Kate says she can now spot the difference within 3 minutes of a conversation with someone.

When it comes to change there is implementation vs. ownership. One type of person reads about the changes that need to take place and when they meet with their team they attribute accountability to a more senior leader--”Kate wants us to drive culture change so we have to do X, Y, Z to get to that end result”. For this type of person, it’s all about checking off boxes and following instructions. This is implementation and this type of person usually ends up falling back to what is comfortable for them.

Then there is ownership. This person personally takes accountability for the change process. They explain to their team members what it is that we as a company are trying to do, why it’s important, and how they will individually play a role in how the company gets there. They bring passion, clarity, and excitement to their team and they explain why the outcome is so important.

Kate says that is the difference between someone who can run the place and someone who can’t.

Kate’s advice for aspiring and seasoned leaders
For anyone who aspires to be a leader someday, Kate’s advice is to demonstrate it now. Don’t wait until you get promoted, do it now no matter how many people report to you. Create clarity, generate energy, and deliver success. These are the muscles needed to lead, so just like working out, if you want to build those muscles you have to practice, practice, practice.

For seasoned leaders Kate says don’t get comfortable and settled in your ways. There is always more to learn. Listen to podcasts, read books, talk to people--make sure you keep yourself open to grow and develop, no matter what level you are at.

Also, hubris is kryptonite to leadership. Going around thinking you have all the answers and trying to prove yourself right all of the time instead of listening to others will be your downfall. Stay humble, keep learning, and surround yourself with great people of diverse backgrounds. There’s no way one person can know it all.

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, man business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience.

Let's connect on social!





Your attitude and approach towards feedback says a lot about the type of mindset you have.

As a leader and a manager inside of your organization, having a growth mindset means that you give feedback in a way that allows your employees to grow and learn new things. You're not insulting them, bashing them, or putting them down because that doesn't allow room for growth or learning.

The first step in doing this is making sure that we actually give feedback on a regular basis. Most organizations give annual performance reviews, which no longer makes sense. Your company should have regular check-ins and regular conversations to provide feedback.

As a leader, you also want to make sure you encourage your employees to practice self-reflection. If you know the answer to something, don’t just give it to others. Let your people figure things out on their own--that's where the learning and growth happens.

Direct download: How_to_Give_Feedback_that_Allows_for_Learning_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:25am PDT

Mark Dixon is the founder & CEO of International Workplace Group (IWG), formerly known as Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace solutions. They have over 3,300 locations and 15,000 team members in 120 countries around the world.

Mark has a unique and diverse background leading up to his current role. He actually dropped out of school at the age of 16 to start a business delivering sandwiches by bicycle. He has been a logger, a miner, a barman, an investor, and a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman--all before founding IWG in 1989.

He always knew he wanted to go into business, but he also realized early on that he needed experience and training and that’s definitely what he got throughout every job he had. He learned other languages, he tried multiple different roles, he soaked up what he could from the people he worked with--and all of it led him to his current position.

As Mark shares, “I've worked with some fantastic people, either within the companies or advisors or people I know. And, you know, in those days--and still today--I'm still learning today, you’re sort of like a sponge. You just got to be whoever you're speaking to, whatever you're doing, you try, you know, you're learning lessons. And COVID, you know, this whole crisis, I've been through many, many crises over the period of time that I've been in business, this is a huge one. And you've had to reinvent very quickly, and sort of apply, you know, all those 45 years of experiences to what you know now. And it's very hard to learn all that, you know, you're not going to get a lot of it with an MBA, it's gonna come with experience.”

<strong>Is there still a place for in-person work?</strong>
This past year with the pandemic really showed most businesses that they could continue to get things done even during shutdowns, thanks to technology. They realized that not only could the business keep going, but a lot of employees were happier because they weren’t commuting every day, they could work in comfortable clothing, and they could spend more time with family.

Now that we’ve all experienced this for over a year, a lot of companies are exploring how they can allow employees to have more flexible work options. A big topic of conversation lately is will the office go away completely. Will most companies continue with remote only working?

Mark and I agree that while companies will give employees more flexibility, the office is not going away anytime soon and there is still value in having people come to work in-person. But most likely it will be more of a hybrid format, where people can work from home at times and come into the office at times as well.

While it is possible to keep everyone remote and get work done, as Mark points out bringing people together, at least some of the time is key, otherwise you just create a bunch of digital nomads. This can be dangerous because it makes it easy to lose the company culture.

The key is having a convenient physical office (or offices) that people want to come to, at least from time to time. This is where collaboration, social interactions, networking, etc… can happen. It is also important to have an agenda to accomplish while people are there so you don’t have people sitting around staring at their screen by themselves.

“You're going in there to do creative stuff, you're going in there for your boss to thank you and hand you a, you know, a bottle of wine or something for doing a great job in front of everyone else. So you can't do that over the internet. So you've got to try and have a sense of belonging, and a feeling of purpose. And you can do a lot of it when people are decentralized, but you can't do all of it. It's a really important factor. So the companies of the future will have a number of hubs around the country, they'll bring people together.”

<strong>The benefits of hybrid work</strong>
Hybrid work is about making work convenient for employees and allowing them to work from wherever is the most productive for them each day. Some people may not have space to work from home and working from a Starbucks or Panera can be difficult with all of the noise and distractions. Some people live 3 hours away from work and hate their commute. Others may not have the discipline to work at home efficiently. So it’s all about providing different options for all of the different needs.

Giving people options helps the morale of the employees, they feel like they have control over how and when they work, they are happier because they are less stressed, and they are more productive.

This way of work also helps companies have less fixed costs. Mark says he has seen a number of companies take the money they have saved from having people work from home and they have re-invested that money into HR programs that help them get to know employees better. Sometimes leaders feel like they know their people because they all sit in the same building and they see each other every day, but that’s not necessarily the case.

“You know, it wasn't the office that was the magic ingredient here. It was the people themselves. And it's about companies focusing on people as people. They had brilliant talents that you didn't know about because you hired them, you asked them but you didn't ask them again and again.”

<strong>Mark’s advice for leaders who want to make hybrid work a reality for their employees</strong>
The first thing Mark believes leaders should do is take time to research--there are so many materials and resources out there for companies that want to start hybrid work. Look into what other companies are doing and what has worked and what hasn’t.

After you’ve done your research it is crucial that you talk to your people to find out what they want. Survey your people to see how many of them want to be able to work from home at times, and how much time they want to work from home. How do they feel about working from a local office part of the time and working from home the rest of the time? Their feedback can help you develop a strategy.

For most companies, leaders who don’t give employees the option to work from home at times will most likely lose a lot of good people.

<strong>Can you fail at hybrid work?</strong>
Some leaders might worry about failing at implementing hybrid work, but don’t worry Mark says while you may not get the right productivity out of it, you can’t really fail. If you get it wrong, he says, it’s because you haven’t thought enough about your people.

Staying connected with your people is so important, especially when you are working in a hybrid setting. It’s easy for employees to feel lost or disconnected, so it’s up to the leaders to make sure that doesn’t happen. Call people on their birthday, start meetings off with a casual conversation, send out a weekly or monthly update email. Think about the things you do in your office right now to stay connected and then just figure out how to do that when you are all more spread out.

Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, man business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don't define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

Get the latest insights on Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience.

Let's connect on social!





Direct download: Audio_-_Mark_Dixon_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:43am PDT

Pick up any leadership book that's out there, including mine, and you'll find a list of things leaders do.

But have you ever wondered about the things great leaders DON’T do?

1. They don't ignore criticism. Successful leaders are willing to take that criticism and feedback and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

2. They don't let their emotions take control of them. Great leaders don't make rash decisions or blow up when something goes wrong.

3. They don't avoid responsibility for their choices. A great leader is able to stand by their actions. Even if they make a mistake, they acknowledge it and take responsibility.

4. They don’t break their commitments. Great leaders stand by their word. If they say they’ll do something or be somewhere, then they do it, and they show up when they need to be there.

5. They never say never. Great leaders look forward and constantly consider the big picture. They don't limit their thinking by saying, we're never going to try that, that will never work.

Direct download: 5_Things_Great_Leaders_Dont_Do_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:11am PDT

I remember when I first got asked to give a talk on my new book The Future Leader.

The book wasn't even done yet but the company that brought me in was really excited to be the first one in the world to hear the research, the ideas, and the concepts that I spent the past 18 months working on.

To say I was nervous was a bit of an understatement.

I never shared this stuff with anyone before!

But, it ended up being one of my favorite presentations I've given and I wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it.



What does it take to lead in the future of work? For my new book, The Future Leader, I interviewed over 140 of the world's top CEOs and surveyed nearly 14,000 employees in partnership with LinkedIn to identify 4 crucial mindsets and 5 essential skills to lead in a post-covid world. "Whether you're a current or future leader, this book is one that you should read and keep near you." Ajay Banga, CEO, Mastercard. Click here to grab a copy for yourself and your teams, you'll be glad you did!

Get the latest insights on Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience.

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Direct download: Audio_-_Vizient_podcast_-_Ready_-_V2.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

I have written four books, and The Future Leader was the hardest book to write. The research and logistics that went on for this book were very long and thorough.

People have asked me a couple of things with regards to the book. In this video, I share why I wrote the book, the reason behind using the lighthouse as a book cover and a symbol for leadership, and what leaders of today must do to prepare for the future.

If you have any questions about the book, drop them in the comments below or send me a personal message.

You can order your copy here:

Direct download: The_Future_Leader_QA_with_Jacob_Morgan_PART_1_MP3_1.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

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.

Consider some of these sobering statistics take from my book, The Future Leader:

  • 80% of employees say they can do their jobs without their managers and say their managers are not even necessary (Ultimate Software and Center for Generational Kinetics).
  • Almost half of 2,257 survey respondents said they could do their jobs better than their boss (Randstad).
  • 60% of employees have left or are considering leaving their jobs because they don't like their direct supervisors (Randstad).
  • 50% of Americans have left a job at some point in their career to get away from their managers (Gallup).
  • In the UK, nearly half of British workers believe they could do a better job than their boss and 13% actually said their bosses are dangerously incompetent at their jobs (Independent).
  • Only 15% of employees around the world are even engaged in their jobs (Gallup).
  • According to a survey of 25,000 leaders around the world done by DDI, only 42% of organizations said that the overall quality of leadership inside of their organizations was high.
  • 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.

CLEARLY something is wrong with leadership around the world otherwise these statistics wouldn't be as terrible as they are. 

All of the human indicators are telling us that we have a problem yet most organizations and leaders are doing nothing to correct the problem.

Imagine for a moment that you are driving a car and in the middle of your trip as your speeding down the highway, the "check engine" light comes on, followed by the tire pressure warning, the low fuel light, and the battery light, all while your car temperature indicator is in the red. Now imagine your whole family is sitting in the car with you.

Are you really just going to keep driving along? I hope not!

Yet here we are, and the business world is on cruise control but the scary part is that we are all sitting in the same car!

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.

Leadership is not about making the most money

Leadership is not about a rank or title

Leadership is not about playing office politics to get the top.

Leadership is not about being friends with other leaders who will promote you.

Leadership is not just about staying at the company for a long time until you get promoted.

Leadership IS ABOUT putting people first

Leadership IS ABOUT being able to influence change

Leadership IS ABOUT making other people more successful than you

Leadership IS ABOUT rallying people to build a better world

Leadership IS ABOUT YOU!

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?

What does it take to lead in the future of work? For my new book, The Future Leader, I interviewed over 140 of the world's top CEOs and surveyed nearly 14,000 employees in partnership with LinkedIn to identify 4 crucial mindsets and 5 essential skills to lead in a post-covid world. "Whether you're a current or future leader, this book is one that you should read and keep near you." Ajay Banga, CEO, Mastercard. Click here to grab a copy for yourself and your teams, you'll be glad you did!

Get the latest insights on Future of Work, Leadership and employee experience.

Let's connect on social!






Direct download: Audio_-_Book_Chapter_1_Podcast_Episode_July_5_2021_-_Ready_-_V2.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Oftentimes inside of our companies, we've been doing things for decades just because we've been doing them for decades. It's important for us to break away from that cycle and start thinking about creative new ways of doing things.

One thing you can do is write down all of your ideas, like a brain dump. Put all your ideas on paper and just see what comes out of your head. The reason this is crucial is because when you can write down your idea and conceptualize it, you really think through a lot of stuff. And you spend less time worrying about pretty pictures or making things look nice.

After your brain dump, you can look for common patterns. And once you clump these things together, turn it into a six-page document, flesh out all your ideas, and let other people take a look at it and give their feedback.

Direct download: Creative_Problem_Solving_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:34am PDT

After graduating from college with honors and a dual Bachelors degree in economics and psychology, I was excited to join the corporate world. I had dreams of one day becoming the CMO of a large organization. At my first job out of college I was promised that I would be working on amazing projects and traveling the country meeting with executives and entrepreneurs. Instead, I was stuck doing data entry, cold calling, and PowerPoint presentations. One day the CEO of the company asked me to go buy him a cup of coffee, that was the last job I ever had. Since then I have been passionate about the future of work and designing great employee experiences.

This happened to me, but I’m not special. There are millions of people who feel this same way about their managers and their organizations every single day. We have built our organizations on outdated processes, procedures, and ways of thinking about work for the past 100+ years. It’s no wonder that so many people around the world don’t like their jobs. 

Why we need to take control and shape our work (and how we can do that)

On average we will spend one-third of our lives at work, our lives and our work are integrated, and we cannot separate the two. So when we are miserable at work, chances are you’re feeling miserable about life in general. 

Over the past 10+ years, I have discovered three strategies that allowed me to shape my work. 

Be a perpetual learner

We cannot rely on educational institutions or organizations to teach us all we need to know. You have to learn how to learn and you have to constantly find ways to grow, develop, and expand your skills. And you need to be aware of how your skills and abilities can be applied, not just in your current role, but in other unique ways. 

You have to fake it ‘til you make it

What you believe and what you tell yourself matters. Because it will guide your behaviors, your actions, and how you feel about yourself. Most of us at some point in our lives will have imposter syndrome--where we feel inadequate, or we feel we don’t have the experience necessary, or we don’t feel qualified to make a decision. Whether you are dealing with imaginary voices in your head or real voices of people telling you you’re no good--you have to stay optimistic and you have to build yourself up. 

Don’t follow your passion

This may be controversial, but the saying “follow your passion” is wrong. We shouldn’t follow our passion, we should bring our passion with us. Your passion is not something outside of you that you have to go and chase and it’s not one static thing that you have to achieve or you will never be happy.  As you grow and as you experience different things, your passions will change. And most of us have a hard time even figuring out what our passion actually is before we have to choose what career we want to pursue. 

With these three strategies we can take more control over our work lives, and as result, we will build a life for ourselves that we truly want to live. 

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Direct download: Audio_-_FOW_Podcast_-_TED_Talk.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:09am PDT

I've talked to a lot of executives and CEOs of companies around the world, and consistently the top trend they tell me that's going to impact and change the future of work is technology.

The reality is, technology is unavoidable. It’s all around us: in our home, in our office, in our cars, and even in our pocket. Which is why it's so important for us to be able to be friends with technology and not be scared of it.

As a leader, you shouldn’t shy away from technology. You have to learn the new technologies that can greatly impact your organization. You don’t have to be an expert in technology, you just have to recognize its potential. You can even hire people knowledgeable in technology. But the important thing is to embrace it and don’t ignore it.

Direct download: 4._CEOs-Say-This-is-The-1-Trend-Impacting-The-Future-of-Work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:17am PDT

Sébastien Bazin is the Chairman and CEO of Accor, the largest hospitality company in Europe and the 6th largest worldwide with 5,100 locations in 110 countries. Sébastien leads a huge team of over 280,000 people, and they add around 80,000 new employees each year.

Sébastien says he never dreamed of being a CEO, it definitely wasn’t his original plan. All he knew was he didn’t want to go into the family business, which was a real estate company his family had owned for five generations. He wanted to do his own thing and carve his own path.

He spent some time studying in Paris and then he moved to New York to work on Wall Street as a financial analyst. He tried his hand at stock trading and investment banking in New York as well. He spent some time working in San Francisco until the market crash in 1991, then he moved to London.

Eventually, he became a board member of Accor, and as Sébastien describes himself at that time he was, “very vocal and long shareholder, probably nasty guy. I was, I hope I'm no longer, but I was rough. I was harsh…” And in the time he was a board member three CEOs were dismissed from the company. After the third one was let go, the board had to decide on a new CEO and Sébastien was on the nomination committee.

Leading a team of 280,000+
Most people would shy away from taking on a CEO role of a company as large as Accor. But Sébastien says he never includes comfort in his life decisions. He says, it doesn’t matter if you lead a team of 30,000, 100,000, or 280,000, “in the end you are just talking to individuals, you want to gain a small group next to you, and you trust that that small group will be able to replicate what they've been hearing from you. You just have to-- the one thing that I've learned through that exercise, to tell the truth.”

The most important part of leading any group of people, Sébastien says, is to remember that everything you do is critical--your words, your face, your presence, your body language. It is very important to always be truthful, don’t try to deceive people, it won’t work.

And while the decisions he made in his time as an investment banker and a private equity investor had no real human impact when he made a mistake, he realized that as a CEO every decision you make impacts your employees, their families, and the community as a whole. And that’s something that Sébastien takes seriously.

How Sébastien’s career path has taken shape
Sébastien has never been one to try to figure out where his career will be in 10-15 years. In fact, he says, “anybody who is a hostage of his own field, or where he wants to be 20 years from today is likely to be very disappointed, frustrated, and then in some kind of depression.”

So how has he moved in his own career? He says it’s always been based on people. He has moved jobs and towns throughout his life because of interesting, exceptional people he has met and liked and thought he could learn from.

“If you don't believe your boss, wherever you are in any organization, does not teach you or you don't respect him, or you don't accept his leadership, don't stay another minute. Life is too short to be under somebody for which you have either no respect, no admiration, or no learning from. And that's what I've actually conducted myself.”

How Sébastien deals with pressure and scrutiny
Leaders today are under a lot more pressure and scrutiny than ever before. Everything they do can be publicized in online articles, people can talk about them on social media, employees can rate them on Glassdoor. It’s definitely a tough time to lead an organization. But Sébastien’s response to how he handles the pressure was surprising.

He candidly told me he does not stress out about things he cannot control. Whenever something happens to him he asks himself a few questions, which are--Is it my fault? Could I have, should I have done something differently? Was I able to do something to prevent it?--If the answer to those things is no, then he lets it go and moves on.

Sébastien shares that his family played a huge role in how he handles the role of CEO. He was always taught that he doesn’t need to live according to how other people view him. What other people think of him is irrelevant. He knows what he is doing, whether it is good or bad, and that is what he needs to focus on, and not worry about other people judging him.

He also admits that he is not on social media at all, which protects him from seeing comments and stories posted there.

Arne Sorenson & Sébastien Bazin: How two fierce rivals became friends
Before he passed away earlier this year, Arne Sorenson was the CEO of Marriott, a competitor to Accor. You would think that the competition between these two leaders would cause them to dislike each other or try to tear each other down, but as Sébastien shares that is far from the truth.

Sébastien says Arne had a strong personality, but he was generous, helpful, and caring. And they stayed in close contact for several years.

The skills and qualities that have helped Sébastien get to this point in his career
Sébastien has obviously had a very successful career and there are probably a lot of people out there who would like to know what skills have allowed Sébastien to come this far. He says that one of the main words that comes to mind is authenticity. He doesn’t lie, he doesn’t come up with excuses, he doesn’t try to be defensive--reality is reality. Be clear and truthful as a leader.

Sébastien also believes that leaders should admit they don’t know things more often. He says it doesn’t make you a weak leader to say you don’t know, it actually shows your strength.

Three words that he used when he first started at Accor were--agility, clarity, and accountability. He wanted people to have the agility to be empowered to be autonomous and make decisions. Because they were making those decisions, people needed to be held accountable. And he wanted clarity, or transparency so that people would understand the context around the decisions they were making.

Direct download: Audio_-_FOW_Podcast_-_Sebastian_Bazin_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:11am PDT

Consider some of the technologies you use in your personal life. Think about how easy it is for you to do things like communicating with people, share information, and stay on top of what's going on. Now think about what it would be like if you had similar technologies that you could use inside of your organization. How much easier would it be for you to get stuff done?

This is why many organizations that have strong technology initiatives involve employees in the process of figuring out the best technologies to use. Teams need the right technology to succeed. You can achieve this by getting feedback and perspectives of the employees inside your organization around the technologies that will benefit them the most.

Direct download: 3._How-to-Pick-the-Right-Technology-for-Your-Team.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:20am PDT

BJ Fogg is the bestselling author of Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything and the founder and director of The Stanford Design Lab, where he has directed research for over 20 years.

Back in 2002, BJ wrote a book called Persuasive Technology about how computers can be designed to influence attitudes and behaviors, which is still relevant nearly 20 years later. He was also named a “New Guru You Should Know” by Fortune Magazine.

A lot of times we resist change, especially when it comes to leadership because we believe it will take huge steps, big commitment, and a lot of willpower. But BJ’s Tiny Habits method proves that’s not true.

A different way to think about habits
Growing up BJ recalls how he was taught to make a change or improve in some way. It was all about setting a really high goal and using willpower and a lot of discipline to reach that goal. But as an adult, he found that it wasn’t working that way. And, as hacking things was something he had done since he was young--like hooking a string to his lightswitch so he could turn it off from his bed--he decided to hack the way he changed his habits.

He found that by scaling big goals back to smaller goals, adding it into his existing routine, and reinforcing it with positive emotion, he was able to quickly create habits that would have ripple effects in his life.

This formula works for anything health-related--nutrition, physical activities, mental well-being, it also works for productivity, creative activities, relationships, etc… The only area where BJ admits he doesn’t have expertise in and where his claims stop is with addictions. This formula may work for addictions, but BJ encourages people to get medical and professional help in that area.

As BJ shares, behavior change is a skill, and just like any other set of skills you can get better at it with practice and experience. But you wouldn’t put a brand new driver onto a highway and tell them to go 100 mph, and in the same way, we shouldn’t try to change our habits and behaviors in huge ways overnight. Start with the small things and as you succeed in those things and gain confidence then you can move up to bigger and more difficult things.

The Tiny Habits Method
There are three main elements of the Tiny Habits method, and it’s as easy as A-B-C.

A--Anchor your habit to something you do already. For example, if you want to start flossing your teeth, anchor it to brushing your teeth, something you already do every day.

B--This is the new behavior or the new habit you want to start. Remember to start small. If you want to floss your teeth, this can start with flossing one tooth a day.

C-Celebrate the behavior after you’ve done it. You want to associate the behavior with a positive emotion that will help you reinforce this behavior.

Another example of a behavior you may want to start is reading more. Using the formula you choose your behavior, which is to read more, and you keep it small. So to start out with you might want to begin by reading one paragraph each day. Then you anchor it to something you already do, maybe you drink coffee every morning and you choose to anchor it to that. So keep your book right next to your coffee machine and when you pour your cup, pick up your book and read your paragraph. And once you are done you will feel good about yourself and accomplished and you can close the book and put it back for the next day.

And you may even find that on some days you want to read more than a paragraph--if that’s the case do it. Read as much as you want. But if the next day you only want to read your one paragraph don’t force more, just do your daily goal and close the book.

“You will tend to read more and more, not just the paragraph. And you will also find other opportunities to read more. It’s like that habit will crop up in other parts of your life. And the key seems to be just to plant a seed somewhere and nurture it. And then that grows. But it also spawns other little habits like it elsewhere in your life, for that kind of thing like reading.”

How to know which habits to pursue
Just like with the reading example, when you start any new habit you should eventually find yourself spending more and more time working on it. Even though you start small--with reading one paragraph, or playing one scale with a new instrument, or playing one game of chess, or flossing one tooth--it should eventually get bigger and you should spend more time on it.

Because you are not going to get better at playing an instrument if you only play one scale per day. And you’re not going to read very many books if you only read one paragraph a day. That is a fine place to start, and it is important to start small, but you should feel so positive about the result of your new behavior that you should want to do more of it. Think of the tiny habit as the gateway to greater improvement and growth in an area of your life.

There may be days now and then that you don’t feel like spending 40 minutes playing your instrument or you don’t feel like spending an hour on chess lessons, and that’s okay. But if you notice that you are not enjoying a behavior and it feels like drudgery, then it’s probably not the behavior for you, and it’s okay to walk away from it and try something else.

As BJ says, “Now, let me just be really clear. If you are doing a habit and it feels like drudgery, Step back and question that and think is this a habit I really want? And if the answer's no, let it go and develop the habit you actually want.”

What are golden behaviors?
When it comes to tiny habits there are golden behaviors that meet three criteria, and those are the ones you want to focus on. The criteria are:

  1. The behavior is impactful.
  2. It is something you want to do.
  3. It is something you are able to do.

If you want to be healthier and you’re trying to figure out which type of exercise to implement, don’t try to walk on the treadmill every day if it’s not something you enjoy doing. Eventually, you’re going to stop doing it. If you decide you want to run with your dog every morning, but your dog can’t or won’t run, it’s not something that’s feasible, so don’t force it.

There are two main principles when it comes to tiny habits. The main one is to help yourself do what you already want to do. And the second is to help yourself feel successful. Keeping those two things in mind, BJ says, will keep you on the right path.

Why our perception of creating habits is wrong
One of the main perceptions that people tend to have about building habits is that we can create them with repetition. If you do just do something over and over and over again it will stick and you will have a habit. BJ says that is not at all correct, and not only is it very misleading it’s also unethical to push that idea.

There are some things that we can do for a very short period of time and they very quickly become a habit. While there are other things we may repeat over and over and they never become a true habit.

When working on tiny habits it is important to be consistent, but that’s not the same as repeating something and thinking it will stick just because you do it over and over. There is much more that goes into creating a long-term habit.

Direct download: Audio_-_FOW_Podcast_-_BJ_Fogg_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:11am PDT

The idea of a growth mindset was created by a professor named Carol Dweck. She defines it as a belief that there is always room for improvement. Unlike the fixed mindset where you think that your talent and intelligence are fixed and can’t be further improved.

If you're able to embrace the concepts of having a growth mindset, you’ll be much farther ahead than your peers and even than some of the people you work for. With things changing so quickly, it's important for us to be able to grow, to learn new things, to become better at certain things, and to not maintain that fixed mindset mentality.

Direct download: 2._Growth-Mindset-vs-Fixed-Mindset.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:23am PDT

Dr. Margaret Heffernan is the author of six books including Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious At Our Peril and Uncharted: How to Map the Future and Professor of Practice at the University of Bath. Margaret also has a TED Talk called The Human Skills We Need in an Unpredictable World which has been viewed over 3.6 million times.

Before getting involved in business Margaret produced programs for the BBC for 13 years. She is currently Lead Faculty for the Forward Institute’s Responsible Leadership Programme and she also mentors CEOs and senior executives at major global organizations around the world.

While Margaret was writing Willful Blindness and a short book for TED called Beyond Measure she noticed that she kept having weird conversations with people who were asking her a lot of questions about the future. What’s going to happen with Brexit? What’s going to happen with Trump? Will there be another banking crisis? And it was during this time that Margaret realized that most people do not know how to think about the future.

People tend to think that a select few lucky people are able to see into the future and give us all updates on what will happen next. But in reality, the future is unknowable, there aren’t any special keys to use or doors to look behind to find out what’s next. And in thinking about this she came across Philip Tetlock’s research on forecasting, which showed that if you are consistent with your study of the future if you read a very broad cross-section of impeccable sources, and if you keep up with each forecast perfectly the farthest out you can see accurately is 400 days.

But since most of us are not as consistent or rigorous as that, most of us can accurately forecast 150 days in the future. Which means the way most organizations plan with 3-year plans, 5-year plans, and even sometimes 30-year plans, is a very inaccurate and ludicrous way to go about it.

“This is madness, the way we've been--everything about the way we've been teaching, management does not work. If the first part of forecasts, plan, execute, doesn't work. And we're going around using a 20th century, maybe even 19th-century mindset in the 21st century, and no wonder things are going horribly wrong.” And that is why she wrote her book Uncharted.

Should we forget about forecasting altogether?
Since the way we are forecasting is completely wrong, should we still do it? Should we continue thinking about the future? Margaret believes that absolutely, we should be thinking about the future and forecasting, but we have to be humble about how accurate we are likely to be. And she says we have to start asking different questions.

We also have to realize that there is a difference between complicated and complex. Complicated things are things that can repeat and can be predicted. Complex things are unpredictable--even if they seem simple. That’s because there are a lot of different forces acting on these things which then causes constant change.

In complex environments, Margaret says you have to do two things. First, you have to forget about efficiency, because that will strip you of the capacity to respond. You have to think about preparation instead of planning. And second, you have to think about what high-impact events have a high likelihood of happening. What are some things that you can’t predict, but you can prepare for because there is a good chance it will happen.

Think about what things could really undo your business and do what you can to cushion yourself against that as best as you can.

What role does data play in decision-making?
Data is very useful to have, but only if you know how to use it and if you know the best questions to ask. Data in the hands of someone who doesn’t understand it can be dangerous. Margaret says that data is a powerful tool in scenario planning. It can help you to see all of the possible stories that could occur and it can help you plan for each one.

“The difficulty comes, I think, with a lot of executives who want certainty. And so they think they get to choose a narrative, right? But you don't get to choose, you only get the option of thinking about it ahead of time. So that they find it difficult, and many of them simply find it too hard to conjure up different narratives. So it's partly that their biases overwhelm them. But it's also that you can take any data set, and we have quite an optimistic and quite a pessimistic story. And so surprise, you know, they generally find the optimistic one. And they find all kinds of reasons why the really truly bad one couldn't possibly happen.”

One thing that Margaret truly believes executives need to work on is their lack of imagination. Leaders cannot look at the world in a two-dimensional way, we have to be able to look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in order to properly navigate the future.

Leaders could have been planning for a big event like the pandemic, but a lot of them didn’t, and a lot of them, even now, are not preparing for other extreme possibilities. Leaders need imagination in order to think ahead to what kind of future they want to create.

“It dismays me that we have this fantastic opportunity now to reimagine work. And that makes most so-called leaders so anxious that they would rather cut, pop, go right past the creative part of that exercise and start thinking about how much square footage do we need? How many desks, how many chairs? But if you do that, and then later you decide I want this kind of future. You may not, you know, you've got the wrong furniture in the wrong offices, you know, you’ve really got to be able to lift your head out from the weeds and think long term about what is going to make our organization meaningful to the world long term. What kind of people are up for that? And how do they want to work? And when you've done that really well, then the desks and chairs will be the easy part.”

How can leaders think more creatively about the future?
As Margaret shares, most leaders have been trained in a 20th-century mindset, which is about cause and effect and it’s about complicated versus complex. Most leaders spend too much time looking at spreadsheets and figuring out 2%-3% adjustments when true foresight and planning takes a lot more creativity than that.

Planning for the future isn’t about sitting in your chair and looking at data. It’s about argument, debate, and discussions. It’s not something that can be done quickly, it takes a lot of time and effort.

In her book, Margaret uses the example of Cathedral projects, which is a phrase of Stephen Hawking’s. All of the cathedrals of the Western World were started by people who knew they would not live to see them finished. These buildings have evolved over generations and have constantly incorporated new technologies, materials, and aesthetics. The people working on them stop and ask themselves what does the world need from us right now. And a lot of leaders can learn from that type of mindset.

“There's a bank in the UK whose purpose statement is ‘To help Britain flourish’. Now, I don't know what that means. I mean, you could say they could be a gardening center. They could be a health care center. They could be pet breeders, they could be any darn thing. So this is, I mean, sadly, corporate comms just got the idea of purpose between its teeth and ran away with it. But I think this need to have a genuine soul-searching debate about what makes us meaningful to the world, what earns us our license to operate, is sorely needed in most organizations.”

What can leaders learn from artists?
Margaret has always been fascinated with how artists work because so many of them seem ahead of their time. So how do they seem to look into the future and create such relevant pieces? One of the biggest reasons they are so ahead of their time is because they take time to observe and take notice of things around them. They ask questions, they take things in, and they take risks. They also tend to change before anyone asks them to.

Leaders can learn a lot from artists. Take time to look around you. Ask things like what am I seeing and what does it mean to me? What patterns am I starting to see? What’s going on in the world right now? As Margaret says, generally we see what we’re looking for, and we miss everything else. We have to give ourselves time to let our minds wander, we have to be curious, we have to go in new directions, and allow ourselves to sit in silence and think.

Direct download: Audio_-_Margaret_Heffernan_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:22am PDT

Everyone must learn how to serve their leaders. Service to leaders essentially means helping make your boss look good. This doesn't mean sucking up--the goal is to help make your boss's job easier so you can progress together.

Serving your leaders starts with having a good relationship with them. If you don't have a good relationship with your leaders, it's difficult to serve them.

A lot of companies around the world are shifting in this direction, but you can also help initiate some of these things yourself as an employee who isn’t in a leadership position. You can ask your leaders to have regular check-ins, frequent discussions to share updates, and to help make sure that you are both progressing. Having a good relationship with your leader means you also understand their perspective.

Direct download: 1._What-it-Means-to-Be-Service-Oriented-Towards-Your-Leader.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:17am PDT

Self-sabotage is how we hurt ourselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, and keep ourselves from achieving our plans, goals, and dreams. Many, if not all of us, have sabotaged ourselves in one way or another. But the good news is, we can overcome sabotaging behaviors, it just takes self-awareness and effort.

There are five common self-sabotaging behaviors that we need to be on the lookout for.

Negative self talk
When you make a mistake or fail at something, what does your self-talk sound like in your head? Do you build yourself up or do you tear yourself down. A lot of us struggle with negative self-talk, the voice in your head that says “you’re dumb, how could you do that” or “you will never be able to figure this out”. It is easy to default to this kind of talk, but if you don’t work to overcome this it can hold you back and keep you from success. No one is going to be your #1 cheerleader in life but you.

If you struggle with this it is important to be aware of it and every time you realize you are thinking something negative, change it and be positive. It’s also important to surround yourself with the right people. What are the people around you saying about you? Do they encourage you and support you and build you up? Or are they always negative and pessimistic? Another thing to be aware of is how you spend your free time. If you are spending hours on social media comparing yourself to others, you may want to redirect your focus to something like reading a book or meditating or going for a walk.

You have to be as loving to yourself as you are to the people in your life that you love and care about. How do you talk to your kids, or your spouse, or your best friend?

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be positive, happy, and full of joy 100% of the time. There are times when we all feel down or upset about something, but it is crucial that we pay attention to how we are talking to ourselves.

Another big self-sabotaging behavior is procrastination. You cannot produce great work if you always wait until the last minute to get things done. Waiting until the last minute also causes you to have unnecessary stress and anxiety. A lot of times we tend to start our days getting the easiest things done first and we put off the more difficult projects. But actually it should be the other way around.

Use the beginning of your day to attack the hard things so that in the afternoon, when most of us tend to crash, you only have easy things left to accomplish.

It’s always difficult to get started on something, and a lot of times we let anxiety paralyze us. But if you feel stuck the best thing to do is just take action. Take the first step in completing the task.

Lashing Out
There are times at work or in your personal life when you feel overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious, tired, etc...and as a result, we lash out at the people around us. I’m sure many of us have experienced this at one point or another over this past year as we have had to work and live at home with our immediate family 24/7 throughout the pandemic.

But reacting to people out of anger, whether it’s a co-worker, a boss, or a family member, usually does not end well. And both sides end up hurt and feeling bad. So it is important that we all figure out how to overcome this self-sabotaging behavior. In order to conquer this behavior, it is crucial for us to be in a good place emotionally, mentally, and physically. That means that we need to be getting enough sleep, taking care of our bodies, eating properly and that we have methods to turn to when we get overwhelmed.

What works best for you when you are stressed out? Maybe you like to take a walk, or meditate, or talk to a friend, or have some alone time. Whatever it is you need to do to feel more in control, make sure you do that when you feel yourself getting to your breaking point.

Some people may view perfectionism as a good thing, but for most people trying to have everything perfect all the time can be debilitating. It can stop you from taking action and it can really hold you back from moving up in your career.

It is not possible to have things perfect 100% of the time, we are all human and we have faults. If you don’t allow your work to be submitted until it’s perfect it may never see the light of day. It could cause you to miss deadlines, it can frustrate the rest of your team, and it can take up time that you could be spending on other things.

We all want to strive for excellence, but we can’t become obsessed with being perfect. Not only is it impossible, but it makes you less likeable to the people around you. People want to know you are human, that you’re real and down to earth. Mistakes are a part of life, so don’t be terrified of them.

Not Standing Up For Yourself
There are going to be times in your career when you will need to stand up for yourself. This doesn’t mean you need to get up in people’s faces and cause a big scene. But if someone is criticizing you and making it personal, or if a client is trying to get your rate down to something unreasonable, or you help a coworker out once and then they try to take advantage of your kindness--in these moments you need to stand up for yourself.

Business is about relationships, it's about human beings. Most people at your organization are not purposefully trying to hurt you or take advantage of you, but it’s okay to speak up and let them know how what they are doing is making you feel.

You also shouldn’t feel bad setting boundaries at work. Whether you can’t attend meetings before 9am or you need to pick up your kids at 4pm--whatever it is speak up and let people know.

The key to standing up for yourself is doing it in an artful way and not making it a big argument. Make sure you are being empathetic and you understand where the other person is coming from. And always approach people in a kind, yet firm way.

Strategies you can use to overcome self sabotaging behaviors
Dr. Alice Boyes, the author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit, wrote an article for The Greater Good Magazine on seven strategies and tips for how you can overcome self-sabotaging behaviors. They are:

  • Know your typical thinking patterns and factor that into your judgment-- For example, if you default to a negative mindset when things happen, take a step back and realize that your default may not be reality
  • Prioritize one-time behaviors that reduce your stress over time--Be consistent in the tactics you use to reduce stress. Don’t just eat healthy for 24 hours or workout once a month.
  • Use heuristics--Have shortcuts in place to help you make decisions quickly
  • Learn to Love Incremental Improvements--You don’t have to completely change overnight, appreciate small gains and improvements.
  • Strategize to Overcome Procrastination--Create processes for yourself so that you don’t avoid things or hide from them.
  • Understanding Seemingly Irrelevant Decisions--Pay attention to the decisions you make, even if they seem small and unimportant. Every decision has an impact on you and the people around you.
  • Practice Acceptance and Self Care--It is important to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Find things that help you in each area, and don’t feel bad about taking time for yourself

One way to practice self-awareness is with meditation. It slows down your breathing and thinking and allows you to be more in tune with how you're thinking, how you're feeling, what's going on around you, and it really helps make you more self-aware.

Meditation can also help you take breaks. This can serve as your rest when you are stressed or tired from work. The goal is to be able to meditate for 20 minutes straight.

Personally, I find it hard to meditate for 20 minutes, so I started with shorter meditations and try to increase my focus and time.

Have you tried meditating?

Direct download: Using_Meditation_to_Practice_Self_Awareness.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:25am PDT

Jeff Immelt is the former CEO of General Electric and author of the new book: Hot Seat: What I Learned From Leading A Great American Company.

Jeff has had a lot of critics over the years and stepping into a role after the legendary Jack Welch was not an easy task. In his 16 years leading GE as the CEO he had to lead the company through 9/11, the financial crisis, and the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima’s nuclear reactors--which were designed by GE. He definitely knows what it’s like to lead under pressure.

Why Jeff wrote his book (he almost didn’t)
Jeff admits that his career didn’t end the way he wanted it to. As he shares, “I was just unhappy, I felt like the whole narrative around GE had been lost. And that, you know, truth equals really facts plus context. And I felt like the context had been lost. So one of the reasons why I wrote it is, I wanted to tell a more complete story. I didn't want it to be defensive, I wanted it to be complete.”

Jeff, who is also a Lecturer in Management at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, says that his students don’t want to learn from a perfect leader who has everything figured out. These students have lived through financial crisis, Covid, and turbulent times---they want to know how to survive through volatility and what to do when things don’t work out. Because of this he felt like there was also an audience for his book that wouldn’t necessarily care about GE.

Those are the two main reasons he wrote his book.

If there is one message that Jeff would like his critics to take from the book it would be that there were people in the company that tried their best and did perform well.

“If you look at cumulative earnings, market share, you know, if you go back to 2016, this was a top 20 market cap company. It was number seven on Fortune most admired, it was number one on companies to hire leaders. We were leaders in digitization and globalization, you know, but the stock didn't work. succession planning didn't work, there were things that didn't work.”

He says it would be one thing if the criticism was just about him, but there are thousands of people that have been hurt through this process, and this book sets out to correct that.

What was it like working with Jack Welch
Jack Welch, who passed away in 2020, is still considered one of the most famous CEOs of the century. Jeff was actually the CEO that took over after Jack left. So what was it like working for Jack?

Jeff says Jack was challenging, giving, and creative. He was someone who liked to portray himself as “tough as nails” but Jeff says that’s not the person he saw. He was one of the best leaders to run something at scale and he was a great communicator.

Jeff says this about taking over for Jack, “But by the end of the 90s, it was a company where perception didn't equal reality. We were 50% financial 50%, kind of an old industrial company. We traded like Amazon at a 50 P/E. And so kind of following him, you know, the trick was to drive the appropriate kind of change, while never looking backwards and never casting blame. And that's challenging. Look, it's easier to follow a jerk than it is to follow, you know, the best leader of the previous century. Right. But I never wanted to be him. I never wanted to act like him. And I felt like the company needed change.”

While there were elements of his leadership style that were timeless, like his focus on people and metrics, there were also some elements that wouldn’t work well in an organization today. Jeff says that Jack didn’t really respect technology and he had an element of short-termism, that with the pace of change, would be a problem.

Jack also believed you shouldn’t do anything as a leader unless you can control it, but as Jeff shares there are a lot of things that as a CEO of a public company you just can’t control.

“I think, you know, the trick with every generation of leadership is to pick the things that travel that work, and pick the new things that have to be part of, you know, making a company vibrant and competitive in the next generation. And so I think that's the way I would assess how much would work and how much wouldn't work in this generation.”

What was it like leading a company during 9/11
Jeff was on a business trip to Seattle when the attack happened and he saw it on the TV in the gym at the hotel he was staying at. He ended up getting stuck in Seattle until planes started flying again a week later. But immediately after it happened he started crisis call sessions with his team.

One thing he says he learned from that experience was that leaders should be shock absorbers of fear, not accelerants of fear.

“You learn to hold two truths at the same time--that things can always get worse, but that things can also have a future and you need to focus on that. You have to communicate like, hourly, daily, and we did a lot of that.”

And in times of crisis leaders have to be able to take action, some decisions will work well and some won’t, but there are things that have to be confronted right away.

During 9/11, the financial crisis, and Covid leaders had to find a way to lead without a playbook. How do you do that? Jeff says it starts with surrounding yourself with people you can trust and talk to. After that it is important to have a sense of timing and an idea of what tasks need to be prioritized and what things can be left for later. And the last thing that leaders in tough times have to be able to do is deal with criticism.

“When you don't have a playbook you have to be willing, when people say wrong things about you, you have to be very contemporary with it with the respect of owning the narrative and controlling the communication, and things like that. Because they can set you back so good leader's flexible point of view. Learn every minute of every day, and be willing to push back when people get it wrong.”

How Jeff deals with imposter syndrome
Over his career Jeff says there have been many times when he has doubted himself or questioned his decisions. When it comes to imposter syndrome Jeff says it is important for leaders to have reservoirs of self confidence, self reflection, and self renewal. You have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and believe you can do it. You have to keep showing up and always do your best.

It is also important to have friends around you who will encourage you, cheer you up, coach you, and pick you up when you’re down. And you can only build these friendships in normal times, you can’t wait until times of crisis to build these friendships--at that point it’s too late.

A strategy Jeff has used to be a more effective leader
One of the things that has set him apart from other leaders over the years is what Jeff calls his external focus. He traveled a lot for business, and wherever he was he would take time to connect with the people there in their own setting to see what they were working on and things they were thinking about. He made it a point to connect with customers, other leaders, scientists, experts and that really allowed him to stay ahead of the game.

Because of this skill GE was an early player in globalization, digitalization, environmental investing and much more.

Jeff’s advice for current and future leaders
If there is one thing that Jeff has learned over his career that he would like to pass on to others, it’s this--study how people work. You should be able to envision how everyone in your organization does their job. You don’t have to necessarily be able to do the job yourself, but you should know what kind of tools they use, how the teams work together, what metrics move them, etc…

“Frequently I go to a CEOs office, and I'm always looking at their wall to see what connects them to the frontline worker. And if I walk in an office, and it's just artwork, and statues and crap like that, then I don't believe what the value statement says. I'm looking for, like, a picture where they were walking the floor with a nurse, or a picture of a jet engine or something like that.”

Advice that Jeff received early on in his career was to make sure, no matter how big of a company he worked for, that he connected with the people there and knew how they got their work done.


Direct download: Audio_-_Jeff_Immelt_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:06am PDT

In our rapidly changing world of work, it's important for us to be able to use technology to collaborate quickly and efficiently so that we can make better decisions.

There are a lot of benefits that come from using collaboration tools, and if your organization isn’t using them yet, you should start now. There are a few things that you can start doing:

1. Make collaboration tools part of your daily routine. Use the right tool for the job--make sure you aren’t always using video calls when you can just post a message in a group chat.
2. Set ground rules or standards for how your team is going to use the different types of technologies. Everyone has to be on the same page.
3. Teach your people how the tools will help them be more efficient and productive. It's important for employees to understand the benefits of using collaboration tools.

All these things make a dramatic impact on your organization.

Direct download: How_to_Implement_New_Collaboration_Tools.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:28am PDT

Ania Smith is the CEO of TaskRabbit, an online and mobile marketplace that matches freelance labor with local demand. She became CEO back in August of 2020, prior to that she held roles such as Director, Head of Courier Operations at Uber, Head of Operations, Host Services for Airbnb, and Director of Strategic Partnerships & Merchandising Strategy at Walmart--just to name a few.

One of the things that Ania says has helped her get to where she is now is her broad experiences living and working in four different continents. She has been able to work across many countries, cities, companies, and roles and that diverse background has taught her a lot. She has been able to meet new people, experience different cultures, and pick up new skills over the years.

Another way her unique background has helped is with figuring out what she wants to do in life. Ania says, “A lot of times, they'll say, you know, follow your passion. But that's really hard because oftentimes, we don't know what our passion is. So I'd like to think more about finding my passion. And really, the only way to do that, for those of us who are not lucky enough to know from when we're three what we want to be, is to try out many new things and see what really energizes you and motivates you and helps you think about the impact that you're having. And that has really helped me.”

The path to success doesn’t always have to be linear
As Ania shares, the path to her current role as CEO was not linear, it was very much a zig-zag. A lot of times we get stuck thinking that our next step has to be up the ladder to the next logical role--but oftentimes important steps in our career are side steps. As Ania shares, it is important to stay open to new opportunities to keep learning and growing and don’t limit yourself on where you have to go next.

There were definitely times in Ania’s career where she didn’t get the promotion she wanted right away, but there was always another opportunity waiting that allowed her to meet new people and learn new skills that she could take with her to the next role.

Ania shared an analogy her friend uses when thinking about the course of a career. She says, “A good friend of mine once used the analogy of a Google map. So she talks about how, you know, sometimes we're just like speeding down the highway towards our career and we know exactly what we're doing. Other times, we're on a slow country road. Other times we take the wrong turn. Other times, we actually are stuck in a traffic jam and really feel stuck in our careers. Other times, we may even have an accident and really have to pedal back. And I think that that's a sort of a great analogy to think about my career.”

Ania’s gap year
A couple of years after leaving Airbnb, Ania, her husband, and their kids took a gap year to go and live in Argentina. For a whole year, Ania and her husband stopped working and really took that time to be together as a family, explore a new culture, and talk about the future. She says it was an amazing experience to really step back from everything and to get away from the day-to-day race to really think about what she wanted her next step to be in her career.

When talking about the experience she says, “ I absolutely feel that if you can at all swing it, it is life-changing, it's transformative. And it really shows you that sometimes you kind of feel like oh my god, if I'm not at work, like the whole world is going to fall apart. And it's just unfortunately not true, for most of us. We're all capable of doing something else. We all change jobs very often. And this is this changing a job to something else before you change it into a new job. And to be able to take a breather and really reevaluate where you are and what you want to do and who you want to be when you grow up-- I ask that question to myself all the time, still today--and to have that space to think that through. It's amazing.”

While some people would be worried about leaving their career for a full year and getting left behind, Ania wasn’t too concerned. She knew she had been working for 20+ years and while she may be a little behind when getting back, she felt that she would still be relevant and would be able to catch up quickly.

And sure enough, one week after returning to the U.S. she had a role at Uber.

How Ania sets the vision for TaskRabbit
When she first started as CEO of TaskRabbit Ania made it a point to meet with every single employee inside of the company--she went on a listening tour, as she puts it. Instead of walking into a new company and laying out her vision for things, she knew it was important to find out what employees felt the current vision was as well as how things were going, what things were working, and what wasn’t.

Since then she has worked very hard with her leadership team to take everyone’s input in order to come up with a plan for where they want to be in 3-4 years and to define what the vision of the company is.

“And it's a pretty clear path for, not how we're gonna get there, but essentially what we will be in three to four years. And I think it's been inspiring for me as a leader, but also from my team and their teams to understand what we're trying to get to. And it helps, therefore, for us to help our strategy or sort of shorter term strategies forward, because we know where we're trying to get to, we just need to break it down and work backwards. It helps that process every year, as long as we have this sort of Northstar of what we're trying to get to.”

What does putting people first mean to Ania
One thing that Ania is very passionate about is putting people first. But what does that actually mean to her?

One of the key things for her is talking to people and truly listening to their feedback. She understands that it is crucial to learn what’s important to people, what do they value--and it’s different for everyone.

Over the course of the pandemic one thing Ania has discovered is important to her people is workplace flexibility and giving people options for where and when to work. And she’s really taken that feedback to heart. She and her team are offering flexibility now and they are also figuring out how to best address this need in the future.

“Feedback is a gift. So if anyone is willing to provide feedback, having the strength to accept the feedback--you may not agree with it--but having the strength to accept it, to think it through, to see how that may or may not help you, is really a big skill.”

How Ania makes tough choices
When she was younger Ania admits that when she had to make a decision she could not have enough data, she wanted to know everything before deciding. But over the years her approach has changed.

The truth is data can be used and manipulated in any way we want it to be. So relying solely on data is not the best option. Now Ania focuses more on her experience and gut feeling when making a decision, and if she makes a mistake she quickly fixes it and moves on.

“Over time, I realized that data has played lesser and lesser role in almost every decision that I make. And so much of it really just comes from, I don't know, that inner feeling that I guess people call it wisdom or experience or something where I feel like it's okay to go in direction A and I may be wrong, and often I am wrong. But it's better to make the decision quicker and to learn if I'm wrong than to continue to ask for more data and more analysis, and just kind of get stuck, and be unable to make a decision.”

You have to give yourself the freedom to make decisions, and you have to accept that you’re going to be wrong, but that’s okay. This is the way you learn and grow as a leader.

Direct download: Audio_-_Ania_Smith_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:08am PDT

There are three main barriers to collaboration:

If your organization is built like a pyramid where information has to flow bottom-up or top-down, it won’t do well with collaboration.

Part of collaboration means speaking up and having confidence in yourself. Sometimes employees are scared, which keeps them from really collaborating or communicating effectively.

This occurs when you need to get someone else's input for every idea and every small thing you're trying to do. Over-collaboration is just as harmful as not collaborating.

We often see these common barriers inside organizations when it comes to collaboration. But if you know what the barriers are, you'll have a good sense of how to deal with them if they come up and can handle them quickly.

Direct download: Three_Big_Barriers_to_Collaboration.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:20am PDT

Greg McKeown is the bestselling author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less and his new book Effortless: Make It Easier To Do What Matters Most. He is also the host of the popular podcast, What’s Essential, which has featured guests like Matthew McConaughey, Ariana Huffington, Jay Shetty, and Maria Shriver.

We all know life is hard, in multiple ways. We’ve all experienced challenging times, especially over the past year. But, as Greg points out, we tend to make things even more complicated for ourselves than we need to, and it can ultimately lead to burnout.

In his book, Effortless, Greg shares why achieving results doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it, whether in our personal lives or at work.

Why we need to get rid of the phrase “work hard, play hard”
This phrase, Greg says, gives us the idea that important work can’t be fun, easy, or enjoyable. It suggests that you have to be exhausted, self-sacrificing, and overworked in order for you to be doing something important. And on the other side, if you are having fun with something it’s not really work. Rest, relaxation, and fun is only something you do when you’re burned-out and need a break.

But what Greg believes is that there doesn’t need to be a separation between playing and working. And he is all about making the essential things enjoyable and easier to do. How? By turning the essential things into rituals that allows you to appreciate them and enjoy them.

A lot of times we confuse rituals with habits, but they are two different things. A habit is something that we make part of our routine on the basis that there will be a benefit later on. For example, maybe you’ve incorporated working out into your routine so that you feel better and live longer.

A ritual is something that you truly enjoy, it’s not about a benefit later on, it’s about enjoying the actual thing you are doing in the moment. It’s something that you look forward to. Greg says, “Take something from a chore and turn it into a ritual, then you have something magical to help you produce great results, but again, without burning out.”

What does it mean to be in an effortless state
One of the three main sections of Greg’s book is about what he calls an effortless state. Most people have experienced this sort of state, but not very often. Greg defines an effortless state as this, “when you're in flow, it's when you're physically rested, you're mentally at ease, you're able to be at ease in focusing on what is essential to you. What's important to note about this is that when you get into that state, it produces things. When you're in the effortless state, you tend to take effortless action, you're able to act without strain, without forcing things without breaking yourself or the people around you.”

That sounds great, so how do we get into an effortless state and make sure we stay there for a long time? Well first of all, you have to be able to realize when you are burned out. Research shows that the closer we get to burnout, the less likely we are to realize it.

Greg says, “The exhausted state tends to produce more exhausted action, and more exhausted results. And so people as they approach burnout start to try to power through it. So of course, that's not a recipe for success. That's a recipe for, you know, continuing this downward spiral.”

So it is up to us to realize that there are two states, two options. After we realize we are in an exhausted state, this is where your rituals come in.

One ritual Greg does to make sure he stays in an effortless state, is to practice gratitude. Every time he complains about something, he then says something he is thankful for. It is hard to stay in a state of anger, frustration, or fear when you are in a state of gratitude.

How to shut your brain off and be content with having free time
A lot of us have trouble taking time to rest, relax, and just have some free time. This is especially hard for entrepreneurs who tend to always create more work for themselves. But it’s true for people inside of organizations as well.

If this is true for you, Greg has some advice. First of all, he says, create a done for the day list. This is not a typical to-do list, although it is okay to have one of those as well. But typically those tend to be something we constantly add on-to and update, which means we could work with no end. But a done for the day list is a list of the things that if you accomplish them today you would feel satisfied with the day and you could walk away from work feeling good.

Another thing Greg does is he sets a time when he will be done for the day. His time is 5:00pm, so at that time every day, not only does he stop working, but he makes it a ritual that he walks out of his home office and calls out to his family “It’s five o’clock”, in order to hold himself accountable.

Now there are times when he has something special like a book launch or something like that when he has to work past his set time, but he doesn’t let that become the normal thing.

It is so important to set boundaries like the done for the day list and the set stopping time, especially during this past year. For a long time people have talked about work-life balance, but as Greg mentions, that’s a bit of a misnomer because it is never life overtaking work, it’s always work overtaking life.

But it will take time to train your brain to shut off at a certain point, in the beginning your brain will continue to think about work even after you walk away from it, but the more you practice your boundaries and get out of your old habits the easier it will be.

What to do if you don’t enjoy downtime
So now that you have set up some boundaries for yourself, what happens if you just don’t enjoy resting or free time? For over-achievers it can feel uncomfortable to not have anything specific to do. Greg shares something that sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s so true. He says, “Relaxing is a responsibility. Resting is a competency. And it turns out to be as important as the competency of work in the first place.”

These types of people who don’t like to relax need to practice self-awareness and realize that is a problem they have. Once you accept that you aren’t good at it, Greg suggests making a list of things that when you do them you are relaxed, rejuvenated, chilled out, and having fun. Greg and his wife both actually have a list of 20 things they recognize helps them relax. And you can have anything you want on this list, there are no other rules.

You may include going on a walk, reading a book, sitting in a hot tub, playing chess, drinking your favorite beverage out on your deck, going to your favorite restaurant--anything you want. And then these items become your building blocks for a time of rest. For example, if you have 3-hours of downtime, use this list to build your perfect 3-hours of relaxing. You could spend 30 minutes out on your deck with some coffee, spend 30 minutes playing chess with a friend, then go for a walk, and go out to your favorite restaurant--and you’ve filled those 3 hours, but with things that recharge you and give you rest.

Direct download: Audio_-_Greg_McKeown_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:21am PDT

As the future is rapidly changing, leaders must be able to adapt the growth mindset instead of having a fixed mindset. Leaders must be able to learn and adapt to any changes and challenges that come their way.

Remember, everyone faces challenges. Everybody has bad days, but the difference is how you overcome these challenges. You don't know everything, but you can learn everything.

What would have happened if some of the world's greatest innovators and inventors had given up simply because they felt that they couldn't do something or couldn't overcome something? What if a scientist just stopped because they ran into an obstacle and didn't try to find a cure for a particular disease? We would be living in a very different world if everybody gave up at the first sign of a challenge.

A challenge isn't the end of the road, it's just an opportunity to grow.

Direct download: Viewing_Problems_as_Opportunities.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Fareed Zakaria is the host of the CNN show, Fareed Zakaria GPS. He is also a columnist for The Washington Post, a contributing editor for The Atlantic, and he is the bestselling author of several books including his newest one, Ten Lessons For A Post-Pandemic World.

The pandemic has had an impact on every one of our lives, and the effects will be felt for a long time to come. Early on in the pandemic, Fareed knew we were going through something big, something the world hadn’t gone through for over 100 years, and he wanted to figure things out for himself. He also wanted to help others make sense of everything, which is what pushed him to write his newest book.

Every part of our lives has been affected--health, politics, economics, and education. Thankfully we live in a time when we have the technology and resources needed to be able to still carry on for the most part. While office buildings, schools, and restaurants shut down people got creative and found a way to keep going with online learning, home deliveries, online work meetings, etc…

But while there are many good things about technology, there are also a lot of cons that come with an all virtual world.

The limitations of technology
The place we see the limitations of technology the most, according to Fareed, is in our education systems. Education is not simply about children and young adults soaking up information, it is also a very social and emotional experience as well.

As Fareed shared with me, “you have to create an atmosphere of social trust, you have to create an atmosphere in which people feel like they're having fun, you have to create an atmosphere where people feel a little bit of competition, you know, with peers and all that together creates the kind of opening in our minds that allows the knowledge to go in. And so if you just think of it, and say I'm just going to put you in front of a computer screen, and you will get information, and you will imbibe that information. No, you won't. You won't. You know, the mind just switches off.”

There are definitely some things that just aren’t the same virtually as they are when we are face-to-face. Fareed says that one of the challenges we will face after the pandemic will be to figure out the power and the advantages of this online world we’ve been in. But we also need to look at the disadvantages of what we experienced and figure out how we can fix it. And he believes that we will end up in a hybrid model of some kind where we have a mixture of in-person and online.

We can use technology for good things, but there are also ways in which we use it that can be harmful. But it is up to us how it is used. We can choose to text and drive which is dangerous, we can choose to multitask and always be available online which can cause burnout, we can use it to spread lies and misinformation. But it can also be used in ways that keep us safe, productive, and less stressed.

As Fareed says, we should be optimistic about the future, but we also need to be realistic in order to see the problems and challenges that come with technology. It’s not about being a blind optimist, it’s about being aware of all the problems that exist, because that's the only way you fix them.

How leadership has been impacted by the pandemic
Over the past year leaders around the world have had to pivot to lead in a completely virtual setting, and that is not easy. Fareed shared an example of something that happened to him personally as a leader during this time that really made him stop and think.

His team from his current CNN show has been all virtual, everyone on the team is working from their own homes. And at one point in the pandemic, he noticed that the morale was not as high as it usually was and people were getting burned out, which he found odd since his team is so close-knit and they have always worked so well together.

So in order to get to the bottom of the problem, he called a team meeting and he asked his team to be open and honest with him to figure out what was going on. And one team member was very blunt and told him “Look, you sometimes send these cryptic emails that are really hard for us to take”. And so the conversation started around why they felt that his communication was different now than before.

And what they came to discover was the loss of casual conversation and in person engagement was really at the root of the problem. Before the pandemic, they would see each other throughout the day and joke, ask each other about their families, talk about their weekend plans, etc...So in that context, after you hand some light banter throughout the day to get an email simply saying “we need to re-write this” doesn’t sound so bad.

But now in a completely virtual setting, they were going days without talking or interacting and then to suddenly get that same short email of “we need to re-write this” seemed harsh and rude. And it was ruining the morale of the team.

Fareed shares, “It made me realize that what I was doing there was I was spending social capital, rather than building social capital. And that what I had to do was to be very conscious of the fact that in this virtual environment, you've got to build social capital before you can spend it. And you've got to put in the time and the energy.”

What does that look like? Instead of writing one sentence, maybe you should write a full paragraph. Instead of jumping into the agenda for an online meeting, you should ask people how they’re doing, or joke around a bit. Instead of going a few weeks without checking in with an employee or a co-worker, reach out even if it’s just to say “hi, how was your weekend”.

“You need to realize you cannot just, you know, kind of issue commands and expect people to follow them or issue directives, that doesn't work. Where it might have in a different context, where there was a lot of soft stuff going on, and then you had this one email that came through.”

What’s going to happen to the cities?
Throughout the pandemic, and even a little before that, people have speculated that cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are going to disappear. And while the option to have work flexibility is more possible now, which means people don’t have to report to a central office, it doesn’t mean cities are a thing of the past.

Fareed looks to history to figure out the future, and when we do that we see that people moved to cities because there was more work and because they could earn more money there. When you have a highly dense population, there are more people to sell your product to. There are more people to invest in your business. There are more people around to network with.

“That density is what produces economic activity, which is why, you know, there's a couple of very good calculations that suggest that people who live in particularly large cities tend to be about 50% more productive than other people. I'd say it's not that we're smarter, it’s that you're more likely to meet people, you're more likely to do more deals, you're more likely to see more stuff. I don’t think that’s going to change”

And while people no longer have to live in a city center to be close to their organization’s headquarters, you will probably see a large amount of people living on the outskirts and commuting into the city--if not everyday, then at least from time to time.

One thing Fareed thinks will change about cities is that you won’t be seeing as many big office buildings, since most people can work from home or from co-working spaces or even smaller more localized offices. So these big office buildings may be used for something else like affordable housing or performance space or something else.

Fareed’s advice for individuals and leaders in the post-pandemic world
When I asked Fareed what his advice would be for individuals looking for opportunity as things start to open up and also for leaders, he said he would offer everyone the same advice--whether you are a leader or not.

He said, “One thing that I think we don't talk enough about is what are the personal lessons and opportunities that the pandemic has produced? We spend a lot of time talking about all the external stuff we have to fix. How do we get better government policies in place? How do we get corporations to change the way they run? How do we get cities to be transformed? What are all the external things we need to do? But we should also be thinking to ourselves, what are the internal supports that have mattered the most during this pandemic? What have we learned about ourselves as human beings, what do we need to be fulfilled, to be happy, to be productive--and productive in every sense of the word, right. Not just as workers, but as partners, as parents, as children.”

No matter where you are in life we all have a chance to learn something from what we have been through. We can all ask ourselves--what makes me happy? What gives me joy? What makes me productive? And we can maximize that in a way we have not done before. We only get one life, so use it well.

He also believes we should all ask ourselves this question-- How can I be a better version of myself--given what we have gone through and the ability we’ve had to get to know ourselves without all of the distractions we had before the pandemic. It’s been a difficult time for all of us in different ways, but what can we take from this experience, what can we use from this to propel us forward and to make us better human beings?

Direct download: Audio_-_Fareed_Zakaria_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:04am PDT

Constantly serving other people and neglecting yourself is probably the best way to get exhausted, burned out, drained, and to become disengaged from work and even disengaged in your personal life.

So even though you are serving your leaders, your customers, and your team members, you also need to make sure that you serve yourself, because if you don't, you're not going to be able to serve anybody else effectively.

Direct download: Why_You_Need_To_Serve_Yourself_Before_You_Serve_Those_Around_You_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:04am PDT

Jay Papasan is the bestselling author of multiple books including The ONE Thing, which he co-authored with Gary Keller. The book has sold more than 2 million copies, it has been translated into 35 languages, and it has appeared on more than 500 national bestseller lists.

The main focus of The ONE Thing is to help readers find the one thing that they can do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary. In other words, once you come up with a goal for yourself it is important for you to ask yourself every day what is the one thing I can do today to take me closer to that goal. Every day you are looking for your number one priority.

But does that mean you can only focus on one goal or one thing at a time? No way! Jay says that is actually the biggest mistake readers make when going through the book. He says, “We never said that--who gets to do one thing? Nobody, right? We have kids, we have aging parents, we have hobbies, we have jobs, our jobs have all kinds of busy work that is absolutely necessary and can't be ignored. But if we start and give disproportionate focus and energy to the true priority, everything else does get easier. And sometimes it just goes away. You don't even have to do it. That's a big idea.”

Finding your ONE Thing
Jay suggests that when you first start to try to find your one thing, it is important to think strategically about something that will be a long-term goal. Aim big, and long-term, instead of focusing on something you can achieve in the short term.

As Jay shares, when you are young and just starting out it is important to try to figure out what your unique gifts are. What are some areas where you excel that maybe others have a hard time with? He says, “The reason ultimately people get accelerated through the business world is that in some area they can provide disproportionate returns on their investment of time, right. They can sell more than the next person, they can close more than the next person, they can write better copy, or better code than the next person. So part of the young person's journey is discovering where their passion and their gifts align.”

How can you become invaluable? In what areas can you show up and provide extra value? What are you passionate about or what are you skilled at? If there is something that you are very skilled at and that same thing brings you joy and a sense of purpose--you should lean into that.

And remember that every job is going to have things about it that you don’t enjoy, it’s pretty rare for someone to find a job that they enjoy 100% of the time. But if the majority of the role is exciting, challenging, and enjoyable for you--start your focus there.

How Jay helps his employees find their one thing
Jay is in charge of 44 employees with Keller Williams and one thing he practices on a regular basis with his team is something they call GPS. Each year Jay and his team come together to figure out what their number one goal as a company is. And once they have that goal they come up with three to five priorities that they will need to focus on throughout the year to reach that goal, and each of those priorities has up to five strategies behind it. That is how they get everyone on the team on the same page and working towards the same goal. So that happens on a yearly basis.

And then every week Jay meets with the people who report to him to review their own one page of set goals. This is called the 4-1-1, because it is that person’s priorities for 4 weeks, one month, and one year all on one page. Every week the individual employee looks at their annual goals based on the company priorities and from that they come up with monthly goals that support those overarching goals.

Jay says, “Every week they put their weekly goals that line up to their monthly goals that line up to their annual goals that line up to the divisional company goals. So it's a cascading set of priorities. So that every week, I spend 30 minutes or so with the key people who work with me, and we review their weekly priorities. And once a month, I will look at their monthly priorities and just ask the question, how does this help us achieve our goals? And at the beginning of the year is the most work, right? We ask what's our one thing and then based on that we create the cascade.”

This process allows employees to break large company-wide goals into bite-sized, achievable priorities that they know they can accomplish.

Is hustle culture a good thing?
A lot of people, especially entrepreneurs, believe that success is connected to a nonstop hustle to try to get ahead. They think that by outworking their competition they can win. But Jay doesn’t agree with this concept at all.

He says, “One of my fundamental beliefs is that to be a successful husband and a father and a successful business person, that those are not mutually exclusive endeavors. I refuse to believe otherwise. And the challenge I have with the hustle culture that you have to outwork and work longer than your competitors, is that they're just ignoring the fact that like, I get to work every day with a self made billionaire. I do the math, what is his dollars per hour, it's incalculable. But he doesn't work any more hours than I do on an average week. So it's not how many hours you work. It's what you put into the hours. And it sounds so trite, but it's incredibly true.”

It’s not that you can’t work long hours from time to time or put in time at the office on a weekend on occasion. As Jay shares, he has done that when they are on a deadline or if he’s preparing to speak at a big conference. But it’s not the norm. There are moments in life when you have to work harder than others, but to hustle nonstop all the time is not sustainable.

“I've seen it be a recipe for divorce and disease. And I do not want the people I love to be caught into the culture of hustle first, think second. So I think this is business as a thinking person's game. And when we are strategic in our investment of time, we win.”

The four pitfalls people experience when living The ONE Thing
Once people have found their ONE thing and they start living that out, there are a few pitfalls they can fall into that Jay warns about. They are:

  1. They lack clarity about what they want.
  2. They’re clear on what they want, but they’re unfocused in their approach.
  3. They’re focused, but they actually don’t have time to execute.
  4. The time that they DO commit, they leave unprotected.

So as you are navigating your priorities and goals, be sure to look out for these traps and make sure you don’t fall into any of them.

What can you do to start practicing your ONE thing today
For those of you who are ready to start putting this into practice today, Jay’s advice is to set up 30 minutes a week--whether it's on a Sunday before the week starts or on Friday before you leave work--and come up with your one goal for the coming week.

Look at your schedule and tasks for the upcoming week and ask yourself “of all the things I could do, what is the number one thing I can achieve next week?” Figure out your number one goal for that week and then manage your time to make sure that one thing happens.

And if you have more than one thing you have to get done, use that 30 minutes a week to help you narrow down your to-do list to your top 5 things that actually matter. And then number those 5 things in order of importance, so you remember what that #1 most important thing is. Putting this exercise into practice will help you stay laser focused on what really matters to you and it will help you achieve your goals faster.

Direct download: Audio_-_Jay_Papasan_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:24am PDT

Should we get rid of managers? This is the topic of a trending article floating around LinkedIn recently. I absolutely believe we need get rid of the terms manager and #management​ BUT it’s not just about a name change.

Nobody even wants to be called a manager anymore and people certainly don’t want to be managed. These concepts were created decades ago and the synonyms for manager actually include: slavedriver, boss, and zookeeper!

Moving from #manager​ to #leader​ is about a #mindset​ and skill set change as opposed to just changing a title. I interviewed over 140 CEO’s for my new book The Future Leader and got 140 different definitions of #leadership​.

The CEO of Verizon told me he defines leadership as “achieving the missions of the business, all else is footnotes.”

The CEO of Audi told me leadership is about “walking the extra mile and solving problems that others cannot solve. Foremost, leadership is about caring for people and not only for numbers.”

Every organization and every leader needs to first start with defining “leadership” and “leader” before worrying about a name change.

Which definition resonates more with you and why? Do you have your own?

Direct download: Should_we_get_rid_of_managers_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:34am PDT

Brian Christian is the author of The Most Human Human, which was named a Wall Street Journal bestseller, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and a New Yorker favorite book of the year. He is the author, with Tom Griffiths, of Algorithms to Live By, a #1 Audible bestseller, Amazon best science book of the year and MIT Technology Review best book of the year. And his newest book is The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values.

AI has been a very hot topic of discussion among business leaders over the past few decades, and there are varying degrees of worry. Today Brian is sharing his view on AI and machine learning and whether we should be worried or not. He also explains why everyone should get to know more about AI, even if you aren’t in a technical role.

In this episode of the podcast we explore:

  1. The history of AI and machine learning
  2. How questions from Elon Musk pushed Brian to write his book, The Alignment Problem
  3. What is supervised learning vs. reinforcement learning in regards to AI
  4. Potential problems we should look out for when it comes to AI
  5. What is an algorithm and what goes into creating one
  6. Advice for people who want to be more aware of this realm
Direct download: Audio_-_Brian_Christian_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Empathy and sympathy are not the same things.

Sympathy is the idea of feeling sorry for someone. In other words, when somebody comes to you with a problem or a situation, sympathy is saying, "Oh, I'm sorry." Empathy, on the other hand, is about being able to take that person's perspective and to put yourself in their shoes to feel what they feel.

Being a master of empathy will allow you to create better products for your customers, better deal with people, resolve conflicts more effectively, and foster collaboration because you'll be able to build connections with other people since you'll be able to understand them and take their perspectives.

Is your organization empathetic or sympathetic?

Direct download: Moving_from_Sympathetic_to_Empathetic_Organizations_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:10am PDT

Building the right team is very important and can increase your chances of success as a business leader.

When it comes to building a team, one of the first things to consider is diversity. But diversity doesn’t mean different types of looks, it's about bringing together different types of intelligence, beliefs, and views on the world.

Another crucial component when it comes to thinking about teams is team size. I love the “two pizza rule” Amazon uses. If two pizzas aren’t enough to feed an entire team, then the team is too big.

The last piece for creating effective teams comes down to metrics and measurement. Organizations use OKRs, objectives, and key results. Objectives are the big picture things that you're trying to accomplish, and the key results are the milestones that lead you to that objective.

Keep those things in mind as you build an effective team or are part of an effective team.

Direct download: How_to_Build_the_Right_Team_MP3.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:12am PDT

Fear is something that we all deal with both inside and outside of work. What is fear stopping you from doing today? Are you not speaking up in meetings because you might say something dumb? Have you avoided asking for a raise or a promotion because you might be told ‘no’? Do you shy away from challenging your manager’s ideas because you might get reprimanded?

My guest this week is Luvvie Ajayi Jones, bestselling author of I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual and the brand new book, Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. For years Luvvie let fear stand in her way, but she’s definitely not anymore. While we can’t get rid of fear completely, we can live out our lives boldly in spite of it.

Today Luvvie shares her personal story of how she overcame fear and became a professional troublemaker--and she gives advice on how we can do the same.

In this episode of the podcast we explore:

  • How Luvvie started writing and what most shaped her outlook on life
  • Why she argues that being a troublemaker is a good thing
  • How to get comfortable with being uncomfortable
  • The importance of setting boundaries at work and in your personal life
  • How Luvvie deals with trolls and toxic people
  • Why leaders can encourage everyone around them to be troublemakers

“Our comfort zones are not the place where big things are waiting for us.They're not the place where the best life that we want to live is waiting for us. Because the reason why it's comfortable is because you've learned all you had to learn. There is nothing in there that challenges you. And there's no way you're going to grow.”-- Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Direct download: Audio_-_Luvvie_Ajayi_Jones_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Self-awareness is all about understanding your feelings, emotions, mental state, and how you're doing. Another big part of self-awareness is being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, such as what you're good at, what you're capable of doing, and where you might need some help.

Self-awareness is crucial for leadership because it helps us understand who we are and what we need and expect from other people. Also, it’ll help us identify the areas we shine and the areas we can potentially improve. It also helps control how we come across to other people.

Direct download: What_is_Self_Awareness_and_Why_is_it_Important_at_Work.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:30am PDT

One of the biggest challenges CEOs today say they are facing is lack of leadership talent to carry the organization forward. But it is not a lack of talent that is at the root of this problem.

My guest this week is Scott DeRue, the Edward J. Frey Dean of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Based on his award-winning research, this challenge CEOs are facing is caused by the fact that 40%-50% of capable leaders are not stepping up because of the risks involved in leadership roles.

Today Scott shares the research behind his article titled, Why Capable People Are Reluctant To Lead, as well as what we can do to change that.

In this episode of the podcast we explore:

  • The three kinds of risks that deter people from leadership positions
  • How we can overcome all three risks
  • What separates great leaders from average ones
  • The biggest mistakes Scott sees leaders making
  • The most important thing for leadership development

“One thing that we can all do to maximize our own potential is lean into those risks--Whether it's outcome risk, whether it's image risk, whether it's interpersonal risk-- let's not let that risk hold us back. But let's lean into it. Let's embrace that risk. And in doing so, by stepping up and assuming these leadership roles, we're able to have a bigger impact in the world.”--Scott DeRue

Direct download: Audio_-_Scott_DeRue_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to interview hundreds of executives with different roles within organizations. One of the things I find consistently across the board is an emphasis on servant leadership, this change in leadership mentality that the role of a leader is actually to help others.

Being service-oriented simply means that you think about others before you think about yourself. You put other people ahead of yourself, and it can be extremely powerful.

It makes you a more effective leader, a more valuable employee, and a better teammate. Being service-oriented also helps create happy, loyal, and engaged customers, which is huge for company growth.

Direct download: The_Benefits_of_Being_Service_Oriented.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:06am PDT

With new modern technologies and the knowledge that we have in order to lead more healthy lives, we are living longer than ever. So what does that mean for the way we live and work? For decades we have lived out our lives in three main stages-- full time education, full time work, and full time retirement. But in a 100-year life, that structure is no longer effective.

In this week’s episode Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and bestselling author of The New Long Life, shares her advice on how our current practices need to change in order to make the most out of our longer lives.

As Lynda shared with me:

"At any point in time, you could follow a number of different paths. And I think that's a mindset shift, really. The idea that at any point in time you could plan to be something different. That's the first action. So let your imagination go in terms of thinking about “what could I be?"

In this episode of the podcast Lynda shares:

  • Why Lynda wrote her book, The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World
  • If life stages are no longer in a linear path, what does it look like?
  • A look at the three fundamental principles Lynda uses in her MBA class to help students understand and navigate the challenges ahead
  • Why we all need more personal agency and responsibility over our careers.
  • Lynda’s advice on how we can prepare for the new world of work today
Direct download: Video_-_Lynda_Gratton_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

The worst thing that you can do as an organization is to have a fixed mindset.

In a fixed mindset, you don't believe that people can change. You don't believe that people can learn new things or that they can adapt and improve.

This kind of culture will kill innovation inside your organization.

Instead, you must have a growth mindset.

Always believe that there is room for further improvement, and always learn new things.

Encourage your employees to think outside the box and constantly innovate in this rapidly changing world of work.

This is a really fantastic way to future-proof yourself, your career, and even your organization.

Direct download: How_to_Kill_Innovation.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:15am PDT

For several years in a row, Aron has been on the Glassdoor top 100 CEO list and in 2012 he won the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. UKG was rated the #2 best large employer in America by Forbes, it received a 100% on the Corporate Equality Index, and prior to the merger both Kronos and Ultimate Software were separately named a Best Workplace for Parents by Great Place to Work.

How do you build an organization where people love to come to work? Aron Ain, CEO of Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), believes it is all about trust, transparency, and collaboration. Contrary to past fads, creating an engaged workforce is not about free food, free gym memberships, and frequent parties.

As Aron says, “I believe people join organizations because of the organization. I believe they leave because of who they work for.”

In this episode of the podcast Aron shares:

  • How to keep consistency among leaders in an organization.
  • What it means to be an “un-leader”.
  • How to deal with failure.
  • Why showing true gratitude for employees is so important and what that looks like.
  • The importance of humility and vulnerability
  • How to keep leaders accountable for being the best they can be
  • And much more!

The leaders that employees deal with on a daily basis make or break the experience that employee has. You can work for the best organization in the world, but if your direct manager is a horrible leader, you are going to hate your job.

Because of that fact, leaders inside of UKG, known internally as people managers, are held accountable to be great. People managers are not just evaluated and rated by their direct reports, they are also evaluated by the employees who work for them. Twice a year employees inside of UKG are given a survey with 19 questions with straight forward questions that measure the effectiveness of their manager. These are separate from engagement surveys as those only measure the relationship between the employee and the organization, not the relationship between the employee and the manager.

How to keep consistency among leaders in an organization
Inside of any organization there could be anywhere from 10 to thousands of leaders who are in charge of teams. So how do you make sure that your leaders are consistent and living up to the company values? This is part of why UKG has the employee surveys in place. Leaders are evaluated by employees twice a year, and if they aren’t either at a 90% or higher, or at least improving each time, there are steps in place that are taken.

Depending on the situation the first step if a leader is struggling is to have a conversation and see if improvements can be made. The next step may be to move the person out of a leadership role, while still remaining at the company. And if all else fails, they may be asked to leave the company if they aren’t a good fit with the company values.

Having these ratings from employees is a huge game-changer as leaders typically look at employee engagement surveys to get a feel for how they are doing, but that’s not an accurate picture of the employee-manager relationship.

Aron shares a story about when UKG first started implementing these manager effectiveness surveys. There was a manager who asked Aron for a sit down meeting. When they were talking the manager asked Aron, “Are you going to train me to be a better manager?”. Aron told him that of course he would, but wondered why the manager was coming to him at that moment asking for help.

The manager told Aron that he had always seen himself as a great leader because his team always gave high scores on engagement surveys. But when it came time for these new surveys he received a 59 out of 100 and he was shocked. He had never had the right data that would help him measure his true performance. Well after realizing it he worked hard to improve and two years later he had a score in the 90s.

It is so important for leaders to get an accurate view of how employees see them. How can you expect them to change if they don’t realize they are doing anything wrong. As Aron shares, “Our homegrown training program for our managers is called Courage to Lead. And I tell them the action word isn't lead. The action word in it is the courage, because it takes unbelievable courage to be a great leader. It's’s hard.”

What does it mean to be an un-leader
In Aron’s book, Work Inspired, he talks about the concept of the un-leader. What is an un-leader? Well Aron believes CEOs get too much credit when things go well and they get too much blame when things don’t go well. But this shouldn’t be the case. The reason organizations do well or don’t do well does not rely solely on what the CEO does, and CEOs need to have more humility and humbleness. They need to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

To be an un-leader means you realize the value of the people around you and as a leader you understand that you are not more important than anyone else in the organization. Un-leaders show respect, they offer dignity, and they are thoughtful to the people they work with. They realize that they play by the same rules as everyone else. When un-leaders don’t know something, they don’t act like they do. They admit that they are not sure.

Aron says, “I don't expect everyone to care about people in the full spectrum of how I care about people. But I do expect everyone to be respectful. I do expect everyone to tell the truth. You want to ask people who work with-- you want to get on my bad side quickly, don't tell the truth. It's like, I just have no patience for that. Look, I'm a sore loser. I'll admit that, I play to win. But it doesn't mean I do it in a way that doesn't exhibit good sportsmanship and being thoughtful about it.”

How to deal with failures when you give employees autonomy to experiment
One of the key components of the UKG values is trust, it is something that Aron emphasizes. He doesn’t ask employees to gain his trust, they start with full trust in the very beginning, the trust is theirs to lose.

So as a leader if you give full autonomy and trust to employees how do you deal with failures when they happen? Aron says for him it comes down to not keeping score.

He says, “I try really, really hard to not keep score. And the reason I try really hard to not keep score, if you came and sold me on an idea to do something, and six months later, it's not going well-- and you know it better than anyone that it's not going well-- what do I want you to do? I want you to stop it, stop the project, stop throwing good money at a bad idea. But if every time I'm keeping score, and I'm going to put you in the penalty box, then you're going to spend another six months absolutely, positively proving it was a stupid idea. And wasted another six months of time and money. So that's how I deal with failure. Now, if the same people keep bringing ideas, and we say, okay, go do it. And it keeps being a dumb idea. And at some point, I say, well, I'm not sure that this person has great judgment on ideas like this, but I certainly start with the way I described it.”

Action items for leaders who want to start improving
When asked what advice he has for leaders who are looking to better themselves, Aron says the biggest thing is to understand the world doesn’t revolve around you. Work hard to trust your people, communicate with them, be transparent, and show them respect.

You should also respect that people have lives outside of the organization and that their families are the most important thing and they should come first.

Take time and think about what it looks like to trust your people. If you trust them to get their work done, how does that exhibit itself? You can’t just say the words, you have to make trust a living breathing part of your organization.

“If we want to be great leaders, if we want to create organizations where everybody loves to work, if you want to have these places that have these great people work for us, then you better find ways to engage them and you better do these key components around this that we've been talking about. You may be able to trick the people to come work for you. But you're not going to keep them.”

Direct download: Audio_-_Aron_Ain_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:51am PDT

What should you do if you work for a #leader​ that you don't like or don't get along with? If you're in this situation you typically have a few options.

1) Do nothing and suffer.
2) Have a conversation with your leader.
3) Try to switch teams.
4) Quit.
5) Focus on doing great quality work.

Regardless of the path you take, I think the worst option here is the first one. If you do nothing and just complain about your situation then I'm sorry, but you deserve what you get.

You have to take charge over your own personal and professional success. I talk about this more in the video. Let me know what you think. Have you ever been a situation where you had to take one of these paths? I sure have!

Direct download: What_if_You_Dont_Like_Your_Leader.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:55pm PDT

Manfred Kets de Vries is The Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD, one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools. He has received INSEAD’s distinguished teacher award five times.

Manfred is also the author of 52 books including The CEO Whisperer, Mindful Leadership Coaching, and Down the Rabbit Hole of Leadership. And he is a consultant on organizational design, transformation, and strategic human resource management to leading companies all over the world.

From a young age Manfred was interested in psychology and human behavior, he was intrigued with trying to figure out why people act in certain ways. In college he studied economics and organizational behavior. Throughout his career he has focused on the intersection of these two areas and eventually he was appointed as the Global Leadership Director at INSEAD and he started a program specifically for leaders where 21 executives come together and Manfred creates what he calls tipping points for them to teach them how to make decisions in more humane and effective ways.

There is a Gallup poll that shows that 85% of employees worldwide don’t feel engaged at work. And as Manfred says, we only have one life to live so we should be making the best out of it. So he enjoys working with leaders because they have such a profound effect on the lives of their employees.

The 8 Archetypes Of Leadership
Back in 2013 Manfred wrote an article for HBR on what he calls the 8 archetypes of leadership. These are recurring patterns of behavior that Manfred says influence a leader’s effectiveness inside of an organization.

As Manfred says in his article “I think of these patterns as leadership “archetypes,” reflecting the various roles executives can play in organizations and it is a lack of fit between a leader’s archetype and the context in which he or she operates is a main cause of team and organizational dysfunctionality and executive failure.”

The eight most common archetypes are:

  1. The strategist: Leadership as a game of chess. These people are good at dealing with developments in the organization’s environment. They provide vision, strategic direction and outside-the-box thinking to create new organizational forms and generate future growth.
  2. The change-catalyst: Leadership as a turnaround activity. These leaders like messy situations that they can come in and fix. They are good at implementing organizational change. But when things are good they tend to get bored.
  3. The transactor. Leadership as deal making. These leaders thrive on negotiations. They are skilled at identifying and tackling new opportunities. They are great dealmakers.
  4. The builder. Leadership as an entrepreneurial activity. Leaders in this category dream of creating something and they have the talent and determination to make their dream come true.
  5. The innovator. Leadership as creative idea generation. Leaders in this category focus on the new. They possess a great capacity to solve extremely difficult problems.
  6. The processor. Leadership as an exercise in efficiency. These executives like organizations to be smoothly running, well-oiled machines. They are very effective at setting up the structures and systems needed to support an organization’s objectives.
  7. The coach: Leadership as a form of people development. These executives know how to get the best out of people, thus creating high performance cultures.
  8. The communicator: Leadership as stage management. These executives are great influencers, and have a considerable impact on their surroundings.

It is important to know which type of leader you are, as well as what archetypes your peers and team members fall into in order to create the most effective and cohesive teams.

Can you change your archetype?
Over the course of your career as a leader you may be interested in changing your archetype. Manfred says it is possible, but it’s not easy. Instead of trying to change yourself, you may consider surrounding yourself with people who fall into the archetypes that you need for what you are currently facing. Embrace the traits you have, and allow other people to fill in the gaps where you are lacking.

And there may come a time, Manfred believes, when it may be time to resign from that position and go elsewhere. Maybe it is time for you to do something different. Years ago Manfred was speaking to a group of around 200 executives and he asked them how long is the productive life of a CEO and they said seven years, plus or minus two years. After that it’s time to move onto something else.

What should you do if you are placed in a position that doesn’t match your archetype?
There may be times when you feel you are being put in positions that don’t match up with your archetype and at that point Manfred says you have a decision to make. We are no longer living in times when you stick at a specific job at one company for decades. So you have to figure out what gives you energy and what brings you joy.

Manfred suggests keeping a diary for a few weeks to keep track of the periods of time that you feel positive energy and joy as well as situations that impact you negatively. That way you can look back and see what things are important to you, what things you should seek out and what situations you want to avoid. Looking back on that log of activity you can make a decision as to whether it is worth it to stay in that position or not.

Keeping archetypes in mind when you build your team
It may not be possible to have each of the eight archetypes represented on every team you work with, but it is good to keep these archetypes in mind as each one has a role to play in an effective team.

Manfred gave an example of an investment bank that he worked with in the past. They had a group of seven people who covered almost every archetype except they didn’t have anyone who was good at coaching.

As Manfred shares, “they were not good in coaching, they were too busy with strategy, deal making and also having the things on time, all those kinds of things. So because of that, they decided we have to do something about it. And we have to hire someone who takes that role, because it will be growing very fast, and we don't pay any attention to that kind of thing. And we're not very good at it either, given our personality.”

It is important to know which category you fall into and to be able to identify what’s missing. It’s not an exact science, and what combination of archetypes you need depends on the industry that you are in, but it is definitely something you should be aware of.

Direct download: Audio_-_Manfred_Kets_de_Vries_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:23pm PDT

A lot of people are very uncomfortable asking for feedback.

And rightfully so!

Early in my career, I was one of those people who was weirded out by asking for feedback.

But I realized that when you phrase feedback in a different way, it makes the conversation a lot easier and more directed towards your growth and development.

Here’s how you can rephrase the feedback you want to get.

1. Can I get your advice? If you've created a solution to something and you want to get feedback on what that solution is.

2. What can I do better? If you want to improve yourself on a certain thing.

3. What can I focus on now to prepare for a future role? If you want to focus on your growth for future learning and development.

I found these questions very effective to get the feedback I’m looking for. Try it out!

Direct download: 3_Questions_to_Ask_to_Get_Better_Feedback.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:21pm PDT

Deanna Mulligan is the former President, CEO, and Board Chair of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, a 160 year old Fortune 250 company with around 9,500 employees. She is also the author of a new book called Hire Purpose: How Smart Companies Can Close the Skills Gap.

Deanna was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune in 2019 and she was named one of “The 50 Most Powerful Women in New York” five times by Crain’s New York Business. Prior to Guardian Life Insurance, Deanna held senior positions at AXA Financial and New York Life Insurance and she was a principal at McKinsey & Company.


In the financial crisis of 2008 nearly 9 million people lost their jobs. For four years unemployment was at an all time high, and people were having a hard time finding new jobs. It was at this time that Deanna started thinking about the concept for her book, Hire Purpose. She knew it was important to find a way to make sure that this type of situation would never happen again.

The focus of the book was, as Deanna shares, “How can we make sure that people are constantly being re-trained, thinking ahead, upgrading their skills, so they don't have long periods of unemployment in the middle of their career--when they might have children and they might have elderly parents to take care of, when it's the most difficult, when they're saving for retirement-- to be unemployed.”

From the very beginning of her time at Guardian she made learning a priority in the culture of the organization so that people could constantly upgrade their skills and their talents.

What is the skills gap and why is it a problem?
Technology is rapidly changing and customer expectations are changing along with it. As consumers we expect products and services to be faster, better, cheaper, and more customized. Because of that organizations are having to adapt and implement newer, better technologies to keep up with demand.

As a result of these changes, employees who were trained for a specific job with one set of technologies, now have to be able to do something completely different, and if those employees are not consistently growing, learning, and developing new skills, they are going to get left behind.

The consulting firm, McKinsey & Company estimates that in the next 10 years 350 million jobs globally will be changed significantly. They also estimate that 75 million of those jobs will go unfilled because there will not be enough trained people to do the work. Deanna believes that it is up to leaders to make sure that their people are ready for this new world of work.

Many companies today are looking to hire people with certain skills and abilities for new roles, but they are having a hard time finding anyone that is qualified. That is our current skills gap problem, and it’s only going to get worse, unless we all take action.

What can CEOs do to close the skills gap?
As a leader of Guardian Deanna knew that she had to make learning a priority. But she realized that while initiatives are good, having one or two in place wouldn’t solve the problem. She knew she had to build a culture of learning that would become integral to the day to day operations of the organization.

One example of what Deanna implemented inside of Guardian was the start of leader learning day. On that day 900 of the Guardian leaders from around the country came together to figure out what they as leaders needed to learn and what ways they could help their employees learn. It was so successful that the following year the learning day was opened up to everyone inside the organization and it was extended to a full month instead of one day. Employees, no matter what level they were in the organization, could attend seminars, lectures, and courses online or in person. They came together to figure out things like--what am I going to do next? How do my skills and passions apply to what the company sees as new jobs coming up? Where can I go inside or outside the company to get the training I need?

People at Guardian understand that they are accountable for their careers and that the company wants them to be successful and therefore is behind them every step of the way to make sure employees have the resources and tools they need.

Who is responsible for learning--the individual or the organization?
For many decades there has been an assumption in place that what we learn in school will get us to where we need to be in our careers, and if anything new comes up our company will just teach it to us. But with the fast pace of change this is no longer sufficient. We have to realize that we need to be lifetime learners in order to keep up.

Deanna believes that education is a team effort. As she shares, “From my perspective companies that can afford it should help their employees to learn new skills and to do everything they can to be of assistance, but the company can't know what you love or what you're passionate about, or what makes you tick. And it really has to be a combination of the skills that the company is looking for and what you like to do and are passionate about, because learning takes energy. It's hard to learn without passion, and I don't think that anybody can force you to learn. You have to have initiative and want to learn.”

One thing we have all realized during the pandemic is that when we have to, we can learn new things. We all had to learn how to work from home, how to use Zoom or platforms like it, how to juggle family life while simultaneously working, etc...As humans we have the ability to learn new things and adapt. We have to stop getting stuck in a fixed mindset, where we believe that we have a limit on things that we can learn--and we have to move to a growth mindset, where we understand that we can gain new talents and skills through hard work, advice, education, curiosity, etc…

Advice for individuals who want to become perpetual learners
For any individual employee out there who wants to be prepared for the future of work and who wants to become a perpetual learner Deanna has a few pieces of advice.

  1. Start small--look at a problem that you have at work or even at home and figure out if there is a different skill, ability, or technology that you could use to solve it. How could you take a different method than you’ve used before to take on a current problem.
  2. Don’t be afraid to fail--When babies first learn to walk they fall down a lot. But they get back up and try again. And as adults we don’t even remember falling down, but if we gave up after one or two falls we would still be crawling. The same goes with learning new skills. You will probably fail a few times, but after you succeed even once you will have the confidence to keep going. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
  3. Develop a learning culture--Once you solve a problem at work it will get easier to go find another one to work on. And it can encourage other people around you to think about problems they can solve as well. There could be a problem that will take multiple people, so think about putting together a group to solve it. It doesn’t matter what your seniority level is at work, you can inspire a learning culture around you at any level.

Advice for leaders who want to build a culture of learning
If you are a leader inside of an organization who wants to ensure that your people are prepared for the future of work and any employment changes in the future Deanna also has some advice for you.

  1. Celebrate success--When an employee changes the way they do something or they learn something new--even if it is something small--it is up to you as the leader to elevate that. Make sure everyone knows about it and get everyone excited about it. Maybe you can get a cake, or put up a sign that says thank you to that employee, or call them out in a group meeting.
  2. Give people room to fail--It is completely unrealistic to think that your employees are going to feel free to learn new things without making mistakes. Learning is about experimenting, struggling a little bit, and figuring things out. Failure is a part of that process. You have to let employees know that failure is okay and it is normal.
Direct download: Audio_-_Deanna_Mulligan_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:18pm PDT

Now, more than ever, we need to make sure every leader in our organization is practicing empathy.

Empathy is all about putting yourself in somebody else's shoes to understand their perspective and where they're coming from.

According to Dr. Brene Brown, there are 4 steps to practicing empathy:

  1. Put yourself into somebody else's shoes. Imagine you are in their situation and try to think of a time when you had a similar experience.
  2. Never judge too quickly when a person tells you something. You have to understand the whole story of what’s happening.
  3. Recognize the emotion that the person is experiencing.
  4. Communicate that you understand that emotion.
Direct download: 4_Steps_to_Practice_Empathy_from_Dr_Brene_Brown.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:21am PDT

Joann Lublin is the author of Power Moms: How Executive Mothers Navigate Work and Life, which came out this month. She is also the author of Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons From Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World.

Joann is the former Management News Editor of The Wall Street Journal where she created its first career advice column which she wrote up until May 2020. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 and she won the Gerald Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest accolade in business journalism, in 2018.


Over the past few decades we have made greater strides in workplace gender equality and we have seen more and more women step into leadership roles, but we still have a ways to go. There are still stereotypes and mindsets set in the past that give the notion that women have to choose between a career and having a family, they can’t have both.

But as Joann has found in her conversations with female senior level executives, not only can women have both, they can thrive and succeed at both at the same time.

While interviewing one executive and mother for the book, Joann found out that the woman had felt it necessary to not put up photos of her children on her desk at work until they were of high school age and she had proved herself at the company. She knew that having pictures up of small children some people might question her conflicting priorities.

Another woman shared that when she returned to work after a couple of years at home with her kids she was asked by male and female coworkers “how do you do it all?” and she said she was very offended by that. Because people wouldn’t have questioned her husband’s ability to do it all even though they are equal partners in parenting. People have these set mindsets that women are the ones doing 100% of the parenting while the men are 100% focused on work, but that is not the case.

What is the motherhood penalty
Joann has a section in her book called The Motherhood Penalty, which reflects decades of research that highlights the bias against women with children. Research suggests that when hiring managers are going through resumes and it is clear from what they can see which people have kids and which ones do not have kids, the managers are more likely to give the interviews and the jobs to the women without kids.

The other aspect of the motherhood penalty has to do with pay. Either because of the breaks women have after having children or the fact that they choose to go back to work at reduced schedules the earning power of moms suffers. Yet this issue does not happen with men.

Joann does add a bit about how men can suffer when it comes to parenting biases. She says, “Men have other problems being effective parents and effective members of the workplace, but the fatherhood penalty is more of if they want to be involved. Fathers, they feel like they're penalized, that their career is going to suffer, that they're not going to be a guy's guy. And so they're reluctant to take the parental leave, even if it's generous and paid, that their employer is offering because somehow they won't look like they themselves are committed to their career. So we need to change our image of what makes for a good parent and what makes for a good worker. From a gender and parenting standpoint.”

The good thing that we are seeing now is Millennials and Gen Xers have more employment choices now. Where past generations may have learned to live with companies that had cultures that penalized parents, nowadays there are so many employment options that people can vote with their feet and move to a company that will treat them equally.

The work/life balance myth
Joann believes we need to give up on the notion of work/life balance. As she shares it is an ideal that can never be realized. In her book she compares balance to maintaining a yoga pose for 24 hours, you can’t do it.

The concept that she talks about in her book is work/life sway. “The idea of work life sway is that you accept the belief that there is no such thing as balance. And you recognize that there are going to be moments in your day and in your life when you have to be 110% there for your job, for your company, for your work. But family needs may intrude without warning, and you have to be prepared and willing and able--thanks to technology-- you can sway the other way.”

One example of work/life sway Joann gives from an executive that was interviewed for her book is from a woman who had returned to work after having a child and one day she got a live video call while she was in her office. The call was from her nanny who knew that the mother wanted to see her child take his first steps. The executive obviously stopped what she was doing and watched her son take his first steps. Instead of having to partition her life off into personal life and work life, they sway together, happening simultaneously.

Our current situation with the pandemic is further proof that we don’t have to be locked in an office away from family for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in order to get things done. Most of us have been forced into living work and life simultaneously at home. And we’ve made it work.

Flexibility can’t just be a policy, it has to be a way of life
One important piece to being able to live in a work/life sway is the organization you work for and the managers you have. It is important to find a place to work where flexibility and maternity/paternity leave is not only a policy, but it is also something that is lived out in the culture.

It is so critical for leaders inside of organizations to live out these types of core values. If you want your people to believe that it is okay to take 3 or 4 months of parental leave after having a new child, you have to be willing to set the example. People are going to look to senior level executives to see that they practice what they preach. Employees want to know they won’t be reprimanded or looked down on for taking time off, or for leaving early to watch their child’s soccer game, or to go home to take care of a sick kid.

Joann has a story about a woman who was the head of HR at a tech company who decided to make an example of what the company viewed as flexibility and leaving work early. She had a son who was in his last year of high school and she knew he would be leaving home the following year to go to college. So she decided that every Thursday she was going to leave by 5pm--no matter what was happening at work--so that she could take her son out to dinner for bonding time.

Not only did she leave at 5pm every single Thursday for the full year of his senior year, she posted about it on the company’s internal website so that employees worldwide saw her example. She showed that the company policies weren’t just lip service or words on a page, they were meant to be lived out by everyone.

When it comes to finding a place to work, this is something to really consider. Is the senior level leadership living out the values and the professed culture of the company?

Women can’t be afraid to set expectations and ask for what they want at work
One of the senior leaders I interviewed for the podcast awhile back spoke of having two phones, a smartphone and a flip phone in order to disconnect from work. While at work she would have her smartphone with her and people could call, text, or email and she would respond.

But once she went home the smartphone was put away and she only had her flip phone with her. Only a select few people had the number to the flip phone so that she would know if it rang, it was an emergency or something very important. Aside from that she wouldn’t check emails, social media, text messages, etc...while she was at home with family.

The same was true when she went to work, her family knew that if there was an emergency or something important they could call that flip phone and she would answer, but otherwise they would wait until she got home. And her coworkers and her boss knew if that phone rang she was leaving the room, no matter what was happening. She set those expectations up from the beginning so that everybody was on the same page and knew what was happening.

Joann says women are not as good at setting up expectations as men are. They tend to be more afraid to ask for what they need. But putting up boundaries and letting people know what it is you want is a critical part of having a successful work/life sway.

When it comes to asking for what you want Joann suggests not doing it as a solo act. Connect with other working moms in your company, figure out the main issues you are all dealing with and come up with some solutions together that you can take to your leaders.

Joann’s advice for working dads
When it comes to “power dads” Joann says her biggest advice is not to just try to be supportive of their wives or life partners, but to be an equal partner. What women who want to be successful in their careers and have children want is co-parenting.

And this is something to talk about early in relationships. Joann says, “Frankly, the time to talk about that is not when you've gone 24 hours straight, with not much sleep, because you're at each other's throat. And Gosh, darn it, I changed the diaper the last time the newborn woke up. You need to kind of come to some meeting of the minds, frankly, at the start of your commitment to a long term relationship. If you want to have children, you should talk about that. We should also talk about who's going to stay home when the kid is born, who's going to stay home when the kid is sick, whose career is going to take priority, as these kids are growing up is one of us willing to be a stay at home parent for a couple of years, is the other one willing to be the stay at home parent the next couple years.”

Direct download: Audio_-_Joann_Lublin_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:08pm PDT

Can you really work with multiple generations of employees?

A lot of people are worried about the new generation that is coming into the workforce.

Here are three ways you can ensure that employees can work with multiple generations:

✅Avoid stereotypes
Don’t assume that if somebody is older, they don't know how to use technology and if somebody is younger, they are great with technology. Let's not assume that every generation and every person from that generation acts or behaves a certain way.

✅Focus on the life stage
We have to focus on the stage each person is at in life. They might be a younger employee who has a lot of responsibilities or an older employee with few responsibilities.

✅Practice empathy
This is extremely important to any organization, especially when we think about working with different generations. We need to remember that different generations went through different things.

These three tips will help create more cohesive teams, especially if those teams are composed of people from different generations.

Direct download: 3._How_to_Work_w_Multiple_Generations_of_Employees.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:47pm PDT

Jeff Schwartz is the U.S. Leader for the Future of Work at Deloitte and author of the new book Work Disrupted: Opportunity, Resilience, and Growth in the Accelerated Future of Work.

Jeff is also the global editor of the Deloitte “Global Human Capital Trends” report series, which he started in 2011.

Business leaders are always looking ahead to see what is coming in the future of work. The trends that we have seen coming in the next 5-10 years have been accelerated due to the pandemic in 2020. Things that we thought would happen in 5-10 years have happened in weeks and months.

When it comes to the future of work Jeff believes that we are in the end of the beginning, and we are beginning the next chapter. We now have the technologies in place, in this new chapter we are going to see the implementation and scaling of these technologies and the new ways of working.

“One of the one of my favorite quotes is a quote from Albert Einstein who said that you can't use an old map to explore a new world. And I think that's part of what we learned in 2020...But a lot of people are using old maps for new problems. And this is a big shift we're going through now.”

Jeff believes that Covid-19 may be an event that changes work forever. One of the things we are challenged with in 2021 is to figure out if we now return to what we did before, or if we use the events of 2020 as an on-ramp to something new. Jeff’s view is that we will use it as an on-ramp to something new.

What does the future of work actually mean
We hear the phrase “the future of work” so often these days. It is at the forefront of so many discussion. But what does it actually mean? Jeff said it can mean a lot of different things, but for him there are three main things that make up the future of work: how work is changing, how workforces are changing, how workplaces are changing.

Jeff says, “I think we spent the last 20 years setting the table for the future of work discussion. Identifying what the work, workforce, workplace options are, what the implications are for communities, regulation, education. 2020 was a bit of a fast forward button or a forced experiment button. And as I was mentioning earlier, you know, I think we are at the end of the beginning of the future of work. And we are at the beginning of the next chapter, which is taking these changes to work, workforces, and workplaces, and just implementing them at scale. Not on the side, but in the heart of what we're doing.”

Top trends in 2021
Jeff and his team at Deloitte have been releasing trend reports since 2011 and they recently released their report for 2021. Some of the top trends they focused on were:

  • The integration of wellbeing into work, not as a set of side benefits, but in a deliberate way that is integrated into work
  • Super teams, which is how we put AI and robots on the team in a way that supports people and allows them to do more human work such as deep care, deep teaching, deep design, etc…
  • Beyond re-skilling and looking at developing enduring human capabilities, giving workers what they need so they can shift and work up to their potential even when they have to do something outside of what they were hired to do
  • The real challenges around workforce governance, we found out in 2020 we don’t have the data and information needed
  • The elevation of the HR role in the first few months of the pandemic and looking at how HR can lead into this reimagination and re-architecture of the work era.

What Jeff worries about for the future
When it comes to the future of work Jeff is mostly optimistic and he doesn’t have many fears. But he does have a specific worry about the future.

As he shares, “My concern is that we aren't taking advantage of the opportunities that we have in front of us, as both businesses and as communities in society. We're at a very interesting point, where we have the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things in terms of the way we live our lives, we organize our work, the way we organize education, the way we organize our businesses. And I worry that we're not really as focused on the opportunity as we can.”

He is concerned that some of us are not prepared for the unpredictable part of life. As the world changes some of the institutions we have--such as schools, communities, and businesses--will have to be able to stretch and flex to be more relevant.

We have to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that we have in front of us. With the innovation and technology we have today we have the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things in the way we live, work, learn, and organize.

What do business leaders need to do to take advantage of the future of work
When it comes to taking advantage of things coming in the future of work Jeff has some advice for business leaders. They are:

  1. Leaders need to recognize that the role of business leaders is to deliver value, not just cost savings. Big changes in the economy comes not just from cost savings and productivity, but from innovation, new value, and creating new sources of meaning.
  2. Leaders must wrap their minds around the idea that they are leading workforce ecosystems today, not just individual employees. It is not the same as 30 years ago where you just focus on who to attract, develop, and retain. It’s now about accessing, curating, and engaging. You can access talent in the form of a human or a machine. You can look inside of your organization or by using talent marketplaces. You really have to look at all of the ways you can access and curate talent.
  3. Leaders must think of themselves as co-creators. We have to move from a supervisor mentality to a player-coach mentality.

Jeff’s advice for individual leaders looking to navigate this new world of work
Individuals have a lot of responsibility in preparing themselves for the future of work. But we are highly adaptable and there’s a lot we can do. Jeff’s advice for individuals is:

  1. Adopt the growth mindset, don’t have a fixed mindset. Growth mindset is the belief that you can improve your abilities through hard work, exploration, curiosity, and learning. Your capabilities are not stagnant, you can do something to better yourself.
  2. Understand the importance of being a team player. There is nothing wrong with individual work, but in this new world of work individuals must be able to work well with a team, no matter what their role on that team is. We have to understand the different roles of teams, what a high performing team is, and understand that you may play different roles in different teams that you are on--whether you are a participant or a facilitator, an expert, or even the leader of the team
  3. Embrace the 100-year life span and the 50-60 year career. As we live longer lives we have to recognize that our careers no longer mean working for one company in one department. You will have multiple reinventions in your career, so it is important to recognize that and prepare for it.

“If you think that your journey is going over one mountain, and you find out that the journey is going over six mountains, it really helps to know that it's a six mountain journey versus a one mountain journey, right? You're mentally prepared, you're physically prepared. And you know, we're telling people, it's a one mountain journey, you go to school, you pick a career, you go to work for somebody, maybe it's a two mountain journey, or maybe there's another mountain behind this one, but if we know that it is a portfolio of reinvention that the journey is much more varied than we thought. We think that will help us to be prepared.”

Direct download: Audio_-_Jeff_Schwartz_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:25pm PDT

What’s the worst career choice you ever made?

I remember when I was younger, everybody told me not to move to San Francisco. They said I couldn’t afford to live there, that I didn’t know anything about speaking, and that I was a terrible writer and couldn’t write a book.

People would say that I should be a lawyer or a doctor, that I should do this or that. And I spent a lot of my life listening to other people and trying to fit into somebody else's mold.

When I wanted to start a business, everybody told me that I didn’t know anything about starting a business and that I should get an MBA instead.

Listening to other people was the worst career mistake I ever made.

It took me several years to understand that I shouldn't be listening to other people--I should be listening to myself.

It's ok to take advice from other people and to hear what others are saying. But ultimately, you have to take it with a grain of salt, because nobody knows you better than you.

Direct download: 2._The_worst_career_choice_I_ever_made.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:44pm PDT

Steve Preston is the President & CEO of Goodwill Industries International, the world’s leading workforce provider. He leads a team of around 140,000 employees across the United States.

Prior to his current role Steve served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

He orchestrated successful turnarounds as the CEO of two private corporations, Oakleaf Global Holdings and Livingston International and he was the CFO of two Fortune 500 companies — Waste Management and ServiceMaster.

The world looks very different today than it did just over a year ago. The pandemic and other world events have had long lasting effects on the way we live and work. Steve’s role at Goodwill has put him in the unique position of not only having to address these issues inside of his own organization, but because one of Goodwill’s main operations is workforce development and job placement, he has had to pay attention to how things are changing in all industries.

Goodwill has 650 job centers around the country where people can go to get trading development, coaching, and job placement services.

One major trend Steve has been focused on is the acceleration of job displacement due to Covid-19.

As he shares, “Before the pandemic, we were very focused on what everybody's calling the future of work. And that is a significant migration in labor demands by employers that are more focused on technology skills, and other cognitive and relational skills that surround the product development and service delivery. And so many of the forecasters or economists were forecasting that 30 or 35 million jobs would be lost over the next decade. Well, what happened when COVID hit is not only did we see unemployment spike, there were two other phenomena within that, number one, that people who lost their jobs were people with lower levels of education, lower income levels, and disproportionately people of racial and ethnic minorities. And then in addition to that, employers accelerated their adoption of digital technologies, customer interactions, supply chain support, and other kinds of internal management processes.”

Because of both of these situations happening quickly--1. That the people who were most likely going to lose jobs over the course of the next decade lost their jobs in 2020 and 2. Companies accelerated their digital transformations--we are now in a situation where people urgently need digital skills to be able to compete for jobs. We have employers who are looking to upgrade the level of skills for all roles and the people who need jobs right now don’t have those skills.

The future of the office
One thing that we have come to realize over the past year is it is possible to get work done at home. In fact a lot of people are finding they are more productive at home. Organizations are realizing that even though people aren’t physically in the office or always working the traditional 9-5, work is getting done.

So does this realization mean that physical office spaces will disappear in the future? Steve doesn’t think so. While we can work from home, as humans we thrive on interaction, relationship, and connectedness that just isn’t the same when we talk virtually.

Most likely what will happen is a hybrid model that allows people to work from home part of the time while still coming into the office on a regular basis. Whether they are in the office more will depend on the role they have.

Steve says, “I'm definitely thinking about a hybrid model, because I do not want to throw out the human interaction side, I think that's critical. And I think, you know, especially when you are dealing with complex business issues, and making tough decisions-- having trust, having those deep personal relationships, is just, I mean, that's how leadership functions well, is being having that joint accountability and trust, and being able to move forward together with those situations in place. And pure remote doesn't do that.”

Steve’s advice for people looking for jobs now
Trying to find work in the middle of a pandemic is hard, it is stressful, and some may feel like it is impossible. But Steve has some great advice for anyone who is looking for a job right now.

First of all, he says it is so important to take care of yourself mentall and emotionally. Don’t let the stress of finding a job or being turned down for a job affect your mood. Spend time with friends, stay engaged, and take care of yourself.

It’s also important to take advantage of the time that you have without a job to build your skills. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on getting a degree, there are so many places to learn these days. Develop skills, specifically digital skills like coding or data. Utilize this time to better yourself so that when the right job opens up you are ready for it.

Bettering yourself can also look good in an interview. When talking with a potential employer when they ask you what you have been doing during your unemployment you will have a great response. You’ll let them know what you’ve been doing to build skills whether it is from online courses, reading books, listening to podcasts, etc…

“Time is precious, you know, and most of us in our lives are always looking for time. And when you've got it, the challenge with having time, like unemployment is it's filled with all sorts of anxiety and urgency. But you have to find space to make it a good time, to come out at the other end in a better position when you entered it.”

Steve also says to look around at the network around you. We all have networks, whether we realize it or not. A conversation with someone you know may lead you to a job. So talk to the people you know, let them know what you are looking for, and who knows it could lead you to something.

The best skills and mindsets for the future
In this new world of work there are certain skills and mindsets we should focus on. And it is important to have a balance between technology skills and human skills. Being able to walk into a new job and feeling comfortable around their technology whether you have used it or not is beneficial. Specific digital technology skills such as coding, data analytics, Python, Tableau, etc...are good as well.

Basic workplace effectiveness skills are crucial as well. Knowing how to effectively communicate, how to negotiate, how to present yourself, how to listen to others are all key skills if you want to have a successful career.

When it comes to certain industries looking to hire people, Steve says the retail industry is starting to come back. Logistics has stayed strong and IT jobs are always in demand. Hospitality on the other hand--hotels, restaurants, airlines--have not bounced back yet and it could be awhile.

Purpose in business
One thing that Steve is very passionate about is purpose in business. As he shares organizations are large ecosystems with tons of employees who are impacted by the actions of the leaders. So it is crucial for leaders to bring wholeness to organizations and to create cultures that allow people to thrive and grow.

“When you don't have principled leadership, you see terrible things happen. I was CFO of a large company during the Sarbanes Oxley meltdown in the early 2000s, you saw all kinds of moral issues across the world. I was the HUD Secretary during the housing crisis. And there were all kinds of moral failures across businesses, you know mortgage institutions and in any number of, you know, lenders and people who are in the securitization industry, we need principled leadership and people who have a sense of true north, because in so many ways, great leadership brings flourishing to their organizations and to our communities. And bad leadership causes terrible things, which can result in a systemic breakdown.”

Steve is no stranger to leading in tough times. His advice to leaders right now is to know what the mission of your company is and what you’re hoping to achieve. You have to use that mission and lean into it as a rallying cry for your people. Because, as Steve shares, what happens in a crisis is people are scared, they are confused, and the last thing they need is lack of direction. It is up to you as the leader to provide that direction for them.

Know what your problems are, what are you facing as an organization. Then using your mission and your goals figure out a solution for that problem. And it is so important to keep your employees engaged in the process along the way. Employees want to see what is happening and know what their role is.

“In a crisis can actually be a great time to infuse purpose into the organization and see your employees rise up to to go after that mission.” Leaders have to be open and transparent. People want to know what the truth is and they can tell when you are not being honest. Be decisive, be clear, make a decision, and move forward. Your people want to trust you, and they want to trust that they can follow you as their leader.

Skills in a post-Covid-19 world
Historically many people have been excluded from jobs because they didn’t have a certain degree or a specific amount of experience to even be considered for the role.

But this practice is starting to change. Companies are starting to realize that it is better to focus on skills in recruiting and promotions instead of education, degrees, and specific experience.

Steve says at Goodwill the first thing they do when a candidate walks through the door is they do a skills assessment. Then when working with that person for a desired future role they can help pinpoint what skills the person already has and what skills they will need to work on in order to successfully take on that role.

A lot of times we have a hard time translating our skills into specific roles, we may not even realize that we have a set of skills. One group of people who have a hard time with this are veterans. They don’t usually have college degrees or formal education, but they have phenomenal training, discipline, they have great communication and even leadership skills.

“I am optimistic, because I think we're reaching more people through what's kind of opened up over the last nine months, I think, and I'm hopeful that employers will continue to open their minds about how best to fill those roles. And I'm very hopeful that people like Goodwill, and other people in this industry will continue to expand the relevant opportunities for people to get relevant skills for relevant roles.”

Direct download: Audio_-_Steve_Preston_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:19pm PDT

Leaders need to serve themselves.

This is the leadership hack of Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens in the United States.

While leaders need to serve their leaders, their customers, their partners, and their teams, they also need to serve themselves.

Self-care can manifest in a lot of different ways, but for Barbara, it's about sleep. Oftentimes, sleeping on a problem can greatly increase your potential for better ideas instead of trying to solve the problem at the moment.

Self-care is different for each person, as each of us is dealing with different kinds of stress. But the most important thing is that you take care of yourself so that you can then take care of others.

Direct download: 1._Why_You_should_Practice_Self_Care_as_a_Leader_1.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:22pm PDT

Ryan Hawk is the host of one of the most popular management and leadership podcasts in the world called, The Learning Leader Show. The show was chosen by Apple Podcasts as an “all time bestseller” in 2020 and it has received acclaim from Forbes and Inc. Magazine.

He is also the author of Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader. It was named one of the 100 Best Management books of all time by Book Authority and it was named the best leadership book of 2020 by Forbes.


Contrary to popular belief, top performers do not always make the best leaders.

At the beginning of his career Ryan was in sales making cold calls for LexisNexis, and he was very successful at it. Because he was a top performer he was promoted several times and ultimately he moved to a sister company and became the VP of North America. Over his time as a leader he learned a lot and was able to gain the skills needed to lead, but thinking back to his first management role, Ryan says he wasn’t prepared for it.

Being a top performer does not mean that you are a great leader. But so many companies still rely on this benchmark alone when promoting people to leadership roles.

As Ryan shares, “the funny part about it is there's very little of what you did as an individual contributor that actually translates to you being a good coach or manager of a team of others doing that. The skill sets are just completely different. And I understand why you look towards the top performer because basically the thought process is well, they were really good, so they probably have earned some respect from their peers. Let's elevate them and then tell them okay, tell everybody else exactly what you did so that you can create a bunch of clones essentially. So I get that that's why it happens. However, there are a lot of superstar performers that are horrible coaches.”

Ryan was able to learn from hands on experience and ultimately he decided to create his own sort of leadership PhD in the form of one on one conversations with leaders from all walks of life. This turned into his podcast, The Learning Leader, which he still hosts today. He interviews CEOs, athletes, authors, professors, and many others who have experience in leadership in order to help listeners continuously learn, grow, and improve.

The difference between a top performer and a leader
Most of us have had a teacher at some point in our lives who was extremely smart and knew their subject very well, but had a hard time teaching it to others. They make what they do look easy, but as soon as someone has a question they struggle to help that person truly understand.

As Ryan shares this happens in sports too. Superstar players like Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan are put in coaching roles and while they are amazing players, they are not great coaches.
“I think the same happens in the sales world. The same happens in all the business world where you're just grabbing the top performer, without actually fully checking, can they coach others who aren't as talented as them? Can they help other people who aren't naturally as good as them? And that's the problem, is sometimes we elevate and promote people who are just not good teachers, not good coaches, and a big element of management, of leading a team is teaching and coaching other people to levels that they didn't even realize they were capable of reaching.”

Organizations need to look at other qualities for potential leaders aside from generating the most money or bringing in the most clients. They also need to invest more in training future leaders to make sure any individual who is being promoted has the skills necessary to lead.

Based on surveys I conducted for my recent book, The Future Leader, on average people are moving into their first leadership role in their mid to late 20s, but leaders say that on average the first time they receive formal leadership training is somewhere in their late 30s or early 40s. That’s a huge gap of time that people are leading without any kind of formal training.

How to solve the leadership problem
As Ryan shares, it is important that we realize that attaining a leadership role is not the only sign of success in someone’s career. Not everyone wants to be a leader, and not everyone is cut out to be a leader. There are other paths people can take in their career that will allow them to be successful without leading others.

It is up to organizations to create multiple career paths for employees. People need to feel like they can continue to be an individual contributor while also being able to grow and thrive in that role. Management roles should not be the only way to move up and grow inside an organization.

“I think it's good to have both sets of people or a wide variety of people. I love having people on my team that I know, they're never going to be a manager and that's completely fine. They're going to crush it here. Let's just do everything we can to support them to make sure they're feeling growth to take care of them. As well as there's the other group that maybe they really want to be a manager and they have some of that innate skill and talent that let's let's work with them to get better and better, so when it comes time for them to run a team, they're in a better position than I was when I got promoted cold.”

What Ryan looks for in a great leader
Ryan believes great leaders are fulfilled by teaching and coaching other people. They genuinely enjoy helping others grow and improve. They are selfless people who put others before themselves. People who get focused on an end goal and set out to achieve it no matter what with the mindset of “nobody’s going to get in my way”, aren’t in a place to be a successful leader. Leaders care more about people than the end goal.

Great leaders value diverse thinking and differing points of view and they are able to put themselves in other people’s shoes. They have patience and a willingness to learn. They embrace curiosity and they are comfortable admitting they don’t know everything--they’re not afraid to ask for help. They are both respected and liked.

Why you must start by leading yourself
In Ryan’s book, Welcome to Management, he points out that before you can lead a team, you must learn how to lead yourself. We’ve all heard the phrase that is used on airplanes when they say you must secure your oxygen mask before assisting others, and that is the same concept here.

It is important to look inward first and figure out what you need to do to put yourself in the best position to lead a team who actually wants to follow you. In Ryan’s case he wanted to become a learning machine so that his team would see him as someone who was constantly striving to get better. So he built a four part framework for himself to figure out what it actually means to be a learning machine and how to actively live it out on a daily basis.

His four part framework consists of:
1. Learn: He is constantly reading articles and books, interviewing different leaders, listening to podcasts and finding new information and great ideas.
2. Test: When he finds a great idea he then tests it out to see if actually works
3. Reflect: After he tests an idea out he looks back on the process and the results to see how it went and to decide if he should keep going with it or let it go.
4. Teach: Teaching is a great way to reinforce new things. Ryan shares his experience with others in order to solidify what he has taken in and tested out.

To give a picture of what this process looks like in real life Ryan shares an example of how this could be used for something learned in an article. Perhaps you find an HBR article on how to run better meetings. So you’ve read the article and you’ve thought about how you could use this with your own team. And you’ve brought the idea to a mentor or someone who has led teams before to run the idea past them for their feedback. Instead of just soaking in the information and thinking about it, you need to test it.

So in your next meeting you try out the ideas from the article and you invite your mentor to sit in on the meeting to see how it goes.

After the meeting is done you meet with your mentor or with people who were in the meeting that you trust and who will be honest with you to get their feedback on how it went. You all reflect on how it went, what worked and what didn’t. Should you keep using it or scrap it?

Then you teach the idea to someone. It could be someone you are mentoring or someone in your company who is thinking of moving into a leadership role. You sit down with that person and explain the idea you learned, how you used it in your meeting, and what worked well and what didn’t.

“Before you know it, you've been in all four quadrants in one day, or maybe a few days, whatever it may be of saying this is how to….and you do that for basically everything within your career, or everything in your life, of always striving to fuel the intake engine, run experiments based on what you learned, reflect on how it went--what to keep doing what to stop-- and then sharing with other people. And it just goes on and on and on and never stops. And then once you pause at the end of the year, if you're regularly behaving on it, wow look at everything we've done over the course of the year, we've changed a lot. Because you're in this constant state of being a learning machine. And that's how I think you can regularly figure out new and better ways to do things.”

Direct download: Audio_-_Ryan_Hawk_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:18pm PDT

Leaders need to become lighthouses.


A lighthouse is something that shines light into a sea of uncertainty. It guides other people so they don’t hit rocks and can find their way back home.

But as a lighthouse, you need to remember that without ships in the water, you're not very valuable.

It means you should always guide other people. You have to take other people along on this journey with you.

If you only focus on yourself and become a wonderful lighthouse but don't have any ships in the water, then what’s the point?

This episode is brought to you by my friends at ServiceNow, a software company that makes the world of work, work better for people by delivering digital workflows that create great employee experiences, and unlock productivity. If you or your company is looking to transform old, manual ways of working into digital workflows, then you need ServiceNow. They are trusted by over 6,200 enterprises customers, Check them out here.

Direct download: 4._Leaders_Are_Lighthouses.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:17am PDT

Laurent Therivel is the CEO of UScellular, the fourth largest wireless carrier in the United States with 5,000 employees across 23 states. Previously he spent 12 years at AT&T where he most recently served as CEO of AT&T Mexico leading 18,000 people.

Becoming the CEO of a company during a pandemic comes with a unique set of problems. A role that usually requires a lot of face to face interaction with employees, customers, and vendors has been mostly limited to phone calls and online meetings.

Laurent joined UScellular as their CEO in July of 2020. He says he’s had to heavily rely on data and analytics to see how their services are working for customers across the country, and that’s been difficult. Usually he would prefer to interact more to get a better feel for how things are going.

This past year there has been a fundamental shift in the way we live and work and Laurent believes that this shift has allowed us to take trends that would have taken 10 years or so and accelerated them to be accomplished in a couple of months. Laurent shares that he feels he has been able to be more efficient in his role due to technology. Now instead of having to travel across the country to visit with his team he can do it all from his computer at home. He has also been able to meet with smaller groups inside the company for Q&As and discussions, which is much easier than meeting with a huge group every time he shows up at a location.

So while this move was challenging for Laurent, he also has seen the silver linings and the positive impacts as well.

What to do if you aren’t happy with your job or your company

Most of us have had a time in our careers where we just aren’t sure if the role we have or the company we work for is the right fit. A time when you just don’t know what you really want to do in life.

For people going through this right now Laurent gives two pieces of advice. First of all, he says, you have to do your homework. It is important to carefully distinguish the difference between a company and a role. What about your current situation do you not like? Do you and your boss not have a good working relationship? Does your skill set not match up with the work you are doing? What is it that is making you feel unhappy?

Figuring this out can help you decide what to do. If it is a problem with your boss, maybe you can sit down and have a discussion with them to fix that relationship. If you don’t like the actual work you are doing or it doesn’t match up to your skillset, maybe there is another role for you inside the organization that could be better.

Laurent believes people are too quick to say the company itself is not a good fit, but usually it is their role or a relationship with a boss or coworker. Really look deep at why you are feeling unhappy.

He also says that people need to figure out what their worth is externally. There are two problems that come along with not accurately evaluating your external worth.

A lot of times people feel stuck in a role because they limit themselves. Laurent says, “They remain stuck, when they could be doing something much more exciting and much more interesting and a much better fit with their skills. But because they don't believe in themselves and because they haven't taken the time to find their worth externally, they don't take the leap.”

Other people over value their external worth. They may think they are doing exceptional work, and that they are really making an impact, but that may not be the case. So they come into work and complain, and they feel underpaid and undervalued, but really they are the ones not rising to their full potential. You really have to do your homework and be honest with yourself to figure out your external work and what your performance really looks like.

Laurent’s advice for leaders who feel they are not progressing in a company

For mid-level leaders who feel that there aren’t any opportunities inside of their organization to progress or rise up through the ranks Laurent shares his advice. He says this is a common scenario, there are a lot of leaders going through this. For this situation he says leaders have to be willing to develop their skill set laterally.

He says, “Too often people say I feel stuck, I feel stagnant. And then you say, Okay, well, are you willing to move geographically? No, no, no, my family's here, you know, I can't move. Okay. Do you want to try a different role? Do you want to move laterally in the organization and try and build your skill set somewhere else? Well, no, I don't really want to do that. I think I'm good at accounting, or I'm good at logistics, or whatever it is, they're good at sales. Okay, so if that's the case, really what you're doing is you're waiting for your boss to retire or die, right? If that doesn't happen, then you don't know where to go.”

You have to be open to lateral moves if moving up the rank isn’t a possibility at the moment. Don’t be the one to limit yourself. Laurent also stresses the importance of having open and honest conversations with your loved ones so you know the right decisions to make in your career. Don’t assume the reaction your spouse, significant other, or kids will have to a career choice. You never know until you talk with them.

Advice for senior leaders who are burned out or bored

People at any level of leadership tend to place limits on themselves. It is fairly common to hear senior leaders talk about how they feel burned out or bored with their role, but Laurent says a lot of times this is because they have limited themselves for one reason or another.

Feeling bored or burned out may signal that it is time to try something else, but it can be hard to leave a role for various reasons. Sometimes senior leaders may have become used to living a certain way financially, so they stop themselves from pursuing their passions because it may not provide the same level of financial security.

As Laurent says, “I find that that a lot of times, senior leaders in their career aren't willing to really make the difficult move, because they've convinced themselves that they have a lot less flexibility, a lot less optionality than they really do. Which is sad, because if you think about all of the hard work that you've put in, it should be to go create optionality later in your life, right? You should have the ability to go teach classes or be a mezcal importer, by the way, is what I want to do when I retire. So I think some of it has to do with, again, going back and having those conversations to make sure you know how much optionality that you really do have.”

Figure out how much risk you are willing to take as well as what you truly value in life to decide where to go when you feel this way.

How Laurent makes difficult decisions

When it comes to making tough decisions Laurent says he uses a combination of analytics and advice. He doesn’t just go with a gut feeling. It’s all about taking a step back and looking at the issue impartially. Emotions do play a part in making decisions, but in this first step Laurent tries to separate emotions.

It is also important, Laurent shares, to have a healthy dose of humility. “Everybody thinks that the problem that they're facing is unique and has never before occurred in this universe. And chances are, it's occurred hundreds of times. And so if you can develop a trusted set of friends, a trusted set of advisors, trusted set of mentors, that helps. And if nothing else, you know, there's one thing that people like talking more about than anything, which is themselves. And so we find people that have faced a problem like this and just reach out to them and say, hey, how did you think through this, and I think having the humility to do that, is, is critical to making an informed decision.”

Leaders also need to be able to admit when they may not be the best person to make the decision. Laurent says there are times when he is not the best person to make decisions. He only wants to be involved in decisions if, and only if, he can add value.

“Most people, I think, would have an image that a CEO is making 10 decisions a day. And I think if that's the case, you're probably a little bit out of whack, and probably your team doesn't feel very empowered, either.”

This episode is brought to you by my friends at ServiceNow, a software company that makes the world of work, work better for people by delivering digital workflows that create great employee experiences, and unlock productivity. If you or your company is looking to transform old, manual ways of working into digital workflows, then you need ServiceNow. They are trusted by over 6,200 enterprises customers, Check them out here.

Direct download: Audio_-_Laurent_Therivel_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:50am PDT

Whether you are a leader or an employee, self-awareness is extremely important.

One of the best ways to be externally self-aware is to be open to feedback.

There are 3 ways you can get better feedback:

  • Ask for it. Have a conversation with your leader or manager about what the feedback process looks like. Have open communication and set up the parameters around what the feedback will look like.
  • Internalize the feedback you get. A lot of times when we get feedback, we take it personally and get defensive. Instead, internalize the feedback, absorb the information, and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow and apply the things you’re given.
  • Focus on the effort, not just the end result. Don't discard the journey. Reward yourself for what it took to become self-aware instead of focusing only on the end result.


This episode is brought to you by my friends at ServiceNow, a software company that makes the world of work, work better for people by delivering digital workflows that create great employee experiences, and unlock productivity. If you or your company is looking to transform old, manual ways of working into digital workflows, then you need ServiceNow. They are trusted by over 6,200 enterprises customers, Check them out here.


Direct download: 3._What_You_Can_Do_to_Get_Better_Feedback.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

Mark Lashier is the CEO of CPChem, a company that produces petrochemicals and plastics with 5,000 employees around the world. 50% of the company is owned by Chevron and 50% is owned by Phillips Petroleum. Mark has served in leadership roles at Chevron Phillips Chemical and Phillips Petroleum for three decades.

With the challenges that we have all had to face over this past year, we have seen organizations and leaders make changes to adapt to our new way of work and life. Mark Lashier, CEO of CPChem, says that all of the events of 2020 reinforced some of the basic principles he has always believed in.

Ever since Mark first became CEO in 2017 he has focused on trust, transparency, and simplicity. And while those values are important at any point in time, they were even more crucial throughout 2020.

In order to carry on with business Mark knew that his employees and his customers had to trust him and each other, he knew he had to be open and transparent with everyone to keep them up to date, and he had to remove red tape and bureaucracy so people could do their jobs.

Bringing trust, transparency, and simplicity to life 

Any company can have great values or mission statements in place, but if they aren’t brought to life inside of the company the words don’t matter. Mark shares how trust, transparency, and simplicity live and breath inside of CPChem.

He says that first of all it is important that all leaders inside of CPChem demonstrate these behaviors. So these become guidelines for hiring and promoting people to leadership positions.

The other crucial component of bringing these values to life is giving employees permission to hold the leaders accountable for these behaviors.

Mark says, “When you've got employees that maybe in the past were afraid to speak up for whatever reason, now they're not afraid to hold top leadership accountable for the things that we're saying. And I think that's an incredibly beautiful thing. And that is just self reinforcing. It makes us so much more effective in getting out messaging, we're trying to continue to move our culture to a better and better place.”

The most important lesson Mark has learned from others

Over the years Mark has received a lot of advice from leaders around him. Some of the key advice he has been given has been around leading with integrity and doing what you say you’re going to do. Also it has been around humility and leading in a way that puts the interests of others above your own.

Mark shares that the most important lesson he has learned from others is “The more you advance in your career, the less it's about what you do. And it's more about what other people do, what you can help them do and the barriers you can remove to help them be successful and engaged.”

The shift we are seeing in the CEO role

In the past the way we viewed CEOs was almost as a celebrity--someone who is unapproachable, who sits up in an ivory tower and makes decisions. They usually spent most of their time traveling or in their office, so most employees didn’t see their CEO face to face even after working for the company for years.

Now we are seeing a move away from this type of CEO and we are seeing CEOs spending a lot more time in front of employees, they are more approachable, some have open door policies, they are open and transparent about their lives and struggles. So why is this change happening?

Mark believes it is largely due to technology and communication. He says there is so much more opportunity these days for CEOs to be visible than in the past. It is now possible for CEOs to create short videos to share with employees or to write monthly newsletters or to do virtual town hall meetings. That wasn’t possible in the past.

As Mark shares, “there just was a lot more bureaucracy around in leadership in those days. And so it could behave more like a cult of personality, than anything else. And it just created an atmosphere where I think CEOs were more revered than respected. And they just didn't have the ability to reach out through all of that all those layers of protection to connect with people. And I don't think I would have thrived as a CEO, or perhaps even had the opportunity to be a CEO in that environment. But I certainly enjoy this environment much more.”

The importance of leaders thinking beyond dollars and cents

There used to be a mentality that the main purpose of a business and all of the leaders in it was to make as much money as possible. But now there is a realization that it’s not just about making a profit, it’s about positively impacting employees, customers, and communities.

Mark says, “We like to think about ourselves as being sustainably profitable and sustainably growing. And there's a lot of dimensions to that you can't be sustainably profitable, or sustainably grow if you're in a community and you're abusing that community, either environmentally or through bad employment practices. Or if you're not taking care of employees providing a great work environment or career opportunities, they're going to go elsewhere, which will impair your ability to be sustainably profitable over time.”

Yes, as an organization you have to be profitable, that is important. But if you want to be sustainably profitable, as Mark talks about, you have to make sure that you are not only taking care of your employees and customers, but also the community around you, the environment, and the world as a whole. Organizations have a huge responsibility and they can change the world, if they want to.

“If we're not providing solutions for humanity, we're not going to be sustainably profitable, or grow sustainably over a long period of time.”

This episode is brought to you by my friends at ServiceNow, a software company that makes the world of work, work better for people by delivering digital workflows that create great employee experiences, and unlock productivity. If you or your company is looking to transform old, manual ways of working into digital workflows, then you need ServiceNow. They are trusted by over 6,200 enterprises customers, Check them out here.

Direct download: Audio_-_Mark_Lashier_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:09am PDT