Great Leadership With Jacob Morgan

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.

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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