The Future of Work With Jacob Morgan

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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: 12:44am PST

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 PST

I love the way my wife Blake Morgan talks about customer experience.

She says that we need to figure out how we can make our customers’ lives easier, even if that means our lives get a little bit harder.

But what happens in most organizations is the exact opposite.

We are willing to make the lives of our customers harder so that we can make our lives a little bit easier.

We need to flip that around.

The fact is that customers are willing to pay more for a great experience.

Psychologist Thomas Gilovich looked at how our satisfaction changes depending on if we invest in physical goods or in an experience.

What he found is that over time, if we buy a physical good, our satisfaction levels go down, but if we invest in an experience, over time our satisfaction levels go up.

Clearly, this idea of creating experiences and serving customers has a significant impact, not just for our customers, but for the bottom line for our organizations.

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: 2._Implementing_a_Customer_First_Mentality.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:28am PST

If there is one thing that’s true about being an entrepreneur, it’s that you have to get used to rejection and failure. These things are a part of the game when you have your own business.

Entrepreneurship is all about innovation and curiosity and you can’t have those things without failure. The important thing is knowing how to deal with this reality and not letting it stop you from moving forward.

We have both encountered failure over the course of our careers. The reason we have successful businesses now is because we learned to deal with that failure and we’ve used it to propel us forward instead of letting it hold us back.

Here are some of the lessons we have learned over the years on how to deal with failure and rejection as entrepreneurs.

Let yourself process the failure

When you experience failure in your business, whether it’s a small error or a huge mistake, it is important to deal with the feelings and emotions that come with it. Don’t go into denial or try to cover your feelings with food, drinks, or anything else. You may feel a range of emotions from anger to depression or even embarrassment. That is completely normal, but you have to let those out.

Talk to a friend or a loved one. Write out your feelings in a journal. Seek professional help if you need to. Don’t let these emotions eat away at your or cause you to lash out at people around you. Take the time and space you need to process the failure and how it made you feel. Failure will get easier the more you experience it. Just know that you will overcome it and you can use it to help you succeed in the future.

Focus on what you learn, not so much on the failure itself

It is easy to get obsessed with failure. Most likely your mind will start to analyze everything about the failure--why it happened, what you could have done differently, how stupid the mistake was. But you need to focus on the lessons you can take from what happened. What can you take from that experience to help in the future? Use this as a learning experience and a way to propel you forward. Don’t let it hold you back.

Have somebody to talk to

When the two of us fail, we talk to each other and it really helps. It is so important to have someone you can talk to when you fail. This can be a friend, a spouse, a family member--any one you trust. Talking about things out loud with an objective third party may even shed some light on the situation that will make you realize it wasn’t as big of a mistake as you thought. They will probably have a different perspective on the situation that can help you learn from what happened.

Sweat it out

It can definitely help to get out and exercise. You can go for a walk or a run. You can go to the gym. You can do yoga. Do whatever you can to get moving and refocus your mind. It can also help with chemical imbalances that may also play a role in negative thoughts. This goes along with eating healthy and taking care of your body. If you aren’t taking good care of your body and you don’t feel good physically or mentally, rejection and failure will be a lot harder to work through.

Put failure in context

Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than we need to be. So you failed, is it something you are new at? Is it something that is out of your comfort zone? Is it something that is extremely challenging that you are still trying to master? Realize that you are doing your best and that failure is natural. Don’t be too hard on yourself or make a failure out to be worse than it actually is. 

Be resilient, but take a break if you need to

You can’t let failure keep you down. It is important as an entrepreneur to learn to live with failure and not get to you too much. Get back up on your feet and do better, work harder, and take what you’ve learned moving forward.

With that being said, you can also take a break if you need to before getting back up. It doesn’t have to be an instant jump up. As mentioned previously, find ways to process the failure and your feelings, but once you’ve done that it’s time to move on. If you need to take a day, two days or a week off, do it. Find ways to laugh, be with family and friends, enjoy nature, etc.. But don’t let yourself stay down too long.

Fail fast and fail smart

Failure is going to happen, but you have to fail smart. For example, if you have three kids and a house with a mortgage, it’s probably not the best time to put every penny of your kids’ college fund into one idea. If you have an idea you want to explore, give yourself a budget and a timeframe to test it out and if it fails, let it go.

Use failure as fuel

As an entrepreneur it is crucial that you take your failures and use them as motivation to do better and be more prepared. Don’t think of it as something that ends your path as an entrepreneur, think of it as a launching pad to your next opportunity.

Be aware of self-talk

After a failure it is easy to default to negative self-talk such as, I’m never going to be able to do this, I’m so stupid, or I’ll never succeed. But everytime you recognize negative thoughts, you need to shift your mind to positive self-talk. You have to be your own cheerleader. Focus on what you’ve done well and the good things you have in your life.

Stay optimistic

No matter what you fail at or how bad you think things are, it is important as an entrepreneur to stay optimistic and to have hope. Talk out loud about the future  you want for yourself. Be proud of your failure and what it has taught you. Don’t let it be a roadblock. Stay positive. It is okay to feel negative at times, but don’t let that become your default mindset. Don’t let your life become mostly about the negative. If you feel sad or down after failure, that’s fine to feel that for a time. But be careful, negativity can spiral out of control if you stay there too long.

Remember and accept that failure is going to be a part of entrepreneurship. There is no running or hiding from it. There is nothing wrong with failure, think of it as something that is pointing you in the direction that you’re supposed to be in. Acknowledge it, talk about it, take a break if you need to, and then jump up and get back to work.

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_-_How_To_Use_Failure_To_Propel_You_Forward_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:26am PST

Today, leaders need to be servants.

We used to have this traditional idea of the pyramid where the leader sits at the very top and tells everybody else what to do.

But we're starting to see this kind of inversion of the pyramid where the leader is at the bottom propping everybody else up.

This is called servant leadership.

When you show up to work every day, your job is to help make other people more successful than you.

Here are some tips on how you can practice servant leadership:

  • Remove stressors from the lives of your employees.
  • Show appreciation and recognition to your employees.
  • Understand your employees as individuals, not just as workers.
  • Understand the moments that matter in the lives of your employees.
  • Remove obstacles from the paths of your employees.

Thanks to my friends at ServiceNow for sponsoring this episode. Make sure to check them out at

Direct download: 1._How_to_Practice_Servant_Leadership.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 2:20am PST

I’ve had the privilege of speaking with around 500 leaders over the years on The Future of Work Podcast and I have really learned a lot from each one. On the show, they share tips, advice, lessons they’ve learned, as well as an inside look at what it’s like to lead their organization. 

This past year really brought a lot of challenges for every single leader around the world. We had to learn how to adjust to a pandemic, how to address social injustices, how to lead virtually and much more. My guests really shared a lot of inspiration, motivation, as well as realistic advice for listeners. 

Even though all of the interviews were great and informative, I have a few favorites that I really enjoyed. And from those episodes I have compiled 15 leadership lessons that are crucial for leaders to learn in order to succeed in the future. 

Leading by example: Arthur Blank, co-founder The Home Depot

Arthur Blank is the co-founder of the Home Depot, which today has a market cap of over $300 billion and they have over 400,000 employees. 

Arthur is a leader that lives out the value of leading by example. He understands the importance of showing employees that what they do day to day is not beneath you as the leader. When you lead by example and let people know that you are not just sitting up in your office looking down on the employees who allow the business to succeed it makes people actually want to show up and work hard. 

Creating your own luck: Shellye Archambeau, former CEO of MetricStream

Shellye Archambeaur is the former CEO of MetricStream, a Silicon Valley based governance risk and compliance software company and the author of a new book called Unapologetically Ambitious. She's also on the board of Verizon and Nordstrom. 

In this world you have to create your own luck, especially when it comes to your career. Shellye explains that creating luck means positioning yourself so that when an opportunity shows up you actually have the ability to take advantage of it. 

What culture is and what it isn’t: Marc Randolph, co-founder and first CEO of Netflix

Marc Randolph is the co-founder and founding CEO of Netflix, he also served on the board of Netflix up until 2003. 

As Marc shares, culture is not just what you say, it’s not something that you put up on posters around the office, or some catch phrases that you come up with in a meeting. He says, “Culture is how you act. It's how you are, it's the things you do. And even more importantly, culture springs from how the founders and the early employees act with each other, with their employees, with their customers. And so, huge amounts of the Netflix culture arised organically, from the way that Reed (Hastings) and I behaved, the way that I treat people, the way I worked with people before.”

It doesn’t have to be crazy at work: Jason Fried, co-founder and CEO of Basecamp

Jason Fried is the co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, and best selling author of Rework, It Doesn't Have To Be Crazy at Work. 

With the blurring of work in life, it can be quite challenging to make sure that work just doesn't take everything over. Jason is a big believer in capping a workweek at 40 hours, he says, “We don’t want people working more than 40 hours. You don’t need to. And if we’re doing that, then we’re doing something wrong, actually. I know a lot of companies, long hours is seen as doing something right, like, “Let’s stay late, and let’s work on the weekends and let’s pull all-nighters.” I think that’s completely wrong. And so, we’re very careful about not encouraging our employees to work that way.”

What to do if you feel stuck at work: David Cote, former Chairman and CEO of Honeywell

David Cote is the former chairman and CEO of Honeywell, and author of the best selling 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%. 

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

How to lead with empathy and courage: Kate Johnson, President of Microsoft US

Kate Johnson is the president of Microsoft US, a $45 billion division. She is currently very involved in Microsoft's culture journey led by CEO Satya Nadella. 

Kate is a huge believer and practitioner of leading with courage and empathy. But what does that mean and how does it come to life? Here is what Kate had to say. 

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

How Covid-19 has changed leadership forever: Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO of Genpact

Tiger Tyagarajan is the CEO of Genpact, a global professional services firm with 100,000 employees that drives digital led innovation in digitally-enabled intelligent operations for organizations around the world. Prior to Genpact. Tiger worked for several well-known companies such as Unilever, Citibank, and GE. 

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

How leaders can serve their employees: Carrie Birkhofer, President & CEO of Bay Federal Credit Union

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

What does it look like to serve your employees? Carrie makes sure she meets new employees on their first day at work. 

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

Creating a mission that resonates with employees: Steve Bilt, CEO of Smile Brands

Steve Bilt is the CEO of Smile Brands, a company with 5000 employees that provides business support services to Over 425 dental offices. Smile Brands has been on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work list three times and Steve is one of the top CEOs on Glassdoor. 

Anyone can come up with a mission statement or a company purpose that sounds good. But it can’t be something that just lives on a wall or in the company handbook. It has to be something that is infused into every aspect of the business. 

Steve believes it needs to be something short and catchy that people can remember. It needs to be something that you can evaluate and check in on to see how well the company is living up to it. It has to be something that is living and breathing inside your company.

People are the solution, not the problem: Hubert Joly, former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy

Hubert Joly is the former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy. Currently, He is a professor at Harvard Business School, and he's on the board of two companies, Johnson and Johnson and Ralph Lauren. 


A lot of leaders first starting at a struggling organization probably would have thought about cutting back on the headcount first to save money. But Hubert not only didn’t take that route, he actually put more money into training, incentives, wellness, etc…

Hubert truly believes that leaders should treat humans as a solution to the problem, not as a source of the problem. And we should use headcount reduction only as a last resort.

Why leaders need a short attention span: Jim Heppelmann, CEO of PTC

Jim Heppelmann is the CEO of PTC, a technology software company with 6500 employees in 30 countries. 

There's always been this traditional mentality that leaders need to have a long term plan and stick to it. But Jim's lesson is that leaders actually need to have short attention spans if they want to thrive in today's rapidly changing world. 

Jim is always looking for the next round of changes that make PTC better, or that protect them from a new threat headed their way. This is a quality that he believes all CEOs should have. Always looking to the next thing, don’t just ride current success. 

The best leadership lessons can come from those around you: Chris McCann, CEO of 1-800-Flowers

Chris McCann is the CEO of 1-800-Flowers, a floral and gourmet food gift retailer and distribution company with over 3000 employees. 

Chris didn't learn leadership skills by attending a top tier University, he learned how to lead by those he surrounded himself with. Sometimes the best leadership lessons can come from those around you. 

Why everyone should think like an entrepreneur: Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square

Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of Square and the author of a new book called Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time. 

Lots of people are going through a time of reinvention. And having the mindset of an entrepreneur can be an invaluable asset. 

Jim says true entrepreneurs solve problems that haven’t been solved before, they don’t just start a business, they do something that has never been done before. And that is what he and Jack Dorsey did, they solved a problem in a way that no one else had ever thought of before. They even were able to beat out Amazon when the company tried to copy the setup Square had.

Putting people ahead of profits: Pehr Gyllenhammar, former CEO of Volvo

Pehr Gyllenhammar is the former CEO of Volvo, and has been voted Sweden's most admired man nine times. Pehr had to lead his company through lots of tough times, like recessions, and an oil crisis. While all the other companies were sacrificing their people to save their profits Pehr didn't let go of a single employee. 

In fact, he told me he would rather let go of a white-collar worker in a management role than a blue-collar worker working on the manufacturing floor. Pehr’s lesson is really all about appreciating all of the people who work with him for you. And remembering that it's oftentimes the people on the front lines who make your business successful. 

Creating and scaling amazing culture for a remote workforce: Robert Glazer, CEO of Acceleration Partners

Robert Glazer is the best selling author of Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others. He's also the CEO of Acceleration Partners, a 13-year-old company that manages affiliate and partner marketing programs for a lot of well-known brands like Adidas, LinkedIn, Target, and others. He leads a team of hundreds of employees but they are all remote.

The lesson from Robert is how he manages to create and scale an amazing culture for a workforce that actually doesn't work together in person.

Robert shares that the key to having a successful remote team is by starting with the core values of the organization. Once you know your core values you can intentionally attract and hire the right people. Contrary to what happens in most organizations, Robert and his team understand that not every person will feel like the company is right for them.  

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_-_15_Leadership_Lessons_From_2020_-_Ready.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:52pm PST